With many contemporary guitarists looking for effective ways to make their rigs more portable, preamp pedals have become increasingly popular. Here at Andertons Music Co. we have an enviable selection!
Having a huge guitar rig may look impressive, but trying to transport large, heavy amplifier heads to gigs can be tricky. To help players downsize their setups so that they're more ergonomic, many guitar pedal companies now produce their very own preamp pedals.
These powerful stompboxes can be employed to replace amps, and when used in conjunction with cab simulator pedals, you can essentially have the key components of your rig literally at your feet!
Many preamp pedals possess the same flexibility you'd expect to find with traditional amp heads, but the majority of them use solid-state circuitry to ensure better reliability and longevity. With EQ controls and gain circuits, preamp pedals can be used for different genres and styles, although you'll find that many of them are aimed specifically at metal players.
Some preamp stompboxes, however, are less powerful and are essentially overdrive/distortion pedals. There's somewhat of a blurred line between them, but ensure that you read the full specs of a preamp pedal before making a purchase, or contact us and one of our specialists will get back to you with more information.
Preamp Pedal FAQs
What is a Preamp Pedal for?
A preamp pedal is designed to emulate the preamp section of a guitar amplifier. Often featuring a solid-state circuit for bullet-proof reliability, some high-end preamp pedals come equipped with genuine valves (like 12AX7s) to provide more convincing tube amp tones. Preamp pedals are popular with contemporary guitarists who prefer portability over sheer power. Often pairing them with power amp or cab simulator pedals, these units allow players to have their core guitar tones quite literally at their feet on just a pedalboard - forming an “amp-less” rig.
Is a Distortion Pedal a Preamp?
There is a lot of crossover when it comes to distortion and preamp pedals. Technically-speaking, almost any distortion pedal can serve as a preamp as it is a gain stage. However, a preamp pedal is usually far more comprehensive, often sporting multiple EQ controls like you’d find on a real amp. Some preamp stompboxes can also have more than one channel, letting you switch between different gain sounds on-the-fly.
Where does a Preamp Pedal go in my signal chain?
Preamp pedals should be placed early in a signal chain. As they are designed to emulate a preamp stage, they can be treated in the same way as an amplifier’s front end. This means that only a tuner or wah pedal should be placed between your guitar’s output signal and a preamp pedal’s input. And if you want to form an “amp-less” setup, modern preamp stompboxes are designed to pair with power amp and cab simulator pedals, both of which would come last in your signal chain.