Introduction to Basic Guitar Effects

Since I presume at this point you are at the first few steps of playing the guitar I will just introduce you to guitar effects and leave it at that.

Some Basic Guitar Effects which you should know about from the very start of your musical journey:


The effect most rock and metal fans are looking for. This is created when a signal overloads the amplifier. Try putting your music system on full volume. Most systems will start crackling and sound ‘distorted’ (This is one reason why you should buy music Systems based on rms wattage not on PMPO).

Guitarist however artificially overload the amplifier using either solid state (electronic eg Multi-effect Processors) pre amp or use more costly valve powered preamps. Examples are endless… Take any rock/metal/alternative band and be sure most songs are played with some distortion.


When you amplify or record sound due to the dynamic range of the guitar the loudest parts are often unwanted. The compressor and limiters alter signals so that there is less volume difference between the high parts and the low part. There are differences between the two but as promised we will keep it simple (for now)


Heard any Pink Floyds guitar Solos? I am sure you know then what I mean by delay. There is a slight predetermined time gap between the time that you play the note and the time its sound is heard. It can be used very extensively in guitar solos to give it a haunting feel.


Echo occurs when a sound is bounced off a surface distant from the source of Sound. This effect does the same and the echo is quieter and lower in volume than the original sound.

Reverberations (reverb) occur when sound made in an enclosed space is reflected off walls and other surfaces a number of times before dying off.

Both these effects are used extensively in recording as they are found attractive and flattering to sound.

There are tons more of effects and producers should know them inside out. For now let’s leave it at this. What I want you to do is when you listen to songs in the future just try and work out what effect is being used.

So you want to play with some effects? My recommendation is wait a while learn your basics on your started kit and slowly start experimenting in effects. When you choose to go ahead with effects your option are as follows:

Effects Pedals

Multi Effects Guitar Processor

Guitar effects Software

Amplifier with built in overdrive (Only for distortion effect)

For most effects there are separate pedals and professional will often put together an array of pedals to get exactly the sound that they want. Think Pink Floyd or the insane guitar solos in RATM song. Well it costs a lot to produce those exact sounds.

Somit Bandyopadhyay is a Music Composer, Writer and hosts the Website! The website offers a lot of resources for budding music lovers, musicians and composers including music tutorials, equipment reference, free classifieds, forums, music Genres and Artists.