Multi-Effects vs. Stompboxes

If you are playing an electric guitar, at some point you have probably asked yourself whether you should go for a single product that provides you with multiple guitar effects, or if you would prefer to have many products, each providing one single effect (e.g. chorus, distortion, etc.). It’s a big question, and one related to decisions about expensive purchases. It seems wise to be informed before making such decisions. And this is where today’s video post comes in.

In this video I make a review of multi-effect and single-effect pedals (a.k.a. stompboxes). We go over what the capabilities and specifics of each one are and what they can be useful for. More importantly, I also give you some tips on how to set up a combination of both if you choose to go down that road.


First, multi-effects. These provide many banks full of various presets. You can use the factory presets or make and save your own. A multi-effect processor has hundreds of effects and combinations in one single pedal, which is definitely a big benefit.

A negative about multi-effects processors is that you have a bit of interruption in sound when changing from one preset to another. I demonstrate this in the video. But one of the biggest disadvantages is that, for live playing, you don’t have the opportunity to modify your presets and save them on the spot.

On the other hand, stompboxes allow you to change their effect parameters on the spot, giving you more control over how exactly you want to sound.


Obviously, with single-effect pedals, you have to buy each one, so in the long run this costs more than a single, multi-effect pedal. There’s also the cost of all the extra cables and batteries/power supply to consider. And if that’s not enough, you also need to have a way to transport all the stompboxes, along with all the necessary cables and batteries.

With stompboxes, you may end up wanting to buy a pedal board to keep everything organized and easier to transport. Multi-effect pedals rule in this area with at most the need for only a couple of cables since the power supply is often included.

As I discuss in the video, the main great feature with stompboxes is control. As I said above, you have ultimate control when it comes to switching effect parameters on the fly; something you just can’t get in very many multi-effect pedals.

The Best of Both Worlds

Keeping all of this in mind, you don’t necessarily have to choose between one or the other. Like I show you in the video, you can combine a multi-effect processor with some single-effect stompboxes. In this way you can have more control, but still enjoy the wide variety of effects and all other benefits of the multi-effects processor.

Another important point to consider is what do you need the equipment for. Is it for practicing at home? For recording? Or is it for live playing? This makes a big difference, because you may have a multi-effect that is great for practicing at home, but not that great for playing live. Conversely, you may not want to always carry around all your stompboxes when you are playing somewhere.

Whatever your preferences, I believe this video will give you valuable information and help you better decide what you want for yourself.

Did you know?

Did you know that I exclusively used my Digitech RP355 pedal demonstrated in this video for my Texas Blues Guitar course?  Every effect I used in the entire course came from this awesome pedal!

Related Links:

Subscribe to my Totally FREE Guitar Newsletter
Digitech RP355
MXR Prime Distortion
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q Wah
Godlyke Power-All Power Supply Kit
Shop for Ibanez RG Guitars