Best Effects For Guitar - Common Effects To Spice Up Your Instrument's Sound

There may come a time when you turn on your amp, whip out your guitar to play some tunes, and you feel as if everything is stagnant and dull. If this is happening, it might be best to check out what cool effects are available for your live guitar sound.

What are the best effects for guitar players? This is a pretty broad and opinionated statement and I would be happy to force my opinion on everyone by answering this question.

I kid. I'm merely going to introduce to you what the most common guitar effects are available to a beginning player out there. It can be a rough world and it's hard to know what's best to improve the guitar sound that's become so personal to you.

Keep in mind, this is a very small list and there are literally hundreds of effects that can be applied to a guitar tone in order to create the best sound for an individual or specific tune. I encourage readers to leave comments with an explanation of YOUR favorite guitar effect in order to add to the information that I've begun here.

I decided to add some videos with each effect so that you can really HEAR what the effect sounds like, since that's really the most important thing when it comes to anything with guitar-playing.

1. Reverb

This is a standard effect that emulates the size of a playing area. This effect started with spring coils inside of an amplifier but many companies have turned to more digital versions of this effect.

Whether you want to sound like your jamming inside of a closet or blasting out to an arena of people, guitar reverb can do it. Just be mindful of how much is best since saturating your sound is a common mistake with this guitar effect.

2. Chorus

Personally, I'm not much of a chorus fan, but the idea is to create the sound of multiple instruments digitally. It can be an awesome funky addition to your set and sometimes it adds a little extra "oomph" to that guitar solo.

3. Flange

If you've heard "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" by Van Halen then you've heard the flange guitar effect. It almost appears as if another tone is moving steadily up and down inside of your guitar tone. Eery huh?

It's pretty neat though. If you're looking for a solid classic-rock sound or something to experiment with, flange might be the best effect for you.

4. Delay

Do you want a solid echo when you strum your guitar? You might be thinking about delay then.

With a delay pedal, you merely hit a single note and by your own adjustment, you can have an echo ring almost immediately or with a few seconds of space. It's a cool effect that's used sparingly like in guitar tune bridges and introductions.

5. Compressor

One of the best guitar effects to add a little more bite to your guitar tunes is with a compressor. It gives you the power to control how slowly or quickly you want your tone to attack and release.

That's what I like to use a compressor for, but its main concern is with balancing your soft playing and your loud playing to create even tones throughout. Kinda cool.

6. Tremolo

Tremolo likes to take bites out of your tone as it rings creating the illusion that your sound is in multiple pieces. Actually, the effect is lowering and raising the volume at a consistent rate.

A couple common songs that use guitar tremolo are "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day and "Hate To Say I Told" by The Hives.

7. Vibrato

This effect is best used to create wavering inside of your ringing guitar tones. Think if you were to constantly bend your notes up and down after strumming a chord or single note, that's what vibrato would do for you.

A lot of players will argue that's there isn't much difference between Tremolo and Vibrato, and for the most part, I can't really tell either.

These are just a few effects that add depth and interest to a guitarist's sound and they're best used tastefully and sparingly, but then again... some of the greatest songs every played have been completely saturated with effects. The main thing is to experiment and have fun.


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