Feb 04, 2016
Have you ever dreamed about playing like your guitar heroes? To get the sounds they did or do? Of course, you may never sound exactly like them, and that's okay—you can be influenced by them but still sound like YOU.
Although there are innumerable guitar effects pedals, most of the greats have used a few must-have pedals to get their signature sound.
We'll discuss the 5 Types Of Guitar Pedals All Guitarists Should Be Using.
A wah-wah pedal (or simply, wah) creates vowel-like sounds by altering the frequency spectrum produced by an instrument—i.e., how loud it is at each separate frequency—in what is known as a spectral glide or "sweep". The device is operated by a foot treadle that opens and closes a potentiometer. Wah-wah pedals are often used by funk and rockguitarists.
My Pedal Recommendations: Keeley-Modded Vox or Crybaby Wah
Compressors make loud sounds quieter and quiet sounds louder by decreasing or "compressing" the dynamic range of an audio signal. A compressor is often used to stabilize volume and smooth a note's "attack" by dampening its onset and amplifying its sustain. A compressor can also function as a limiter with extreme settings of its controls.
My Pedal Recommendations: Keeley Compressor or Diamond Compressor
Distortion and overdrive units re-shape or "clip" an audio signal's wave form so that it has flattened peaks, creating "warm" sounds by adding harmonics or "gritty" sounds by adding inharmonic overtones. In tube amplifiers, distortion is created by compressing the instrument's out-going electrical signal in vacuum tubes or "valves".
Distortion pedals produce perfectly flattened peaks or “hard” clipping.
Overdrive pedals produce "soft” tube-like distortion by compressing the sine wave without completely flattening it.
Much like tube amps, overdrive units produce "clean" sounds at quieter volumes and distorted "warm" sounds at louder volumes. Distortion and overdrive pedals may either be transistor-based or digital.
My Pedal Recommendations: Keeley Modded-BD-2 Blues Driver, Fulltone OCD, Mesa Boogie Flux-Drive and Mesa Boogie Grid Slammer
Modulation is a control feature rather than a specific architecture wherein one(or more) processing parameters effecting an audio signal is varied over time in order to create sounds with unusual tonal properties. Some modulation effects mix ("modulate") an instrument's audio signal with a signal generated by the effect called a carrier wave. Other modulation effects split an instrument's audio signal in two, altering one portion of the signal and mixing it with the unaltered portion.
Chorus: Chorus pedals mimic the effect choirs and string orchestras produce naturally, by having slight variations in timbre and pitch, by mixing sounds with slight differences in timbre and pitch. A chorus effect splits the instrument-to-amplifier audio signal, and adds a slight delay and frequency variations or "vibrato" to part of the signal while leaving the rest unaltered.
Phase: A phaser or "phase shifter" creates a slight rippling effect—amplifying some aspects of the tone while diminishing others—by splitting an audio signal in two and altering the phase of one portion.
Tremolo: A tremolo effect produces a slight, rapid variation in the volume of a note or chord. The "tremolo effect" should not be confused with the misleadingly-named "tremolo bar", a device on a guitar bridge that creates a vibrato or "pitch-bending" effect. In transistorized effects, a tremolo is produced by mixing an instrument's audio signal with a sub-audible carrier wave in such a way that generates amplitude variations in the sound wave.
My Pedal Recommendations: Diamond Halo Chorus, Diamond Phase, and Diamond Tremolo
Delay/echo units produce an echo effect by adding a duplicate instrument-to-amplifier electrical signal to the original signal at a slight time-delay. The effect can either be a single echo called a "slap" or "slapback," or multiple echos.
My Pedal Recommendations: Diamond Memory Lane, Jr., Diamond Quantum Leap, and Diamond Counter Point
If you have even a small board with these staples: Wah, Compressor, Overdrive, Chorus (or Phase or Tremolo), and Delay, you can indeed capture the sounds of the guitar masters you have heard on recordings and at live shows.
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