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How to learn about electric guitar effects, processors, etc

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Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 31
Topic starter  

I'm just curious, as I've been toying with the idea for some time of getting an electric.

Shamefully, one of the things that has held me back is the mind boggling array of effects processors, and boxes, and pedals, and buttons and on and on and on.

Can anyone give me a short description of how a guy would go about making a certain sound?

I mean, say I want to play something off of the radio, often times a guitar and amp alone will not at al sound like the music that you hear. It doesn't matter what type of music, they all have their specific sounds.

Is there a certain type of box or whatever, that will do "enough" to keep most guitarists satisfied without hocking my children off? :shock:

"Never holster an unloaded weapon, it's just poor form." - Col. Jeff Cooper

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 311

I recommend the DSP floor processors (digital sounds processing - I think :D )

They ussually have allot of FX out of the box and lots of room to make your own. I have an alessis spitfire amp that has this integrated into it and I can pretty much make any sounds I hear with a little tuning....

'You and I in a little toy shop, bought a bag of balloons with the money we got"

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

DSP is the way to go.
My amp has it incorporated. The only drawback is with all the combinations of effects available it can get pretty mind boggling and can take some time to get the exact sound you are after dialed in.

Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 959

If you're looking for an economical way to get a diversity of sounds, the multi-effect is definitely a strong choice. Alesis, Boss, Digitech, etc all make decent units, some aimed at the lower price range (take the digitec RP50 for example) while some are aimed at powerful sound editing capabilities and the highest quality of tone.

As with everything, you get what you pay for. If you spend $50 on a unit that has distortion, phaser, flanger, compression, whammy, autowah, speaker emulation, amp modeling, etc etc etc, don't expect to get the same sort of quality of effects or power over the parameters of those effects as you would from 10 stomp boxes that normally cost $80 each.

All that said, my best advice would be to thoughtfully consider what you need and weigh it against your budget, space limitations, etc. Get the best you can afford, and make sure it's the best for YOU and not what the salesman likes.

Play everything and have fun!

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Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 153

There are various "Multi FX" boxes (Also called DSP boxes etc etc) that contain pretty much all of the effects you'd need for day to day playing.

The Alesis Guitar FX, the Zoom 505, the Digitech RP100 and Korg Tone works are all fairly good entry level multiple effects units that retail for about £100, that contain all of the common effects, and the ability to edit the effects and store them in "Pre-sets".

Going further up the market, there's the Boss ME-50, Digitech GNX1, the Zoom GFX5.

Top of the range, and selling for about £350 are things like the Boss GT-6 and Vox Toneworks.

All of these units come with varying numbers of effects and presets, but all of them probably have more than you'll ever need, the deciding issue is sound quality.

I would recomend getting an entry level effects unit, (Alesis Guitar FX, the Zoom 505, the Digitech RP100 and Korg Tone works) and playing around with the various effects. They will be good enough to use in most situations unless you want to be playing wembley stadium anytime soon.

Hope thats useful, I'm sure someone more experienced could tell you more.


Reputable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 235

Since you'll be new to electric at the same time, I'd recommend a small, entry-level unit to begin with. Then once you know which effects you want to use, you can upgrade to a better-sounding and more effective unit.

Check out the Amps & EFX forum for some threads about specific units.

Or, just get an amp with effects on and then you're sorted anyway!!

Listen Louder Than You Play