Best Sustain Pedals for 2024

Sustain pedals, commonly associated with keyboards and pianos, are not typically used in the same way with guitars as they are with those instruments.

However, in the context of guitar effects, particularly in the realm of electric guitars and digital processing, there are pedals and effects that can simulate or enhance sustain.

Types of Delay Pedals

Here are a few types of pedals and effects related to sustain for electric guitars:

  1. Compression Pedals:
    • Compression pedals can enhance sustain by reducing the dynamic range of your guitar signal. They work by leveling out the volume peaks, allowing notes to sustain for longer durations.
  2. Sustain/Feedback Pedals:
    • Some pedals are designed specifically to enhance sustain and encourage controlled feedback. These pedals often have controls for adjusting the level of sustain and feedback, letting you shape the character of the sustained notes.
  3. Distortion and Overdrive Pedals:
    • Distortion and overdrive pedals can add sustain to your guitar tone by saturating the signal and creating harmonic content. The sustained notes will often have a singing quality, especially at higher gain settings.
  4. Delay and Reverb Effects:
    • Delay and reverb effects can contribute to the perception of sustain. Delay pedals repeat the signal with a slight time delay, creating a sense of space and prolonging the decay of notes. Reverb adds a similar effect by simulating the reflections in a room.
  5. Pitch Shifter and Harmonizer Pedals:
    • Pitch shifter and harmonizer pedals can create additional harmonies with your notes, extending the duration of the sound. This can give the impression of increased sustain.
  6. E-Bow:
    • While not a pedal, the E-Bow is a handheld electronic device that uses electromagnetic fields to vibrate the strings of a guitar indefinitely, creating sustained notes. It’s a unique tool for achieving violin-like sustained tones.
  7. Sustainiac Systems:
    • Some guitars come equipped with Sustainiac systems, which are electronic sustainer devices built into the guitar. These systems use magnetic fields to vibrate the strings and create infinite sustain.

Remember that sustain can also be influenced by factors such as the guitar’s construction, the type of strings used, and the player’s technique. While sustain pedals may not be as common for guitars as they are for keyboards, the world of guitar effects offers various tools to enhance and shape sustain to your liking.

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List of Sustain Pedals

While sustain pedals in the traditional sense are not commonly used with guitars as they are with keyboards, there are several guitar effects pedals that can enhance sustain or create similar effects.

Here’s a list of pedals that are often associated with sustain or extended decay for electric guitars:

Boss DS-1 Distortion

    • A classic distortion pedal that, when used at higher gain settings, can add sustain and a singing quality to your guitar tone.The Boss DS-1 Distortion is a classic guitar pedal known for its simplicity, rugged design, and distinctive distortion sound. Produced by Boss, a division of Roland Corporation, the DS-1 has become one of the most widely used and recognized distortion pedals since its introduction in the late 1970s. Here are some key features and details about the Boss DS-1:
      1. Classic Distortion Sound:
        • The DS-1 is celebrated for its classic distortion sound, offering a crunchy and edgy tone that suits a variety of musical genres. It provides a range from mild overdrive to more aggressive distortion, making it versatile for different playing styles.
      2. Simple Control Layout:
        • The pedal features a straightforward control layout with three knobs: Tone, Level, and Distortion. The Tone knob adjusts the EQ, Level controls the overall output volume, and Distortion adjusts the intensity of the distortion effect.
      3. Rugged Construction:
        • Boss pedals are known for their durability, and the DS-1 is no exception. Housed in a sturdy metal chassis, the DS-1 is built to withstand the rigors of live performances and frequent use.
      4. Compact Design:
        • The DS-1 has a compact and pedalboard-friendly design, making it easy to incorporate into your existing setup. Its simplicity and reliability have contributed to its popularity among guitarists of all levels.
      5. Orange Distortion Box:
        • The DS-1 is often referred to as the “Orange Distortion Box” due to its distinctive orange color. The pedal’s appearance has remained largely unchanged since its initial release.
      6. Wide Range of Applications:
        • While commonly associated with rock and metal genres, the DS-1 has found its place in various musical styles. Its versatility makes it suitable for anything from classic rock to punk and beyond.
      7. Affordability:
        • One of the notable aspects of the Boss DS-1 is its affordability. Despite its iconic status, the DS-1 remains accessible to a broad range of guitar players, including beginners and seasoned professionals.
      8. Modifiability:
        • The DS-1 has become a popular platform for modifications by guitarists and boutique pedal manufacturers. Some players choose to modify the internal components to tweak the pedal’s tonal characteristics to their preferences.
      9. Enduring Popularity:
        • Over the years, the Boss DS-1 has maintained its popularity and is considered a classic in the world of guitar pedals. It has been featured on countless recordings and remains a staple on many pedalboards.
      10. Wide Dynamic Range:
      11. The DS-1 is known for its wide dynamic range, responding well to changes in playing dynamics. This makes it a responsive pedal that can capture the nuances of a player’s style.
  • MXR Dyna Comp Compression
    • A compression pedal that evens out the dynamics of your guitar signal, enhancing sustain and providing a smooth, leveled response.

EHX Freeze Sound Retainer Sustain Pedal

blankThis pedal allows you to capture and sustain a note or chord indefinitely, creating a drone-like effect.

The Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer is a unique guitar effects pedal that allows you to capture and sustain a specific moment of your guitar playing. Released by Electro-Harmonix (EHX), the Freeze is known for its ability to create ambient and atmospheric sounds. Here are some key features and details about the EHX Freeze:

  1. Infinite Sustain:
    • The primary function of the Freeze pedal is to sustain a specific note or chord indefinitely. This is achieved by pressing the footswitch at the desired moment during your playing. The pedal captures and holds that particular sonic snapshot, allowing you to play over it or use it as a background layer.
  2. Three Operating Modes:
    • The Freeze offers three distinct operating modes:
      • Fast Freeze: Captures and sustains the note or chord immediately upon pressing the footswitch.
      • Slow Release: Gradually fades in the sustained sound for a smoother transition.
      • Latch Mode: Allows you to toggle the Freeze effect on and off without continuously holding down the footswitch.
  3. Effect Blend Control:
    • The pedal features a Blend knob that allows you to adjust the mix between the dry (unaffected) signal and the frozen signal. This enables you to blend the sustained sound seamlessly with your live playing.
  4. Latching Footswitch:
    • The footswitch on the Freeze is latching, meaning it can be pressed once to activate the effect and again to deactivate it. In Latch mode, the footswitch toggles between freezing and releasing the sustained sound.
  5. LED Indicator:
    • The pedal includes an LED indicator to visually show when the Freeze effect is engaged. This is particularly useful during live performances.
  6. Mono Input and Output:
    • The Freeze is designed with mono input and output, making it compatible with standard guitar setups. It can be placed anywhere in your signal chain.
  7. Versatility in Genres:
    • While commonly used in ambient and experimental genres, the EHX Freeze can be employed in various musical styles. It adds a layer of creativity to solos, allows for unique soundscapes, and can be utilized in different ways depending on the player’s preferences.
  8. Power Options:
    • The pedal can be powered using a 9-volt battery or an external power supply. It is advisable to use an external power source for consistent performance, especially in live settings.
  9. Compact and Sturdy Design:
    • The Freeze has a compact and durable design, making it suitable for pedalboards and live performances. Its simplicity and ease of use make it accessible to players of all skill levels.
  • Strymon BigSky Reverb:
    • A high-quality reverb pedal that, when set appropriately, can create ambient spaces and contribute to the perception of sustain.
  • DigiTech FreqOut Feedback Creator:
    • Designed to simulate natural feedback, this pedal allows you to control and enhance sustained feedback at various frequencies.
  • TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb:
    • A versatile reverb pedal that, like the BigSky, can contribute to sustained tones and atmospheric sounds.
  • Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb:
    • Another reverb pedal that offers various reverb modes, allowing you to experiment with sustaining ambient textures.
  • EHX Cathedral Stereo Reverb:
    • Known for its lush reverbs, the Cathedral pedal can contribute to sustained and atmospheric guitar tones.
  • Mooer Echolizer Delay:
    • A delay pedal that, when set for longer delay times and repeats, can contribute to the perception of sustain.
  • DigiTech Whammy Pitch-Shifter:
    • This pedal includes a dive bomb function that can create a sustained drop in pitch for a unique effect.
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe Overdrive:
    • An overdrive pedal that, when dialed in, can add sustain and harmonic richness to your guitar signal.
  • Electro-Harmonix Freeze Sound Retainer:
    • Similar to the EHX Freeze mentioned earlier, this pedal allows you to capture and sustain a specific moment in your playing.