Ten buffer options to help you maintain your core guitar-to-amp tone when running multiple pedals and cables.

If you are working with multiple pedals and/or long cable runs, you’re also building capacitance that can suck the life right out of your tone. Luckily, this can be quickly remedied by placing a buffer device—like the 10 options here—in the correct spot in your signal chain.

SOS Buffer

The single knob on this buffer allows you to subtly dial in the highs to be exactly how you need them without getting unwanted interaction with fuzz and wah pedals.

J. ROCKETT AUDIO DESIGNS
$79

C-1

For use at the front or end of your pedalboard and effective for lengthy cable runs, this buffering circuit in a box was designed to restore vitality to your signal.

MOJO HAND FX
$75

BonaFide Buffer

Designed to combat treble-eating constraints put on tone from long cable runs, this buffer has a power-failure mode that automatically switches to true bypass if the power is cut.

TC ELECTRONIC
$69

Vitalizer WV

Wah and volume pedals tend to degrade and color a high-impedance signal’s tone, but players can minimize this degradation by sending these pedals a low-impedance signal via the Vitalizer.

PROVIDENCE
$119

Concord Utility Buffer

This handbuilt buffer can run at 9V or 18V and was designed to bring clarity and high-end sparkle to your input signal that may have been lost due to multiple pedals and cables.

EMERSON CUSTOM
$79

Stowaway

This 100-percent discreet, class-A buffer provides a stable, consistent load to remedy such issues as impedance loading and mismatching that adversely affect a pickup’s character.

MESA/BOOGIE
$99

Buffer

This transparent signal buffer/line driver employs unity buffering to reverse the effects of capacitance without impacting your instrument’s tone or output level.

SUHR
$129

SB-15 Tailbone StageBug

Designed to drive multiple pedals and long cable runs without added noise, this buffer also allows a player to combine two 9V outputs from a power brick and convert them to 15V DC.

RADIAL
$79

Buffer

Conceived to be the complete I/O interface for a pedalboard, this compact, all-analog buffer provides a separate tuner output to keep the tuner out of the audio path.

EMPRESS EFFECTS
$99

Little Black Buffer

Integrating this little box into a signal chain is intended to provide the perfect input impedance to your rig so it can deliver clear, natural tone—no matter how many pedals you’re using.

JHS
$75

Made in Canada, this two-voice guitar features a chambered Mahogany body, carved Swamp Ash top, 25.5” scale Mahogany neck and Rosewood Fingerboard.

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Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.


We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

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A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists

$2,799

Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM
charvel.com

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Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

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