Starting in the 20th century, all kinds of guitar-based music became the perfect backdrop for vocal performance. From acoustic blues to modern indie rock, voice and guitar have always stood together. Despite the popularity of effects in the guitar world, some of the most interesting singers have utilized guitar effects pedals for their vocals to broaden the scope of their performances. These are a few tips for how and why you should use guitar pedals for vocals.
Control Your Live Performances
With the proper equipment, effects pedals can expand a vocalist’s repertoire as much as they would a guitarist’s. With a raw microphone, singers are limited to either their natural singing abilities or the help of an offstage engineer. In either case, it’s better to have more options and more control.
This is the primary reason singers are adding guitar effects pedals to their kits; there is no other way to add delay, reverb, distortion and other popular FX to the singer’s onstage capabilities. These pedals were developed for guitar, but with pre-amps and cable splitters, singers can embellish the output of their microphones to redefine their live sound.
It’s Not About the Lyrics
Since effects pedals are designed to distort sound in a way that fits with electric guitar frequencies, they have a great impact on the clarity of your singing voice. For the best results, you might think of your voice as an instrument when you are bolstering it with the distortion and reverb of your pedals. The accuracy of your tone remains just as important, but your lyrics become more difficult to understand.
All singers who successfully use effects pedals must learn to activate their FX at the appropriate times. While singing verses and choruses, you want your audience to hear your lyrics. During instrumental breakdowns, however, you can use your FX to add texture to the music. In these phrases, it’s popular for vocalists to sing atmospheric melodies with heavy reverb and delay.
Using Advanced Guitar Pedals for Vocals
Of course, many pedals offer sounds that diverge from the standard reverb, delay and distortion toolkit. Harmony pedals, for example, can make your solo voice sound like a barbershop quartet. Using these kinds of FX will bring your music into a more experimental category, but they may be an appropriate fit for your desired sound.
Since the early 2000s, several multi-effects pedals have been released that serve as all-in-one machines for any combination of sounds, in fact, there are quite a few multi-effects pedals available strictly for vocals now. These boards are marketable for their ease of access, but it should be noted that users typically enjoy a greater level of control with individual pedals. Using individual guitar pedals for vocal effects can bring in a whole new world of personalization.
Though effects pedals were once considered exclusive to guitar, they are great for adding options to your singing toolkit. Best of all, pedals put more control in your own hands during your live performances. There is no easier way to add reverb, delay and a host of other popular FX to your vocal repertoire.
Best Guitar Pedals for Vocals
Below we have compiled a list of the best guitar pedals that can be used as vocal effects!
TC Electronics Hall of Fame 2
The Hall of Fame 2 is not only a fantastic reverb pedal for guitar players, but it can be an amazing reverb pedal to use for vocals in a live setting! With the pedal’s many reverb modes, there is a nearly-endless amount of reverb options for a singer to utilize.
Boss RV-6 Reverb
Boss pedals are a staple in the world of guitar pedals, and have proven their worth as they have been supplying the guitar playing world with amazing pedals for years. Many of their pedals are also very interesting to use for vocal effects. The Boss RV-6 is a straight-forward reverb pedal that will make your vocals come to life whenever you need it.
Boss PS-6 Harmonist
Another Boss pedal to check out if you are a singer looking for guitar pedals to use on your voice, the PS-6 from Boss is an amazing harmonizer pedal to check out. This pedal will allow you to bring a whole new spectrum of sounds to your voice when you really want to make your voice stand out in the mix!
TC Helicon VoiceTone Harmony-G XT
Another harmonizer pedal to check out is the VoiceTone Harmony-G XT by TC Helicon. This pedal has a huge amount of tonal capabilities for bringing harmonies into your vocals with the press of a button.
EHX Canyon Delay
There are tons of delay pedals around the world of guitar pedals, but the Canyon from Electro Harmonix is definitely one for a vocalist to check out! This pedal has an onslaught of delay options to pick from, and even has some fantastic modulation options that can bring an interesting vibe to your voice. Plus, there is an onboard looper feature, which can be useful for a vocalist in a live setting.
This article was contributed by Cameron from The Singer’s Corner.
Cameron is a contributor to The Singer’s Corner, which is a great place to learn, refresh, and delve into the music world. Whether you want to learn a new approach to singing, give you tips to make you better, and teach you ways to be the best of the best.