Guitar effects have transformed the world of electric guitars and allowed musicians all over the world to get more and more of that renowned instrument. Characteristic distortions and choruses used by legendary guitarists are recognized by fans everywhere and many people have set to emulate the same effects at home. Wah-wah pedals, delays, tuners, equalizers are just a few among the vast group of famous guitar effect pedals. But what about some of the lesser known effects? Read this guide to find out if you know what they all do.
Fuzz pedals often stand in the shade of their more well-known cousins, overdrive and distortion pedals. All three belong to the same family of pedals – they distort the original sound. Among them, it’s the fuzz that has the most powerful effect. With the fuzz effect, it is hard to tell whether you’re still playing or has your amp gone completely bonkers. The resulting sound is very, well, fuzzy, and almost unrecognizable. The gritty grunge effect was at first achieved by purposefully breaking the amp. Malfunctioning amps would sometimes result in a similar broken sound that we know from the fuzz nowadays. Fuzz tends to act very unpredictably and it can be difficult to harness its power. The best fuzz pedal for beginners should have all the basic control settings (volume, attack) that are easily adjustable.
Pitch shifters are the most versatile pitch pedals, although they aren’t as heavily utilized. As the name suggests, they shift the pitch of your original sound and change the notes into different ones. They can either replace the original sound completely or just add the changed shift on top of it to add more depth. Some pitch shifters will have a harmonizer option that can revolutionize the way you play. The harmonizer option allows you to create a beautiful harmony to the sound you play and make it seem like there is a group of other guitarists perfectly harmonizing to your lead. Modern pitch shifters come with many various settings, depending on the model. They can effectively create soft distortions or choruses, maybe even replacing some of your other pedals.
Tremolo and Vibrato
Tremolo and vibrato pedals are very often confused because they seem so similar. To understand the difference, you only need to remember that tremolo pedals deal with volume and vibrato pedals with pitch. These pedals increase or decrease the volume/pitch in a steady motion.
Tremolo pedals allow you to achieve the characteristic effect of the volume dropping and rising steadily. The speed is adjustable which means that you can either get very quick volume shifts that are perfect for when you want to convey something like urgency. Regular pitch shifts that are created with a vibrato pedal have a more undulating character. It makes it seem like the player is adjusting the whammy bars with great accuracy. The speed and the range of the shift are adjustable.