Monday, May 15, 2006

Guitar Multi FX - Friend or Foe?

By: Tony Williams

Killer Guitar Sounds? Maybe...

Guitar multi FX units are undoubtedly one of the best
value-for-money tools available to today's guitar player. Even a
cheap multi FX unit found on eBay will house some great sounding
effects to brighten up or add interest to even the most mediocre
guitarist's playing.

With so many different guitar sound effects available in the
typical multi FX unit it is a great temptation to try and use as
many as possible. However, that temptation could also destroy
your credibility as a player and leave your audience nonplussed.
In fact, when it comes to guitar multi FX, that old cliché less
is more can very often be absolutely true!

The solution? You need to get your basic sounds right and stick
with them before adding any extra 'sparkle'.

So what is meant by 'basic sounds'? Well there are really only
three and they are:

* Clean - You know how this sounds; crisp chords and sparkling

* Mild Distortion / Overdrive - This can vary from slight
breaking up of a clean sound to a satisfying crunchy distortion.
* Heavy Distortion / Fuzz - The all-out blistering solo sound,
think Gibson Les Paul through a Marshall stack turned all the
way up to eleven!

(A little tip about distortion - don't be tempted to use too
much! What sounds great plugged into a small practice amp or
headphones in your back bedroom will often sound like undefined
mush when it is cranked up to gig volume.)

Anything on top of your basic sound, whether it be chorus,
flange, delay, or whatever, should be considered as extra that
is added to compliment and enhance. The basic sound should not
be sacrificed or altered in any way.

Listen to some of your favourite guitar players and try to work
out how many different combinations of sound effect they are
using - I guarantee that however many there are (and it's
probably fewer than you think) they will be sitting on top of a
great basic sound.

So in conclusion; enjoy your guitar multi FX and make the most
of the variety of different sound effects available, but don't
sacrifice your guitar sound for the sake of guitar sound

About the author:
Tony Williams is a musician, writer, and self-confessed eBay
fanatic. He is the editor and webmaster of Rich Pickings, the online
guitar advisory service
, you can find it at:

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