When to use which effect?


Active Member
Apr 14, 2021
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Starting off with a shameless plug...

I've released 5 more demos! This time I focused on modulation\swirly effects.

So when you spend some time recording swirly guitar effects, obviously your brain will rabbit hole on swirly guitar effects and how you like to use them. It's fairly obvious that David Gilmour is a gigantic influence of mine (and...I assume almost everybody really) and lord knows the man made extensive use of swirly pedals.

Personally, I tend to just use a rotary pedal for all my swirly needs. It sorta does the chorusy thing, it sorta does the throbby thing, it sorta does all the things, while still sounding cool as shit. So if I'm jamming on something and I want swirlies...I stomp on a rotary.

However, when nerding out on this topic with a mate of mine, he was almost appalled by my approach. He firmly believes that each effect (chorus, flanger etc.) has their specific use and to get it wrong is like rocking up to a wedding in jeans. Commence argument.

He had a number of good points. There are some specific effects which are tied to certain songs. Phaser for Brain Damage on Dark Side Of The Moon for example. Flanger for 46&2 on Chancellor's bass. Chorus for 80s Hair Metal. We could agree that there have been specific uses for each effect which are necessary\iconic whereby simply stomping on a rotary isn't going to be helpful.

...But NEITHER of us could agree with any sort of guidelines about what effect would be most suitable where. What about Phaser makes it equally awesome for Brain Damage, as it does for EVH?

Ergo: I open the topic to the internet. What makes you decide: "Yes, this is a guitar part which definitely needs <insert specific effect here>" rather than...my approach of "SWIRLY GO FUN TIME WHEEEEE?"


Well-Known Member
Jun 16, 2020
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Well, for me it's easy, I'm generally playing covers or noodling "in the style of". Just for myself I'm not hot on a lot of FX. I "voluntarily" use reverb, some delay from time to time [pun vaguely intended] and maybe the RAT or TS, that's it really. Never been big on the user of phasers, flangers, wah, etc.

Here's something you might like or already know: http://www.kitrae.net/music/David_Gilmour_Delay Time Library.html


Well-Known Member
May 14, 2014
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Swirly effects are as personal as steak seasoning. Don’t crash your brain trying to make sense of it, it’s all subjective to personal taste.

As someone who started playing the guitar in the early eighties, I pretty much got my fill of chorus before anybody heard of Kurt Cobain. But a phaser is something I still really like.