When you're new to the electric guitar, you might occasionally visit a guitar store and marvel at the wall of effects pedal, but not know where to begin. Colorfully designed and often with creative names, guitar pedals might have a rowdy aesthetic appeal but are all about improving your tone. If you're not overly keen on the tone you get simply when your instrument is connected to your amplifier, investing in some beginner-level pedals should greatly improve your satisfaction of the sounds you get. The key to shopping as a new player isn't to buy pedals that offer wild sounds -- these will have limited appeal for the average player. Instead, here are three types of pedals that are worth investing in.
A reverb pedal simulates the sound you'd get playing in a large room -- an auditorium, for example. If you find that your current amplifier has a tinny sound, you can dramatically improve the tone by placing a reverb pedal in your signal chain between the guitar and the amp. When the reverb activates, your tone gets a slight echo. This sound is subtle but can give you much more of a "live"-sounding tone. Reverb pedals allow you to set the amount of reverb that suits you, so you'll have no trouble getting the exact sound that you want.
An overdrive pedal is a necessity if you need to keep your amplifier volume low. On your amp's clean channel, you can often get a favorable "driven" tone when you crank the volume -- however, you might not be able to do so if you're playing at home. Given that an amp doesn't sound its best when the volume setting is very low, an overdrive pedal can allow you to get a driven tone while keeping the volume at a neighbor-friendly level.
A compressor pedal will likely create the most subtle change in your sound of any of your pedals but is ideal for the novice player. One of the perks of using this pedal is that it will even out your sound and provide consistently, which is especially welcome as you're learning the instrument and may be struggling with your picking. If you strum unevenly -- putting more pressure on some strings than others -- the compressor will essentially lower the volume of the firmly picked strings and boost the volume of the strings you touched lightly. The result is an even, fluid tone that is more pleasing to the ear.