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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

As my cheap little 15 watt Peavey Amp has no effects on it, I am looking to buy an effects peddle or 2 to try and make my dull flat guitar noise sound better.
I have the Digitech Grunge distortion pedal which is ok but really ONLY for serious fuzzy distortion for death metal & thrash.

My other influences is bluesy stuff like Gary Moore.

What would people suggest as some good effects to get to make a nicer guitar sound?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have a couple of auctions I am bidding on with Ebay for a couple of multieffects type units & wondered what peoples views on them were as for a beginner.

One is the Boss ROD-10 & the other is the DOD FX7.

What are peoples views on these or should I set my sights for something like the Digitech RP100 till I find the sound I want and get seperate pedals.
 

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Unfortunately for you, alot of distortions sound very similar through practise amps. My advice is to you is to save and buy a new amp first. Although, if you see some effects pedals going cheap at a pawn shop......
 

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I just realised i didnt answer your question haha. A multi fx unit is a great way to start getting into effects. Like you said, it helps you decide what kind of pedals would be useful to you. Something like a zoom 505 II would be good to start with. You can get them new really cheaply.
 

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What would people recommend as a good 30-60watt amp for home playing with a good range of built in effects.

Music style: blues/rock/metal/satch/Vai
 

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Discussion Starter #6
mab8485 said:
I just realised i didnt answer your question haha. A multi fx unit is a great way to start getting into effects. Like you said, it helps you decide what kind of pedals would be useful to you. Something like a zoom 505 II would be good to start with. You can get them new really cheaply.
hahahaha thats ok mate I knew what you were trying to say with your comment.

I can get the Zoom 505 & the Digitech RP50 for about the same price.
On a straight head-to-head which one would people recommend????
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Being a complete Noob at effects, does anyone know any decent websites that have an explanation of what the effects are and how they affect the guitars tone and with some sample sound files to show the different effects.

I have found some sound files on manufacturers websites for their specific pedals but I dont know if its just the pedal on its own or if they are adding any other effects to make it sound better.
 

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www.bossus.com

highlite "interactive", then click on "virtual pedal board"
you will be able to sample different effects either on their own, or group a few together to hear what a pedal board will soundlike. My advise, use individual pedals, much better sound quality then a multi-pedal
 

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Can't remember where I got this:scratch: , but you might find it useful...


Beginners Guide To Effects


If you want your guitar to sound like your favorite guitarist or create a trademark sound you more than likely will need to use effects. The next time you listen to that sweet lead with great harmonics and just enough distortion, realize it could very well have cost the studio in excess of $30,000 for the effects to produce it. Fortunately with the recent increase in technology, you can come mighty close to just about any sound with an investment of $200 to $400 in pedals or the now popular all-in-one effects processor. Most guitarists, if not all, use some type of effects to alter the sound of their guitars. After many year of using them I finally wanted to know what they 'really' were doing. I try to explain my findings as simply as possible. Where I thought additional explanation was needed I attempted to do so. Also I have included some of the most common parameters associated with the particular effects. Here are the most popular effects I will cover.

FUZZ - OVERDRIVE - DISTORTION

COMPRESSOR
NOISE GATE
CHORUS
FLANGE
PHASER
TREMOLO
VIBRATO
DELAY
REVERB
EQUALIZER

Let's get busy!!!

FUZZ - OVERDRIVE - DISTORTION

Basically, there are three different types of effects for "distortion": fuzz, overdrive and distortion. The names have been mixed up by companies producing effects so your effect may produce something that's different from what its names says.

Fuzz: A characteristic of its sound is that it radically emphasises harmonics. Some people even say the sound reminds them of a circular saw. Fact is, that Jimi Hendrix used a fuzz (Fuzz Face) often.
Check out "Foxy Lady" or "Voodo Child (Slight Return)" or the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" or the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" for examples.
Overdrive: Simulates the sound of an overdriven tupe amp and responds to playing touch. The resulting distortion is warm and smooth, the nuances of the picking technique are still audible. A well known example is the Tube Screamer.
Distortion: Produces harder, metallic distortion with many upper harmonics. A guitar sound that really cuts through and screams is the result. Boss DS1 (Distortion) or Boss HM3(Hyper Metal) are examples.

Besides producing an overdriven or distorted sound that your amp only amplifies, overdrives (and less often fuzz and distortion) can also be used to boost your guitar signal so that it actually overdrives your amp. If you do this, use the "Gain" control (see below) sparingly and use "Level" to set the level of distortion.
Controls:
Drive: Adjusts the distortion of the effect unit.
Level: Adjusts the output volume of the effect unit.
Tone: Adjusts the highs and lows (if you have a more comfortable unit, you may even have controls for Bass, Middle and Treble).

COMPRESSOR-
A compressor can be used to increase sustain, and tighten up guitars. Sustain is how long you hear the sound after you hit a note. 'Tighten' refers to how much overlap in sound, to much overlap causes the guitar to sound 'sloppy'. For example, if you play a scale fairly fast the 'overlap' or 'sloppiness' causes the notes to get in each others way creating a sound that many consider unpleasant.
A compressor sets boundaries for signal strength. When a signal exceeds the set boundary, it is forced back into the set boundary. As the signal fades to a point where it no longer exceeds the boundary, the compressor expands the signal strength and increases sustain.
Compression Parameters -
Attack - How long it takes the Compressor to compress the signal. 'slow', 'medium' or 'fast' for example.
Threshold - This parameter tells the Compressor when to start compressing. It is the signal strength required before the compression kicks in measured in dB or decibels, a measure of sound 'strength'. Low threshold settings will activate the Compressor with weaker signals. Higher settings will require a stronger signal to activate the compression.
Ratio - Controls the amount of compression applied to the signal once the Threshold has been exceeded. A ratio of 2:1 means that when an incoming signal exceeds the threshold by 2 dB, the compressor will only allow the output signal to increase by 1 dB. Higher settings yield a tighter sound and increase sustain. Lower settings allow better dynamics.
Gain - There are many types of gain when referring to a guitars sound and this pertains only to a compressor. It is the output volume from the Compressor.
**IMPORTANT** If you ever wondered what 'clipping' refers to, if your compressors gain is to high it will 'cut into' the other effects you may have in addition to the compressor, not letting them do there job properly because their signals have been 'compressed'.


NOISE GATE -
A Noise Gate is designed to eliminate that nasty buzzing sound (among other things) when your guitars volume is turned up but you are not playing. It looks at the strength of the incoming signal and if the signal exceeds the value set by the Threshold Parameter, the Gate will open and allow the signal to pass. If your signal level drops below the Threshold, the Gate will close and allow nothing through until the Threshold is exceeded again. Pretty neat huh!
Threshold - Sets the signal strength level required for the Noise Gate to open or close.


CHORUS -
A Chorus add a short delay to the signal and modulates the delay time which takes the delayed signal slightly in and out of tune. The delayed signal is then mixed back with the original signal to create a thicker sound as if two guitars were playing the same part.
Speed - Controls the rate that the Chorus modulates at.
Depth - Sets the amount of intensity in the Chorus.
Delay - Adjusts the delay time used in the Chorus.


FLANGER -
A Flanger uses the same principle as a Chorus does with a modulating delay. The difference being that a Flanger uses a shorter delay time and adds regeneration (or repeats) to the modulating delay. This results in an exaggerated up and down sweeping motion to the effect.
Speed - Controls the rate that the Flange modulates at.
Depth - Sets the intensity in the Flange effect.


PHASER -
A phaser splits the incoming signal, and then changes the phasing of the signal. The signal is then taken in and out of phase and mixed back in with the original signal. As the phasing changes, different frequencies get canceled resulting in a warm sort of twisting sound.
Speed - Controls the rate of the Phaser sweep.
Depth - Sets the intensity or amount of Phase change in the split signal.


TREMOLO -
A tremolo effect modulates the volume of the incoming signal at a steady even rate. The incoming signal will go back and forth between getting louder and softer. It is kind of like having a motor on your guitars volume knob which opens and closes the volume at an even rate.
Speed - Controls the rate of volume modulation.
Depth - Adjusts the intensity of the Tremolo effect.


VIBRATO -
Vibrato was one of the first real effects, and appeared mostly on early guitar amplifiers. A Vibrato effect modulates the pitch of the incoming signal at a steady, even rate. The incoming signal will go slightly in and out of tune as the pitch modulates.
Parameters - The same as Tremolo.


DELAY -
Delay is an effect that will record a portion of the incoming signal, and then play it back a short time later. It can repeat the recording several times, or just once. This type of effect is also referred to as an echo because it basically echoes the original signal.
Type - This is tough because recently a number of effect manufactures have tried to create there own 'types' of delay. Here are the basics tho.
Mono - Clear and concise repeats.
Analog - Typical of the older delays with deterioration of each repeat.
Time - The interval between repeats. Measured in milliseconds(1/100 of a second)
Feedback - Controls the number of repeats for the delay. 1 repeat, 2 repeats, etc..


REVERB -
Ambience, or reverberation, is by far the most popular effect for guitar. Most if not all amplifiers made today come with some sort of reverb. Usually this is archived in one of two ways, digitally, or by putting a spring near the magnet of the speaker. Reverberation is produced when sound energy is reflected off room surfaces and objects. Using reverb in a recorded song gives the listener a sense that the material is being performed in an actual room or hall. It is this similarity to actual acoustic spaces that makes reverberation a useful tool in recorded music.
Type - Some effects processors actually try to model a type of room such as a Club, Garage, Arena, Bathroom etc...
Decay - The amount of time it takes for the Reverb to fade to inaudibility.

EQUALIZER -
Most of us use - at least to a certain degree - our amp's EQ to get the sound we want. And I guess most of us have been frustrated because
a) the controls are not as effective as we would like them to be
b) the settings influence each other too much.

Some companies offer EQs as stomp boxes and most multi-effect units also contain extra EQ - besides the parameters for the preamp.
Having an additional EQ is nearly like having a second amp. With most "extra" EQs you have an enormous influence on your sound. The result is two sounds: one with the EQ turned off and - if you want - a completely different one if the EQ is turned on.

A graphic EQ normally offers you certain "bands" of frequency (for example: 100Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz ... up to maybe 6.4kHz) and the opportunity to boost/cut each of these bands individually - up to a certain amount (for example +/-15 dB). You can't change the frequencies the graphic EQ offers you to cut or boost.
A parametic EQ lets you choose exactly which frequencies you want to boost or cut, but it's harder to operate and normally you don't see with just one look - that's why the graphic EQ is probably called graphic - what your settings are.

Before talking about some guidelines for settings, an EQ not only helps to shape your sound and give you more versatility, you can also use it to eliminate unwanted feedback. Most of the time, only one or two frequencies are responsibel for feedback - find them and cut down/out them with your EQ.

Using an EQ
Does the following sound familiar? You have one amp, but you have to take two or more guitars with you to the gig (Fender Strat, Gibson Les Paul and perhaps a hollowbody). Now if you set the amp so that you get a great sound with your Fender, chances are that you're not completely satisfied if you switch to the Gibson. What do you do? Play around with your amp controls in the middle of the gig? Compromise? Or take an EQ and tweak it so that the Gibson also sounds great with the amp still set the same as with the Fender but the EQ now on. If you change guitars back to the Fender, simply switch the EQ off.

General guidelines:
For sharp rhythm sounds cut the middle frequency bands around 800Hz and boost at aroung 1.6kHz.
For overdriven solos boost the middle frequency bands slightly - make sure you put the EQ after the overdrive.
For a metal sound cut the middle bands around 800Hz and boost the lower and higher frequency bands
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cheers for the Answers everyone.

Pod-God you are a star mate. That was very informative thanks very much!
 

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pod god, thanks for the article, nicely done and very informative.
 

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If you're looking at a cheap but nice multi-FX pedal, I would say definately go with the RP50, or if you're willing to spend an extra 50 bucks the RP100. The RP100 was the first FX pedal I got and I still use it. There are also some patches to try out at the digitech web site.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
GuitarsAndTacos said:
If you're looking at a cheap but nice multi-FX pedal, I would say definately go with the RP50, or if you're willing to spend an extra 50 bucks the RP100. The RP100 was the first FX pedal I got and I still use it. There are also some patches to try out at the digitech web site.
I have been looking at the RP100 and quite like the look of it.

I am also trolling through ebay trying to get some bargain pedals but not major luck so far on a really cheap good deal. When I have a little more disposable cash I will buy some of the decent Boss & Marshall pedals.

Thinking of getting the Digitech Bad Monkey & Digitech Screaming Blues to tie me over till I can get something better.
 

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thanks for everyones input here. It looks like the general consencus is to head to a music store. I will have to wait til I have some time to get to Guitar Center. My local music stores charge way too much for everything and I hate having to haggle every time I go in there. I guess Im leaning towards the Boss CS-3 but I will take everyones advice and try out a bunch of compressors.

til next time-outrider
 

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If you are just playing at home, forget buying another amp. Get a Pod, PodXT, V-AMP2 or other amp modeller. You will have plenty of sounds at your fingertips. I prefer the XT and the GT-8 myself but if $$$ is a factor you can grab a V-AMP2 on the cheap for under 100 bucks or spend double that and get a old Pod.
 

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you have a lot of opinions.. so I will give you mine...

As stated before.. get a better amp as soon as you can, practice amp is just that.. something to make sound while you play in the beadroom, office, living room etc... As for the effects pedals.. get an effects processor stick with one processor and ditch the use of 2+ differnt pedals.. if you are on a tight budget a good (cheap) first effects pedal is the DOD RP series, the RP50 can be had for about $50 new. You can use this to decide what kind of effects you want and will need or if you even want effects at all.

As you cash pile grows I recommend looking into rackmount equipment.. the best effects processor I ever owned was a digitech 2112, they can still be had for about $200-400 and most only need two new tubes to be awesome effects processors again :D

ymmv
 

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I really think effects can be bad for the player, especially beginners. Too many times have I heard these fancy effects boxes with all the effects turned way the hell up to mask poor playing. They even mask GOOD playing pretty effectively!

Really effects in all are overrated imho. It can be fun to play with a delay pedal, a chorus can add if used /lightly/, and that is about it. Distortion usually comes included in the amp...the only other thing you might think about is a whah.

Just get a nice tube amp...no need for the silly effects units.
 

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nroberts said:
I really think effects can be bad for the player, especially beginners. Too many times have I heard these fancy effects boxes with all the effects turned way the hell up to mask poor playing. They even mask GOOD playing pretty effectively!

Really effects in all are overrated imho. It can be fun to play with a delay pedal, a chorus can add if used /lightly/, and that is about it. Distortion usually comes included in the amp...the only other thing you might think about is a whah.

Just get a nice tube amp...no need for the silly effects units.
I agree, I actually did not start using effects until I had been playing for about 4-5 years. and I only use them lightly, a little chours on my clean tones and some noise gate on my dist tone.. just enough so that im not touching the strings there is no hum no noise what so oever.
 
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