What guitar effects pedal should I buy for my electric guitar if I want to play alternative rock?

I have a strat guitar by fender and a sp-10 amp.

Chosen Answer:

Get the Digitech 255 Multi-FX box (about 150 dollars). It is definitely NOT THE BEST multi-fx pedal but it has a lot of features and it is not expensive, it includes an expression pedal and covers all the basics. It does not excel in a lot of things but for the price it is quite good.

Here comes the long explanation why…

Alternative rock uses a LOT of different kinds of sounds and effects. It would be very expensive buying dedicaded pedals for each effect at the beginning. However you will soon realize that there is NOTHING like good quiality dedicated analog effects, but you can’t spend a lot on a ton of effects initially.

What you want is something that shows you what is out there, cover all the basics, start training your ears for sounds, and what will eventually happen if you are like me, is that you will want to buy better pedals. You start with a mutiFX box, it does everything, as you go on adding additional pedals you still have the ability to do whatever your new pedals don’t cover. A multifx pedal is a great place to start but you will eventually want more.

You will find that:
1-Multi-FX distortions and amp modeling are never very good. You will eventually want to get good overdrives, fuzzes and distortions. But a milti-fx will start showing you the possibilities. Good dedicated distortions-overdrives-fuzzes are: A good Big Muff, a Zen Drive, a Sparkle Drive, a Keely or Monte-Allums modified boss blues driver, a BK Buttler overdrive (very expensive), and so on.Two good overdrives and a fuzz do wonders in a pedalboard. Also forget about the amp modeling, those don’t do much good. Just get a good clean crystal sound from your amp and add overdrive or distoriton sounds.

2-Modulation effects are bad in multifx pedals: chorus-flangers-phasers, these effects are cheesy if they are not of excellent quality, a miltifx will cover you for the time being, but eventually you will want pedals like for example An EH Electric Mistress for the outstanding flanger, A fulltone choral flange has a great chorus, an mxr script version phase 90 or 100 does a great phaser. All of this costs money of course, so you start with a multifx.

3-This Multi-fx pedal has a very good digital delay, I would say excellent, so you are covered there for a long time, very convenient because you can save settings.

4-This pedal does very good swells, attack and release volume effects, has a good noise-gate, tuner, has drum beats, relatively good tremolo. It has also some crazy effects that you would rarely use, so it would not make sense getting a dedicated pedal eventually for them, but it is nice to have them for the odd song when you will need them. So the Multifx serves eventually to round up your pedalboard options

4-However, no multifx does good analogue or modulated delays. Analogue delays add a little distortion to each repetition and thus provide tons of atmosphere, this is because they generally use bucket-brigade chips that copy the sound thousands of time loosing a bit each time. Digital multifx pedals don’t do a good modeling of this. A great modulated analogue delay is a EH memory man. You might eventually want to get something like that if you are into ambiance.

5-Reverbs in this multifx are good if kept on usual setting, a good starting point, but if you want a more extreme or organic sound you need something else. For example if you want to drench you sound in reverb like a lot of post-rock (or surf-guitar for that matter), or if you want shimmer harmonizer effects (thing those synth-like sounds from the Edge) you will need a better reverb. A surprisingluy good one is the line 6 verbzilla reverb, ever though it is digital it does all of this very well, but you have to get a good power source or it turns noisy.

6-This multifx has as good a wah in a multifx as you can get, but still, it is no comparison to a good dedicated analogue wah. Eventually you will want a good analogue wah, there are so many flavors, these you have to try until you find what you like. I like the Dunlop Crybaby (The original one is awesome, the EVH Crybaby version gets close to it)

7-At the beginning you will not find much use for a compressor, but eventually as you learn to mold your sounds you will find how very useful a compressor is. This pedal does a relatively ok compressor, but compressors tend to be noisy if not of very high quality, for a clean effect you might eventually want a good quality optical compressor. A classic analogue compressor is the MXR dyna-comp, but it can be noisy unless modified (I modified mine and it is wonderful now, the Monte-Allums mod-kit does improve this pedal cleanliness of sound quite a bit).

8-No pedalboard is complete without a good equalizer. This multifx allows you to do 3 band equalization pretty well (low, mid, high), but eventually you might want a good 6 band equalizer, which also serves as a clean volume boost.
by: scarrm
on: 17th January 11

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2 Responses to What guitar effects pedal should I buy for my electric guitar if I want to play alternative rock?

  1. Jscottfoshizzle says:

    get a line 6 pocket pod because it does effects and records to your computer

  2. scarrm says:

    Get the Digitech 255 Multi-FX box (about 150 dollars). It is definitely NOT THE BEST multi-fx pedal but it has a lot of features and it is not expensive, it includes an expression pedal and covers all the basics. It does not excel in a lot of things but for the price it is quite good.

    Here comes the long explanation why…

    Alternative rock uses a LOT of different kinds of sounds and effects. It would be very expensive buying dedicaded pedals for each effect at the beginning. However you will soon realize that there is NOTHING like good quiality dedicated analog effects, but you can’t spend a lot on a ton of effects initially.

    What you want is something that shows you what is out there, cover all the basics, start training your ears for sounds, and what will eventually happen if you are like me, is that you will want to buy better pedals. You start with a mutiFX box, it does everything, as you go on adding additional pedals you still have the ability to do whatever your new pedals don’t cover. A multifx pedal is a great place to start but you will eventually want more.

    You will find that:
    1-Multi-FX distortions and amp modeling are never very good. You will eventually want to get good overdrives, fuzzes and distortions. But a milti-fx will start showing you the possibilities. Good dedicated distortions-overdrives-fuzzes are: A good Big Muff, a Zen Drive, a Sparkle Drive, a Keely or Monte-Allums modified boss blues driver, a BK Buttler overdrive (very expensive), and so on.Two good overdrives and a fuzz do wonders in a pedalboard. Also forget about the amp modeling, those don’t do much good. Just get a good clean crystal sound from your amp and add overdrive or distoriton sounds.

    2-Modulation effects are bad in multifx pedals: chorus-flangers-phasers, these effects are cheesy if they are not of excellent quality, a miltifx will cover you for the time being, but eventually you will want pedals like for example An EH Electric Mistress for the outstanding flanger, A fulltone choral flange has a great chorus, an mxr script version phase 90 or 100 does a great phaser. All of this costs money of course, so you start with a multifx.

    3-This Multi-fx pedal has a very good digital delay, I would say excellent, so you are covered there for a long time, very convenient because you can save settings.

    4-This pedal does very good swells, attack and release volume effects, has a good noise-gate, tuner, has drum beats, relatively good tremolo. It has also some crazy effects that you would rarely use, so it would not make sense getting a dedicated pedal eventually for them, but it is nice to have them for the odd song when you will need them. So the Multifx serves eventually to round up your pedalboard options

    4-However, no multifx does good analogue or modulated delays. Analogue delays add a little distortion to each repetition and thus provide tons of atmosphere, this is because they generally use bucket-brigade chips that copy the sound thousands of time loosing a bit each time. Digital multifx pedals don’t do a good modeling of this. A great modulated analogue delay is a EH memory man. You might eventually want to get something like that if you are into ambiance.

    5-Reverbs in this multifx are good if kept on usual setting, a good starting point, but if you want a more extreme or organic sound you need something else. For example if you want to drench you sound in reverb like a lot of post-rock (or surf-guitar for that matter), or if you want shimmer harmonizer effects (thing those synth-like sounds from the Edge) you will need a better reverb. A surprisingluy good one is the line 6 verbzilla reverb, ever though it is digital it does all of this very well, but you have to get a good power source or it turns noisy.

    6-This multifx has as good a wah in a multifx as you can get, but still, it is no comparison to a good dedicated analogue wah. Eventually you will want a good analogue wah, there are so many flavors, these you have to try until you find what you like. I like the Dunlop Crybaby (The original one is awesome, the EVH Crybaby version gets close to it)

    7-At the beginning you will not find much use for a compressor, but eventually as you learn to mold your sounds you will find how very useful a compressor is. This pedal does a relatively ok compressor, but compressors tend to be noisy if not of very high quality, for a clean effect you might eventually want a good quality optical compressor. A classic analogue compressor is the MXR dyna-comp, but it can be noisy unless modified (I modified mine and it is wonderful now, the Monte-Allums mod-kit does improve this pedal cleanliness of sound quite a bit).

    8-No pedalboard is complete without a good equalizer. This multifx allows you to do 3 band equalization pretty well (low, mid, high), but eventually you might want a good 6 band equalizer, which also serves as a clean volume boost.

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