Although they’d been around since the 1960s, chorus pedals first gained their popularity during the 1980s when alternative rock and progressive rock guitarists first began using them to create an entirely new sound. And the list of bands which have used this pedal and continue to use this pedal is fairly impressive. Everyone from The Police to Nirvana to U2 has used these pedals in some of the most iconic recordings of their time. So it shouldn’t be surprising that this effect pedal is one of the more popular ones currently available for use by guitarists.
A guitarist doesn’t have to be famous to enjoy what these pedals can do for their guitar work. It allows the guitarist to thicken their guitar’s sound, essentially creating the effect that multiple guitars are all playing the same part. Simply by depressing this pedal, a guitarist can simulate larger string sections and create a fuller sound. Of course, the quality of these devices may differ from one to the next, so it’s important to choose the best one possible. And that’s why we’ve listed our top ten chorus pedal recommendations below.
Best Chorus Pedals Reviews & Buying Guide
#10 Behringer Ultra Chorus UC200
This budget model chorus pedal is designed to give the user the thicker chorus they want and do it without being prohibitively expensive. It delivers a decent stereo effect and has dedicated controls for tone, level, rate, and depth. This allows the guitarist to shape the sound as they see fit. This unit also has a battery status LED that tells the user whether the unit is on or off. This pedal is powered by either a 9-volt battery or by a separately purchased PSU-SB DC-power supply. Although it’s a little lightweight and doesn’t feel very durable, it’s a good pedal for most people.
- It’s an inexpensive unit
- Delivers a stereo effect
- Doesn’t feel very durable
- Not for professional use
#9 Valeton Guitar Chorus Effects
This stompbox is almost like having a variety of different boxes, all in one compact unit. This unit has 16 high-quality modulation effects and is encased in an aluminum-alloy casing that allows it to stand up to heavy-duty use. Although there seems to be a little signal loss when the box is first initiated, once it kicks in it delivers a nice strong sound. Some of the things it can do are create a uni-vibe effect, produce a phase sound effect, create a chorus sound that’s modulated by triangle wave, and even simulate a vintage chorus sound effect. It contains a detailed phase switch knob, a mix knob, a rate knob, and a depth knob.
- This stompbox has 16-different modulation algorithms
- It’s a true bypass pedal
- Heavy-Duty design allows for heavy-use
- This unit has a nice compact design
- There’s some initial signal loss when the pedal is first clicked
#8 Joyo JF-37 Analog Chorus Guitar Effect
Cash-strapped guitarists might just find this Chinese-made product a pedal that they simply can’t resist. With a true bypass design and a heavy-duty housing, this product is ready to do its job for long studio sessions or for concert use. It processes incoming sound using a BBD chip equipped chorus ensemble circuit, and it has a durable footswitch that turns it on. It also has depth and rate knobs that allow it to be adjusted according to the musician’s preferences. For a budget model, it works beautifully, although the way it alters sound and tone might not be acceptable to all people.
- It’s a true bypass pedal
- This unit features a heavy-duty design
- Uses a classic analog chip for sound processing
- It’s an inexpensive budget model.
- Have to undo four separate screws to change the battery.
- Alters sound in a way that some people may not like.
#7 Danelectro D-5 Fab Pedal
There’s no shortage of budget pedals available, but few are as inexpensive as this one. With a price-point that’s approximately half of comparable inexpensive pedals, this product is sure to be an attractive option for beginners who want to try out a chorus pedal without much of a commitment. This product is compact and responsive, so it’s a good option for anyone who wants to fatten up their guitar sound without having to worry about complex options. It has mix, speed and depth controls, and features a button that’s large and easy to stomp. Of course, musicians know better than anyone that you get what you pay for, so this pedal shouldn’t be expected to have the sound or durability that most other pedals have.
- One of the most inexpensive pedals currently available
- Good range of controls provide guitarists with several sound options
- Good pedal for experimentation
- This product is easy-to-use
- Doesn’t feel very durable
- Sound quality is not always desirable
#6 Tom’sline Engineering Analog ACH3S Pedal
Not only does this pedal have a design that’s unique from most of the other chorus pedals out there, but it also has some features which set it apart. It’s a true-bypass pedal that’s equipped with a PT2399 chip. This pedal also has volume, speed and depth controls which give the guitarist the options they need when they’re working on a piece of music. And since it has a slip-resistant bottom, it stays where it puts and won’t wander around the stage. Designed in a heavy aluminum case that really makes it durable, this product is sure to be a pedal enjoyed by amateur and professional guitarists alike.
- This pedal has a heavy-duty design.
- It’s lightweight, yet still remains in place
- This pedal has decent sound variance.
- Knobs are hard to read
#5 Caline USA CP-13 Super Chorus
Although this pedal has a simplistic design that frankly is a bit boring, this product does do a good job at producing a genuine chorus effect. This product may not have the advanced options that many of the name brand pedals have, but it does give the user controls to adjust the depth and the rate of their sound, and that’s enough for many guitarists. A great thing about this product is that it doesn’t cost a fortune, so it’s a worthwhile addition for professional musicians to add to their studio or for amateur musicians who want to try out a great pedal.
- Gives user depth and rate controls
- Provides good sound quality
- This pedal feels durable
- The design is a bit bland
- Doesn’t have advanced controls
#4 Donner Tutti Love Pedal
With a true bypass feature that doesn’t allow tone coloration and a simple, classic design that can be used just about anywhere, it’s easy to see why this chorus pedal has received so much attention lately. It has three distinctive function knobs that allow the guitarist to adjust comp, tone, and level, which gives the user plenty of musical options. This product also has an aluminum case that doesn’t take up a lot of space but still feels durable enough for daily use. For added convenience, this pedal also has 1/4-inch input and output jacks and has a handy LED light that tells the user when the unit in on.
- Is a true bypass pedal
- Durable aluminum housing
- Controls for comp, level and tone
- It may be too basic for some users.
#3 Electro-Harmonix Small Clone Pedal
This classic chorus pedal was initially popularized by Kurt Cobain, so it’s no wonder so many musicians feel like it’s a necessary addition to their pedal boards. However, even ignoring its legendary status for a moment, this pedal still provides an exciting sound that few other pedals can replicate. It’s a true-bypass pedal that only has a rate control and depth control, but still provides a nice analog sound that sounds pretty impressive. It’s a great pedal that not only works well with electric guitars but also work well with electric bass guitars. All in all, this pedal might not be very subtle, but it is a whole lot of fun.
- Same model as used by Kurt Cobain
- Great fat and upbeat sound
- It’s a true bypass pedal
- Sound not as customizable as some other pedals
#2 MXR M234 Analog Chorus Pedal
With a straightforward design and all-analog circuitry, this pedal is ready to create a custom sound that any musician will appreciate. This pedal is manufactured by a company that’s been making high-quality pedals since 1972, so it’s no wonder it’s such a high-quality and professionally designed product. Guitarists can use this box to create watery and lush textures that will blow just about anyone away. It’s designed with high-quality jacks and switches and has a number of controls which allow it to be used to create a custom sound. It’s also a box that allows the user to completely control the tone of their music.
- Nice variety of controls
- High-quality construction
- Manufactured using analog circuitry
- Chorus may not be thick enough for some people
#1 TC Electronic Corona Pedal
There are some guitarists who don’t like the sound produced by a chorus pedal, but this particular pedal has changed their mind. It did it by producing a sound that’s unique, and thick and makes guitar solos a true wonder to behold. It’s a true-bypass pedal that offers three chorus types and has a number of controls to customize a guitar’s sound. The controls on this unit include speed, depth, FX level, and tone. All the options a person needs to get the sound they desire. Although this product may cost more than comparable models, it’s really a chorus pedal that can’t be beaten.
- Has controls for FX level, tone, depth & speed
- It’s a true bypass pedal
- Provide a true, thick chorus effect
- This pedal is constructed using high-quality materials
- It sounds great
- Costs a little more than other top brands
More products also worth checking out:
Chorus Pedal Buying Guide
Although some people feel like chorus pedals are a tool that’s best left to the bands of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, it’s beginning to make a serious comeback. That’s because it can produce a sound that can’t be rivaled by any other guitar pedal, so it allows the guitarist to reach their full potential. And that’s why there are currently so many different models available.
However, it also should be noted that not all of the pedals that are available are worth their price. Some of the one available is really good, but there are some models which don’t work quite as well as they should. And that’s why guitarists who are looking to add this accessory to their repertoire needs to really do their homework. In order to help these guitarists out, we’ve included some features which any good chorus pedal should have.
Analog Vs. Digital
Prior to the 1980s, all chorus pedal effects were analog. This means that they operated simply by changing the sound signal coming from the guitar directly. However, this began to change during that same decade, and more and more musicians began using digital effects. Some of these models were even pioneered by bands such as Rush, who used the chorus pedal to great effect on the Moving Pictures album. Of course, during this time, these digital effects were pretty basic, and they didn’t really start to become more advanced until the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.
Although there are more analog pedals currently available, there are still plenty of analog models currently being manufactured. However, because some of these digital pedals have become so advanced, it can be hard to really distinguish between true analog pedals and their digital counterparts. Sure, many audiophiles can easily spot the difference between digital and analog effects and will be the first ones to state that analog effects are better, but that’s still debatable. Although there is some loss of the original sound during the processing phase on a digital model, which can make the resulting sound more refined, it’s really up to the preferences of the player whether or not they want an analog pedal or digital one.
Chorus pedals come in with a variety of different controls. Some models only allow control of depth and rate, and other pedals offer more control of the sound. Advanced pedals often not only allow the user to control rate and depth but also allow them to control the level, as well as the cut. Of course, not everyone needs that much control over their sound, so the guitarist should find a model that addresses their particular needs.
Mono Vs. Stereo
Some models allow the guitarist to split their sound either through a mono output or through a stereo output. Once again, whether the guitarist needs both of these outputs really depends on the style of music their playing and the effects they’re attempting to achieve.
Probably one of the most important considerations for any guitarists to think about when choosing a chorus pedal is the price tag attached to it. There are pedals which are under $30, and there are pedals that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. The guitarist really has to consider the price when they choose one of these pedals.
Users should probably stay away from inexpensive models that are made from inferior components and probably won’t last for too long. However, that doesn’t mean that they have to spend a fortune on the pedal either. Models in the $40 to $140 range seem to be a good blend of price and features for most people. And models that cost above $200 usually provide the features that professional musicians need. However, above the $400 price mark, there seem to be diminishing returns as far as quality and features are concerned. Which just means that expensive models usually aren’t all that better than mid-range or professional models.
The History of the Chorus Pedal
Although no one really knows when the chorus pedal was first invented, it’s widely believed to trace its roots back to the 1960s. This is when Univox began marketing the Uni-Vibe pedal to consumers. This pedal would go on to gain widespread use by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower. During the 1970s, more and more musicians began to adopt its use, but it really didn’t begin to gain widespread popularity until some of the progressive rock bands of the 1970s began using it to create their music. Bands like Pink Floyd, Yes and Rush began to extensively use these pedals to great effect. They continued to gain in popularity during the 1990s, but by the beginning of the 2000s, there began a slight decline in the use of the pedals. However, that period didn’t really last long as newer generations of musicians became impressed with the sounds of the 1970s and 1980s, and began to want to replicate those iconic sounds.
Songs Which Use the Chorus Effect
Although the number of songs using chorus pedal effects is way too numerous to list here, we can list a few of the most popular songs that use this effect quite well. Here are just some of the most iconic songs using the chorus effect.
November Rain by Guns N’ Roses
Sanitarium by Metallica
Come as You Are by Nirvana
Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders
I Will Follow by U2
Spirit of Radio by Rush
More Than A Feeling by Boston
Don’t Dream It’s Over by Crowded House
The above songs are only a small sampling of the songs that have used the chorus effect and the list of songs just keeps on growing with every single year. It’s no wonder, more and more guitarists are discovering the many ways they can use these pedals to inject a little bit of extra juice into their creative efforts. What song will be the next mega-hit? It will probably be a song that uses a chorus pedal.