In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: February 01, 2021
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Are you looking for something to elevate and enhance the sounds and riffs from your guitar? Then look no further because you can achieve that with the best whammy pedal! Many guitarists are always on the prowl to find ways to alter the sounds of their riffs. What many famous musicians and bands have figured out, including Rage Against the Machine, is that you need to use a whammy pedal to get those unique and overdriven tones.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the five best whammy pedals. This guide will focus on a few key important traits such as true bypass, effects, inputs and outputs, dimensions, and weight. It is our hope that you learn as much as you can about these amazing whammy pedals and find one that suits your guitar-playing style. As you’ll find out, these features are all important in ensuring that the whammy pedal is an effective tool to get the desired sound.
The 5th generation of the DigiTech whammy pedal presents arguably their best product, the Digitech Whammy 5 Multi-Effects Pedal. It is our Editor’s Choice because it has incredible versatility in producing amazing riffs and is generally well-regarded for its overall superb quality.
Since this is the latest model by DigiTech, it comes with more functionality and is an updated model but with the classic whammy interface that guitarists will recognize. Like all of the DigiTech whammy pedals, this 5th generation model has true bypass. In terms of effects, this one brings you the familiar hair-raising dive bomb effect to go along with ones that you have already heard – harmony and whammy. This version also includes a Classic/Chords mode, which allows you to switch between a single note and chords with ease. This is the essence of this model that also provides you with the ultimate pitch-shifting effects! Despite the epic pitch-shifting effects, you can also expect this 5th generation model to preserve your deep tones at all times, ensuring much better and smoother riffs.
This whammy pedal also comes with its own AC adapter and cannot be powered by the battery. The vast majority of owners of this whammy pedal are incredibly thrilled with it. However, among notable complaints from those who weren’t, they said that the product they received didn’t even work.
What we liked:
Great overall performance
Produces dive bomb effect
Switch between single note and whammy mode with Classic/Chords settings
Sometimes the price of a product can be the most influential factor in your purchasing decision. While the best whammy pedals are generally fairly priced, some of them can be a bit more expensive than others. However, if you’re looking for a whammy pedal that will do the basic tricks and one that is lower in price, you should check out our pick for Best Value, the DigiTech Whammy Ricochet.
The Whammy Ricochet also has true bypass and a line IN and OUT. In terms of modes, the Ricochet can produce pitch, ballistics, momentary, and range effects. To find the right pitch, you should use the toggle to select the one you’re looking for, and you can select from a 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, Octave, Double Octave, and Octave+Dry. And while the best whammy pedals aren’t very heavy, the Whammy Ricochet is particularly much lighter than the other models on our list as it weighs less than one pound! As for taking it with you, it’s also very easy as well since it is only 5 inches tall, 3 inches wide, and with a depth of fewer than 2 inches.
An extra bonus with the Whammy Ricochet is that it also comes with an AC adapter (it doesn’t run on batteries), and it also comes with two Strukture S6P48 right angle guitar patch cables that are approximately 6-inches in length. Most of the people who bought the Whammy Ricochet were very happy with the basic effects it produced. However, a few people did mention that they would like to have more of them.
If you’re on the hunt for a whammy pedal that truly brings everything to the table, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that brings more than the DigiTech Whammy DT. However, quality and effects come at a price, and the Whammy DT is our premium option here.
As the title suggests, the Whammy DT is significantly higher in price than the other DigiTech models on our list. It’s because of its top-quality build and design and the tremendous amount of effects it offers. Also, if you’re a fan of those dirty and overdriven tones, this pedal is right for you! This true bypass whammy pedal produces effects such as harmony, detune, whammy, dive bomb, and drop tune. The last one is perhaps the most important as it can shift your tune either up or down, and you can even mix them with the harmony and whammy effects to give off some unique sounds. The Whammy DT also has a momentary switch that allows you to drop tune setting in and out and prevents you from having to add more effects to the chain.
It’s fairly compact in size as it measures to 7.7 inches wide and 8.2 inches tall. It weighs 3.53 pounds and, like the other whammy pedals, is very easy to transport. Furthermore, many guitar players love the Whammy DT. However, some of them wish that it could produce more clear tones.
What we liked:
High quality build and effects
Drop tune can shift tune and be mixed with other effects
Sometimes companies realize that their product could use a boost or an upgrade. That’s exactly what DigiTech did with their Whammy Pedal Re-issue with MIDI Control.
This pedal is much like the previous version as it offers the same even pitch bends to go along with great detuning and fast harmony shifts. The biggest addition with this whammy pedal, and it’s given away in its name, is that it incorporates a MIDI input, which gives you more flexibility so that you can control the whammy pedal with a controller. On top of this, the addition of the dive bomb setting will only further help to improve your experience. Much like the other DigiTech whammy pedals, this one also uses LED lights to denote which setting you have selected and makes use of the knob to turn to the setting that you want. There is also an AC adapter included with this model.
As for its size, it doesn’t require much space and measures out to 8 inches tall and 6.3 inches wide with a depth of 2.5 inches. It weighs 3.5 pounds, which means that it is light and compact enough to be easily transported in your backpack. Unfortunately, despite the upgrades, many of the users who purchased this version say the price wasn’t worth it.
We didn’t forget about bassists and their desire to create unique sounds using a whammy pedal. With this DigiTech Bass Whammy 5, everything becomes possible.
The difference between the other whammy pedals on this list and this one, in particular, is that this pitch-shifting effects pedal is optimized for bass frequencies. Like the other whammy pedals on our list, it features true bypass and has many of the same effects as the other DigiTech whammy pedals, including harmony, whammy, detuning, and dive bomb. In total, it has an incredible 21 different pitch settings. Using the whammy preset will give you all of the pitch-bending ranges, which makes it very interesting to play with. The harmony setting it can produce tons of fun by warping each tone. This bass whammy pedal comes with its own 9V AC adapter as well as with a few different cables.
In terms of dimensions, this bass whammy pedal is very similar to other models. However, it weighs 4.34 pounds, which is a bit more than we’ve already seen with previous models. The majority of bassists love using this bass whammy pedal. However, a few of them noted that the whammy setting could produce some signal changes despite the pedal being in the off position.
What we liked:
Variety of effects for bass frequencies
Excellent build quality
21 different pitch settings
Comes with adapter and cables
What could be better:
Signal alteration in whammy setting
Slightly heavier than other whammy pedals
Things to Consider
It’s now time to turn our attention to the buying guide. These models are some of the best on the market, and it can be hard to pick the right one. In this section, we’ll cover in more detail some of the individual features that make these five DigiTech whammy pedals excellent to help you with your final decision. We’ll also answer some of the commonly asked questions, and then we’ll wrap it up by giving you our top three choices.
Reasons to purchase a whammy pedal
If you’re really digging playing the guitar, purchasing a whammy pedal will help enhance your experience and ensure you’re rocking out like some of your favorite stars! If you’re a fan of music by Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, then you’ll definitely be familiar with the creative sounds that the whammy pedal can create. This is one of the best accessory’s guitarists can use because of its incredible versatility in producing a wide range of effects for your high-powered riffs. The unique pitch-altering effect it provides is what motivates guitarists to use and master it. Guitarists love it because the pedal is great at replicating the sound that is commonly found on the guitar with the vibrato or whammy bar. Much like the whammy bar, the whammy pedal gives you the ability to easily and creatively bend your notes up or down and at multiple intervals.
Guitarists find the whammy pedals more convenient than the whammy bars because they avoid the tuning hassles that can come from the latter.
How to pick the best whammy pedal?
DigiTech are the pioneers and market leaders in the whammy pedal market, and they easily produce the best ones on the market today. In picking the best whammy pedal, you’ll also want to ensure that the instrument you play will be compatible with it. While the vast majority of musicians who use the whammy pedal connect their guitars to them, there is a handful of other instruments that also work with it. In choosing the best whammy pedal, you’ll also want to take into consideration the effects it can make, whether it’s true bypass, the number of inputs and outputs, and its size, weight, and portability.
What instrument do you play?
In trying to pick the best whammy pedal, you need to take into consideration the instrument you play. Generally speaking, the whammy pedal is best suited for people who play the guitar or bass as it allows for amazing pitch-altering effects and unique sounds. All of the whammy pedals from our list are designed for guitars, such as seen with the Digitech Whammy 5 Multi-Effects Pedal, or bass guitars, like the DigiTech Bass Whammy 5. However, if you’re able to connect your instrument to the input jack on the whammy pedal, you should be able to alter the pitch as well. For instance, some ukuleles allow you to connect them to whammy pedals. Keyboards and electric pianos can be used with those as well.
The effects of the whammy pedal are the main reason why you are going to be purchasing one, and there are a few notable ones. Dive bomb is perhaps the most infamous effect on a whammy pedal, and it allows you to bend your input note three octaves down. Whammy, harmony, and detune are also other popular effects, and the differences between them are that harmony effect has dry signal added to the instrument, whereas whammy and detune alter the tone. The effects on the whammy pedal are selected by using and turning the knob to the desired effect, and the effect in use is highlighted by an LED light, such as with the DigiTech Whammy DT.
You’ll notice that all of the best whammy pedals feature true bypass. True bypass plays a critical role in the effects generated by the pedal. Think of it as a wire that is connected from the input to the output of the pedal.
When the bypass mode is turned to off on the pedal, a pedal will allow the guitar signal to route straight to the guitar amp avoiding any interference, loading, or buffering that can be caused by pedals that are in the way.
The best way to verify if the pedal is true bypass is to pull the power plug and check if the guitar signal passes directly through the pedal but only when the effect is off.
Inputs and outputs
Most of the whammy pedals come with a variety of different inputs and outputs, and we’ll explain what they mean. An instrument output means you can connect your instrument through this jack. A MIDI input means you can connect any external device in this port for the purpose of remotely controlling the whammy. The DigiTech Whammy Pedal Re-issue with MIDI Control is a great example here. Next, the power input is rather self-explanatory, and the output jack features a result that you get with your effects, such as a mix of your dry guitar signal and the pitch-shifted signal from the whammy.
Size, weight, and portability
In terms of the dimensions and weight of the best whammy pedals, people will be very happy to know that they are extremely easy to carry around with you to your next show. All whammy pedals are all fairly similar in shape, as they usually have a rectangular housing with a depth of no more than three inches. As for its weight, they generally range from 3-4 pounds, but the DigiTech Whammy Ricochet is the lone exception as it weighs less than 1 pound! Transporting your whammy pedal around is incredibly easy, as you can simply put it into your backpack to take it wherever you want.
The whammy pedal has been in use by notable musicians for a few decades now, and it’s because of the overall great performance of these devices. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for this is the expression pedal, such as seen with the Digitech Whammy 5 Multi-Effects Pedal, which is used to control the amount of pitch-bending of the selected whammy, detune, or harmony effect. Changing the pitch-bending is as easy as pressing on the pedal to increase that or rock it back when needed.
The footswitch input is a hands-free function that allows you to use your foot to change to your desired mode. Depending on the whammy pedal, the two most common footswitch modes are ‘drop tune’ and ‘momentary’.
Whammy pedals have been around since the late 1980s, and they really became popular as an excellent way of producing pitch-shifting effects in the 1990s. Many notable rock bands have used this foot-controlling, pitch-shifting tool for many decades, including Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Jack White of The White Stripes, Noel Gallagher of Oasis. All of these artists have been using the whammy pedal for years, and they swear by the use of its ease and effectiveness in producing different pitches and amazing sounds. As you can see, whammy pedals are not that old at all.
Generally speaking, you can use the whammy pedal in just about any type of genre of music that benefits from pitch-altering. More typically, though, the whammy pedal is more effective in rock and roll and alternative genres of music because of the intensity of the chords played that require different pitches. A good example of a song with a range of pitches is Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name of.” You can also hear different effects of a whammy pedal that are utilized in one song to create tremendous pitch-altering effects and a unique and distinct sound. Whammy pedals are also very good for anyone who just wants to jam out as well and create their own vibrant sounds.
Connecting your whammy pedal is very easy to do and can be done just like with any pedal. First, connect your instrument to the input jack of the whammy pedal. Next, from the output jack, connect your whammy pedal to distortion pedal or amp to bring the sound to life. After that, plug the adapter in the wall socket, turn on your amp and set it to the desired level of volume to begin playing. As for the position of your whammy pedal on their chain, many users prefer putting it first as we’ve just described so that it tracks better, but a few musicians also like putting it after compression and distortion. You should definitely try and play around with it in different spots to see how you like the sound.
In our final verdict, we are ready to give you our top three choices.
As our first product, we have our Editor’s Choice, the Digitech Whammy 5 Multi-Effects Pedal. We love the overall quality of this whammy pedal. It has the classic whammy interface with updated functionality and a wide variety of effects.
Next up, the DigiTech Whammy Ricochet is an excellent affordable option that can be used as a great introductory whammy pedal. On top of being the most affordable whammy pedal on our list, it also is the smallest and lightest and makes it very easy to transport around.
Lastly, the DigiTech Whammy DT is a very well-designed model that gives guitarists those dirty and overdriven tones they seek. We also how the drop tune alters the tones and how it sounds with other effects. It’s no wonder why we’ve included this model in our list of the best whammy pedals.