For those that are a little more advanced with their guitar playing and want to try out some more challenging effects that may be hard to control or a little overpowering even I would recommend you give a try to a flanger pedal. While these pedals are one of the most interesting ones, in my opinion, they come as a pretty hated effect from a solid number of guitarists, because it is extremely hard to master.
If you want to add some intensity and twist to your sound and tones it is one of the most interesting effects to invest in. Like I said it is pretty hard to master and control, but this whooshing or jet engine sound will really make for a super memorable experience overall if you are feeling a little confidence in your skills and determination.
For that reason today I will try to clear up some air about flanger effect and pedals. I will show you the best flanger pedals in the market which are absolute powerhouses. Further on I will try to explain the flanger effect and what you should know about flanger pedals. I have written this article based on my experience with playing and teaching guitar, experimenting with effects, expert consultation, market research, and buyer feedback. So without further ado, let’s get on with our guide.
Table of Contents
The 5 Best Flanger Pedals
5. Boss BF-3 Flanger
We are going to start this list with one of the favorites here, coming from Boss, the BF-3 Flanger pedal. this product is definitely one of the strongest coming in with plenty of performance, simplicity, and quality, just as expected from the company, definitely a beast.
The Boss BF-3 Flanger may be a little unassuming with its appearance, as it has the same body as all Boss pedals in the market. However, it is pretty much one of the best and it is also compatible with bass guitars as well. It also has different modes as well including Ultra and Pan mode which deliver an interesting performance.
On top fo that you can also set a tempo with this flanger pedal, the controls are a bit confusing though, as you will spend some time figuring them out. If it wasn’t for the price the Boss BF-3 Flanger would definitely be the top pick without a doubt.
4. JOYO JF-07 Classic
In the category for affordable but powerful effect pedals, Joyo has made quite a name for itself with its pedals. For the flanger market, it has the JOYO JF-07 Classic, which is one of the best bargain pedals in the market.
Despite being pretty affordable the JOYO JF-07 Classic Flanger is a pretty durable and good looking pedal, constructed with a die-cast body with white paint and a jet fighter painting on it. This flanger pedal is packed with a nice true bypass feature that exceeds all my expectations and it is pretty much perfect in terms of durability.
The controls of this pedal consist of four knobs including Rgen, Delay Time, Width and Speed, all of which work properly, but will take a little time to get your head around them.
3. Donner Jet Convolution
Moving on we have a flanger pedal that will deliver you great value for the price and superb performance the Donner Jet Convolution. This capable flanger pedal definitely delivers plenty of desirable qualities despite being a budget model.
The Donner Jet Convolution comes in a pretty small and non-assuming package, it is just a tiny pedal that delivers plenty, you would not really expect this performance from it. The biggest selling point of this flanger pedal is that it has a true bypass and two available modes for selecting. The modes consist of the normal mode and the other is the filter mode that allows you to go manually.
The controls of this flanger pedal consist of the large Rate knob in the middle and two smaller color and range knobs on top of the rate knob. In addition to that, you get the mode switch and the footswitch for activating it.
2. TC Electronic Vortex
When it comes to guitar pedal brands, TC Electronic needs no introduction and the Vortex Flanger pedal does a good job t delivering a capable flanger effect. This is one of the best ones you can get right now.
When you first look at the TC Electronic Vortex it looks pretty simple and average, however, this beast hides a lot of performance under the body. For example, it has the company’s trademark TonePrint technology which allows you to plug the TC Electronic Vortex into a PC and fine-tune it according to your needs. There are also two types of flanger effects here, true stereo in and outputs and true bypass to top it off.
It is also one of the most durable flangers you will see and on top of that, it is extremely practical to use it. it has four switches, a switch between the modes and a footswitch to wrap up the package.
1. Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress
On top of the list, we have the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress. This is a super interesting and very versatile flanger pedal that will deliver excellent value for its price, let’s take a closer look to it.
Electro-Harmonix has been always vintage with their pedal designs, which is pretty much excellent in my opinion and that is also what makes them pretty special and personal. The Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress is not just a flanger pedal though, it is a flanger chorus combo that will deliver you both of the effects with great efficiency. Usually putting two effects in the same pedal doesn’t work but here it does wonders.
This pedal also has stereo outputs and filter matrix mode that allows you to create flanger by hand. The Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress is packed with just three knobs despite having tons of features, which include the rate knob, flanger depth, and chorus depth knobs, and the footswitch. IT works pretty well overall and it is definitely one of the best options in the market for newcomers to the flanger effect world.
Things You Should Know Before Buying A Flanger Pedal
What is the Flanger Effect?
I consider the flanger or flanging effect as one of the most unique guitar effects I have ever heard, it even is a little complicated compared to most. It is a time-based effect, and it is created by adding little delays to the signal while also altering the delay time while you are playing. All of this results in the effect known as flanging which cannot be really explained with words, as some associate it with whooshing, sweeping, and even jet engine type sound which I totally agree with. The flanging effect came into existence in the late 40s, but modern flanger pedals came recently, at least compared to other effects.
The original flanging effect was invented by the late legend Les Paul in the Mamie’s Boogie song that was recorded in 1946 originally. During those times music was recorded onto magnetic tapes, which is an analog recording type and it resulted in some beautiful sounds. Les Paul was working on his song and was running two tapes at the same time to create a richer sound and he stuck his finger on the flange of one of the tapes, which resulted in a delay in one of the tapes, and it played a little out of sync, which resulted in a beautiful effect, which might have been accidental when you think about it but it is pretty cool nonetheless.
Modern flanger pedals don’t utilize this method though, as it is not efficient. Instead, they rely on digital technologies to achieve the same effect delivering more versatility. In some pedals, you can even recreate the phaser and chorus effect as well. Then again the flanger is still more confusing, harder to use, and more difficult to incorporate than those effects. But if you are into psychedelic sweeping sounds you are in the right place.
What Are the Functions of a Flanger Pedal?
Every single effect pedal has a different and specific set of controls that are needed for its unique nature. In flangers generally, there are four control knobs that are crucial consisting of Rate, Depth, Resonance, and Manual. Some more advanced pedals deliver different modes which you can utilize, but generally, these are the things that you will work with most of the time.
The rate represents the sweeping rate of the flanger, or simply explained the frequency of the sound wave effect. When you increase the rate it will result in quicker sweeps, but not all the time and it isn’t the most accurate representation of this effect. This is because sweeps aren’t always symmetrical. But that is pretty much it when it comes to the rate. This knob is used to adjust how subtle this effect will come out as, and I can definitely say that when it comes to flanger effect it might come as too much from time to time.
When it comes to the depth knob you should know that this one controls how intense or how strong the flanging effect will be in the tone. For example, as you set the depth to high you will see different stages of flanging. In the lowest levels of depth, the flanging effect will come as pretty organic and naturally most of the time, but it will still depend on the pedal you are using. Moving on and increasing the effect it wills tart to come out as more synthetic and more prominent, with a metallic vibe to it that is mostly associated with the effect. What depth you choose will depend on the genre you play.
This is also a pretty important control when it comes to flangers as it chooses how high or how low the sweeping effect will be. When you combine it with the depth the resonance will determine the flanger effect. Then again different models have different values set for this control, as you may spot super wild resonances and some pretty subtle ones as well depending on the manufacturer. Like with the depth of how much you set it will depend on the genre you are playing.
This knob or sometimes just a button on some pedals is one of the built-in features of resonance function. This thing does the best to determine the center point of the sweep. For example, if you set the manual to the highest it will deliver a more aggressive tone and really switch how the tone of your guitar sounds. On the lower end, however, the effect is much more subtle and with a lower emphasis on the flanging effect.
Which Genres Work Best with Flanger Pedals?
I always want to say that you can use any pedal with any genre of music, it is just a matter of taste and experimentation. However, there are some genres that work better with some effects, for example, flangers, for example, work better with rock and metal genres. Then again you don’t need to be a metal or rock guitarist to combine distortion with flanging effect. For example, the best use of flagging effect has been in the Itchycoo Park song by Small Faces, which was released in the 60s with the desynced tapes method I talked about earlier.
So I can definitely say that if you use them properly flanger effects can be useful for any genre. There are tons of examples where the flanger effect used subtly to create magic, but there are also examples where it is utilized to the max to create a superb performance. It will definitely depend on the style and the song you incorporate it and it will definitely require some experimentation.
Similar Pedals You Can Take A Look At
I hope that I have given you a good amount of information about flanger pedals and effects. After this, I think that you are ready to utilize it properly and start experimenting with this new effect. Then again don’t forget to check out the top picks which are handpicked by me delivering exceptional value for the price, performance, and great durability. While flangers are pretty controversial pedals, I would want everyone to give them a try and see what this beautiful effect offers. Until next time, have fun with your new pedal!