PG Explains: Pedals/Effects
Add sonic complexity and creativity by exploring the world of guitar and bass effect pedals. Learn key facts and tips in our FAQ below.
What are guitar effects pedals?
Guitar effects pedals are devices that affect your guitar’s amplified sound by processing the signal through a circuit before sending it on to its final destination, whether that’s an amplifier, a computer workstation, or a PA. Effects pedal circuits are usually housed in small, metal boxes with control knobs and an on-off footswitch that’s activated by pressing down on it. They were popularized and continue to be designed for players to engage and disengage mid-song with their feet. Hence, the term “pedal.”
Do I need effects pedals?
That depends on your playing style, your guitar, and your amplifier. If you’re happy with the sound of your guitar going right into your amp, that’s great. But if you want to mix things up, experiment, and expand your sonic palette, you might want to try adding some pedals to your signal chain to see how they impact your sound.
What are the different types of pedals?
There are four major types of effects pedals: overdrive/distortion, time-based effects like delays, modulation (flanger, phasers, chorus, tremolo, vibrato), and filters. In addition, there are dynamic effects, like compressors, and simulators, which can mimic the qualities of amps or other guitars.
In what order should I hook up my pedals?
Although it’s a matter of personal taste and your sonic goals, the loose rule is that your signal chain should go like this: tuners and volume pedals, filter effects like wah, compression, distortion (including overdrive and fuzz), modulation, and time-based effects.
How do you keep pedals organized?
Once you have more than a few pedals, you’ll want to look into a pedalboard and power supply to keep your setup clean, stable, and safely powered. Here are some tips for pedal organizing.
- Orange Phaser, Sustain, and Distortion Review ›
- PRS Pedal Reviews: Horsemeat Transparent Overdrive, Mary Cries Optical Compressor, and Wind Through the Trees Dual Analog Flanger ›
- The Stompbox-Builder’s Secret Weapon ›
- TWA SH9 Scott Henderson Signature Distortion Review - Premier Guitar ›