Lots of guitarists are obsessed with stomp boxes which are another name for guitar effects pedals. You will tend to find that many guitar players have a least five or six pedals in their collection. A pedal board (a board usually made out of wood which houses a certain amount of pedals) is useful to keep your stomp boxes in order. They can be used in the practice room or on stage. A useful gadget that some musicians own is a zip up pedal mount which makes transporting and keeping your guitar effects pedals together much easier.
The focus of this article is analog effects but other kinds of effects are available including digital effects processors which are generally representations of analog effects. Guitar modeling as become much more popular in recent years and the technology itself as become much better in terms of sound quality and picking dynamics and response. Nowadays you might find that some amplifiers are built around amp modeling software and hardware whilst others have effects units built into them. The circuits in analog guitar effects pedals can be integrated into valve amplifiers and can, therefore, act as an extra overdrive channel. It is not uncommon for reverb (short for reverberation) to the built into amplifiers. Spring reverb can sound very natural whilst digital reverb in generally of lower quality. The discerning musician usually has a good ear for music and will be able to tell the difference whilst a newbie guitar player might not mind the lower quality alternative. Some stomp boxes have great reverb which can sound like the real thing. This can be extremely useful if your guitar amplifier did not come with spring reverb built in or as a particularly low quality sounding reverb or the wrong variety of reverb for the sound that you are trying to achieve.
The most popular types of guitar effects pedals are overdrive, distortion and delay. But the types of effects that are available are many including compressors, phasers, flanger, chorus and even an acoustic simulators.
Compressors can be used to even up your sound and add sustain.
Phasers and flangers are similar sounding modulation effects pedals. The flanger has a more pronounced sweep.
A chorus pedal can be used to add a full sound to your mix and is heard in many professional recordings.
An acoustic simulator can make your electric guitar represent similar tonal qualities to an acoustic guitar.