How to Use a Guitar Effects Pedal

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How to Use a Guitar Effects Pedal

Effects units are electronic devices used by musicians to alter the sound of their instruments. A guitar effects pedal, also known as a stompbox, is a type of effects unit placed on the floor in front of the musician. The musician stomps on the pedal to alter the sound of the electric guitar. Buttons on the pedal allow the musician to make additional sound adjustments.


Types of Guitar Effects Pedals

There are a lot of varieties of guitar effects pedals that musicians use. The effects the pedals create vary from boosting, modulating, distorting, and more. Some musicians even customize their own pedals to create a combination of different effects to give their music a distinct sound.

Distortion Guitar Effects Pedals


Rock music artists commonly use distortion effects on their music to create a “warm” tune. This effect is created when the waveform is distorted through clipping or compressing of the outgoing signal.


The overdrive effect boosts the guitar’s gain, which pushes the vacuum tubes to maximum limits.


The “fuzzbox” creates a fuzzy effect by further distorting a distorted sound. This effect was greatly popularized by Rolling Stone’s famous song, “I Can’t Get no Satisfaction.”

Amplitude Guitar Effects Pedals


Boost pedals raise the overall signal of the guitar, cleanly amplifying the volume. This is usually used when a guitarist performs a solo.


This effect compresses or narrows down the instrument’s dynamic range to stabilize its volume. It makes loud sounds quieter and quiet sounds louder.

Noise Gate

Noise gate pedals increase the guitar’s dynamic range, making quiet sounds even quieter. This eliminates hissing and static.

Modulation Guitar Effects Pedals


A phaser creates a rippling effect by splitting a signal and playing it back in an altered phase.


A flanger is similar to a phaser but creates a sweeping or “spaceship” sound effect.

Ring Modulator

Ring modulators produce a metallic and grinding sound by mixing the guitar’s audio signal with the sound from its internal oscillator.


Tremolo produces a dynamic shuddering effect by mixing audio signals to amplitude sound waves.


Similar to tremolo, vibrato mixes audio signals to produce rapid pitch variations.

Time-Based Guitar Effects Pedals


An echo effect is produced by adding a duplicate signal that has a slight time delay.


This effect is similar to the echo, but with a longer time delay.

Looping Pedals

Looping pedals allow the musician to play and record a phase and then play it again later. This creates multiple layers of music within the song.


Reverb creates a “bouncing” effect on the music by creating multiple echoes that eventually fade away.


Chorus is an effect created by splitting the audio signals. A slight delay and a difference in timbre and pitch are added to the other half, which is then mixed with the unaltered half.

Filter Guitar Effects Pedals

Wah-wah pedals

Wah-wah pedals alter the guitar’s frequency spectrum through filtering and compressing. This creates crying, vowel-like sounds.


An equalizer works by altering specific frequency regions through a set of linear filters.

Talk Box

This effect allows the guitar to “talk” by directing the sound of the guitar into the performer’s mouth, where the modified sound is picked up by the microphone.


Using a Guitar Effects Pedal

Musicians can use single effects pedals, multiple effects pedals, or customize effects pedals to create the sound they want. Beginners usually use only one type of effects pedal and eventually learn how to mix different effects as their skill levels advance. To use an effects pedal, follow these five easy steps:

  • Power up the guitar pedal by plugging it in an outlet. Power the effects pedal with batteries to avoid having to use multiple cords.
  • Plug in the cable from the guitar’s output jack into the effect pedal’s input jack. Connect another cable from the pedal’s output jack into the amplifier’s input jack. Only turn on the amplifier after connecting the cables to avoid damage to the circuitry.
  • Adjust the pedal’s knobs until the desired tone and effect is achieved.
  • Step on the foot switch to engage the pedal’s effect on the guitar.
  • Perform songs and experiment by stepping on and off the foot switch to create different sounds.


How to Buy a Guitar Effects Pedal on eBay

Different types of guitar effects pedals are available on eBay, and making a purchase is easy. Browse through the website by clicking on “Entertainment” and then “Musical Instruments.” From there, click on the “Instrument Accessories” subcategory, select “Guitar Accessories,” and then select “Effects Pedal.” Hundreds, if not thousands, of options are available on the eBay website.



Effects pedals can completely alter the way a guitar sounds and give a new attitude to the song. With effects pedals, musicians can create thousands of sound variations and combinations.

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