Chorus effects have been popular with the guitar since the 60’s, and guitarists like Kurt Cobain have used them in the last 20 years or so to keep their popularity up. Turn on any alternative music station, and there’s a good chance that you’ll hear a few chorus effects on the guitars every once in a while.
However, a chorus pedal isn’t ideal for every guitarist. Here’s a quick guide to guitar chorus effects and what to expect.
What Is Chorus?
A chorus effect takes a guitar signal and combines it with slightly different versions of that same signal. It might use slightly sped up or out of tune samples, and when we say “slightly” here we mean really, really slightly. The idea is to get the sound of–you guessed it–a chorus of guitars, and if you had a few guitars playing at the same time, they wouldn’t all be exactly in tune with each other. The guitarists would each play a little differently, even if they’d learned the piece together.
A good chorus effect gives a guitarist a very powerful, broad sound. There are numerous types of chorus available, including stereo chorus, which sends different versions of the guitar’s sound to different speakers. This can make a single guitar sound huge.
When You Shouldn’t Use Chorus Effects
If you play with a lot of bass tone in your guitar, the “huge” sound of a chorus pedal may cause your tone to muddy up a bit. You won’t hear the distinct notes as well, and you’ll probably have to make some adjustments to your tone.
Also, the effect that a chorus pedal gives your guitar may not be right for the style of music that you’re playing. This is, of course, subjective, so trust your ears.
The quality of your chorus pedal will make a huge difference. There are chorus pedals out there that cost hundreds of dollars, and some that cost under $20. You’ll get what you pay for. The cheap pedals won’t sound huge, and they may introduce a lot of noise into your guitar’s sound.
When You Should Use Chorus Effects
If you like the way that a chorus pedal sounds on your guitar, use one. There’s no rule declaring when it’s a good idea to use a pedal and when it isn’t. You’ll have to go to your local music store and try a few chorus pedals to see if you like any of them. Play around with the settings, and realize that in most cases, a little bit of chorus is better than a whole lot of chorus.
Chorus effects can be great on the guitar when they’re combined with other effects like reverb and distortion. Again, don’t overdo it. You should use less of each effect when combining them for an overall tone.
Do you have any tips or questions about using chorus effect pedals on a guitar? Post in our comments section below.