Unless you are that type who just plugs your guitar straight into the amp and don’t give a fuck about effects. Hey that’s cool if that’s your thing, and hey….I love Angus Young and the sound of a raw guitar pushing a loud amp is still auditory heaven. :) But if have no desire for using effects, then ignore what I’m about to say.
I remember getting my first real fx processor in 2000. A Lexicon MPX-1. There were definitely some cool sounds, but there were all of these crazy terms like “modulation” “patching” “ADSR” “Filters” “LFO” “Phase” etc etc etc. I knew these were synth terms but it was too much for my brain to handle at the time. I just wanted awesome sound.
Here’s the deal, old rack gear uses synthesizer terms like LFO and Filter. But guess what, more and more pedals are using this terminology as well. This means that in order to get the most out of your gear, you’re going to have to understand how these things work. Reading about it just won’t do. Here is the real deal:
YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY! And use a simple synthesizer to create sounds and figure out how an ASDR envelope works. How does a modulator work exactly. What does modulator depth actually mean? What is an LFO?
The reason is because these things effect the direct sound of the synthesizer so you can truly hear what’s happening. In pedals and rack fx processorts, you’ll pretty hear your direct guitar sound no matter what you do so its hard to tell what exactly is happening with your effects. All of these terms will suddenly make sense and you can craft your own wonderful tone. You can turn your knobs and know exactly what you are doing. The worst is to constantly turn knobs in hopes you will find some “sweet spot”. You probably won’t.
I prefer a hands on approach like a physical synthesizer, but you can also try a software synth and there are tons of free ones out there. Do you like experimenting with FX? Do yourself a favor and learn a simple subtractive synthesizer and how the modulation and filters work. I promise it will pay off and you will create some awesome tones for guitar.