|Finding the Right Pedal for You|
In many guitar player's careers, there comes a time when they are unable to find an appropriate sound with their guitar and amp, no matter how much tweaking and fine-tuning is done. In these situations, guitarists will often use effects pedals to alter their instrument's sound in a particular manner. There are many, many different types of effects that can be found for the guitar. A website entitled The Guitar Geek provides easy-to-understand descriptions of many of the functions of these guitar effects. Another site, Harmony Central, provides a more in-depth look at the different functions of effects.
Of all the different types of effects available, perhaps the most popular is still overdrive/distortion. While many amplifiers offer built-in distortion, often guitarists find that separate distortion units provide more tonal flexibility. Guitar World Online has provided on it's website a review of 12 recently released distortion units, complete with price listings, and contact information. For guitarists interested in tracking down used vintage guitar effects, the Pedalman website offers a variety of rare pedals that can be purchased online.
Once you've searched the market for a guitar effect that suits you, and found something in your price range, the real challenge starts; figuring out how to get the most out of your effect. Most of the pedals on the market today allow you to control many of the subtle nuances of the effect, which can be a blessing as well as a curse. Some pedals come with a rather steep learning curve, and it can be months or even years before a guitarist truly understands how to fully utilize the effect. The Tone Depot has compiled a list of submissions by guitarists who have had experience working with specific pedals, and explains the settings that worked best for them. The site also explains how to emulate certain famous guitarists' sounds using effects pedals.
Beginning to use guitar effects can be an intimidating and confusing ordeal. With a little research, and a lot of experimentation, though, the process can become much simpler, and the outcome very gratifying.