I've been learning the (electric) guitar for 2 months now, and I am able to play open chords, a couple of barre and power chords. And I'm able play a couple of simple songs.

I'm curious to try guitar effects like chorus and distortion. I'm confused about whether I really need this now, or should I wait and practise more until I can easily play and switch between power chords faster? I really want to try it out.

I like punk/rock/experimental music that's why I'm really curious about using effects early in my guitar learning journey.

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    Effects can inspire you with new creative ideas, or just help you sound like your musical inspirations, go for it. I would urge you to consider a multi-effects unit like a Digitech RP series, or Line6 PodHD series. They can provide you with many options to try before you figure out exactly what you want. Many units can be had pretty cheap used, and as a bonus, most will act as a usb interface, and let you record your playing (for better or worse) to computer. Apr 29 '13 at 21:39
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    A distortion pedal in the hands of an untutored guitarist is an effective tool for annoying your parents. This is a goal of many young men who pick up the guitar.
    – user1044
    May 1 '13 at 14:52

There's no reason not to try an effect if you want to. Sure, some kind of effect might mask some bad habits (reverb and delay might sort off mess your timing), but distortion for example is almost like playing another instrument, and if you're into punk/rock, the sooner you try it the better. You will have to figure out ways to mute the strings and reduce string noises, which is part of the technique.

I don't see any justification to detter yourself from playing with distortion if that's what your looking for in guitar playing. Sounds much like that "you should begin with folk/acoustic guitar first" crap.

Do what you like, have fun.

  • I agree with play with effects if you want to, they're a lot of fun. I do think playing with distortion and practicing with it on is a good idea. I don't think it's a good idea to practice with distortion all the time. It will mask a lot of mistakes and imperfections in your technique. If you can play something in a clean tone perfectly, it will sound that much better when you add effects.
    – Tony
    May 3 '13 at 20:09
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    I do not agree. It is a lot more difficult to sound clean with distortion because every little mistakes does make a lot more unwanted sound. As I said, for me distortion is a different instrument, and if it's the way you want to play, the sooner you get at it, the better. May 3 '13 at 20:52
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    @Chipsgoumerde It depends on the distortion. An ultra high gain pedal will certainly make every mistake stick out, but a more fuzzy distortion like a Muff will cover up a multitude of mistakes. See also: The Melvins
    – Dan Gayle
    Dec 25 '13 at 0:26

I bought my 10 year old son a digitech RP355 multi effects pedal to use. It's cheap and simple to edit patches for different sounds and you can download patches to get the sound used in some popular songs but the thing I like best about it is the amplifier emulation. After using it for a while my son found he liked the sound of Vox amps so we bought a AC4 and it sounds great. I liked the fender deluxe and bassman amps so I had a deluxe amp circuit built by a local amp guy. Later on you will find that you want to move on to real pedals as they sound better so a multieffects pedal is a good way to sample a lot of different effects in one package. Most multi effect pedals have a sampling function so you can record a short song segment and then the unit will replay it while you solo along. Some also have the ability to record from an outside source and then play it back at slower speed so you can learn tricky licks. Lastly, most units have drum tracks which is a great way to play along and stay on time.


I would avoid a multi-fx pedal as a n00b, but a good distortion can go a long way toward making playing more fun. I'd lean toward a Big Muff, since they're relatively cheap, they all basically sound the same, and they're essential for your punk/rock/experimental inclinations.

If you really want to get into the experimental side, get yourself a decent delay like a Boss DD3 or TC Electronic Flashback delay.

If you purchase any of the above, you could basically be set for life because no one makes anything better and they're mainstays on pedalboards everywhere.

  • I would say though that you should continue to learn on acoustic guitar. If you can rock on an acoustic, it will sound 10x better when you play with an electric.
    – Dan Gayle
    Dec 25 '13 at 0:32
  • Ok, whoever downvoted me needs to explain their reasoning, since I clearly laid out my reasoning. The person said they're interested in punk/rock/experimental, and there's no possible way you can tell me that a multi-fx pedal is better than a Big Muff and/or a DD3 delay. I will laugh in your face and point if you suggest such a thing. You could get both pedals for the price of any multi effect pedal, they hold their value, and they sound great. If you don't like a Muff, whatever, swap it out for a Rat.
    – Dan Gayle
    Aug 1 '14 at 17:39

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