Pro Guide To: What Guitar Pedals Should I Get First?
Updated - February 18, 2021
We’ve all been there before. If you haven’t then count yourself lucky. Deciding you want to take the plunge into the world of guitar effects pedals. Going online or in store to find that there are countless guitar pedal types. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the sheer choice available.
Never fear though, you’re friends at Best Guitar Equipment have your back and in todays guide we’re going to be covering what pedals are best to consider if you’re a newbie to the land of guitar effects pedals. If you’re not a newbie, you might still find some value in this guide as you might be missing one of our ‘top 3 fundamental guitar effects pedals.
Fortunately, in terms of musical expression, not everyone has the exact same taste or style. Music would quickly become boring if we didn’t have countless differentiations when it comes to style and genres. However this does through a spanner in the works for our guide. There is no cookie cutter guide to what is the right setup for everyone. However, we can look for patterns across genres. When we do, we come to some very clear conclusions in regards to what guitar pedals are considered ‘essential pedals’ for almost any guitarist.
Whether you’re a blues player, a metal head or an indie rock and roller. We think you’ll be better off with the following 3 pedals.
Having a guitar tuner is a given, however fumbling about trying to use it on a stage or in a studio is avoidable. A guitar tuning pedal is a must have. Being able to activate a tuner pedal and have your signal go silent is the way to go. Far more desirable than having your audience or studio manager hear you pluck away at each string while searching for your perfect E. This silence feature is great if you’re simply wanting to stay quiet between songs or perhaps swap out your guitar for another. No more horrible feedback pops when plugging in and out.
Take a look at our latest recommendations of the best tuner pedals.
Drive pedals are fantastic at bridging the gap to tone that your amplifier might not be able to achieve on its own. Whether you’re looking to take your overall sound to new heights or simply a solo boosting punch when you need it. A drive pedal can smooth out the distortion setting on your amp or add some definition to your sound.
Drive pedals come in two flavors, distortion and overdrive. While there are some subtle differences between the two, they are very similar in style and end product. A distortion pedal usually has a harder level of clipping to the signal compared to overdrive pedals. The more clipping stages the higher the distorted gain. An overdrive pedal mimics an amplifier being pushed to it’s limits and having to clip some of the waveform. A very basic description would say overdrive results in a more subtle slightly warmer tone. Perfect for more complex sounds like finger picking melodies. Distortion is more ‘in your face’ and can add an immense amount of sustain to your signal tone. Not as suited to complex riffs, it is a great effect for using with power chords and octaves.
Delay pedals are everywhere. There are so many different types and countless models. Your first decision to make is whether you’re going with an analog delay or a digital delay. Both have their benefits, there isn’t a better choice generally. However equipped with the knowledge of each type, you’ll have a better chance of choosing the right type for you.
Analog delay pedals are somewhat ‘old school’ they are the original delay pedals. Using physical components to generate their delay effects. This means they are less configurable than their digital counterparts. However the sounds created are considered by many to be warmer more authentic representations of what a delay pedal should achieve. Some guitarists will only use analog delay pedals however we suggest you keep an open mind as digital options have their benefits.
Digital delay pedals are more modern, they use digital components to mimic the analog end product. The sound is created digitally rather than physically. The original digital models were easily distinguishable from their analog brethren. However modern advancements in digital delay pedals have really made these pedals sound like the real thing. The fact they’re digital means that they are usually far more configurable as well. Allowing you to customise your sound as much or as little as you like. Another benefit of digital is that although some are as expensive as analog, there are far more cheaper options out there. So if budget is an issue, digital might be the way to go.
Hopefully you’ve found something useful in this guide. Be sure to check out our guitar effects pedal recommendations.