Worship Pedalboard Essentials: The Ultimate Guide
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Worship Pedalboard Essentials: The Ultimate Guide

In the 1970s, it was cool to have a Wawa pedal, volume pedal, and distortion pedal when I started playing music. It’s amazing how things have changed. There is now a pedal for every guitar. You used to plug your pedals into a line that ran from the amp to the guitar back then. You need a pedalboard today. I looked at today’s worship technology and created a guide to help you build your worship platform.

worship pedalboard

Before I begin, let me say that no amount or quality of pedals can fix a poor guitar or an amp. The pedals can only improve what you have. If your equipment is not good enough, to begin with, they will not make the sound acceptable. A good amplifier and guitar will produce good tones.

Since the first barefoot entry into Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel by the Jesus People movement, the guitar’s sound has shaped contemporary worship music. Chris Quilala and Lincoln Brewster have created distinctive sounds in worship music.

A worship guitarist’s pedals is crucial in creating the sounds that today’s worship music uses. Although a worship pedalboard may look like something from a sci-fi movie, it is essential for the guitarist to be able to make the sounds he desires.

Let’s go on a journey through worship pedalboards. Together, we might be able to discover the best setup for your worship.

In this article, I’ll start by listing the top guitar pedals for worship. All links are to Amazon. Amazon is my preferred option, but if you want Guitar Center, let me know, and I’ll add links.

The Ultimate List of The Best Guitar Pedals for Worship

Worship Pedalboards

Delay Pedals

Reverb Pedals

Volume Pedals

Gain Pedals

Modulation Pedals

Worship the Pedalboard Demo

Kyle Lent from Austin Stone Community Church created a great video showing his pedalboard. Austin Stone is a leading figure in church worship today, so this video will provide some great tips on setting up your worship pedalboard.

Below are the recommended guitar pedals.

Building A Basic Worship Board

You will need to consider three main areas when making a worship pedalboard: the pedalboard and the essential and non-essential pedals.

As with everything related to musicians, one person’s essential may be another person’s luxury. Please forgive me for how I decided what was necessary and what wasn’t.

How to Choose a Pedalboard

First, you will need a pedalboard. What is the best way to power and mount your pedals?

Many guitarists I know believe that Pedaltrain leads the industry. You might consider a pedalboard like this one for worship.

pt clj sc pedaltrain classic jr
PT-CLJ-SC Pedaltrain Classic JR

It comes with A Soft Case

This pedalboard works well for small- to medium-sized settings. The only problem is that the bag you use to carry it around does not include pockets for extras. A power supply will be needed to attach to the bottom of your pedalboard. The VoodooLab Pedal Power 2 Plus Isolated Power Supplies is my recommendation.

The Donner Pedalboard is another option. This is a less expensive option and has a larger side pocket.

donner guitar pedal board case db 3
Donner Guitar Pedal Board Case DB-3

Lightweight And Portable

You can also make your own guitar pedalboard. You can find many YouTube videos showing you how to build your own board. All it depends on your DIY skills and budget.

The Ultimate List of Guitar Pedals for Worship

Delay Pedals

A delay pedal is my favorite effect pedal for worship musicians. More than any other musical effect, delay has influenced modern worship music’s rhythmic and textural sound. These 8th-note dotted delays and volume swells are so common that you can’t find any modern worship songs without them.

A delay pedal with presets or tap tempo is essential for rhythmic delays.

These are some of our most popular delay pedals.

Additional Guitar Pedals For Your Unique Guitar Tone

Reverb Pedals

The reverb pedal is another very popular guitar effect pedal.

Imagine you are singing in a cathedral. Then, you end the song with the “Amen.” Reverb is the sound that echoes back at you. The sound is enriched with reverb, which gives it a “churchy” feel. Worship guitarists often use this effect in a variety of ways.

These are some of our favorite reverb pedals.

Volume Pedals

A volume pedal can be used for many purposes. Do you want to go solo? Next, you can use your volume pedal. Do you want to send the signal to a different effect than Kyle? Or do you need a mute instead? You should use the volume pedal.

There are two types: passive and active volume pedals. Passive volume pedals work in the same way that a normal magnetic pickup guitar volume knob. They are mechanically controlled by a pedal and can be used to turn a potentiometer. It doesn’t usually require power, so it is easy to recognize a passive volume pedal.

An amplifier circuit is part of an active volume pedal. It’s used mostly as a buffer and occasionally for other features like boost, tuner isolation, etc. An external power supply or internal battery is required to power active volume pedals.

These are some of our most popular volume pedals for church worship pedalboards.

Gain Pedals

In the days before my hair could support long hair, I was in a Christian rock band called Morningstar. One gig I can recall was a talent show at a traditional church. One of the elders at the church stated that we were 60 decibels too loud, even though we could still sing with no amplification and still be heard. He said distortion was synonymous with loudness.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a worship guitar without at least one gain pedal. This allows the guitar to sound distorted and dirty. Some have gain stacks that allow for different levels of bite.

These are some of the most popular gain pedals available to give your guitar that rock and roll sound.

Guitar Pedals to Make Worship Uniquely Yours

These pedals do not serve any purpose. These pedals are an add-on. They are, however, what will make your guitar sound unique. Many of these pedals are from the past. These pedals can be used for choruses, flangers, and phase shifters. All of these pedals modulate the signal. Today’s pedals offer many options.

You might have preconceived notions about how these will sound. No one wants to sound like Pink Floyd or a grunge band from the ’80s or ’70s. But don’t forget to keep the baby in the bathwater. This is not to say that they can’t be used by worship guitarists or anyone else who uses them.

These are some of today’s most popular alternative guitar pedals.

Put Your Worship Pedalboard Together

Unless you’re a gifted lead guitarist, you’ll likely be playing rhythm guitar and leading worship. When assembling your pedal board, remember that less is often more. Effect pedals can be a costly investment because they are so inexpensive. I know of guys who spend $150 to purchase one, then sell it six months later for a loss. They then buy a new pedal and sell it in six months for $100. You won’t make any money selling your pedal unless it goes out of production or becomes highly sought-after.

You must be a wise steward of God’s resources. Setting up a worship platform without spending a lot of money is difficult. These are tools. If you don’t have an amp and a guitar, you won’t be able to make it work.

It is not about being the best or the most popular. It’s about leading people to God’s throne in worship.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.