Nowadays, tone doesn’t have to mean big. Recently we have seen a large number of great pedals being made in very small form factors. These are great for saving space on a board that has a lot on it. It used to be that small pedals like this were also of the cheap-sounding variety, however that has changed. There are plenty of amazing sounding pedals coming in tiny casings from a wide range of brands and price points. Here is a list of some that stand out to me as being the most respected and well-liked among players.
TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini
For those wanting a simple easy to use reverb pedal, here it is. One knob and a switch, can’t beat that simplicity! The real magic of this unit comes out in the form of TC Electronics’ Toneprint App. This lets you access all of the reverb engines from the full-size HOF. In the app, you can save presets and edit your verbs and then port them to the pedal as you desire. Or if you want to keep it simple, just stick with the default setting for a basic but great sounding mini reverb.
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini
The green box of all green boxes has been shrunk down. With the TS Mini, you’re getting all of the classic characteristics that one looks for in this kind of overdrive. The mid hump is there just like with the 808 and other circuits. Whether you’re trying to save space or just want to give the Ibanez screamer thing a go, this is the perfect drive pedal for many.
Mythos Golden Fleece
A fantastic little fuzz box that keeps things simple. This is also a rather unique sounding fuzz, taking a rather balanced approach compared to most fuzz pedals. It responds excellently to both the way to pick and your volume knob. Playing lightly or slightly rolling off some volume really cleans up nicely and is just waiting for you to dig in. Also, as far as mini pedals go, the build quality on this one is absolutely top-notch. The clipping diodes are hand-selected and every component is very high-end.
Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah
It is hard to believe that a wah could be made mini, but Dunlop has managed to do it. In fact, this version of the Cry Baby is nearly half the size of the original! It even keeps ALL of the tone that exits in a full-sized wah. The inside of the pedal has a switch that lets you choose from low, vintage or modern CBM95 sounds, so it’s versatile too. Don’t scoff at this guy just because of his size, some people actually prefer the feel of the smaller footprint.
Xotic EP Booster
If you still have yet to try out some of Xotic’s stuff, you are missing out. This boost is in part what helped Xotic become very popular in recent years. This thing sounds great, it does what a boost should while keeping your tone intact. Actually, it even adds a bit of color to your sound. The EP Booster is based on the preamp of the original Echoplex. This sound is a very pleasing one that nearly every board has a use for.
Xotic SP Compressor
I had to throw in another entry from Xotic on this list because their mini stuff is just that great. The SP comp does compression in a way that will not change the great tone that you already have going on. It also has a blend control which is what I and many others considered a wonderful addition to a compression circuit. Finally, the SP also has a low, mid, and high switch that lets you choose where you want to focus on your sound. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Xotic has this mini compression thing on lock.
TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Everyone loves a good looper pedal. They can function as awesome songwriting tools or just make practicing much more colorful. If you are looking for something that can accomplish these things in a small package, the Ditto is your guy. TC Electronic took a no-nonsense approach with the Ditto, keeping it to a loop level knob and a button for record and overdub. To record you tap the button once, tap again to stop recording and loop, tap again to overdub and double-tap to stop. You can record for up to 5 minutes in 24bit audio quality, what else could you want?
MXR M290 Phase 95 Mini
For those wanting a mini phaser, MXR has you covered and then some. At its core, the Phase 95 Mini has that classic Phase 90 sound that has dominated phasers since its release. But what makes this pedal great is that it also has the Phase 45 sound on tap along with a scripts button you can trigger. For those that don’t know, this basically means this thing can cover any MXR phaser sound. Yeah, this mini pedal actually happens to be the most versatile phaser ever.
JHS Mini Foot Fuzz V2
Here we have another offering from JHS on the list, along with another mini fuzz. The controls for the Mini Foot are as follows, a volume knob, a fuzz knob, and a fuzz gain switch. The knobs are pretty self-explanatory, but the switch is what makes this a more versatile unit. The plus higher gain side is for getting nasty with it and the minus side can get some much more tamed fuzzy sounds. This box is perfect for fitting that last awesome sound in your rig.
Ending this list on a classic mini pedal, the Wampler Tumnus has received a lot of love from the guitar player community. If the color and graphic didn’t already give it away, this is a Klon. The Klon sound is something every tone freak knows and loves. If you are searching for this sound in a much smaller size than the original, the Tumnus was made for you. This is pretty darn close to the original legendary circuit, just smaller.