Equalizer (EQ) pedals are maybe the most useful tools in a signal chain. It can make a bad sounding amp to sound good, it can simulate the “radio effect”, it can manipulate some other effects to react differently.
Here are 5+1 ways,
1 – Classic tone shaping
If you have a vintage sounding amplifier and you want to make it sound modern, you can use an EQ pedal right after the amplifier (in the FX-loop if you’re using a real-world amplifier). Cut the mids (around 500Hz to 1000Hz) a few dBs. Bump up the low-mids (100-200Hz) and high-mids (1000-4000Hz) few dBs. Voila. You have a modern sounding amplifier.
If you need a vintage sounding amplifier while you have a modern one, then you do the opposite ︎ Bump up the mids, cut the low-mids and high-mids.
2 – As a booster pedal for solos
If you have a low output guitar like a Stratocaster and you want to have some high gain tones, then you need a booster pedal or an overdrive pedal to boost your signal. OR you can use an EQ pedal in front of your amplifier. Push the volume slider up (and don’t touch anything else) of your EQ pedal until you are satisfied with your high gain tone. You have a transparent booster pedal.
3 – For tight, djent, modern, low-tuned high gain tones
If you’re a metalhead you may have heard the term “DJENT”. And if you have a low-tuned or 7/8/9 string guitar you’re probably trying to achieve tones of Periphery and/or Meshuggah .
Fear not. There’s an easy way. You can use an EQ pedal in front of your amplifier to get similar tones. Just lower the frequencies gradually to the left starting from 800Hz. Lesser the bass going into the amplifier, djentier the tone. Don’t forget to use a noise gate.
4 – For retaining tone after drive pedals
Overdrive pedals are really useful tools for adding some “dirt” to the tone. But they suck some of the very high and low frequencies because of their architecture. If you put an EQ pedal right after your favorite overdrive, you can take those frequencies back. Just push 120Hz, 2kHz, and 6kHz up a little bit. You’re back on the original tone of your guitar.
5 – For manipulating AutoWah pedal to suit different styles
You can use the AutoWah pedal in many different styles. Funk, reggae, rock, disco… you name it. They all sound different of course, therefore, you may think that you need different wah pedals. Nope, let me explain.
Different guitar strings produce different volumes. Thicker strings are generally louder than the thinner ones. If your style requires WAH effect on the thinner strings (funk, disco) then you may not be able to trigger AutoWah effectively. You need to manipulate AutoWah with an EQ pedal. Just put an EQ pedal right before AutoWah. Push the mids and highs until you’re satisfied with the WAH effect on the thinner strings.
Bonus: 6 – Lo-fi “Radio” effect