Flanger, for those familiar with the effect, is one of those instantly recognizable modulation effects. When used tastefully, it sounds great on guitar and pretty much any other instrument as well. A high-end flanger pedal can easily get us this effect on guitar and bass.
That's what this article is about: the best flanger pedals on the planet for guitar and bass.
We'll discuss the top 8 best flanger pedals in the following paragraphs. Of course, any “top/best” list is subject to opinion. Your opinion may differ from the choices in the article (in fact, I'd expect it to). That being said, these pedals are certainly among the best in the world.
The Top 8 Best Flanger Pedals Are:
- EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids
- Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress
- Boss BF-3
- Source Audio SA240 Mercury Flanger
- TC Electronic Vortex
- Alexander F-13 Neo
- MXR M117R Flanger
- MXR M152 Micro Flanger
Let's discuss each pedal on this list and the reasons why they are the best.
Related My New Microphone articles:
• The Ultimate Effects Pedal/Stompbox Buyer’s Guide
• Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use
What Are Flanger Pedals & How Do They Work?
Flanger pedals are modulation pedals that produce the sweeping comb-filtering effect known as flanger.
Flanger is a modulation audio effect whereby a signal is duplicated, and the phase of the copy is continuously shifted relative to the original. This changing phase causes a sweeping comb filter effect where peaks and notches are produced in the frequency spectrum or the signal’s EQ.
Flangers tend to sound like more “natural” versions of phasers. They’re often described as sounding similar to a “jet whoosh” (an airplane flying overhead).
Like other modulation-type effects, flanger is best positioned after the utility and gain-based pedals and before the time-based pedals in a signal chain.
Related article: How To Order Guitar/Bass Pedals (Ultimate Signal Flow Guide)
With that being said, let's talk about some flanger pedals!
For a more in-depth article on flanger pedals, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• What Are Flanger Pedals (Guitar/Bass FX) & How Do They Work?
• Complete Guide The Flanger Audio Modulation Effect?
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EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids
Let's start our list of the best flanger pedals with the deeply impressive EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids.
We're starting on a weird note with the Pyramids stereo flanger pedal. Of course, we can get all the classic flanger sounds out of this pedal, but it's capable of so much more experimental stuff.
The EarthQuaker Devices pedal offers 5 presets, 8 flanger modes, tap tempo control with subdivisions, a multi-use modify control, positive and negative feedback, and mix control. The sounds we can get out of this thing are practically limitless!
This pedal has superb proprietary digital signal processing that allows for all these features. It also has flexible stereo I/O with expression pedal compatibility. We can also re-trigger the modulating LFO via the Tap/Trigger footswitch, opening up a new world of rhythmic possibilities with this special flanger unit.
Let's have a look at the controls of the Pyramids to further our understanding of the pedal.
- Manual knob: controls the delay time of the modulated signal.
- Rate knob: controls the speed of the LFO as well as the rise or fall time in “Trigger Up” or “Trigger Down” mode, respectively.
- Width knob: controls the frequency range of the LFO sweep.
- Mix knob: controls the output volume of the modulated signal.
- Activate footswitch: on/off Flexi-Switch footswitch. This relay-based true-bypass switch allows for momentary or latching operation.
- Feedback: controls the amount of regeneration and, therefore, intensitiy in the flanger circuit.
- Rate & Tap switch:
- “Slow” (left position): the tempo you tap is divided for a slower sweep.
- “Normal” (center position): the tempo you tap in is the tempo Pyramids will spit out.
- “Fast” (right position): the tempo you tap is multiplied and delivers a faster sweep.
- Modify knob: changes the behaviour of the flanger effect depending on the mode.
- Tap/Trigger footswitch: in Classic, Through-Zero, Barber Pole Up, Barber Pole Down, Step, and Random modes, this footswitch is a tap tempo control. In Trigger Up and Trigger Down modes, this footswitch triggers the effect whenever it is pressed.
- Presets rotary switch: selects between Live mode and 1 of 5 presets. There are 5 presets that come stock with the pedal though we can program our own.
- Mode Rotary Switch: selects between Pyramids’ eight flanger modes:
- Classic: the “classic” jet-plane liquid-silk flanging sound.
- Through-Zero: authentic tape-style flagging.
- Barber Pole Up: an infinitely sweeping upward flange with no beginning, middle, or end.
- Barber Pole Down: an infinitely sweeping downward flange with no beginning, middle, or end.
- Trigger Up: a continuous upward sweep triggered by the transients of the input signal
- Trigger Down: a continuous downward sweep triggered by the transients of the input signal
- Step: sweeping up and down in stepped increments similar to a sequencer.
- Random: like Step mode, except the sweep is randomized.
Remember that each mode can be affected the controls of the Pyramid, allowing for unlimited flanger-esque results.
The I/O of this stereo flanger allows for expression/CV control and even facilitates side chaining where on input source will control the flanging of a second source, though only the second source will be heard.
To really comprehend the power and versatility of the EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids, you'll have to try the pedal out for yourself. That being said, I swear to you, it's one of the very best flanger pedals out there!
Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress
Next up is the famed and beloved Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress.
The Electric Mistress is a classic pedal from the legendary manufacturer Electro-Harmonix. In fact, the first iteration, released in 1975, was the first flanger unit ever to be produced in a stompbox format. The Stereo Electric Mistress offers a stereo output in addition to a modernized design.
This pedal offers a beautiful mix of two modulation favourites: flanger and chorus. Find yourself the perfect blend; plug into a mono or stereo output, and have yourself a lush time with awesome effects.
As we can see by looking at the Stereo Electric Mistress, the pedal is fairly simple. There are 3 basic controls:
- Rate knob: controls the rate/speed of the flanger and chorus circuits.
- Above 10 o'clock position, the knob controls the rate of an LFO that modulates the flanger and chorus.
- Below 10 o'clock position, the knob is in Filter Matrix mode where we can manually modulate the flanger and chorus.
- Flanger Depth knob: controls the amount of the flanger-affected signal that is mixed with the direct signal.
- Chorus Depth knob: controls the amount of the chorus-affected signal that is mixed with the direct signal.
Simple as it may be, the Stereo Electric Mistress sounds incredibly defined and pleasing to the ears. It's been a popular pedal for a long time, and there's a reason why it makes this list. It's just that good.
As an aside, flanger is essentially designed with the same circuit as chorus except that it has a longer delay time and a feedback loop in its modulated circuit.
We really can't go wrong with a Boss pedal. The Boss BF-3 is no exception.
The BF-3 is the successor of Boss's famous BF-2 pedal. This new version has two different inputs to accommodate guitar or bass guitar signals. Its circuitry offers the classic Boss flanger sound along with incredible stereo flanging.
The Boss BF-3 has 3 flanger modes, each accessible by turning the Mode rotary knob. These modes are:
- Ultra: produces a stronger flanger effect than Standard mode.
- Standard: produces a normal flanger effect.
- Gate/Pan: produces radical changes in output level in mono and alternates panning in stereo to cause the effect of rotation/spinning.
There is also a “Momentary” mode, which triggers the Standard flanging effect with the footswitch in momentary (press and hold to keep the effect engaged, take your foot off the button to disengage).
Outside of Momentary mode, we can engage the pedal's tap tempo by holding the pedal down for 2+ seconds, tapping in our tempo, and holding the pedal down for 2+ more seconds. The Rate of the flanger will then be synced to the inputted tempo.
The sound of each flanger mode can be further refined via the 4 other knobs (1 spot is concentric, containing both the Manual and Resonance controls):
- Manual knob: adjusts the center frequency at which to apply the phaser effect.
- Res (Resonance) knob: adjusts the amount of resonance (feedback).
- Depth knob: adjusts the sweep depth (the Manual knob has no function when Depth is turned completely clockwise).
- Rate knob: adjusts the rate of the flanging.
Put all that functionality and sonic beauty into a compact pedal; sell it at an affordable price, and you have one of the best and most popular flanger pedals on the market with the Boss BF-3.
Source Audio SA240 Mercury Flanger
The Source Audio SA240 Mercury Flanger is an incredible flanger pedal.
The powerful Source Audio Mercury Flanger is designed to deliver the best flanger sounds in the game. The pedal offers 3 effects types, selectable via the toggle switch on the face of the pedal:
- Classic mode: a deep and dramatic effect in the style of the earliest flanger pedals.
- Thru-Zero (a.k.a. “Tape Flange”) mode: a distinguishable twisting effect that occurs when the dry and modulating signals reach their intersection point.
- Shadow mode: a highly resonant yet silky-smooth flanger tone with the jet engine “whoosh”.
Dial in the delay time of the pedal to push the flanger effect toward a chorus-like sound. Speaking of the delay parameter, let's discuss the controls on the front panel of the Mercury Flanger:
- Depth knob: controls the depth of the low-frequency oscillator (LFO) and, therefore, the strength/prominence of the flanger effect.
- Speed knob: controls the frequency of the LFO and, therefore, the speed of the flanger effect.
- Resonance knob: controls the resonance of the effect by feeding the output back into the input.
- Delay knob: controls the delay time for the delayed signal in the effect.
The Mercury Flanger has stereo inputs and outputs for wide flanger effects and multiple routing possibilities. It allows us to select between either true bypass or buffered bypass, depending on our rig needs.
Out of the box, the pedal also has internal memory to 3 presets.
It features expression control via its 3.5mm Control Input and with the company's Hot Hand 3 Universal Wireless Effects Controller. The pedal can also be synced with Source Audio’s External Tap Tempo switch. In tap tempo mode, the Speed knob will control the beat divisions.
The true potential of the Source Audio One Series Mercury Flanger is achieved via Source Audio's Neuro Mobile App (iOS and Android) and with MIDI.
With Neuro, we have access to a full library of flanger sounds that can be downloaded to the pedal with up to 128 presets rather than 3 in the internal memory. An extended list of parameters can be adjusted, and the pedal can be synced to a master MIDI clock.
So, needless to say, the Source Audio Mercury Flanger is powerful. Pick one up and try out the power for yourself today!
TC Electronic Vortex
The TC Electronic Vortex has a small footprint, true bypass (like all TC pedals), and, of course, an excellent flanger circuit.
TC Electronic's Vortex flanger pedal sounds awesome and offers both stereo inputs and outputs to handle and produce beautiful and wide flanger effects. This versatile flanger pedal is well-deserving of a spot on this list.
The Vortex sounds incredible right out of the box and can be dialled in to sound absolutely perfect in your specific rig. Its compact form factor makes it an easy fit on most pedalboards.
There are 4 knobs to control the flanger circuit of the Vortex:
- Speed: controls the rate of the sweeping/LFO.
- Feedback: controls the amount of feedback in the flanger circuit, thereby adjusting the resonance of the sound.
- Depth: controls the range in which the flanger will sweep.
- Mix: mixes the direct signal with the phase-shifted/flanger signal at the output.
Like all TC pedals, the Vortex is true bypass for optimal clarity when the pedal is turned off. However, if you require a buffer to prevent the high-end loss, the pedal has an optional buffered bypass switch.
This pedal has TC’s proprietary TonePrint technology built into its design. Design customizable flanger effects from scratch with free TonePrint Editor or download from the community. Upload these tones wirelessly via a smartphone or hardwired via the built-in USB connector.
Alexander F-13 Neo
The army green Alexander F.13 Neo is suitable for flanger's “jet swoosh” effect. This pedal sounds amazing.
Alexander Pedals' F.13 Neo incorporates an advanced 32-bit micro-controller. It's a complete flanger unit with presets, expression, and MIDI capability.
The F.13 Neo offers up to 4 user-defined presets in its internal memory. 16 presets can be saved/recalled with MIDI via a MIDI controller connected to the EXP port.
This 1/4-inch EXP port can accept an external expression pedal, footswitch or MIDI controller. Control more parameters with more precision with any of these options.
Speaking of controls, let's have a look at the F.13's parameters. Each knob on the pedal has an alternate control accessible by holding down the Select button:
- Rate: Controls the rate of the low-frequency oscillator (LFO) for the flanger, from glacial to space invaders. Controls the input sensitivity in Dyna mode.
- (ALT1): Controls the sweep offset (manual) in Auto mode, the pattern select in Step mode, the envelope speed in Dyna mode, or the delay time in Echo mode.
- Depth: Controls the maximum LFO sweep in Auto, Step, and Echo modes. In Dynamic mode, this controls whether the flanger sweeps down (less than noon) or up (greater than noon) based on the input signal.
- (ALT2): Controls the delay repeats in Echo mode
- Mix: Controls the blend between the dry and flanged signal. Equal mix is at 12 o'clock.
- (Level): Controls the overall output level of the pedal, from -20dB to +10dB. Unity gain is near 1 o'clock.
- Regen: Adjusts the amount of flanged signal fed back into the modulation. Zero feedback is at noon, clockwise increases the positive feedback for a standard flanger sound. Twist this knob counter-clockwise for negative feedback and a unique “inside out” flange.
Different modes of the F.13 can be accessed by tapping the Select button. The LED indicators will tell us which mode is currently selected. The 4 modes are:
- Auto: traditional flanging with a “hyper-triangular” LFO waveform.
- Step: the flanger LFO is forced to “step” to distinct values for transforming robot sounds. There are 8 patterns: Up, Down, Up+Down, Square, Whip, Two+Three, UpUpDnDn, and Random.
- Dyna: the flanger delay time is set by the volume of the input signal.
- Echo: couples a fierce flanger with an exceptional echo for a very interesting take on time-delay effects.
The F.13 flanger is part of Alexander's superb Neo Series. Check out the Syntax Error from the same series over at My New Microphone's Top 8 Best Ring Modulation Pedals For Guitar & Bass.
There's so much that Alexander F.13 Neo can do. It sounds awesome regardless of setting, but we can really dial it in to get the exact flanger sound we're after. That puts it in with the best of the best when it comes to flanger pedals!
MXR M117R Flanger
The first MXR pedal on this list is the MXR M117R Flanger.
The MXR Flanger is a straightforward pedal with surprising versatility. The pedal offers the typical dynamic jet plane and cool space effects while also being capable of short delay, chorus and vibrato sound. It sounds great on guitar, bass and other instruments as well.
This mono pedal has 4 distinct controls. Adjust them to achieve the aforementioned effects or to produce your own flanger sound. The controls are:
- Manual knob: controls the degree of phase-shifting.
- Width knob: controls the intensity of the time delay set by the Speed knob.
- Speed knob: controls the speed of time delay.
- Regen (Regeneration/Feedback) knob: controls the intensity of the overall effect.
Simple yet highly effective, the MXR Flanger is a durable and affordable unit capable of top-notch flanger sounds.
MXR M152 Micro Flanger
The second MXR pedal on this list is the smaller, stripped-down MXR M152 Micro Flanger.
The Micro Flanger has a small footprint and limited controls. However, if you're looking for a quintessential flanger pedal, this is it!
It's only got Rate (Speed) and Regen (Feedback) controls, but the flanger we get out of it is among the best classic 100% analog BBD flanger sounds in any pedal.
The pedal is durable, affordable, compact and has true bypass. It's a great choice for beginners and professionals alike!
Former Top Flanger Pedal Picks
Here are pedals that used to be on this list and the reasons they are no longer.
Catalinbread Zero Point (Discontinued)
The Catalinbread Zero Point (discontinued) was a simple but impressive flanger pedal from a top boutique pedal company. It was featured in this article from 2020 (original year of publication) to 2023.
The Catalinbread Zero Point is unlike the other pedals in this list that use LFOs to control a predictable flanger circuit. Rather, this interesting pedal takes us back to the early days of mechanical flanging control with electrical emulation and a small footprint.
The flanger effect was originally produced by running two tape machines in sync and pressing down on the flanger of one tape reel to slow it down. The resulting phase-shift between the two tapes would cause a sweeping comb-filter in the output signal.
Flipping the phase of one of the tapes would cause the comb filtering to sweep towards a “zero point” where the two signals were 180º out-of-phase and would cancel each other out.
Other than the internal Gain control, the Zero Point has two main footswitches:
- On/Off switch: turns the pedal on and off, engaging and disengaging the flanger.
- Flange switch: controls the up-sweep and down-sweep of the flange effect. When this switch is pressed down, the flange effect sweeps upward. When the switch is released, the flange effect sweeps back down.
The pedal also offers an additive mode (where both signal copies are in-phase) and subtractive mode (where the copy is out-of-phase with the original).
In additive mode, we get an emulation of a classic dual tape machine flanger effect. This effect will eventually lead to the “zero point” in subtractive mode, where the two signals cancel each other out!
So if you're looking for something closer to the origins of the flanger effect, Catalinbread's Zero Point will get you there. Though this is pretty old school, conceptually speaking, this design stands out among other flanger pedals!
Moog Minifooger MF Flange (Discontinued)
From the legendary synth company comes the Moog Minifooger MF Flange (discontinued): a superb flanger effect unit in the form of a stompbox. It hasn't been in production since this article was originally published, though there are certainly units out there in the used market to pick up.
Moog's MF Flange is an all-analog bucket brigade device flanger unit with 2 selectable voices and both mono and stereo output capabilities.
Its parameter controls allow us to shape the analog flanger effect to our liking. Controls include:
- Rate knob: controls the rate of the flanger sweep by adjusting the frequency of the LFO.
- Type toggle switch: switches between Vocal and Classic modes.
- Vocal mode: subtracts feedback from the input signal mixer and output dry signal, creating a more vocal sound.
- Classic mode: feedback is positively summed with the input signal and dry signal, producing a more traditional flanger sound.
- Depth knob: adjusts the amount of modulation applied to the delay time and the intensity of the flanger effect.
- Mono/Stereo switch: switches between mono and stereo output. Use a 1/4” TRS to TS splitter cable in stereo mode.
- Time knob: adjusts the delay time in the flanger circuit. Increase the time to get close to a chorus effect and decrease the time to get a thicker flanger.
- Feedback: adjusts the feedback of the circuit and the resonance of the flanger sound,
The MF Flange has a jack to connect an external expression pedal. This input is assigned to control the Time control, allowing us to sweep the flanger effect manually.
The analog MF Flange from Moog has us covered with a superb flanger (and even chorus) effect from smooth to massive. It's easy to use and sounds awesome. Try one out for yourself, and you'll surely be hooked!
Donner Jet Convolution (Discontinued)
The Donner Jet Convolution (discontinued) was the top budget option on this list. It has a small price tag and footprint but a huge sound. It was featured in this article in 2020 (original year of publication).
The Donner Jet Convolution is a super-affordable true bypass pedal that offers a good deal of versatility and a great flanger sound.
Control the flanger's rate, colour and range to achieve the flanger sound you want and need. Fit this tiny pedal anywhere on your board, and off you go!
Choosing the right effects pedals for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Effects Pedal Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next pedal/stompbox purchase.