No matter what sort of music you’re into, from scuzzy punk rock to growling blues, your favourite guitar sounds come from a combination of a particular guitar and an effects pedal or two (or three). If you are looking to buy pedalboards and effects pedals to try and replicate these sounds either in the studio or on stage, we’ve put together a list of four of our favourite guitarists and the pedals you can use to recreate their signature sounds.
1. John Lennon & Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
As you might imagine for a band that was around in the 1960s and 1970s, much of the gear used by the world’s first globally-famous band is no longer available and so picking it up can be very pricey indeed. As Reverb’s Peter Schu says: “Recreating the actual rigs [the Beatles] used is, let’s just say, out of reach for most. If you can budget $100,000 to get a Neumann U47 in front of a ’63 Vox AC-30 pumped with a WEM Pep Box and run through a Fairchild 660, by all means, go for it.”
For the rest of us mere mortals, however, there are various effects pedals that can recreate the Beatles’ sounds without breaking the bank, like the Dr. Robert from Aclam Guitars, which Premier Guitar magazine says delivers “spot-on ’66/’67 Beatles tones” for under £300.
2. Jack White (The White Stripes & Raconteurs)
Frontman of The White Stripes and Raconteurs is famous for his thick, fuzzy, bluesy sound and to create that sound he is a big fan of the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi with the dials set about 12. If you add to that an Electro-Harmonix P.O.G. or Polyphonic Octave Generator, which very smoothly creates multiple octaves at once, then you’ll be able to recreate that ‘Seven Nation Army’ or ‘Steady, As She Goes’ sound in no time.
3. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Everyone goes through a Nirvana stage in their teens, where the world is against you and only the desperation and grunge of Cobain can say what you’re feeling. After years of glam, Nirvana’s sound changed guitar music for the better and Cobain relied on the Boss DS-1 for the heavy distortion on the likes of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘In Bloom’. Impressively for such an influential pedal, it still retails for around £40, which means it should be in every guitarist’s collection.
4. Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead)
Never one to shy away from technology or chaining up multiple effects pedals on stage, Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood is perhaps most well-known for his use of the Roland Space Echo RE-201. The pedal has been around since the mid-1970s and popular with guitarists looking to create mesmerising celestial sounds with its 11 different repeating modes. However, it was Greenwood’s implementation of the pedal, running it into his VOX AC-30, that is the most well-recognised use of the pedal, with its warm delay found front and centre on the likes of OK Computer’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’.