Multi-Effects vs Single Pedals

As a musician, you always find a way to enhance your performance and musicality to your audience. There are many musicians and artists who have their signature tones, especially with their guitar. Effects are the main way to fully explore the capabilities of a guitar player. The instrument itself is not limited by its strings but with the effects that can be incorporated into it during play.

Experienced guitar players would find stompboxes to be their best friend as it allows you to change the sound of your guitar through effects. These effects can be experimented upon and make it more pronounced depending on the stompbox being used. These effects come in two different ways. One of which is the single pedal while the other is the multi-effect unit.

This can be very confusing for a beginner who has just been introduced to the world of guitar. Nevertheless, there are several ways to fully understand how they work and which one suits you best.

In this article, we discuss what are these pedals, how they work, the benefits of each, and what makes them different from each other.

Multi-Effect Pedals vs Single Pedals

If you are a musician who wants to focus on one single style, a single pedal should do wonders for your performance. A single pedal has dedicated individual effects and is often used as a more authentic sound. It is highly advised for seasoned guitar players who have found their style, voice, and dynamics to go with dedicated guitar pedals instead of the multi-effect ones.

Single Pedals

There are a lot of advantages when you opt for single pedals.

  1. They are very easy to mount and are also very easy to move around. You can conveniently move the pedals around to change the order of the effects. They are also more intuitive to use.
  2. Since you are already limited to a single choice, you will not be left hanging with having too many choices for your effects. This would greatly help with enhancing your performance by knowing you won’t have to deal with a lot of effects and learning every one of them.
  3. The best part of single pedals is that you only need to use the knobs and your ears to find the right sound for your performance. Most of the other pedals often have small screens in them that you have to look at and find the right effect first before you can use them. The simplicity of using a single pedal is one of its best advantages.
  4. If you want to focus on a narrow range of sounds and effects and you have the right budget, then the single pedal is the best way to go. It also helps you focus more on enhancing your style and bring out the best of your instrument.
  5. While some might be tempted to say that owning single pedals can be quite expensive as you would always need a few more if you want to expand your repertoire, there are still a lot of affordable single pedals that are made of high-quality materials and offer equally high-quality sounds. You can even slowly build your single pedalboard and experiment with different sounds. However, you will need to invest a few more cash if you wanna go this route as it can become pricey once you want more than three or four.
  6. Single pedals or stompbox pedals are very beginner-friendly. The best way for a new guitar player to focus and learn more about the effects is to introduce them to a single pedal or stompbox.

Multi-Effects Pedal

A Multi-Effects pedal offers more effects than the single stompboxes. These pedals are often thought to be the jack of all trades but without the certain specialty that single stompboxes produce. If you are in a band that plays a lot of cover songs with different styles, then the multi-effects pedal should be your choice.

  1. Multi-effect pedals offer a lot of choices, so you can play a wide variety of songs with different effects on your guitar. The versatility this offers allows you to explore different genres of music and be able to play them with ease.
  2. One of the biggest advantages of having multi-effect pedals is the cost. Since you already have all the necessary effects that you need under one device, you will not be spending more for other pedals just to produce a single effect or two. So, if you are on a tight budget and you want to explore a lot of sounds and effects, then the multi-effects pedal should be your choice.
  3. Multi-effect pedals are also very easy to use. Most of these multi-effect pedals only need two or three cables, and you are already good to go. Additionally, you can easily flick the switch as you go if you want to change the effects and combinations.
  4. Multi-effect pedals also allow you to store presets and enable different sounds and effects with just a press of a button. This allows room for further experimentation with sounds that you normally would not want to play with. The convenience of an experiment with different effects can be done with the use of multi-effect pedals; thus, you won’t need to purchase single pedals for a specific effect.

Which One is the Best?

Before choosing which one is the best for you, there are basic guitar pedals that you must know. Whether they come as single pedals or part of a multi-effects pedal, these pedals are definitely needed as they are considered by a lot of guitarists as a must-have.

  1. Guitar tuner is a very important pedal that allows you to check your tuning, especially when you are playing live. This also mutes the signal of your guitar when they are activated, allowing you to switch to other guitars during your gig.
  2. Drive pedal is another significant addition to your pedalboard. It gives your solo a boost and helps smooth out distortion from your amplifier. Most guitar players also use this to dial in different tones that your amp may not be able to do.
  3. A delay pedal is a common guitar pedal after a driver pedal and a tuner. It produces delay or echo, which adds an atmospheric quality to your tone. With the right delay pedal, you can play a wide range of delays that will surely enhance your performance.

Key Features Before Buying a Guitar Pedal

There are other things that you still need to consider before buying the guitar pedal that you need. This will give you an idea if you really need a single pedal or stompbox or a multi-effect pedal.

Sound Effects

First, you need to ask yourself what sound effects do you need for your performance. Different guitar pedals offer different sound effects. If you only need a single effect for most of your songs, then it is best to go for single pedals; however, if you find yourself covering different songs of the different genres, then a multi-effect pedal should be your choice.


Look for guitar pedals that are affordable but offer the same quality as the ones that are above your current budget. This would also let you determine whether you would need a single stompbox or a multi-effects pedal as they offer more effects for a lower price.

Construction and design

There is a reason why guitar pedals are often called stompboxes. They are meant to be stomped or tapped. Over time, the constant physical exertion that you put to your pedal would damage the unit. A pedal with a good design and construction would deter that from happening or at least delay the inevitable. The exterior must be made of durable material that also protects the wiring. The construction should also be ergonomic for your feet. Get a pedal that can withstand the physical pressure you put onto the unit for a long time, and you get yourself a good guitar pedal.


The purpose of comparing single effect pedals or stompboxes against multi-effect pedals is to know which one is best for you. If you find yourself having to play a wide variety of songs or if you are in a cover band that needs to have different sounds, a multi-effect pedal would be convenient and cost-effective for you. This is also perfect for guitarists who want to experiment with new sounds or are still learning the curves of playing guitar. However, you need to expect little from a multi-effects unit when it comes to a better tone.

On the other hand, if you are after a defining performance that has your taste and tone, then the single stompbox would be your choice. It is way easier to load and incorporate in your set and has the convenience of knowing you only have specific effects for your entire set. Nothing beats playing your sound and tone that makes the music you play your own. The choice is yours to make.

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