5 Guitar Effects All Electric Guitar Players Need to Know

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Let’s cut to the chase – the best effect you can get as a guitarist is to improve your guitar playing – its really not about buying another pedal….
But, with that in mind, here are 5 guitar effects all electric guitar players need to know as they progress on the instrument. These effects – overdrive, fuzz, distortion, delay, and reverb – can and will up your guitar game.
  1. What is overdrive? Overdrive mimics a tube amp that is pushed beyond its limits and it clips the top end of the sound off. Overdrive is responsive to changes in dynamics (hitting the strings softer or harder to decrease or increase the sound that comes from the guitar).
  2. What is fuzz? No, it is not the 70’s slang term referring to the police. Fuzz is a special type of overdrive that really emphasizes mid- and higher harmonics more so than the lower range harmonics. What are harmonics? A simple explanation is that harmonics are different octaves or frequencies that repeat regularly up the scale of human hearing. It is not just a basic pitch – fuzz emphasizes the extra pleasant sounds up in higher ends of the frequency.
  3. What is distortion? Distortion clips the electronic signal off hard and you get a new beast as far as your guitar sound goes. Distortion limits dynamics – the ability for you to hit the strings harder and increase the sound that comes from the guitar is reduced with distortion. Distortion is great for some genres, but if dynamics are really important, you may want to go with overdrive or fuzz.
  4. What is delay? The sound you make with guitar will be repeated, and you can specify the number of times that you want to sound to be repeated. You can also program the pedal to decrease the sound in volume each time it is repeated. Delay is just the repeating of the guitar sound at a specified interval.
  5. What is reverb? Reverb is like an echo and can be thought of as a subset of delay. The sound reverberates or echoes after the guitar is played. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd uses reverb in his playing to create a certain atmosphere and mood.
So, those are the 5 effects all electric guitar players need to know! And there are many, many more. This is just an introduction.
Depending on your guitar, you can have different pickups than another guitar so the pedal or software that you buy which you play through may sound different than your guitar hero playing through a $5,000 amp. So buy smart – try out these effects on your own equipment if at all possible to see how it sounds on your rig.
In this video, Jeff demonstrates each of the effects for you:
We will close with the beginning statement – the best effect you can get as a guitarist is to improve your guitar playing. At Peak Music Studios, we specialize in helping guitarists get the best sound possible whether they have been playing for years or are a beginner. Check out how Peak Music can help you take your guitar playing to the next level!