Electric Guitar Effects Pedals
Good morning guitar friends after playing guitar for some time, you may want experiment with some electric guitar effects pedals to produce different sounds to suit your fancy. Some may want to have a particular sound that they can call their own, and produce a brand if you will. The good news is there are an enormous amount of pedals out there to choose from. You may get pedal units that include two or more effects in a single pedal to a multi-effect pedal system if you want to add a greater range of sound possibilities. Either way, the type of sounds produced are endless and could be time-consuming but if you are still interested which I am sure most of you will be we will discuss briefly how I went through the process to hopefully give you a better understanding of the options listed below.
My First Guitar Effect System
I started with two things, an amp and an electric guitar with a clean and dirty channel. For some that may be enough, but of course, my curiosity took over and I bought my first small Digitech DOD FX7 pedal system for about $450. It basically came with 99 presets that was customizable but you could only use 6 pedals at once. It has most of the pedals that most guitarists would want or need.
I used this system for many years, and worked well for me even when my little Peavey Rage guitar amp was starting to fail on me and I was given a Fender Frontman 20Watt amp for my birthday. This amp was significantly better than my Peavey rage and I absolutely loved this amp. The Fender cleans on this amp were suburb and the built-in distortion was amazing. I know what some of you may be thinking, “a Frontman and superb” “What”? At that time that was great but fast-forward to today and this amp would not be able to compete with today standards. I already had good experience with a multi-effect pedal system, and as I would talk to others and an avid reader of Guitar World Magazine, it occurred to me that a lot of people swore by single pedals linked together on a pedal board. So I began me search of which are the best and would produce the kind of sounds I was looking for.
Distortion is probably the first most important pedal a guitarist will purchase. There are a vast amount of distortion pedals to choose from but I bought the Boss Distortion DS-1, if your new to the effect pedal technology, Boss has been a leader for decades and are well-known for creating durable high quality guitar gear and provide a plethora of products to choose from. This pedal was pretty inexpensive option compared to others on the market but it fit the bill. This particular pedal was made famous by Kurt Cobain cheap and dirty.
Delay and Chorus Pedals
I purchased a Boss digital Delay DD3 that produced most options you would expect from a delay pedal. It provides clean sounding repeats. Feed back control for your level of repeats, delay time which directly links with the Mode control or Hold feature to repeat last phrase up to 800ms.
I had an Analogue MXR chorus pedal produces a shimmery lush and liquid type of sound which you use the level, rate, depth control to dial in your sound and you can also can control the EQ using the low and high knobs. The pedal offers two outputs, mono or thru output depending on if you want to widen the sound, if so, you would use the Thru output.
Compressor Sustainer Pedals
Compressor Sustained – the Compressor Sustained CS-2 was great pedal for providing a nice smooth long-lasting sustain, which came in handy for those notes you want to ring out. The compressor basically compressors the louder signals and boosts the lower signals resulting in a smooth sounding sustain. It also has tonal controls to adjust accordingly.
Flanger and Phaser Pedals
Flanger – This one below is an updated version to the one I had but sounds similar. The flanger provides a depth and a slicer type effects that produces a swirl sound which is controlled using the depth and rate knobs. There are three modes, standard gate/pan or ultra. Standard provides a thick sound and Gate/pan and Ultra mode is used for ultra-fat flanging and slicer type sounds.
MXR Phase 90 produces a shimmering sound to a thunderous type of sound that could be best described by Eddy Van Halen producing sounds he created in the 80s. Under the hood, the MXR Phase 90 has remained unchanged since and provide a shimmery velocity to leads and a dramatic swooshing effect while muting. Varying the speed will produce a watery type feel to a vibration type of sounds.
Wah Wah Pedals
I started with a Dunlop Cry Baby C95 but was not pleased so I ended up buying a Weeping Demon mainly because it provided much more options and sounds. The pedal however, was enormous compared to others but it did not bother me. It was a little pricey compared to the Cry Baby GCB-95 ($79.99), more than double but worth the cost as soon as you hear its capabilities.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Pedals offer a great range of sounds and combinations that can be used as many as you would like. As you can see above, there are some possibilities out there for just about anyone and some (purists) may never explore the option outside the clean and dirty channel the amp provides because simplicity is paramount. These seven pedals were fun to play with and the experimentation phase took days and days to get my sound honed in. I also made a pedal board out of metal with Velcro to fit all the pedals with a power unit. This is a great option but it is ultimately up to you and what sounds good to you. It may be a few pedals to maybe a combination rig. The nice thing, is you can pretty much go to any guitar store and physically try them out to ensure that is what you are looking for. Sky is the limit so happy shopping.