As far as effects pedals go, chorus pedals are one of the most important and also one of the most widely used pedals in the market, and for a good reason too. These pedals deliver plenty of versatility and performance. These pedals gained a lot of popularity in the 80s with the rise in prominence of alt-rock and progressive rock bands, to deliver a superb sound. That’s why, today we are going to list the best chorus pedals out there.
They deliver a great thick and rich sound to your guitar, really enhancing your overall sound and when used properly at the right time, the chorus pedal can create some great masterpieces. However, due to their popularity and great availability, it is a little hard to choose a good chorus pedal. The market is just so saturated and it isn’t the easiest task of choosing the best.
But rest assured as I have prepared a list with the best ones in the market, chosen based on their immense performance, value for the price, reliability, durability, market research, expert consultation, and buyer feedback. Besides that, I will try to make it clear what chorus pedals are and what do they do exactly, among other things of course. Due to my experience with teaching and playing the guitar, expert consultation, testing and experimenting with pedals I think that I will do a good job at delivering you this guide properly. So stay tuned, and let’s get on with it.
Our Picks For The 5 Best Chorus Pedals
5. Boss CH-1 Super Chorus
Let’s start this list with a classic, the Boss CH-1 Super Chorus. This pedal has been in production since 1978 and it is still going strong deliver performance for the ages, and if we know one thing about Boss it always delivers exceptional tones and reliability.
This pedal is also one of the most durable ones in the market, which should be apparent for how long it has been in the market so far. It will take years of touring before giving up. It has a good amount of controls including the four knobs for effect level, EQ, Rate, and depth which is more than enough.
In terms of performance, it delivers great depth and some truly classic tones which are aggressive. You can achieve plenty of tones with this pedal and the chorus will always be better than ever.
4. EarthQuaker Sea Machine V2
The EarthQuaker Sea Machine V2 is a superb chorus effect pedal that is super versatile and highly adjustable fulfilling the needs of many guitarists. Despite being founded in 2004 the company has definitely delivered one of the most capable models in the pedal market and it continues to have good growth, let’s take a closer look.
The biggest selling point of the EarthQuaker Sea Machine V2 is that it offers control and versatility, unlike any other chorus pedal. It is constructed with a combination of both analog and digital circuits that deliver a great delay and performance. It is also pretty small overall covering a little space on your pedalboard, and I have to say that this pedal looks so good.
The controls of this pedal consist of rate, shape, dimension, intensity, animate and depth, all of which will help you deliver a perfect tone just like you have imagined. With great versatility, this pedal definitely is one of the best.
3. Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
Moving on with our list we have one of the most popular pedals in the market, the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone. This pedal was used by so many famous artists including Kurt Cobain in the Come As You are song. This classic chorus pedal will definitely be one of the most excellent pedals you have ever tried, a must consider.
I have to mention that the Electro-Harmonix Small Clone is one of the most well-made chorus pedals in the market, thanks to its metal body that can take plenty of beating. It has a true bypass feature. In terms of controls, it has just one control knob a two-way switcher and the master footswitch. It is a mono pedal though with just one in and one out plug.
It is a pretty basic package that lets you control the depth and rate of the signal which is pretty good in my opinion and enough to deliver a great tone. The performance you can get from this beast is immense and I think that everyone will be very pleased as to how this one works and sounds.
2. MXR M234
Coming up next we have a superb chorus pedal in the second place on this list, the MXR M234 analog chorus pedal. This pedal delivers exceptional values of both modern and classic pedals to deliver an all-time great. Very affordable and super capable the MXR M234 is here to stay.
The biggest selling point of the MXR M234 is that it is an analog pedal, meaning that it has an organic tone that sounds pretty natural. Moving on, in my opinion, the biggest feature of this one is that it is packed with bucket-brigade circuitry that is one of the best types of circuitry for pedals. The combination of those features delivers a super capable combo that is capable fo delivering a lot.
This device has five total knobs in its body, including level, rate, depth, low and high EQ settings to deliver tons of versatility at adjusting your sound properly. This device will definitely make your tone sound perfect and overall I think that it is one of the best without a doubt.
1. TC Electronic Corona
On top of the list, we have the TC Electronic Corona, which is a pedal that delivers the most amount of control that you can ever get. This small chorus pedal sis definitely excellent and will provide you the performance and reliability to recreate beautiful tones.
The TC Electronic Corona is packed in a super sturdy green casing that has a true bypass feature. Before moving on I should mention that this device is pretty durable and will take tons of abuse before giving up. It is a stereo pedal with two in and two out plugs, so you can separate the signal into two different directions.
It has a three-way switch that determines the foundation tone and with the four control knobs you can definite your sound, however, you want it.
The knobs include speed, depth, fx level and tone knobs that do a perfect job at working things out. The switch can be set up to chorus, tone print or tri chorus mode depending on your needs. This digital pedal definitely delivers the warmth and naturality of an analog device and I can’t stress it enough but it is a pretty capable device. Definitely one of the best chorus pedals in the market right now.
Chorus Pedal Buying Guide (Things You Should Know)
What is a Chorus Pedal?
Like I said earlier chorus pedals are one of the most used effects pedals by characteristics, and it is actually my first ever pedal, and since then I have never played without a chorus pedal. I should mention that there were chorus effects used by guitarists since the 60s, with the Univox Uni-Vibe effects pedal that was used by guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix.
But during the 70s more and more musicians started to adopt it, however, during the 80s it came to prominence by alt and progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd and Rush which have used effects pedals in their songs. Before moving on I should mention that Boss has released the standalone chorus pedal in 1976. Since then it has been used by most bands you have ever heard, including Nirvana, Metallica, Yes and so much more.
Chorus pedals, just like their name implies give the tone of your guitar a chorus feel. It is a time-based effect that clones the input signal and repeats it at fast intervals, to deliver a superb layered feel. This thickens and enriches your sound, delivering a shimmering characteristic to your playing and it also has an effect at delivering a longer sustain to your playing. It is definitely a must-have effect at each guitarist’s arsenal.
How to Use a Chorus Pedal?
When it comes to effects pedals keeping them at a moderate level is always crucial. However, when it comes to chorus pedals it is more than important, going crazy with it can ruin your organic tone, and it will resemble something artificial and annoying. While there are times when you can go overboard there are extremely specific and rare.
There is also a specific place where the chorus pedal must be placed in the effects signal chain. The nature of the chorus pedal consists of copying, delaying and then putting the sound back together into the signal, and due to that, it should be placed at the end of the signal chain. This is done so all the effects are applied first to your sound before the chorus starts to deconstruct and reconstruct your sound. Placing it near the beginning of the signal chain just won’t feel right and it will be not intuitive at all.
Most chorus pedals will have two control knobs which will be rate and depth. Sometimes they might not be labeled as such but overall they will be present in each model. Rate setting will determine how much of a delay will be applied and if something sounds off it is probably the cause for it. For that reason, I suggest that every user should start with a lower rate and working your way up to see what works and what doesn’t. Most of the time going to max doesn’t sound as good and might actually ruin your part.
Depth, on the other hand, is the control that determines how intense or how strong the chorus effect is going to be, and in my experience, I have found it to be a little more forgiving to mistakes so you can experiment freely with it. But then again a bit caution can be beneficial with all effects, as adding too much accidentally can be a recipe for disaster. But then again all this means nothing and you should pursue the sound that you want to achieve if it means that you need to go to extremes than be it.
Where Can I Apply the Chorus Effect?
I have to say that the chorus effect is one of the most versatile ones you will ever hear, however, there are places where it isn’t beneficial, and it is not an effect that you will want to keep on at all times. Still, though, there are some places where it is most widely used and will elevate your tone exceptionally.
For example, the chorus can be applied with clean sections to deliver a perfect performance, and you will see that it is perfect overall. You can hear it in countless scenarios where you can set your delay pedal to deliver some thickness to your guitar and this will be extremely handy if you are playing as the solo guitar in the band. In the clean channel, you can also experiment more freely with the rate and depth settings on your guitar pedal. Whatever you do don’t forget that different chorus pedals deliver different tones which might be different from what you might expect, so be sure to experiment a little.
Another good example is using the chorus pedal with a distorted guitar. If you like putting a little distortion or overdrive to your signal, things might get a little messy when you try to dial in a little chorus, as heavy distortion doesn’t go really well with the chorus. However, we have seen it time and time again that a slight chorus with distorted solos is pretty much excellent and it will deliver more girth and dominance to your part.
Also before moving on you should know when to stop and not ruin the song. This is important for all your playing, don’t try to be in the spotlight all the time and don’t be over aggressive, a band must work in unison.
Similar Pedals You Can Take A Look At
Choosing a chorus pedal is not always the easiest thing to do, but it shouldn’t be the hardest thing to do either. So if you are a little careful have determined your budget beforehand, know what you want from a chorus pedal you can get along just fine. Always listen to how does a pedal sound before buying, as you can easily do that by watching YouTube videos. Make sure to check out our top picks so you can get one of the best chorus pedals in the market. Until next time my fellow guitarists, keep on rocking.