How to select Guitar effects


POST UPDATED – see comments for more guitar pedal information !!

Guitar effects. What a selection these days. You don`t need a burning stratocaster or the Jimi Hendrix account at New York`s Legendary Manny`s guitar store to find yourself spoilt for choice with a bewildering array and vast multiplicity of choices.

What I`m saying is that there are thousands of them. Back in the early 90`s I used Zoom effects – their half rack midi controlled 9050`s were completely wild at the time and offered convenience, portability, stereo output and ridiculous amounts of parameter control. It sounded like Steve Hillage on speed or the Ozric Tentacles. Nowadays I`m taking a simpler route to guitar sonics and using my hands, a bit of reverb and maybe a Loop station or a Hot Cake, or VALVE distortion pedal. All you have to remember is that it`s up to you. Dont overwhelm yourself with too much tap dancing unless you really want to. Maybe try some digital modelling if you`d prefer instantaneous sound emulation. Or if you really prefer the sound of an L.P. to a compact disc settle for something more traditional like a quality distortion pedal and a valve amp. I know a few artists who still dig that whole 2 inch tape scene in the studio and dont like recording to digital at all…..almost as though digital is like throwing ice cubes into a metal bucket whereas analogue is the sound of hummingbirds drinking from a waterfall…Look after your signal, I`m in two minds bout it myself but sometimes youve gotta compromise.

The secret is to use your ears and your hands. Not your eyes, or your wallet or the company`s advertising spend or endorsees.
Remember the Edge from U2 has popularised an entire sound and melodic approach from intelligently using delay (and some beautiful skeletal arpeggios), Tom Morello kicked the ass out of the wah sound with a Digitech Whammy pedal with Rage Against the Machine and Jeff Beck tends to just let his fingers do the talking (with a bit of wammy).

After years and years of experience what I will say is that turning on and off one or two effects at a time without scrolling through menus gives you plenty of time to play, less margin for error and simplicity is just that. When it all goes wrong can you still plug straight into your amp and get through the show? Having kicked dodgy pedals off the side of the stage and plugged straight into an amp instead I know how I prefer my rig.

I once ran a toaster in  my effects line, timing the toast so it would pop up at the peak of a solo.
Sounded and tasted great!

Get the sound you want in the way you want – that`s all you need to consider.


  1. grighdixPah

    great blog, I play a stratocaster plus too.

  2. Jamorama Post author


    Great comment and we can help but just for now here`s David Gilmour`s set up for around 1970-2, an awesome period in his career especially with the Live at Pompei Performance. It`s Strat based of course !


    – 1966-67 all stock Fender Stratocaster with a white alder body, white pickguard and a rosewood 4-bolt neck with a large headstock.
    – Fender Telecaster of unknown date with natural brown body, white pickguard and a maple neck.
    – 1969 all stock Fender Stratocaster with a black alder body, white pickguard and a rosewood 4-bolt neck with a large headstock.
    – Gibson J-45 acoustic steel string


    – 3 Hiwatt DR103 All Purpose 100W heads with Mullard 4xEL34’s power tubes and 4xECC83’s pre-amp tubes. Controls for normal volume, brilliance volume, bass, middle, treble, presence and master.
    – 3 WEM Super Starfinder 200 cabinets with 4×12” Fane Crescendo speakers with metal dust caps.


    – Vox wah wah
    – Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face (NKT275)
    – Binson Echorec II

    TO change the tonal character of your Gibson try different pick ups.
    Maybe look out for a tokai stratocaster, or another strat clone. For the Gilmour sound look at adding some delay, a little bit of chorus , a drop of reverb and some good licks.

  3. mondo

    Is there any way I can get Wish You Were Here/Dark Side Of The Moon Gilmour guitar sound on a budget? Is it even possible without spending £1000’s? I have a Les Paul copy that sounds sweet as, (should be a strat but I just feel more comfy on a LP) that I hook up to a Marshall MG15 amp and a MG30 when I have noise space. Can you recommend some sweet, fool proof, must have peddles/stomps to get me some killer DG tone?? Would be cool if you guys could give me a shuv in the right direction.


  4. Jamorama Post author

    Perhaps the greatest thing about effects pedals is stomping them into an early grave and building up a small graveyard of dead ones. Last count I had seven dead effects units and that was just from a couple of years in one band. Great.

    So it`s worth pointing out that if you play in a fiercely proto-pyrotechnic punk rock environment with flying beer, flying people and god knows what else buy pedals that are sturdy and crafted from tough metal…or concrete. I lost a tooth from a flying bass guitar once and that was just at a rehearsal.

    I have included a shot of my work set up. Under my desk I run a Boss Drive Zone OD20, BOSS RC20XL Loop station, and a Line 6 Echo Park into a small line 6 amp set to the clean channel. I have the option to run out in stereo into the Marshall Valvestate VS230 to the side of my desk.

    For live and recording in the studio I run two Session Amps in stereo and I usually go straight in with an overdrive pedal or a delay. Nothing fancy.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *