Flanger Pedals

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About Flanger Pedals

Flanger Pedals have been famously used on many songs to help the guitar part stand out thanks to the unique sound it delivers. The effect is based on the sound that could be created using two tape machines in a recording studio. It has since evolved to create many classic flange sounds such as Unchained by Van Halen and Spirit of the Radio by Rush.

Flanger guitar pedals come in many varieties such as a mini pedal or as part of a multi effects pedal. Popular brands such as Boss and MXR make some famous models with excellent sound quality. The flanging effect is usually manipulated using depth controls so that you can find what works best for you. Some even contain a tap tempo feature and other additional benefits such as true bypass switching. If you are looking to experiment with new sounds or have a guitar part that needs some extra character than a flanger pedal might be exactly what you need.

Flanger pedals create a real sense of urgency in otherwise stale guitar parts. Flange was originally a studio effect created by running a sound simultaneously on two tape machines. The engineer would then put their hand on the ‘flange’ - a mechanical part that spools the tape - causing the tape to slow down. When they let go again, the tape would then rush to catch up. Combining the two sounds - the unaffected tape and the slowing down/speeding up tape - creates the classic whooshing sound.

Sounding like a jet plane taking off, flanger pedals are not for the faint-hearted. A bold, in-your-face sound, they have been used by guitarists as diverse as Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, and Lenny Kravitz. Legend has it that it was John Lennon who first coined the term ‘flanging’! The first flanger in a pedal format was the Electric Mistress introduced by Electro-Harmonix in 1975.

Why Should I Choose a Flanger Pedal?

  • A distinctive sound that can add a sense of urgency
  • Flanger guitar pedals offer a bold, in-your-face sound
  • Creates urgency in stale guitar parts
  • Replicates a famous tape effect from the 50s and 60s
  • Different versions available from popular brands such as Boss and MXR

Frequently Asked Questions about Flanger Pedals

Question: What does a flanger pedal do?
A flanger pedal works by duplicating the signal from the guitar and delays one of the signals, allowing it to speed up and slow down slightly.
Question: What does the flanger effect sound like?
The flanger effect sounds like a whooshing sound which is speeding up and slowing down, giving it a very unique quality that stands out well in songs and performances.
Question: What does flanger mean?
A ‘flange’ is a part of a tape machine, belying its origins as a tape-based effect.
Question: What is the difference between a flanger and chorus pedal?
A flanger splits a signal in two and delays one of the signals, allowing it to speed up and slow down slightly. A chorus pedal splits a signal in two and modulates the frequency of one of the signals, allowing it to go slightly in and out of tune.
Question: What type of guitar player needs a flanger pedal?
Bold and distinctive guitar players love the whooshing effect of the flanger pedal.
Question: Where does a flanger pedal go?
A flanger pedal is most commonly placed after overdrive pedals but before reverb and delay pedals.
Question: Which guitarists use a flanger pedal?
Eddie Van Halen, Brian May, Andy Summers, Alex Lifeson and Lenny Kravitz are some of the many guitarists who have famously used a flanger pedal.
Question: What songs use a flanger pedal?
Unchained by Van Halen, Spirit of the Radio by Rush, Barracuda by Heart and Walking on the Moon by the Police all use a flanger pedal for a distinctive sound.