Pedals are a huge craze right now (and probably forevermore). With an overabundance of pedal companies out there, the innovation continues. So, do guitar players even need pedals?
First, let’s understand what pedals are and what they do. Simply speaking, a pedal is a circuit that modifies the signal of the guitar going into the amplifier. Do you want to rock hard enough to blow the windows? There’s a pedal for that. Do you want to sound like something out of a dream or make the strangest noises possible coming from a guitar? There’s a lot of pedals for that!
Basically, there are TWO primary scenarios:
- Playing on a Modeling Amp/Digital Floorboard (Spider Amp by Line 6, for example): In this scenario, you wouldn’t need pedals. Units like this typically have built-in effects. Furthermore, since these units are digitally-based, they wouldn’t react to certain pedals very well.
- Playing on a Tube Amp/Solid State Amp: In this scenario, pedals are awesome and appropriate as both the amplifier and the pedals are based on analog circuits instead of computer processing (generally speaking).
Some further considerations:
- Modeling technology typically gives the beginner more options at a much lower price point, but pedals themselves, though relatively pricier will offer more versatility in the long run.
- Modeling gear is a bit of a pre-packaged sound meant to be played through PA type speakers, but pedals tend to sound somewhat different across various types of amps, thus making it possible to build a personal rig that defines your tone uniquely.
So, should you buy pedals? Eventually, if it’s something that is fun and useful to you. In the meantime, I suggest to keep practicing and maybe doing a little research on the pedal craze in order to see what it’s all about! And if the pedal bug bites you, I suggest you jump into your own personal journey of tone discovery; you won’t regret it!