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A Beginners Guide To Guitar Effects – Part 1: Time Based Effects

Wah Wah’s, Flangers, Phasers & Delays!! The world of guitar effects is confusing to say the least, full of complicated and sometimes humorous names to describe sounds that you can easily imagine but find difficult to describe or articulate . Which is why I’ve written a series of articles on effects and their use, starting with this one: a Beginners guide to “Time” based effect types.

Delay’s and Reverb’s (Time).

“The Boss DD-7 Is  A Classic Delay Pedal”

Delay and Reverb pedals are some of the easiest pedals to imagine and visualise and prove to be some of the most popular pedal types on the market today. Reverbs are extremely common and are often built into amps as standard (although guitarists love to add a reverb or two on their boards to give a greater breadth of tonal versatility) reverb essentially adds a greater feeling of space to your guitar sound, as if your playing in a hall or at a stadium.

Delay on the other hand is similar to that of an echo, allowing your sound to be rebounded back to you, creating a huge sense of distance and space that is hard to replicate by any other means. Both delay and reverb are highly atmospheric and when combined together artistically can create otherworldly tones that are totally unique.

Famous examples of Reverb: “When The Levee Breaks” – Led Zeppelin,  “In The Air Tonight” – Phil Collins, “Miserlou” – Dick Dale & “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley.

Famous examples of Delay: “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns & Roses, “Where the Streets Have No Name” – U2 & “Walking on the Moon” – The Police.

Our Stock of Reverbs & Delays.

Chorus, Flange & Phase.

“The Digitch Nautila Fuses Flange & Chorus Tones Together”

These three have rather eccentric names but are very distinctive in tone, Chorus adds a thickness/fullness to your guitars tone and is a stunning effect to use (if tasteful) and can easily make a clean sound incredibly beautiful and 80’s inspired (chorus was all the rage in the 1980’s). A Flanger is a more intense version of a chorus which has an ever so slightly larger manipulation of the tones phase which results in a dramatic yet iconic tone and is often described by many as “whooshing”. Phasers are very similar to flangers in many respects but have a more cutting and higher frequency tone (often described as wavy), and can be dialled in to be more subtle and light than chorus and flanger, perfect for funk and soul guitar tones.

Famous Examples of Chorus: “Message in a Bottle” – The Police,  ”Purple Rain” – Prince and “Come as you Are” – Nirvana.

Famous Examples of Flanger: “Kashmir” – Led Zeppelin, “Barracuda” – Heart & “The Spirit of Radio” – Rush.

Famous Examples of Phaser: “Eruption” – Van Halen, “Paranoid Android” – Radiohead & “Just the Way You Are” – Billy Joel

Our Stock of Chorus, Phaser & Flanger

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Fender – The Creator of Timeless Design

Fender instruments have long held something of a mythological status in musical circles since their introduction into the market in the 50’s and looking at them with modern eyes it’s not hard to see why. Despite the fact that Fenders seem to radiate a “future of tomorrow, today!” sci-fi design they are utterly timeless, with curves exactly where they should be & with a play-ability that is still unmatched. Here is my run down of the most iconic Fender designs and how they stand up today to our modern, cynical tastes.


Upon first inspection the Telecaster looks almost gruff and simplistic in appearance, perhaps even a little to ordinary but it’s only when you get up close to one that you realise how utterly charming the model is. Leo’s first design was the Telecaster and you can tell that he created it from an engineer’s perspective as its pure function over form, but that simplicity is the Teles most attractive feature.  It’s guaranteed that every guitarist will get the “Tele bug” at some point, lusting over one when no other design will do as holding one connects you to the very roots of electric guitar history itself. No matter what your style a solid Tele will always be relevant and are tough enough to survive virtually anything.

Our Tele Stock


Quite possibly the most iconic electric guitar design, the Strat looks just as good today as when it was unleashed unto the world in 54’ and continues to inspire a loyalty like no other guitar before or since (apart from perhaps its rival the Les Paul). The Strat looks like a product of its era, emulating a space age almost “Jetsons” like appearance that is pleasurable to both the eye and hands as its curves are strategically placed to give a perfect ergonomic experience. Throw in a unique pickup configuration and tone combined with its groundbreaking tremolo system and you have a staple instrument for the ages.


Duncan & Russ sharing their mutual love for the Strat design.

Our Strat Stock


The favoured guitar of alternative rockers everywhere, the Jazzmaster has grown a cult-like fan base over the years due to its leftfield design and boom of popularity in the 90s. Played by alt-rock royalty this instrument continues to appeal to those that want a clear and well rounded tone that can dirty up to the extreme when needed. Bulkier than its Start and Tele siblings the Jazzmaster is certainly broader in size, reassuringly weighty even but for those that want something slimmer this may not be the guitar for you. Despite its size however it’s incredibly easy to play and has unique tremolo systems that not only works effectively but holds its tune surprisingly well. This is the perfect axe if your attitude is as against the grain as the Jazzmaster is.

Our Jazz Stock

Precision & Jazz Bass’s:

In addition to the big three of the guitar world Leo also gave two iconic bass designs, the Precision & the Jazz, based loosely design concept wise on the Tele and Strat respectively. The P Bass has a bulk and thickness that creates a booming tone used on countless classic recordings and the Jazz bass has a silkier neck and more detailed control system which results in refined and smoother tone.  Both instruments are still incredibly popular today and inspire legions of fans the world over.

Our Bass Stock

So which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below as this topic has divided opinion but one thing is certain, the legacy of Fender is certainly assured.

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The Era Of The Mid-Ranged Classic

We live in a very interesting era for the electric guitar and its production, with companies being able to create instruments of a unprecedented build quality to price ratio that blow away instruments of a similar price decades ago. This surge of instruments has created a new demand and appreciation for the mid price point guitar, a demand that has become even more common in recent years due to the steady price increase of brands such as Gibson and Fender that have somewhat isolated and pushed away potential customers who can’t afford their product lines, a fact not ignored by some shrewd and innovative guitar companies. Tie that in with the questionable build quality and consistency of some of the larger standard instrument manufacturers and you have a catalyst waiting to happen.

The SE Maple Series certainly turned heads.

Two of these mid priced giants are currently the Gretsch Electromatics and PRS SE, both of which are sister companies of the more expensive Gretsch USA & PRS USA brands but lack none of the build quality you would expect from their siblings. One of the factors of their success is the genuine thought that goes into the models of the SE & Electromatics, creating limited edition models using exotic tone woods and sporting gorgeous finishes that really stir up excitement within their fan base. All of this competition and innovation of course means that the wise consumer can really get the deal of a century, picking up an instrument of incredible quality that is gig worthy and sounds inspiring for a price that is surprising and reassuring.


We put this awesome machine through paces:

In addition to the mid range giants emerging, the budget & entry level guitar market has also had a positive & dramatic surge in quality in the last 5 years. With brands such as Squier, Cort & Sigma cleaning up the competition within their bracket whilst making veteran 6 stringers think again about how they view guitars in this price range. There is of course no knowing how long this mid range quality period will last, but if you have been on the fence about modern guitars then the SE and Electromatics are certainly worth a second look, they are a great place to start looking for that elusive “dream axe”.