Best Pedals For Telecaster and Stratocaster (+ Video Reviews)


Choosing the right guitar pedal can be complicated. I realized it from my own experience. There are so many great pedals out there.

In this article, I’ll be presenting you the best guitar pedals for Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars.

If you happen to be the owner of these iconic guitars, this article is perfect for you. I took my time to explore some of the best guitar pedals that blend perfectly with Telecaster or Stratocaster signature sound.

Let’s go!

Telecaster

What Makes The Telecaster Sound So Special?

It has been said by some of the most influential players of all times that the Telecaster is the ultimate rhythm guitar.

There is something about the combination of the dual single pickups and the ease of use. Also, the sound that cuts through any mix that makes it perfect for those who write songs.

This iconic guitar was in the hands of various rock stars. Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Strummer from The Clash, Graham Coxon from Blur etc. The list goes on.

These players are mostly the base sound of their bands. They lean on the Telecaster to create unique sounds and timeless tunes.

The magic of the Telecaster resides in its simplicity. It is built like a tank, to endure even the harshest weather and complications. It was created by Leo Fender in 1950. His design remains virtually unchanged until this day.

The sound of the Telecaster can be spotted right away because of what most people call “twang”. This signature sound comes from the Maple neck, the single coils and the metal plate over which the bridge pickup is mounted. It has simple controls; just one volume and one tone knob.

The 25 inches scale allows for great tuning stability. Lowering the tone knob and selecting the neck pickup gives the guitar kind of a warm, jazzy sound. The bridge pickup with the tone knob in ten is very piercing and can cut even the most cluttered mix.

This versatility mixed with simplicity in which you can do a lot as a player with very little earned the guitar its place in the Olympus Mount of the timeless classics. It is possible to spot a Telecaster hearing just one note, especially if it is in the bridge pickup.

Let’s check the pedals that work the best with this guitar.

Overdrive

The Tube Screamer TS-808

The Tube Screamer TS-808 is, for most people, the original sound of the most iconic overdrive pedal of all times.

The TS-808 was the first incarnation of this overdrive. It is the closest you can get to valve overdrive without tubes. Compared to the TS-9, it is a little darker sounding. That makes it a great match for a guitar that is as sparkling as the Telecaster.

Put it first on the pedal chain and enjoy the edge it adds to your guitar. The mids that the pedal adds will help you be even more present in a band’s final mix.

Hear how this pedal sounds together with Telecaster (from 1:07).

Get yourself one from the Amazon, here.

Reverb

Reverb is perhaps one of the most widely-used and famous effects of all times. It comes as a built-in effect in most guitar amplifiers. It is a match made in heaven for a Telecaster.

What’s the best reverb pedal for a Telecaster?

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini

The TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb pedal is the closest you can get with a digital unit to the sound and feel of analog reverb. Without carrying a spring tank with your rig.

It features ten modes plus a “Tone Print” mode. It allows you to plug your pedal to a computer (via USB cable) and download presets by famous players.

Also, it is stereo in and stereo out. It also features pre delay to make the ultimate lush sounds. TC Electronic Hall of Fame is simple, yet complete reverb pedal that sounds great and is not so expensive.

And one more thing, it’s really mini! It is really small, smaller than the palm of a hand. It was designed as the pedal that can easily be placed on a crowded pedalboard.

Anyway, you can hear this pedal in action.

Get one for your Telecaster on Amazon, here.

Tremolo

TC Electronic Pipeline

Along with reverb, tremolo was the other effect that old Fender amps included in the 60s. This pedal can emulate that classic sound and with the flick of a switch turn into a modern sound-maker.

It also features the “Tone Print” feature, meaning that you can download from the TC Electronic library presets made by artists and upload them to your pedal via USB.

The tremolo effect works amazing with the Telecaster. It can be added to anything from arpeggios to chords embellishing the sound drastically.

Hear this pedal in action.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Chorus

Boss Stereo Super Chorus

Say hello to my friend… the 80s decade. If you happen to enjoy The Cure and all those great clean sounds with a chorus pedal, this pedal is for you.

Using this pedal with a Telecaster and some reverb is like getting on a time-traveling machine and going back to the past.

If you want to get a close idea of what it sounds like with a Telecaster and a larger-than-life sound, listen to The Police and hear Andy Summers play his through chorus in many songs.

Again, arpeggios and chords are drastically embellished by putting a chorus pedal between your amp and guitar. The Boss Super Chorus is the most iconic, simple and sturdy incarnation of this effect you can find in the market today.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Phaser

MXR M101 Phase 90

The Phase 90 is the most iconic phase pedal of all times but not the only one. In fact, MXR has different versions, like the Phase 100.

This pedal works great with the Telecaster’s twang. It can be a swell to make an arpeggio more interesting. Or else, it can be a way to turn a distortion pedal into a chainsaw as well.

The twang that the Telecaster generates with the bridge pickup can make an effect like the phaser, which is difficult to distinguish in a band situation, stand out and shine through the mix.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Stratocaster

What Makes Stratocaster Sound So Special?

As much as the Telecaster is arguably the best rhythm guitar in the world, the Stratocaster is its lead sister.

There are countless players in the history of music who use (and abuse) this instrument to make songs. A very graphic way of understanding how the strat-tele combo and dynamics work is to look at The Rolling Stones playing live.

Just hear Keith Richards laying down the amazing riffs and chords on his signature Butterscotch Blonde Telecaster while Ronnie Wood rips it with the leads on his Sunburst Stratocaster.

The Stratocaster is a much more complex guitar. It was the canvas for the creation of some of the most avant-garde guitars in the world commonly called “super strats” like Ibanez JEM, Music Man Majestic and countless others.

Like Telecaster, it was designed and built originally by Leo Fender. It can withstand years of abuse because it was thought as a working man or woman axe to be played night after night.

It features three pickups and three controls with an originally three-way switch that was converted into a five-position one in the early ’60s.

The sound of the Stratocaster is recognizable from a mile away. It can be heard in the hands of players as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and Niles Rodgers. It was adopted as the most common instrument for playing blues.

Players like John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan and others used the neck and middle pickup to create those warm and dynamic tones.

Others, like Nile Rodgers used it to create that small funky sound that is so identifiable (hear “Get Lucky” by Rodgers and Daft Punk and you’ll recognize it right away).

The Stratocaster is dynamic, diverse and, with the addition of the tremolo bar, makes a great instrument to play virtually any style.

The Stratocaster is so broad-sounding that you can see it in an Iron Maiden, a Red Hot Chili Peppers or a Lady Gaga show performing perfectly.

Boost

Xotic EP Booster

A boost pedal is what a lead player uses to make the guitar sound stand out at the moment of a solo or a riff.

This version of the boost pedal by Xotic Effects is transparent and yet super powerful. When you engage it, it doesn’t modify your guitar’s sound but just boosts the original signal without coloring it.

It is also a very small effects unit, perfect for crowded pedalboards. It works wonders with the Stratocaster, since it is a very lead-oriented guitar.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Compressor

MXR M102 Dyna Comp

Want to achieve that percussive Neils Rodger tone? Well, you have to have a compressor.

The Dyna Comp is the most classic-sounding one you can buy. This pedal has been at the feet of some of the most iconic players in the world and what it does is to cut the signal in highs and lows and boost it.

You lose some dynamics, but it works wonderfully well for styles such as funk, R&B and soul adding volume to your guitar and keeping it pristine clean.

MXR builds effect pedals that can go to war and come back with just a few scratches. I’ve held in my hand Dyna Comp units that were built in the late 70s and those were still working perfectly.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Delay

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay

If there is one thing that almost all guitar players love, that is delay. Perhaps one of the most iconic sounds you can achieve with an analog delay like the MXR Carbon Copy is that of The Edge in “Where the streets have no name”.

If you catch any live videos of the band playing this song, you will notice that the guitar The Edge uses in that song is actually a Stratocaster. He switches to one of those specially to recreate the original sound of this song.

Another great example is David Gilmour and his butter-like leads. The Carbon Copy is a very simple delay with only three knobs that sounds warm and works great with all pickups of a Stratocaster. You can also activate the Mod switch to make it swell while it samples.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Overdrive

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

When playing guitar, sometimes you have to make choices. In this case, you can choose to go down the compressor path or down the overdrive path.

The compressor compresses the signal and cuts out what is out of the range. The overdrive adds gain to the signal exploiting all that is out of the range. The TS-9 is a brighter version of the Tube Screamer and is perfect to achieve sounds like the ones created by John Frusciante at the RHCP, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix.

If you like your signal dirty and louder, overdrive is the right path and this unit is the perfect one to mix with a Stratocaster.

Hear the Stratocaster playing with it.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Distortion

Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive

After an overdrive unit in your pedalboard, you can add a good distortion pedal to take everything to the next level.

The Fulltone OCD is a trademark sound that has fueled the sound of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Keith Urban and many others.

It works great coupled with an Overdrive. It features two modes (HP and LP) that change the sound to make it go from a subtle overdrive to a lead, distorted sound.

If you couple it with the middle pickup of your Stratocaster and a TS-9, you can create some really amazing tones.

See it in action.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Fuzz

Dunlop FFM2 Germanium Fuzz Face Mini Distortion

Going down the gain line, after the distortion we find the fuzz pedals. This one in particular is a modern incarnation of a 60s classic.

The Fuzz Face was made popular by players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and many more. Dunlop managed to make the original germanium transistors into a small housing that can fit most pedalboards.

The perfect way to achieve those rich, larger than life sustained notes with your Stratocaster is to stomp on this fuzz pedal and let it roar through the speakers. Gilmour, Hendrix, Townshend, Vaughan and more players benefited from this sound with their Stratocasters.

See how this pedal works in action. (from 1:24)

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Wah

Dunlop GCB95 Cry Baby

A wah pedal can help you achieve many tones and add another layer of creativity to your playing.

There are countless examples of guitarists playing through their Wah pedals to make very interesting sounds. From “Voodoo Chile” to “Bulls on Parade” all the way to “Money for Nothing”.

Guitarists as different as Jimi Hendrix, Tom Morello and Mark Knopfler rely on the Wah pedal to create iconic sounds that go beyond their instrument.

The Jim Dunlop GCB-95 is the original, no frills, bells or whistles version of this classic pedal that is built like a tank and sounds great.

See how it works with a Strat.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Uni-Vibe

MXR M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus Vibrato Pedal

No ultimate Hendrix sound would be complete without a good Uni-Vibe unit. This one created by MXR is as close as you can get to that signature sound with a stomp box.

This pedal is well-built, sounds great and will fit even the most crowded pedalboard.

You can also get a great chorus sound from it because it features two modes: chorus and shimmering vibrato. Besides this cool feature, the Uni-Vibe by MXR comes with a dedicated “Level” knob that helps you boost your sound slightly when engaged.

Finally, and like many of the pedals in this list, it features true bypass technology, not affecting your original guitar sound.

Check how it sounds like.

Get yourself one from Amazon, here.

Final Words

I hope this article provided some valuable information and insights on what guitar pedals are best for your guitar. Whether you have Tele or a Strat.

If you enjoyed reading this article as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.

Don’t forget to check out other interesting articles from this site about various guitar topics and issues!

Cheers, and rock on!

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