If you can’t tell by our previous articles, we love pedals! All kinds, shapes and sizes are welcome in our rigs. The vast array of options available are dizzying. Many guitarists don’t know where to start. This week, we want to share with you the five effects pedals that we feel EVERY guitarist should own.
We’ve kept our choices simple and easily accessible with a wide variety of models available. With these effects you can plug into any clean amplifier and get a wide variety of tones that will get you through any session or gig! So here they are…1. TUNER
It doesn’t matter how good your tone is; if you’re not IN TUNE you’re going to sound BAD! The sound of an out-of-tune G chord is just as unpleasant as out-of-tune note bends in a solo. There are many great options available and if you haven’t chosen one yet, you need to.
Although some guitarists have gravitated towards headstock tuners, the reliability of the pedal tuner is unparalleled. The pedal reads pitch directly from your guitar’s pickups meaning it doesn’t “hear” any other sound sources. Plus, these come in handy as a master “mute” switch for any pedalboard.2. FULL RANGE OVERDRIVE
You may notice we specified “full range” on this option (think Fulltone OCD or similar). The reason is that these types of overdrives are much easier to grasp than others, like a Screamer or Timmy-style. They work just as well on their own as they do boosting the preamp of a crunchy amplifier. Some models also work great as an “always on” pedal, coloring the original clean amplifier for a more ear-pleasing and vibrant tone.3. “AMP LIKE” DISTORTION
Also known as “amp-in-a-box” pedals, a wealth of options are available in this category. These pedals are meant to replicate not only the tone of famous amps but the feel as well. At the click of a switch you can turn your American-style clean amp into a Rectifier or hot-rodded British amp.
It’s very easy to go overboard buying these so do your research and play as many as you can in-store before spending your money!4. CHORUS
Chances are that some of you are scratching your heads at this choice. But in case you didn’t know, chorus is making a comeback! More and more players are throwing chorus pedals in their rigs. Analog or digital, the lush modulation is making its mark in modern music.
AND…chorus opens the door to other modulation like Vibrato and Flange…really!5. DELAY
Whether you choose Analog or Digital a good delay can add a lot to your sound. A simple slapback echo is key to roots and country guitar tones and long delay times make for soaring solos. And if you choose an option with “Tap Tempo” then you have an echo for every song in the set! Next to distortion pedals, delay pedals probably have the most options available on the market.
When you go shopping, PLAY AS MANY AS POSSIBLE! Some models are more suited to ambient music, some have more pronounced rhythmic patterns. So consider your playing style and buy accordingly.
With these five pedals in your arsenal you’ll be able to create more tones for a wide variety of genres of music. Whether you’re playing for your own enjoyment or beginning a professional career, you could consider this the perfect “tool box” for tone. So go have some fun and explore!
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Whether you are starting from scratch or re-working the order and layout, building pedalboards is a regular part of life for the gigging guitarist. Sometimes these building sessions can be filled with a lot of frustration. In this article, we’ll offer up our favorite tips to ensure that your next pedalboard building session goes off without a hitch. Most of these tips assume that you already have a pedalboard and several pedals…if you want some more tips on starting from scratch, let us know in the comments section. Here we go…