In case you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty obsessed with acoustic guitars. Their full, bright sound has proven its sonic staying power and found its way into some of history’s greatest songs. We appreciate the classics (obviously), but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some inspiration from our electric friends. That’s why we’re here today to talk about all things acoustic guitar effects pedals.
With our acoustic-electric Live models, it’s easy to plug in and explore the unique special effects and textures these pedals can offer. Don’t have an electric-acoustic guitar just yet? No worries — you might be able to apply some of these effects by recording your guitar into your computer. For tips on this, check out our how-to guide on recording your acoustic.
Still, if you’ve got a Live model or are curious about the perks that come with having an acoustic pickup, here’s our run down on the essential acoustic guitar pedals:
Let’s start with the basics: the tuning pedal. Tuning pedals provide you with a chromatic tuner, so you can ensure your acoustic-electric guitar’s pitch stays in check while on stage.
As true bypass pedals (meaning they have no effect on the signal), these pedals won’t affect your tone like some others in this article, they still are essential for acoustic players looking to plug in or record direct input.
Delay & Reverb Pedals
Next on our list is the delay pedal. Delay pedals for acoustic guitars extend your sound by recording and playing back your initial note (think: like an echo), and can add atmosphere and rhythm to your notes.
Similar to delay pedals, reverb pedals also offer time-bending sonic effects. In music, reverb describes how long a sound continues after you’ve produced it. Reverb pedals stretch your sound by continuing to bounce your soundwaves after the guitar itself is done ringing.
Keep in mind that the hollow bodies of acoustic guitars make for natural reverb chambers, so these effects should be used lightly to avoid feedback. When used correctly, delay and reverb pedals for acoustic guitars can add new dimensions and rhythms that enhance your sound.
The ‘70s called — they want their chorus pedal back. Similar to delay, chorus pedals replay your note to create dimension. How it differs is that a chorus pedal will modulate both your timing and your pitch.
This modulation effect adds some dreamy dimensionality to your sound by creating the sonic illusion of a whole chorus of guitars playing at once.
Want even more instrumental backup than a chorus pedal? The looper pedal might be right for you!
Great for solo performers, this pedal works by recording your sound and creating an infinite loop until it’s stopped by the user. For example, you can record a short arpeggiated guitar riff with a looper pedal, and try playing different melodies on top of it.
With this versatile piece of equipment, you can create rhythmic layers with different parts and patterns, making it easy to create surprising compositions. The result is a constantly evolving song that can be stopped and started at will — making this a great tool for experimentation and songwriting.
Finally, let’s spice up your acoustic track with a little rock ‘n roll edge. Overdrive pedals add an iconic crunch to your playing by replicating the sound of an amp at its absolute technical limit. While many associate this grittiness with head banging electric shredders, acoustic players can still enjoy its added tonal punchiness.
Pro tip: Take advantage of your tuner pedal’s volume control while playing with overdrive! Overdrive is a cool effect when used sparingly, but with too much volume you run the risk of generating some nasty feedback. Make sure you turn your sound hole away from the amp to avoid this.
A Twist on the Classics
We’re committed to the acoustic life here at Orangewood, but that doesn’t make us total purists. Far from it — we’re inspired by the new generation of acoustic guitarists and music producers who’re ushering the classic acoustic sound into the modern era. These innovative players know that by using pedal effects on an acoustic-electric guitar, they can push creative boundaries and find new sounds to inspire their music production.