Amps, Pedals & Tone


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Equalizer (EQ)

Amps, Pedals & Tone
An Equalizer (íkwəlɑ̀yzər) is commonly known as an "Eq," which is a piece of equipment in the audio chain designed to alter a sound wave's frequency response. An equalizer (EQ) can be a dedicated piece of hardware in the studio or it can be a piece of software in a digital recording workstation. The equalizer (EQ) is used to change frequencies in sound recordings for a few different reasons. First, an equalizer (EQ) can be utilized to accentuate certain frequencies, such as boosting the bass response of a track. Second, as some frequencies have a bad habit of cancelling each other leading to a recording sounding "muddy," equalization can be used to keep certain frequencies from interfering with each other. Finally, equalization can be used to combat unwanted sounds like feedback, echo or unwanted artifacts of the acoustics of the room in which the track was recorded. 
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Flanger

Amps, Pedals & Tone
A Flanger (flǽnǰr) is an effect designed to produce a unique sound that is both harmonic and discordant at once. The effect is created by playing two identical sounds at the same time, and then slowly delaying one of them in gradually increasing increments. The flanger unit itself can be a dedicated piece of hardware designed specifically for this type of signal processing, but it’s usually found in the form of Flanger pedals used by guitarists to create studio-quality flange effects on the go. The flange effect can also be generated in post production through use of dedicated hardware or by utilizing software effects in a digital audio workstation.
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Fuzz

Amps, Pedals & Tone
Fuzz (fə́z) is one of the oldest and most iconic distortion devices available for the electric guitar. Creating fuzz-tones involves boosting the amplitude of the sound waves from a guitar to the point  that they are read as square waves on an oscilloscope. Soundwise, fuzz creates a buzz, singing sustained sound with lots of overtones that still responds to a player's picking dynamics.   Fuzz is a very common effect used in classic rock, but is still popular with contemporary players. In the past, fuzz was produced by slitting the speaker cones with a razor. However, fuzz tones are now available from a very wide menu of pedal, or stompbox choices. 
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Guitar Effects

Amps, Pedals & Tone
Guitar Effects (gətɑ́r əfɛ́kts) are devices used to enable a guitar player to alter the sound coming from the instrument. The traditional method of use is when a guitar is plugged into a guitar effect/s, which is then plugged into an amplification source. Guitar effects receive a signal from the guitar and then alter the signal before it is sent onto an amplifier. There are a variety of guitar effects that are available. Effect levels can be increased or decreased and are most often controlled with foot pedals. Effects are used in combination to form recognizable tones and these combos enable the creation of signature sounds. Some of the more common effects include distortion and fuzz boxes, which exaggerate the vibratory levels of the strings resulting in a distorted sounds. Other effects include Flanger which adds a sweeping and revolving loop to the sound and Chorus which brightens the tone and multiplies the sound itself. 
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Overdrive

Amps, Pedals & Tone
Overdrive (óvərdrɑ̀yv) is the sound of a tube amp being pushed to its volume limit. The sound of an electric guitar through an overdriven tube amp being pushed to distortion is one of the cornerstones of rock and blues music. In its original form, the sound was achieved by cranking the volume full up and pushing the amp to its limit. While this method does produce the desired grind and singing overtones when playing, the volume levels are often excessive within the confines of a small performance, rehearsal or residential space. In order to achieve this sound at lower sound pressure levels, overdrive pedals were invented to simulate an overdriven amp. Unlike distortion or fuzz, overdrive retains more dynamic range and does not quite boost the guitar's signal as excessively. A good overdrive will preserve the fundamental sound of the guitar and amp while replicating that volume cranked tone without sounding like an external effect.
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Phaser

Amps, Pedals & Tone
The Phaser (ˈfāzər) is an effect used to elicit a psychedelic sound in electric guitars. The sound signal of the guitar is altered through the addition of peaks and troughs in the music's frequency. The phaser splits each audio signal into two distinct paths. The phase of one of the paths is altered so that the frequencies of the two paths will cancel each other out. When the signals are canceled out, the sound leaving the guitar becomes swirly. Phasers were very popular during the 1970s. Although they died out for a period of time, their effects can still can be heard in primarily in guitar solos today.
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Preamplifier (Preamp)

Amps, Pedals & Tone
A Preamplifier (prí ǽmpləfɑ̀yər) is also known as a “preamp,” which is a device that takes a low level electronic signal from a guitar, boosts it and then sends the boosted signal to the amplifier. Preamplifiers are judged by how well they boost the signal strength from the an instrument, without harming the signal to noise ratio. Pre-amps can also be used to boost the signal coming from a microphone, turntable and other audio equipment. In the past, preamplifiers accepted and passed the signals from a guitar through an analog connection. In today’s age of digital production, pre-amps are now available with use other connection technologies such as fibre, MIDI, S/PDIF and even USB.
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Reverb

Amps, Pedals & Tone
The Reverb (ree - vurb) effect, short for "reverberation," is a common effect often used to create "bigness" or to  facilitate the illusion of a guitar's tone being engineered in an environment it is not. This effect is used to replicate the sound created when playing the guitar in a variety of environments, such as a chamber hall, an arena or a jazz club. There are many sound devices that are made to simulate reverb effects of many situations. Reverberation effects are based on processing exact duplicates of the sound wave of a guitar between 50-100 ms after the original sound was made, a phenomenon also known as a delay, flanging or an echo.
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Stack

Amps, Pedals & Tone
A Stack (stak) is a term that refers to an amplifier mounted on top of two 4" x 12" speaker cabinets. The term is credited to Peter Townshend of The Who. The Who was one of Marshall Amplifiers' first celebrity clients. After his roadies threatened a mutiny against moving a gigantic 8" x 12" cabinet, Marshall divided the speaker array into a pair of more manageable 4" x 12" cabinets that could be stacked on top of each other. The huge sound, volume, and striking visual image soon became a rock standard. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck are just a few of the influential Marshall stack players in rock guitar history.
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