View Full Version : Effects?

06-18-2015, 04:26 AM
I have an amp, and I have a lot of fun playing through it. Lately I've been getting stuff in my email advertising various foot pedals for "effects". I'm intrigued. So that I don't have to spend weeks and weeks researching the web to try and find out what all these foot pedals do, could some of you tell me, or direct me to sites that will tell me, what pedals do what effects, if you can even do them on the ukulele, and which effects might be fun enough on the ukulele to invest some money into? Thanks.

Jon Moody
06-18-2015, 04:35 AM
All of the effect names are fairly straight forward. Here's the extremely simplified rundown.

Overdrive - overdrives the signal, given you a slightly distorted tone
Distortion - more of that distorted tone
Fuzz - a lot more than the above
Octave - adds a second signal of what you are playing, one octave below.
Chorus - splits the signal into two/three waves, each vibrating differently to give you a shimmering effect
Delay - exactly that. Repeats what you did and trails off
Echo - kind of like a delay
Compressor - it "compresses" your signal so the quiet parts and loud parts are more evened out

There are more, but those are the some of the basic ones you're going to run across. And whether you want to or not, you will spend an absurd amount of time researching them if you go down that path.

Can you use them on ukulele? SURE!!! As long as you have a pickup in your uke, you can use effects in the signal chain. You will need to be more cognizant of feedback with an acoustic uke, but I use effects on mine all the time. Here are the ones that are particularly good for uke.

Delay - You can get a nice lushness with slower delays to create some ambient tonal landscapes, or just do a quick response to get more of a slapback type of echo in it.
Compressor - Used sparingly, it evens out the sound to add a nice "sheen" to the effect

06-18-2015, 04:49 AM
Pedals are immensely collectible. :) I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for, or how much you plan to invest, but I love the Moogerfoogers, though they're pretty expensive: http://www.moogmusic.com/products/Moogerfoogers Those would need an expression pedal (think controller here). I'm a big fan of the ring modulator one, see YouTube for some videos.

Then there is the Boss RC-300 Loop Station, which is, well, a looper, which you can have endless amounts of creative fun with. It includes effects too, and it can record. Lots of videos for it. It is an all-in-one solution.

Boss also makes numerous pedals and other loopers (the RC-300 is the flagship). I'd probably go for something with multiple effects. Reverb is always great, delay is fun, chorus is lovely. It really depends on what you aim to achieve.

06-18-2015, 04:54 AM
It's not that easy to explain in words. One way is to buy a 'Multi-effect' and experience them yourself - it doesn't have to be in a pedal shap, a table top one is cheaper (korg pandora, line6 minipod, most brands have one). If it's a battery-powered one, you can always use it later for silent practicing. But since it's a matter of taste, you should try the variety of effects yourself.

Oh, and moderation in using them is something to learn.

- reverb: adds a 'roomy-ness' to the sound, from a small hall to something cathedral-like. Can sound artificial, though.
- echo/delay: adds a pulsing, decaying echo to the note you play - U2 used this a lot. A whole lot.
- overdrive: gives more 'sustain' or a longer sound, and usually also more overtones to the notes you play. Think of a screaming voice, or a rock solo.
- distortion/fuzz: gives a buzzing sound, like early Kinks or Steppenwolf records.
- wahwah: does what is says, which is basically swelling and cutting off the upper frequencies, as if you open and close a lid.
- chorus: varies the frequency of your note (or notes) slightly, so that different, almost-but-not-quite identical notes sound. Think a twelve-string guitar sound.
- flanger/phaser: a second, almost-identical note is sounded, but slightly to late, which results in something that sounds like a stroboscopic light, if that makes any sense. A phaser has a less regular pattern than a flanger.
- pitch shift/auto tune/octavator: the note is corrected either to a fixed value above or below (f.e. five steps down), to the nearest true note, or a whole octave down (twelve steps).
- recording effects: looper, reverse, double or half speed looper
- vibrato: mostly does something called tremelo (quickly twitching the volume knob back and forth), but sometimes also something called vibrato as well (quickly changing the pitch back and forth, like a shiverring guitar slide). Fender is to blame for the mix-up of terms: their tremelo-arms do vibrato, while the vibrato knobs on their amps to tremolo!

And then there's the odd variety of names, eluding every attempt at taxonomy...

06-18-2015, 05:02 AM
I just bought a used zoom G3x on Ebay that is on its way. I have no idea what magic it will release but I understand it has a built in looper and drum machine as well as all of the effects that the others have listed. I'll try to use this thing with my acoustic ukes (they all have pickups), a Vorson solid body steel string uke. a solid body UBass and a few guitars that have pickups.

06-18-2015, 05:25 AM
I've discovered it takes some good skills to use effects to good effect. When I use them it sounds like a bunch of noise. ;) but I'm working on that.

06-18-2015, 05:40 AM
The best/cheap way if you are beginning is to get a multi pedal so you can try them all out. The downside it that some of those can be complicated to use as compared to a single pedal. It's a good way to figure out what effects you use and then you can always upgrade to a better quality pedal(s)
For a really simple great sounding looper, I use the TC Electronics Ditto. $99. True bypass, easy to use and small. The Ditto X2 has more features (reverse,dual,etc) and is $180ish.

06-18-2015, 11:27 AM
If you have an iphone or iPad, The best way I have found to experiment with this stuff is to buy a decent interface like apogee jam and use JamUp app. For the less than the cost of one decent pedal you get a high quality amp and effects modeler and an 8 track recorder. The basic app is 5 bucks and a full effects pack is 30 bucks.

The nice thing about this is your can easily swap between different effects and change their order in the signal chain with just a couple of taps. Try doing that with actual pedals. It's very liberating to be able to experiment in this way.

06-18-2015, 06:57 PM
Pedals are very collectible, but I personally have no interest of owning a multitude of little single-purpose boxes that I have to keep organized and managed and maintained. I'd rather have fewer devices that do more things.

So if I wanted to own one single 'Swiss Army Knife' type of device that does many things, with exceptional sound quality, I would probably go for this:

Eventide H9 Ultra, $500 (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/eventide-h9-harmonizer-multi-effects-pedal?rNtt=eventide H9 ultra&index=2)

Personally I own the Eventide H7600, which is sort of the great-granddaddy of the H9, and I can tell you that Eventide is expensive compared to other brands, but you really do get what you pay for. Eventide is synonymous with professional sound quality.

What appeals to me about the H9 is the simplified user interface, modern connectivity (USB, Bluetooth, iPad/iPhone app control), and quality I know I can trust.

06-19-2015, 03:16 AM
If you have an iphone or iPad, The best way I have found to experiment with this stuff is to buy a decent interface like apogee jam and use JamUp app. For the less than the cost of one decent pedal you get a high quality amp and effects modeler and an 8 track recorder. The basic app is 5 bucks and a full effects pack is 30 bucks.

The nice thing about this is your can easily swap between different effects and change their order in the signal chain with just a couple of taps. Try doing that with actual pedals. It's very liberating to be able to experiment in this way.

+1 on the above. I also recently discovered TONE STACK for iOS, which is similar for providing effects, but has a little different interface. JamUP Pro is a great app. Also if you have Garageband either for iOS or on a Mac, there are guitar effects there for your use if you select to create a NEW track, and as a REAL INSTRUMENT, instead of a SOFTWARE instrument, and you can play with those effects 'pedals' as well as some of the simulated amp models have a reverb, a distortion (gain), or tremolo function...and Garageband itself (both iOS and OSX) has both reverb and echo on a per-track basis as well for ALL instrument types, NOT just guitar.

Also, there are literally TONS of videos on Youtube, and if you search for:

<insert name of pedal here> demo

You will find quite a few CHANNELS on YouTube where the person is all about doing a complete walk-through of how the pedal sounds, with a closeup of all the controls as he is using it...and of course you will get to HEAR what the pedal does, and see how to control it.

Also, there are lots of videos of product demos on sweetwater.com, just look at the guitar effects section, and maybe sort by PRICE, and you will see that both Zoom and Digitech have a MULTI-effect pedal for ~$50 which might be a good place to start. MANY folks here on UU have posted that they use these same Zoom and Digitech pedals.

Also, it is typical that every manufacturer that makes pedals has demo videos either on their web site, or on their YouTube channel, so you can check that out as well.

06-19-2015, 04:02 AM
The iPad is generally a really good companion for musicians. It's an instrument in its own right as well (with apps like Samplr, Sector, Loopy HD, Sunvox, Caustic, etc.). I started to use mine more for recording and light audio editing (using Auria and AudioShare), though I haven't played much with effects on it yet. I picked up an iRig Pro interface for it since it's super portable and doesn't need a power source (unless phantom power is needed, but I typically use a Shure SM57 with it, so no phantom power needed). The cost/quality ratio was pretty good for this. (I have an interface with more inputs and outputs for my laptop, so I didn't need anything bigger for the iPad.)

06-19-2015, 02:22 PM
wow, you guys went way over my head! I'm just now learning to use my new mics and Tammy's amp. I'm a dinosaur.....

06-20-2015, 12:35 AM
FYI - here are links to the Zoom and Digitech pedals I mentioned previously...


When I want to use effects (away from computer/tablet), I have many other choices (from having played guitar for over 35 yrs) but my current favorite is the Zoom MS-100BT ($149), it lets you use up to 6 effects at a time, is the size of a single pedal, and you can buy newer effects over time when they release them via your iOS device (typically for ~$1.99 each) and upload them to the pedal over BlueTooth. Since I got this pedal over 2 yrs ago, they have released almost 100 NEW effects, and about 3 times a yr they have a sale, and I've bought some and installed them to the device. Which is quite easy to do.

The reverbs, delays, chorus and other modulation effects are so lush and thick, while retaining great articulation and definition, that I can highly recommend this pedal. I bought mine from Sweetwater here:


Aside from the amazing sound quality, the other big selling point for me is to reduce the clutter and complexity of having INDIVIDUAL pedals, dozens of patch cords to hook them all together, as well as either individual 9-volt wall-wart power adapters, or one of the multi-power adapters like a Voodoo Labs OneSpot or similar. The Zoom MS-series all take 2 AA batteries and I use the Panasonic (formerly Sanyo) Eneloop batteries which last a long time between charges and also have a very low self-discharge when not in use. I have on pair in the MS-100BT, and another pair in the charger, ready to swap out, as this also eliminates any hum from ground loops if/when using a 9-volt A/C adapter.

I ALSO use a Korg Pandora PXMINI 'pocket' multi-effect into headphones with my Sojing Silent solid-body uke, which I've detailed over in this thread previously WITH PHOTOS of how I have it attached to the instrument for completely untethered practice.

This link starts you at my post, which is #7 in the thread: (but make sure you read further down the thread, as I reveal more details in subsequent posts)

It seems that Sweetwater no longer carries the PXMINI (other vendors might still have it, but I have not checked), but they also have a 'pedal' version of this effects unit which ALSO has a headphone output, which you can see here, and in fact is $10 cheaper than the pocket version:


Further, if you do not need/want the BlueTooth function, Zoom has the MS-50G ($99) and MS70-CDR ($129) which you can see here, as well as their other more expensive multi-effect pedals:

http://www.sweetwater.com/c633--Multi_effects/low2high?params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJCcmFuZCI6WyJab29tIl 19fQ

On each of the Zoom effects product pages, Sweetwater has a demo video or two, and there is a whole series of videos on YouTube showing the full instructions on programming and using these units (of course with full sound demos too), which I have to admit were key to me not feeling intimidated before buying it, as you get to see just how it works without parting with your money, and then being faced with the fear of a giant manual to read, which these DO NOT have, the owners manual is actually very good, and has lots of pictorial diagrams that step thru the use of these pedals, and you can even download the manual direct from the Zoom web site, here:


PDF manuals for their other pedals are also available from their web site if you go to the relevant product pages and look at the DOWNLOAD section.

Also, MOST musical equipment manufacturers have the product manuals on their web site, which I always take full advantage of BEFORE buying a product, for if the product is a PITA or frustrating to use, then it will get shelved, and NOT used and the money wasted unless I return or sell it.

I am in no way affiliated with nor compensated by Sweetwater, just a VERY happy repeat customer. :)

Hope this info helps :music:

06-20-2015, 10:50 AM
I'm a pedal fan, pedal lover.

i love playing the uku with pedals like wah wah, delay, chorus n other.


thats uku + delay

i'll try to upload something else, like flanger or phaser.....

07-08-2015, 06:30 AM
I'm trying to learn this pedal and looping thing too... I bought a Boss RC 300. It's much to take in but slowly I understand it more and more.

here are 12 common effects explained with examples:


07-08-2015, 09:04 AM
I have a Hall of Fame Reverb foot pedal although I use my thumb. :p It's very nice and a little pricey but there are more expensive ones out there for sure. It adds some very nice effects through a 15 watt behringer acoustic amp. Nothing special as amps go but I don't need more at this level. Oh and I have a wah wah pedal for my Risa electric. The one Hendrix made famous. I run that through a little Vox amp that has lots of neat effects on board.

07-08-2015, 11:13 AM
...here are 12 common effects explained with examples:


I found these very helpful. Thank you, Ukejolly.