Hey readers! As you may know, aside from music blogging I am a very passionate guitar player – and today I will be taking a look at the top 10 greatest guitar affects ever known. Affects are definitely one of the most essential and important things for a guitarist, and let’s be honest – will all use them. If we didn’t, we would pretty much suck.
Any how, let’s just get right into it!
One of the more popular guitar affects, particularly in the genre of rock – fuzz is a pretty amazing guitar affect. What does it do you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. It combines distortion with background static and makes your guitar sound well…fuzzy. Guitarists such as Billy Corgan and Mike McCready use it frequently in their work. There are many great songs with excellent guitar work that use fuzz. Cherub Rock, Purple Haze, Jeremey, and many more pound up on fuzz! Fuzz typically is not an affect built into an amp, so you need a pedal. A great suggestion from me would be the Fender Big Muff. Plug that into an orange amp and you got yourself MEGA FUZZ!
9. Tape Echo
This affect isn’t as popular fuzz, and is generally one of the lesser known affects. But it’s still a great affect. Not to be mistaken with delay or sweep echo, tape echo is an effect commonly used in genres like worship music and raggae. It can be used with or without distortion, and essentially when you play with it, the sound becomes echoey in a way that the notes bounce all over the place and it sounds incredible. It tapes it, and explodes what you play to the next level. Like fuzz, not commonly is it built into amps – but occasionally you will see it. It was built into my Line 6 Spider IV amp, and it’s great. But it is better if you have a pedal, so you can play multiple affects at the same time. If it’s just built in, you can only play one affect alongside the tape echo. But with a pedal you can use all the affects you want at the same time!
This affect is 100% only used with pedals. It’s a bit different than most pedals, for starters there isn’t a button – rather it used like a real pedal. While you play the guitar you move your foot up and down on the pedal to make a sound that goes – “wah.” Hence the name of the pedal. It is use commonly amongst the genre of metal and hard rock and even funk. Famous guitarists such as the beloved Jimi Hendrix and Kirk Hammett used it as their primary and signature affect. They used it in basically all of their solos. Some of my favorite wah work comes primarily from one of my personal all time favorite bands – Alice In Chains. Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, is anther well known wah god. He shows off his wah talented and passion in many of AIN’s work – most notably in their 1990 hit of Facelift “Man In The Box”. But he also uses it in Rooster, Would, and many other great great songs.
Flange is no doubt one of the best guitar effects. Used frequently in classic rock music, like U2 – it proves it’s case. It is occasionally a built in affect – anther one built in my Line 6, but for the most part you need to buy a pedal. I’d give you some recommendations, but since I’ve always had it built in I’ve never found the need to buy a flange pedal. But I should, so I could play more than 2 affects at a time. Many great songs use flange. Snuff by Slipknot, Black Sheep by Metric, 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins, and much much more.
This guitar affect is one of my personal favorites personally and loosely based on the raw emotion it puts out. Used in many great songs such as Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Rooster, & Sweet Dreams – tremolo will completely change the sound of your playing. Use enough and it won’t even sound like a guitar. It was invented after tremolo picking was Invented, which has kinda died out for whatever reason. Tremolo just makes the sound come out as if you were rapidly and fastly alternate picking without removing the pick from the strings. It’s a built in affect in my amp, but most people buy a pedal.
This affect is as used as the G chord. And not for no reason. It’s a brilliant affect. Used in pretty much every genre from rock to contemporary christian. It’s absolutely beautiful and most people use it on a clean setting or acoustic guitar. But occasionally, in songs such as “Snuff” they use it with overdrive. This affect has brought out the best in some of the greatest riffs of all time. Nirvana’s Come As You Are, Tom Petty’s Free Fallin, Smashing Pumpkins Rhinoceros, Bob Marley’s Stir It Up, U2’s With Or Without You, Message In A Bottle by The Police, you name it! All used chorus!
Phaser, an affect very similar yet different than chorus sounds pretty freaking great. Used in many awesome riffs like Smells Like Teen Spirit and Every Breath You Take, phaser is great affect used most often with low gain. Sometimes it is though, like in STP’s Creep or in Fly Away by Lenny Kravtiz. Some of the best work in guitar history used this incredible affect. It is also anther one built in my amp, but like most of the affects on the list you more than likely will need to buy a phaser pedal.
Now, this is an affect commonly built into amps. You can get a pedal if you want, many people do because amp reverb only goes up so high and when you love reverb solos you get a pedal, but a lot of people don’t. Every single decent work of guitar ever has used this affect, no lie. You need reverb or else the sound will come out hollow and flat. Trust me, every guitar piece or piano or voice or any instrument uses at the very least a little bit of reverb. It is an essential affect, while the rest of these are optional and only essential in certain covers.
90% of players who think they suck bought a delay pedal to find that’s not true. It’s an amazing and important affect that like reverb every single song ever has used a little. It echoes out your sound and projects it better, as well it boosts the sound and the right amount just genuinely makes it sound better. It’s built into most amps like reverb. But while amp delay is okay, pedals are better so you may set them up and play more affects at the same time.
Distortion is by the far the best guitar affect ever. You know that heavy rock sound used in metal and alternative? That sound that you heard in Green Day and in Black Sabbath and Bush? Yup! That’s distortion! Used all the time in pretty much any type of rock music and all metal music too. It boosts the level of intestity in your sound, and makes it easier to do pinch harmonics, tapping, and play guitar easier in general. By far my favorite guitar affect, the one I couldn’t live without. Many of the affects on this list are highly associated with this affect such as wah and fuzz. It’s a must have for all rock and metal guitarists. Jazzy guys, not so much….
Well there ya have it. Those are my top 10 favorite guitar affects. I hope you enjoyed this list and check out some of the affects I mentioned! Follow my blog for weekly posts about music, music news, instruments, and much more music related stuff.
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