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Encyclopedia > Effects pedals

Effects pedals are electronic devices used by musicians, primarily electric guitar players, to alter the sound quality or timbre of electric or electronic instruments, and less often vocals picked up through microphones. They are called "pedals" because these devices usually take the form of small boxes that sit on the floor, are connected to the instrument and amplifier by long cables, and are turned on and off by tapping a pushbutton switch with one's foot. Some devices, such as wah-wah pedals, are also manipulated while in operation by rocking a foot pedal back and forth. A musician is a person who plays or composes music. ... An electric guitar is a type of guitar with a solid or semi-solid body that utilizes electromagnetic pickup (music)s to convert the vibration of the steel-cored strings into electrical current. ... In music, timbre is the quality of a musical note which distinguishes different types of musical instrument. ... An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces its sounds using electronics. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... A microphone with a cord A microphone, sometimes called a mic (pronounced mike), is a device that converts sound into an electrical signal. ... A pedal is a lever activated by ones foot. ... An amplifier is a device which changes a small movement into a larger movement. ...

Some basic types of effects pedals are:

  • Distortion - The familiar "rock guitar" sound. A distortion pedal takes a normal electric guitar signal and either amplifies it greatly or clips the peaks of the sound's waveform to impart a gritty, dirty, and/or harsh tone. Different types of distortion, each with distinct sonic characteristics, include regular distortion, overdrive or tube-style distortion, and "fuzz". Although most distortion devices use solid state circuitry, some "tube distortion" pedals are designed with actual vacuum tubes.
  • Delay - Creates a copy of an incoming sound and slightly time-delays it, creating either a "slap" (single repetition) or an echo (multiple repetitions) effect. Delay pedals may use either analog or digital technology. Analog delays often are less flexible and not as "perfect" sounding as digital delays, but some guitarists prefer them; some early delay devices actually used magnetic tape to produce the time delay effect.
  • Chorus/flanger - A variation on delay which includes a cycling, variable delay time, and the delay time is so short that individual repetitions are not heard. The result is a thick, "swirling" sound that may suggest multiple instruments playing in unison (chorus) or a simulation of the fluid "tape flanging" effect associated with the psychedelic rock music of the 1960s. The chorus effect was especially popular with guitarists in the 1980s.
  • Phase shifter - This device creates a complex frequency response containing many regularly-spaced "notches" in an incoming signal by combining it with a copy of itself out of phase, and shifting the phase relationship cyclically. The phasing effect is a kind of hollow "whooshing" sound reminiscent of a flying jet airplane. Some electronic "rotating speaker simulators" are actually phase shifters. Phase shifters were popular in the 1970s, particularly used with electric piano and funk bass guitar.
  • Wah-wah - This foot-operated pedal is technically a kind of band-pass filter, which allows only a small portion of the incoming signal's frequencies to pass. Rocking the pedal back and forth alternately allows lower and higher frequencies to pass through, the effect being similar to a person saying "wow". The wah-wah pedal, used with guitar, is most associated with 1960s psychedelic rock and 1970s disco.
  • Volume pedal - Another rocking foot-pedal device, this is simply an ordinary volume control designed to be foot-operated while playing. A volume pedal enables a musician to fade into and out of a musical passage, or even individual notes. A guitar played this way sounds radically different because the percussive plucking of the strings can be softened or eliminated entirely, imparting an almost human-vocal sound. Volume pedals are also widely used with pedal steel guitars, as in country music.
  • Compressor - This device does not radically alter the tone of an instrument the way the previously mentioned pedals do, but many guitarists use it as a kind of effect. A compressor acts as an automatic volume control, progressively decreasing the output level as the incoming signal gets louder, and vice versa. This evens out the overall volume of an instrument, and can make a guitar appear to sustain much longer than natural.
In everyday speech, to distort something is to force it out of its natural shape. ... Delay is: In sound effects, any of a class of effect that adds one or more delayed versions of the original signal, to create effects such as echo or flanger. ... For the communications operator see Chorus Communications For the computer operating system see ChorusOS In classical music a chorus is any substantial group of performers in a play, revue, musical or opera who act more or less as one. ... Flanging is an delay-based audio effect that occurs when two identical signals are mixed together, but with one signal time-delayed by a small and gradually changing shifting amount, usually smaller than 20 ms (milliseconds). ... Phasing describes relative phase shift in superposing waves. ... Wah-wah is an imitative word for the sound of bending or altering musical notes to improve expressiveness, sounding much like a human voice saying the syllable wah for each note. ... Loudness is the quality of a sound which is high in volume (amplitude, or sound pressure). ... Note: This article is about audio level compression, which reduces the dynamic range of audio signals. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Guitar Hero Effects Pedal confirmed in 360 instructions - Joystiq (1973 words)
Opposite the page is an explanation of all the buttons and gadgets found on the guitar, including an explanation of the Effects Pedal port.
The instruction booklet with the pedal blurb is actually an insert that comes with a sticker pack for your gee-tar.
If you have the 360 racing wheel then you have the effects pedals, I've been saying this very thing for months on the IGN forums.
Pete's Equipment | Pete Cornish Custom Effects Pedal | Whotabs | Pete Townshend Guitar Amp (264 words)
This pedal was built by renowned custom builder Pete Cornish in August 2006 (Pete Townshend s/n 0601, built August 2006).
Pete places the custom effects pedal to the right of his microphone stand and uses the pedal along with Fender Vibro-King amplifiers, paired with his Fender Eric Clapton model Stratocasters.
Fender Vibro-King two-button control pedal visible in shadow under large wedge monitor at left.
  More results at FactBites »



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