Getting a guitar means getting some vintage pedals too, to achieve the minimum performance in the musical style that you want to interpret. Given this, it is common to think that the options are almost infinite, to the point of being overwhelming. 

While the market is littered with different makes and models of effects, as well as modified versions of popular pedals and some handcrafted, it is possible to set a starting point for any novice and then find their own way.

How do guitar pedals work?

The most common analog guitar pedals make use of circuitry that processes the signal that passes through them, depending on the type of process (dynamic control, modulation, conversion, or tuning) the result will be a different and complex signal, the timbre it will be altered to take advantage of the harmonics present before entering the amplifier.

Cases like that of the Thomann USA make use of creative ways of processing and complementing the signal with the effects connected to each other to recreate the sound of traditional guitars by means of solid-state transistors. The same happens with some models that make use of digital interfaces and apply masks to the sound to obtain precise settings.

Simply put, effect pedals will help make the sound of the instrument more usable.

Some famous vintage pedals - Vntage Tone USA Online Store

Are Guitar Pedals Necessary?

The order of the effects chain determines the quality and complexity of the output signal, so their order is important, but that will be discussed later. For now, a few aspects of each type of effect pedal are mentioned in order to get an idea of ​​their role in the sound design process.

Distortion Pedal

Distortion is the result of a process of amplification of the gain of the signal to extreme points, this makes the harmonics of the sound saturated and other aspects of the instrument’s sound come to light. Their use is quite extensive in rock and metal branches, and they are characterized by being applied to the signal depending on the frequency band and responding to low and high-frequency attacks on the instrument, adding sustain and punch to a warm sound.

Overdrive Pedal

A similar process to distortion pedals, only the gain has a much lower limit, these are used to complement the effect that the amplifiers apply to the sound, so they have more versatility and naturalness in the sound. An example of this is the popular Browne amplification protein that plays with these elements.

Fuzz Pedal

The most basic form of gain boost you’ll find, this effect adds warmth and sustain to the sound, allowing performances to stand out more easily. The effect saves your audience to more non-rock styles that focus on creating a more enveloping and complex sound.

Delay Pedal

This process is considered a type of modulation, since it makes use of duplicates of the input signal to modify it, and can be described as delaying the signal as many times as it is configured, very useful for creating a sense of space or playing with the execution.

Reverb Pedal

One of the most important to define the final aesthetics of the instrument’s sound, this effect recreates a physical space by means of some parameters and makes the sound take on more depth and presence as a function of time. 

Wah Pedal

Another type of modulation. This makes use of a double of the input signal and manipulates its frequency while mixing it back in, the sound is described as a Wah that rises or falls in pitch as the instrument is played.

Chorus Pedal

A modulation with variations in its process, instead of manipulating the pitch to suit, takes several copies of the input signal and slightly detunes them while mixing them again, the resulting sound is broader and richer in harmonics.

Phaser Pedal

A modulation that can be used under somewhat more specific conditions. It works in a similar way to the Wah but with a much more pronounced effect that makes the sound more artificial.

Distortion & Overdrive Pedals in Metal | Guitar Pedals

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