Boost pedals make your amp sounds bigger

Boost pedals are used to kick up your guitar signal. There are two different kind of boost pedals

  1. Clean booster
  2. Treble booster

clean boost pedals

A clean booster is designed to make your guitar signal louder, but not to colour your sound. They are "transparant". Clean boosters can be used in several ways:

  • As a volume booster for guitar solo's with a clean guitar sound
  • To boost your overdrive signal by placing it behind your overdrive pedal.
  • To get more distortion by placing it in front of an overdrive pedal.
  • To boost your guitar signal so the pre-amp of your tube amp will start to distort
  • Placed in the effects loop of your amp to increase the volume of the pre-amp signal to the power tubes (volume boost)
  • To avoid tone loss by making your guitar signal stronger (more like a buffer). Svex SHO on for example.

volume boost

If you use a clean booster as a volume boost on a tube amp, there are a few things you must know: 

  1. Don't place the clean booster in front of your overdrive. It wil increase the amount of distortion, but not the volume
  2. If your clean booster is placed behind the overdrive, but your pre-amp is already distorting, it will not increase the volume so much. That is because your preamp tubes will only distort more (clipping).

If you have this problem you can try to put your boost pedal in the effects chain. That way you will increase the volume of your pre-amp signal before it reaches the power amp.

If you don't have an effects loop, or if it somehow doesn't work for you, there are some other solutions:

  1. Use a Boss line selector as a solo/ rhythm pedal. You wil lower your guitar signal for rythm an increase it for solo's (it works a bit like a attenuator). A volume pedal can work to.
  2. Use your volume knob on the guitar. If you play rhythm turn it down and turn it up when you play lead.
  3. You might consider a 3 channel amp with separate volume controls. 

treble booster

Treble boosters really shine when they are used on tube amps.

Guitarists start to use them in the 60's to make their guitar cut better through the mix. The old tube amps where dark sounding, especially when used with a Les Paul or ES 335. By using a treble booster it was possible to get a brighter sound.

A treble booster will cut the low end of a guitar sound and increase the mid and treble. It will push the preamp into more distortion. Rory Gallagher used it a lot.

Dallas Rangemaster is a famous treble booster from the 60s. Keeley Java Booster is a good treble booster. Today you can buy lots of different treble boosters. 

TAD Range King is an interesting booster because it can be used as a treble booster or clean booster. That is because it is possible to ad or lower "balls" (bass)

You have to try which booster fits you and your gear. If you want to try a cheaper treble booster you should check out Electro Harmonix Screaming Bird. 

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