Beginners guide to guitar pedals
Published on 19 October 2019
Okay, so you’re well into your guitar learning journey. You’ve mastered some chords, bagged a few riffs and how you’re wondering how to get that sound. You know, that sooouunndd. You wanna feel that fuzz, taste that crunch and have all the power at your feet. But, there’s so many pedals, brands, and options, where do you start?!
We’re here to help debunk the pedal lingo with this handy guide. We're gonna let you know what they do, and what sound they give, so you can achieve those dreamy tones you desire at home.
If you are a regular commuter, and you’re triggered by the word delay, then fear not. The delay pedal is a good guy. A delay pedal will give you tasty tones, not rage and anger.
A delay pedal makes specific echo repetitions of whatever you’ve played. You can determine the space of time between these repetitions, how many repetitions you want to hear and also how loud they should be in comparison to your original note.
If you’ve ever heard ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ by U2 (or any U2 song in existence) you should be familiar with the texture and rhythmic momentum that this type of pedal can add to any song.
In short, Reverb makes everything sound dreamy. It sounds like playing live in a room with the best acoustics in the world. On a cloud. We won’t get too technical, but simply a reverb pedal creates a sonic space (sounds fancy, right?) around your notes, making them sound all ambient and distant. Mix delay and reverb together? Well you’ve got one tasty cocktail of tones there my friend.
If you’re looking to achieve some earth-shattering tones, we’ll look no further. A distortion pedal will be your partner in crime when cranking out those crunchy rock and metal tunes. Distortion is a real must-have for every guitarist's toolbox, adding that “heaviness” to any performance. This type of pedal is also great for players who want to add a little filth and dirt to their face-melting solos or power chords. Turn it up, but don’t annoy your neighbours!
Did you catch Ed Sheeran’s headline Glastonbury 2017 performance? If you did, then you will be familiar with the power of looping effects pedals. If not, YouTube it! With one guitar and one loop pedal, any player can sound like they have an army behind them, building and layering many guitar tracks on top of each other. A looper pedal is also great for practice times too. Lay down some chords and practice some face-melting solos on top of it. Your ideal jamming buddy. Check out Kerian using the MXR clone looper pedal below.
The effects pedal of all effects pedal. These bad boys are powerful units and work by gathering together a large selection of effects, amp models and other tone-shaping utilities. It’s then all packaged together in a fancy looking board with foot switches, buttons and a screen for edition sounds on. With a multi-effects pedal, you can use the foot-switch to go between a massive selection of different sounds, all within one device. Sounds pretty good, right?
We hope this guide helps to demystify the world of guitar pedals, leaving you with a sense of clarity and excitement to dive into some delicious tones. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, and try new things. Put a little more sauce on to it. A little more garnish. Sprinkle on some seasoning. There should be no limits in the pedal world.