Contact: Kelsey Austin

Email: Kelsey@AxeDr.com

Location: New York, U.S.

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Best Multi FX Pedals Modelers for Praise and Worship Guitar ( 2020 )

Guitar Effects Pedals.jpg

   Are you looking for info on Guitar FX, Amp Modeling, and Pedalboards best suited for Worship Guitar?  Not too long ago, I too was looking into the subject and trying to narrow it all down into a list of gear that would suit my needs. So in this article that is what I'll give you.

 

   This is a roundup of the best Pedalboards for Praise and Worship Guitarists.  However, you don't have to be in the Worship Genre to benefit from this roundup. These Pedalboards suit a very wide range of needs far beyond this one genre. So stick around, I won't waste your time.    

   Finding the right guitar gear for your needs can get confusing right off the bat. There are endless Amp and Guitar Effects options in the guitar world. In the amplification market there are:

  • Real Tube Amps

  • Solid State Amps

  • Real Tube/Solid State Hybrid Amps

  • Analog Amp Modelers

  • Digital Amp Modelers (rack mounts, pedalboards, or software)

  • Etc.

We haven't even gotten to the Guitar Effects part yet. This is where things get kinda crazy.  In the interest of breaking it down, there are two main categories.

  • Analog FX

  • Digital FX 

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Ibanez Tube Screamer is a prime example of an Analog FX Pedal.

Analog FX pedals are typically stompboxes, specializing in one or two effects per pedal. They use analog (old) technology (resistors, capacitors, switches, diodes, voltage nodes, inputs, outputs, etc.) all connected within a metal housing.

Analog Pedal Pros:

  • Warmer, Cleaner Tone

  • Unlimited Customization Ability

  • Hundreds of Manufacturers

  • You get the EXACT Tone you want (eventually)

Analog Pedal Cons:

  • Price per pedal is HIGH (Pro Co Rat 2) + (Strymon Timeline Delay)

  • One short can disable your whole board.

  • They take a long time to build and get right

  • Heavy and hard to transport

  • Limited Lifespan, Need to be Replaced

  • For best tone requires a Real Tube Amp

  • Each Pedal Requires Power (Except for Passive Pedals)

Digital FX Pedals utilize microchips and processors (like a computer) to modify your guitar tone. Digital Effects are typically found in Multi-FX Processors. You get hundreds of effects and even amp modeling in one large pedalboard.

 

This is a very cost effective means to build a rig. With one board you can get dozens of Amp Models and hundreds of Guitar FX. The down side to these is tone quality. They tend to sound a bit harsher than analog technology, and can sound fake if not setup properly.  Fans of Tubes and Analog Pedals claim to have a warmer richer tone. 

For Praise & Worship guitarists, its even harder. Most times we are expected to amplify our guitars without an amplifier on stage. The church scene prefers what they call a "quiet stage". For us, that means no guitar amps. Its a strange predicament for any guitarist to have to play without an amp. Luckily you aren't the first to encounter this problem. 

The solution for many of us Worship guitarists has been Digital Amp Modeling Pedals. They can be run in stereo directly to the Church's PA system. The guitarist then either uses a powered stage monitor or in ear monitors. This eliminates the need for an physical guitar amp on stage. 

Digital FX and Amp Modeler Pros:

  • Affordable compared to Analog (Firehawk FX + Line 6 Helix)

  • Doesn't require an amp, but can be used with one

  • All-In-One Unit for Effects and Amplification

  • Multiple Amp Models to choose from and Customize (Dual Amplifiers + Cabinets)

  • Hundreds of FX(Comp, Mod, Pre-EQ, Distortion, Delay, Reverb all customizable)

  • MIDI Mappable Footswitching (Put any effect parameter on any switch)

  • Built in Headphone Jack, Stereo XLR, TRS, 1/4", FX Loop Inputs and Outputs

  • Silent Practicing

  • Silent Stage Capable (Direct Out to PA System or Powered Monitors)

  • Easy to Transport and Set Up

  • Versatility (Amps and FX for every style of music)

  • Hundreds of Patches available in a split second

Digital FX and Amp Modeler Cons:

  • Tone is not as "Authentic" as a real tube amp or pedal

  • Steep Learning Curve

  • Some amps and effects sound digital, can be shrill or flat sounding

Digital Amps and Effects

​Line 6 was one of the first brands to introduce an easy to use and affordable option with their line of POD products. For this reason, many within the genre rely on the Line 6 products available today like the Helix, HelixLT, HX FX, POD HD500x, and the Firehawk HD. All of these (except the HX FX) include Amp Modeling and HD Effects in one unit. They are a very good all in one option for guitarists.

   The biggest factor for guitar players in the worship genre is GUITAR TONE. I cannot overstate the importance of guitar tone. If you don't really know what I mean by guitar tone, don't worry. You will learn what it means as you progress in this genre. But for now, here is a simple definition.

Guitar Tone:  The quality and richness of the sound a guitar makes.

Digitech RP1000 Multi FX board is an example of Digital Guitar Effects.

   When I started in the Worship genre, I had very little idea about guitar tone or how to even get a decent guitar tone. I just had to learn through experience. I can help you however, by giving you a list of gear options that are capable of great tone. Any one of these rigs can be the foundation for your guitar tone. This list is a culmination of my own experiences and those of well known guitarists in the praise and worship genre.

Best Pedalboards for Worship Guitarists

If you've ever perused Amazon for guitar stuff, chances are you've come across the HeadRush Pedalboard. To be honest, at first glance I thought, "Oh great, a Chinese knockoff the Helix." I had never heard of the brand. Have you? Thats what I thought. 

That being said, all it takes is a look at the customer reviews, and a quick youtube search to figure out that this is a serious contender in the modeling/effects world. Don't take my word for it. In fact skip the features, and play the youtube video right below this. Its a kid demoing his Praise & Worship Patch, and it left me with my jaw on the floor. The tone is oozing out of that thing. I am rather blown away.

Featuring a finely-tuned quad-core processor and powered by exclusive Eleven HD Expanded DSP software, the HeadRush Pedalboard delivers the most versatile, realistic sounding and responsive amplifier, cabinet, microphone and FX models ever found in a road ready floorboard guitar FX processor.

The 7-inch touch display enables you to touch, swipe and drag-and-drop to instantly create and edit your rigs in an unprecedentedly realistic and intuitive way.

With gapless preset changes with reverb and delay tail spillover, an on-board expression pedal, a built-in looper with 20 minutes of record time, the ability to load custom impulse response files, USB recording/reamping capability and exclusive original boutique effects that can’t be found anywhere else, finding your signature tone has never been this easy.​

Features:

  • Find Your Signature Sound – Custom-designed quad-core DSP system with Eleven HD Expanded DSP software provides authentic amp, cab, mic and FX models for unrestricted tone-sculpting capability

  • Easy-To-Use & Made-To-Move - 7” high-resolution display with intuitive touch interface creates rigs in seconds; Housed in a durable road-ready steel chassis with integrated cable channel organizer

  • Power To Your Performance - Gapless pre-set switching with reverb/delay tail spill over, Looper with 20 minutes of record time and hands-free edit mode for quick on-the-fly live editing

  • Expanded Sound – USB connectivity for loading your own custom impulse response files; includes Celestion digital IR downloads to get you started from the get-go

  • Studio Grade Capture - Record and reamp via USB with quality up to 24-bit/96KHz

Details:

  • Gapless preset switching with reverb/delay tail spillover

  • Record and re-amp via USB

  • Hands-free edit mode

  • ⅛" (3.5mm) aux input

  • Custom-designed quad-core DSP system

  • Integrate your FX and outboard gear

  • ¼" (6.35mm) headphone output

  • Individual footswitch OLED screens

  • Road-ready steel chassis

  • MIDI input and output

  • Looper with 20 minutes of record time

  • Universal power supply

  • GE300 Multi Processor

  • Expand New Tonal Horizon
  • 108 high-quality Preamp models

  • 164 high-quality effects

  • 43 IR-based factory speaker cab models

  • 20 user slots to load in your favourite 3rd party IR files(up to 2048 sample pts)

  • 30 Minute Looper
  •  

  • 30 minutes loop station with undo/redo,

  • Direct dubbing, reverse + 1/2 speed effects.

  • Looper sessions can be stored and backed up for import /export of audio files


SYNTH ENGINE Tri-voice polyphonic synthesizer module
Tri-voice polyphonic synthesizer module, including oscillator wave shape, pitch, filters and arpegiators for each voice.Transform your guitar into an electronic synthesizer without the need for special pickups or instrument modifications


TONE CAPTURE amp mode allows you to sample and capture your real-life amplifier to create brand new digital amp models. GUITAR MODE allows you to capture the EQ characteristics of your instrument. CAB MODE let’s you sample speaker cabinets to create your own IR files

MOOER has been shaking things up in the Guitar Amp Modeling/Effects World. I haven't personally tested this unit, but I think it belongs on this list anyways. MOOER is attempting to compete with Modeling giant Kemper, by allowing players to essentially clone their gear profiles...much like the Profiler. My research tells me that this is a solid modeling/effects unit, and the guitar.com agrees with me. Here is what DARRAN CHARLES of Guitar.com has to say about it.

"We put the Mooer Tone Capture engine’s amp-modelling abilities to the test when reviewing the Preamp Live and the results were pretty impressive, so the prospect of testing out ‘guitar mode’ is exciting. We immediately take it to the extreme and attempt to transform our high-output PRS Custom 24 into a single-coil-loaded, maple-neck Telecaster.

Sampling the ‘target’ tone (the guitar you wish to sound like) and then the source tone (the guitar you’ll be using) is a surprisingly short process that takes just over a minute. The results are not as immediately impressive as the amp-modelling mode – certain nuances of the guitar are captured, but even though three frequency-band controls are provided for fine-tuning, we are never able to achieve a perfect facsimile of our Telecaster’s tone through our PRS. However, it must be said that the result is a decent-enough approximation."

 

Sounds pretty great right? What about the presets though? Are they any good? How do they compare to say Fractal Audio's Modelers? Here's what DARRAN CHARLES said.

"Moving along the presets, we find ourselves transfixed by ‘USGOLD 100’ – a profile of the mighty Friedman BE100. There is a wonderful depth of tone to this model and its dynamic responsiveness adds to the illusion we’re playing through a real amp. It’s fair to say that we’re now at the stage in the evolution of digital modelling technology during which subjective appraisal is more concerned with nuanced attributes such as depth of tone or dynamic response than ‘good’ or ‘bad’, with the higher-priced stalwarts Fractal and Kemper still providing the benchmark."

  • Flagship amp/effects processor with uncompromising sound quality and unmatched expressiveness

  • Industry-leading 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating-point processing, and 96 kHz sampling rate throughout

  • Next-generation BOSS DSP engine, custom Designed specifically for music applications

  • Aird (augmented Impulse response dynamics) technology realizes boss’s acclaimed tube Logic concept in a digital guitar processor, delivering natural feel and optimized integration with all types of external devices

  • Highly expressive amplifiers, meticulously crafted with airy

  • Massive selection of Onboard effects, including BOSS mDP effects and algorithms directly ported from the dvd-500, md-500, and rv-500 pedals

  • Amps and effects can be routed in numerous Series and parallel combinations

Until writing this guitar effects processor guide, I had completely forgotten about the Boss ME Processor I used to own. It was the second guitar effects processor I ever used. The particular model evaded my memory, and so I had to search hundreds of Google Images for it. I FOUND IT! It was the Boss ME-30 Multi Effects MIJ Effects Pedal  (Circa 1998-2001)   

 

I can remeber plugging one set of headphones into it, and another set of headphones into my CD player. Yes thats right, I had to wear two sets of headphones, one over top the other set. (This was before manufacturers wised up, and started putting "Line In" jacks for mp3 players, so you could practice quietly.) Anyways, as I recall, I had a hell of a lot of fun with that ME-30, and it did exactly what it was designed to do. My personal experience, combined with the reputation BOSS has earned, is what got the BOSS GT-1000 on this list.

The GT-1000 is loaded with immensely expressive guitar amplifiers, all meticulously crafted with AIRD. In contrast to traditional modeling methods, AIRD reproduces the complex internal component interactions of tube amps in every way, from guitar input to speaker output and everything in-between. The result is a complete interactive system that’s a living, breathing instrument, just like your favorite high-end tube amp.

 

The tube amplifiers that guitarists love are interactive, highly expressive musical instruments that are far more the sum of their individual components. The Tube Logic design philosophy fully realizes this interactive experience, and it’s been hugely successful in the self-contained guitar amps where it’s been employed. However, bringing this approach to a guitar processor like the GT-1000 introduces many challenges, because players will use it with a variety of external amplification systems that add their own characteristics to the sound. BOSS developed AIRD to address these challenges, employing sophisticated techniques to ensure that the GT-1000’s groundbreaking musical response can be consistently experienced with any rig.​

Digitech RP1000 Multi FX board is an example of Digital Guitar Effects.

When I was eleven years old I got my first electric guitar; It was a royal blue Peavey Predator Plus. I had a tiny little practice amp for it. I had no clue what guitar effects were. During that summer, I got lucky and found a Digitech RP5 guitar processor. I got it for like five dollars. That is how I got my first taste of multi-fx pedals.

I have been a fan of Digitech ever since. I used that RP5 for years and years and the only time it ever let me down was due to the power cord shorting out. I had it fixed and kept using it. Digitech makes multi-fx affordable for guitarists. They consistently put out very solid products. If your budget is tight but you still want the capability to make great tone, then this could be your best bet.

  • Effect switching system offers control over external and internal stompboxes and effects

  • Exclusive Pedalboard Mode provides on/off and realtime control to any five RP1000 effects or parameters

  • Amp/Cabinet Bypass defeats internal amplifiers and cabinets in all presets

  • Built-in Phrase Looper

  • Built-in expression pedal controls the Digitech RP1000's Whammy, wahs, volume, and other parameters

  • Built-in chromatic tuner

  • Switchable Stompbox Loop for control of external stompboxes and effects

  • Switchable Amp Loop to retain your amp's tone

  • 40 Tone and 40 Effects Libraries

  • 200 presets (100 factory, 100 user)

  • Over 160 effects including stompboxes, choruses, delays, amps, and cabinets

Your sound is king. The control of your sound is imperative. The RP1000 gives you added control to express yourself the way you want –The RP1000 integrates into your amp and with your stompboxes, not the other way around. Featuring exclusive Stompbox and Amp loops, the RP1000 doesn’t get in the way of your tone and switches external stompboxes in and out of the signal path like large pro rigs.

You get instant access to both preset changes and stompbox on/off control, truly the best of both worlds. Phrase Looper. The RP1000’s built-in Phrase Looper lets you create on the fly performance loops for practicing, composing, and performing. 

 

The RP1000 is built like a tank from a cast metal chassis to the 14 heavy-duty switches. A large 10 character LED display makes for easy stage use topped by an built-in expression pedal to control wahs, volume, Whammy™ and other parameters. No matter how you get your tone, the RP1000 works with your gear and gives you the control you need when playing live.

  • 300+ world-class amps and effects, including 48 HD models

  • 5 FX on/off, channel and bank footswitches with colored LED rings

  • Onboard tone control, plus detailed editing via Bluetooth[R] Remote app for Android and iOS

  • Looper Block (Including support for pre/post positioning and footswitch assignments)

  • 128 onboard presets

  • Low-latency DSP and USB recording

  • Search a cloud-based library of thousands of tones

The way I understand it, The Firehawk FX is a simpler, easier to use board than the HD500x. It has less editable parameters and tweakability, but for some players that is a positive thing. I can tell you from experience that the HD500x does require a great deal of time and effort to dial in perfectly. So if you are the type of guitarist that likes to plug in and play rather than adjusting parameters, this could be the better option for you. 

The thing that makes this board stand out from the others is the IOS capability. You can edit your patches and tones from the convenient App. No need to spend your practice time crouched down, twisting knobs and pressing buttons.

Firehawk FX combines world-class tone with intuitive wireless editing, so you can get the perfect sound faster than ever before. The Firehawk Remote app for iOS[R] and Android gives you the power to sculpt great tone, right in the palm of your hand. Choose from over 300 legendary amps and effects—including 48 HD models—and wirelessly control every detail of your sound.

 

You get access to 128 internal presets plus a massive online tone library, making it easy to find the right sound for any recording session, rehearsal or gig.The Firehawk Remote app is compatible on both qualified iOS and Android devices and gives guitarists deep control of their tone right in the palm of their hand.​

FEATURES

  • Extensive collection of award-winning HD amps for authentic tone and feel

  • 100+ studio and stomp effects—use up to eight simultaneously

  • Selectable speaker cabinets and mics

  • Unparalleled flexibility to craft your tones:

  • Stereo FX loop can be inserted anywhere in the signal chain

  • Professional-grade footswitches with bright LED rings

  • Comprehensive I/O includes USB 2.0, MIDI, S/PDIF,

  • Balanced XLR outputs, integrated mic preamp and more

  • Fully assignable MIDI controller

  • Variable input impedance

  • 512 user-writable preset locations

  • Eight set list banks

  • Assignable expression pedal controls amp and effect parameters

  • Integrated 48-second looper with dedicated footswitch

  • Built-in chromatic tuner

  • Tap-tempo footswitch

  • Professional-grade construction with bent metal chassis

  • Downloadable POD® HD500X software editor/patch librarian

   The POD HD500X is the Multi-FX Amp Modeler that I own and use on a weekly basis. When I bought it, it was the go to, all in one pedalboard for Worship Guitarists. It truly is an amazing unit. It is your Amplifier, Guitar Effects Board, MIDI Controller, and Recording Station. One of the best things about this unit is its Flexibility. It can cover your needs whether you play rock, punk, grunge, metal, blues, jazz, country, praise & worship, ambient tones, elevator music.....you name it, it can do it. 

    Its not an incredibly easy unit to dial in. There is a steep learning curve to fully utilize its capability. But, once you finally dial in your perfect patch, its all worth it. I am complimented every week on the clean, crisp, bright tones I make with it. I have never had tones out of real tube amp like I do with this digital amp modeler. The funny thing is, even though I have gotten that perfectly dialed patch, I still keep finding ways to improve the tone. 

   When I load a patch I saved last year, I laugh at my lack of tone. Since I saved that preset last year, I have found a dozen more tweaks that squeeze even better tone out of the POD HD500x. There are a few resources online for really learning this pedalboard. If you don't want to put in that much effort, no problem. I have my patches for sale right here. You will get what you pay for. My patches have hundreds of hours of development behind them. Check them out at The Axe Dr. Store.

  • Kemper’s flagship amplifier modeling processor, now with integrated remote

  • Three operating modes: Browser, Performer, and Profiler

  • Preloaded with hundreds of the most requested guitar/bass Rigs

  • Thousands of free Rigs available in the Rig Exchange cloud

  • Dedicated stomps for Rig cycling, Performance stepping, and stomp toggling

  • Bright display holds up to indoor/outdoor stage environment

  • Loaded with digital and analog I/O

  • Stereo effects loops for integration with your stereo effects pedals

  • MIDI I/O allows for remote switching

  • 1/4" footswitch and expression pedal inputs unlock even greater hands-free performance control

If I could afford it, I would either own this Kemper Profiler or the Line 6 Helix. Both have excellent reputations for creating absolutely brilliant digital guitar tone. As I understand it, the Kemper is used more widely by professionals than the Helix. I could be wrong, but that is the impression I get from the Internet.

What makes the Kemper Profiler so special? Thats easy to answer. The Kemper Profiler records and replicates the ACTUAL TUBE AMPLIFIERS TONE. The Kemper's software and hardware enables it to replicate almost exactly whatever tone you put in front of it.

 

For instance: You have a buddy with a MESA BOOGIE TRIPLE RECTIFIER. You rig up the Rectifer with a mic and get it your tone dialed in. Then you hook the Kemper up to it. The Kemper then sends and receives a series of sound waves to the Rectifier. It stores the results as a copy of that completely unique tone profile.

You now have a super-accurate profile of the amp’s unique dynamics and response to different frequencies and signals. You basically have a digital copy of an analog tube amp. Its CRAZY!

 

The KEMPER PROFILER™ is the leading-edge digital guitar amplifier and all-in-one effects processor.

Hailed as a game-changer by guitarists the world over, the PROFILER™ is the first digital guitar amp to really nail the full and dynamic sound of a guitar or bass amp. This is made possible by a radical, patented technology and concept which we call "PROFILING™".

For decades, the electric guitarist has been shackled to the tube amplifier as the only means of achieving "that sound". This magical combination is by no means ideal - the challenge to achieve a consistent sound from the practice room to the studio, and especially to the stage, continues to frustrate guitarists, just as it has since the early 1940s.

  • Offers the same award-winning HX Modeling as Helix Floor, Helix Rack and Helix Native Uncompromised Helix sound quality with 123 dB of dynamic range Greater DSP power than any other multi-effects processor in its class Robust I/O complement for easy integration and advanced flexibility Preset compatibility with existing Helix products User-friendly Mac/PC editor enables remote editing and IR management

  • The Line 6 Helix LT guitar processor features the same advanced HX Modeling technology found in the Helix Floor and Helix Rack processors

  • With a streamlined I/O complement and hardware configuration, the Helix LT guitar processor delivers the highest levels of performance, flexibility and control in its class

  • The award-winning HX Modeling engine leverages powerful dual-DSP performance to capture and recreate amps, cabs, mics and effects with authenticity and responsiveness

  • A large LCD and touch-sensitive footswitches with color LED rings enable easy usage and fast, smart control

  • Dual DSP-powered HX modeling engine with four discrete stereo signal paths

  • 45 amps

  • 30 cabs

  • 16 mics

  • 70 effects

  • Imports 3rd party 1024/2048 cab IR' (impulse responses)

  • 12 capacitive-sensing footswitches and customizable scribble strips - touch to edit, hold to assign, press to engage

  • Hands-free Pedal Edit mode lays out effect parameters across switches and expression pedal

  • Near-instant footswitch and controller assignment

  • Up to three expression pedals, CV/Expression

It almost doesn't matter what gear you're looking for. Since the Line 6 Helix Multi-effects floorboard processer can be used as a standard amp modeler, a streamlined controller for your rig, your new incredible-sounding guitar interface for recording, or even replace your entire rig, it's pretty much going to have what you need. Line 6's new HX modeling engine gives you all the sounds they're known for, completely redesigned to be the best in the modeling industry. And your rig-integration options are limitless with astoundingly comprehensive I/O. The Line 6 Helix is the professional guitar processor Line 6 was destined to make.​

Frequently Asked Questions

What pedals do I need for worship?

- Strymon Timeline Delay Pedal
- Strymon BigSky (Big Reverbs Pedal)
- Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer or ProCo Rat 2 Overdrive/Fuzz
- Amp Modelers (Fractal Audio AX8, Line 6 Helix, Kemper Profiler)
- Morley M2 Passive Expression/Volume Pedal

What is the best electric guitar for worship?

The short answer is, the one you like to play. However there is a short list of guitars that sound amazing and are particularly well suited to the Worship Genre.

5. Gretsch Double Jet (w/ Bigsby)
4. G&L Doheny or Fender Offset (Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Mustang)
3. G&L ASAT or Fender Telecaster
2. Veritas Mini Master 
1. Veritas Portlander (Used by all guitarists of Bethel Music)

What is the best acoustic guitar for worship?

5. Yamaha LL6M
4. Ovation Celebrity Standard Plus
3. Cordoba C5-CEBK
2. Breedlove Pursuit Concert Mahogany
1. Martin LX1E

What is "Worship Guitar"?

"Worship Guitar" is a niche or style of guitar playing. Many churches have a Praise & Worship Team that leads the congregation in songs, almost like a live concert. There are usually two to three guitarists in any one team. (Along with Bass, Drums, Keyboard/Synth, Vocals, etc.)