Effect Boxes For Electric Guitars

Effect Boxes For Electric Guitars

The remarkable range of electronic possibilities has reached music to incredible levels of melody, tunes and harmony. The devices that make all this possible are versatile and diverse. Devices called Effect Boxes bring about singular effects in guitar sounds.


An input music signal is mixed with a tone that is synthesized. This tone is an octave higher or lower than the input. This is produced what the octavizer does. The octavizer pedals are available as the following models – Green Ringer, Ampeg Scrambler and Tycobrahe Octavia, and many many more.

Phase shifter

This effect created by this device is the sound of a jet flying just above you! It was much sought after in the ’70s by piano players and bass guitarists. Electro-Harmonix Small Stone, Dunlop Univibe and BOSS PH-3 are apt examples. These pedals allow you to change the pitch of a musical instrument, usually allowing for a smooth tone.

Pitch Shifter

The pitch shifter enables two musicians to play at different pitches, without altering the tuning of either instrument. Digitech Whammy Pedal and Boss CS-5 are two popular Pitch Shifter Pedal products.

Distortion pedals

This pedal can bring in newer harmonics into a normal electric guitar signal. This will distort the signal and the output is a more varied sound that cannot be accomplished by an electric guitar, just like that. Some of these can produce overdrive. These pedals can either

  • Increase amplification greatly
  • Reduce amplification to create a harsh sound

Distortion pedals can

  • Convert input sound into a very warm output (The Ibanez Tube Screamer )
  • Convert the input music into a harsh, abrupt output (The Gibson Maestro Fuzz is an example of such a fuzz box)
  • Convert input to an overdriven and harsh output (The BOSS DS-1 of Roland Corporation creates this effect)
  • Sound is copied and then transmitted as output, after a delay. The sound can be output as a single or multiple repetitions
  • The latter sounds like an echo (BOSS DD-6 of Roland Corporation, Pod2.0 of Line 6, and ToadWorks Redux are some examples of delay pedals)
  • Produce a little bit of upper octave harmonics (the Roland Bee Baa of Roland Corporation)

Chorus If the delay time is cycled, very short and varied, the ensuing echo is not clear or distinct. Instead, a swirling sound is heard. . If it sounds like many instruments played simultaneously, then it is called a “chorus” effect. Examples of the chorus effect pedals are Ibanez CF-7 of the Ibanez Company and BOSS CE-1 of Roland Corporation)

Wah-Wah This pedal does not allow all the incoming frequency to pass. By operating the pedal back and forth you can allow only the higher frequency notes or only the lower frequency notes to pass through.

The effect thus created makes you think you can hera a person saying “wow”. In the 1960s Wah-Wah effect and fuzz box effect were combined to create a “fuzz-wah” effect! Some of the available brands of Wah-Wah pedals are Dunlop Cry Baby and Vox Wah-Wah.


The device is more of an automatic volume control. When input sound increases in volume, the compressor reflexively decreases the output volume . And for the reverse effect, the volume of the output is increased when the music played decreases in loudness.

The uniform volume level maintained gives the impression of a greater sustain effect for the guitar . A compressor can help vary other effects like distortion. Some popular brands of Compressor Pedals are ToadWorks Mr.Squishy, BOSS CS-3, and MXR Dynacomp.

Multi Effect Pedals

These pedals allow you to have a number of effects by using one setting. Some multi effect pedals have a provision for the player creating some effects and and combining them with those available within the pedal.

The pedal may have a provision programming a variety of effects and storing them separately on different pedals. (Just like you can define user keys on the computer keypad). While playing, you can choose from a desired range of effects for creating a the sound effect you want exactly, whenever you want!

Because of the complexity of handling them, the multi effect pedals are generally used seasoned and professional guitarists rather than the novice player. Available brands of this device are Digitech RP200A, Line 6 POD XT Live and Boss ME-50.

A good number guitarists use effect boxes to create distinctive music. Prominent among them are David Gilmour, Daniel Ash, Brian May, Thurston Moore, and Steve Jones.

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