The following list will either be a refresher course for some experienced guitar players, a confirmation of things you may already know or you might just mess around and have an “Oh whoa!” moment…
But before we get into some technical details and recommendations when it comes to guitar effects, let’s take a look at the different categories of them:
A frequency effect is the kind that changes certain frequencies of your guitar tone. Dynamic effects alters the volume of your guitar tone. Time based effects will adjust the playback time and modeling effects give the ability to change your entire sound with the help of computer-processing power.
Now, let’s review ten effects pedals every serious guitar player should own.
As Nigel from Spinal Tap would say, “These go to eleven!” The phrase “overdrive” came from an amp that actually goes past its range to still give you a clean tone. Over the years, this has become a favorite of many guitar players.
Recommended Pick: Rockett Pedals The Dude Overdrive Pedal Standard
When a tone is distorted or experiences overdrive, the sound wave flattens or in musical terms – it clips. The more the wave clips, the more distorted the note becomes. A distortion pedal makes hard clips and the overdrive produces soft ones, meaning that the overdrive will flatten the sound wave much harder.
Recommended Pick: Throne Room Pedals Revelator Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
The fuzz pedal has a lot of gain. And speaking about clipping, the fuzz pedal provides so much clipping that the sound wave will resemble a flat square.
Recommended Pick: Rockett Pedals The Hooligan Tour Series Fuzz Effects Pedal Standard
This was Jimi Hendrix’s go-to. An octave above the the fundamental tone, this pedal produces a doubling effect. Listen to Purple Haze to hear the Octavia Pedal make its global debut to the public.
Recommended Pick: Pigtronix Octava Micro Effects Pedal Standard
This was an early effect for guitar players. Reverb pedals come in many forms. Truly special reverb pedals will have multiple reverb options.
Recommended Pick: JHS Pedals Spring Tank Reverb Effects Pedal Standard
Digital Delay Pedal
After the 70s, technology was able to minimize the size of these units, and the digital delay pedals stormed into the market. Advanced technology (in comparison to the old days) now can include features such as analog, modulated delay, reverse delay, loopers and tape echo all in the digital delay pedal.
Recommended Pick: TC Electronic The Prophet Digital Delay Effect Pedal Standard
The tremolo produces a fluctuation in volume. Some refer to it as an “underwater effect.” This is a popular effect pedal and one which you’ll have to experience to truly understand.
Recommended Pick: Throne Room Pedals Throne Room Tremolo Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
The flanger delays the original signal, copies it and then mixes it with the dry signal. This effect is done in stages, creating the flanged distortion.
Recommended Pick: MXR EVH-117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger Standard
Phase Shifter Pedal
The Eagles, Van Halen, Brian May – this sound has become a staple for many legends. The phase shifter pedal creates a nice, sweeping effect.
Recommended Pick: Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter Pedal Standard
This is the most straightforward effect pedal! The boost pedal essentially “boosts” the signal of the guitar. The front end of the amp will get hit harder and the increased volume will provide more gain.
Recommended Pick: Xotic EP Booster Pedal