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Tech Tip: What is a Chorus Effect?

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Chorus effects can make a single instrument sound like two instruments being played simultaneously. They add a rich, lush, shimmering quality to your sound.

By Marty Paule

MXR M234 Analog Chorus Guitar Effects Pedal
The highly rated MXR M234 uses all-analog circuitry that adds georgous shimmer and depth to your guitar's sound.

Chorus stompboxes and effects multiprocessors with chorus sounds alter the original signal coming in from your guitar, bass, or other instrument by adding a second sound with a slight delay and subtle pitch differences. The effect is similar to the ringing, chiming sounds that 12-string guitars produce naturally due to their paired strings that differ slightly in pitch and time. On electric instruments the chorus sounds like the same signal running through two amps with a very slight delay between them. In fact, Pat Metheny creates his trademark chorus sound this way, using no actual chorus effect at all.

Chorus effects will fatten up the sound of a bass, rhythm guitar, or solo guitar. They can be used with distorted sounds but are a fantastic way to create full-sounding clean sounds as well. Used with a stereo amp rig, chorus adds spaciousness. Many acoustic guitar amps include a clean-sounding chorus effect adding depth and character to the amplified signal. Chorus pedals can be very helpful in fattening up the tone of acoustic-electric guitars whose piezo pickups tend to sound a little thin.

 

There is a huge range of cool chorus effects available as dedicated stompboxes and multi-effects pedals and processors.

To learn much more read our expert Guitar and Bass Effects Buying Guide.

Tags: Effects Pedals

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