How to Use Guitar Pedals

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How to Use Guitar Pedals

There comes a time in every guitarist's career when he or she strives to break free from the mundane shackles of the guitar and amp to discover the signature sounds that best complement a dynamic playing style. Guitar pedals, often referred to as effects pedals or stomp boxes, are compact electronic devices that modify the guitar's sound in a definite way. However, mastering their use has its own learning curve that involves identifying the right guitar pedals to suit musical tastes, connecting them correctly, and learning their various configurations.


Finding the Right Guitar Pedals

Although it is the guitarist that gives a guitar its personality, guitar pedals surely play their part in making that musical personality shine. There are numerous of effects pedals on the market that produce thousands of diverse sounds. It is a decision that is even more complicated than buying the guitar itself.


Pedal Type

Sound Effect


Creates a guitar signal that decays in time due to multiple sound reflections in the room

Different reverb styles available to suit different room sizes


For creating a rich, lush tone

Couples a mildly detuned and delayed copy of the original guitar signal during playback


Produces a mimicked human voice effect

Pedal sweeps the peak response of a filter up and down in frequency


Renders a feral jet-like sweep of the sample's harmonic structure


Prolongs the sustain effect

Tightens the signal's amplitude


Creates a swirling effect between the sounds produced by the flanger and chorus pedal


Creates a distortion in the guitar's sound that can vary between smooth tube overdrive to deep, grungy tones


Known as the mother of all guitar pedal boxes

Offers all the basic and complex guitar effects listed above


Clearly, when it comes to guitar pedals there are various points to consider. Hence, it is vital for guitarists to first familiarise themselves with the primary types of guitar pedals available before jumping to a buying decision.


Using Guitar Pedals

Before getting started with the assembly of the guitar pedals, it is essential to recognise the correct pattern for setting them up in order to achieve the desired professional sound without any hiccups. Guitarists must lay out the selected pedals from right to left in the following order:

  • guitar
  • wah-wah
  • octave
  • noise gate
  • compressor
  • overdrive/distortion
  • equaliser
  • modulation effects
  • delay
  • reverb

In case one of the pedals is not a part of the desired configuration, musician can leave it out and select the next guitar pedal type. Apart from the guitar pedals, the following items must be on hand as they are integral to the configuration process:


Setting-Up Guitar Pedals

Place the guitar pedal on the ground and plug it in using the provided AC adapter. For better portability, power the guitar pedal with a standard 9-volt battery. Using the 6 mm cable, connect the guitar to the input jack on the guitar pedal. Once done, another cable must be utilised that runs from the guitar pedal output jack to the input jack of the amplifier. Turn the guitar amplifier on only when this configuration is complete in order to prevent any electrical damage to its circuitry.


Initially calibrate the guitar pedal's knobs to either 0 or halfway between 0 and 10. Do this to ensure that knobs have a minimum effect on the guitar tone. Now press the foot switch to engage the pedal. Start testing the guitar tone by testing each of the pedal's knobs in order to nail the desired sound. Upon configuring the guitar pedal knobs to generate the desirable tone, the guitarist can then make speedy changes to the tone while playing by simply pressing the foot switch. For instance, a musician using a clean tone during the verse of a song can activate the distortion pedal when the chorus comes on.


How to Buy Guitar Pedals on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer a wide variety of guitar pedals to choose from at competitive prices, including popular effects like the wah-wah, distortion, flanger, and reverb. Instead of scouring through volumes of guitar accessories listed there, you can narrow your search down immediately according to its effect type and brand model. For instance, inputting the phrase 'distortion guitar pedal' in the search bar will guide you to a page with all the compiled listings of distortion effect pedals for your perusal.

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