4 Most Important Guitar Pedal Types For Electric Players

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Looking for the most important guitar pedal types to get started with?

Ready to have the most essential effects for your electric guitar?

If you’re a beginning guitar player or simply new to the electric variety of the instrument, you’ll quickly notice that there are numerous types of pedals out there and many versions of each effect. It can get overwhelming quickly and you may not know where to start.

Luckily, we’re here to help you out. Below we’ll give you our list of the most essential guitar pedals and effects that all electric guitar players should have.

1. Distortion (or Overdrive)

The distortion pedal or the overdrive pedal features the most characteristic sound of the electric guitar and is what most people imagine when they think about the instrument. Both distortion and overdrive effects work in the same way. The terms are often used interchangeably by some people, although they’re not exactly the same.

A distortion effect works to intentionally distort the guitar signal’s waveform. However, the overdrive effect instead adds a bit of gain and a certain ambiance to the tone. It emulates an amplifier that is being used in “overdrive”.

Both types of effects have been used in countless genres. However, crunchy overdrive sounds are typically used a bit more for blues sounds while distortion is used more often for hard rock and metal. Whatever type of guitarist you are, however, you should have at least one of these essential guitar pedals in your arsenal.

If you’re looking for a great distortion pedal to get started with, the Boss DS-1 makes a great choice. If overdrive is more your style, you may want to check out the Fulltone OCD Pedal.

P.S. Be sure to check out our list of the best distortion pedals for metal¬†and the best overdrive pedals after you’re done with this article!

2. Wah-Wah

The wah-wah pedal is another one of the most important guitar pedal types around. Classic lead guitarists such as Slash, Eric Clapton, Prince, and Jimi Hendrix popularized this unique effect. If you’ve never heard the sound of this unique effect before it’s pretty hard to understand what to expect. However, once you hear the wah-wah effect you’ll instantly see its appeal.

Nothing quite sounds like the vocal-like effect that has put its stamp on many famous records and live performances over the years. From genres ranging from funk, metal, rock, and many more, the wah-wah sound is unlike any other.

The effect is controlled and used along with a foot pedal, which allows for an amazing delivery for guitarists to create by moving the signal frequency up and down. This is another pedal that every serious electric guitarist or beginner needs to get onto their pedalboard ASAP.

The Dunlop Crybaby GCB-95 is a great choice if you’re ready to get started with this effect.

3. Delay

The next crucial guitar pedal every electric guitarist needs is a delay pedal. The delay effect is well-known by guitarists and has been used throughout history on all of the best rock records out there.

This hallmark echo sound has helped create an atmosphere in many songs that is hard to beat. Guitarists young and old continue to make this effect a mainstay on their pedalboards. While it had its start in the beginning as a bulky tape echo machine it has progressed to being controlled with numerous pedals out there on the market.

The right pinch of delay can be a great tool to play with. The effect can add some amazing texture to your music. Use it wisely.

We recommend the TC Electronic Flashback if you’re ready to get started with this effect.

4. Compressor

The final guitar pedal that should be essential for guitarists of all types is the compressor pedal. While the sound of this pedal isn’t as instantly recognizable as that of some of the pedals listed above, the compressor can give your playing the subtle differences that matter.

The effect works by “compressing” your guitar signal and allows the louder parts of your playing to sound a bit softer while also giving the softer parts a bit more volume. The tone achieved by this effect is a certain consistency to your playing that sounds great. It also can help increase the sustain of the notes you play, allowing them to linger a bit longer.

This effect is particularly popular among country guitarists. However, guitar players of all styles can find a lot to love in this pedal to improve their sound. This is truly one of the most important guitar pedal types out there and will help take your playing to a new level.

For newbies to the effect, the Joyo JF-10 is a great option that comes in at a budget price.

Adding the Most Important Guitar Pedal Types to Your Board

The above pedals are the most important guitar pedal types around and simply won’t steer you wrong. While there numerous other pedals out there, if you’re looking for the best ones to get started with, the above list will give you exactly what you need. Make sure you have these essential guitar pedals on your pedal board if you want to ensure you have the very best sounds at your disposal.

Ready to get started with a distortion pedal? Check out our list of the best metal distortion pedals now.