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The Sound of the 70's: FX Pedals, Guitars & Sounds from the Era

Published: Fri November 06, 2009  News Feed

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The 70's were a decade full of great music, and great guitar sounds! Prog, funk, classic rock...the 70's gave us many great tunes and legendary tones. Check the guitars and FX pedals from this era, which are still available today...plus some classic artists setups!

70's gear - the FX pedals, guitars and sounds of the era

PROG ROCK: delays, fuzz & wah....

David Gilmour - the sound of prog

Possibly the biggest band of the 70's were Pink Floyd. After Syd Barrett left the band in the 60's, David Gilmour took over and soon went from Barrett-copycat (part of his job description, after all) to becoming an original and inspiring guitar hero, one of the best this crazy decade would see.

The basic David Gilmour formula is quite simple: Hiwatt amps, Fender Stratocaster, Fuzz Face or Big Muff,  Wah Wah pedal, and lots of echo. The echo fx Gilmour (and Syd Barrett) used was a Binson Echorec model, which today is sold for over One Thousand pounds on eBay! The new Line 6 M9 has an excellent Binson Echorec sound.

Another good solution for today's guitarist is perhaps the Danelectro Reel-Echo pedal, which does a great simulation of the tape echo sound, which fits perfectly with the Pink Floyd sound.

Other sound that Gilmour used a lot and which was very popular in the 60s and 70s was the Leslie Rotating Speaker Cabinet sound. The Hughes & Kettner Tube Rotosphere is the best option to get an authentic Leslie sound, but if you're on a budget the Behringer Rotary Machine RM600 will do a good job!

Other pedals Gilmour has used include the Uni-Vibe and an Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress.

Watch and get inspired: Pink Floyd, "Echoes"

More Pink Floyd gear: Pink Floyd artist page

FUNK: it's all about the wah!

funk music!

When you think of funk, you think of wah! Putting a Wah Wah pedal to good use is essential for funkiness goodness! Dolphin Music has a great selection of wah and auto-wah pedals that will give you al the wackawackawack you'll need.

If you're new to wah's and don't fancy spending too much money on one, or don't know what to get, try the new Vox V845 wah, a great quality, great sounding new model that'd be a perfect choice for you!

Another classic 70s funky box is the Electro-Harmonix Dr. Q Evelope Filter...

Other good funky pedals are phasers, and compressors, to keep your sound tight.

The best choices for phaser are: the Electric-Harmonix Small StoneMXR Phase 90, both new versions of models originally made in the 70s. The new Fender Phaser also oozes 70s coolness and is a great fx pedal!

If you want a compressor, Dolphin Music offers a great choice of compressor pedals. The MXR Dyna Comp is a 70's classic. The Electro-Harmonix Soul Preacher and the Behringer DC9 have similar designs and are also good options.

Watch and get inspired: Funkadelic, "I Got A Thing"

CLASSIC ROCK: basic is classic

Classic rock - basic is classic

The way for classic rock was pretty much paved by Eric Clapton on the John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers album, back in 1965: Les Paul, Marshall amp and Treble Booster. A simple and powerful combination. Clapton is said to have used the much sought-after Dallas Rangemaster, which was later used by acts such as Queen, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. But the Rangemaster has always been rare and expensive. Homebrew makes two different versions of the Germania, really good Rangemaster clone pedals. Other good options: The Electro-Harmonix Screaming Bird, which was originally released in the 70s and is now available again. The Electro-Harmonix Germanium Overdrive is also a good choice, even though it's a new model - it uses a germanium transistor, like the Rangemaster did, and is great to push an already driven amp up over the edge.

The Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 is also from the 70s (well, 1968) and it's simple and effective. It was the pedal that ushered the era of overdrive. Talking about overdrive, the 70s gave us perhaps the most legendary overdrive pedal of them all - the Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-808, made popular by Stevie Ray Vaughan but still in production today, used by everyone from Oasis to the Arctic Monkeys. The Ibanez Tubescreamer TS-9 is almost as good and as legendary.

For other raw, classic rock sounds we can recommend the Electro-Harmonix Double Muff, which is inspired by the original Muff pedal precursor to the Big Muff; and the Marshall Bluesbreaker II, a pedal that puts the sound of Eric Clapton's Bluesbreaker amp into a stompbox.

And before you think that classic rock has got to be Les Pauls and Marshalls, think again! One of the biggest bands from the era, Status Quo, used the Telecaster + Vox AC30 combination, to great success. The Vox AC30 guitar amp was used by some of the best acts of the decade, such as T-Rex, Queen, Rory Gallagher, and others.

Watch and get inspired: Rory Gallagher, "Walk On Hot Coals"

View more Rory Gallagher gear here 

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