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4 Best Volume Pedals for Swells in 2023

Today we will be checking out 4 of the best volume pedals for swells for you to go ahead and check out.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with volume swells (or swelling), let me catch you up on the details of this nifty-sounding technique. Volume swelling is a technique where the volume of your instrument starts off muted and is slowly turned up AFTER you have strummed a chord or picked a note.

This results in a sound being produced that is best described as a very synth-like or string-like sound.

You can perform volume swells using either a volume pedal or the volume control knob of your guitar. In saying that though, it is much easier to perform this technique with the help of a volume pedal as you only need to use your foot to do it. This may require a bit of dexterity in order to perform some of those faster lines though.

If you are looking for some swelling inspiration, then you should check out guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen. This guy has truly mastered the somewhat underappreciated technique of volume swelling. 

I could honestly talk about volume swelling all day, but we need to get to the main topic of this article before I start losing track of time.

In this article we will be taking a look at the best volume pedals for swelling that are around right now, so you will be able to find a volume pedal that is perfect for you. By the time you finish reading this article we hope that you will have a good understanding of each of the volume pedals that we have listed here today.

So without further ado, let’s go ahead and list our recommendations!

Best Volume Pedals for Swells Comparison Chart

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4 Best Volume Pedals for Swells

1. Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K

Ernie Ball VP JR 250K Volume Pedal, For Passive Signals (P06180)
  • 250k potentiometer
  • Jr size to better fit on pedal boards
  • Mono volume control
  • For passive signal in

Sitting at the top of our list of the best volume pedals for swells is the Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K. If you are familiar with this pedal then this should come as no surprise to you.

This beast was designed for some amazing swells.

The first thing that I want to mention about the VP Jr 250K is that it features a 250k ohm resistant potentiometer, which makes this volume pedal the perfect candidate for use with passive instruments.

In addition to this, the pedal also features a built-in micro taper switch, which provides you with two different swell rates. This micro taper switch can be found underneath the footplate and in close proximity to the area that has all of the input jacks.  

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The VP Jr 250K is incredibly similar to the original Ernie Ball volume pedal, although this one is a bit smaller. In fact, this pedal is 22% smaller than the original, which means that you will be able to fit this pedal easily on any pedalboard.

For those of you that want to know, the total dimensions of the pedal are 4 x 11 x 25 inches.

One of the best things about this pedal is that it is extremely sturdy and tough. If memory serves me right, the housing of this pedal is made from aircraft grade aluminum, which means this pedal is definitely built-to-last for many years to come.

Another thing I would like to point out is that the VP Jr 250K features an input jack for you to plug your tuner into. Some of you may not know this, but this will allow you to silently tune your guitar, which is very handy to have when you are playing live.

If you are looking for a volume pedal that is not only perfect for swelling but is also going to stand the tests of time, then the Ernie Ball VP Jr 250K could be the pedal you have always been looking for.

I have no problem recommending this pedal to musicians of all skill levels who want to start their new career in swelling!

Here is a fantastic video from Reverb that highlights some of the main features of the Ernie Ball VP Jr 250 for you to take a look at:

​2. BOSS FV-500H

Boss FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal - High Impedance
  • High-impedance Volume/Expression Pedal for Guitar or Other High-Impedance Instruments
  • Expression pedal function
  • Heavy-duty aluminum die casting body
  • Adjustable pedal feel (torque)

The BOSS FV-500H takes a close second place on our list today.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this pedal, BOSS has released two different varieties of the FV-500 for their customers to use. There is the FV-500H, which is a high-impedance pedal that is suited for instruments such as guitars, and then there is the FV-500L, which is a low-impedance pedal that is suited for instruments such as keyboards.

Let me start off by saying that the FV-500H is incredibly sturdy. This pedal features a heavy-duty aluminum die-cast body that could probably survive a bomb drop. I am not even kidding when I say that this thing is definitely built to last.

The FV-500 comes in at a modest 2.9 x 4.4 x 11.4 inches in size and weighs a total of 2.7 lbs.

I am personally a big fan of the appearance of the FV-500H. In fact, I think it is the best-looking pedal on our list. So not only is this pedal insanely durable, but it is rather stylish and sleek-looking too.

The FV-500H features a layer of rubber underneath the pedal to stop it from moving. This is quite useful to have if you are someone who often plays live shows. The last thing you would want is to have your pedal moving around when you are trying to use it on stage.

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I know I wouldn’t!

One of the best things about the FV-500H is that it features an input jack for you to connect an expression pedal to the unit. This makes the pedal incredibly versatile and is a feature that is not often seen by most volume pedals.

On the side of the FV-500H, you will notice that there is a minimum volume knob, which is used to adjust the minimum volume level of the pedal. This control knob is vital if you use an electric guitar as it allows you to reduce the volume without sacrificing signal clarity and integrity.

Overall, the BOSS FV-500H is an insanely durable volume pedal that will make you wish you had gotten one earlier. With a pedal like this, you will become a master of swelling in no time.

Below is a promotional video from BOSS on the FV-500H/FV-500L:

3. Dunlop DVP4 Volume (X) Mini Pedal

Jim Dunlop Volume X Mini Pedal
  • Controls volume levels and FX parameters
  • Low Friction Band-Drive for smooth, durable performance
  • AUX output for switchable tuner/expression functionality
  • Item Package Dimension: 6.7322834577L x 3.4251968469W x 3.3858267682H inches
  • Item Package Weight - 1.4770971554 Pounds

The Dunlop DCP4 Volume (X) Mini Pedal is the smallest volume pedal on our list today. In fact, it comes in at only 2.5 x 3 x 6 inches, which means that it will fit perfectly on any pedalboard (no matter what the size!).

It is so small that it can easily fit in the palm of your hand!

Don’t get me wrong… this pedal may be small, but it still packs a big punch. Surprisingly, this pedal is also very durable too, which makes me think that size doesn’t mean everything after all.

You will find that the Volume (X) Mini comes in a heavy-duty die-cast metal case that feels very beefy and sturdy. It makes me think that the pedal is going to last for quite a long time on my pedalboard.

The Volume (X) Mini is able to control the volume of your instrument and effects pedals with a high amount of precision. This pedal can do everything that the original DVP3 can do while being only half its size.

One of the best things about the Volume (X) Mini, in my opinion, is that you are able to adjust the tension of the rocker, which gives you a huge amount of flexibility while using the pedal. You can adjust the tension of the rocker to a level that is most comfortable to you.

If you turn the pedal upside down and remove the cover you will notice that there are two DIP switches located here. The top DIP switch allows you to select whether the AUX jack will be a TUNER OUT or an EXPRESSION OUT. This will be set to EXPRESSION OUT by default when you first start using the pedal.

I personally like to run a tuner through my volume pedal to keep the tuner outside of the signal chain.

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The second DIP switch is used to toggle the heel/toe polarity. There’s not really too much I need to say about that one.

Overall, the Dunlop DVP4 Volume (X) Mini Pedal is a fantastic volume pedal that can be used for swells. If you are on the market for a miniature-sizes volume pedal, then the DVP4 would be the perfect fit for you.

You can hear how the DVP4 sounds if you watch the following video:

​4. Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal

Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal (P06110)
  • Limited Edition Black finish on the compact sized pedal chassis
  • Improved Kevlar cord for precise volume control
  • Works with Active or passive Signals
  • Switchable taper for two distinct swell rates
  • No power required

Taking out the final spot on our list today is none other than the Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal.

If you know anything about effects pedals then there is a good chance you have heard of Ernie Ball before. Ernie Ball is a company that released their first volume pedal back in 1977, which just shows how long they have been in the volume pedal game for.

Ernie Ball volume pedals are known for being pretty much indestructible. The 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal is a limited edition model that features a couple of upgrades from the original version. One of these changes is the new and improved slate black finish that compliments the rugged all-metal casing of the unit.

One of the things that separate the 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal from some of the other volume pedals out there right now is that it features an extremely durable PVC coated braided Kevlar cord. This Kevlar cord not only helps you be more precise with your volume control, but it also makes it much smoother too.

As this volume pedal is a passive unit, you won’t need to plug it in or use a battery to get it up and running. Just plug in your instrument and away you go!

The 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal has been designed to work with both passive and active audio signals. Most volume pedals will be designed to work with either high or low-impedance instruments, but this pedal solves this problem completely by working with both.

I am a massive fan of the design and overall appearance of the 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal. It’s definitely a jaw-dropper that’s for sure.

More importantly, the 40th Anniversary Volume is a fantastic volume pedal for swelling. If you are on the lookout for a volume pedal that is simplistic, extremely durable, and will let you swell like a king, then this pedal is definitely one to look at.

For the sake of convenience we have added a video that demonstrates some of the capabilities of this volume pedal for you to check out:

​Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it guys!

We had a fantastic time checking out all of the best volume pedals for swells, and we hope you had just as much fun reading through our recommendations.

If you guys have any question or comments in regards to our recommendations today then feel free to send us a message. We would love to hear from you guys!

Mac Sarcule

Monday 27th of September 2021

Holy crap, that Ernie Ball pedal is 25 inches long.