7 Best Pedals for Blues (2021 List)

If you're a guitar player looking for the best pedals to use while playing blues, then this post is for you. We'll go over 7 of the best pedals and what they do so that you can find one that fits your needs. These are all quality brands with good reputations, made by people who know what they're doing when it comes to making guitar gear.

#1 Pick: TS9 Tube Screamer

Pro:

  • Iconic pedal, proven over decades of use

Con:

  • Mid Hump

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

The TS9 is as iconic as a guitar pedal gets.  It's a pedal that found its way on to the pedal board of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr, and Joe Bonamassa, so you know there has to be something special about it. 

The tube screamer is perfect for blues overdrive.  It can range all the way from just a touch of overdrive to add a little warmth, to being driven to the point of classic rock.  Somewhere in the middle is the perfect blues spot.  

One of the Iconic things about a Tube Screamer is that is disproportionately boosts the mids over the lows and highs.  This is a big point of contention for many guitarists because some people find it to be the worst thing ever, and some people like it.  It is all a preference thing, so give the TS9 a listen and decide for yourself.

All of this and more is why the TS9 is a must have guitar pedal and one of the best pedals for blues.

Mini Version

There is also a mini version of the Tube Screamer that costs a little less and takes up less space on a pedal board.  If you want your pedalboard to weigh a little less on your wallet, or you want to fit more pedals on it.  Then this is one of the best blues pedals for you.

Boss Blues Driver

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

The Boss Blues Driver has been the main competitor of the Tube Screamer for decades.  They sound super similar.  The biggest difference between the two is that The Blues Driver doesn't boost the mids at all.  

One of the best things about these pedals is that they last through a lifetime of use.  Because of that you can often to on resale websites and find them for $50 or so, which is a nuts deal for this quality of pedal.  This is definitely the best pedal for blues that you can find for under $50 or $60.

It is overall just a great drive pedal, and this list would be incomplete without the addition of it. 

Fulltone OCD

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

This pedal has a little bit of a heavier sound than the other pedals on this list.  This pedal can border on more of a distortion pedal rather than an overdrive, so if you are someone that really likes the heavier genres of music, but also wants to play the blues, this could be a great pedal for you.

With that said, this pedal would be ideal for someone that wants to play Stevie Ray Vaughan style blues.  This pedal helps create that super overdriven amp sound.

This pedal is great at sounding like an authentic overdriven amp.  If that is the sound you want, then this is the best pedal for blues for you.

Xotic EP Boost

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues?

Boost pedals are becoming more and more popular within the blues realm.  This is mostly because of their convenience.  It is incredibly easy to just kick on a nice little clean boost to enhance you sound, and get you ready for solos.  

This pedal is not only a boost, but can also be used in an overdrive sense as well.  Once the one and only knob is turned about to about 12 O'Clock, this pedal begins create a tight overdrive sound.  This is great for blues because it boosts your signal enough to get the notes heard, but also it just adds a touch of grit to you sound.

Boost pedals in general are a must, but getting a high quality one like this right away will pay dividends for years and years to come.  This pedal is killer in a blues context, but also works amazing in almost every other musical context as well.

Electro Harmonix Canyon

Why is this the Best Pedal for Blues

The Canyon is a Looper/Delay/Reverb pedal that offers a ton of versatility and a ton of different tonal options.  In addition to the looper, it comes with 11 different types of delay and reverb.  These allow for you to alter your sound to an extreme extent.  

Some people really like to add some delay to their sound when playing the blues because it beefs up your sound a little bit.  Often times blues is played cleanly through a single coil guitar, and sometimes that signal can sound a little weak, so delay is a good way to make your sound a little more powerful.  

Overall, this is an amazingly versatile pedal that can be used super effectively in a blues context.  That makes this the best delay pedal for blues.

Ultraphonix Overdrive

This pedal was created with the intent of getting the iconic sound of a Dumble amp into a pedal.  Dumble amps are the most sought after amps in the entire world.  Used amps regularly go for over $100,000 at auctions.  

This pedal does a super good job of replicating that Incredible sound, but you won't need to sell your house to get it.  

Tommy Castro is one of the guitarists responsible for putting this pedal on the map.  He has been a big advocate for this pedal since he discovered it in 2015.  

FAQ:

What pedals do I need for blues?

The real answer is that you don't need any pedals for blues.  Often times you can get away with just using an amp and its built in overdrive.  However, if you elect to use pedals, something like an Ibanez Tube Screamer is a great place to start.

How do I get the blues tone on my guitar?

The blues tone for guitar is very simple.  Typically just a guitar plugged straight into an amp.  Maybe with a simple overdrive on top of the signal too.  The truth is that the tone of the blues is mostly in the fingers of the player.  B.B. King could make a cheap guitar and an amp sound 100 times bluesier than I could make a super expensive pro rig.

Is a Tube Screamer good for blues?

A Tube Screamer is a great option for blues guitar.  It has been used by tonnes of legends, like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy, and even more modern bluesmen such as Gary Clark Jr, John Mayer, and Joe Bonamassa.  

7 Best Guitar Amps for Blues

Best Cheap
 

Boss Katana

Best Mid Price
 

Fender Blues Junior

The best guitar amp for blues is a hard thing to find.  Everyone has a different opinion, and some people care way too much about thinking their opinion is right.  In the end of the day the best guitar amp for blues is whatever guitar amp works best for you.  That's why we will be going over some of the most popular guitar amps for blues today, and telling you all about them, so you can get a better understanding of these amps, and what you want from them.

The amps we will go over here are going to vary in price from $200 to about $1,700, so everyone can find an amp that would work for them.  We want this to be able to help the beginner as well as the professional.  

Most of the amps on this list come from Fender or the Fender build style.  That style of amp is just what seems to always be the best for blues music.

Blues requires a special type of amp because it is such a delicate and raw style.  You need to be able to hear every little part of blues guitar playing.  It's raw and stripped back.  There isn't any hiding in blues guitar playing.  

Here are the best guitar amps for blues.

Fender Twin Reverb

Best guitar amp for blues

I mention the Fender Twin Reverb in almost every amp article I write. Like our Best Clean Amp for Pedals article 😉  Because it is just the amp to have.  It seems like almost every high level player I run into plays through one of these amps.  They are kinda the industry standard within the blues, jazz, soul, and funk realm.  These amps are truly great and have stood the test of time for years and years.  Their sound is so pure and iconically Fender.  

The Twin Reverb comes with inputs labelled "Classic" and "Vibrato".  The classic input is exactly what you would expect.  Straight up guitar, but the vibrato setting adds tremolo to your sound.  It is kinda strange that the input labelled "Vibrato" adds tremolo, not vibrato, but thats just how it is...

This amp is a 2 by 12 meaning it comes with two 12 inch speakers.  The speakers are Jensen C-12k speakers.  The amp is 85 watts, so there is a ton of headroom.  This means that the amp won't breakup by itself for a long time.  It will stay clean until you really really crank it.  People that like to use pedals like this because then they are getting the true flavor of the pedal rather than the pedal and the breakup of the amp.  

This amp features four 6L6 Groove Tube output tubes, four 12AX7 preamp tubes, and two 12AT7 preamp tubes.  All of this comes in a lovely 72 pound package... Yeah, it's really heavy. 

Overall this is really a tip top tier amp, and because of that you are paying a premium.  However, if you get this amp, you have the one amp to rule them all.  The classic Fender Twin Reverb.  You simply cannot find a better amp in this style.  It is the pinnacle of clean Fender style amps.  

Peavey Classic 30

Best Guitar amp for blues

The Peavey Classic 30 is a great amp for that dirty blues sound.  It is a super power amp that sounds great once it begins to break up a little bit.  Perfect for things like Stevie Ray Vaughan or even Hendrix types of sounds.  

The Peavey Classic 30 comes with two channels.  One for more clean playing while the other is more so for that dirty sound.  Since the amp is only 30 watts it doesn't take much for this amp to begin producing breakup tones.  Instead of having a master volume on the second channel, this amp has dials for pushing the pre and post amp.  The pre amp dial is kinda "how much gain do you want?" and the the post amp dial is "how loud do you want it?".

Other specs of this amp include that it comes with a Celestian Midnight 60 12 by 1 speaker.  It has three 12AX7 pre amp tubes, and four EL84 power tubes.  It comes with basic EQ settings: bass, mids, and treble dials as well as spring reverb.  The whole amp weighs about 46 pounds and comes with a channel select footswitch.  

One super common comment about this amp is that it is extremely loud.  For some people this might be exactly what you are looking for.  A mid range priced amp that can fill a room.  It does that, and then some.  

Overall this is a great amp for the price.  Ideal for the dirty side of blues playing.

Fender Hot Rod DeVille

Best guitar amp for blues

The Fender Hot Rod DeVille is another 2 by 12 Fender amp.  This time though the speakers are Celestian Type A speakers.  These amps are absolutely killer.  I may be a little biased towards it because I regularly use a Fender DeVille for gigging.  This amp is crazy loud.  Louder than you ever will really need.  That's why the man, the myth, the legend, Marty Schwartz calls it the best pro amp for the price.  It sounds great, it can get loud, and it is reasonably priced.

This amp comes with two 6L6 Groove Tube output tubes and three 12AX7 pre amp tubes.  The whole amp comes in at a weight of about 50 pounds.  Which is a little heavy, but far lighter than something like a Twin Reverb or Deluxe Reverb.  

If you are thinking about getting something like a Fender Twin Reverb, or a Deluxe Reverb, but don't have the cash, this amp could be your saving grace.  They run about $700 cheaper than those amps, but are just as effective.  

These amps come with three channels.  The first channel has that classic Fender clean tone.  Channel 2 is a higher gain channel that offers pretty tasty edge of breakup tones.  Finally channel 3 is the highest gain channel, and this is really for stuff like harder rock into the metal territory.  The different channel selects make this amp incredibly versatile.  

I think the tone of these amps is perfect for blues.  Especially with the built in gain setting, you can access blues tones from all across the gain spectrum.  You can get those super clean delicate blues along with the scrappy dirty blues tones super easily.  

Overall these are great amps that can be used at the professional level.  They are far more affordable than the top of the line Fender amps.  They also weight a little less which is pretty nice.  So if you are looking for a great Fender amp, but you're not willing to pay the top dollar, and you would like something a little more portable, the Fender Hot Rod DeVille could be the amp for you.

Boss Katana

Best Amp for Blues

The Boss Katana is by far the most affordable amp on this list.  It is the king of tone for lower priced solid state amplifiers.  It is known for having insane tone for its price.  In terms of pure sound they compare well to amps that are two or three times as expensive as they are.  If you are looking for a low priced amp that can pump out some killer tone, this is the amp for you.  

The amp comes with a few basic settings.  It comes with 5 different amp sounds.  They are: Acoustic, Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Brown.  These are in order of increasing gain.  The acoustic setting is a nice little touch because often times acoustic guitars just don't sound good through an electric guitar amp, but building an amp that can do both at a beginner's price point is great.  

If you were wondering what the "Brown" setting is, it is a sound that is supposed to emulate a really pushed Marshall amp.  The best way to think of it is early 80's Van Halen sounds.  

For blues music you should be sticking mostly to the clean and crunch settings.  Here you are going to find crazy good tone in this small little package.  I feel that blues is one of the genres where the slightest variation in tone can make the biggest difference.  Blues is such a delicate genre.  The playing requires such precision.  

The other controls of this amp include a basic bass middle treble EQ, a booster, digital delay, and digital reverb.  Another cool feature is the ability to adjust the wattage.  Bringing the wattage down will allow for the amp to break up without being pushed too hard, and vise versa.  This allows for you to be able to play dirty at a low volume, and clean at a super high volume.  This makes this amp ideal for someone that has to keep the noise down sometimes when practicing. 

Overall for the price this amp cannot be beat.  It is the best amp I could think of for a beginner or intermediate player.  It has everything you need in a nice low priced and lightweight package.

Roland JC Jazz Chorus

Best guitar amp for blues

The Roland JC Jazz Chorus is another amp that has stood the test of time.  These amps have been around for a long time, but have remained relatively unchanged over all of years.  They have remained unchanged because there has been no need to change them.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

This is a solid state 2 by 10 amplifier that offers stereo and mono outputs.  This amp comes with the basic bass, middle, treble EQ as well as a bright switch for a little extra treble.  The Roland JC comes with a distortion knob that blends the distortion right in with signal.  Typically an amp would have multiple channels.  One for clean playing, and one for higher gain playing.  This is not the case with the Roland JC.  It just has one channel and blends the gain right into it.  

This amp comes with a few built in effects including digital reverb, vibrato, and chorus.  This amp weighs about 35 pounds, and comes in at a reasonable mid range price.  

Overall its a great amp that would work well in almost any genre, but certainly for blues.  It's high quality, it's loud, and it's affordable.  What else could you ask for?

Fender Blues Junior

best guitar amp for blues

The Fender Blues Junior is a classic amp that has been around for ever.  It is one of Fender's most affordable tube amps.  I think this is the best amp for intermediates.  Especially if they are into blues.  

This amp comes in around the same price as the Roland JC, but the Blues Junior has tubes.  To me, tube amps sound better than solid state amps 99 out of a 100 times.  Not everyone feels that way, but I think that most guitar players do.  

The Blues Junior comes with one 12 inch Celestian type- A speaker.  It comes with authentic spring reverb, a classic bass middle treble Eq, and a button simply labelled "FAT".  The FAT button just boosts the mids, and gives you a chunkier sound.  It thickens up the sound a little bit for setting where you don't have as many instruments supporting you. 

This amp is only 15 watts.  A lot of people think that means it isn't loud, or it doesn't have any power.  What it really means is that is the threshold at which the amp begins to break up.  This means you do not have to push the Blues Junior a lot before it starts to give you those dirty break up tones.  This amp is plenty loud.

Overall this is a great blues amp for an intermediate, or even a pro player that is looking for something a little smaller that still pumps out great tone.  

FAQ:

Best guitar amp for blues

What guitar is best for blues?

My number one pick would have to be the Fender Stratocaster.  So many greats have used it for their music.  In the blues rock realm you have players like Eric Clapton and John Mayer using stratocasters.  In the deep south blues style you have players like Stevie Ray Vaughan and all the Stevie copy cats using stratocasters.

There aren't many genres a Stratocaster isn't great in.  You can't go wrong with a strat.

Are Orange Amps good for blues?

Overall I think Orange Amps are great amps, but they are not very good for blues.  They work super well in genres like harder rock and metal, but not so much blues.  Blues is a much more delicate genre, and that requires a very different tone than hard rock and metal.

For blues I would stick with amps similar to the ones we mentioned here in this list.  Fender style amps.  Amps that are made to be clean or with a little bit of dirt on them.  Amps like Marshalls and Oranges are made to be played with the gain cranked, and unfortunately that is just not what you need for the blues.