Which pedals do I need to get started playing in worship band?

Which pedals do I need to get started playing in worship band?

This is the first in a series of three posts written by Andy on electric guitar pedals for worship.

Actually you don’t need a huge amount of pedals to get going. I’d say that with a good Tube Screamer overdrive type pedal and a decent delay you should be able to reproduce most of what’s required by an electric player in a modern worship band.  So in this first post I’ll look at the overdrive, then delay in the next and finally just a few tips on other bits to get you up and running like power supplies etc.

A tube what?
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is probably the most popular overdrive pedal on the planet, with good reason. It produces a range of usable valve amp like tones from mild to heavy, can make a really bad amp sound passable and a good one great. You can use it for blues, country, rock – to be honest most styles that modern worship songs are based on. Most models have a characteristic of a slight mid range boost or ‘hump’ which helps cut through the mix in a live situation, which is part of the secret that makes it so usable.

The Tube Screamer pedal has come in a range of models – TS7, TS8, TS808, TS9, TS10 plus many other variants with the most highly prized being the vintage 808 models which are now reassuringly expensive!

In fact so many people love the 808 that there are now a myriad of boutique companies producing some of the nicest overdrives in the world based on that original Tube Screamer circuit. With so many to choose from its worth checking out demos on YouTube and reviews on Harmony Central before you buy, but ultimately if there is some way you can try one out in a live band situation then more the better. Some have even have options like a second footswitch for more overdrive or a clean boost. However, even if you can’t you should be on fairly safe territory with most of the options here.

So here are some tubescreamer type pedals to try out. I’ve listed them roughly in ascending price order. Whilst anything not made by Ibanez is technically a copy, anything listed below the genuine ones are cheaper and mass produced and above them are considered hand made and of better tone or with more options. The rule always applies. You get what you pay for! However these are all pretty rugged so buying used shouldn’t be a problem and could save you lots of cash.

BTW this is not by any means an exhaustive list so if you have other alternatives that you’ve tried please do comment for the benefit of everyone.

Behringer Vintage tube Overdrive TO800 – cheap way to get started

Digitech Bad Monkey – good value copy

Danelectro Cool Cat Overdrive – good value copy

Boss OD3/SD1 – good value boss flavoured alternatives. Modded versions(below) very good!

Ibanez TS9 – good standard production pedal

Ibanez TS 808 reissue – nearly the price of a boutique job but if you want the orginal….

Maxon OD808 – well regarded alternative to original

Visual Sound v2 808/Route 66/Jekyl & Hyde – these are great! And Bob from Visual Sound presents a section on pedals in our Intermediate Worship Guitar DVDs

Fulltone Fulldrive 2 – dual overdrive pedal – choice of many working pros for years

Build Your Own Clone – if you are hady with a soldering iron, build yourself a very high quality clone with this kit.

Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive – cool peadl that lets you add some clean sound for a bit o ‘sparkle’

Keeley Modified TS9 – people speak very highly of these modified pedals

Analogueman Modified TS808/TS9

Monte Allums.com – do some mods yourself!

Homebrew Electronics Powerscreamer – well priced hand made pedal with tone switching options and a boost switch

Lovepedal – very highly regarded boutique pedal

Klon Centuar – supposedly the ‘Holy Grail’ of tone – with a price to match!


Check out Musicademy’s Worship Guitar DVDs

If you’ve found this article helpful we know there will be loads you will love on our worship guitar DVDs and downloads. Check them out:


Other posts you might like:

Which pedals do I need to start playing in a worship band? Part 1part 2 & part 3

Gear confessional- guitars

Andy’s Squire Telecaster

Flow chart – Do you have too many guitars?

Small amp, great sound –  part 1part 2part 3part 4 and part 5

Gear confessional – amps