What are Some Guitar Effects?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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After venturing into the world of the electric guitar, you may be finding yourself wondering what kind of guitar effects to add to your arsenal. There are certainly enough varieties out there, and each one offers new sounds that can add depth and flare to your playing. So to choose which ones are right for you, first ask yourself whether you want to buy individual effects or if you want to buy an effects processor that has many different effects built into one board.

Buying the right guitar effects can enhance your playing immensely, but conversely, the wrong ones can add little depth or simply more frustration. If you are looking for a guitar effects processor, you are looking for ease of use and preset modes to get you playing without a lot of hassle. Individual guitar effects – also known as stomp boxes – give you versatility to customize your sound and nearly infinite adjustments, but the overall investment might cost you some more bucks than an effects processor. Choose which one is right for you before worrying about which guitar effects you might need.


The most common guitar effects are distortion and overdrive pedals. They are a staple for any guitar player and should be the first guitar effects you add to your arsenal. Be sure to try out several different ones to get the tone you want. If you are unsure where to begin, try Boss Corporation’s offerings. They are tough guitar effects with professional tone. Visual Sound’s Jekyll and Hyde pedal is a great option for players who want both distortion and overdrive in one very adjustable pedal.

Beyond distortion units, perhaps the most popular guitar effects are wah-wah pedals. However, consider holding off on the purchase of a wah-wah pedal if you are a beginner player, since it takes a fair amount of coordination to use a wah-wah pedal effectively. Instead, invest in a delay pedal. These guitar effects typically come in two varieties: digital or analog. Analog delays tend to have a warmer sound, but digital delays tend to be more versatile. If you are determined to master the wah-wah pedal instead, try out Dunlop’s Crybaby, a Vox Auto Wah, or any variety of Snarling Dogs Wah.

A graphic equalizer guitar effects pedal can be one of the most useful pedals for a guitarist looking to boost volume or change tone at the flip of a switch. Boss and MXR make excellent equalizer pedals worth testing out. Phaser, chorus, tremolo, and flanger pedals all add interesting and sometimes psychedelic sounds to the guitar tone; try Ibanez phasers, Visual Sound chorus, Voodoo Lab tremolo, and Line 6 flangers for some great options and versatility.

While the guitar effects pedals listed here are a great start, there are many other options out there, ranging from the simple one-trick pedals to extremely complex synthesizers like the Electro-Harmonix micro synthesizer. It is best to decide what kind of playing you enjoy most, then find out what artists in that genre use for their guitar effects pedals. And be sure to sample many different brands, as each guitar effects pedal is slightly different from others.


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