How to Use a Chorus Pedal to Double the Guitar

By Christopher Godwin
Chorus pedals can help guitarists create rich, full sounds.

Using a chorus pedal to double your guitar signal can be an effective tool many guitar players, particularly during the recording process. Using a chorus to achieve a doubling effect can help to fill space in thin mixes and fill out simple guitar parts to give them more weight and substance. In live performances, a chorus pedal has much the same effect, and guitarists that play without a second guitar in a band may find that using a chorus pedal creates harmonic interest and helps to give the band a fuller, richer sound.

Connect your guitar to the input of the chorus pedal with one of the 1/4” guitar cables.

Connect the output of the chorus pedal to the input on the amplifier with the second 1/4” guitar cable. Turn the pedal on so that is altering the sound of the guitar.

Set the overall level of the chorus pedal, which is often denoted as “Effect Level” to the center position if you do not require a volume boost or reduction. If you are attempting to achieve a subtle doubling effect, reduce the effect level by about 25 percent. For a more present double, increase the effect level by the same amount.

Locate the “Depth” knob on the chorus pedal, and put it in the center position. From there, turn the knob 25 percent to the right. Increasing the depth will give the effect of more voices or alterations in perceived pitch, creating a thicker sound than you could achieve with just your guitar and amplifier. Turning the depth knob all the way to the right position will make the guitar sound less like a subtle double and more like a special effect, though the correct position will vary depending on the material being played and personal preference.

Set the “Rate” knob to the center position. The rate knob will change the time between the notes you play and when you hear the effected notes, and for practical purposes, it can be thought of as delay time.

Play the guitar and listen to the current effect. Turn the rate knob to shorten the delay time, and turn it to the right to increase the effect. For a very basic double, set the rate knob in the two o’clock position.

Set the “Filter” knob on your chorus pedal to the center position. If you want to increase the high end on the effected sound, turn the knob to the right, and to increase the low end of the double, turn it to the left. For most doubling purposes you can leave the filter knob in the center position, but again, this depends on the material and personal preferences.

Tip

Not all chorus pedals are exactly the same and different guitars, amplifiers and material may require different settings. Guitar effects are mostly based on personal preference, and getting the perfect double sound with a chorus pedal will require some fine-tuning. Do not be afraid to experiment.

About the Author

Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."