Did you know that the harmonizer effect can add depth to your mix? This is important to understand if you are looking to spice and create some amazing textures to your sound!
In this article, we look at the harmonizer pedal in detail… Lets get started!
1. WHAT IS A HARMONIZER PEDAL?
The harmonizer pedal is a device that you plug into your signal chain and it duplicates the input signal creating harmony to your melodies.
The Harmoniser pedal can set the pitch playback, whereby it plays the new signal against the original input.
By playing the original pitch alongside the new pitch the two pitches blend into one creating a perfect harmony.
ADVANTAGES OF THE HARMONY PEDAL
This device delivers the output signal simultaneously, guaranteeing no mistakes or mismatches in time.
Because of the two corresponding signals being alongside each other, this is known to thicken to guitar presence, generating a thicker tone and creating a very unique, new color to your music.
DISADVANTAGES OF THE HARMONY PEDAL
You should always keep in mind that the more you adjust and apply effects to the original sound, the more artificial it can become. It will eventually sound too unrealistic.
2. HOW DOES THE HARMONIZER PEDAL WORK?
The harmonizer pedal works by mimicking the original input signal and playing it back (alongside the original signal) to a different pitch, which creates harmony.
With more advanced pedals, you can either lower or raise the pitch of the sound to any number of intervals, octave up and octave down. It will keep your original sound and combine all the melodies together creating any kind of harmony.
You will know that these are both used for removing the original sound and adjusting the pitch as desired with higher or lower notes. Now, the “harmonizer pedal” is considered to be a subtype of the pitch-shift pedal.
However, it is more advanced as the pedal recognized your pitch, so that you can make it playback perfect 3rd, 5ths, and more within your scale.
3. BASIC CONTROLS ON THE HARMONIZER PEDAL
- The harmony (also called Type) knob: Basically this is used for adjusting the type of voicing you want to apply to your sound and tone. The options are listed as following: high, higher, low, lower, octaves,…
- The level knob (also displayed as Blend, Mix, or Balance): Have you ever wondered what is the amount of adjusted pitch-shifted tones after entering the harmonizer when placing in comparison to the level of volume of your original sound? How loud is it referring to the harmonized line? That’s what this knob’s function is.
- The Tone knob: Adjusting the brightness of your original input sound. Basically controls the amount of treble in your mix.
4. WHERE SHOULD YOU PLACE THE HARMONIZER PEDAL IN THE SIGNAL CHAIN?
Placing your pedal in the most suitable position in the whole signal chain is extremely crucial to the quality of the sounds generated as well as fitting in your flavors and interests. Different positions can generate different outcomes and may completely change your original sound in a way that you might not really prefer to.
This is the basic and most common order in guiding how to arrange your pedalboards with multiple effects: Dynamics, filters, pitch shifters, and volume pedals usually come first at the beginning of the chain. Next up is the overdrive or distortion pedals. Following that will be the time-based effects (delays, reverbs) which are nearly placed at the end parts of the signal chain.
With a harmonizer pedal, it belongs to the pitch shifter group. So that means it should be placed somewhere at the beginning of the signal chain. To be more specific, it is suggested to be placed after the compression for a more accurate note. Since the closer the harmonizer pedal is to the original sound – the input will have higher chances to generate cleaner outcomes after duplicating.
And the main reason why you should not put it after-effects like overdrives is that this can cause the input signal entering the harmonizer pedal to become too complex and mixed up. It is hard for the pedal itself to work on and transform that distorted overtones for stacking all the layers together.
5. TYPES OF HARMONISER PEDALS
Recommendations for the best harmonizer pedals on the market
Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork
- Transposes over a +/- three octave range. Three shift modes: up, down or dual.
- 11-position Shift knob selects the transposition interval.
- EXP input lets you control pitch shift or glissando via optional expression pedal.
- Latch and Momentary modes affect how the footswitch and EXP input behave.
- Comes with EHX 9.6DC-200 mA AC Adapter, can also run off a 9V battery.
Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork is considered to be one of the most easier types of harmonizer pedals for any guitarist to practice. As you can see from the designation of the device with its knobs, starting from the “Blend”, it will help the guitarist to select between the dry signal (your original sound) and the harmonized signal, then the next step is to pick up the desired intervals that you want. The switch-mode in the middle allows you to set up the harmony to be below, above, or maybe at the same time. And most important is the Shift knob, which controls the available octaves to add into your original sound, maybe 1, 2, or even 3 depending on how you want it to be.
In conclusion, this model helps you to achieve a wide range of harmonies with purified tones and is able to shift your guitar up to 3 octaves up or down, and even both.
TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer Pedal
- Exceptional dual-voiced intelligent harmony pedal with PolySense and innovative pressure-sensitive footswitch
- Groundbreaking MASH technology turns footswitch into a pressure responsive expression controller
- MASH footswitch lets you easily pitch-bend harmonized notes up to the next interval
- Choose between latching and Momentary footswitch modes for perfect integration with your playing style
- Designed and engineered in Denmark
This can be seen as one of the “modern” examples of how a harmonizer pedal these days can turn into a super-duper high-tech device which makes everything become simpler. With a special feature of generating two-voice harmonies over your original sound, you are also able to control the whole process of adjusting on “TonePrint” – the TC’s app designed for the guitarists to freely create their custom versions (available on Mac, PC, and even iPad).
And the one feature that makes this worth spending your money on is its ability to keep the sounds clean and clear in any case, even the most complicated harmonies and extreme effects. This model is highly recommended for beginners also as it is quite easy to use and offers a variety of music styles and genres for any harmonies that you possibly can think of.
And the one feature that benefits the guitarists the most is its ability in tracking the signals. With such advanced technology, this model of harmonizer pedal is capable of generating a glitch-free result.
Boss PS-6 Harmonist Pedal
As you have already realized, products that originate from the Boss brand will always stand out among hundreds of other models coming from different names.
This model allows you to reach to the level of 3 part harmonies or even 4 pitch shift type. Its harmonies and voicing are also considered to be outstanding thanks to the enhanced DPS. Boss PS-6 Harmonist Pedal offers various functions such as harmony, detune, S-bend, and of course, the pitch shifter. It also offers multiple harmonies to be created at once. For example, you can generate 2 different harmonies for an original sound, which means there will be 3 notes sounding at the same time.
However, there’s another side of this amazing “thinking outside of the box” experience in adding effects to your guitar sound. In conclusion, the harmony effect is still an important “flavor” to your tone. Some of the acoustic guitar players especially prioritize this effect on their pedalboard.
. blending the original note with whatever new note’s pitch that you are eager to try, that pitch will follow the original one all the way in