Chorus is perhaps the most cherished of the modulation effects when it comes to audio, especially on guitar and bass. A top-level chorus pedal can really step up the sound of our guitar (or bass) and make us sound much larger, sonically, than we actually are.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top 11 best chorus pedals in the world. To be more precise, there will be the 6 best chorus pedals for guitar and the 5 best pedals for bass, though we can certainly swap instruments and plug into any of the 11 to great effect.
The top 6 best chorus pedals for guitar are:
- TC Electronic Stereo Chorus +
- Boss CE-2W Waza Craft
- Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
- Fender Bubbler Chorus
- Strymon Deco
- EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine
The top 5 best chorus pedals for bass guitar are:
- Hartke HC33
- Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus
- Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone
- Eden I90 World Tour
- Carl Martin Bass Chorus
On a list like this, it’s difficult to be completely objective. These 11 pedals are partly subjected to my personal opinions and taste. I’d expect the next person would have a different “top 11” list, though I would hope that there would be some [objective] overlap.
That being said, I believe each of the pedals mentioned in this article would make a great choice for anyones pedalboard!
Let’s discuss each pedal on this list and the reasons why they are the best.
What Are Chorus Pedals & How Do They Work?
Chorus pedals are modulation pedals that produce the chorus effect by duplicating the input signal and detuning each copy by varying amounts.
Chorus is a modulation effect that produces copies of a signal. The original signal and each of the copies have its own “voice”. The chorus effect then detunes each voice to produce a widening and thickening of the sound. Each voice interacts with the other voices to produce slight modulation and an overall larger-than-life sound.
The chorus effect essentially adds multiple voices, detunes each by a set amount and applied a vibrato effect to alter the pitch of each voice over time. Each voice acts independently of the others.
The rate setting of a chorus pedal determines the speed of the “vibrato” effect in each of the voices. Depth, on the other hand, controls the amount of pitch variation applied to each voice.
This produces an effect similar to a chorus (hence the name) of people singing: multiple voices singing the same note, each slightly out of tune.
Chorus, like other modulation effects, typically sounds best when put after the gain-based effects and before the time-based effects in a pedalboard signal chain.
Related article: How To Order Guitar/Bass Pedals (Ultimate Signal Flow Guide)
With that being said, let’s talk about some delay pedals!
For a more in-depth article on chorus pedals, check out my article What Are Chorus Pedals (Guitar/Bass FX) & How Do They Work?
TC Electronic Stereo Chorus +
The versatile TC Electronic Stereo Chorus + (link to check the price on Amazon) is one of the most famous chorus pedals ever.
The TC SCF (Stereo Chorus + Pitch Modulator & Flanger) pedal has been making a name for itself since 1976 as one of the go-to modulation units for musicians around the world. The original was way ahead of its time. It was the first pedal to ever be produced by TC and has become a favourite of musicians across the globe.
Though it sounds great on guitar (as it was intended), the SCF also sounds awesome on keyboards, synths and bass guitars. This low-noise pedal has an incredible dynamic range and 3 awesome modulation effects including, of course, chorus.
The TC SCF makes this list for its chorus effect. Though I haven’t included it in the top vibrato and top flanger pedals (click the links to check out those articles), this pedal would also be a top contender for these effects types as well. I decided it would be best to only include the SCF in the best chorus pedals article.
With that, let’s have a look at the 3 superb stereo effects the TC Electronic Stereo Chorus+ offers. Note that each effect can also be used in mono:
- Chorus: the pedal mixes multiple modulated delay copies to the direct signal to produce a widening effect.
- Flanger: the pedal mixes a modulated delayed copy to the direct signal. It uses feedback and shorter delay times than chorus.
- Pitch Modulation: produces a vibrato effect that can be mixed with the direct signal for a lighter chorus effect.
For more information on flanger, vibrato and pitch modulation pedals, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• What Are Flanger Pedals (Guitar/Bass FX) & How Do They Work?
• What Are Vibrato Guitar Effects Pedals & How Do They Work?
• What Are Pitch-Shifting Guitar Pedals & How Do They Work?
Let’s have a look at the Stereo Chorus+ controls:
- Speed knob: controls the rate of the sweep from 0.1 Hz (1 sweep per 10 seconds) or 10 Hz (10 sweeps per second).
- Intensity knob: mode dependent:
- Chorus mode: blends between chorus and clean signal.
- Flanger mode: controls the strength of the comb filter phasing of the signal.
- Pitch Modulation mode: blends vibrato and chorus.
- Mode toggle switch: switches between Chorus, Flanger and Pitch Modulation modes.
- Width knob: determines how wide a modulation (sweep) is produced.
We can ever connect a simple momentary switch here via the External Bypass jack to control the bypass function remotely if we wanted to.
The SCF is simply amazing and considering it was first introduced in 1976 makes it even more impressive. If you’re after a super chorus pedal and like having the extra versatility of flanger and vibrato, look no further than the TC Electronic SCF Stereo Chorus+.
I could end the article here. However, we’ve got 10 more awesome chorus pedals to discuss if you’re interested in other options!
TC Electronic is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boss CE-2W Waza Craft
Next is the Boss CE-2W Waza Craft (link to check the price on Amazon). We really can’t go wrong with Boss, especially with a chorus pedal as good as the CE-2w.
The Boss CE-2W is a newer pedal based on two of Boss’s most legendary chorus pedals from the 1970s: the CE-1 Chorus Ensemble (the world’s first chorus pedal) and the CE-2. The Waza Craft version combines these two pedals into one. Released in 2016, it celebrated the 40th year of Boss’s influential innovation in the pedal world.
This pedal features premium all-analog circuitry with bucket-brigade (BBD) delay lines and has 3 modes:
- CE-2 Chorus (now in stereo)
- CE-1 Chorus (with adjustable depth)
- CE-1 Vibrato
With two simple-to-understand controls:
- Rate knob: adjusts the rate of the chorus.
- Depth knob: adjusts the depth of the chorus.
Experience the vintage chorus effects that helped to make Boss one of the most respected manufacturers in the pedal game with the Waza Craft CE-2W. This pedal is more like two of the best rather than one of the best pedals of the world, earning it a definite spot on this list.
Boss is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Electro-Harmonix Small Clone
Next up is the classic and compact (for EHX) Electro-Harmonix Small Clone (link to check the price on Amazon).
The Small Clone is a superb and easy-to-use chorus pedal.
It has a Rate knob to continuously adjust the speed of the chorus sweep and a Depth switch to choose one of two settings for the chorus intensity.
This simplicity doesn’t take away from the sonic quality of the EHX Small Clone. In fact, it does the opposite. It makes it easier for us to find a setting that sounds just right for our chorus needs.
From clear, rich and dimensional to warm and pulsating, this straightforward classic chorus pedal offers it all! It sounds awesome and gets a well-deserved spot on this list.
Electro-Harmonix is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Fender Bubbler Chorus
The legendary guitar brand also produces superb pedals. The Fender Bubbler Chorus (link to check the price on Amazon) is proof of that.
Fender’s Bubbler Chorus is a truly modern analog chorus pedal inspired by vintage sound. It allows us to dial in classic chorus tones with just the right amount of dimension to suit our needs.
This stereo pedal offers left and right outputs to better fill a large stereo field. It also features two speeds, selectable via the Slow/Fast footswitch though these two speeds are not linked to the right and left channels.
Rather, the Slow and Fast settings can be toggled between by pressing the footswitch. Alternatively, the pedal will ramp between the speeds relatively to the playing dynamic. Playing softly (low input signal) will trigger the slow chorus while playing heavier (high input signal) will ramp up to the faster chorus.
Each speed has its own rate and depth controls. The Level knob controls the amount of the chorused signal that gets added to the dry/direct signal.
Hit the toggle switch to alter the modulating LFO between sine and triangle waves.
Breathe new life into classic analog chorus with the awesome Bubble Chorus from the legendary guitar manufacturer, Fender. You will not be disappointed!
Fender is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
The Strymon Deco (link to check the price on Amazon) is another chorus pedal that ranks among the best in the world.
The Strymon Deco is digital tape saturation and doubletracker pedal inspired by and designed to emulate the sound of vintage tape machines.
The Deco brings a huge range of beautiful, distinctive, and enveloping tape emulation sounds to a compact and versatile stereo pedal.
The tape saturation smooths out the signal and offers lovely harmonic distortion while the doubletracker offers everything from slapback delay to tape flanging to (you guessed it) one of the best chorus sounds out there.
So sure the Deco isn’t a “chorus pedal” but its fully capable of producing chorus effects and sounds incredible in doing so.
There’s a ton of control and versatility to this pedal so we won’t go over it all. Set the Blend Type toggle to Sum; dial the Lag Time downward and increase the Wobble control to get into the realm of chorus with the fantastic Strymon Deco.
Strymon is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine
If you’re looking for something special in your chorus pedal, I’d strongly consider checking out the EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine V3 (link to check the price on Amazon).
The EarthQuaker Devices Sea Machine is one of the most versatile chorus units in existence. From a standard chorus to something otherworldly, this thing will pretty much get you whatever you want with enough tweaking.
Though we haven’t begun talking bass chorus yet, the Sea Machine is equally at home with guitar as it is with bass.
To understand this pedal, let’s have a look at its 6 controls
- Animate: adjusts how far the pitch-shifted signal swings.
- Dimension: adds a slight slap-back at low levels; reverb-like ambiance at mid levels, and an echo-resonance that will lead to self-oscillation at max.
- Intensity: adjusts the amount of modulated signal that gets blended in with the dry signal.
- Depth: adjusts how strongly the LFO modulates the delay time.
- Shape: continuously varies the LFO waveform from triangle wave to square wave as you turn clockwise.
- Rate: sets the speed of the LFO. The miniature LED will blink to the tempo, even in bypass mode.
Each knob has a significant effect on the output of the pedal, allowing for a wild variety of awesome chorus effects from a single unit.
The pedal also features EarthQuaker’s proprietary Flexi-Switch technology, which means that the true bypass switching of the pedal is both latching and momentary simultaneously. hold the pedal for momentary functionality or quickly stomp it as per usual to use it in latching mode.
What else is there to say except that the Sea Machine is one of the best chorus pedals out there!
EarthQuaker Devices is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
The Hartke HC33 (link to check the price at B&H Photo/Video) is a simple but effective chorus pedal that sounds incredibly good on bass guitar.
Hartke’s HC33 is a compact all-analog bass chorus pedal. It’s a pretty straightforward unit that offers us a vibrant chorus effect for our bass guitars.
The pedal has a mono input and output along with 3 control knobs:
- Depth knob: controls the amount of sweep deviation.
- Speed knob: adjusts the speed of the LFO and the chorus effect.
- Blend knob: adjusts the mix of the effected signal and the original signal.
The HC33 is designed with discrete capacitor delays that filter noise and “hold” the signal according to the adjusted Speed amount. This allows the pedal to produce its wonderfully warm yet brilliant analog chorus effect that suits bass guitar so well.
Use the Blend control to maintain solid low-end energy while allowing the chorus to to also be heard clearly.
This true bypass chorus pedal from Hartke is built to last and sounds incredible. It’s among the best bass chorus pedals in the world!
Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus
The Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus (link to check the price on Amazon) is another top-level chorus pedal. This time it’s for bass guitar.
Boss’s CEB-3 Bass Chorus is designed with a split-frequency chorus capable of providing excellent chorus effects above a set frequency while maintaining low end clarity. This simple feature makes a huge difference when it comes to designing a top-performing bass chorus pedal.
This compact bass chorus pedal offer a stereo output and the following parameter controls:
- E.Level knob: adjusts the level of the effect relative to the input signal level.
- Low Filter knob: controls the amount of low-end frequencies affected by the chorus circuit.
- Rate knob: sets the speed of the chorus effect.
- Depth knob: adjusts the depth of the chorus effect.
Try the Boss CEB-3 out for yourself on bass guitar and you’ll hear why it’s one of the best chorus pedals in the world.
Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone
The Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone (link to check the price on Amazon) is a popular choice for bassists looking for an excellent chorus pedal.
The Bass Clone’s core circuitry is nearly identical to the legendary Small Clone mentioned earlier in this article. It stands to reason, then, that this pedal would be one of the best as well.
That being said, the Bass Clone is designed specifically for bass guitar and has additional controls to help maintain a strong bass signal whilst also providing a superior chorusing effect.
Let’s have a look at these controls:
- Depth knob: controls the amount of modulation.
- Rate knob: controls the speed of modulation.
- Bass knob: boosts or cuts low end from the dry half of the effect signal.
- Treble knob: boosts or cuts high end from the mixed effect signal.
- X-Over: cuts low end from modulated half of the signal when switch is
- facing up.
So with the Bass Clone we have an additional EQ circuit and a way to pass the low-end energy through to the output without it being affected. The result is a bass chorus effect that we can dial in to our exact liking.
The legendary tone of EHX’s chorus pedals is a given with the Bass Clone and it’s certainly one of the best chorus pedals for bass guitar.
Eden I90 World Tour
The Eden I90 World Tour (link to check the price on Amazon) sounds as cool as it looks.
Eden specializes in bass gear. It’s no surprise that they have one of the best bass chorus effects units in the I90 World Tour stompbox. This durable effects unit offers a variety of professional, high definition chorus effects specifically for the bass.
Let’s have a look at the I90’s parameter controls:
- Speed Control knob: controls the speed of the chorus effect.
- Depth Control knob: controls the depth/intensity of the chorus effect.
- Low Cut knob: controls the amount of low frequencies chorused by the effect.
- Mix Level knob: controls the overall amount of chorus applied to your tone, by balancing the wet and dry signals.
Whether you’re looking for something subtle or super-obvious, the I90 can be dialed in to get you the chorus sound you need on bass guitar.
Carl Martin Bass Chorus
To finish the list, we can’t forget about the Carl Martin Bass Chorus (link to check the price on Amazon).
The Bass Chorus from Carl Martin is designed and fine-tuned to perfectly suit bass guitars, making it one of the best bass chorus pedals out there.
With this pedal, the full chorus effect can be heard clearly all the way down to the low B without ever sounding muddy.
Dial in 2 different chorus settings and switch between them with the Select footswitch. Each setting has the typical depth and speed controls. Each independent setting has its own LED that will flash at its given speed.
This pedal offers a cool setting that speeds up the chorus slowly when switching from s slow setting to a fast setting. This helps to get us that vintage Leslie effect!
Quality, simplicity, flexibility and transparency are at the core of every Carl Martin design and the Bass Chorus is no exception. It’s a powerful chorus pedal that sounds absolutely amazing on bass guitar!