If you want to be a rock star, you have to sound like a rock star. Find out what guitar effects pedals will make that happen!

Stand aside, drums! Settle down, bass! Hit the off switch, keyboard! In modern music, the undisputed king of instruments is the electric guitar. From sweet six strings plucking out Delta blues, to 12 string behemoths with three different necks, electric guitars come in all sizes and shapes. And, for such a simple instrument, it also comes in a surprising array of sounds!

Of course, these different guitar sounds aren't necessarily built in to the guitar itself (although the guitar's design can have a lot to do with it!). Instead, musicians and producers create their various audio sounds through using what is known as "effects". All instruments can have effects applied to their sounds, especially if they are being recorded by a computer. However, guitars were the first instruments to receive widespread effects processing - and, now, many genres of music are dependent upon effects pedals for their unique sound.

If you want to sound like the pros, you have to know the effects. Here are the three most important guitar effects for recording artists!

Distortion - the 800 lb. Gorilla of Guitar Effects Pedals!

By far, the most important guitar effect is distortion. At it's most basic, distortion is a process of taking the guitar sound and changing it directly, so that the new sound is completely different from the original. The earliest distortion effect was applied shortly after the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930's. Musicians would turn the volume on their amplifiers as high as they could go. The result was that the sound from the guitar would demand more power than the amplifier could give, clipping the sound wave and causing a warm buzzing effect.

Today, digital musicians and sound professionals use a range of distortion effects pedals (like this one) and computer software to create gorgeous guitar distortion effects. One of the most popular pedals is the ----. I highly recommend it for music beginners and audio professionals alike due to its versatility and high quality construction. It fits every sort of band you want to start!

Echo - the Guitar Effect That's Coming Back Again! And Again!

Another important guitar effect is the echo. The echo effect acts exactly like an echo does in real life. The sound from the guitar is added back to the original sound after a certain period (usually measured in beats or seconds) at a lower volume. The effect of echo is often subconscious. Along with building up the overall sound in the recording, it gives a sense of space and importance to the guitar being echoed.

Reverb - the Guitar Effect That Simply Won't Be Stopped!

In the music production world, they call it reverb. However, scientists refer to this guitar effect as "reverberation". With this effect, musicians take the original sound of the guitar and run it through a simulated room, which causes distorted echoes of the original sound, along with emphasizing certain frequencies in the guitar. This room effect is then added back in to the original guitar sound.

The impact of this guitar effect is very similar to that of echo. It helps fatten up the original guitar sound, along with giving it a sense of importance. Audio engineers also use the term "presence" for the impact of this effect. If you listen to a guitar sound without any audio editing, it can sound very dry, flat, and even disembodied - like it is appearing in the recording out of nowhere (other than your laptop, of course!). Using reverb makes the guitar sound like it is being recorded in a real space by a real musician, which makes the overall sound more exciting! This pedal is a great choice for new and experienced musicians alike.

If you want to record your guitar on your computer and sound like a professional musician, these three guitar effects are absolutely essential!