The 20 Most Popular '80s Pedals on Reverb

Last week, we posted an image of a snazzy new TC Electronic prototype dubbed called the June-60, which was modeled after the chorus section of the Roland Juno-106. The various Juno models were, of course, the defining synths of the 1980s, and fittingly, this new chorus pedal looks like it just hitched a ride to the present in Marty McFly's DeLorean.

The reaction the image garnered was a reminder that '80s nostalgia is still very much alive and well in music and music gear circles. Yet for the many new pedals, synths, and other devices designed to emulate the sounds of that decade, there remain plenty of genuine '80s artifacts being bought and sold on Reverb every day. And since we can't resist any opportunity to take a dip into our historical sales data, we thought we'd spend some time this week highlighting the 20 most popular '80s pedals by sales volume on today's vintage market.

While in the '80s there were drastically fewer companies producing pedals than there are at present, this was still the period that gave birth to many of the most landmark effects of all time, which, on the boards of players like Prince and Robert Smith, helped define the sound of the era. As you'll see below, Boss was the dominant player, and many of the pedals the Japanese manufacturer put out at the time are still in production today.

    Make and Model Avg. Price From User Reviews
1 Boss CE-2 Chrous $157 "It doesn't get any better. It just doesn't."
2 Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Distortion $106 "There are few things in the world like a cranked HM2 with all the knobs all the way up."
3 Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer $100 "I've owned boutique pedals that don't hold a candle to this."
4 Boss DM-2 Delay $216 "Everything from bathroom echo to slap back to Floydian space echo washes. It's really a perfect delay pedal."
5 Boss PH-2 Super Phaser $49 "If you have time and patience for a little twiddling you can achieve some amazing tones."
6 ProCo RAT/The RAT $275* "You like you guitar sounding like a demon escaping the uncompromising maw of the abyss? This pedal is for you."
7 Boss CE-3 Chorus Ensemble $56 "The icy tones sound great with a delay or with reverb."
8 Boss DD-2 Digital Delay $147 "The vintage DD-2 is the ONLY Digital Delay that gives me that rich smooth sound with easy to remember settings that don't require many adjustments"
9 MXR Dyna Comp $68 "This pedal is indispensable If your going for that 90s Frusciante RHCP funk rock tone."
10 Boss BF-2 Flanger $70 "Prince had one on his pedalboard...Love it."
11 Ibanez AD-9 Analog Delay $115 "I mainly use these for their great slapback ability. If you play classic rock, rockabilly or whatever else this is the ticket!"
12 Boss DF-2 Super Feedbacker and Distortion $80 "Like a middle ground between a DS-1 and a Turbo Rat. In short, this is what the DS-2 should have been."
13 Ibanez CS9 Stereo Chorus $84 "A great sounding chorus with a bit of crunch on the top."
14 MXR Phase 90 $83 "There's a reason why the Phase 90 has become one of the most popular pedals ever to grace pedalboards."
15 Boss GE-7 Graphic EQ $64 "A practical and almost necessary utility for any pedal enthusiast."
16 Boss OD-1 Overdrive $119 "What many consider the big bang moment in stomp box history."
17 Boss DS-1 Distortion $70 "I find it sounds best when combined with a little bit of overdrive."
18 Boss DC-2 Dimension C Chorus $260 "There are 5 presets which includes "all buttons up" which happens to be my favorite."
19 Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive $83 "Solid overdrive with a surprising range of gain."
20 Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer $260 "If you're into the harder metal/rock world you should look for the TA75558 chipped TS-9s over the JRC4558, which I'd say are better for blues and classic rock type sounds."
Top '80s pedal brands on Reverb

Notes:

  • These numbers are based on sales over the past year on Reverb. While many of these pedals were certainly extremely popular during their original runs (making for robust used inventory at present), this list is a reflection of which '80s pedals remain captivating and irreplaceable in the eyes of modern buyers.

  • With vintage pedals, pricing can vary widely — even within the sales history of a single model. Condition plays a factor, but more important in this arena are spec variations found on individual examples. Many Boss pedals, for instance, evolved over the decade to use different components at different times, and collectors will seek out specific iterations thought to be the best. For this reason, the average prices shown in the chart above may not be entirely reflective of the average price for a specific subsection of inventory for each design.

  • ProCo RAT pedals from the '80s also vary widely in price based on specific components and variations. Original "white face" RATs with the LM308 chip command higher prices than the RAT2, which was released in 1988 and usually sits in the $300 to $500 range for pedals in good condition. The first generation "big box" RAT, which debuted in the late-'70s, has been selling for over $1,000 this year.

  • The classic Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer almost made the cut but did not sell regularly enough to breach the top 20. On today's market, original TS808s in good condition can sell for over $800. Stevie Ray Vaughan favored this pedal, which is part of what fuels its collectability.

  • Several of the popular Boss pedals on this list have recently been reimagined as part of Boss' modern Waza series. The CE-2 circuit can be found in the CE-2W, while a take on the DM-2 Delay can be found in the DM-2W.

Learn more about effects pedals on our Effects Pedals: What Do They Do? | The Basics homepage.

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