Learning how to play a new musical instrument is a remarkable experience. Some people do it for fun and entertainment, while others even pursue it as their passion. In addition to finding the right instrument for you to play, it’s also important to have the right accessories to accompany your instrument.
Among numerous musical instruments, guitars are a great choice for both novices and enthusiasts. In order to play the guitar properly, you need the right skills and some assistance of guitar accessories, such as an EQ pedal.
What Are Guitar EQ Pedals?
EQ pedals, also known as utility pedals, are guitar accompaniments that can highly impact the sound quality produced by your guitar. It mostly dictates how you’ll sound, like in a band mix, and they’re equally important in shaping your tone. In musical terms, EQ refers to equalizer or equalization, defining the spectrum of sound.
With the use of linear filters, a music equalizer alters the frequency response of an audio system, like speakers and amplifiers, to alter the sound of a song or instrument. The three most basic terms associated with equalizers are bass, midrange, and treble. If you make noticeable adjustments to these elements in a song, you’ll be able to hear what changes happened in the sounds. With the utilization of EQ pedals, the same thing happens in guitars.
EQ pedals aren’t made equally, though. Thus, to deliver the best sound with your guitar, a strong and reliable EQ pedal is necessary. Fortunately, SustainPunch has compiled the best EQ pedals on the market, and it’s up to you which one to choose.
But, before accompanying your guitar with EQ pedals, it’s noteworthy to know the benefits of using them first:
1. Filter Radio Sounds and Other Effects
During band performances, there are unique ways to make your guitar sounds stand out, but it should still be able to blend with the other sounds. With the help of EQ pedals, you can introduce new sound effects, like radio sounds, while keeping it at a minimum.
For instance, if you’d like to make guitar sounds as if they’re coming from an old radio, or making it sound like they’re being played from different rooms, use an EQ pedal to minimize the wild and massive sound effects that those sounds can create.
You can also use EQ pedals to make the guitar sound smaller in certain sections in heavy genres, such as metal and rock. Also, you can transition the guitar sound using the EQ pedal to make it less chunky during dynamic sections.
2. Sound Precision
Most of the time, performers tend to focus on the equipment to perfect the guitar tone, not the following sound processing. In many studio and live performances, the guitar and amplifier do all the deed – equalizing guitar tones with plugins and hardware units, eliminating frequency buildups, and removing harsh frequencies.
Although a good guitar and amplifier definitely contribute to the overall tone, it’s undeniable that a well-adjusted EQ pedal will give a more precise sound – that extra punch and kick, tightness, and clarity, will all harmonize together to form a pleasing and effective tone overall.
3. Explore New Sounds
Because of an EQ pedal’s tonal flexibility and its function as a tone-shaping tool, you can play around with extreme equalizing options to achieve more distinct sounds and textures. If the EQ sections of your amplifier aren’t enough for your preference, you can utilize EQ pedals to attain surgical control over your sound.
This advantage that EQ pedals provide paved the way for the late musician Dimebag Darrell to discover the ‘scooped’ guitar tone. In simpler terms, he practically removed all mid-range frequencies from the signal using high-gain amps together with an EQ pedal.
Another one that became the ‘scooped’ sound’s opposite effect, the mid-boosted tone created by Josh Homme, boosted lower-mid frequencies with an EQ pedal.
4. Find Your Own Voice
Along with exploring new sounds, why not find your own voice by experimenting with EQ pedals? If those musicians mentioned above made it through playing around with EQ buttons and options, you can also use them to conceive your own sound and personality.
To map out more interesting outcomes, you can try using EQ pedals in conjunction with other unconventional pieces of equipment. You can even use two EQ pedals at once and explore how to control their tone and timing. If you want to do it with an EQ pedal alone, then pushing the frequency extremities that are out of your style might actually give you interesting results.
5. Save Your Performance
When your performance is just about to astoundingly fail, EQ pedals can definitely become your savior. Compared to studio recordings, it’s more difficult to achieve better sounds in a live performance.
For instance, when you have perfected your guitar tone before the performance, you might completely find yourself inaudible during the performance. This happens because your guitar frequencies are competing with other top-end and mid-range frequencies emitted by certain factors, such as the vocalist’s voice, the other guitarist’s amplifiers, and even the drummer’s cymbals.
By using an EQ pedal, you can boost your guitar sound frequencies by pumping up the top-ends and upper-mids. In this way, you can blend better in the mix, eventually finding yourself again.
At the start, stabilizing your tone and sounds can be difficult, but the accompaniment of EQ pedals can make a remarkable difference in your performance. While they don’t automatically guarantee that your songs will make it to Spotify top playlists, using an EQ pedal during your performance does a plethora of benefits discussed above.
Last and most importantly, make sure you enjoy the performance and connect with your audience, because that’s what makes a great performance.
Totally agree with using an EQ Pedal, I even use them on Synths when playing live!
Never really experimented with EQ Pedals but will start soon!
I don’t have an EQ pedal on my board. Being the only guitarist in the band helps here and believe me I have spent a lot of time honing my amp/pedal sound ratios so I’m happy being EQless for now.
Awesome blog. I’m looking into upgrading my pedal board in preparation for when gigs come back.
Having an EQ pedal really helps when switching between single coil and bucker type guitars without having to switch amps as well. I tend to use an EQ boost when using a Strat or Tele without having to fiddle with the amps EQ and volumes, so maybe not so much of an issue if you only use one guitar at a gig. It’s also damned handy for mid range boost if you want that classic Clapton lead tone and haven’t got the active pickup config.
Excellent article! So much weirdness can be had through eq ?