Music Gear News

At Gear4music.com we update our news channel daily to ensure you always get the latest and most important music news.

A Beginner's Guide to Effects Pedals

What is an effects pedal?

Effects pedals are electronic devices that allow musicians to modify the sounds of their instruments. Mostly used in conjunction with electric guitars, the overall purpose of effects pedals is to alter the sound of an instrument in the context of the music that is being played.

There are a wide variety of effects pedals available, with the Boss-style three-inch and four-inch 'stomp boxes' among the most common. Larger units featuring several foot buttons can also be bought to give musicians ready access to multiple sound effects, while rackmount preamplifiers or processors can be used in conjunction with associated foot controllers. In addition, some modern amps have their own built-in effects systems.

Buying an effects pedal

Before getting started on effects pedals, it is generally recommended that musicians really get to know their instruments beforehand. Once this has been done, effects pedals can be used to assist players with experimenting with new sounds and help them to keep engaged with the instrument. Most musicians will go through a large number of effects during their playing careers as they continue to evolve their sound.

Effects pedals were once looked on as being expensive items, but low-priced models are now available from companies such as Behringer. The Behringer CS100 Compressor/Sustainer for example, costs £17 and gives players the ability to create endless sustain, as well as providing an easy way to improve overall tone.

Good value multiple effects units are also available these days, such as the Boss ME-20 Guitar Effects Processor for £139. The multi-effects board boasts a wide range of the most common electric guitar effects, including tremolo, flanger, distortion, overdrive, delay, chorus and phaser.

Common types of effects

Distortion is perhaps the most used and recognisable effect and literally distorts the sound of the guitar, from small amounts of overdrive through to loud and thrashy. Wah is another popular effect and is usually operated by a foot treadle, allowing the user to modify the sound constantly to make the music more expressive. At one end, the sound is very trebly, while at the other trebles are muted. In the middle, it produces a very nasaly, mid-range tone.

Delay effects can give the guitar sound an echoey feel, while reverb effects give players the ability to thicken up or soften the sound, in a way enabling them to recreate the sound of playing in a concert hall or a church or a small room. Chorus effects double the sound of the guitar, creating a much thicker tone, while the challenging to master looper - ideal for solo musicians - enables players to lock the record on a continuously playing loop.

Phaser effects cyclically eliminate certain frequencies from the sound, enabling the creation of spacey, open sounds, right through to jet engine level sounds for aggressive and loud music. Flanger effects also work cyclically, but have a bigger effect on the sound and can be used to control depth and intensity. Compressor effects are mainly used as studio effects, but they can increase sustain by raising quiet signal levels as the sound fades out.

Posted on 14 Apr 2009 15:58 to category : Tips and advice

Related Music News

thumbnail

Update available to improve performance and fix bugs.

15 May 2015 07:00
thumbnail

Shure recently discussed how guitarists can achieve great results when recording at home or in a small project studio. We took a look and picked out our favourite points.

25 Jun 2014 14:15
thumbnail

Recreate the Brazilian carnival atmosphere at your World Cup party with our Samba instruments.

19 Jun 2014 09:46
thumbnail

Many parents want to encourage their child to take up an instrument early on in life. Music can be a fun and rewarding activity for children but knowing where to start can be tricky. Here are our top picks for ideal starter instruments for children under 7.

7 May 2014 11:16
thumbnail

We take a look at 11 apps you may want to try...

30 Sep 2013 14:34
thumbnail

You've spent ages perfecting your sound and now it's time to let others hear it too. Read our 8 Tips for Putting on a Great Live Show.

9 Sep 2013 15:09

Recent Music News

thumbnail

In a recent unconfirmed report, frontman of famous rock and roll outfit Guns N' Roses is said to be heading into the studio with Australian rock veterans AC/DC

24 Feb 2017 13:13
thumbnail

With a stunning finish and one of a kind tone, the Natal Cafe Racer shell packs are an exciting foundation for professional drummers of almost any genre.

23 Feb 2017 15:03
thumbnail

Old Blood Noise Endeavors EQ and Buffer, Headphone Amp and AB/Y Switcher have landed. Rugged and road ready, this trio promise get the most out of your guitar.

23 Feb 2017 12:46
thumbnail

The ROLI Loop BLOCK, Lightpad BLOCK and Live BLOCK are now available for purchase at Gear4music. A revelation in your creativity, make music wherever you are.

22 Feb 2017 12:10
thumbnail

Those who purchase a copy of Superior Drummer 2 are eligible for any SDX completely free. Additionally, Superior Drummer 2 Crossgrade is available heavily reduced.

21 Feb 2017 16:28
thumbnail

Gear4music are now stocking an extremely limited 5 piece Tama Star Bubinga Exotix 5 piece shell pack with an Australian Backwood Finish, Only one in stock!

21 Feb 2017 12:42