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How To Use Guitar Pedals

There are so many guitar pedals on the market these days. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some focus on doing one thing while others are designed to do several things. So how do you use them? What approach should you take? While we can talk about this subject all day, if you’re new to guitar pedals, or even if you have some experience using them, a good place to start is by taking one pedal at a time and familiarizing yourself with it. Too often we just plug in and start playing and we don’t devote the time to really listen to how the pedal sounds. 

A very common effects pedal among guitarists is a chorus pedal. For the most part chorus pedals are pretty straight forward and easy to use. A chorus pedal falls into the category of modulation effects. Simply put, a chorus pedal takes your guitar’s signal and splits it into two parts. It then takes one part of your signal and detunes and delays it. The result is a dreamy/shimmering sound.  Chorus can be used to add a slight shimmer to your tone or it can be increased for a more radical effect. 

Start by plugging your guitar into the chorus pedal and then plug the chorus into your amp. Make sure that the chorus pedal is the only pedal in your signal chain. No other pedals should be used when you are trying to get familiar with the effect itself. Start to adjust the controls. Usually there are two: depth and rate.  Pay attention to how you are affecting the sound of your guitar. Play full chords as well as single notes. Once you get more acquainted with the characteristics of the pedal, you can decide how and when to use it. Follow this procedure with other pedals too….reverb, delay, phase. It doesn’t matter what pedal you are trying out.  No matter what the effects is, always start by using it alone and familiarize yourself with what it is doing to the sound of your guitar. Once you are satisfied and you feel that you have a good handle on how the pedal is affecting your guitar sound, start to add other effects into your signal chain and pay attention to how they respond with the chorus pedal. 

One you have accomplished this and you are satisfied with the results, try using the effect in a song. Maybe the effect sounds good throughout the entire song or maybe it only sounds good in the verse or chorus. You decide where and when to use it, but remember to always start by using the effect by itself. Hope this helps.