My students frequently ask me questions about my gear, so I wanted to share my taste in pedals and also the order in which I would buy them if I was a beginner and had to do it all over again. The world if pedals is totally fantastic and really opens up new worlds on the guitar if you know how to use them correctly. The world of pedals is also huge, and with such a wide range available it can be overwhelming. I hope this helps you.
1.) HardWire HT-2 Chromatic Tuner - You have to start with the basics. Having a chromatic tuner on your board is essential for any guitar player. I've always love this one because it's very simple to read and control, and has more functions than I would ever need in a tuner. It's great for gigging since it has a sound bypass, meaning you can your guitar without annoying the entire crowd of rowdy rockers. To tune your guitar for Standard tuning, don't forget.... Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie from thick 6th to skinny 1st.
2.) Boss Digital Delay DD-3 - I would argue this has become by far the most important aspect of my guitar sound besides my amplifier. I have become a master with this pedal over the years, and there are newer versions now that I have tried and love. I am a HUGE fan of Boss pedals especially for the effects side, and this pedal does not disappoint. It turns any guitar solo into liquid butter. There are 4 switches to control the level, feedback, delay time, and delay type. It's super simple to use, and can also be used to create looping riffs and hypnotic echoing swells of sound. If your amp doesn't have reverb built in then I would also recommend buying a reverb pedal.
3.) Ibanez WP7 Weeping Demon Wah - After you get your delay and reverb dialed in, I would next recommend you get your wah-wah pedal. The one I use is a little more rare and seldom seen, but I really like it because it has a bright red light on the right corner letting me know that it's active if I'm on stage (as it's sometime's difficult to hear just my sound). The most common type of wah pedal is the Dunlop Crybaby, and those have a great sound as well. To me the light and the extra switches on my Ibanez Wah made the difference because I can control the aggressiveness or smoothness of the wah to get the exact desired sound. Wah is the quintessential signature electric guitar sound. Just with the 3 pedals we've discussed so far, you'd be on your way to sounding like a pro.
4.) Boss BF-3 Flanger - Another boss pedal and this one is magic. It gives the guitar sound a shiny, sparkly, mystical sort of quality similar to a chorus effect. You can also make it sound quite extreme for a very trippy quality added to your sound. I would highly recommend either a flanger or a phase shifter as an addition to your board after the wah pedal. The boss pedals are always very simple to use for gigging or practicing, and work well on stage. There are 4 simple switches for level, depth, rate, and choose between 4 types of flange effects. The flanger takes you one giant leap closer to that stadium rock sound you're longing for.
5.) TC Electronic Ditto Looper Pedal X2 - This was the last pedal that I added to my board but I wish I had bought it much much sooner. This very simple to use looper has the ability to record dozens of different loops on top of each other with the simple push of 2 switches, enabling you to sound like a whole band in one. This model also has the ability to put different loops in slow motion or even reverse, while maintaining the other loops going forward. I can't say enough about this pedal, and what it has done for the way I see playing and gigging.
I'll leave links to my other pedals down below as I love every pedal on my board but these are the 5 that I believe will give you the most benefit to your playing. For a link to all my gear, check out my post Getting The Right Gear: My Recommendations. Many of my other pedals are basically one trick ponies that I use for certain instances. Also just remember I've spent a lifetime collecting and crafting my board so it doesn't happen overnight. The way to get really good is to fully explore what each and every pedal can do to its fullest potential.
Other awesome pedals:
Electro-Harmonix Small Stone EH4800 Phase Shifter
HardWire CR-7 Stereo Chorus
Guitar is an instrument that is nearly impossible to master without private lessons like the ones that I offer. If you are getting into the guitar for the first time, we should talk. I can save you hours and hours of practice time, and you will love your guitar playing for the rest of your life.