Archive for April, 2010

Advice on Guitar effects and pedals

April 25, 2010 4 comments

When you play rock guitar you will want to have the distorted guitar sound.  You can get this sound with distortion or overdrive pedals.  One of these effects is essential to have for playing rock guitar.

Your amp may have a built-in effect but you really need foot operated floor guitar effect pedals to be able to switch an effect on and off easily while playing.  The pedals cost around $100 each.  You can also get ones that are tailored towards different types of rock or metal.

Guitar Distortion Overdrive Pedal

Guitar Distortion Overdrive Pedal

You can also buy other pedals to get a fuller sound or a lead guitar sound, such a delay, flanger, chorus, reverb, wah-wah, compressor etc.

A cheaper alternative is to get a guitar multi-effect pedal unit.  These can cost around $200 up.  They have all the guitar effects built-in as digital electronic processors.  Software patches are set-up to blend the different effects and give different sounds.

Get a unit with at least 3 foot pedal switches on it.  This way you can set up a clean, rhythm and lead patch for each sound and switch between them with one tap.  If there is only one pedal then you need to toggle through the patches to get the one you want which will interrupt your guitar playing.

Also experiment with editing the patches so that you can see how the effects and settings interact and make the overall sound.  Messing with the settings yourself  is the best to learn how effects work.

Till next time, thanks for reading.


Your first Guitar Amp

As you play rock guitar you will want to get a loud rock distorted sound.  For this you will need a guitar amp.  I will give you some tips for getting your first amp.
Rock Guitar Marshall Amp

Rock Guitar Marshall Amp

For a beginner practising at home a practice amp is enough.  This will set you back around a $100.  The first thing is the power it uses.  Get at least a 15 watt amp up to a 30 watt amp.  Any lower than 15 watts may be too quiet, a 10 watt amp is a bit on the low side.  30 watts is loud for home or bedroom use and it can be used for a small gig or busking.

Amps may have a push button built-in effect such as overdrive, distortion or reverb.  This is good at the start as you will not need to get pedals straight away.

Don’t worry about the brand of the amp too much.  Just check that it is of good quality, maybe check a few reviews on-line.  I would worry more about having a good quality brand guitar that the amp.

Also you can get tube or electronic amps.  Get an electronic amp at the start till you know what a tube amp sound like and actually want that.  Electronic are cheaper to buy and more reliable and sound sharper. Tube amps sound warmer.   I still prefer electronic amp but some other guitarists prefer the sound of tube amps.  That is down to personal preferences which you will gain with experience.

Also get good quality leads and cables.  Spend at least $20 per lead.  Make sure it is good thick cable and has good jack plus.  Get as short a length as you can.  A cable of 2 or 3 meters is long enough.  Getting cheap, thin, long 5m cables will cause you more heartache in the long run as they break and cause unwanted noise.

If you get to try out the amp that is good but don’t worry if you don’t.  Most amps are pretty good for playing rock guitar for a beginner.  Main thing is when you get it is plug in your guitar, turn it up and enjoy yourself.  It really opens up your playing.

PS.  Extra tip if you buy your Guitar amp from a local guitar shop.  Pay cash in full and get them to give you a good free cable.  They always will when you wave the money in front of them.

Get this Guitar maybe?

This was a Gibson Les Paul Guitar that Iron Maiden auctioned for charity.  It was looking like it went for a really expensive price initially.  The video story is below.

The auction was plagued with fake bidders and had to be rerun.  A fake bid of £120,000 was put in and discovered.  The winner who bid around £20,000 also did not pay up.

Music is from a live recording of the Somewhere Back in Time on Tour from Australia.

Categories: Guitar Blog

Find the Right Rock Guitar for you

Here are a few tips to get the right guitar to play rock guitar on.

First of all you probably will want to buy an electric guitar. This will give you more versatility in getting rock sounds than an acoustic guitar. Buy a guitar for around a $300 to $600. Try and get the best one you can.  Any cheaper and you will not get a reasonable quality guitar that will last or stay in tune for you. You do not require one more expensive until you get more experience or skilled so no need to splash out $1000 yet. Also a lot of guitarists never go outside this price range even when they do improve as you can get a pretty good guitar for $600.

Get a guitar with at least two pickups, one at the bridge and one at the neck. Three pickups is (one extra at the middle) is nice to have but you may not actually use it. A guitar with one pickup will severely limit your sound range.

A guitar with humbucker pickups is also better to get. Humbuckers give a richer stronger rock sound. A humbucker looks like a double pickup. If you get a guitar with a single coil pickup don’t worry, with amp settings and effect pedals this can be beefed up anyway. See the picture of the Les Paul guitar (Gibson or Epiphone) with humbucker pickups at the bridge and neck below.

Rock Guitar with Humbucker Pickups

Rock Guitar with Humbucker Pickups


You do not need one with a Tremelo unit (or whammy bar).  It is better to get a fixed bridge guitar or get the tremelo unit fixed tight at this stage. You will need to get a good amount of skill before you use the tremelo unit in your playing.  But if you are getting a tremelo, try and and a Floyd Rose unit.

Shop around on the net for your guitar for the best price.  Also remember to visit your local guitar shop.  Especially if you have cash to buy a guitar, you can get a very good discount from them.  If it was cheaper on the net, tell them that.  Haggle as hard as you can over the price or get as many freebie accessories thrown in as you can.  Also you get to try out the guitar in the shop which is an advantage over shopping on the net.

Find your Music passion

Think about the music you love. What guitarist would you want to be like. What songs do you want to listen to again and again.

That is where you start to learn to play rock guitar. Pick one of these songs to learn on guitar. It should be one that is reasonably easy. You don’t wants to pick a fast guitar maestro shredder song as your first one, be realistic. Pick one with a distinctive riff and steady beat. This will make it easier to learn as you will have it in your head already.

Guitarist Playing Rock Lead Guitar

Guitarist Playing Rock Lead Guitar


Also make sure it is a song you love as you will hear it again and again as you learn it.

Find Your Guitar Passion

I love rock music and guitar playing that is why set up this blog. You probably love music as well. I can tell you that you will appreciate it more when you begin learning an instrument. You really begin to actually hear the music because you listen to it with a different ear. It enhances the way you listen to songs.

Whether it is rock music, hard rock or heavy metal you enjoy, really consider taking up an instrument to give your enjoyment a new angle. You can take up guitar (lead or rhytm), bass, drums (percussion) or even keyboards. Pick the one that is your passion.

Playing Rock Bass and Drums

Playing Rock Bass and Drums


Next post will be what to do next once you pick your instrument of choice.


Play Rock Guitar Blog

My name is Steve and this is my new Guitar blog on  It should be of interest to those who want to learn to play rock guitar.

Rock Music

Rock Music

I will have some info coming up on the next few posts.