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Using Guitar Pedals and Effects to Create an Original Sound

Jan 3, 2008
Choosing the right combination of vintage and new guitar pedals and effects can create an original and unique sound that will set any guitarist apart from the crowd. Let's face it, they're are millions of aspiring guitar heroes out there, but only a few of them will ever develop a unique sound and style that will make them stand out.

If you think about some of the famous guitar heroes of today or yesterday, you will begin to notice a trend: every superstar guitarist has their own uniquely identifiable sound, and the types of FX pedals they use often contribute greatly to their originality.

When you think about it, many great guitarists use the same guitars and amps and everyone else-- so what gives them their own special sound? A lot of times it's down to the effects they use. In fact, the types of stomp boxes and signal processors you use in your guitar rig largely determine what your sound will be.

It's ironic in a way that pro guitarists will spend many thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art guitars and amplifiers, but the humble FX box will usually have more of an impact on your guitar sound, and the sound of your band, than any of these other elements.

These days, the most coveted stomp boxes tend to be the vintage or "classic" units from the 60s or 70s. But there are also modern classics-in-the-making appearing every year, including many of the so-called "boutique pedals" produced by a variety of smaller companies around the world, and usually dedicated to creating one specific sound.

Although these "boutique guitar pedals" tend to be quite expensive, the difference they make in your sound can be incredible. Manufacturers such as Fulltone, Frantone or MJM are just a few examples of the new generation of hand-made, custom wired-boutique guitar effects for the discriminating player.

And although prices for many of these custom FX pedals can be pretty high, it is also possible to find used models for sale, or even bid on used pedals at online auctions. This can result in you getting an extremely high-end custom pedal for about the same money as a new mass-produced model-- or even less.

And when it comes to effects, the further you get away from the mass produced units, the more unique and characteristic your sound will be. After all, if you're using the same "big-name" mass-produced FX as everyone else, you're pretty much going to sound like everyone else -- and certainly no self-respecting guitar player wants that.

Besides the so-called boutique pedals, you can also find a lot of the old 60s and 70s vintage effects for sale, or up for auction online. Of course, it is important to consider the condition that the unit is in before making a bid. You have to remember that these pedals will be 30 or more years old sometimes, and have probably already seen a lifetime of wear and tear before they come into your possession.

Still, buying vintage pedals can be a good deal, and when you consider how much sturdier things were built in the 60s and 70s, it's not surprising at all that you see many of the old classics on stage today.

Pedals like the original Univibe, Fuzz Face or Cry Baby Wah continue to be highly sought after, and as long as they've been decently cared for, they are likely to last another 30 or 40 years.

When searching for your own unique sound as a guitarist, remember, modern mass-produced guitar pedals can be reliable and a good value, but you will sacrifice originality and uniqueness of tone by using these mainstream FX.
About the Author
Visit Soundsfat.com for Vintage Guitar Pedal auctions and reviews. Bid on the Hottest Boutique Guitar Pedals
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