If you want to adjust your guitar’s volume without interrupting your playing, you need to use a volume pedal, and if you’re in the market for one an excellent choice is the Dunlop Volume (X) Pedal (also known as the DVP4).
Why buy a volume pedal?
Volume pedals are extremely simple. As they sweep from fully-up to fully-down, they go from a minimum volume (or muting your sound completely) to a higher volume. This makes it invaluable for violin-like volume swells, for quick volume tweaks, or for switching between boosted and non-boosted volumes. They’ll often feature a separate tuner out so that you can keep a tuner off your signal path. Alternatively, they can function as an expression pedal, sweeping a parameter on another effect.
I bought a used Dunlop Volume (X) Pedal from eBay and I’m really happy. Ernie Ball is a big name in volume pedals, so buying one of theirs was my first instinct, but I’d heard they have a design flaw – they rely on a string that is prone to breaking. By contrast, Dunlop pedals have a robust belt system that is supposedly more durable, so I opted for one of theirs instead.
The build quality feels really good. The pedal is heavy and is comfortable under my big feet. The rubber tread on top of my pedal was a little worn off, but it’s still functional. The bottom plate is rubbery – great if it’s sitting on a hard floor, but in order to attach velcro, you’ll need to flip it around.
I actually use mine as an expression pedal instead of a volume pedal. My pedalboard is built around my Boss GT-1, and since a decent amount of my signal chain is within it, the expression pedal route is the only way to adjust where the volume control sits in the chain.
I use mine at home for ambient swell noodling. When I’m out with my band I use it to quickly adjust my volume in case I’m too loud or quiet. It’s not a glamorous, flashy part of my rig but it’s extremely useful.
A volume pedal unlocks a lot of possibilities and is an essential part of your rig. Dunlop make great volume pedals and I’d strongly recommend their products. Enjoy!