Foot Pedals

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

A normal arrangement for a stompbox will include metallic box encasing the unit's circuitry, on top of which is to be a footswitch to make the result on or bypass it, together with one or more rotary controls to vary the parameters in the effect. Somewhere of the unit you'll usually find an input jack to the signal out of your guitar, along with an output jack alternatively, that can carry the signal on out of the unit and on for the amp and other unit.

Stompboxes can be chained one after the other (i.e. the output in one unit leading to the input to another), with all the last output from your chain starting your amp. As these units typically (however, not always) only incorporate one type of effect each (i.e. one box for distortion, one for chorus, one for compression, etc) you can use this strategy to incorporate many different effects into your guitar sound, layering up or lowering the variety of effects by switching the boxes off or on via their footwitches.

Building up an accumulation quality stompboxes and taking advantage of them in this way is one area that's highly coveted by many guitarists, as they are able select precisely what they want, unit by unit, giving them near total control for the shaping of their sound. Nevertheless it's only some of the best option, but more on that shortly.

The volume of pedals produced both past and offer for various different effect types is just too massive to get in real detail here, although some people might famous brands and models you should have a look at to offer a solid idea of what's available 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 look at above, several of you may well be feeling a tiny bit disenchanted. Even making it possible for the simple fact there's a chance you're buying budget pedals, you may turn out spending a reasonable length of time and cash getting all of the ones you need to craft your sound. Can there be no chance of combining an entire pile of effects into one unit? There is certainly indeed, as multi-fx units.

Multi-fx units can be found in many shapes, sizes and prices, however a typical one that will replace a range of stompboxes will be a floor unit, that includes a few footswitches and selectors. Most above a certain price will likely feature an expression pedal, which you'll want to assign as being a wah-wah pedal or volume swell, or indeed to many other parameters.

Most contemporary examples may also include some form of "amp-modelling" - this is circuitry within the unit designed to simulate various guitar amp, helping you to eliminate an actual amp altogether and play by having a pair of conventional speakers. It is usually an expedient setup for recording since you can record direct for your recorder (say, your computer's soundcard) without first needing to mic your guitar amp.

Some examples with the type are, in charge ME & GT series, the queue 6 POD XT (Line 6 were pioneers in the field of amp modelling), the Vox Tonelab series as well as the Zoom G series.

Many though believe this sort of unit can be a compromise, and that you simply won't get the tonal quality away from them that you might with a good set of individual effects pedals. The jury's from that as far as I'm concerned. There isn't any doubt they have greatly improved over time and may continue doing so.

From the trying an early on example from Zoom. I used to be impressed with the ability to combine many effects into one small unit, even so the results weren't particularly great. Overdrive and distortion tones particularly were an actual problem because they lacked the warmth you'd receive a standard amp or effect pedal, coupled with a harsh 'digitised' sound. Compare that to 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 without a doubt, you actually have a much bigger bargain these days, in comparison with when I bought my first electric. In the past the premium brands, like BOSS and Electro Harmonix dominated, along with justification - this alternatives were cheap rather than particularly cheerful.

That's rapidly changing though, so using the budget-conscious planned I'll come up with a few recommendations.

Firstly I'd like to point you in the direction of Behringer's variety of stompboxes. These cover all you will most probably need when it comes to overdrive, distortion, modulation, compression, delays and reverbs. I currently use the Behringer CS400 Compression/Sustainer within my setup and am delighted using the results. The bulk of these pedals are presently priced new for less than 30 (about 50 USD) each, so they're a good way of starting your collection.

Lots of debate rages on the internet and elsewhere in regards to the merits you aren't of such pedals. Surely something priced so low cannot match the quality of much higher-priced units? Well, perhaps they don't really quite match them, speculate I mentioned above the good value factor this is amazing. Behringer house these products in durable plastic as opposed to the metal cases additionally utilized for stompboxes, that is probably critical for keeping costs down. It won't follow though that this will make them sound worse.