Tell me if this sounds familiar: it’s your day off, and you’ve been itching to plug into your favorite rig that’s been taunting you in the corner of the room all week. You finally get to sit down, flick the power switch, and let the smell of heated tubes and a fresh cup of coffee fill your nose. You plug your guitar in, turn the volume up, and what comes out? The same thing you played on your day off last week. What gives?
I don’t know about you, but it seems lightning never strikes when you want it to. So what can we do as sound-scientists to attract that static electricity our fingers and ears so desperately crave? Well, we can stick a lightning rod at our feet! (For those of you not picking up on the analogy, I’m talking about pedals. Don’t feel bad, it was admittedly a strange concept)
If you search “Guitar Pedals” on Google, you’re sure to find an overwhelming amount of colorful, ridiculously titled boxes. A lot of times I hear people asking “Where do I start?” Of course that question varies from person to person, but let’s go over some of my favorite options for your basic effect categories. Before we begin, though, I would like to specify that effect pedals will in no way make you sound better; in some cases, it can actually do the opposite (try playing through a delay pedal before working on your tempo and timing) In other words, make sure to incorporate effective practice in your bedroom jam sessions! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s begin.
Ah yes, overdrive, our old friend. These pedals arguably saturate most of the guitar pedal real estate online, and for good reason