Guitar Pedal Guide
What is A Guitar Pedal?
When playing an electric guitar on stage, it is quite rare that a guitarist will connect his guitar straight into the DI (direct input) box. Usually, he will connect the guitar lead to one or more foot pedals first - these guitar pedals change the sound of the guitar in various ways, depending on the type of effect being used and the settings on the pedal itself.
Basic Guitar Effects Pedals
Perhaps the most common and easily understood guitar effect pedal is distortion - from rock to metal, almost every guitarist uses some form of distortion on their axe. However, there are a lot of different types of distortion too - you can have a subtle tube warming distortion, or a full-on raging metal distortion, depending on the type of music you're playing.
Another important - but probably not as well understood - guitar pedal effect is the compressor. This is particularly useful for lead guitarists, as it can dramatically increase the sustain of the guitar, creating a smooth level across all notes, even ones that were simply hammered on or pulled off, rather than actually being picked.
The compressor basically takes the quiet parts of the signal and makes them louder, so that there isn't so much variation between the loudest parts of the riff and the quieter parts - this means that the lead guitar solo will sound much better, with every note being audible, and makes it much easier to play as well. Check out this article for more information on audio compression.
The Many Flavours Of Guitar Pedals
There are quite a few manufacturers of guitar pedals, and each one will lend a slightly different color to your sound. Whichever one you prefer is the best one! Boss pedals are perhaps the most common on stage, but you can also get pedalboards (which Zoom are quite well known for) if you want to save a bit of cash. A pedalboard basically combines a host of effects into one package, and generally represents better value for money - however, some artists still prefer the ease of control that individual pedals offer.
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