Which guitar effects pedals to choose? (2/2)


Explanation of the different basic effects

Tone effects


Equalization allows you to emphasize certain frequencies in the sound, or on the contrary to attenuate others. This is called volume targeting at very specific frequencies. In general, this work is done directly on the amplifier using the "bass, mid and treble" buttons. Some picky guitarists will not be satisfied with the settings available on the amplifier and want to obtain a more precise balance with this kind of pedals. Examples are the Boss GE-7 or the MXR M109S.  


This pedal allows you to modulate the sound with your foot, by swinging the pedal more or less in one direction or the other. This is called an expression pedal. Acting as a filter, its most forward position will be filled with highs and its lower position will be filtered lower. By doing the full "stroke" of the pedal quickly in both directions, it creates an effect that sounds like a human voice saying "wah-wah". George Harrison's song of the same name is a good example of this effect. Another example is Dunlop's "CRY BABY". The auto wah is almost identical except for one detail: the frequency of the filter changes according to the attack that the guitarist makes on his strings. The frequency is then dependent on the playing dynamics. 

Modulation effects


The delay creates an echo of the signal, like a repetition of strokes in time that can be modulated in its duration and frequency. The guitarist of U2 uses this effect a lot, like in the riff of "where the streets have no name" for example. The delay creates the sensation that several guitars are playing simultaneously, thus creating the illusion of polyphonic harmonies. Examples are echorec's catalinbread or strymon's timeline. 


This effect is an extension of the sound in time, with a modulable tail. This effect is quite often found in natural environments, when you speak in a tunnel or in a church for example. It is a refraction of the sound on the walls which then bounce in all directions before fading away. This effect brings a real depth to the sound of the guitar, also creates a "cloudy", vaporous, dreamy atmosphere.  We can quote as example the m300 from mxr or the bluesky from strymon.  


This effect doubles the basic signal by shifting it by a few milliseconds. This will create a fuller sound, with a warm but also detuned guitar feeling. Nirvana used this effect a lot in their guitars. We can quote as example the small clone of Helectro Harmonix or the Julia V2 of Walrius audio. 

There are many other effects not mentioned in this article that you can discover. It is important to note that an overdose of effects can tend to blur the artistic intent. It is not the guitar pedals that define the quality of the instrumentalist. Make your own choices, and forge a unique sound that reflects your personality!      


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