If you didn’t know this already, an EQ pedal can take your entire guitar tone to the next level. With the added flexibility you can take an incredible sounding setup and add some extra polish to it. Take out those muddy low mids, add some extra bite, or even use it as a boost for solos.

But which one is right for you?

We’re going to look at the difference between a graphic EQ and a parametric EQ, their pros and cons, and how to pick what’s right for you.

Graphic EQ

Graphic EQ’s give you a series of sliders to boost or cut different frequencies. These frequencies are pre-set, they are decided for you by the manufacturer. You’ll have 6-10 bands (typically more on rackmount gear or VST’s) that span across most of the frequency range.

These frequency bands are chosen based on important areas of a guitar’s sound. For example, there isn’t a lot of useful information in the 10kHz+ frequency range for guitars, and that information is often filtered out in a mix, so they provide you with sliders that act on more useful areas for your instrument.

The sliders simply boost or cut the volume at those specific frequencies. You can boost areas you like, and cut areas that are muddy or harsh.

Parametric EQ

On the other hand, a parametric EQ gives you full control over your adjustments. Your frequency bands are no longer decided for you, but are sweepable.

Not only can you choose what frequencies you’d like to modify, but you are often able to adjust how wide your adjustment is, or how many of the frequencies around your selection will also be impacted.

This allows you to get far more specific and precise with your adjustments, and can be extremely useful for things as simple as switching guitars. You may find one of your guitars is muddy at 200Hz, and another one benefits more from cutting at 250Hz.

The downside to a parametric EQ is that you’re likely going to be left with less bands to work with. On a pedal EQ it’s an issue of real-estate within the enclosure, as well as the cost of parts. A graphic EQ is just a single slider control per band, but a parametric EQ would need a control for frequency selection, boost/cut, and width of the band.

Which One Is Right For Me?

If you’re really not the kind of person to go through tons and tons of tweaking options to get the perfect-god-tier-guitar-tone, a graphic EQ is a great solution. You get enough frequency control that if you only need to cut out a bit of mud from a guitar now and then, you have that option.

If you want to really polish up your guitar tone and refine your amp even further, a parametric EQ will give you all the flexibility you could possibly want, although likely with a few less bands available to you.

Most players will only need a graphic EQ, in which case we highly recommend the MXR 6-band EQ or 10-band EQ. They have fantastically tuned frequency ranges at a great price.

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