The First Guitar Effects Pedal

The First Guitar Effects Pedal

By Simonbook - 24 Oct 2015 in Geeky 597

The First Guitar Effects Pedal

The earliest sound effects were strictly studio productions. In the mid to late 1940s, recording engineers and experimental musicians such as Les Paul began manipulating reel-to-reel recording tape to create echo effects and unusual, futuristic sounds. Microphone placement ("miking") techniques were used in spaces with specially designed acoustic properties to simulate echo chambers.

In 1948 DeArmond released the Trem-Trol, the first commercially available stand-alone effects unit. This device produced a tremolo by passing an instrument's electrical signal through a water-based electrolytic fluid. Most stand-alone effects of the 1950s and early 60s such as the Gibson GA-VI vibrato unit and the Fender reverb box, were expensive and impractical, requiring bulky transformers and high voltages. The original stand-alone units were not especially in-demand as many effects came built into amplifiers. The first popular stand-alone was the 1958 Watkins Copicat, a relatively portable tape echo effect made famous by the British band, The Shadows.

Warwick Electronics manufactured the first wah-wah pedal, The Clyde McCoy, in 1967 and that same year Jim Morris of Kelsey-Morris Sound developed the first octave effect, which Jimi Hendrix named "Octavio." In 1968, Univox began marketing its Uni-Vibe pedal, an effect designed by noted audio engineer Fumio Mieda that mimicked the odd phase shift and chorus effects of the Leslie rotating speakers used in Hammond organs. The pedals soon became favorite effects of guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Robin Trower. Upon first hearing the Octavia, Hendrix allegedly rushed back to the studio and immediately used it to record the guitar solos on "Purple Haze" and "Fire" By the mid-1970s a variety of solid-state effects pedals including flangers, chorus pedals, ring modulators and phase shifters were available.

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