The Power of Sound: A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Your First Guitar Pedals

Purchasing your first guitar pedal and experimenting with various effects is a significant turning point in the lifetime journey of learning to play the guitar. With the use of these external devices, you can alter the sound of your guitar by varying its signal or output. Today’s market is filled with a wide range of effects, each with a unique purpose. You can use a standalone pedal to change the sound of your guitar by plugging it straight into an amplifier or go for a multi-effects option to produce a unique effect.

What Do Pedals Do to Your Guitar?

a man's foot on guitar pedals

Since they can add cool effects to your playing, unleash your inner rock star by altering the sound with responsive and user-friendly guitar pedals. They can help in several ways, from adding a layer of distortion or fuzz to your playing, changing your acoustics and tone, and many more ways to carve out a unique sound of your own.

With that being said, pedals are not just some regular guitar accessories. They will allow you to imitate the tone and aesthetic of some of your favourite guitarists. Some guitarists likely inspired you to pick up the instrument in the first place. So, to get a sound like some of your favourite guitarists, try using effects and experiment with your sound.

Types to Consider

Different types of guitar pedals

As previously mentioned, there are numerous varieties of guitar pedals, and they all fit into more specific groups. Some may overlap with others, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have unique features and create a signature sound.

Gain Pedals

Also known as boost pedals, they increase your guitar’s signal and loudness without turning up the amp. It also performs admirably when arranged in a chain with other pedals to support and amplify other effects like fuzz or distortion.

A distortion model, as the name suggests, distorts your sound by twisting and bending it to produce a darker, heavier tone. If your amp doesn’t have one, turning up the volume may cause it to go into overdrive, producing a distorted sound.

Compression, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to accomplish anything at first listen. Yes, it does not have the same recognisable effects as wah or distortion. However, a compressor is a covert effect that makes your playing sound snappier.

A little distortion from an overdrive option gives your music variety without the bendy, twisty, distorted sound of full-on distortion. It sounds as though you’ve turned up your amp all the way, without the risk of rattling or blowing out your speakers.

Time-Based Pedals

Time-based effects alter the signal time coming from your guitar. Basically, you may delay the signal from your guitar or produce an echo that extends a note or chord beyond where it would end if you were just playing cleanly. They can be time-released at any desired moment and are programmable. Reverb pedals may produce a tone that replicates the echo and acoustics of a particular place, no matter how big or tiny the space.

Modulation Pedals

Pedals for modulation effects can change your guitar’s signal in several ways. To get something completely different, you may need to adjust the clean signal’s pitch, loudness, and other elements. Therefore, a chorus option creates a richer, beefier sound by first splitting the signal from your guitar and then duplicating it to make it sound like multiple instruments are performing the same thing. It’s analogous to a chorus of voices harmonising simultaneously when it comes to the signal and sound of your guitar.

Although a tremolo bar, often known as a whammy bar, is frequently integrated into the bridge of a guitar, it should not be confused with a tremolo pedal. A tremolo can adjust the signal level of your guitar. It rapidly switches between greater and lower volume, creating a warbly impression, but it won’t bend the notes.

Features to Look for

electric bass guitar with many of guitar pedals on the floor

While it’s a lot of fun to stack all the effects, there are a few things to keep in mind. Pay close attention to how many pedals you have connected since the more options you have, the greater the chance that one instrument cable can short-circuit and destroy your entire chain.

Additionally, the sound quality may start to deteriorate if you’ve set up more than about six pedals. The majority of guitarists who use several pedals organise them on a particular board and feed each one with power from an isolated power supply box that reduces noise.

How to Use the Pedals on Your Guitar?

There are various types of a pedal for guitars you can use, depending on the sound you want your guitar to produce. When first starting with guitar effects, you might want to start with just one and see how it affects your tone before experimenting with more options. This can help you gain a deeper grasp of the functions of each one and the possible combinations they may take part in.

Author: Michael Hobbs

Share This Post On