Foot Pedals

The control pedal or "stompbox" as it is more affectionately known, is among the most common form (and for guitar die-hards probably the most desirable) of guitar effect unit.

A standard arrangement for any stompbox will include a metallic box encasing the unit's circuitry, along with which is a footswitch to change the effect on or bypass it, along with one or more rotary controls to alter the parameters from the effect. Somewhere from the unit you'll usually locate an input jack for your signal out of your guitar, along with an output jack on the other instrument, which will carry the signal on right out of the unit and on for the amp or another unit.

Stompboxes can be chained one by one (i.e. the output derived from one of unit leading in the input to a different), with the last output from the chain entering your amp. As these units typically (while not always) only incorporate one sort of effect each (i.e. one box for distortion, one for chorus, one for compression, etc) you can use this solution to incorporate a variety of effects to your guitar sound, layering up or minimizing the variety of effects by switching the boxes on or off via their footwitches.

Gathering an accumulation good quality stompboxes and using them by doing this is something that's highly coveted by so many guitarists, as they possibly can select precisely what they want, unit by unit, definitely near total control on the shaping with their sound. Yet it is only one approach to take, but read more about that shortly.

How much pedals produced both past and offer for various different effect types is way too massive to go into real detail here, but a majority of well known brands and models you might like to look at to give you a concept of what's being offered are; BOSS (DS-1 Distortion, CH-1 Super Chorus, DD-7 Digital Delay), Electro Harmonix (Memory Man, Big Muff, Small Clone), MXR (Phase 90, Dyna Comp), and DigiTech (Hot Head, DigiVerb, Multi Chorus).

Multi-Effects Units

Having browse the above, a few of you may be feeling a little bit disenchanted. Even permitting the actual fact you might be buying budget pedals, you could turn out spending a good timeframe and your money getting all the ones you would like to craft your sound. Is there absolutely no way of combining an entire pile of effects into one unit? There is certainly indeed, in the form of multi-fx units.

Multi-fx units are available in many shapes, sizes and prices, however a standard one meant to replace a range of stompboxes is a floor unit, that includes a few footswitches and selectors. Most over a certain price may also provide an expression pedal, which you'll assign as a wah-wah pedal or volume swell, or indeed with other parameters.

Modern examples will likely start adding some way of "amp-modelling" - this can be circuitry inside the unit intended to simulate various kinds of guitar amp, enabling you to reduce an actual amp altogether and play by way of a group of conventional speakers. Additionally it is an opportune setup for recording since you can record direct to your recording device (say, your computer's soundcard) without first being forced to mic your guitar amp.

Some examples of the type are, the BOSS ME & GT series, the queue 6 POD XT (Line 6 were pioneers in the area of amp modelling), the Vox Tonelab series and the Zoom G series.

Many though think that this type of unit is really a compromise, so that you simply won't get the tonal quality out of them that you might with a decent group of individual effects pedals. The jury's from that in terms of I'm concerned. There isn't any doubt they've greatly improved after a while and definately will continue doing so.

I remember trying an earlier example from Zoom. I had been impressed have real profit combine many effects into one small unit, however the results weren't particularly great. Overdrive and distortion tones specifically were a real problem while they lacked any of the warmth you'd receive from a normal amp or effect pedal, together a harsh 'digitised' sound. Compare that towards the units Zoom among others now produce and so they seem a global away from those, with hindsight, primitive examples.

Some recommendations

One thing's for certain, you actually have a much more bargain today, when compared with while i bought my first electric. Previously the premium brands, for example BOSS and Electro Harmonix dominated, along with valid reason - the cost alternatives were cheap instead of particularly cheerful.

That's changing fast though, so together with the budget-conscious at heart I'll make a few recommendations.

Firstly I would like to point you toward Behringer's variety of stompboxes. These cover all you'll likely need in terms of overdrive, distortion, modulation, compression, delays and reverbs. I currently use the Behringer CS400 Compression/Sustainer during my setup and am delighted with all the results. The bulk of these pedals are currently priced new at under 30 (about 50 USD) each, so they are a great way of starting out your collection.

Lots of debate rages on the internet and elsewhere concerning the merits or otherwise not of these pedals. Surely something priced so low cannot match the grade of much higher-priced units? Well, perhaps they don't really quite match them, but as I discussed above the good value factor here's incredible. Behringer house these products in durable plastic rather than the metal cases more commonly utilized for stompboxes, which can be probably answer to keeping costs down. It won't follow though until this will make them sound worse.

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