Why Are Guitar Pedals So Expensive?

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Why can’t they just be affordable?


Ever wondered why your guitar doesn’t sound the same as some professional guitarists? You might think that it’s because they have a more expensive guitar, but that’s not the complete truth! These guitarists have access to a variety of really cool guitar pedals that cost a lot. If you find yourself thinking, why are guitar pedals so expensive, what do they do and how can I use one? Then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started!

What are guitar pedals?

Before we get into why they’re expensive, let’s understand what guitar pedals are, what they do and how we can use them. Guitar pedals are small machines that either add certain effects to the sound coming from your guitar. They can also test the signal coming from the guitar. Guitar pedals can be analog or digital, depending on how they’re constructed and impact the signal. The sound signals from your guitar go through audio processing in a pedal and come out different from the other end.

How can I use a guitar pedal?

  • Using a guitar pedal is quite easy to do! Just take the cable connected to your guitar and plug it into the input jack of the guitar pedal.
  • Next, plug another cable into the output jack of your guitar pedal.
  • Finally, take the cable coming out from the output jack and plug it into the amplifier. This is pretty much all you need to do to use a guitar pedal!
  • Now you can adjust the knobs on your guitar pedal to play with the effects and see what works!

What are some different types of effects?

Now that we know what guitar pedals are, let’s look into some popular effects! Reverb is one of the most popular and useful effects for the guitar. As its name suggests, it adds that amazing ambiance that can even make a mediocre performance sound amazing! Then you have your distortion/overdrive pedals that push your signal to help you rock on! Volume pedals and compressors are used to add volume control. Then there’s the classic wah wah pedal that changes the tone of your signal.


Fun Fact: The first effects pedal ever was made by DeArmond and was a Volume pedal. Later, they also released a tremolo pedal. Gibson produced the first distortion pedal in the ’60s!

Are guitar pedals necessary?

So yeah, we get it, guitar pedals are awesome little add-ons that can add some spice to your guitar playing, but do you really need them? The answer to this lies in the previous sentence. They add spice to your sound, but they’re not necessary to play the guitar. If you’re a beginner, you can spend months before actually needing an effects pedal. The knobs on your guitar, plus some extra features on your amplifier should keep your creativity happy for a while!

Why are guitar pedals so expensive?

Guitar pedals can range from $50 to all the way up to half a million! This begs a question, why are guitar pedals so expensive?

Well, in short, they’re expensive because there are guitarists willing to shell out that kind of money. The ultra high end guitar pedals are surely great products, but they’re also a sort of statement. Something like buying from a luxury brand.

Coming to the moderately expensive guitar pedals, what makes these so expensive? A reason could be that they have to be handmade, which requires more manpower and skills, increasing the manufacturing costs. Moreover, the industries for these haven’t scaled as much as the demand for them has in recent years. The cost of the materials in more expensive guitar pedals also affects the final price! Cheaper pedals under $100 are mostly plastic, but as you head up the range, you get materials like aluminum, solid wood, internal components made of better quality metals, and higher attention to detail.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, guitar pedals are really cool units that enhance the sound signal from your guitar.

To answer the question, why are guitar pedals so expensive; small company sizes, manufacturing and expertise costs, and cost of materials tend to make them costly. While they’re great pieces of tech, you don’t really need one to get started with playing the guitar!

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)