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Types Of Guitar Effects Pedals All Guitar Player Must Have

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There are different kinds of guitar effects pedals, and every guitarist must have one or a couple according to their needs. This comprehensive list of guitar effects pedals will help you to validate each and enlighten you with what you want to know if you do not know about it already. The list will enable you to generate very quickly a highly versatile and massive sound palette. There are also different guitar effects pedals tutorials and websites from where you can get valuable information about this mandatory tone almanac for every electric guitar player.

Boost and override pedal

The boost pedal is the most common type of guitar effect pedal that has the following features:

  • This is the simplest effect pedal that produces a clean boost to the signal of a guitar
  • It allows you to hit the front end of the amp with more signal
  • It helps to increase the volume level
  • It will help in driving the input section of the amp harder
  • You will be able to have more gain.

The original models of boost pedals used a germanium transistor. It acted as a treble booster like the ones used by Eric Clapton to get more distortion and more gain from the amps. However, the germanium transistors are very finicky and inconsistent as it cannot withstand high-temperature changes. Therefore, to change your tone to a large extent, better use those that have silicon transistors. These are reliable and much more common.

Overdrive pedal, on the other hand, refers to the tube amp that is driven beyond its range. This supplies a clean tone. However, you may be confused about the terms overdrive, distortion, and fuzz as all these terms are seemingly interchangeable, and wonder what might be the difference between them. Well, there is not much apart from their extremities in that chronological order mentioned here.

Distortion and fuzz pedal

You may also come across distortion pedal when you surf through different websites such as to know more about guitars. Ideally, a distortion box will produce hard clipping as opposed to the overdrive pedals which usually produce soft clipping. That means that there will be a rounded top and bottom when you note the oscilloscope indicating a nice sound wave. More clipping of the wave will mean more distortion of the note.

A fuzz pedal usually produces so much clipping that you can notice a square wave on the oscilloscope. These waves are completely flat at the top and bottom. Ideally, the fuzz pedals are one of the first stomp boxes available on the market. There is a very simple circuit in it that alters the signal coming from the guitar and transforms it into a square wave.

Octavia and reverb pedal

Created by Roger Mayer in 1967 for Jimi Hendrix, the musical debut of Octavia produced some groundbreaking and breathtaking sounds.

  • It produces a doubling effect which is an octave higher than the fundamental note
  • The octave is much similar to the ring modulator.

You can make the best use of it by using the neck pickup. When you experiment with the guitar’s tone knob, you will get a more distinct octave effect. There are different types of this pedal available on the market, but few may sound very different. This is because transistors are having somewhat different values to make a significant tonal change.

Reverb pedal is one of the earliest effects that have the following features:

  • It was initially built into the amp itself
  • Traditional spring reverbs send the guitar signal through the springs that cause a simulating reverb with the vibration.

You can come to know different types of reverb pedals from or others. The list includes plate, hall, spring, church, and others. Reverb pedals are best used in a small or dry room to create a better ambiance.

Analog and digital delay pedal

The first analog delay pedal had a magnetic tape in it that helped in recording original signal of the guitar and play it back soon after. These are unique units but require quite a bit of maintenance to sound really good. These are larger and are often considered impractical by a gigging musician. Making its debut in the 70’s, these pedals also called as bucket brigade chips. These chips moved the guitar signal down the line just like a bucket brigade would pass the buckets of water down the line to extinguish a fire and hence the name.

It was in the late early 80’s that the digital pedal came into existence, thanks to the development and use of digital technology since the early 70s. Originally a rack unit, these were expensive and comparatively large. Over time the cost came down just like its size, but better features were introduced such as tape echo, reverse delay, loopers, and modulated delay.

The Tremolo pedal

In the tremolo circuit, there are two basic types found in the classic amps category. These are power tube and photocell tremolo. Both of these produce more or less the same effect and fluctuation in volume.

The power tube tremolo uses LFO signal to influence the power tube bias directly in the amplifier during its push-pull output stage. This result in crossover distortion at low tremolo volumes and an increased power tube harmonic distortion at high tremolo volumes. It also influences the power-supply slump. In a photocell tremolo classic circuits of a light-dependent resistor are used to attenuate the signal input. A small neon bulb is connected to the LFO that gets brighter and dimmer to vary the resistance in the LDR.

Other pedals found

The list also includes:

  • Chorus pedal that mimics the effect choirs and other string orchestras with a subtle doubling effect
  • Flanger pedal that produces more distinct effects such as jet-like sweeping sounds
  • Uni-Vibe pedal to get a phase shifting effect with the use of an LFO or low-frequency oscillator for a sweeping effect
  • Phase shifter pedals for mixing the guitars signals with delay shifts

There are also a compressor, volume and Wah pedals included in the list.


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