3 MUST HAVE Neo-Soul Guitar Pedals

3 MUST HAVE Neo-Soul guitar pedals

There is an endless variety of guitar pedals out there, distortions, filters, reverbs, delays, and all kinds of modulation pedals.

Each one can generate worlds of color, but only a few of them shines the brightest in the Neo-Soul genre!

The Neo-Soul Sound Concept

This genre demands power, but not the kind of power you would find in rock and metal… The type of power generated from a groove, a groove that is so strong that your hips just move on their own! That’s a whole other musical concept that requires a specific type of gear.

* On this page, we won’t discuss the “regular” pedals used in Neo-Soul like reverbs, overdrives, etc...

The Top 3 Neo-Soul Pedals

The Neo-Soul guitar sound derives its power from two main elements - a doubled octave or a filter. 

A doubled octave will usually appear in a relationship between instruments such as the brass section, bass, guitar, and keys. Still, it’s always useful to have an Octaver pedal packed in your pedalboard if you’ll wanna groove harder.

The cool Neo-Soul filtered guitar sound comes from either a wah pedal or an auto-wah (envelope filter). Both of these pedals do the same action. They open and close a filter on your guitar signal.

The wah pedal is operated manually by a foot pedal, and the envelope filter works automatically by listening to your signal’s amplitude.

The Octave Pedal (Octaver)

The Octaver sound is one of the most prominent sound concepts of groove music, including Funk, R&B, and of course, Neo-soul!

You will surely find one of these in a Neo-Soul guitarist’s pedalboard as this one is definitely a MUST HAVE pedal when you wanna truly groove.

Octave Pedal

So What is an Octave Pedal?

The Octaver guitar pedal allows you to add more octaves (high and low) to your dry signal and blend them all together in several different ways (a Harmoniser does the same thing, only it can add different intervals and not just octaves).

How to Use an Octave Pedal? (on electric guitar)

The use of the Octaver in Neo-Soul: The Neo-Soul musical soundscape relies on big basses so you always want to have that option in your pedalboard. Many Hip-Hop, Rap and Neo-Soul songs feature compositions that contain more than one bass part (usually from 2 different instruments).

The high octave (and intervals) option can also be very useful: Tone down the lower octave and dry signal, you will be left with only the high octave. This sound can be used for high repetitive melodies and shimmering “musical ornaments” that are very typical to these genres.

The most notable Octaver guitar parts and riffs can be found mostly on Rock’N’Roll so in the next video, I will explore a few cool setups you can do with the Octaver while focusing on Neo-Soul!

In this video, you can check out a simpler, under-budget version of the Octaver, the Micro POG from Electro Harmonix.

This pedal is super funky! Powerful on one hand but can also be dreamy and spacey on the other, definitely, a MUST HAVE pedal in every guitarist's pedalboard.

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Here are my top 3 Octaver and Harmoniser pedals, each one will give you something a little different:

Digitech Whammy DT Electro Harmonix POG2 TC Electronic Sub'N'Up
Digitech Whammy DT Electro Harmonix POG2 TC Electronic Sub'N'Up
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The Envelope Filter

The Envelope Filter sound is one of the more modern sound concepts of groove music, including, of course, Neo-soul.

It is also used in pop music and will definitely sound familiar to the average western ear.

 

Envelope filter pedal

The Envelope Filter is the younger and more sophisticated brother of the Wah pedal. This automated wah sound is super funky, It has this rude but smooth attitude that will fit many modern styles.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pump any pedals with this one, and you can rest your leg now. Just tune it to the sweet spot, and you’re ready to groove.

You will probably find one of these in a Neo-Soul guitarist’s pedalboard (or at least at his home studio), as this one is definitely a MUST HAVE pedal when you want to truly groove.

So What is an Envelope Filter Pedal?

The Envelope Filter is, of course, a filter! It filters out some parts of our signal and leaves the other parts in. The Envelope Filter effect is (usually) a low pass filter. It cuts the high frequencies of our signal according to where we locate the frequency knob.

It opens just like a Wah pedal, but instead of a manual pedal that needs to be operated by your foot, the Envelope  Filter opens and closes automatically. It does that by listening to your signal’s amplitude, or in other words - the harder you hit the strings, the more the filter is going to open!

How to Use an Envelope Filter Pedal? (on electric guitar)

In comparison to other pedals, this is not a really stable pedal, meaning that you most likely won’t be able to travel too much up and down the fretboard without feeling like you need to adjust the sound in some areas.

Disclaimer: This paragraph points towards the “simple and traditional” Envelope Filter sound. It is worth mentioning that there is a wide variety of Envelope-Filters, some are simple, and some are filled with knobs with endless filtering and modulating options.

In the next video, I will explore a few cool setups you can do with the Envelope Filter while focusing on Neo-Soul!

 

This pedal can be groovy on one hand but also dreamy and spacey on the other, definitely, a MUST HAVE pedal in every guitarist's pedalboard.

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Here are my top 3 Envelope Filter pedals:

Electro Harmonix Q-Tron Plus

 

The Wah Pedal

wah guitar pedal

The Wah pedal is the older and less sophisticated brother of the Envelope Filter. It has only a low-pass filter that is controlled by a pedal. Even though this pedal is quite simple, it is very expressive due to the pedal control.

The use of Wah pedal in Neo-Soul:  As every pedal with funky features, the Wah pedal also has a place inside a Neo-Soul guitar player’s pedalboard and it can also be used when playing both rhythm or lead guitar parts.

 Cry Baby (GCB95F)
Cry Baby 
(GCB95)
Vox Wah Wah
Dunlop Cry Baby pedal Amazon
Dunlop Cry Baby pedal Amazon
Vox Wah Wah pedal Amazon
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In this video, you can check out my Cry Baby GCB95F demo.

This pedal is the most IMPORTANT pedal for Neo-Soul guitar players... It's super groovy and will be an essential piece of your pedalboard wether you're playing Neo-Soul, Funk, or Metal.

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That's all for now fellas!

If you just love Neo-Soul music be sure to check out the other Neo-Soul articles on our website!

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