Listening to us explain the difference between a chorus and a vibrato may well be very informative but hearing great examples of the effects is also a fantastic way to understand why players love them so much.
So in this list, we bring you 8(ish) songs that gave us G.A.S (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)
Come as you are, Purple Rain, Paradice City .. all great examples of songs with beautiful use of chorus but for this blogger, it was listening to Metallica’s unique variations of swapping light/shade instead of swapping between a simple clean and a simple overdriven tone James and Kurt would swap between this magical sparkly clean and mid-scooped hellish distortion.
The intro Welcome Home (Sanitarium), is a great example of the depth lower and the rate more obviously providing a vibrato style effect with just a little extra sparkle but also a pumping feeling as the notes are played.
The doubled-up distorted guitars overlaying this as the song goes into the first solo provide a lot of information each part doing something very different texture and EQ wise.
Most famously used by Hendrix on Little Wing, Eddie Van Halen on Eruption and David Gilmour on Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Phaser adds movement and a flow of timbre to notes which can provide beach like wave effects on cleaner tones or slow-progressing other-dimensional feelings to overdriven tones.
What gave us G.A.S was a slightly more modern place. On Paranoid Android (RADIOHEAD) the phasing effect seems to add something of a creepy ghostly texture over the cleverly interweaving notes of the guitars.
When it comes to flanger The Spirit of the radio intro sees Alex Lifeson using a flanger to create a doubling effect which sounds a little bit “off” and otherworldly. This is done by turning the regen up but the speed down and dialling the manual in until the metallic tones appear. What makes this sound extra magical is the fast pleasant repeating note pattern.
However, how can we ignore Baracuda by Heart which has one of the most overused intros ever in film and TV, that’s because it’s amazing but cleverly it shows how a flanger can be the song by playing single notes and letting the movent of the flanger do its thing and then some higher notes showcase the out of tune yet still gorgeous effect briefly then back into the riff.
Seven Nation Army was a big turning point for many potential guitarists to actually take the step forward. The main riff is extremely easy but provocative but getting it to sound like that on a guitar like Jack uses was something of a mystery. The answer was an octaver of course and in this specific case a Digitech whammy.
But Jack wasn’t alone in inspiring people to buy a Whammy, in fact, he wasn’t even close to the impact that Tom Morello’s solo on Killing In The Name Of had. This also led people to the Boss PS-6 which offered a similar setting.
The Boss PS-6 was also one of the main pedals to offer true in key harmonies. Any guitarist who is also a fan of Queen (shame on you if not) and Thin Lizzy will understand this! This pedal offered up to 3 part harmonies instantly. The Seen Seas Of Rhye has great Octave and harmony moments not to mention a fantastic use of delay trails midway through the song.
Glory Box by Portishead was a huge hit which combined so much tone that as an experiment guitarist you just NEEDED to explore.
The white noise tones of a vinyl record overlaid the entire track which pedals such as the Rainger FX Air Space Invader 2 can produce as can a good EQ such as the BOSS GE-7. But this song included, even more, Vibrato, strings (which made us need a BOSS Slow Gear), reverb and one of the dirtiest RAT tones ever recorded because it was reportedly stacked into a fuzz face … Oh no there’s a new pedal we need.