What do compressor pedals do

Compressor guitar pedal

Compressor pedal as the name implies, squashes the signal of your sound. The first image that comes to your mind upon listening to the music out of it is the floor and the ceiling. Definitely when you apply the effects of filtering, you are going to stick to this type of guitar pedals.

Photo by (djbyron) / CC BY

The compression is vital when making a part that is being picked by a finger to be audible within a mix. In addition, it ensures that the harp harmonics are preserved within the hard strumming. this guitar pedal can be used in different types of music. in rock and blue music enables you to attain the sustainability without using a lot of distortion.

They make your volume to sound same as that of a blooming flower. Using an expander, the compressor pedal rises the lowest notes of your volume to a level that can be heard. Also, you will find some compressors having a ratio of threshold and compression.

This guitar pedal reduces the volume of those sounds that are loud than needed. This assists in the production of a homogeneous general volume from your guitar together with the amp. Most sound guys always prioritize guitarists who give them signals from this type of guitar- because the signal is consistent.

Putting the genre into consideration, the compressor pedal will have different tones depending how one will exploit them. Guitarists who gain more prefer setting their compressor in a way that they give out a sustainable if not a feedback that can be managed when the volume are low. This enables them to attain of the stack of the Marshall.

This type of pedal can be important when playing country and funk. On other hand it may not be same to a guitarist who depends on clean tones. While there is a misconception that this type of pedals is meant to add sustain, that is not the main reason of the pedal. It is to maintain the output at a uniform level at any time. as the compressor pedal lowers the loud volume notes, it sounds as the quiet most notes. However the concept here cannot be understood if you have no experience about this type of guitar pedals.

The types of compressor pedals include the boss compressor, fender and bends, wampler ego, xotic, joyo overdrive and the compact stomp box guitar pedal.

I know the question that you will ask yourself next is the reason that why you as a guitarist or an aspiring guitarist need to have a compression guitar pedal. Though it can be conspicuous when applied as an effect, the compressor pedal can make your guitar upgrade its rig. It can be conspicuous because you will find yourself having the opposite of what you expect in some other types of guitar. Each time you will pick it in a soft manner you will find it coming out in loud while when you do it hard the sound comes out soft. It is important for newbies to practice enough and be easy when starting using this kind of guitar pedal.

What do compressor pedals do?

The compressor pedal has somehow managed to win the award for the hardest to understand effect pedal in a guitar. A perplexing effect, one is almost sure to say so and not without reason. Many have sat with up to five compressors, contrasted and compared them but still were unable to be sure what they are supposed to be doing. This can be said for every enthusiastic guitarist once in a while. Most discussions among various forums argue about the best compressor pedals which still begs the question; what do these tiny boxes actually do?

Let’s demystify the mysterious effect by telling you the three basic functions a compressor actually has.

Reduces Dynamic Range

The dynamic range basically means how quiet or loud your guitar will be without adjusting settings on the pedalboard, guitar or amp. The sound can either be high or low depending on how hard you pluck the strings. This is where the compressor pedal comes in as it changes all that. The pedal puts the guitar’s volume on a specified range such that no matter how hard or soft you play, the tone of your guitar will have the same volume on the speakers. Now, why would you want this?

Most of the time the music calls for you to retain control of the instrument’s dynamics to keep pace with the voice or even other instruments. Moreso, compressors make sure that every note is heard especially when playing fast even if you hit some notes harder than others.

Alters Your Tone

Reducing the dynamic range comes with some side effects like altering your tone in subtle but important ways. Here’s how.

When you pick up the guitar and play it out loud, the loudest part of the chord is that moment the pick attacks the strings. This is also the moment, incidentally, with the most treble. Warmer tones are heard as the note rings out. A compressor will change this by reducing the volume of the pick hit and consequently the treble volumes while bringing up the rest of the volume of the note which has lower frequencies. It makes your tone fatter and beefier. Compressions often have attack knobs and tone controls that will allow adjustment of the tone.

Adds Sustain

This effect can simply be termed as a focus effect. A tone without compression has one downside to it. Yes, you will play quiet, loud and everything in between, however, none of these notes will last a long time. The compressor pedal will allow you to suitably alter this by adding sustain to your tone. Remember, the pedal decreases the pick hit volume and spreads out to the rest of the note to give the impression of better sustain. The pedal focuses the dynamic range, as we said earlier, which in turn increases the sustain of the guitar. This is one of the main reason why compression effects are much used in solos. They produce sustained singing-like notes great for solos.


A compressor pedal allows you to even out your tone within a specific volume range. You will have control over the dynamic range.



Leave a Comment