Modulation, Chorus, Flanging, Phasing & Tremolo Pedals:
One of the greatest ambitions any musician can have, no matter what genre they play or what instruments they master, is to develop their own signature sound that's unlike any other. When you play electronic instruments, effects units can help you to craft that individual style. Modulation, chorus, flanging, phasing and tremolo pedals are worth special mention in this regard, because their sounds are distinctive and powerful.
All of these effects pedals are part of the same modulation family, but each has its own specific niche to fill. Two of the more closely-related units are chorus effects and ring modulators. Both of these pedals have a multiplying effect on your sound, but there is a key difference. A chorus effect creates the illusion of multiple instruments playing together, like an orchestra or choir. The ring modulator, on the other hand, maintains a single-instrument sound but adds resonating echo, like a ringing bell. Read More...
Two more effects that share a lot in common are the flanger and phaser. The keyboards in Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" showcase the rippling effect of the phaser, while the flanger's comb filter sound can be heard in "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" by Van Halen and "Barracuda" by Heart. These units create sounds that no other pedal can make.
One type of pedal that deserves particular attention is the tremolo, because these effects are not to be confused with the tremolo bridge for electric guitars. Where a whammy bar gives you pitch modulation, a tremolo pedal is more about volume. Not sure what the difference is? Listen to the opening of ""Gimme Shelter"" to hear how Keith Richards makes use of a tremolo effects pedal.
Because modulation pedals have such wide-ranging and unique effects, the only universal rule that applies to them is that experimentation is the key to making them your own. Exploring the applications of modulation, chorus, flanging, phasing and tremolo pedals is a fun and rewarding part of developing your skills as a musician. Give them a try to see how they work for you, and take the next step on the path to shaping your personal style. Close