20 Most Expensive Guitar Pedals (and Alternatives to Buy)

By Editorial Team •  Updated: 05/18/24 •  20 min read
Most expensive guitar pedals on the market

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I was sitting with another guitarist the other day, talking about our pedal boards. We both have a slew of pedals: verbs (reverb pedals for you non-guitarist out there), delays, drives, compressors, EQ, phasers, tremolos, distortion, loopers, and tuners to name just a few.

During the course of our conversation, we started talking about what our “dream boards” would look like. You know, the boards with the most expensive pedals filling all the spaces for a touring guitarist who has all the money in the world?

That discussion got me thinking, and I decided to do a little Reverb hunting to see how much it would cost me to put together a big pedal board with the most expensive pedals the marketplace has to offer. No rack-mounted units, no main frame multi reel-to-reel units, just good old guitar pedals to Velcro, zip tie, glue, tape, or however you happen to secure your pedals to your board.

Let’s get started spending some money!

Volume Pedals

You have got to start somewhere, right? A volume pedal is the ultimate starting point for a pedal board. There are a number of options available, and since most volume pedals operate similarly, there is really not a bad option as long as it does what it is supposed to do — make your guitar louder or dead silent when you rock that footboard.

Lehle Stereo Volume Pedal ($1,649.95 for a five-pack)

The Lehle volume pedal is a little different than most volume pedals as its internal parts are composed of a magnet and a “Hall effect” sensor which controls the volume. Yeah, it is real science stuff regarding magnetic fields, but it works unlike any other volume pedal which uses a potentiometer and a string, the latter of which tends to wear out. If you are going to have a volume pedal, why not have one that you would probably find on a spaceship? Reverb has a five-pack for sale, so with money being no object, I would start there, keeping one for a backup and then giving the other three away to my good friends!

Ernie Ball VP JR Tuner/Volume Pedal ($249.99 for the limited-edition Road Runner model)

The Ernie Ball volume pedal is probably the first brand you might think of when talking about volume pedals. So, what makes this one so good? I am glad you asked. It has a, wait for it, tuner built into it! Wild right? Yep, on the face of the pedal, there is an LCD screen that displays your tuning in real-time. The only drawback is when you have your foot on it, you can’t see the tuner, but it still looks really cool. The Road Runner limited edition (500 units) comes in a cool sky blue, and if that color doesn’t do it for you, they have a limited edition (500 units) Super Bee model that is the same design but in an even cooler yellow.

Wah Pedals

I know that everyone doesn’t necessarily have a Wah pedal on their board. But if you are going to play like Hendrix, SRV, or even Chet Atkins, you will need a Wah pedal on the board. We all know what a Wah pedal does; it sweeps the frequencies of the guitar signal in what is referred to as the “spectral glide,” creating a “wacka-wacka” sound. There is nothing cooler than playing guitar with your foot on that Wah pedal and making the girls swoon with your sweeping of the spectral glide. But what Wah pedal is right for you? Well, it is the one that makes you sound the best!

Thomas Organ Cry Baby ($3,995 for the Holy Grail of Wah Pedals)

The original “Cry Baby” Wah pedal is so cool I feel I must have the first model made on my dream board. Manufactured by the Thomas Organ Company, these are the predecessors to all other Wah pedals to come. These Italian beauties were a staple on Jimi’s board at the beginning of his career, and if it was good enough for Jimi, well, it’s way too good for me. It also sports the “cry baby” lettering on the top of the footswitch, which is way cool.

Vox Clyde McCoy Wah Wah ($7,279.00 for the signature model)

The Vox music company introduced the Clyde McCoy Wah pedal to the big band instrument players of the late 1960s. Clyde McCoy was an outstanding trumpet player and Vox marketed their new pedal to the big band crowd. Soon after it was released, though, guitarists around the world absconded with Vox’s new pedal and began making “wacka-wacka” sounds on their guitars, cementing the wah pedal’s place in guitar history. There are not many guitar players who know who Clyde McCoy is, so this would be an opportunity to not only have a great Wah pedal but to flaunt your musical knowledge regarding trumpet players of an earlier age.

Dunlop Cry Baby Junior Wah ($129.00 a steal of a deal to “wacka-wacka”)

Some of us don’t want to carry around a football field-sized board, so we have to make sacrifices for space. The Dunlop Cry Baby Junior Wah saves you some space on the board but still gives you the full “wacka-wacka” experience in a smaller footprint. Dunlop released its first Wah pedals back in 1966 after the Thomas Organ/Vox brands failed to register the name as a trademark. The “Cry Baby” has been released in multiple sizes through the years, but the “Cry Baby Mini” does all the heavy lifting that the big boys do at half the size. Who said size matters? Regarding Wah pedals it does not.

Pitch Shifters

Again, most guitarists don’t run a pitch shifter on their board, and for good reason. It is a rather large pedal that takes up a lot of space. If you are a single guitar kind of guy who plays in all sorts of keys, the pitch shifter makes things really easy when you want to drop down or go up, say, seven half pitches!

Digitech Whammy DT ($419.99)

The Digitech Whammy DT Pitch Shifter does what it says on the front of the pedal. It shifts the pitch of your guitar tone up and down depending on where you set the parameters of the pedal. For instance, say you are playing a set in the key of E, and all of the sudden, you have that one song where your singer can’t quite reach that high note, so you now have to play that song in the key of D. Now you have to either learn all new chord shapes, detune your current guitar or use another guitar tuned for that specific song. With the pitch shifter, with a simple stomp of a button, all of a sudden, that E chord sounds the same as a D chord. Genius!

Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Polyphonic Pitch Shifter ($197.80)

The Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork pedal is a pitch shifter, but with benefits: It will also create a harmony part of your playing as well as shifting the pitch. If space is a problem on your board, this unit can kill two birds with one stone, get it? It will pitch shift and create an accompaniment harmony part! Oh, and it will still sound really cool doing it, even dropped an octave or more.


Compressors are one of those pedals that you either hate to love or love to hate. Most people who hate them haven’t figured out how to use them correctly, and those who love them are usually really sloppy players from a technical perspective. Some of us, however, fall into both of these categories. With an unlimited budget, why would you not sneak a little help onto your board in the form of a compressor?

Origin Effects Cali76 ($2,795 for an original model with BOOST!)

The Origin Effects Cali76 pedal allows you to dial in the right amount of limiting, sustain, and boost depending on your playing style. Many utilize it as a limiter to maintain an equal level of sound from their guitar, while others will utilize it to boost their clean signal or to increase sustain. However you choose to utilize this pedal, with a little tweaking, it can fix most anything tone-related on your guitar, other than those wrong notes. If you find a pedal that does that, please let me know.

Way Huge Saffron Squeeze ($700 for an early model unit)

Way Huge has designed and produced many guitar pedals over the years, but the Saffron Squeeze is one of their least talked about pedals, and that is a shame. Is it because the pedal only has two knobs? Probably, but those two knobs are so easy to use to dial in the right amount of “squeeze” for your tone. Limiting the high and boosting the lows, this pedal will have you sounding “huge” in no time, and did I mention that it looks super cool as well?

Overdrive Pedals

Every guitarist’s board should have at least one, two, or maybe even three or four overdrive pedals.  The question is, what kind of overdrive do you need? I, for one, like to have a trio of overdrive pedals that add gain stages to the signal sent to my amp so I can utilize them to maximize my tone without taking me into distortion territory too early.

My first gain stage, ideally, is a transparent overdrive. This is usually an “always on” pedal for me. I would use it for slight coloring of my “clean” tone and use it as the foundation of what I would build the rest of my tone upon.

My second gain stage adds what I like to call “grit” to the tone with a small amount of boost for that extra oomph when needed. My third gain stage is used to take me right up to the edge of distortion, achieving those “hairy” overdriven tones for lead lines that will melt your face off.

First Gain Stage:

Klon Centaur Overdrive Pedal ($9,000+ at time of writing)

The most expensive pedal typically on Reverb at least for the last couple of years is, drum roll please, you guessed it, the Klon Centaur.

For those who love the cliff notes version, the Klon is a transparent overdrive pedal. Its circuit allows you to overdrive your tube amp with less volume to achieve that edge of break up tone we all love. It originated in the early 1990’s and has become a legendary pedal among guitarists because of what it does as well as how rare they are. With only around 8000 units in circulation, having an original “horsie” on your board is a status symbol saying that you are here to play and your audience will like what they hear.

This pedal has become a staple on so many touring guitarist’s boards, and for good reason. It doesn’t add boost to your clean tone, although it can if you crank up the gain, but it colors the tone so beautifully that you don’t have to overdrive your amp and blow out eardrums to get those glorious tones. This is usually an “always on” pedal for most, which is a good thing since they are so expensive. It is best to get all of your money’s worth out of it. This pedal (or a clone of this pedal) is the foundation on which many guitarists build their tone around. If I could afford a real Klon, it would be my always-on, the first drive pedal.

Second Gain Stage:

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 ($1,500 for an 80’s vintage or $150 for a re-issue)

For my second gain stage, I like a pedal that can add a little grit to my tone. If you can find an original 1980’s Tube Screamer it will probably have some grit on the outside that will match the grit it will add to your tone. I think that if a pedal looks like it has been dragged through the dirt and mud, then it must be able to add some grit.

The green TS808 is a very simple pedal to operate. Set the line level and tone where you want them, then turn the overdrive up until it sounds as hairy as you wish. The 1980’s was the era of big hair bands like Poison, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, KISS, and the Crue, to name a few. These bands strutted around the stage with their big hair and usually a Tube Screamer on their guitarist’s board, which added “hair” to their tone.

The first Tube Screamer TS808 was introduced to the public in the late 1970’s. It was re-engineered in the mid-1980s as a TS9, adding a larger footswitch but still utilizing the same internal circuit. If you played in a garage band in the 80’s or 90’s, there is a very good chance this was your first guitar pedal, to your parent’s chagrin.

This is a great pedal for the second gain stage to add that extra oomph you might need to compete with that overzealous drummer.

Third Gain Stage:

ProCo Rat Distortion Pedal ($899 for a vintage model, or you can get a reissue for less than $100)

The ProCo Rat distortion pedal is a great option for your third gain stage. The Rat takes the guitar’s signal and clips it to the point where it really turns from an overdriven sound into a raunchy fuzz tone. The Rat has, for all intents and purposes, stayed pretty much the same since its release in the late 1970’s. Other than smaller housings and a little bit of graphic work on the logo, the circuit has remained pretty much unchanged through all the years.

The Rat is similar in operation as the other drive pedals already discussed. It has a distortion (gain), tone, and volume control which can be used to color the sound going to the amplifier. The main difference is the Rat allows high gain clipping at a rate higher than the other pedals mentioned, driving the tone signal into a place of distortion while boosting the signal in the process. The fuzziness the Rat makes at high levels is a staple in the world of rock, punk, and metal.

This is a great pedal for that third gain stage, engage the Rat and it is time to melt faces and tear into that last solo to bring the song to a climax.

Modulation Pedals

Honey Uni-Vibe – Chorus / Vibrato ($3,267.99)

The 1968 Honey Uni-Vibe is a pedal a bit on the larger side, but hey, whose counting calories as we are putting together our big board? And again, if it was good enough for Jimi, it is too good for me. Designed around the swirling sound of a rotating Leslie organ speaker, the Uni-Vibe allowed guitar players to replicate that sound without hauling around a speaker cabinet weighing the same as a small car. Even though the Uni-Vibe is listed as a chorus/vibrato pedal, it really has more of a phaser meets chorus thing going on that makes it sound too cool to not add to our board.

Jimi’s Uni-Vibe is listed on Ebay for 30 large, so the one listed on Reverb is a bargain. Of course, you can also buy a re-issue of this great pedal for a couple hundred bucks.

Moog Moogerfooger MF-103 ($1,614.58)

Who doesn’t need a 12-stage phaser on their board? Especially with the name “moogerfooger,” which I think is the coolest name ever for a guitar pedal. The Moogerfooger allows you to send stereo signals out to two amps allowing you to create some stereo psychedelic sonic landscapes bouncing sound from the left channel and to the right channel. Utilizing a LFO (low-frequency oscillator) to modify the waveshapes, as well as the phase shifting options, you can create almost any spacey sound you wish with this out-of-this-world unit.

Dallas Arbiter Germanium Fuzz Face ($6,500.00)

The fuzz face is an iconic pedal shape along with an iconic sound. Created to take your clean guitar tone beyond the age of breakup, fuzz has become a large part of so many guitarists’ sound through the years. SRV, Jimi, Pete Townsend, and David Gilmour, to name a few, have utilized a fuzz face on their rigs. For the price of a decent used car, you too can emulate these guitar legends with your own vintage fuzz face, or you could also buy a reproduction for a little over $150 but it won’t be near as cool.

Time-Based Effects

Way Huge AP1 Aqua Puss Analog Delay ($9,990.00)

Way Huge has already been mentioned as a pedal maker in this article, but their Aqua Puss delay pedal has become a wanted vintage option. Made in the original Way Huge Little Rock, Arkansas, manufacturing facility before the company closed and was sold to Dunlop, this pedal can be yours for less than ten grand!

With just feedback, blend, and delay knobs, the controls are simple to dial in great analog delay. Adding a depth to your tone that many delay pedals miss, each delay time enhances your tone like a warm blanket on a cold morning. With only 300Ms of delay time, you would think the delay effect would get lost. But that is not the case, as this pedal takes your tone and works it just enough to achieve that tonal bliss.

Do you need more encouragement to take out a loan and get one? You probably have heard the subtle slapback delay on many of the John Mayer recordings, those are achieved using the Aqua Puss! If it is good enough for JM, well it will be probably too good for me!

Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man Tap Tempo 1100 ($1,089.99)

Electro Harmonix released their first Memory Man analog delay in the mid-1970’s. Newer generations refined the Memory Man even further adding extended delay times and even stereo outputs. But in the early 2000’s, the Memory Man had another evolution in which tap tempo was added. As a guitarist of this era, this was a mind blower, no more bending down and trying to twist the knob to match up my delay with the BPM of the song. Now I just had to tap the switch with my foot, and the delays matched my foot tapping automatically! Genius! Need a U2 Edge-style long delay? You now have it at your toe tips!

Utilizing Panasonic MN3005 bucket brigade chips as the secret sauce of the circuit, it allowed delay times to be extended to 1100Ms. This was more than double what the standard delay pedal offered at the time. But this pedal offers more than just delay. You can configure it to be used as an overdrive/boost pedal or even add an expression pedal once you have put the circuit into oscillating mode, creating a spacey sweeping delay.

Wait, there is more! Did I mention it also has an effects loop? The effects loop will allow you to add your favorite guitar pedal and have that effect wash through your tone over, and over, and over, and…well, you get the point.

Strymon Midnight Edition Timeline Delay ($729)

I would be remiss to not mention the Strymon Timeline as an option for a delay pedal. This pedal has taken over the digital delay space on many guitarist boards since its release in 2011. The ease of use, the tones, the options, and the looks make this a must, must, must, must, must have pedal for your board (see what I did there?). From tape, dual, trem, filter, reverse and space delays, plus many others, you can dial in the exact amount of delay needed and the type for any song you perform. Need a spacey delay for Pink Floyd songs? It has it. Need tremolo delays for a Doors tune? It has those, too. Need some long delays with trails and wishy-washy oceanic tones that sound like whales mating? Yeah, it can do that, as well. The option of also hitting that BPM exactly on time is a great addition to this already great pedal.

Reverb Pedals

Chase Bliss Audio CXM 1978 ($749.00)

The Chase Bliss Audio Automatone CXM 1978 is such a beautiful pedal I could not leave it off of this list. Since money is no option, I just had to add it. It is so beautiful I have heard that it makes some pedal makers feel inferior. Aside from its beautiful exterior, it also serves dual purposes. You can use it as a pre-amp tone-shaping device, as well as a great option for reverb.

The six faders, in my opinion, are beautiful works of art. They are also motorized so when you change to a preset, they will automatically move back to their predetermined locations, like magic.

This unit also offers a split band crossover control where you can set the absorption rate of the walls, which affects the decay and the EQ of the tone. It also has a mix control which will blend between a “wet” and “dry” signal as well as a pre-delay on the dry signal tone. Three different reverb algorithms allow a “room,” “plate,” and “hall” option, as well as diffusion. Yeah, I know it sounds complicated, but with a little tweaking, you can achieve almost any type of reverb you like, and did I mention the pedal is beautiful?

Strymon Big Sky ($837.34)

Strymon has already been mentioned as a great delay pedal maker, but their reverb pedal might be even better. Strymon released the Big Sky in 2013, two years after their Timeline delay pedal was received with such enthusiasm. The Big Sky offers 12 reverb options with different options for decay, pre-delay, mix and tone, as well as parameters regarding the reverb options. It is also able to split the signal path into left and right, giving stereo options for an even bigger tone for your live performances. Against sounding like an infomercial, but wait, there is more! It is also is midi capable with savable presets for ease of use. If you need a reverb pedal when you can’t use the reverb on your amp or you are feeding an amp simulator, the Big Sky will make your tone sound as big as Montana.


We spent a lot of money, but the tone from the new board sounds delicious.

Adding up the final anticipated damage done to my bank account for the shopping spree for the pedal board of our dreams made me a little sick to my stomach. I added a few hundred bucks for a decent power supply and another couple of hundred for a decent board to house all of our goodies. The grand total came in a little over $53,000. Yikes! I guess I will have to put off that downpayment on the dream house to have the pedal board of my dreams.

As a guitarist, you can’t really put a price on tone. Of course, you can buy some reissues of the pedals I have mentioned at a fraction of the price and still have that classic tone at your fingertips, but where is the fun in that? Until I win the lottery, we will just have to do as Aerosmith told us long ago: dream on.

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