A guitarist will wonder at some point of his/her career, "Do you need an EQ pedal?" Is it necessary? What are the benefits of an EQ pedal? The short answer to this is no, it is not a necessity to have an EQ pedal in your guitar rig, but it will absolutely help shape your tone and overall quality. Let's first take a look at what you most likely already have available to you with your amp and guitar:
Guitar Amplifier EQ Knobs
Your guitar amp most likely will have 3 knobs: Lows, Mids, and Highs. With these EQ controls, you can do a decent amount to get your guitar sounding the way you want. If you are new to guitar, or up to a novice player, this might be sufficient for you. Don't get me wrong, I am not a great guitar player by any means, but my background in producing music has made me obsessed with EQing. After you have become familiar with your amps settings, you will most likely want more control over the way your guitar sounds. So if you are reading this article, and asking, "Do you need an EQ pedal?" then you are probably at that stage, and the answer is now, yes.
Do You Need an EQ Pedal And What Can You Do With One
As we discussed in a previous article about audio frequency, the guitar frequency range is 80 Hz to 1,200 Hz. With that in mind, these 3 EQ knobs on your guitar amp are covering a lot of frequency territory. Let's look at a few common EQ approximate settings on a standard 7 band EQ (Band is in reference to the amount of gliders to adjust for more or less of the given frequency). Also, forgive me, but I am not artistically inclined with making images.
EQ Pedal Example Settings
If you are using a classic amp and are searching for a modern tone, this configuration will help you achieve that. Drop the 500 Hz to 1000 Hz, and boost your low end.
For choppy, heavy distorted sounding guitar, this configuration will help cut out any muddyness. Drop the low end on your EQ pedal to achieve this sound.
Overdrive pedals especially like to kill the low and high frequencies. Put an EQ pedal after your overdrive pedal in the pedal chain, and this configuration will help solve that issue.
How To Find Your Own EQ Settings
Now that we have looked at some of the ways you can use an EQ pedal and we are starting to answer your question of, do you need an EQ pedal, let's take it further to how you can fix your own sound using one:
- 150 Hz to 200 Hz: This is the meat, the thickness of your guitar
- 300 Hz to 1000 Hz: This is where a lot of your character comes from on your guitar. Make very subtle changes if dropping this range down.
- 1000 Hz to 2000 Hz: This range is called your honk and can be very harsh if too much is in your overall sound.
- 3000 Hz to 7000 Hz: This is the area that really cuts through when playing in a group. It will make you stand out more, but don't overdo it, otherwise you'll clash with the vocalist.
Anything below 150 Hz or above 7000 Hz, if your pedal allows it, just cut it out in nearly all circumstances. Now that you how you can use an EQ pedal, let's take a look at some of the most popular EQ pedals available. (The following product links are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, I will get paid if you click through and make a purchase)