effects are built on the principals of the Delay effect, but add modulation
to the delayed sound.
Phase Shifter Effects:
In a Phaser (also known as a
) the sound wave of the delayed sound is out of phase with the
Figure 1 illustrates from the top two sound waves in phase, two sound waves that are 180
degrees out of phase, and at the bottom 2 sound waves that are 90 degrees out of phase. If
the sounds are 180 degrees off, in other words, if the peaks of the original sound wave come at the
same time as the troughs of the delayed sound, the waves cancel each other out leaving a notch (no
sound). When the peaks and troughs of the waves coincide the signal is at full strength. In a
Phaser, the delayed sound sweeps through different degrees of shift from the original sound giving
a characteristic “swooshing” effect to the sound similar to the rotating “Leslie” speaker effect
characteristic of the Hammond organ sound. Shifters are built in stages, with each stage providing
up to 180 degrees of shift. Therefore, a typical 4 stage unit is capable of three peaks and
two notches in a sweep. The Stones song “Shattered” has a great example of the use of Phase
Flangers use a similar technique as a Phase Shifter, but instead of a
uniform sweep through the peaks and notches of the combined original and delayed signal, the
Flangers varies the sweep and use hundreds of stages. Before digital effects, flanging effects were
made in the studio by playing two identical tracks in unison on two different “tape machines” and
putting a finger on the flange of the tape of one machine. Of course carrying two huge tape
machines to a live show was impractical so the effect really became practical with digital pedals.
The sound of a Flanger varies as you hold a note or chord and can be heard as a whooshing or
revving up sound. Some songs using the Flanger effect include "Don’t Panic," by Coldplay, the last
line of "(Just Like) Starting Over," by John Lennon, and the intro to "Barracuda," by Heart.
When people play or sing in unison, there are always subtle differences in
timing and modulation. The Chorus effect pedal uses that principal to make a single performer
sound like an ensemble. Chorus Pedals work on the same principal as the Flanger, but keeps
the delays very short to create harmonically spaced notches so that the delayed signal is very
close to the original. This sounds particularly good in stereo giving the sound a three
dimensional quality as well as an ensemble effect. Familiar uses of the Chorus effect can be
found in The Police’s "Message in a Bottle" and Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit." No
particular skill is required to use a Chorus effect, and it brings a tonal color that should
definitely be in your arsenal.
Here are some of the Flangers, Phasers, and Chorus pedals you should consider:
Select Chorus Pedals:
Boss CE-5 Chorus
is one of the most popular Chorus effects available. Rugged and well
designed as all Boss pedals, the CE-5 features dual stereo outputs for connection to dual amps or
for recording. The Boss CE-5 produces effects that range from a natural ensemble sound to an
outstanding stereo chorus effect.
Label Chorus Pedal
is the analog pedal that Zakk Wylde uses to thicken up his wall of
distortion. The Black Label Chorus has the warm analog sound plus all the features you need
in a quality chorus effect, including stereo outputs, High and Low Cut Filters, and Level, Rate,
and Depth Controls.
With specs like the best boutique pedals, the
HardWire CR-7 Stereo Chorus Pedal
is an extremely versatile and well-designed Chorus
Effect. In addition to all the features you would expect, the CR-7 provides settings for
Analog, Jazz, Studio, Vintage, Multi, Modern and Boutique Chorus effects. Like any good
boutique pedal, the Hardwire CR-7, features a true bypass circuit to get the pedal completely out
of your signal path when you want it.
Select Phaser Pedals
The Phase Shifter most in demand is the
, which has been in Eddie Van Halen’s set up for years. The Phase 90 comes in 4
flavors, the basic MXR Phase 90, the
MXR Zakk Wylde ZW90
MXR 74 Vintage Phase
, and the
Van Halen EVH Phase
. All are solidly built and simple to use with a single control knob.
HardWire SP-7 Stereo Phaser
is the pedal for those who want to truly explore the
possibilities of phase shifting. With 7 different phaser types based on vintage and modern
effects, tap tempo speed control, and true stereo inputs and outputs, you can get exactly the sound
your music needs. The technical specs are truly high end, with high voltage operation for a
clean sound and true bypass circuitry to allow the purest signal to flow through unimpeded.
This is one of the most advanced phasers on the market.
No listing of top Phase Shifters would be complete without the
Boss PH3 Phase Shifter Pedal
. This is another extremely versatile Phaser
in a very compact stomp box. The Boss PH3 include loads of vintage and modern phase effects and tap
tempo to sync easily with your performance. There are also new “Rise” and “Fall” modes to
give you phasing effects in a vertical dimension.
Select Flanger Pedals
Boss BF-3 Flanger Pedal
is the number one flanger on the market. As with all Boss pedals, this one
is a real workhorse. It has stereo outputs and independent inputs for guitar and bass.
The effects include gate and panning. Controls include resolution, depth, rate, and tap tempo for
synching the effect to your playing. What more could you need in a flanger effect?
Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature
AF2 Airplane Flanger i
s actually two pedals in one. There is the traditional
chorus flanger and then there is the radical “Take Off” flanger, which gives you a sound resembling
an airplane taking off – the sound made famous by Paul Gilbert. The Crazy Flange sound also
give you the ability to shift pitch.