Your guitar and amplifier are a great team, but they're not the only part of putting on a performance. For everything that fancy fretwork alone can't do, there are guitar effects. Coming mostly in the form of stompboxes or variable pedals, these effects let you change the sound of your guitar on the fly in ways ranging from subtle to radical. The library of guitar effects is a big one, but every guitarist has their preference. Chances are that you already know your favorites, but if you're a beginner, you might still be looking. Here are some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing: first, the wah pedal. This pedal works like a manual equalizer under your foot, and you've probably heard its unique sound in classics like Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses" or "Burning the Midnight Lamp" by Jimi Hendrix. Wah pedals bring a big dose of expressiveness to your sound.
Another essential is the compression/sustain pedal, which has two effects. It can be used to rein in the harshness of a powerful attack note, or to sustain a dying note to boost the end of a solo or the outro of a song. Try an overdrive pedal to call up the warm, smooth distortion of an overdriven tube amp at will. If you play solo gigs with multiple instruments, how about a looper to repeat sections played with each one so you can mix them even in a live performance? These are just a handful of the effects at your disposal.
Lots of effects pedals can lead to some clutter on the stage and more than a little bit of wire spaghetti, so you might consider a multi-effects pedal and a pedalboard to make them easier to manage. Multi-effects pedals combine a number of common effects all in one unit, replacing a handful of different pedals with one. With a pedalboard, you can mount all of your pedals together. This not only makes transportation easier, but most pedalboards even include a power supply for all your pedals so they'll always work—no battery changes or hunting for power strips needed.
Combined with your practice and skill, these various guitar effects open up a ton of possibilities for the sound of your music. Dozens of guitarists have made an impact by mastering their favorite effects: Peter Frampton, for example, made the talk box famous with ""Do You Feel Like We Do"" and ""Show Me the Way"". Whether you're following in those legendary footsteps or creating new ways to take advantage of guitar effects, they're a valuable part of your toolbox.