Everything You Need to Know to Plug Into Success with Your Guitar Pedals

Electric guitar pedals

In the world of electric guitar pedals, a lot of funny terms get thrown around. “Fuzz,” “wah,” “delay” — what do all these words even mean? They’re all the names of particular sound effects that you can choose to color your guitar playing with. And often, they’re not just for electric guitars, either. Plenty of acoustic guitar and bass guitars have realms of special effects all to themselves.

But electric guitar pedals tend to be the most popular, which means if you’re interested in playing, it’ll help to get a basic understanding of the vocabulary right away. As such, we’ve broken down those three terms above so you know exactly what you’re dealing with when you walk into a music shop. Ready to plug in? First up is…


The story goes that rock and roll guitarist Link Wray stuck a pencil into the cone of his amplifier in 1958 to muddy up the sound, and the first fuzz tone was born. Now, you don’t have to go through that kind of trouble because it comes in a handy stompbox instead. For that crunchy, jagged but still warm kinda sound you hear on The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” look no further than the fuzz.

Where to start: Tortuga Coral Adder British-Stortion. If you’re trying to capture mid-’60s fuzz rock, this one from Tortuga effects is about as close as you’re going to get.


A wah-wah pedal is one of the most fun pedals you can mess around with. It’s probably the most appropriately named, too, because it transforms your guitar’s regular tone into a vowelly, wet “wah.” Take a listen to Jimi Hendrix’s seminal “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” for one of the most perfect uses of the pedal — or any kind of funk or even more playful pop.

Where to start: T-Rex Engineering Gull Triple Voice. Out of all the choice T-Rex pedals on the market, this wah one will give you a great idea of the general sound with three different voices you can use for your guitar’s tone or inflection.


Delay pedals capture one sound and allow you
to replay back it at a the same speed or slower in order to create some atmosphere. Because of the mileage you can get out of even a simple delay machine, they’re worth picking up right alongside the three above. Try blending all three for a trippy, otherworldly effect.

Where to start: T-Rex Replica. Again, T-Rex comes through with its professional sound equipment offerings. In fact, the Replica is one of the most popular delay options in the world, and you can likely pick it up at almost any guitar shop — in store or online.

Now that you have a good understanding of some of the top electric guitar pedals on the market today, you can quit your day job and start selling out the top arenas in the world! OK, so maybe not right away, but keep practicing. Finding your sound is half the battle. Continue reading here.

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July 2024