What Are Guitar Pedals For? Exploring the Different Types and Uses

what are guitar pedals for

All Stringed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Table of Contents

Are you looking to add some interesting sounds and effects to your guitar playing? Guitar pedals are a great way for any guitarist, from beginner to expert, to explore new musical possibilities. With the right combination of guitar pedals, you can create an entirely unique sound that sets you apart from other musicians. But how do you know which ones will work best for your style of playing? 

In this blog post, we’ll look at what are guitar pedals and how they can be used in different ways. We’ll also provide examples of famous players who have incorporated them into their signature sound, as well as tips on choosing the right pedal for your needs! So if you’re ready to take your music up a notch, then let’s get started!

What are Guitar Pedals?

Guitar pedals are electronic devices that modify the sound of an electric guitar. They are typically used to add effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus, and delay. Pedals can also be used to boost the signal of a guitar or create unique sounds.

  • Definition of a Guitar Pedal: A guitar pedal is an electronic device that modifies the sound of an electric guitar by adding effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus and delay. It is usually placed between the instrument’s output jack and amplifier input jack, so it can affect all signals sent from the instrument to the amp.
  • Types of Guitar Pedals: There are many different types of pedals available on the market today, ranging from simple overdrive/distortion boxes to complex multi-effects units with dozens of built-in features. Some popular types include fuzz boxes (for creating distorted tones), wah-wah pedals (for creating expressive vocal-like tones), phaser/flanger/chorus pedals (for adding movement and texture) and delay/echo units (for adding ambience).
  • Uses Of Guitar Pedals: The most common use for guitar pedals is to add effects like distortion or echo, which can help make your playing more interesting or dynamic sounding. However, they can also be used in creative ways, such as boosting your signal before it hits your amp for extra volume or combining multiple effects together for unique sonic textures not achievable through traditional means. Additionally, some players even use them in place of their amps altogether!

Famous guitarists have utilized various kinds of guitar pedals throughout their careers in order to achieve signature sounds associated with their music styles. Jimi Hendrix famously used his Fuzz Face Distortion pedal, while David Gilmour employed Big Muff Pi Fuzz when recording Pink Floyd’s iconic albums. Eddie Van Halen was known for using MXR Phase 90 Phaser extensively during live performances, and Stevie Ray Vaughan made extensive use out off Ibanez Tube Screamer Overdrive unit. Kurt Cobain relied heavily on Boss DS1 Distortion box during Nirvana’s heyday.

Guitar pedals are a great way to customize and expand your sound, so it’s important to understand what they do and how they can be used.

Key Takeaway

Guitar pedals are electronic devices that modify the sound of an electric guitar, typically by adding effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus and delay. There are many different types available on the market today, ranging from simple overdrive/distortion boxes to complex multi-effects units with dozens of built-in features. Famous guitarists have used various kinds of pedals throughout their careers in order to achieve signature sounds associated with their music styles.

How to Use Guitar Pedals

Setting Up Your Pedalboard

The first step to using guitar pedals is setting up your pedalboard. This involves arranging the pedals in a way that makes them easy to access and use while playing. You can buy pre-made boards, or you can make one yourself with some wood and Velcro. Once you have your board set up, it’s time to connect your gear.

Guitar 101 - "How To Set Up Your Guitar Pedals"

Connecting Your Gear to the Pedalboard

Your pedalboard should be connected directly to your amp via an instrument cable. If you want more control over each individual effect, then it’s best to connect each pedal separately into its own input on the amp. This will allow you to adjust levels for each effect individually without affecting any of the other effects on the board.

Tips for Using Your Pedals Effectively

Once everything is connected properly, it’s time to start experimenting with different combinations of effects and settings until you find something that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try out new things; sometimes unexpected results can lead down interesting paths. 

Also remember that less is often more when it comes to effects; too many at once can muddy up your sound and make it hard for listeners (and even yourself) to pick out what’s going on musically speaking. 

A focus photo of a person's feet performing on stage with guitar pedals

Finally, take some time every now and then just listening through all of your pedals without playing anything – this will help give you a better understanding of how they interact with one another so that when it comes time to play live or record in studio, everything sounds as good as possible

By following these steps, you can easily set up and use guitar pedals to get the sound you want. Next, let’s look at some tips for getting the most out of your pedalboard.

Key Takeaway

Setting up a pedalboard and connecting it to your amp is an important step in getting the most out of guitar pedals. To use them effectively, experiment with different combinations of effects and settings, remember that less is more when it comes to effects, and take some time every now and then just listening through all of your pedals without playing anything.

Different Types of Guitar Effects

Guitar pedals are an essential part of any guitarist’s setup, allowing them to shape their sound and create unique tones. There are many different types of effects that can be achieved with guitar pedals, each one offering a distinct sonic character. Here is a breakdown of the most common types of guitar effects:

  • Distortion/Overdrive Effects: Distortion and overdrive pedals add grit and saturation to your tone, creating a thick, crunchy sound. These effects were popularized by rock guitarists in the 1960s and 70s such as Jimi Hendrix who used his Fuzz Face distortion pedal to achieve his signature sound.
  • Modulation Effects: Modulation effects include chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and vibrato which all alter the pitch or frequency content of your signal in various ways. David Gilmour famously used a Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal for some of his solos on Pink Floyd’s The Wall album.
  • Delay and Reverb Effects: Delay pedals create echoes, while reverb adds depth to your tone by simulating the natural reverberation found in real-world spaces like concert halls or churches. Eddie Van Halen was known for using an MXR Phase 90 phaser on many of his classic recordings from Van Halen I onwards.
  • Pitch Shifting Effects: Pitch shifting allows you to change the pitch up or down by several octaves, depending on how much you dial it up or down on your pedalboard settings. This effect has been used extensively by modern metal bands such as Meshuggah who use this effect for their signature polyrhythmic grooves.
  • Compression and EQ effects are essential for fine-tuning your overall tone before it reaches amplifiers or speakers. Compression reduces dynamic range, while equalization (EQ) boosts certain frequencies within the signal chain. This ensures that everything sounds balanced when playing live shows or recording in studios.

Guitar effects can greatly enhance your sound and provide you with a wide range of creative possibilities.

Key Takeaway

Guitar pedals are an essential part of any guitarist’s setup, allowing them to shape their sound and create unique tones. Common types of effects include distortion/overdrive, modulation, delay/reverb, pitch shifting and compression/EQ. These effects can be used to achieve classic sounds from the likes of Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen, as well as modern metal bands like Meshuggah. With guitar pedals, you have a wide range of possibilities for crafting your own signature sound.

Famous Guitarists Who Use Pedals

Jimi Hendrix and His Fuzz Face Distortion Pedal: Jimi Hendrix is one of the most iconic guitarists in history, and his use of the Fuzz Face distortion pedal helped shape his signature sound. The Fuzz Face was released by Arbiter Electronics in 1966, and it quickly became a favorite among rock guitarists due to its unique tone. This pedal produces a distorted sound that has become synonymous with Hendrix’s style.

David Gilmour and His Big Muff Pi Fuzz Pedal: David Gilmour is best known for being the lead guitarist of Pink Floyd1, but he also had an impressive collection of pedals that helped create his own distinct sound. One such pedal was the Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal, which he used extensively throughout his career to achieve a warm yet aggressive tone. This classic fuzz effect creates a thick wall of distortion that can be heard on some of Pink Floyd’s biggest hits, like “Money” or “Comfortably Numb”.

Eddie Van Halen is widely considered one of the greatest electric guitar players ever, and part of what made him so great was his innovative use of effects pedals like the MXR Phase 90 phaser. This pedal adds subtle modulation to your signal, creating an almost ethereal sound when combined with Van Halen’s trademark tapping technique. It can be heard on many classic Van Halen songs such as “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” or “Unchained” from their 1981 album Fair Warning.

Famous guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour and Eddie Van Halen have used different types of pedals to shape their sound.

Hey Guitarist! Want to sound like Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour, or Eddie Van Halen? Get the same pedals they used: Fuzz Face Distortion, Big Muff Pi Fuzz, and MXR Phase 90 Phaser. #GuitarPedals #RockOn #AllStringed

Tips for Buying the Right Guitar Pedal for You

When it comes to buying the right guitar pedal for you, there are a few key things to consider. 

First and foremost is your budget. It’s important to know how much you can afford before making any purchases so that you don’t end up spending more than necessary. Once you have an idea of what your budget looks like, research different brands and models of pedals in order to find one that fits within your price range and meets all of your needs.

Another tip when it comes to buying the right guitar pedal is to try out different models in person if possible. This will give you a better sense of which type or brand works best for your playing style, as well as allow you to get a feel for how each model sounds when plugged into an amp or other equipment. If this isn’t feasible due to location or time constraints, make sure that the store offers a return policy just in case the pedal doesn’t work out once it arrives at home.

Finally, be sure to read reviews from other players or from All Stringed who have used similar pedals before making any final decisions on which one is right for you. These reviews can provide valuable insight into what others think about certain products and help narrow down the list of potential options even further.

When shopping for guitar pedals, players should take the following tips into consideration in order to find something that suits their individual needs without breaking the bank. 

First, they should determine what type of sound they are looking for and then research different types of pedals to see which ones might fit that sound. 

Second, they should read reviews from other users who have purchased similar products to get an idea of how well a pedal performs before making a purchase. 

Finally, it is important to compare prices between different retailers in order to get the best deal possible. By taking these steps into account when searching for guitar pedals, players can be sure that they will make an informed decision and end up with a product that meets their expectations.

With the right research and budgeting, you can find the perfect guitar pedal to fit your needs.

Key Takeaway

When shopping for guitar pedals, it is important to take several factors into consideration. First, decide what type of sound you are looking for and research different types of pedals that fit your needs. Second, read reviews from other users who have purchased similar products to get an idea of how well a pedal performs before making a purchase. Finally, compare prices between different retailers in order to get the best deal possible. By taking these steps into account when searching for guitar pedals, players can be sure that they will make an informed decision and end up with a product that meets their expectations.

FAQs in Relation to What Are Guitar Pedals For

Do you really need guitar pedals?

Guitar pedals can be a great addition to any guitarist’s setup, but they are not essential. Pedals can provide unique sounds and effects that may help enhance your playing style, or allow you to explore new musical ideas. However, it is possible to get great tones without them by simply adjusting the settings on your amp or guitar. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what kind of sound you’re looking for. If you feel like pedals could add something special to your playing, then go ahead and give them a try – just remember that they aren’t necessary for every player!

Are pedals necessary for beginners?

No, pedals are not necessary for beginners. However, they can be a great way to add extra effects and sounds to your playing. Pedals can also help you create unique tones that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with just an amp alone. Beginners should focus on learning the basics of guitar playing before investing in any gear like pedals or amps. Once you have a better understanding of how to play the instrument, then you can decide if pedals are something that will benefit your sound and style.

What pedal should every guitarist have?

Every guitarist should have a delay pedal. Delay pedals are incredibly versatile and can be used to create a wide range of sounds, from subtle echoes to wild soundscapes. They’re great for adding depth and texture to your playing, as well as creating interesting rhythmic patterns. Delay pedals also work well with other effects like reverb or distortion, allowing you to craft unique tones that stand out in the mix. With so many options available on the market today, it’s easy to find one that fits your style and budget.

Do I need pedals if I have an amp?

Yes, pedals are an essential part of any guitar setup. Pedals allow you to shape your sound and create unique effects that can take your playing to the next level. They also provide additional control over volume, distortion, reverb, chorus and more. With a pedalboard full of different pedals, you can craft sounds that would otherwise be impossible with just an amp alone. Investing in quality pedals is well worth it for any guitarist looking to expand their sonic palette.

Conclusion

In conclusion, guitar pedals are an essential part of any guitarist’s toolkit. They can be used to create a wide range of sounds and effects, from subtle overdrive to wild distortion. Different types of pedals offer different functions and features, so it is important to do your research before investing in one. There are many famous guitarists who have used pedals to create their signature sound, so if you’re looking for inspiration, then take a look at what they’ve done with them!

Finally, when shopping for the right pedal for you, make sure that it fits your needs and budget – don’t forget that sometimes the simplest solution is often the best one! With all this information about guitar pedals for under your belt, you should now be ready to start exploring the world of effects and find out what works best for you. Do you want to take your guitar playing skills to the next level? Then learn more about what guitar pedals can do for you!

With AllStringed, we provide helpful information and advice on how best to use these powerful tools. Whether it’s adding extra effects or fine-tuning a sound, our resources will help you unlock the full potential of your instrument. Start exploring today and find out just how much better your music can be with guitar pedals!

Rick Pena

Rick Pena

Rick is the founder of All Stringed. He started playing with a classical guitar when he was 10, but changed soon to electric guitar and later also to an acoustic. You can find more about him here.