Effects units are electronic devices that alter how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds. Guitar effects modify the tone, pitch, or sound of an electric guitar. Guitar effects pedals modify the signal coming from the instrument, adding effects that change the way it sounds in order to add interest, create more impact or create alternative soundscapes. Some effects subtly colour a sound, while others transform it dramatically.
Examples of effect type include, but are not limited to, overdrive, distortion, fuzz, delay, and reverb pedals.
When describing guitar pedals, the term Overdrive usually describes a smooth tube-like distortion. Overdrive pedals are commonly used to simulate overdriven tube amplifiers to produce higher gain tones or lead tones.
By definition, distortion pedals are designed to adulterate the guitar’s signal. The term Distortion usually describes an analog or solid state type of distortion which is a harsher type of distortion than tube distortion but still more amp-like than fuzz pedals
Fuzz usually describes a harsh, buzzy type of distortion invented in the 1960's to distort clean amps. Fuzz pedals are commonly used to create a fuzzy lead guitar tone, vintage riffs, or a sputtering rhythm tone.
A Delay pedal creates a copy of an incoming sound and slightly time-delays it, creating either a single or multiple repetitions effect. The uses for delays are almost unlimited. You can add a bit of echo to your solo for ambient textures or create rhythmic delays with just a few notes. Delay pedals also created a “spin off” pedal called the Looper which uses delays to create repeating loops of audio that can be layered.
Reverb is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed. When sound is produced in a space, a large number of echoes build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air, creating reverberation, or reverb.
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