A while back, I posted about some of my favorite go-to plug-ins that I have been using for my upcoming album (set for release in May!). Now I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the guitar effects that I have used. Most of the tracks feature electric guitar in some capacity, and generally speaking, like to use it to set a mood through use of textures and rhythmic interaction. Here’s some of the methods that I use to achieve this.
TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay
Delay is one of my most used and loved effects for guitar. A shorter delay can simply give a roomy feel to a guitar sound, while a longer delay can create interesting soundscapes and rhythmic textures in the vein of the now infamous style of U2’s the Edge. I tend to like setting the delay sound to emulate a tape delay so that it darkens and becomes slightly dirtier sounding as it fades away. “Distant Call”, on the upcoming album, is a good example of a track that will use layered guitars with delays in order to generate textures.
I also love using reverb in tandem with delay effects. This can help to add to the “wash” sort of effect, and lengthen out tones. It really can make the electric guitar sound very beautiful and spacious. Typically, I like setting the reverb to a brighter “plate” sort of sound (plate refers to when studios would use sound vibration on large fiberglass sheets to create a reverb effect), but a “spring” reverb is also a common and effective type of reverb to use with a guitar amp.
This probably isn’t one that you’ll see on as many pedal boards, but I love the tone manipulation possibilities that this pedal brings. It acts as a sort of 3-way tone equalizer, and can even be set more extreme so that your guitar sounds like it has a different type of pickups (like making a Strat sound like a Telecaster). I generally prefer to use it just to give a gentle high and low end boost, which further enhances the tone when coming into the amp.
Ibanez Tube Screamer
This is perhaps one of the most classic and well-known pedals of all time. The Tubescreamer is what is known as an overdrive pedal. It serves to boost and add drive to your signal, which ultimately results in more distortion and break-up of the sound when it goes through the amplifier. You will here a wide variety of overdrive levels on the album, from totally clean tones, to loud and dirty overdrives, and most everything in-between. It’s a very versatile tool.
Ernie Ball Volume
This last one isn’t exactly an effect, per se, but it’s very important to the overall shape of the tone in some of the songs. A volume pedal can be useful for creating “swells” which slows down the attack of a note and makes it sound smoother. It takes away the recognizable pluck sound of a guitar, and can even make it sound more like a bowed instrument such as a violin. When used in front of a delay and reverb, the sound trails can create some really magical moods and textures that you’ll hear throughout the album, even if far off in the distance.