How To Use EQ Pedal | Improving Tone with Effects

How To Use EQ Pedal | Improving Tone with Effects

How to Use an EQ Pedal


  • EQ pedals are extremely popular, as they allow for easy control over the tonal spectrum of your signal chain and guitar sound. 
  • These pedals are typically controlled via bands that represent different sections of your tone, with a frequency range that includes multiple frequency bands, including mid frequencies, treble frequencies, and bass frequencies. 
  • Experiment with different settings as you play electric guitar, and remember that a little goes a long way here.

If you are new to guitar effects, you may wonder how to use an EQ pedal. Many of the best guitars, after all, integrate with a vast array of effects pedals, including equalizer pedals and related types of pedals. So why count EQ pedals as some of the best guitar pedals out there, and what are some tips for using these pedals? Keep reading to find out.

Why Use EQ Pedals?

Before learning the best EQ pedals, you need to understand the benefits of EQ in the first place. EQ stands for ‘equalizer,’ and these pedals can massively transform your guitar tone if you are looking for, say, essential guitar pedals for metal. Simply put, EQ splits your tone into a number of bands, which are then adjusted to limit or accentuate the bass, the mids, or the highs, even if you have learned how to use a chorus pedal.

Using an equalizer pedal lets you emphasize parts of your sound, so they are useful when paired with other pedals. For instance, learn how to use a wah pedal with an EQ pedal to make your wah-drenched leads really pop.

Tips for Using EQ Pedals

Each pedal is different, but here are some relatively standard tips to successfully use the vast majority of EQ pedals out there.

Check Your Cables

Nothing ruins a good time like a bum guitar cable, and, unfortunately, malfunctioning cables are all too common. So, protect your tone by checking your cables ahead of time. Plug one from your guitar into the amp, test the sound, and then repeat with the second cable. Remember, using a pedal requires two instrument cables and a power source of some kind.

Look at the Bands

The designs here vary greatly, and there are many different types of EQ. However, with pedals, you will mostly find simple band-based EQ. What does this mean? It splits the entire signal into several bands, with one or two representing the low end, some representing the mids, and a band or two controlling the treble. Familiarize yourself with these bands and perform some simple experiments to get a handle on things.

Use Your Ears

When it comes to EQ, a little goes a long way, so trust your ears as you get to know your new pedal. For instance, inch up the treble just a tiny bit and then play the guitar to see what effect that had. Do the same with the bass or mids.

EQ Pedals FAQs

Do I need an EQ if I use the EQ on my amp?

If your amp has EQ controls for a wide range of options, you may not need a dedicated pedal, but, remember, it is much easier to stomp on a pedal than it is to fiddle with controls on an amp during a live performance. 

What types of filters do we have?

Some pedals include filters to further impact the guitar tone, such as low-pass filters and high-pass filters. These filters provide clean boosts to overdrive pedals, bass guitars, and more. 

Where in the audio chain do I place the equalizer pedal? 

Where you place the pedal in your signal chain depends on your unique tonal preferences. Placing it at the beginning ensures it impacts everything that goes after it, which greatly transforms the guitar tone. 



“The EQ pedal is often called a utility pedal. Think of it as a tool to help you define, shape, and mold your sound to achieve exactly what you hear in your head.” (source)

TIP: If your sound is a bit out of control, tame it by lowering the bass or the treble.


Lawrence Bonk
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