Listing all the types of guitar pedals can be a bit of a demanding task, and even as longtime gear-heads we are always surprised by just how many of these things exist. But we went on this journey nevertheless in a bold attempt to explain you several types of basic guitar pedals and how they operate. Without any ado whatsoever, the goods patiently await below.
Distortion and overdrive pedals operate by infusing your sound output with various amounts of gain, resulting in, well, distorted sound. Depending on the amount of gain, the effects can range anywhere from light fuzz all the way to full-on death metal distortion growl. This is one of the most popular types of pedals out there, used by players of just about any genre you can imagine.
Notable pedal: Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer – Classic
Typically designed as rocking pedals, wah-wah effects have been introduced into the musical pantheon by Mr. Jimi Hendrix with the “Voodo Child (Slight Return)” intro riff. The effect operates by switching between two different frequencies and crafting that distinctive bubbly sound.
Notable pedal: Dunlop GCB95 The Original Cry Baby® Wah Wah
The simplest way to explain what a reverb does to your guitar is that it essentially adds echo. It simulates playing in a controlled large room and brings that effect of sound bouncing around between walls. Depending on which settings you dial in, you can get anything from smaller rooms with mild echo to the largest concert hall you can imagine.
Notable pedal: Blackstar HT-REVERB Tube Reverb Pedal
As a fairly self-explanatory device, the delay pedal records the sound you are playing and then instantly repeats it after a designated period of time, which is measured in milliseconds and entirely determined by the user. This gives your sonic output a significant boost in terms of depth and broadness. Frequently mixed up with Reverb, this pedal can truly make your guitar sound huge.
Notable pedal: Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
In layman terms, the chorus pedal gives your guitar a spacey sound. It broadens the sonic scope of the instrument and makes the six-string more prominent in the overall mix. In professional terms, a chorus pedal emulates a string of individual sounds with approximately the same timbre and nearly the same pitch converge that are perceived as one by the listener’s ear.
Notable pedal: MXR M234 Analog Chorus Guitar Effects Pedal (Standard)
If you are wondering about what a phaser effect sounds like, just listen to Van Halen, particularly the first two albums. The pedal adds a slight distortion to the mix, operating as a sonic modulator with a sweeping vibe.
We have steadily reached the end of our journey here! We hope that you have gained an understanding on how guitar effects work, feel free to browse around the site for a more detailed set of explanations, as well as in-depth reviews of individual devices. Take your time, look around, and enrich your sonic attack with one of these bad boys as early as today!