My Pedal Board, Part Three

Flanger and Phaser

Each Monday,  I’ve taken a walk down “memory lane” and revisited my guitar setup from my playing days. I started with my guitar, then followed up with my amplifier, and two weeks ago I started with the gadgets in between–my pedals.

I thought about listing them chronologically, but while I can kind of remember the order I bought them in, I’m not completely sure. Instead, I’m following the signal path from my guitar to my amplifier. In Part One, I talked about the pedals I plugged in before my pre-amp. And in Part Two, I discussed the key effect for any rock guitarist. Distortion. Today, I’m going to talk about two very similar pedals, the difference between them, and why I found a place for both of them on my pedal board.

The first pedal we’ll listen to is the first one I bought. The BOSS PH-1r Phaser.

The second, bought a few years later, is the HF-2 High Band Flanger.

They sound similar, but a sensitive ear will notice a distinct difference between them. That’s because they achieve their related sound through two very different approaches.

Here’s a in-depth example of how they differ.

To summarize. phasing is a pitch-varying filter (a notch filter to be exact) like my Touch Wah, while flanging is a time-varying delay, differing from chorus and echo only by delay time.

Rounding up the modulation effects, let’s now compare flanging with the two other related, and indispensable, delay effects.

First the “chorus” effect.

And with longer discreet echos (usually termed “delay”).

And while the term “phasing” obviously comes from “phase-shifting,” the term “flanging” has a more obscure and more interesting origin. The first delay effects were created with tape, by recording and playing back at very short intervals. For the “flange” effect, engineers would lightly touch the edge (or flange) of take-up reel to create a swooshing effect.

Each of these related modulation effects had their uses, and a place in my pedal arsenal.

Coming up next Monday, the last and most essential pedal on my board. And if you’re wondering why I’ve spent so much time reminiscing about my guitar gear over the last two months, I’ll answer that question as well.

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