A Guide to the Best Reverse Reverb Pedals
Updated on 04.29.2021.
If you are a guitarist into ambient or shoegaze music you may be very susceptible to the charm of effects based around sounds played backwards.
The psychedelic bands of the ’60s were the first ones to employ reversed instrumental parts in pop and rock songs (“I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles might be the most famous example), and even though some bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd started experimenting with reversing recorded reverb tracks in the late ’60s, we had to wait until the early ’80s to hear rock bands using that ghostly effect in a more organic way, as part of their sound.
Reverse Reverb became a signature in My Bloody Valentine’s ground-breaking album Loveless, which pretty much spells, to this day, the sonic vocabulary of the musical genre known as Shoegaze, a modern take on psychedelia.
Compiling lists of the best pedals in a specific effect niche is what we do, but creating one for the best reverse reverb pedals had its challenges, because, while there are no pedals that exclusively specialize in doing that, almost all multi-mode pedals have a “reverse reverb” setting.
Therefore, we decided to ask an expert, and also… check out some internet forums focused on that topic!
Here are two lists of pedals that excel at doing the “reverse thing:” one compiled by our friends at Pedal Partners (who specialize in reviewing shoegaze and noise-friendly stompboxes) and the other one featuring other options based on the opinions expressed in some online forum
Here’s the list Luca from Pedal Partners sent to us, with his comments about each pedal.
The 5 Best Reverse Reverb Pedals (according to Pedal Partners)
- Keeley Realizer
“There’s a good reason why we chose this pedal to get the Pedal Partners treatment. The only reverse reverb that also includes that signature glide guitar vibrato arm effect!”
- Red Panda Context V2
“This pedal has a great reverse reverb with an amazing modulation section which really sets it apart from other similar devices. The Gate setting is also good for shoegaze sounds!”
- Digitech Hardwire RV-7
“A classic for a reason. Based on legendary Lexicon algorithms, this out-of-production pedal is perfect for Shoegaze reverse and gated reverbs, but it’s becoming hard to find and expensive. Definitely also check out the Digitech Supernatural.”
- Fender Reflecting Pool
“Shoegaze Reverb & Delays in one pedal you say?! Amazing reverse & gated reverb sounds, great job Fender!”
- Empress Reverb
“This pedal comes with a plethora of reverb options, including three distinct reverse reverbs out the box – well worth a try!”
Hover with your mouse or tap on the images below for a more comprehensive description of each pedal. A click or second tap will open a video.
5 Other Pedals with Great Reverse Reverb
- Zoom MS50G MultiStomp
A very affordable, do-it-all pedal with a surprisingly good reverse mode.
- Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
More user-friendly than the Zoom, as comprehensive in its multi-mode offerings, but also more expensive. Both the now discontinued Cathedral reverb and the brand new Ocean 12 feature the same reverse reverb algorythm.
- Digitech Polara
The successor of the venerable (Digitech) Hardwire RV-7, this pedal offers a smooth reverse mode that’s almost as good.
- EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath V3
An atmospheric delay pedal that can create some convincing reverse reverb sounds through its swell function.
- Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai
Some guitarists swear that if you get the right settings, this pedal (which is a delay, not a reverb) will get you that elusive “Kevin Shield sound.”
A more comprehensive article about reverb pedals can be found here.