The electric guitar has been a staple instrument in American pop music since its rapid rise in popularity during the 1950s and ’60s. But to create the vastly varied sounds you want for your music, you may need to add something to your playing routine: electric guitar pedals. Of all the accessories for guitars to choose from, guitar effect pedals are some of the most essential. Here are four types of pedals and what they can add to your developing unique sound:
- Looping Pedal:
A looping pedal, also called a looper pedal, allows you to record notes or entire sections of music so that you can layer them together. This can create a fuller, richer sound, especially if you’re playing by yourself or you’re the only guitarist in your band.
- Octave Pedal:
Octave pedals, predictably, allow you to play a note in one octave and have it sound in either a higher or lower octave. Jimi Hendrix is one of the best-known musicians to frequently make use of this effect.
- Booster Pedal:
A boost or booster pedal allows you to make an individual note or set of notes louder. But boosters can also control the amount of distortion on a note, and are often combined with other effects, such as controlled feedback.
- Distortion Pedal:
Most generally, guitar distortion refers simply to altering notes. But distortion pedals vary widely by brand and model, so you’ll want to spend a little time deciding which one is right for your sound. Some have a cleaner sound, some provide feedback, some are fuzzier; the possibilities are nearly endless.
Electric guitar pedals can be expensive—and some of the cheaper options won’t sound great—so ask a friend if you can play around on theirs or consult with a good shop to make sure you’re getting the tone and quality you’re looking for. It’s better to figure out what you want in advance and then buy it new than to drop hundreds of dollars on used equipment that may not function properly or provide the capabilities you need. Don’t write off online guitar shops, either: Many can match the prices of big-box stores but ensure you’re getting equipment straight from the manufacturer.
Musicians, what electric guitar pedals do you use the most? What brands do you recommend? What are your favorite tracks that wouldn’t have been possible without these effects? See this link for more.