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best octave pedals

Best octave pedals: take your sound up or down

If you’re looking to extend your guitar or bass beyond the standard pitch range, octave pedals are exactly what you need to get there. Octave pedals are similar to pitch shifters and harmonizers, but they have some key differences that we’ll explore. Alot of the octave pedals on the market only feature octave down settings, but there are quite a few that give you an octave up control. 

You can use one or the other, or combine them for some out of this world sounds. With the right settings you can make your guitar sound like an organ, simulate a tremolo (whammy) bar, create the sound of a motorcycle revving or a horse whinnying. Yeah, they’re that “out there”.

These are some of our favorite octave pedals, from subtle sub frequencies up to sky high soaring pitches. 

Best octave pedal overall: Electro-Harmonix Nano POG

Electro-Harmonix Nano POG
Best octave pedal overall
Electro-Harmonix Nano POG
The POG is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to octave pedals. It can go up or down in pitch and offers a useful blend control for mixing in dry signal.
Pros
Octave up and down
Dry blend control
Dry output
Ergonomic size
Accurate tracking
Cons
Only one octave either direction
Mono only

The Nani POG’s appeal is well known. You’ll find it in the boards of some great players like John Mayer, Jack White, and The Edge to name a few. 

And for good reason. It offers octave down and up controls as well as a dry blend to help it sit perfectly in the signal chain. Wet and dry outputs open up routing options, and the small enclosure won’t crowd your pedalboard.

There are a number of different variations, from the larger and more full-featured POG2 to the small form Micro and Pico POGs. The tracking is spot on and though it has just three simple controls (the Nano version), it can do some wildly useful things to your guitar sound. 

Most versatile octave pedal: Digitech Whammy V

Digitech Whammy V
Most versatile octave pedal
Digitech Whammy V
The Whammy V offers more settings than any previous version, real-time control via the treadle, and MIDI I/O for triggering external devices.
Pros
Versatile octave and pitch shifting settings
Real-time control
MIDI I/O
Cons
Large enclosure
Sounds won’t suit everyone

The Whammy V is one of the best guitar pedal pitch shifters, and it features multiple different types of octave effects that can be controlled in real time through the treadle. 

When it comes to sound settings it’s more about what can’t the Whammy V do. Through mine harmony and 10 octave “Whammy” effects you can manipulate octaves and pitch in ways other pedals can only dream of. 

A switch selects between monophonic and polyphonic functionality and MIDI I/O let’s you send and receive pitch bend information from external devices. 

So whether you don’t want to mess with the tuning headaches or a real tremolo bar, don’t have one on your guitar, or need to go next level with pitch manipulation the Whammy V is one of the most creative guitar pedals around. 

Best workstation octave pedal: Walrus Audio Luminary V2

Walrus Audio Luminary V2
Best workstation octave pedal
Walrus Audio Luminary V2
This workstation workhorse offers two octaves up and down and unique controls over the attack, EQ, and an added tremolo effect.
Pros
Two octaves up and down
Controls for attack, filter, and flutter (tremolo)
3 presets and live mode
Cons
Not the best choice for players that want a simple octave
Larger enclosure

When it comes to a comprehensive set of octave options, pedals generally fall into one of two camps. They either offer minimalistic controls, or ways to set pretty much any parameter of the sounds contained within them. The Luminary V2 is the latter.

Like most octave pedals this ambitious, you can go up or down one or two octaves. But the Luminary takes it to the next level by offering attack, filter, and flutter controls. By adjusting the attack the octave effects get more chance to bloom, filter is an EQ, and flutter adds in a tremolo-style effect to the circuit.

You can store three presets in addition to the “live mode” which is the active setting. This gives you a total of four sounds with immediate access, and it’s easy to change them out when you discover the next great one worth saving.

The Luminary V2 can dial up synth pad sounds, organ tones, faux 12-string guitar, and more. Through an external expression pedal you can set the five internal DIP switches in any order to control certain parts of the effect in real time.

Best fuzz/octave pedal: MXR Poly Blue Octave

MXR Poly Blue Octave
Best fuzz/octave pedal
MXR Poly Blue Octave
MXR was at the forefront of octave pedal design and the Poly Blue Octave offers two octaves up and down as well as modulation and fuzz.
Pros
2 octaves up and down
Dry blend control
Onboard dual modulation and fuzz
Cons
Pricier than other options, but it has a lot of features

MXR’s Blue Box was one of the first octave pedals, used famously by Jimmy Page on the Led Zeppelin song “Fool in the Rain”. That was a simple octave down effect, and the Poly Blue Octave takes things to a much higher level. 

At its core it’s a polyphonic octave pedal that can go up or down two octaves either way. It also features onboard fuzz, modulation, and a global dry blend. 

Other interesting circuit features include a Mono setting that gives a dirty, vintage sound. It also effects the two-stage modulation, taking it from phaser sounds with Mono engaged to rotary speaker sounds with it off. You can even use an external expression pedal for moment to moment control. 

The Blue Octave sounds just as good with chords as it does on single notes. It’s an interesting combination of different effects, and the dual octave up and down is enough alone to make it one of the most unique octave pedals available. 

Best budget octave pedal: TC Electronic Sub n’ Up Mini

TC Electronic Sub n Up Mini
best budget octave pedal
TC Electronic Sub n’ Up Mini
This mini octave pedal features up and down controls, and accurate tracking. TonePrint technology lets you use additional features and share tones with the community.
Pros
Octave up and down controls
Mini pedal format
TonePrint lets you add additional sounds and share with community
Accurate tracking
Cons
Not as many controls as other octave pedals
Buy From

Here we considered anything in the $100 range to fit the term “budget”. And TC Electronic has it covered. Much like the POG, the Sub n’ Up Mini has controls for both octave down and octave up as well as the dry signal blend. 

Through TC Electronics’ TonePrint expands the settings to include a second octave down and let’s you load presets or share yours with the community. 

The mini form factor slides right in when pedalboard real estate is at a premium, but some might prefer the larger enclosure. Excellent and accurate tracking make this one of the best budget octave pedals on the market. 

FAQ

What are octave pedals good for?

Octave pedals let you shift the frequency range. Depending on the controls the shift could go down or up in pitch. Some, like DigiTech’s Whammy series let’s you control things in real time by a treadle, expression pedal, or external foot switch. 

Is POG the best octave pedal?

The POG is one of the best octave pedals. Depending on the model it has octave up and down controls as well as a dry blend. It’s great for guitar, bass, even keyboards and vocals. Alot of octave pedals don’t have the best signal tracking, but the tracking on the POG is fast and accurate. 

Does an octave pedal sound like a bass?

Nothing sounds truly like a bass than the instrument itself. But a lot of guitarists use octave pedals to approximate bass sounds with a standard guitar. By using octave down settings you can extend the low end of the guitar signal in fun and interesting ways. 

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