We’re going to try and provide a quick glance at the major forms of guitar effects pedals. In part 1 we’ll cover the fundamentals.
We know that there are one million websites offering insight to this topic, however its been our experience that they’re created by engineers, not musicians… they read like microwave manuals rather than a helpful resource… Anyway… off we go.
I can’t really milk greater than a few lines out of this topic. It’s pretty cut and dry- an increase pedal will provide your signal a volume boost – or cut, depending on how you’ve got it set. Most boost pedals act as a master volume control allowing you a pretty wide range of use.
How come I need a boost pedal? To create your guitar volume up over all of those other band during a solo, to get your amp harder by feeding it a hotter signal, to have a set volume change with the press of the mouse.
When most guitarists speak about overdrive, these are discussing the smooth ‘distortion’ manufactured by their tube amps when driven to begin breaking apart. Overdrive pedals are created to either replicate this tone (with limited success) or drive a tube amp into overdrive, creating those screaming tubes beyond what they normally would be able to do without wall shaking volume.
So why do I need an overdrive pedal? Overdrive pedals can be used as an increase pedal- which means you get those inherent benefits, you’ll acquire some added girth in your tone through the distortion created by the pedal. Most overdrive pedals have tone control offering you wider tone shaping possibilities.
Depending on our above definition of overdrive, distortion is the place where overdrive leaves off. In the rock guitar world think Van Halen and beyond for any clear instance of distorted guitar tone. Distortion pedals often emulate high gain amps that produce thick walls of sound small tube amps are certainly not able to creating. If you’re lucky enough to possess a large Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Diezel or any other monster amplifier to create your distortion you might not want a distortion pedal. But for the rest of us mere mortals, guitar effects pedals are crucial to modern guitar tone.
Exactly why do I needed a distortion pedal? You want to be relevant don’t you? In spite of large amps, like those mentioned above, distortion pedals play a vital role in modern music. They have flexibility that boosts and overdrives can not rival.
God bless Ike Turner along with the Kinks. Both acts achieved their landmark tones through the use of abused speaker cabinets. Ike dropped his in the street walking directly into Sun Records to record Rocket 88, the Kinks cut their speakers with knives or more the legends get it. Regardless of how they got it, their tone changed the world. Some consider it distortion, some refer to it as fuzz, however, seeing the progression from all of these damaged speakers for the fuzz boxes manufactured to emulate those tones, I feel its safest to call what Turner and Davies created/found was fuzz.
How come I want a fuzz pedal? Ya like Hendrix, don’t ya? In all honesty, the fuzz pedal is seeing resurgence in popular music currently. Bands like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Muse and also the White Stripes rely heavily on classic designs on recent releases.
The job of your compressor is always to deliver a level volume output. It will make the soft parts louder, along with the loud parts softer. Current country music guitar tone is driven through compression.
Why do you require a compressor? Improved sustain, increased clarity during low volume playing.
The earliest “flanger” effects were produced in the studio by playing 2 tape decks, both playing exactly the same sounds, while an engineer would slow or speed up the playback of one of the dupe signals. This is how you might produce wooshing jet streams. The edge of your old style tape reels is called the flange.
So why do I need a flanger? A flanger will provide a fresh color to your tonal palette. It is possible to tolerate out one, but you’ll never get a number of the nuance coloring of your Van Halen’s, Pink Floyd’s, or Rush’s on the planet.
The phase shifter bridges the gap between Flanger and Chorus. Early phasers were intended to recreate the spinning speaker of your Leslie. Phase shifting’s over use could be heard all over the initial Van Halen albums.
Exactly why do I needed a phase shifter? See Flangers answer.
Chorus pedals split your signal in 2, modulates one of those by slowing it down and detuning it, then mixes it back in together with the original signal. The impact is supposed to sound dexspky30 several guitarists playing the same thing as well, causing a wide swelling sound, but I don’t listen to it. One does obtain a thicker more lush tone, however it doesn’t seem to be a chorus of players to me.
So why do I would like a chorus? Because Andy Summers uses one, and Paul Raven says so… that ought to be good enough.
Being a kid, have you ever fiddle with the quantity knob about the TV or maybe the radio manically turning it up and down? Yeah? Well you were a tremolo effect.
How come I need a tremolo pedal? 6 words for ya: The Smiths ‘How Soon Is Now’
A delay pedal creates a copy of an incoming signal and slightly time-delays its replay. It can be used to create a “slap back” (single repetition) or perhaps echo (multiple repetitions) effect. Who amongst us can’t appreciate The Edges usage of rock guitar effects delay throughout U2s career?
Exactly why do I need a delay pedal? See Flangers answer.
A variable band-pass frequency filter… Screw all that- you know what a wah wah is… its po-rn music! It’s Hendrix! It’s Hammett. It’s Wylde. It’s Slash.