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The Best Reverb Pedals with Trails (2023)

Smoothly switching from one effect to the other is one of the biggest challenges of performing live. A mistimed tap can hurt more than a wrong chord, especially if the change between tones is drastic. Having suffered this many times, I realized I needed the right pedal to truly nail a show, as a real pro player would.

A reverb pedal with trails helps smoothly transition between different reverb types or when turning the pedal off. The wash left by the reverb is essential to blend in with the band, yet depending on the genre, it’s wise to know when to set the trails on or off.

The list of best reverb pedals with trails is not solely based on that specific function – a good tone, simplicity, and versatility are the top criteria for all the gear.

Our Top Picks

What are Reverb Trails?

Reverb trails are the reverb’s decay sound that keeps going after the pedal is off. Without trails, when you which the reverb off, the tone would abruptly go to dry without the wash to accompany it in the first few seconds.

Reverb trails switch works by switching between true bypass (where the pedal doesn’t interfere with the signal when turned off) to buffered/trails bypass (where the pedal boosts the signal through a buffer to avoid loss) or a standard buffered bypass to trails bypass when there’s no true bypass available.

Check our guide If you are unsure whether you need a buffered pedal or not.

How Can I Make Use of Reverb Trails?

Reverbs trails main use is smoothing out transitions between the distant wet reverb and dry in-your-face signal.

When you press the footswitch, the spit millisecond leaves a sonic gap that ears are tuned to notice due to the changing perspective of distance (the reverb room size effect). Depending on the pedal, you can also smooth the transition between different reverb patches and presets – which is even more helpful considering that even the bone-dry rhythm tones have a slight reverb to blend with the band.

For lead players who kick off the reverb in solos and then have to go to rhythm to catch the chorus immediately, having the ‘wash’ of the solo leaking in the first beats of the chord is tone gold. This is especially true when you’re the only guitar player in a band and highly noticeable in a typical drum, bass, guitar three-piece band.

Best Reverb Pedals with Trails

1. Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb Pedal

The Ventris is a powerful workhorse I have added to previous lists due to its all-around great tone and versatility.  It’s not an oversized pedal, yet it delivers on all situations, from classic sounds to modern experimental ambience nuances.

Source Audio Ventris Reverb

This is my favorite pedal on the list, as the trails leak out in between switching patches. At first, it doesnt feel like it’s doing much; when you switch to a reverb pedal without trails, you will notice the difference, and so will the producer in the studio or a very focused audience of guitar nerds.

It’s not cheap, but it might stay on your board for decades without ever needing to go away.

2. Walrus Audio Slö Multi Texture Reverb

A perfect reverb pedal for dreamy ambiance vibes, the Slö by Walrus Audio blends in the trails function with a hold/sustain to give all possible alternatives to ‘texture’ players.

Walrus Audio Slö Multi Texture Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal, Standard (900-1047)

What I like about this pedal is how you can activate the trail mid-song by pressing the bypass button. Not many players allow you to do that, even big ones with many knobs and switches – on the other hand, simplicity makes the Slö great for all situations.

The price makes it justice, right at the edge of the affordable pedal.

3. Joyo R-14 Atmosphere Reverb

No list is complete without a budget alternative for beginner players. The Joyo R-14 is surprisingly under 100$, even though it has more functions than most pedals over 200$.

The R-14 has a handy on-off switch under the knob that selects the impressive 9 reverb types. You can also add mods to the reverb and a mix of chorus/phaser with the different reverb types and adjust the mix and decay.

JOYO R14 Atmosphere 9 Modes Reverb Guitar Effect Pedal

As you would expect from the price, most reverb types are decent, one or two good, but some are not usable if you want a quality sound. The basic ones you typically use for your lead and rhythm are ok. The more experimental you go, the harsher and more digitial the sound becomes, and there’s no way to get less of it in the mix, no matter how much you tweak the knobs.

Overall it’s a good beginner pedal and will make for most intermediate players’ boards.

4. Universal Audio UAFX Golden Reverberator Pedal

The UAFX Golden Reverberator is among the best modern reverb pedals that perfectly recreates the sounds you hear on classic records. It’s a golden small piece of equipment for anyone who can afford to invest this much in a signal effect unit.

Universal Audio UAFX Golden Reverb Pedal

The spring and plate reverb is exceptional, and you can have the ambient ‘wash’ reverb sound leak stylishly in our other sounds when you leave the trail function one.

The only downside from my perspective is the app; it adds many functionalities and is overall great – yet you must have it and use it to turn the trails on or off. I find it more handy to have a switch rather than a phone that you can’t scroll for multiple reasons during a show.

5. Universal Audio Del-Verb Ambience Companion Reverb and Delay Pedal

The Del-Verb is a jack-of-all-trade piece of gear which, as the name suggests, is perfect for an Ambience player but can also be the only reverb/delay a rock, blues, and metal guitarist needs.

Del-Verb Ambience Companion

Three reverb and delay types, the usual mix and feedback, and a color knob (a cooler name for tone knob) are more than enough to find your way around classic leads and riffs. In fact, you could do so much more just by taking advantage of the pre-delay knob power.

The trail function is accurately named spillover and can be turned on from the app that controls the pedal and adds even more functions.

Should I Always Leave Reverb Trails On?

I’d recommend only leaving trails on when the song is based on smooth transitions. A pink floyd-ish or Radiohead-style tune would be the perfect example, where the sonic background builds layer after layer.

For a more dynamic, NIrvana-type song where you go from heavy chorus to downbeat verse instantly, the trails get in the way of the song’s punchiness and dynamics.