The Top EQ Pedal for Metal Guitar & Bass Playing in 2021

Dave Mostert
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If you’re a metal guitarist or bassist, you know that what’s in your feet, is just as important as what’s in your hands.

I read an endearing quote the other day.

Where do you want your mindset to be? Personally, I try to take my guitar playing on the tours, not take the tours to my guitar playing.

Where do you want your focus to be? Your bass, your guitar, your vocals, your drums, your mic, your lights, your setlist?

Again, your feet are no different. Make them a priority.

Have your feet stand apart from the rest.

NameCategoryProduct
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallEarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Behringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt YellowBudget PickBehringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt Yellow
MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickMXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal

1. EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 10 / 10

EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Features a "no slack" feature which prevents your signal from degrading after reaching maximum gain
  • Separate controls for upward and downward boost
  • Large knob that's easy to tweak
  • Can run off a single 9V battery or an external power supply

Cons:

  • It can cause some noise if you don't get a good volume match
  • It has a little bit of a learning curve when used with bass
  • It was quite a tough call, but when we compared the EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost pedal with many other entry level pedals in the same category, it came out on top

If you need to spice up your tone and give it a little bit of a boost, then this EQ/booster pedal may just be what you need. It does come with a standard gain knob so you're not adding more gain but you can add a wider spectrum of highs and lows if you need to reshape your tone.

Based on reviews of its availability, this pedal comes pre-assembled. However, if you want to fine tune the settings, you will indeed have to spend some time trying it out although most users found it quite intuitive to figure out. It comes with a digital display so you can view the current settings and there are three different settings that you can select between.

2. MXR M109S Six Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

MXR M109S Six Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • The amount of control this pedal offers is staggering
  • The pedal is lightweight and durable
  • It can offer a quick way to alter sound on the fly
  • The MXR M109S has two kill switches and a bypass switch
  • Seems to be made to last
  • The pedal can be powered with a 9 volt battery or a power adapter.

Cons:

  • This pedal does not come with a power adapter. You have to buy it separately.
  • It’s a larger pedal and may take up too much room in your pedal board, but you can always buy a smaller pedal with less features, and then upgrade to the MXR M109.

The MXR M109S Six Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal offers a great deal of control over the way you get your bass sound. Learning to use the EQ pedal can be a bit difficult for some guitarists. However, once you understand how it works, it can become a very important tool in the studio or on stage.

It’s designed for bass guitarists and offers controls that you would typically find on a three-band graphic equalizer. It allows you to increase or decrease the strength of the high, mid, or low frequencies. On some pedals, you can adjust the range for each of the frequency bands.

3. BOSS Seven-Band Graphic Equalizer Guitar Pedal

Our rating: 9 / 10

BOSS Seven-Band Graphic Equalizer Guitar Pedal

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Pros:

  • Ease of use
  • Versatile as it can be used with any type of electric guitar
  • Budget-friendly
  • Six locations to attach it to the guitar for proper placement while playing

Cons:

  • Lacks durability
  • May cause buzzing at the higher frequencies

The Boss GE-7 EQ pedal is a new age rack-mountable 7-band equalizer that allows you to give your tone a boost right from the comfort of your guitar. Featuring the usual frequency controls of bass, mid, treble, master, and presence, this is one of the most widely-used devices for electric guitarists. It is more of a passive pedal and does not require any special power source, but it has a 12V DC power adaptor.

In terms of construction, the unit is sturdy but not all that heavy. It is built in such a way that the features are handy and all are within reach while you are playing. It won’t destroy your pedal board and will fit right in there perfectly. However, one problem is that it is not quite durable, so you will want to keep it safe in a hard casing, which means you have to buy a separate case for it.

4. MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal

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Pros:

  • Simple controls
  • Separate Bass and Treble controls in each channel
  • Works great for boosting or de-essing vocals

Summary:

The MXR M108S is an advanced EQ pedal with ten EQ bands for fine-tuning. Each band is pre-set at 15dB of boost or cut. While this may not seem like a lot, this ten-band EQ can do a lot of damage to harsh tones. This pedal is ideal for metallers and anyone who wants to bring out some more beef in their sound.

5. JOYO JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

Our rating: 8 / 10

JOYO JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

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Pros:

  • The high-quality electronics, sturdy build, and multiple available settings allow you to achieve great results at either home or in the studio
  • Great value for the money
  • This pedal’s padded base prevents unwanted movement during your performance or practice
  • 100% analog design for accurate sound
  • You can easily plug and unplug the instrument cable without disengaging the power
  • Strong aluminum casing that is resistant to wear and tear
  • Stable electronic components ensure that sound quality and signal integrity are maintained for longer

Cons:

  • You can’t overdrive your distortion equipment
  • The LEDs can be distracting for some guitarists

This pedal is a great investment for any metal guitarist looking for a high-quality EQ pedal. The JOYO JF-11 boasts an amazing 100% analog design that maintains the integrity of your sound. It is a good choice for those wanting to expand the capabilities of their pedal boards. The LED indicators are a great feature for those who are playing in dimly lit venues. Additionally, you won’t have any issues with disconnection during a gig.

6. Caline USA

Our rating: 8 / 10

Caline USA

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Pros:

  • It offers a +48V phantom power for use with condenser microphones
  • Has U.S. and E.U. power support

Cons:

  • This pedal isn’t known to be compatible with all amplifier brands
  • The unit does not come with a power cable

Here is a low-priced EQ pedal that is perfect for guitarists, bassists, and keyboards. It is perfect for restoring, controlling, and shaping sound with touch controls. Most guitarists will love its sound quality and simple setup.

Unlike some older-style EQ pedals, Caline USA’s CP-24 does not rumble and is not subject to interference. With just a few adjustments, you can bring out more bass and sizzle in your sound and highlight the nuances and character of your instrument. This pedal does not capture hum or hiss, which makes it ideal for recording. It also has a +48V phantom power for use with condenser microphones.

7. Empress ParaEq

Our rating: 6 / 10

Empress ParaEq

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Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Large LCD screen
  • The boost function is great for solos
  • Excellent frequency range
  • Great for live-sound mixing
  • Superior customer service

Cons:

  • Does not include a power adapter
  • Analog controls
  • A bit pricey

The Empress ParaEq with Boost is the best Equalizer pedal for any metal players in 2020.

It comes with a High-impedance I/O, with a 24dB/Octave crossover and a frequency range of 10Hz to 40Hz, as well as 50Hz to 20KHz. It boosts frequencies with a 12AX7 vacuum tube, ensuring a smooth and warm sound.

Its controls are super easy to use – from gain, frequency, level, and volume for a single-knob adjustment. It also includes 2-band EQ, with a sweepable mid.

8. Behringer BEQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Bass Graphic Equalizer

Our rating: 6 / 10

Behringer BEQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Bass Graphic Equalizer

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Pros:

  • With a total of 41 frequency presets
  • You won’t have to carry around any pedals
  • You can switch between presets easily with the footswitch
  • It delivers a sound that intuitively matches the live sound
  • You can get a variety of rich tone colors and effects

Cons:

  • As it is a MIDI controller, you may not get that direct feel that pedals may offer.
  • You will need to purchase a MIDI interface separately
  • Some users claim that the device is too noisy

One of the best overall EQ pedals for bass players is the Behringer BEQ700. As there isn’t too much competition in the market, it’s easy enough to crown this one the best EQ pedal for bass. It offers you an amazing variety of tone presets so you can realistically recreate your favorite tones of other top artists.

Another feature that we love it is the fact that you can go from one preset to another with the ease of a footswitch. Reviews also claim that the BEQ700 plug-in isn’t nearly as noisy as other models.

9. MXR KFK1 Kerry King Signature 10-Band Graphic EQ

Our rating: 5 / 10

MXR KFK1 Kerry King Signature 10-Band Graphic EQ

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Pros:

  • Excellent EQ sound quality
  • Can be used with both bass and guitar
  • Includes a cord for easy storage
  • Can be used to create all different kinds of sounds and tones
  • Lightweight and easy to use while playing live music

Cons:

  • Slight learning curve when playing with the EQ
  • Not quite as good as higher-end models

The MXR KFK1 Kerry King Signature is a fantastic pedal for low-end guitars and basses. This has been widely reported as one of the best pedals for metal guitar players who want to adjust the EQ levels for their music. Kerry King is well-known for his low-end riffing, and you can get more out of your low-end guitar tone with this unit.

This pedal has a 10-band graphic EQ that allows you to make adjustments to your sound. If you want “more bass” or “more mids,” you can dial in the exact tone you need. The KFK1 can be used while you’re playing live and you can turn the unit on or off with a toggle switch so you can control the level of sound easily.

10. Behringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt Yellow

Our rating: 5 / 10

Behringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt Yellow

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Pros:

  • Great value
  • Wide frequency range
  • Hefty and stable
  • Can be used by both novice and expert players
  • Easy to use
  • Very aesthetic design
  • Can be controlled directly from the front panel
  • Can be used for a variety of sound applications

Cons:

  • No input or output control
  • Bass knob is likely to break easily
  • Bottom inputs are likely to get dusty over time

It’s true that you can get a cheaper option but then it wouldn’t be the same as the EQ700 from Behringer. This graphic is the top EQ pedal for optimal playability, sonic improvement, and convenience.

The EQ700 is basically a virtual rack of EQ equipment that you can plug in and start having fun with. It features a 7-band EQ. This EQ offers major EQ boosting to both bass and treble frequencies. So to sum it up, the EQ700 will give you the ability to almost completely change the sound of your guitar if you want to.

The EQ700 offers a musical sound. It’s also very responsive to your commands. The controls are easy to use.

11. Xvive® Acoustic Guitar simulator Pedal-Mike EQ guitar effects

Our rating: 3 / 10

Xvive® Acoustic Guitar simulator Pedal-Mike EQ guitar effects

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Pros:

  • Cost effective
  • Solid bass
  • Simple and has only enough features to get the job done
  • Very affordable
  • Good smooth sound

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best EQ pedal for guitar?

The best option depends on your playing style, but certain pedals generally capture a wider range of sounds than others.

For beginners or those unwilling to spend big bucks, the Boss DS-1 is a great option. It's simple and makes a wide range of sounds possible for a relatively low price. Acoustic players will appreciate the easy-to-use acoustic settings and you can choose between a clean or overdriven sound.

For those who play a heavy style of music like metal or hard rock, the EVH Phase 90 is a great choice. It gives an aggressive tone that many rockers seek.

The MXR Phase 90 is great for those who want to create a more complex, sweepable tone. The two knob design makes it accessible yet powerful enough for pros.

Is an EQ pedal worth it?

An EQ pedal will allow you to change the tones and frequencies produced when you play an electric guitar. An EQ pedal is really useful for anyone playing heavier guitar riffs or intense solos where a lot of bass and treble needs to be adjusted.

A lot of guitarists nowadays are choosing an EQ pedal more than the one on the amp itself, which tells us that guitarists are finding the amps can be limited in the tonal options that they can provide.

A great EQ pedal will make your guitar sound just the way you want. They are really a lot like the equalizer on your music player at home, but for your guitar. You get to take control of the difference in tones being produced, allowing you to better customize your sound.

Where does an EQ pedal go?

It's pretty simple: at the beginning of your signal chain, just before your distortion and overdrive pedals. This allows you to adjust your tone before your pedals are turned on, resulting in more control over your overall tone.

Do I need an EQ pedal for guitar?

Guitars with active electronics generally work well by themselves. Still, you may want to set your tone as flat as possible, even if it’s the sound of the guitar.

For example, If you want to use your tone knob to boost a certain frequency, you can set the tone knob to this frequency, then use an EQ pedal to cut or boost the amount of boost your tone knob delivers. This process can be used to create all sorts of sweet and interesting tones.

Conclusion

If you are stepping up to play metal guitar and you are looking for the best EQ pedal for your playing style then this guide should make your search a lot easier. We’ve tested and reviewed a range of units and we hope we’ve made sense of all the choices out there in a way you can relate to and apply to your playing style.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects PedalBest OverallEarthQuaker Devices Tone Job EQ and Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Behringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt YellowBudget PickBehringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer,Lt Yellow
MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects PedalUpgrade PickMXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal