How to Use Reverb on Guitar

Close your eyes and imagine the ethereal sound of your guitar notes lingering in the air, creating a captivating sonic landscape.

That's the power of reverb, a tool that can elevate your guitar mixes to new heights.

In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the world of using reverb on your guitar.

Whether you're chasing classic vintage vibes or crafting modern soundscapes, this guide will help you unlock the full potential of your instrument.

How to Use Reverb on Guitar

Imagine standing in a vast cathedral, playing your guitar.

As the sound waves from your strings bounce off the walls, they blend and reverberate, filling the space with a rich, lingering sound.

This natural phenomenon is what reverb aims to replicate in your music.

Reverb isn't limited to large, echoing spaces; it's a versatile tool that can be used in various ways.

It can make your guitar sound like it's played in a cozy room, a canyon, or even in outer space.

By understanding how to use reverb effectively, you can shape your guitar's tone and create the perfect ambiance for your music.

In the following sections, we'll explore different ways to set up reverb for various situations.

Let’s dive straight into it.

How to Use Reverb on Guitar Chords

Using reverb on guitar chords can add depth, warmth, and dimension to your playing.

It's a valuable technique that can elevate your sound, whether you're strumming acoustic chords or playing electric power chords.

Here's a practical guide on how to effectively apply reverb on guitar chords.

Begin by selecting the appropriate reverb type for your chords. Consider the mood and style of the music you're playing:

  • Spring Reverb: Ideal for adding a touch of vintage warmth to clean chords.
  • Plate Reverb: Offers a smoother, polished sound that suits a wide range of chord progressions.
  • Hall Reverb: Perfect for creating a sense of space and grandeur when playing open chords or arpeggios.
  • Digital Reverb: is versatile and can adapt to various chord styles, providing control over the ambiance.

Once you've chosen your reverb type, adjust the following parameters on your reverb pedal:

  • Decay Time: Longer decay times work well for sustaining chords, while shorter times suit faster chord changes.
  • Mix Control: Find the right balance between the dry (original) signal and the wet (reverb) signal to avoid overwhelming your chords.
  • Tone Control: Adjust the tone to match the desired brightness or warmth of your chords.

Remember that subtlety is key when using reverb with chords.

Starting with conservative settings and gradually increasing the effect until it complements your chords without overpowering them is a wise approach.

Experiment with reverb to create unique atmospheres for your chords.

You can use a moderate mix and decay for a touch of ambiance or increase the decay slightly to add a subtle, lingering quality.

For a more immersive, spacious sound, try a longer decay and a higher mix.

Reverb Settings for Guitar Solo

When it comes to guitar solos, reverb can be your secret weapon.

It has the power to make your solos soar, add depth, emotion, and space to your mixes.

Let's explore some practical tips for using reverb to enhance your guitar solos.

Start by setting a moderate reverb level.

Too much reverb can muddy your sound, so aim for a balance that adds richness without overwhelming your notes.

Adjust the mix control to find the sweet spot.

Consider a longer decay time for sustained notes and a shorter decay time for faster, intricate passages.

This tailors the reverb effect to match your solo's pace and style.

Experiment with the tone control on the reverb unit (or use EQ).

A brighter tone can make your solos cut through the mix, while a warmer tone adds a smoother, more ambient quality.

Find the tone that suits your solo's character.

Don't be afraid to use pre-delay.

This brief delay before the reverb kicks in can help maintain clarity and articulation, especially in faster solos.

Try stereo reverb for a wider, more immersive sound. This can create a captivating stereo image that surrounds your audience.

Consider using a touch of modulation with your reverb.

Modulated reverb adds subtle movement and depth, giving your solos an ethereal quality.

Remember not to get carried away, a subtle touch can be more powerful and musical.

Finally, practice with your reverb settings.

Spend time experimenting and fine-tuning your sound.

Electric Guitars Reverb Settings

When mixing electric guitars, you want to strike a balance between adding ambiance and maintaining clarity.

Start by setting a moderate level of reverb, around 30-40% wet (the mix of the effect).

This ensures that your guitar doesn't sound too dry or drowned in reverb.

Next, adjust the decay time to create the desired sustain.

Longer decay times work well for soaring, melodic notes, while shorter decay times keep your sound tight and articulate for faster, intricate playing.

Experiment with the tone control on your reverb pedal or amp.

Turning it towards the darker side can add warmth and depth, while a brighter tone can make it shimmer and stand out in the mix.

Reverb on Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitar mixes benefit from a more natural and spacious reverb sound.

Begin with a lower reverb level, around 20-30% wet, to maintain the acoustic guitar's natural tone.

Select a longer decay time to enhance sustain and create a sense of space around your playing.

This helps your acoustic guitar fill the room with a pleasing ambiance.

For acoustic guitars, it's often best to keep the tone control (or EQ) fairly neutral, allowing the reverb to preserve the instrument's inherent sound.

However, you can slightly adjust it to your preference; just be cautious not to make it too bright or too dark.

To emulate the feeling of playing in a live acoustic space, add a touch of pre-delay.

This mimics the slight delay in sound you'd hear in a larger venue and enhances the realism of your guitar sound.

Remember that the key to using reverb effectively is subtlety. You want to enhance your performance, not overpower it.

Adjust your settings to match the song's mood and your personal style, and always trust your ears to find the sweet spot that makes your guitar shine.

Guitar Amp Reverb

Using reverb on your guitar amp is a valuable technique that can elevate your overall sound.

It adds depth and dimension to your guitar playing, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced guitarists.

Begin by choosing the appropriate reverb type for your playing style. After selecting the right reverb type, adjust the reverb parameters on your guitar amp.

Take into account your preferred musical genre when adjusting your reverb settings.

Rock guitarists often use a more prominent and spacious reverb, while blues guitarists may prefer a smoother and warmer sound.

Setting Up Reverb on a Guitar Pedal

Setting up reverb on a guitar pedal is a straightforward process that can significantly enhance your guitar sound.

Begin by selecting the right reverb pedal for your needs. There are various options available, each with its own unique features.

Consider factors like your musical style and the type of reverb you want to use.

Now, let's adjust the reverb parameters:

  • Decay: This controls how long the reverb lasts. For shorter, more subtle reverb, set it lower. For a more spacious sound, increase the decay.
  • Mix: The mix control balances the dry (unaffected) signal with the wet (reverb) signal. A lower mix setting keeps your sound mostly dry, while higher settings increase the reverb's prominence.
  • Tone: The tone control adjusts the brightness or darkness of the reverb effect. Experiment to find the tone that complements the rest of the music.

Once you've set these parameters, it's time to dial in different reverb sounds:

  • For a classic, springy sound, use shorter decay times and moderate mix levels.
  • To create a lush, ambient atmosphere, increase the decay and mix settings.
  • Experiment with different combinations of decay, mix, and tone to find your signature reverb sound.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all approach.

Your ideal reverb settings depend on your playing style and musical preferences.

As you get more comfortable with your reverb pedal, don't hesitate to explore other controls that may be present, such as modulation or pre-delay.

These can add unique textures to your reverb sound.


What does reverb do on a guitar?

Reverb on a guitar adds a sense of space and depth to the sound.

It makes the notes or chords you play linger and echo, like when you clap your hands in a big room, and the sound bounces off the walls.

This effect can make your guitar sound more full, rich, and atmospheric, depending on how you use it.

Reverb can enhance the mood and texture of your music, making it sound more interesting and captivating.

Does reverb go before or after distortion?

Reverb usually goes after distortion in your guitar signal chain.

First, your guitar signal goes through the distortion effect to create a gritty or crunchy sound.

Then, reverb is added to this distorted sound, creating a more spacious and atmospheric tone.

This order helps maintain clarity and prevents the reverb from making the distortion sound muddy.

However, there are no strict rules, and you can experiment with different pedal orders to find the sound you like best.


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