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Five Great Effects Pedals for Your Guitar

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Contact Glenn Sutton at 619-306-3664.

How to Easily Expand Your Tonal Range

Chances are, you have heard a guitar sound and wanted to emulate it in your own playing. You may have tried to adjust the knobs on your guitar or your amp to get the sound and came up lacking. There is a good chance that the sound you were striving for was achieved by the use of one or more effects pedals. This article describes effects pedals and lists five must-own pedals.

How Do Effects Pedals Work?

Effects units are electronic devices that electronically alter sounds made by your guitar. The most commonly used units are pedals. These units, also called “stompboxes,” are preferred because of their versatility and ease of use. They are small boxes that are positioned on the floor or within a pedalboard.

When a signal from your guitar hits the effects pedal, it uses its electronics to alter the sound on its way to the amplifier. These boxes can subtly color the sound or alter it into a roar, a scream, or a multitude of other tones.

Types of Pedals

Phasers -- These fall under the category of modulation pedals, which affect the parameters making up the audio signal to create new sounds. Phasers create a rippling sound. Some examples of phasing: Brian May of Queen on “Sheer Heart Attack,” Eddie Van Halen on “Eruption,” and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead on “Paranoid Android.”

Wah or Wah-Wah Pedals --The name of these pedals accurately reflect the sound your guitar makes through them. The Wah-Wah Pedal creates vowel-like sounds by altering the frequency spectrum produced by your guitar. It is operated by a foot treadle that opens and closes a potentiometer. One of the first users of this pedal was Jimi Hendrix; one of the best examples was his stunning performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Woodstock festival. Another early use of the wah pedal was Eric Clapton’s work on “Tales of Brave Ulysses” on Cream’s DISRAELI GEARS album

Delay or Echo Pedals -- These pedals delay the signal or add echo effects. Delay/Echo pedals duplicate the signal from the guitar to the amplifier to create an echo effect. These pedals have been used in countless live and studio performances.

Flangers -- These pedals fall under the same modulation pedal category as phasers. These pedals allow for a “jet airliner” or “spaceship” sound. The first very popular use of the Flanger was on the Small Faces’ hit single “Ithcykoo Park.” It was also used by The Cars on “You’re all I’ve Got Tonight,” Van Halen on “And the Cradle Will Rock.” and Pink Floyd on the live version of “Astronomy Domine” from the UMMAGUMMA album.

Boost Pedals -- Among the earliest pedals available to guitarists, the Boost Pedal is considered a dynamics pedal, that is, they affect a guitar’s volume. Many guitarists use this type of pedal to change from playing rhythm to playing a lead solo without having to change any volume settings on the guitar.

Just a Taste

These are just a handful of the many pedals currently available and the types and numbers are constantly expanding. Try these and other pedals out to see what you can create.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664 or email: guitarman.glenn@gmail.com

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