Effects Pedals and Songs


Like milk and chocolate, effects pedals and guitars can be paired together to create something uniquely wonderful.  Here’s a list of my favourite pedals and songs in which they are used.


Wah – an expressive, crying-like effect that mimics the human voice.  Think “wah-wah” and “wacka-wacka”.  J


Theme from Shaft – Isaac Hayes

(You’re) My World – Joe Satriani

25 or 6 to 4 - Chicago (guitar solo)

Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses (guitar solo)


Chorus – a beautiful shimmering effect that became known as the sound of the 80s.  Because of this, guitarists usually love it or hate it.


Purple Rain - Prince

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

Flesh for Fantasy – Billy Idol

Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House

Driven to Tears – The Police


Phase Shifter – commonly used to add a warm, subtle, spatial shimmer with light swooshing.  Introduced in the late 60s; the effect is still very popular today.


Lines on My Face – Peter Frampton

Love Hurts – Nazareth

Shattered – The Rolling Stones

Eruption – Van Halen


Flanger – sounds like a jet plane taking off!


Barracuda – Heart

Hear About it Later - Van Halen

The Spirit of Radio - Rush


Tremolo – causes the sound to stutter (lightly or intensely) at various speeds.  This effect is built into many Fender amps.


Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

Born on the Bayou – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Riders on the Storm – The Doors

Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy


Univibe – best described as a combination of chorus, phase shifter, and tremolo.


Breathe – Pink Floyd

Bridge of Sighs – Robin Trower


Fuzz – abrasive, hairy and harsh; extreme distortion never sounded so good.  Can also create long, singing, sustained notes.


Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

American Woman – The Guess Who

Goodbye to Love - Carpenters

20th Century Boy – T.Rex

Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz


Octave – takes what you’re playing and adds a lower octave to it.  Hendrix would combine this with fuzz to create many of his signature sounds.


You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi

Thelonious – Jeff Beck


Compressor – commonly used to make clean guitar parts stand out in a mix, makes the notes “pop” out, more punchy, etc.


One Thing Leads to Another- The Fixx

Lucky Star – Madonna

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson


Delay –an echo-like effect; repeats what you played.


Pride (in the Name of Love) – U2

Bad – U2

Run Like Hell – Pink Floyd

Standing in the Dark – Platinum Blonde


Rotary – the sound created when a guitar or organ is played through a rotating speaker (called a “Leslie”).  The sound moves and swirls at various speeds.


Cold Shot – Stevie Ray Vaughan

Dark End of the Street – The Commitments

It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr



See also In Their Own Words, Practicing the Guitar, Learning to Play Guitar, Mental Practice, Tools of Whimsy and Persistence Pays Off






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