MXR 6 vs 10 Band EQ


I ignored graphic EQ pedals for many years but since discovering them recently I dare to say that it’s a single most important pedal I own. EQ pedals are useful for shaping distortion if used in the FX-loop or after distortion pedals or for shaping pickup response if it’s too muddy or bright to start with. I’m happy with my pickups, so the only thing I’m using it is to shape the sound after one of my hi-gain preamps.

6 Band Model – M109

  • 6 sliders that control frequencies (100Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz, 1.6KHz and 3.2KHz) covering most of guitar’s frequency range.
  • 18dB boost or cut is more than enough. Sliders are very sensitive, you can notice the difference even with very minor change – 1mm or so.
  • Illuminated sliders, useful for dark room/stage and looks cool.
  • 9V Battery or DC adapter operation.
  • Sliders have some sort of foam that prevents dust from falling into the pedal. It’s a minor thing but shows how it’s carefully put together and built to last.
MXR 6 Band
Similar models
  • Boss GE-7: offers level slider and additional hi-frequency slider set to 6.4KHz. It’s also notorious for being noisy and costs 30$ more. I’ve heard there are mods that can bring noise level down, but for a hundred bucks it should work good from the start. There are also budget level knock-offs from Behringer and Danelectro for folks who like that.
What I like about it?
  • Build quality is very good. Cast metal enclosure is very tough. Other than the bypass switch and sliders, there aren’t any parts sticking out, and sliders protrude just a little so it’s not easy to accidentally break them. The only scenario I can imagine that could ruin this thing is if someone steps directly on the sliders, which is not an easy thing to do.
  • Sound quality is top notch. Sliders do exactly what they are supposed to. Unless it’s overdriven with very high input signal, doesn’t add any distortion.
  • No noise at all when used in the loop or after the distortion. That’s the only way I’m using it, so can’t comment on other applications. I’ve heard many people complain about Boss GE-7 for being noisy. Couldn’t hear any noise with this pedal.
  • Batteries last long time. It took 6 months before I needed to replace the battery. For someone who plays more than I do it would last shorter but still it’s not a current thirsty pedal.
What I don’t like about it?
  • Having input and output gain settings like on the bigger brother (10 band model) would be nice, but then it probably wouldn’t cost half as much.
Video Clips

Click on a thumbnail to play the video on YouTube.

Click here to list all 12 related video clips.

Useful settings
  • This is my “V” setting used after the distortion (with both SLO-style and IIc+ preamps) to scoop out the mids. I often tweak the sliders a bit depending on the song, but this is a good starting point. I don’t like drastic mid-scoop as it sounds sterile. This is a good compromise between box-sounding and sterile, chords sound full but it’s scooped enough to do palm-muting stuff. Setting two treble sliders higher always sounds too shrill so I tend to keep them around the mid-line. That applies to two lowest sliders as well, higher settings tend to sound too boomy for my taste.
    MXR EQ V Settings

10 Band Model – M108


After enjoying the 6 band model for a while, I decided to upgrade for a 10 band model. I got a good deal on a (gently) used one and payed less than the cost of the 6 band model.

  • 10 sliders that control frequencies (31.25Hz, 62.5Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1KHz, 2KHz, 4KHz, 8KHz and 18KHz) covering the whole guitar range and most of the hearing range for that matter 🙂
  • 12dB boost or cut is slightly less than 18dB offered by the smaller model, but still plenty. Sliders are very sensitive, you can notice the difference even with very minor change – 1mm or so.
  • Illuminated sliders, useful for dark room/stage and looks cool.
  • Overdrive indicator, when the pedal gets overdriven all the sliders blink.
  • 18V DC adapter operation only, no batteries. It will work with 9V or 12V adapters, but with less headroom.
  • Gain and Volume sliders control input and output volume.
What I like about it?
  • Everything I like about the 6 band model.
  • Overdrive indicator is very useful, it’s hard to tell when the pedal gets overdriven when the signal itself is heavily distorted, so having a visual clue is super cool.
  • Having more sliders is actually very nice, allows more precise over the EQ.
  • Volume and Gain sliders are handy, every EQ should have them. You can turn down the input to prevent clipping and boost the output if needed
  • 18V operation allows more headroom before the clipping occurs which is useful for me because my tube preamps can output a few volts of output, enough to distort any pedal.
  • You get the 18V adapter with the pedal
What I don’t like about it?
  • The adapter is a traditional transformer based with fixed input voltage. I got mine in the states, which means that I can’t use it in Europe. TC Electronic pedals use electronic transformers that work with any input voltage.


You can’t go wrong with any of these two, but I’d recommend getting a used 10 band model. They go for 60-70$ in mint state which is less than the price of a new 6 band model. For that money you get one of the best EQ pedals on the market.

Leave A Comment

  • About

    The idea behind this site is to share my experience with Do It Yourself approach to guitars, amplifiers and pedals. Whether you want to save a couple of bucks by performing a mod or upgrade yourself instead of paying a tech, or want to build your own piece of gear from scratch, I'm sure you will find something interesting here. Also, this is the home of DIY Layout Creator, a free piece of software for drawing circuit layouts and schematics, written with DIY enthusiasts in mind.