I tested the three best octave pedals on the market and found the Electro-Harmonix POG2 to be the best octave pedal for guitar.
Whether playing with a band or on my own, I’ve always loved the rich saturation and body that an octave pedal can provide.
But the octave effect is a bit of a niche item, and there aren’t many options on the market. Worse yet, many top octave pedals are sorely lacking; they either offer hardly any control over the effect or sound like a noisy, muddy mess.
In searching for the best octave pedal for guitar, I’ve tried over a dozen options, and these three represent the best. In particular, the POG2 from Electro-Harmonix blows away the competition, offering more granular control over the effect and far more sounds than most octavers can provide.
Read on as we take a closer look at this pedal and the other top options available. We’ll also share some crucial tips about what to look for when shopping for an octave pedal.
Best Octave Pedal Reviews
Without further delay, let’s check out the three best options on the market for octave pedals. Whether you’re on a tight budget or ready to break the bank on the best octave pedal available, you’ll find what you need here.
Everything you need and nothing you don’t should be the mantra of this tiny pedal from TC Electronic. The Sub ‘N’ Up is an ideal choice for players who need to occasionally use the octave effect and don’t want to shell out hundreds for a quality pedal.
This pedal features a nano housing, so it hardly takes up any room on your pedal board, and it features true bypass wiring, so your tone is entirely uncolored when the pedal is off. The Sub ‘N’ Up offers a simple three-knob interface with controls for how much of your dry sound is in the mix, an octave below and an octave above.
This pedal also features TC Electronic’s revolutionary TonePrint software, which allows you to download signature tones or create your own in the TonePrint app and load them onto the pedal. You can reference these tones at any time, regardless of how the knobs on the pedal are set.
At well under $100, you won’t find a better octave pedal for guitarists on a budget. The only concern is for players who rely on batteries to power their pedals, and the Sub ‘N’ Up requires a 9V power supply.
- Excellent value for the money
- TonePrint enabled
- True Bypass wiring
- Compact size is perfect for gigging guitarists
- Less control than high-end pedals
- Tracking isn’t quite as fast as high-end pedals
For guitar players looking for a more versatile octave pedal, the Poly Blue from MXR is an excellent option with some compelling features.
This pedal is slightly larger than a nano, but it allows you to control your dry signal along with two octaves below and two octaves above. You can also toggle between polyphonic and monophonic tracking, with available fuzz and modulation effects. In mono mode, the pedal offers a Leslie-style effect for that signature warble, while poly mode offers a Phase 90 sound.
The best part of the M306 is that it provides a comprehensive range of octave sounds from the 60s to the modern day. Whether Hendrix or Muse inspires you, you’ll find your tone with this versatile stomp.
Adding to the versatility of the M306 is its compatibility with an expression pedal or tap switch, which makes the pedal even more useful for live performance and studio applications.
- Tons of control in a small package
- Offers fuzz and modulation effects
- Expression pedal compatible
- True bypass wiring
- Tiny buttons make it difficult to switch modes or add fuzz on the fly
The POG2 from Electro-Harmonix has been the gold standard of octave pedals for over a decade, and it’s still the best octave pedal for guitar today.
The POG2 offers control over your dry signal, with two octaves below and two octaves above. There’s also an attack fader, a low pass filter, and a detune feature that relies on an advanced algorithm to deliver a much more musical effect reminiscent of a Whammy Wah.
A button allows you to access two additional Q modes for the low pass filter, and another lets you toggle the effect section of the pedal off and on.
What makes the POG2 so unique is it allows you to save nine different presets on the pedal with a single click and recall them with a secondary footswitch. For live performance, this feature dramatically enhances the versatility of the pedal.
The POG pedals from Electro-Harmonix are renowned for their tracking and provide best-in-the-business responsiveness to your playing. While there are smaller and less expensive POG pedals, the POG2 delivers much more control, different effects, and versatility.
- Unparalleled versatility
- Save up to nine presets
- Includes 9V power supply
- Unbeatable polyphonic tracking
- Very expensive
Octave Pedal Buying Guide
When shopping for an octave pedal, consider these factors and how they’ll affect your sound.
Polyphonic vs. Monophonic
Octave pedals come in polyphonic or monophonic models, and this distinction refers to how many notes the pedal can process at once. Polyphonic pedals can track multiple notes, while monophonic pedals track only one. Polyphonic pedals are more versatile, allowing for a broader range of effects.
Digital vs. Analog
While all polyphonic octave pedals are digital, some monophonic octave pedals still use analog circuitry. Vintage purists and Hendrix fans are sure to love an analog octave pedal and the distinct warble it produces when it has difficulty tracking the input signal. But, analog pedals are significantly less versatile than their digital counterparts.
True vs. Buffered Bypass
Effects pedals are equipped with either a true or buffered bypass, which dictates how sound is handled by the pedal when it isn’t in use. With true bypass pedals, the sound of your guitar passes directly from input to output when the pedal isn’t engaged. With buffered bypass pedals, your signal runs through the pedal’s buffer, even if the pedal is off.
Buffering can be critical with long cable runs, offering quieter switching than true bypass pedals. But, they’re noisier in general and can invite unwanted artifacts into your guitar tone. Most purists prefer pedals that offer true bypass switching.
All octave pedals will provide some level of control over the sound they provide. The best pedals allow you to blend each octave individually with your dry signal, and some will enable you to use additional effects to shape your sound. For example, the POG2 offers a low pass filter, detuner, and attack control, providing a wide range of tones.
An octave pedal is an excellent way to unlock some far-out sounds on the guitar, and they’re ideal for smaller bands looking to add depth and body to their music. Like all guitar pedals, the best one depends on your budget, how you’ll be using it (i.e., live, in studio, at home, or all three), and how many different sounds you need the pedal to provide.
The choice is clear if you’re looking for the overall best octave pedal for guitar. The POG2 from Electro-Harmonix is simply the most comprehensive octave pedal available. This model provides total control over blending your dry tone with each octave and provides some valuable effects that allow you to access different tones that other pedals can’t generate.