Massive tones in miniature form…
A very modern phenomenon in the world of guitars in the miniaturisation of effects pedals. Most pedal builders are at it, releasing ever smaller boxes which can do exactly what their bigger brothers can do, just in a smaller form factor, thus freeing up valuable pedal board space for the player. From mini versions of classic models to modern day variants for a wholly unique effect, we bring together our top mini guitar pedals that’ll cover everywhere from studio to stadium stage. Not only that but we’ve thrown in some cheeky alternatives for those of you on a budget who don’t want to compromise on tonal quality!
a. Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano
First on our list is the Holy Grail Nano Reverb pedal from Electro Harmonix, a smaller and more compact version of the original and much coveted Holy Grail. When it comes to reverb, the Holy Grail really is the appropriately named and chances are you’ve heard it on a recording owing to the fact it’s widely used, and much loved by all genres of music.
The nano version takes the same great sounds and just packs them into a smaller (and almost indestructible) housing, saving you space on your pedal board. Switch between Spring, Hall and Flerb and tweak it with the single knob. A small and easy to use pedal that doesn’t sacrifice quality.
b. Tom’sLine AOV-3 Ocean Verb Digital Reverb
The Tom’sLine Ocean Verb digital reverb stompbox from Tom’sLine is a little beauty that offers exceptional versatility in an ultra-compact aluminium chassis. There are three switchable reverb types at your disposal: Room, Spring, and Shimmer. You can deftly attenuate proceedings using Mix, Tone and Decay controls to take your tone from subtle to bombastic with pinpoint accuracy.
a. Jim Dunlop MXR Phase 95
The MXR Phase 90 is an absolute must have phaser and quite frankly an industry standard. So, how do you improve on such a famous pedal? You present it in a smaller much more compact chassis and add the ability to go back to a Classic 45 phase. The MXR Phase 95 combines phase 90 and 45 pedal capabilities and can be switched up at the push of a button. The engineers decided to give you the choice of two classic phase pedals in one very portable pedal and the results certainly do not disappoint.
b. Tom’sLine AMS-3 Mod Station
To be fair, the Tom’sLine AMS-3 Mod Station is so much more than just a Phaser pedal (that is but one setting of several on there), but there wasn’t a direct replacement for the Phase 95. If you want the option to tinker and tailor with your tone across a plethora of options, then you seriously need to check out this pedal. It’s got renditions of the revered UniVibe amongst many other selectable options, as well as the ability to sculpt the output signal to your will. All that and with change from £35. Ridiculous!
Aroma AT-07 Tuner Pedal
The entire suite of Aroma pedals could make our list of mini guitar pedals owing to their small stature, but in the interest of balance we can’t feature them all here. We can however show you the pedal that offers accurate tuning capabilities for both guitars and basses. The Aroma AT-07 Tuner is delightfully wee in size yet boasts a toughened metal chassis and commanding display. Backlit and easy to see on the darkest of stages, you need never go out of tune again. Oh, and we’d also like to point out that it works across extended range instruments too such as 7-string guitars, 5-strings basses, and much more!
a. MXR Dyna Comp
While not one that would particularly feature on a list of specialist mini guitar pedals as such, the MXR Dyna Comp features here by virtue of the fact it is indeed tiny. Every good rig needs a compressor on board, so if size is important to you then this is definitely worth considering. MXR has a solid reputation for building good quality, durable products which sound great and last for ages.
b. TC Electronic HyperGravity Mini
The TC Electronic HyperGravity Mini has everything needed to get studio-quality multiband compression in pocket-sized form. As one would expect from the team at TC Electronic, the effect itself is top notch and offers everything from old-school, transistor-based stompbox to pristine modern-day compression. It really has to be heard to be believed!
a. Electro Harmonix Double Muff Nano
Electro Harmonix (EHX) is another, like TC Electronic, which has long offered miniature versions of its pedals. Where TC calls them mini, EHX prefers nano, and there is a list as long as your arm of their cool looking and sounding boxes. We have plumped for the Double Muff Nano here because it’s capable of producing anything from monstrously meaty overdriven tones to in-your-face fuzz, which belie its diminutive exterior.
b. Tom’sLine AGF-3 G-Fuzz Vintage Germanium Fuzz
Jumping straight to the Tom’sLine AGF-3 G-Fuzz Vintage Germanium Fuzz offers a classic fuzz tone that will transport you back to the ’60s instantaneously. If you want to insert a bit of abrasive energy into your riffage, then you need to whack one of these into your setup immediately.
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini
The original Tube Screamer is one of the best known, and most widely used pedals there is on the market today. Favoured particularly by metal and hard rock players for its ability to tip an overdriven valve amp into new areas of tone, it also acts as a slight mid-boost which is perfect for cutting through live drums and bass. For those who want that same coveted tone in miniature form, then you can’t go wrong with the Tube Screamer Mini.
Electro Harmonix Nano Clone
Another fantastic offering from EHX comes in the form of the Nano Clone. If you’re a fan of the likes of INXS or Nirvana, just to name two bands that have used its bigger brother, you’ll have heard this pedal on the likes of “Need You Tonight” and “Come As You Are”. The Nano Clone takes the sounds of the Small Clone pedal and packages it neatly in a smaller chassis. The smaller version saves room on your pedal board, and like all the other nano pedals in the EHX series, the sizing never causes issue with tone or infringes on the quality of effect. From blues to metal, all the way to grunge and post rock, the Nano Clone is just one of those that you need on your board regardless of your style.
Zoom MS-70CDR Multistomp Effects Pedal
The final pedal in our top mini guitar pedals round up is from the Zoom range of compact multi effects pedals. Zoom pedals were often one of the biggest, if not THE biggest pedal you were likely to own, owing to the fact it was jam packed full of amazing effects for guitar and bass – but this range has undergone a complete redesign.
Within the Zoom MS-70CDR Multistomp Effects Pedal, you have 86 different effects to choose from in a small, easy to carry chassis. Choose from a lush array of Chorus, Delay and Reverb effects and change each effect to your specification quickly and easily – a great option for the musician who wants an easy to use and above all compact pedal with very little limitations.
Get in touch
View our complete range of guitar effects pedals over at the Dawsons website. Alternatively, head to your local Dawsons Music Store where our in-store specialists will be more than happy to help you out.
Jon has a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons Music Web Team before progressing into his current role as Content Manager. Favourite things: My LTD MH-400NT, a decent brew, and Ron Swanson.