Guitar effects pedals explained
Even seasoned guitarists can have difficulties differentiating the dozens of effects and their unique functions. With such a multitude of guitar effects on offer, working out which is the one for you can be a tricky proposition. Fear not though, here at Nevada Music we're always on hand to help; through our product descriptions, categories, friendly customer services and, of course, these Buyer's Guides, we hope to be able to make it all a good deal clearer.
Off-The-Wall Guitar Tones
Some of the most popular effects are those that affect the pitch and tone of a guitar. Wah pedals such as the classic Vox Wah and other frequency adjusting pedals - like this Boss GE-7 Equaliser - are an essential part of many musicians kit. The Wah-pedal modifies the sound of the guitar through a simple rocking motion to create that classic 'wah-wah' envelope effect. Wah-pedals came to prominence in the 1960's with artists like Jimi Hendrix paving the way with never-heard-before unique wah solos. The popularity of the Wah pedal has rarely wavered, particularly amongst the classic rock fraternity of guitarists and even contemporary bluesmeister Joe Bonamassa has his own signature Wah pedal. By adjusting the frequency, Wahs, Auto-Wahs, Voice Boxes and Equalisers can drastically curve the standard tones of a guitar output, creating unusual but yet highly unique riffs, particularly ideal for that classic hard rock sound.
Psychedelic Reverb Sounds
You can flange your way to sweeping, and often mind-bending, effects with a Boss BF-3 Flanger pedal; helping to recreate the psychedelic sounds of yesteryear with phased dual-layered guitar riffs. To continue with a dual-layered theme, the TC Electronic Flashback Delay pedal creates a mesmerising echo by reverberating the guitar sound in a variable loop. If reverberations, with their haunting echo sound, are your thing then it will come as no surprise that a TC Electronic Hall of fame Reverb pedal may well be the effect you're after.
Clipping Notes with Distortion
Distortion is a method of periodically breaking up the standard guitar signal, interjecting it with a range of effects to create a purposely broken sound. It works simply by breaking the standard frequency - this truncated version of the note is often referred to as 'clipping' within the guitar fraternity.
The level of this clipping determines the kind of distortion achieved; pedals similar to the Vox Satchurator Overdrive Distortion effects pedal overburden the accepted amp input,leading to heavy metal style distortion, which can often be found in Hard Rock and Metal tracks. Softer effects are available throughout the vast array of distortion pedals; but whatever level of overdrive you desire, these are all hard rocking distortions, capable of turning a clean pure guitar tone into a brash and unrelenting rock riff.
Improving Clarity & Sustain
For a cleaner, crisper sound, Uni-Vibe and Boss Stereo CE-5 Chorus Ensemble effects are definitely a couple to consider. Functioning in a very similar fashion, in effect they create that anthemic chorus tone, often with a choice of mono or stereo sound; ideal for crunching away on stage to and offering a bit of variety during your set. A Boss CS-3 Compressor/Sustainer can also help sharpen up notes. By modifying the sustain your instrument produces - shortening or lengthening - a Compressor allows you to quickly adapt a song to produce either short sharp bursts or long drawn out chords, for an epic sound!
Guitar Effects Processors
In essence there are effects to cover every conceivable tone you've ever heard a guitar produce. These can all be used in harmony for example as part of a TC Electronic Nova effects unit, or as a stand-alone effects pedal. For multi-effects in any environment why not use an effects processor? By integrating your guitar and standalone pedals with an effects processor, you can refine your sound using a whole range of onboard effects and features.
The primary advantage of units such as the Boss GT-100 digital processors is that you can continuously tweak your sound; creating bespoke tones for different performance environments and song styles. The subtle automated adjustments, combined with your own manual toe-tapping pedalwork, will optimise your performance sound to whole new levels.
As with any guitar hardware, effects need to be practiced with and refined over a good deal of time in order to nail that perfect sound. Minor tweaks and major overhauls will be commonplace, however this persistence will ultimately pay off when you have constructed a wholly original noise; using just a guitar, some pedals, a processor and of course a killer amp.
Comments on Guitar effects pedals explained:
21 Mar '11