I would like to give you a followup to my last post “Gear Guide: Intro To Guitar Effects Pedals.” I only scraped the surface of the guitar effects world. The evolution of guitar effects pedals has been amazing, so I feel the need to give you more information about them.
In my first post on guitar effects, I went over a few of the major players in the pedal world; distortion, chorus, wah-wah, and delay. But as I mentioned before, these are only scraping the surface of effects pedals available to you. In fact, there are so many pedals available, a couple of posts won’t be able to cover them all. What I would like to do is broaden your effects pedal horizon by suggesting other pedals that can shape the tone on your guitar. It’s up to you to experiment with these pedals and find the sounds you think work best for your playing. Another dent into the guitar effects pedal world can be found here at http://ezinearticles.com/?Confused-By-Guitar-Effects—What-Is-the-Difference?&id;=6231167.
Since Guitar Effects Pedals are so abundant now, how do you know what to use for your next gig! What is the difference between the flanger and the phase shifter and the Tremolo.
Guitar Effects Pedals are difficult to categorize due to the multitude of sounds. In this article I will be discussing pedals that affect your pitch and frequency. These pedals include the following types: Chorus, Flanger, Phase Shifter, Pitch Shifter and harmonizer, ring modulator, Tremolo, and Vibrato. I’ll focus on a few of these.
Chorus Effect: If you have ever heard a choir sing or an orchestra play then this is what chorus effects are like. The only difference is in the timbre and pitch. A chorus effect adds vibrato to part of the signals.
Types of Chorus Effects include: Dunlop Uni-Vibe stereo chorus, Erockson Chorus Pedal, BOSS Chorus Ensemble, Visual Sound Liquid Chorus, Dunlop MXR stereo chorus pedal, MXR Micro Chorus pedal.
Flanger Effect: Flanging is produced by 2 identical sounds which are mixed together and 1 is delayed. Some describe it as a jet plane sound. The what is now called Flanging sound was in use for more than 20 years before the first portable stompbox was made to be used by guitarists.
Types of Flanger Effects Pedals include: Dunlop MXR Flanger, Dunlop MXR Micro Flanger, Erockson Flanger, Boss Flanger.
Phase Shifter: Filters a signal causing peaks and troughs in it’s frequency. Phase shifters are similar to flangers but they have a more out of this world type sound.
Types of Phase Shifter Effects include: Pigtronix Envelope phaser pedal, Garagetone Oil Can Phaser Pedal, BOSS Phase Shifter, BBE Soul Vibe, Electro-harmonix small tone phaser shifter, Erockson Phaser pedal, MXR phase 90 and phase 100.
Pitch Shifter: Does exactly what it says. It changes the pitch. It can raise a note or lower a note to a different pitch that you choose.
Types of Pitch Shifters: Dunlop’s MXR Blue Box Octave Fuzz, Dunlop’s Jimi Hendrix Octavio Effect.
Tremolo Effect: Makes a trembling type sound by causing a rapid change in the volume of a note.
Types of Tremolo Effects include: Dunlop MXR Tremolo stereo effect, BBE Tremor Dual Tremolo pedal, BOSS Tremolo, Garage Tone Tremolo Pedal.
Musicians have been using Guitar Effects for decades to take their music to the next level. Can you imagine music without them today? Wow, what a difference Effects Pedals have made!
So now that you’re starting to understand just how many different options you have to choose from for effects pedals, it’s important to know how to build your pedal board for the stage. Some clever tips on how to build a pedal board can be found here at http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Set-Up-A-Pedal-Board-On-Stage&id;=6253005.
As you may know, trying to set up your pedal board on stage can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you use a lot of effects with your guitar/bass or if your playing in a small venue. About a few months ago I was playing with my band in a small pub in town, and having little to no room on the floor I had to place my effects pedals slightly in front on the stage. About half way through the gig someone who was jumping/dancing about stood on my pedals and broke the input/ output jacks on a couple of pedals. As well as that there was beer split all over them which was really annoying! However, since then I have learnt how to properly set up my effects pedals on stage.
If you play in a band or gig regularly then you probably play a lot of small venues? That is unless you are very successful and playing big venues! Playing in small venues and pubs means that you have a small stage and as a result of this, very little room on the floor for your effects pedals. Like you I know that this can be frustrating, having to organize your effects pedals in an awkward position so that you can fit in all your other equipment on stage (speakers, mike stands, amps, drums etc.) So how can you effectively set up your pedal board on stage?
In order to set up your pedal board on stage, you need to use a board to hold all your effects pedals on. Since I invested in one of these I am now able to hold all my effects pedals together and set them up very easily. It has also saves me a lot of time as it is always ready to go.
Probably the best thing I did was that I bought an effects pedal case that had a removable board to hold all my pedals. This means that I can remove the board from the case and just plug it in. As well as this it also takes up less room on stage.
Some effects boards like soft cases do not have a removable board to attach your pedals to and as a result they take up a lot more room which leads to problems when you set up your pedal board on stage.
If you play in public a lot then you will, or may have already, run into some of these problems when you set up your pedal board on stage. The best way to avoid these problems is to do what I did, get yourself a good effects board that can be removed from its case. If you do this then it will take up less room and you will be able to easily set up your pedal board on stage.
But you do not have to pay through your nose for the best pedal boards. You can find the best pedal boards here at http://pedalboardcases.com/.
Another one of the most popular guitar effects pedals you can find is the Wah-Wah pedal. This pedal offers you an interactive way to express yourself on the guitar. I found a great video explaining how this pedal works and how to use it effectively. The video can be found here at http://bluesguitarunleashed.com/how-to-use-a-wah-pedal/.
There are so many guitar effects pedals to choose from it can be difficult, and expensive, to find out which ones best suit your playing and tone. Innovations have been made in the guitar effects world, and one of the most popular innovations is the multi effects guitar pedal. Find some stellar insight one this pedal here at http://ezinearticles.com/?Guitar-Multi-Effect-Pedals:-Finding-Your-Sound-With-One-Pedal&id;=5562527.
Like they always say, you get what you pay for. Except in this case, you get more.
Just saying “multi effect pedal” a few years ago would have got you thrown out of most bands, but oh, how times have changed. My first guitar multi effects pedal was the Zoom 505. Honestly, it was a piece of hissing, digital crap, but it made me realize the potential that lay there within its cheap, semi-transparent blue housing. I actually brought it to one of my band practices, and I can tell you, that pedal combined with the roaring power of a cranked, 70′s Fender Twin Reverb was painful to say the least, especially for my band mates. So I went back to my “snake pit”, home-made pedal board consiting of the usual guitar pedals (distortion, tuner, delay…).
Then, last year I started researching new guitar pedals on the internet, and found a new opinion developing regarding multi effect pedals. Experienced guitarists, with a large collection of expensive, boutique single effects pedals were starting to sing the praises of multi pedals by brands like Digitech, Line 6 and Boss. Either these players had reached an advanced stage of hearing loss, or they really liked these multi effect pedals!
I was particularly surprised with reviews of the new Digitech RP line of pedals (RP500, RP1000). Guitarists were going off about how great the sound was, the quality of the effects, and the ease of use. None of these qualities had previously been associated with a multi effects pedal. These pedals (and others by Line 6 and Boss), have such a wide palette of great sounding effects, that its hard to understand why you would buy single guitar effects any more.
With this thought in mind, I did a little research on single effect pedal prices. I picked 9 of my favourite single effects, that are also produced by most new multi effect pedals, and priced them out. This is what I found:
Dunlop Crybaby 535Q multi wah: $125.44 Visual Sound Volume Pedal: $139.95 Proco Rat Distortion: $67.49 Boss CH1 Super Chorus: $89.00 Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb: $129.99 Boss DD7 Digital Delay: $169.00 Boss RC-2 Loop station: $189.00 Boss TU-2 Tuner: $99.00 MXR M-102 Compressor: $69.95 Total price: $1077.83
This would give you a pretty impressive pedal board! Especially in size. My old pedal board had half this many effects, and it was a beast to deal with. You would be looking at 11 patch cables, 9 power connections, and the board itself.
I now own the Digitech RP500. It has all of these effects built in, with a total of 125 effects, a looper, all metal construction, and stereo output. But honestly, the best thing of all is its ability to shut off all digital modeling, and simply become a pedal board. This feature, through my old Fender Twin Reverb tube amp sounds awesome. Better than any single pedal, or combination thereof I have ever owned. The only thing that sounds better than my RP500/Twin Reverb combo, is an RP500 through two Twin reverbs in stereo! Huge, lush, shimmering sound. All that, for $300 bucks (the pedal that is).
So if your looking for a single, or multi effect pedal, do your research. Despite their digital sounding names, the latest in multi effect pedals can produce amazing sounds, at a reasonable price. They simply allow you to explore more creative sound ideas.
A great place to start your search is at http://multieffectpedal.com/ where you will find reviews and guides on the latest guitar multi effect units by Boss, Digitech, Line 6, and more.
As you have probably discovered, the guitar effects world is immense. It is very easy to make pedal shopping an addiction and spend most of your time buying. For example, guitar players may lose sight of using their effects pedals to sound like one of their guitar heroes, and instead make it their passion to sound like ALL of their guitar heroes. While the idea is commendable, it will probably be an expensive journey. I found an article that might put this all in perspective for you here at http://www.guitarworld.com/back-pedaling-avoid-going-overboard-effect-pedals.
Some of the most innovative guitar playing in the world has involved pedals. Octave pedals, delays, wahs and phasers. Most of those groundbreaking sounds showed up in the late ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s.
Players like Hendrix, Muddy Waters, Page, Clapton, Santana and George Harrison used pedals to flavor songs and styles, creating new sounds never heard before. Then the ’80s came and went, and the world was introduced to hundreds of thousands of pedals, from boutique hand-wired analog ones to mass-manufactured Japanese digital replicas.
Spending the summer on this year’s Vans 2011 Warped Tour and being the rig-spy that I am, I have witnessed almost every single type of tone and pedal board there is, as they go hand in hand. I have heard everything from digital compressed tones that filter through Pro Tools rigs to only tuners and combo amps, as natural as it gets.
I have seen pedal boards with literally 25-plus pedals on them, resembling mission control at a NASA building. This is where the thought came to me: When is it too many pedals — or not enough?
Before I go any further, I understand that tone and pedals are all subjective. There is no right or wrong, only taste. I have seen large pedal rigs done right in bands like Middle Class Rut, The Expendables and The Bots. I have also heard the most organic tones on the tour from a band called Lucero and The Aggrolites, with stripped-down sounds relying mostly on the amps and guitars to do the work.
Tone, to me, is mostly in your fingers, and with your chops, the pedals are merely flavor. Sometimes the tone of amazing guitars, amps and players is masked by way too many pedals. Often, this is effected by people using the wrong pedals. Boutique doesn’t always mean good or road-worthy, and cheap usually dictates the sound.
To compare it to something, it would be like spicing a piece of meat before cooking it. If the piece of meat is the end result of overall tone for a song or set, then the best way to start would be plain. Add things as needed, but not as the first step. Start with the guitar, in tune, plugged directly into the amp head. Hone your chops on that, and work your way into adding pedals, or the spices.
Usually the best meats are delicious with olive oil and sea salt, and the same applies to guitar. For me, usually the best players and most creative sounds use the fewest pedals. Using a delay and wah to see how many sounds you can get has always been my favorite approach before adding more pedals to get those sounds combined. Using the volume knob and pickup selectors for cleaner or dirty tones gives you more control than using a pedal, which could limit your options or completely drain your amp of the guitar’s tone.
To players going through the mind-numbing process of pedal shopping and adding more to your board, start from scratch. Try starting with Fender or Gibson and a good tube head like an Orange or a Marshall. Turn it all the way up and just play.
See what you can accomplish from there. Then maybe add a delay. After some time with that, add an Octafuzz. Maybe even add a phaser, but keep it simple and embrace the fact that less is more. See how creative you can be with limited options. And remember that whatever you do, there’s always a place on the board for a wah-wah.
Hopefully now you are on your way to finding the best guitar tone for you. Guitar effects pedals have helped shape legendary guitar players into the icons they are today. Make sure you do as much research as you can to find what sounds best to you. And don’t let anybody convince you there is any one way to get your best tone, that’s completely up to you. Guitar tones are a reflection of your personality, so you get to make all your own decisions.
Have fun and stay tuned!