5 Boost Pedals Every Guitarist Needs to Know

Boost pedals are one of the most overlooked but powerful effects you can have on your pedalboard. Within a single—often compact—stompbox, they give you access to high-gain tones, solo boosts, line-driving buffers, and even out volume differences between guitars. They are the Swiss Army knives of the pedal world. And they’re usually straightforward to use.

Not all boost pedals are created equal, however. A glance through the selection of your favorite retailer will often reveal clean boosts, EQ pedals, treble boosters, preamp boosters, and dedicated line drivers. Each of the designs has its own sonic characteristics that make them ideal for various playing situations.

Pickup Booster™


EQ Pedals:

Though not specifically boost pedals, a great graphic EQ pedal may be the most versatile boost out there. Most feature a ton of headroom and the ability to boost separate frequencies, as well as an overall volume slider for even more output. By tweaking each control to your liking, you’ll get a finely tuned boost that gives more of what you want and none of what you don’t.


Treble Boosters:

Vintage and boutique-style amps often sound great cranked up. But push them too hard, and you end up with a flubby low end. Treble boosters, like the legendary Dallas Rangemaster, fix this by driving your amp’s mids and treble into harmonically rich gain without disturbing its natural lows. If you—like Brian May, Tony Iommi, and countless other rock legends—like driving your power tubes, but want a tight bottom end, treble boosters are where it’s at.



Preamp pedals are boosts that offer control over the most guitar-friendly frequencies. As their name implies, many of them, such as the Seymour Duncan Palladium, can be used as the front end of your entire rig. Other preamp boosts are pedal versions of the preamplifier circuits of such legendary gear as the EP-1 and EP-2 Echoplex tape delays. Those preamps have a signature sound that players have been after ever since. These preamp boosts are voiced to give the same character as those original, injecting their tonal magic.


Line Drivers:

While all boost pedals can drive a signal chain, line driver pedals are specifically designed for the job. These buffered circuits match impedances, amplify the signal, and send it to your amp as if your guitar were plugged straight in.


Clean Boosts:

Clean boost pedals may be the most popular version of the boost world. They take your guitar’s natural signal and offer dramatically increased output without changing the tone. This ‘flat” EQ makes them incredibly popular for a wide range of applications. Their volume-boosting capabilities retain your original tone, and they’ll drive your amp or pedals’ front end. They’ also ideal for balancing the levels of different guitars and as always-on tonal sweeteners.

When it comes to clean boost pedals, our favorite is – unsurprisingly – the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster. Though it is the patriarch of the entire Seymour Duncan effects line, it wasn’t supposed to be a pedal at all. We initially designed the Pickup Booster’s circuit as an onboard, active boost for Jackson guitars. It was called the Fire Storm. But it didn’t take long for artists to start requesting it in pedal form for use with a broader range of guitars. And that’s how the first Seymour Duncan pedal came to be.
clean boost pedal

The Pickup Booster definitely covers all of the clean boost requirements. But we also gave it a few added tricks to make it one of the most flexible clean boosts on the market.

3-position resonance switch

Enjoy a perfectly flat EQ setting or boost your thinner-sounding bridge single-coil with two warmer, humbucker voices for fat, singing sustain.

Unity, 0dB gain setting

Turns the pedal into a pristine-sounding line driver for long signal chains.


Can be run anywhere from 9- to 18-volts for increased headroom and power.

True bypass

When disengaged, the Pickup Booster passes your signal, untouched.

Made in America

Like all Seymour Duncan pedals, the Pickup Booster is crafted right here in California, USA.

All of these little additions add up to a powerful, flexible, and fantastic-sounding boost pedal that has a home in every guitarist’s arsenal.

  • Crank up the flat EQ mode and place it after your overdrive pedals into the front of a clean amp for a guitar solo volume bump.
  • Set it on unity gain and drop it at the front of your effects chain. You’ll enjoy incredible guitar/amp interaction.
  • Place it in front of your gain pedals or dirty amp to slam it into thick, sustaining submission.

The Pickup Booster can do it all.

Hi-Def Boost & Line Driver clean boost pedal

As you can see, we really love the Pickup Booster. Whether it’s because it was our first, or because we genuinely feel it’s the best on the market, we can’t get enough of this little powerhouse. So, to celebrate its popularity, we introduced a Blacked-Out version. It’s everything we all love about the original model with an aggressive and lower-profile look. So, whether you have yet to experience the Pickup Booster, or you want a killer-looking mate for the one you already have, grab yourself a Blacked Out Pickup Booster.

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