The Brief History of Guitar Effects

25. March 2016 Music 0
The Brief History of Guitar Effects

The evolution of the guitar has brought about new sounds and opportunities for musicians. What was originally a simple instrument with a few strings gradually changed over time. It changed in material and string amount, as well as overall shape. Several modifications occurred to alter the sound that you get with it. As guitars became electric, these changes progressed more quickly. First they perfected the sound for the electric guitar, making it clean and loud, and then they started to muddy it. Using guitar effect pedals, and other tools, guitarists have found new ways to alter the sound of the guitar. The new creation has become a critical aspect of many songs from the 40s and beyond. When looking through used guitar pedals and older guitars, you can see the evolution. When playing them, you can hear it.

Big Joe Classic Flange
Big Joe Classic Flange Effects Pedal

Origin stories for the pedal and similar guitar effects differ. You have stories involving Rickenbacker, Les Paul, and Jimmy Page. Stories that go back to the 30s. The goal for each of them, especially in the very early days of guitar effects, was to make the electric guitar stand out and become a powerful instrument. These effects provided musicians, companies, and producers a way to build a more powerful instrument that could easily stand on its own and gain popularity. These were just the beginning, though. As they developed these individual effects, the desire for more started.

As the desire for more impressive and a wider range of sounds developed, we started to see the rise of the amps. Amps had their original purpose and, like nearly everything, that purpose grew to include a variety of other uses. Major musicians, such as Ike Turner, began to play with distortions as a way to “evolve” their music somewhat. It produced sounds that they could not have with the guitar alone. It is what drove major acts, including The Who and Led Zeppelin, and helped them to become the greats they are, and helping to develop the vintage guitar pedals.

The next step was the many vintage guitar pedals and similar tools. While the Rolling Stones certainly led the way, everyone from Jimmy Page to Jimi Hendrix to smaller acts began playing with it. The guitar effect pedals quickly became a necessary tool for guitarists who wanted to produce gritty sounds. Few things compare to what you get with the pedal, especially with what we have today.

Today, pedals have grown and improved. You can achieve sounds and effects easily with the available pedals, and you can find a variety on the market. They have become commonplace in music. Even with used guitar pedals, you still get that raw and amazing sound you crave.