A Beginner’s Guide To Guitar Effects Pedals…Effect Types Explained!


Hey there, I’m Sam from professional music technology And this video is going to be our beginner’s guide to all the different types of guitar effects pedals now even if you’re a newcomer to the world of electric guitars you’ve probably already realized that there’s literally thousands of these cool little stomp boxes to choose from so I can totally Understand if as a beginner you find them a little bit daunting or confusing Simply put effects pedals allow you to change the sound of your guitar Either very subtly or a bit more drastically depending on the kind of pedal and the settings that you’re using now Although there is an awful lot of choice with each individual pedal offering its own slightly unique tone and features Most of them can be categorised into certain effects types which share a similar sound and some common controls so the idea of this video is to try and simplify those different effects on Rah’s Hopefully making it easier for you to choose the right pedals to achieve the kind of sound that you’re looking for As this is a beginner’s guide We’re not going to be going into all the kind of boring science of exactly how the effects work instead We’re just going to be taking a look at some of the most common types of effects pedals I’m going to listen to how they sound And along the way we’ll be doing a bit of jargon Busting and giving you a few tips on how to connect up and get the best out of your pedals. So let’s get started So before we get stuck into the different types of effects that are available it is worth taking a moment to consider whether you want To go down the path of either individual stompboxes or an all-in-one multi effects unit Individual pedals offer a single type of effect be an overdrive a chorus a delay, etc, etc Whilst a multi effects unit will offer a little bit of everything But as it doesn’t specialize in a single effect that can sometimes be a bit of a jack of all trades master of none There’s pros and cons for both. Of course If you look into play with lots of different effects, a multi effects unit will usually be more cost effective They’re much simpler to connect up. You’re only ever going to need just two cables and they allow you to save preset tones So you can recall multiple effects settings and sounds with a single button They can sometimes be a little fiddly and less intuitive to use though as you often have to scroll through complicated menus to program sounds and a lot of time purists will argue that digital multi effects units sometimes sound a little sterile and lack the character of individual pedals Individual stomp boxes on the other hand are usually a lot simpler more hands-on and intuitive to use They tend to be a little more unique sounding and are obviously more of a specialist in one specific effect and speaking as a guitarist Building up your own individual pedal board experimenting with how different pedals combine with one another It’s definitely a lot of fun and it can get pretty addictive this does however mean that things can also get pricey pretty quickly The more pedals you get the more little patch cables. You need to connect everything together You’ll probably want to buy a pedal board to organize everything and make it easier to transport and if you do end up with lots Of pedals, you’ll also need to think about a dedicated power supply unit as well Now in this video as we’re going to be talking about all the different types of effects for simplicity We’re going to be using individual pedals for the examples but if you did want to start your journey into the world of guitar effects by experimenting with lots of different effect types and especially if you’re on a bit of a budget It’s definitely worth checking out a multi effects unit. You can pick something up like the boss GT one relatively inexpensively It’ll give you a little bit of everything to play with and they sound great So an ideal starting point if you’re unsure of what type of sound that you want to create So now we’re moving on and looking at the different categories that effects pedals can fall into I thought would be best to get Arguably the most boring one out of the way first and that’s dynamic effects and under this banner of dynamic effects I’m putting compressor pedals eq’s signal boosters and volume pedals Now throughout this video. I’m going to be referring to what we call a signal chain Which is basically the order of certain pedals are usually connected up in and how they affect the sound between your guitar and your amplifier If you want to go into a bit more depth into signal chains It’s definitely worth checking out our how to set up a pedal board video. I’m Charlie linked up in the description But as a rule of thumb these type of dynamic effects are usually best placed near the beginning of your signal chain meaning that it’ll be one of if not the first pedal that you plug your guitar into a Compressor pedal does exactly as its name suggests It compresses your guitars output signal to make it a more consistent volume Quite a notes become louder and the volume of harder playing is brought down popular with blues and country players compressors help to increase the punchiness and harmonic response of your playing as well as being used to increase sustain as they’ll Automatically bring up the volume of a sustaining note as it starts to fade away Best use quite subtly common controls allow for adjustment of the amount of compression and these often include attack and sustain controls Adjusting how quickly the effect kicks in once you played a note and then for how long it continues to squeeze the signal Signal boosters and EQ pedals again do exactly what you might expect them to a Booster pedal increases the strength of your guitars output giving you a volume boost without adding Distortion They’re most commonly used to fatten up a tone They’re great for beefing up slightly weak sound in single coil pickups and they can work really well for pushing a clean sound and valve amplifier into an over driven tone An EQ pedal works just like a graphic EQ on a hi-fi system allowing you to boost or cut bass middle and treble frequencies So you can tailor your sound to cut through a mix they can also be used to help combat or if you’re so inclined enhance feedback frequencies Finally in or dynamic effects category is a volume pedal Now these are really simple they work in exactly the same way as a volume control on your guitar Allowing you to cut the volume of the signal going into your amp or other pedals But being more conveniently controlled by your foot This means they can be used to clean up an over driven amplifier sounds or to create lovely slow attack volume swells Which can sound really lush and ambient when combined with reverb and delay effects So now we’ve got the slightly less interest in pedals out the way we can move on to some more funky tar effects So start with pitch shifters now, there are a few types of pedals that fall into this category mainly october’s and Harmonizers most optic pedals will allow you to add harmony notes both an octave below and two octaves below the original note that’s being played and This means that you can thicken up a tone by adding base notes a Pitch shifter or harmonizer Works in a very similar way to an octave ax but instead of the harmony notes being set to just octaves They allowed to choose the interval of the harmony note that’s being added such as thirds or fifths etc Just great for adding to distortedly lines Some pitch shifters in particular the digitech whammy allow you to control the harmony or picture the note with a foot pedal? Allowing you to create dive-bomb or pitch Bend effects as made popular by players such as Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine Now you’ll probably want to place a pitch based effect near the front of your signal chain before any modulation or Drive pedals to ensure A nice clean signal for the harmonizer to work with but unfortunately even with the cleanest of signals a lot of October’s and pitch hitters struggle not to kind of Glitch out when you play more than one note at a time So if you did want to be able to add harmony notes when you’re playing chords You’ll definitely need a polyphonic harmonizer something like the electro harmonix poke which stands for polyphonic octave generator And this can easily deal with chords or multiple notes being played at the same time This type of octave effect gives you a lovely kind of organ sounds or really fat simply tones Especially when used in conjunction with a distortion pedal. Plus they give you a great excuse to sack off your bass player So if you’re a guitarist looking to play either blues rock metal grunge indie punk Pretty much any style of guitar music a drive pedal of some description is probably going to be at the top of his shopping list As they allow you to instantly beef up your tone Transforming a beautiful clean guitar sound into a snarling rock-and-roll beast at the touch of a footswitch Overdrive distortion and fuzz effects are all part the drive pedal family and although each of these effects do have very different tonal characteristics They’ll work in a similar way and usually share common controls most importantly a gain knob which increases the amount of overdrive distortion or fuzz Out of the three overdrive pedals tend to be the most conservative sounding and arguably the most versatile covering a lot of musical genres They can be used to add either a subtle bit of bluesy crunch to a clean sound or at higher gain settings to create warm smooth lead tones Popular with blues and classic rock players overdrive pedals such as the best-selling Ibanez ts9 or boss BD – sound Absolutely fantastic when they’re being used in front of a valve amplifier. There’s just on the verge of breaking up They work really well to give the amp a bit of a kick helping those tubes to get cooking And pushing them into a little of the organic sounding dynamic and responsive overdrive But while still maintaining the subtle tonal characteristics of the amplifier itself Distortion pedals on the other hand tend to offer a more in-your-face Aggressive sound when compared to an overdrive pedal They’re harsher grittier distortion tone is more commonly associated with heavier styles of music Such as hard rock or grunge and they’re tight dynamic response makes them ideal for fast powerful heavy metal riffing Now where is overdrive pedals use soft clipping circuits to produce a very natural sounding signal breakup and Distortion pedals employ hard clipping techniques that are harsh a tone a fuzz pedal takes things to the next level clipping the signal extremely hard something that’s known a square wave clipping this heavily saturates the tone and compresses the distortion to squeeze out huge amounts of sustain Resulting in a very wooly sounding or as the name implies fuzzy distorted tone The legendary Jimi Hendrix was one of the first to pioneer the use of fuzz pedals and since then Classic models such as the dunlop Fuzz Face and electro-harmonix big muff have become firm favorites with anyone wanting to play kind of grungy punky indie art rock or noisy experimental guitar styles Traditionally, you’ll probably want to place a drive pedal after any dynamic or pitch based effects in the signal chain But before any modulations delays and reverbs You may have also heard of the term stacking Drive pedals which refers to connecting multiple Drive or boost pedals together to see how they interact with each other and this can bring out some really Unique harmonic and dynamic characteristics now whilst it is loads of fun experimenting with different drive pedal Combinations a word of warning you can also become a bit of an obsession and once you’ve taken those first steps You might find yourself on a never-ending quest to find the holy grail of overdrive tones The next category we’re looking at is modulation effects And this does incorporate quite a lot of different types of pedals the most common being chorus phaser Flanger tremolo and vibrato pedals now although each of these effects do sound very different They will usually share a couple of common controls mainly speed and the depth of the modulation effect Chorus is great for thickening up your tone Sounding almost like two guitarists playing exactly the same thing but slightly out of tune with each other Phases and flanges add more of a kind of sweeping whooshing sounds whilst Tremeloes and vibrato Add a more rhythmic pulsing effect You I So as you can hear modulation pedals can be used to subtly augment your guitar tone adding some extra depth and intrigue But if you do start to crank up the settings They’ll begin to create more pronounced weird and wobbly sweeping and throbbing psychedelic type sounds Now in terms of signal chain placement is quite good to experiment with modulation effects personally I tend to place them after any dynamic and pitch shifting or Drive effects, but before delays and reverbs There’s no real hard and fast rule though As you can get some really interesting sounds experimenting with where a certain modulation pedal should sit in your signal chain a Lot of players also prefer to run something like a chorus or tremolo through the effects loop of their amplifier instead of directly into the amps input an effects loop bypasses the amplifiers preamp stage so they’re not really suitable for pedals such as Compressors or OverDrive’s but they’re a great option for connecting up modulation delay and reverb pedals again It’s definitely worth experimenting to see what works best for you Now when we use the terms delay or echo we’re essentially talking about the same effect in the world of guitar effects pedals So an echo will usually be referring to an effect thus emulating an old vintage tape echo machine Create in the quick slap back style delays that feature heavily on 50s style rock and roll or rockabilly music Now whereas back in the day these machines relied on a short loop piece of tape nowadays more modern delay pedals capable of creating much longer intervals between echo repeats As well as maintaining the sonic quality of the effects that would get lost when using an old tape machine So the best way to think of it is that an echo is kind of like a Subcategory of a delay effect with most delay pedals capable of creating those shorter slapback style echoes as well as longer delays But if you are specifically looking for an authentic type style echo effects A lot of dedicated echo pedals such as the kili memphis sun and landlord frothy heads will also feature Extra modes and time controls to help you get that lovely vintage echo sound In terms of delay pedal So there’s two main types either analog or digital as their names imply Digital delays utilize digital circuitry so it can produce very clean sounding repeats and some pretty long delay times Analog delays on the other hand use analog components meaning they tend to create a warmer arguably less sterile tone and the sound of the echo repeats will start to degrade as they fade away as opposed to the crystal-clear piece of a digital delay Whether you go for an analog or digital delay will really depend on your personal preference and a style of music that you’re playing Personally, I love the slightly modulated characteristics that you get from an analog delay. Plus they also allow you to create some pretty crazy Sci-fi sounding effects when you crank up the repeats and the delay starts to feed back on itself You’ll usually want to put a delay towards the end of your signal chain after any Drive and modulation pedals But they can also work really well when placed into an amplifiers effects loop Most delay and echo pedals will have controls to adjust the amount of echo repeats as well as the delay time between those repeats This makes a delay bit an analog or digital a really versatile pedal to have in your arsenal They can be used to create the short doubling style slapback echoes that I mentioned earlier They’re great for fattening up Lee playing with longer delay times You can use them to add an almost chorus type effect when playing chords Or as popularized by players such as the edge from u2 You can create huge sounding riffs using rhythmic strumming patterns that are offset against the delay repeat The pedal that you’re most commonly want to put at the end of your signal chain is a reverb Now a lot of people initially get echo delay and reverb effects a little bit confused So to clarify where as echoes and delays offer a very clear defined repetition or echo of what you play a reverb pedal Offers a much more ambient kind of washy effect with no real note definition. Imagine what it would sound like to play your guitar Nice and loud in a large warehouse or Cathedral of all the sound reflections and reverberations going on Now you may already have a basic reverb built into your amplifier But a dedicated pedal will give you much more flexibility and tonal options if you want to get a bit more experimental Entry-level pedals such as the landlord banging hangover will offer Emulations of classic spring plate and room style reverbs each with their own unique tonal characteristics But more comprehensive pedals such as the MX are m300 will also offer larger more diverse Ambient effects such as shimmery verbs which add an almost harmony like element to the sound You So actually can hear a reverb pedal can really transform the tone and vibe If you’re playing you can get anything from you know a subtle vintage sounding room reverb right up to an enormous cavernous effect packed with intricate overtones and That’s why the reverb pedals are really popular with players. Wanted to create sparse lush ambient music or those huge Coldplay style uplifting Stadium rock anthems So the final pedal that we’re looking at today is the wild wild pedal and thinking about it This one probably should have appeared a little bit earlier in the video Is it’s probably the first pedal that you’ll want to put in your signal chain Now unlike most of the other pedals we’ve looked at today Which feature control knobs designed to be adjusted by hand a wire pedal is controlled by tilting your foot forwards and backwards on the foot plate Simply put by moving your foot from the front to the back of the plate the pedal is sweeping through a frequency filter Emphasizing base and cutting treble at the heel position and vice versa at the toe This allows for a really expressive almost vocal like quality to your playing. Hence the name wha-wha-wha wha-wha-wha wha-wha-wha-wha Another really popular way of using a wire pedal is to use it to emphasize a certain frequency And this can be achieved by setting the sweep of the wire in a set position Known as a cocked wire effect And once you find that magic frequency It can really help to lift your playing out of a mix think The tone used on the intro to money for nothing but ice trays a madman Without a doubt the most popular while pedal ever made is the jim dunlop crybaby As used by lots of jimi hendrix slash kirk hammett and pretty much every other guitarist in the world They sound great for funky clean playing but they also work really well placed before drive pedals or an over driven amplifier for lead work With probably the most famous example of a while wire effect being the intro to voodoo child by jimi hendrix So, there we go, that was our beginners guide to guitar effects pedals I think we covered most of the main types of effects here But obviously we have only really just scratched the surface of what you can do with these little boxes of Awesomeness So now you know what each effect does I do urge you to get down to your local PMT store and get experimenting for yourself As you probably noticed for most of the examples in this video. I was using pedals from the landlord range of effects I thought this was kind of appropriate for a beginners guide as there’s some of the best value effects pedals currently on the market At the time of filming you can pick up any of these for less than 50 quid So they’re a really affordable way to get into guitar pedals The amplifier I was using was also one of our most popular Affordable guitar amps the boss. Katana 50 and everything was connected up with our lovely tour tech cables offering great quality But not a lot of money obviously if you are building a pedal board There’s a couple of essential pedals that we’ve not really covered here Mainly a tuner pedal and a looper is in Austrailia effects pedals But if you did want to find out more about those you can check out our seven best tuners and the loop pedal buying guide Videos which are on this channel for more information on any of the effects pedals that you’ve seen here today visit PMT online dog code at UK and if you’ve got any questions Leave them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them as usual If you enjoyed this video give it a thumbs up hit that subscribe button and don’t forget to follow us on facebook Facebook.com forward slash PMT house rogue, so thanks for watching. I’ll see you again soon

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