Looking for the best guitar effects? Guitars are very versatile instruments in that their sounds can be changed with the help of effects, and with these ten best guitar effects, you’ll be altering your sound in no time!
- Compression. This is one of the less well-known effects, but is still a great one. Compression ultimately rounds off your sound. This could seem like a bad thing, but how many times have you been playing a solo where your guitar sounds face-meltingly loud, then gone back to rhythm, where it seems like someone turned off your amp? Well, compression is the perfect fix for that problem.
- Echo. Echo is a very interesting effect to deal with. It’s the close cousin to reverb, but it still creates a completely different sound. The only difference is that echo allows you to mildly edit that sound that is created from reverb. Imagine you’re in a giant concert hall, just you and a guitar, and you start playing. This creates the effect that most performers hate, echoes off the wall reaching your ears at different times. This ultimately causes an off-sound, but it is actually something very fun to experiment with.
- Chorus. This is a very handy effect for those lonely guitarists. This effect essentially gives you a more powerful sound, as if you were playing with someone else. This effect is especially useful when you’re trying to play a rhythm section of a song and it just won’t sound right, even on the neck position pickup.
- Phaser. This is an interesting effect in that it sort of mimics the sound of a wah wah, but it is a more subtle vibration sound, and the advantage to having it in on/off form is that you have a consistency you can’t get with a wah wah pedal. It also paves the way for the next effect.
- Flanger. This is a very neat guitar effect in that it makes the sound you’d expect of a guitar effect with that name. The easiest way to describe the sound is that it goes in and out and has a similar effect as a phaser, just beefed up for those heavy jams. It has a sort of vibration, and it creates a kind of futuristic sound effect.
- Talk box or voice box. If you have ever listened to Bon Jovi or Peter Frampton, then odds are you know what a talk box is. It gives a very ghostly, creepy sound to not only your guitar, but also your voice! It's a good effect for any guitarist who just likes to experiment with all kinds of different sounds.
- Whammy bar/tremolo. While what it technically does is vibrato and not tremolo, the whammy bar is still an awesome effect to have built right on your guitar. What it does is bend the note you are playing out of pitch by reducing tension on the strings. While this is technically a bad thing, if used correctly, and on a guitar that won’t go out of tune every time you use it, this effect is very effective. Everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Richie Sambora has used a whammy bar, and you probably know how cool of a tone it can create!
- Distortion. This classic guitar effect is used, if not sparingly, in almost all songs to date. This classic has been used by many of the greats. This effect does just what it says.
- Reverb. This is the cousin to the aforementioned echo effect, the difference being that the reverb is a smoother sound. This creates a much more enjoyable and consistent tone than the echo.
- Wah wah. This effect was mentioned earlier in the phaser entry, and creates the same sound as the phaser except for one difference: you can control it with just your foot! This is done by a foot pedal that is pressure sensitive; the more you push down on it, the more the effect is exaggerated. This really means that if someone is using a wah wah in their performance—like Jimi Hendrix—then it is impossible to recreate their sound note for note. This effect’s durability is what sets it apart so well.
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