The Importance of Guitar Pedals: The 4 Most Popular Types

If you’re a novice guitar player who’s looking to step up their game by starting to play around with pedals, then you might get baffled by all the different types of pedals available. Each and every type of pedal can manipulate your sound or create different noises. Some differences are quite obvious, while others aren’t, yet they can still polish your overall sound. Regardless, pedals can play a very important role in how your guitar sounds.

guitar wah pedal

Taking a look at the most popular types of pedals will give you a clear understanding of what you want and need. After all, different people prefer playing different types of music, and different types of music requires different types of pedals. However, there are a few types of pedals that are popular in multiple genres.

Wah Pedal

The guitar wah pedal is what you’d expect – it creates the signature Slash “wah” noise. Try saying “wah” aloud, preferably without anyone else around, unless you’re fine with looking like a fool. You’ll notice that when you utter it, your lips are closed but then expand by the time you say it. It’s pretty much what the pedal accomplishes. The more you press the pedal, the more “waaaaaah” you get. The guitar wah pedal is mostly utilised for solos, but it has a lot of other uses as well.

Distortion Pedal

The best way to start your pedal collection is by purchasing a distortion pedal. You’ve probably heard about this type of pedal already, however, the term is an umbrella term for 3 types of pedals – distortion, fuzz and overdrive. The effect from distortion pedals is quite obvious. It provides a decent amount of crunch and sustain to your sound. And since it distorts the sound so much, it can hide the tone of the guitar itself, which makes your guitar sound more aggressive.

Overdrive Pedal

These pedals still distort your sound by giving it an extra punch. However, they keep your guitar’s and amplifier’s sound intact, making it sound more natural. Overdrive pedals drive your amplifier more subtly than distortion pedals, making it sound less overpowering or heavy, but it still gives you a thicker and more beefy sound. These pedals are most often used in classic blues and rock, but other genres use them as well.

Fuzz Pedal

The fuzz pedal is the most extreme type of distortion effect, and it sounds like it’s almost pushing your guitar and amplifier to a breaking point. It provides a noisy and bass-heavy guitar tone and it makes it impossible for you to hear your original guitar tone. However, it’s still a versatile pedal depending on how you intend to use it. It can be used to create a discrete buzz that isn’t all that overpowering, or it can create very heavy, aggressive sounds.