A Brief History of Chorus

Guilty Pleasures: a Brief History of Chorus

Chorus. Is there a more polarizing word in the guitar pedal world? Maybe Ring Mod, but even then that’s a heavy seventy-thirty split against it. Its warm, warble-y, and often- cheesy sound has cringed and excited players alike for decades since its flagship introduction in the 1970’s.

Love it or hate it, you cannot deny the impact its had on music over the years. It basically defined the 80’s alongside gated reverbs, backcombed hair, and those horrible electronic drums that looked like someone cut the tops off some kind of Damien Hurst inspired bin set.
But what is chorus? Why do we use it? And what about it draws as many players in as it does turn them away.

Before we can decide on that, we first must learn about its origins. Where it came from and how it came to be one of the must fundamental effects in modern music.

You can argue that the earliest form of chorus came through in the 1930’s with the Hammond organ. Hammond organs have wheels and pull knobs that can add or remove extensions to the chords being played (3rds, 4ths, 6ths, etc.). They also had the ability to detune the notes being played to give you a fuller, more frequency dominating sound, i.e. chorus! But it wasn’t until the 1970’s that chorus started showing up on the guitarist’s radar.

Roland released two amplifiers in 1975, the JC-60, and the JC-120. More commonly known these days as the Roland Jazz chorus amps, which have a huge cult following amongst the alt guitar players of this world. But originally they were marketed as keyboard amps, providing built in chorus that could relieve the weight of having that tech built into your actual keyboard alongside a shimmering clean signal, seems strange to think about that now doesn’t it!

Guilty Pleasures a Brief History of Chorus

Guilty Pleasures a Brief History of Chorus

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Anyway it wasn’t long before Roland noticed the influx of guitar players who were using the JC amps and decided to bring some of that tech into the pedal world. Bring on the Boss CE-1, a clunky, heavy, steel box that provided the exact same chorus sound found in the JC-120. Sales were slow initially, due to its high retail price, but saw rapid growth once guitarists saw the potential of its stereo out function. Which allowed guitar players to run two amps at the same time creating previously unheard atmospheric sounds.
With Roland focusing their Boss division on the pursuit of more compact pedals, it wasn’t long before the CE-1 saw its successor. In 1977, Boss released the CE-2, arguably THE most famous chorus pedal in the world. The CE-2 had all the same functionality, minus the stereo outs, and the vibrato, and was used on countless records and guitar and keyboard sounds for the following decade and a half.

History of Chorus Pedals

Since its hay day, decade dominating stint in the 80’s, chorus has taken more of a backseat role in the effect world, finding purpose in more subtle pop applications on synths, or helping Metal and Alternative bands give their riffs and solos more of an edge. Still, there is no denying its contribution to music. But now we know its history, what is chorus?

Put simply, chorus is a modulation effect. Meaning that it affects the pitch and frequency of your guitar tone, rather than volume, gain, delay, or space surrounding your tone. It works by doubling your signal, then taking the double of your signal and modulating the pitch up and down at a chosen rate. This gives your guitar a fuller sound because your signal is not only doubled, but is also moving in and out of tune with itself. Don’t ask me why that makes it fuller, lets just say that there’s something about playing an instrument alongside the same thing but slightly out of tune with itself that makes stuff sound bigger. Its science, make your peace with it. What’s important is the result of this effect; modulated sonic magic. Chorus allows you to get anything

from lush 80’s pop magic, to gritty 90’s Sonic Youth/Cure era Alt-Rock and Indie, all the way to straight up weird.

At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself ‘Alright Dan, you’ve convinced me. Chorus sounds awesome and I want one of my very own right now. But I don’t know where to begin because I’m a complete gear noob!’

Well fear not gear noobs, once again I’ve compiled y’all a list of my three picks that will cater to any guitar players needs. Pro or no, steep or cheap, there’s a chorus pedal in here for you. So lets just all shut up so I can get on with this yeah?

Dan’s pick – Tone City Angel Wing (£40)

It’s actually such a shock for me that it’s taken me this long to mention a pedal by Tone City in these articles. They have an incredibly extensive range of really solid sounding pedals, most of them are super pedal-board friendly, and above all else, they’re like forty quid!

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What?! That’s right, forty pounds for a great sounding chorus pedal. Your entry into lush 80’s sounding guitar magic could cost you as little as forty pounds if you so choose. It comes with a super simple three knob configuration; level, rate, and depth, and provides lush chorus sounds. Is it the best chorus I’ve ever heard? No. But it’s bloody good for forty pounds. If you’re on the fence about whether you think chorus is awesome or cheesy, and need to own one to make a final decision on that. Then the Tone City Angel Wing is for you.

Dan’s Pick – Boss Super Chorus CH-1 (£71)

It was unlikely that we were going to do a list of best choruses without having Boss pedal in there was it? So lets talk about the CH-1.

Not as well known as its predecessor the CE-2, the CH-1 first came on the scene in the 1989 as the successor to the CE series, adding EQ controls, stereo outputs, and a less criticized knob layout. Sadly, this pedal has been stood in the shadow cast by the CE-2 pretty much since its birth, despite

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being used on countless records. Well guess what? Original CE-2s cost about two hundred-plus pounds; the Waza Craft CE-2s cost about two hundred-ish pounds, what does the standard CH-1 cost? £71. So you do the math.

People always say that the CE-2 is the sound of the 80’s, and in fairness it was used all the time during that decade. But for me personally I’ve never used a CE-2 and gotten that classic cheesy 80’s chorus sound that I’m looking, or managed to get that 90’s Cure/Sonic Youth chorus sound that I love either. Whereas the CH-1, it comes with ease. It’s simple, sounds awesome, and costs half the price of the coveted CE-2. Even the original analogue circuit CH-1’s cost less than any of the CE-2s. If you’re wanting classic boss chorus, classic 80’s chorus, or even just a good chorus for a decent amount of money. The Boss CH-1 is THE chorus pedal. Don’t believe the hype; believe me, a random guy on the Internet.

Dan’s Pick – Walrus Audio Julia (£179)

Thought it was wise to pick a chorus that wasn’t the CE-2 for my big money pedal, seeing as I just spent two hundred words convincing you to not believe the hype surrounding it. To clear things up, the CE-2 is a fantastic chorus, it’s got a great sound, but it’s also spoken about all the time and there are millions of articles praising it so why add to that? What I’ve chosen for you is the Walrus Audio Julia, which falls in the boutique pedal category in so many ways, all of them awesome.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when people say modern chorus sound I used to think of cheesier, more 80’s sounding chorus, until now. The Julia is what all modern choruses should be aiming to sound like. It provides warm, organic sounding choruses, lush vibratos, and anywhere in between with its unique knob layout and functionality. It kind of makes me think of what kind of soundscapes fish would hear underwater, which is fitting because its name derives from mysterious sounds heard at the depths of the ocean. Will it give you an accurate chorus sound for the

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Purple Rain tone? I don’t know, probably not if I’m being honest. But then why should it. Boss pretty much have a monopoly on the classic 80’s chorus sound with their endless array of chorus models, and they were there first so why compete? What the Julia can do is broaden your sonic horizons and make you re-evaluate what chorus is, and what kind of tones you can get out of it. If you’re looking to invest big money into a chorus that is unlike its stereotypical predecessors, the Julia is everything you’ve been looking for and more.

By
Dan Tredgold

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Guilty Pleasures; a brief hisotry of chorus

Playing the Acoustic guitar also improves your Electric playing

4 reasons why playing the Acoustic guitar, also improves your Electric playing!

I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years now! Unlike many beginner guitarists I started learning Electric guitar first, it was a couple of years later before I owned my first Acoustic. Like any 13 year-old who’d just got a new guitar, I was immediately obsessed with it and couldn’t put it down. As a result, I neglected my Electric guitar for a bit whilst I happily strummed along to the likes of Oasis and crew. As you do. 

When I eventually got tired of going through open chords and picked up my Electric again, I noticed something… my Electric playing had massively improved. I realised that playing the Acoustic had given some major benefits to my skills on the Electric.12 years on, I still practice and perform on them both and in this article I’m going to explain some of the reasons I think the Acoustic has vastly improved my Electric playing and my musicianship in general.

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Stamina 

All you have to do is look at an Acoustic and an Electric guitar next to each other to notice that the Acoustic is just physically bigger. It has a wide hollowed body, thicker neck and usually thicker strings. So it is no surprise it takes a bit more physicality to play it. Sometimes we have to press down on the frets harder to get that warm tone, other times we have to play endless bar chords until our forearm burns. However, this is a productive pain and will stand you in good stead. 

Developing stamina is one of the toughest challenges a lot of guitarists face, especially if you don’t get time to play as often as you’d like. Think of playing the Electric guitar as working out and the acoustic guitar as working out with a weighted vest on. It might hurt at the time, but the harder you workout the quicker you’ll get into shape. In my experience, after practicing on my Acoustic then going back to the Electric, my fingers are far more nimble and I can play for way longer on both. I also find playing my Acoustic for 10 minutes or so before starting on the Electric is a great way to warm up!

Playing the Acoustic guitar also improves your Electric playing

 

Rhythm

Playing Acoustic guitar has without a doubt, improved my rhythm playing and ability to keep tempo. Unlike the Electric guitar where you can find yourself playing lots of lead guitar lines and solos, the Acoustic guitar is more widely used as an accompaniment. So as nice as feeling your way through a melodic, tasteful solo on the acoustic can be, a lot of the time you will be providing rhythm guitar… and this should excite you! 

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about playing my Acoustic is discovering more ways to create interesting and intricate rhythms in my playing. If you’re like me, you’ll have those moments where you see someone do something amazing and become instantly inspired. One of those moments for me was seeing Andy McKee play his finger-style song Drifting (if you haven’t already, check it out) and being blown away by the way he created so much percussion and groove from his acoustic guitar. I instantly ran to my guitar and started working on my finger picking, trying to perfect the percussive thumb slap and integrate it into my patterns. The heavier gauge strings and hollowed body of the acoustic really helped me lock into the groove. 

After some time I moved these techniques over to my Electric. This is where things got interesting. I found that using my newly perfected, percussive thumb slap through a nice warm overdrive gave an amazing feel for lots of playing styles like Blues, Jazz, Soul, RnB and Hip-hop. Also, as my fingerpicking improved, it allowed me to tackle techniques that I had struggled with before, like hybrid picking (using your plectrum and fingers at the same time).

Adjust your musical mindset

I think what attracted me to the Electric guitar is the plethora of sounds you can create from it. There are so many unique pedals, effects and techniques you can use to be creative with your sound, but on the flip side, this is also a reason I love playing the acoustic guitar as well. Its simplicity. Sure, you can run Acoustics through pedals and can have great fun doing so, but at its core, the tone of the acoustic guitar is undeniably unique; like comparing a synthesiser to a grand piano. 

So to harness the tone, you have to play with other considerations. While I play my acoustic I find myself being much more aware of how I’m sustaining notes, using extreme dynamics, thinking more melodically in my musical ideas and doing anything I can to maximise the versatility in the sound. I also find due to the acoustic nature of the guitar and the fact you can hear every dead note, scratch and scuff clear as day, it has trained into me a perfection for clarity. Applying all this to my electric playing has been incredibly productive. Instead of increasing the reverb or adding more gain to hide potential scuffs behind the grit, it has made my playing more accurate and most of all, confident. Something as simple (and maybe obvious) as that has really progressed my playing. 

Versatility

Amongst all the other reasons discussed, for me personally, this has had the biggest benefit. Learning the acoustic guitar pointed me in the direction of a lot of new music. Exploring more acoustic dominated genres such as country, folk, classical etc. was not only great fun, but increased my musical knowledge and the understanding of how different styles are written. As a working guitarist, I’ve found it incredibly useful to be what I refer to as a musical chameleon. By learning how to play in different styles and knowing what techniques to use at the right time, It has given me the confidence to blend in to all kinds of genres and as a result, all kinds of opportunities.

So all in all, I credit a lot to my acoustic guitar. It’s taught me things about playing that I don’t think I would have discovered otherwise, at least not as quickly. The other thing to remember is that almost everything is transferable too, in one way or another. Whether it adds rhythmic patterns, melody ideas, chord progressions etc. to your playing, or makes you think of different ways to phrase and approach music, I’m positive you will see the benefits in your playing. 

By Adam Ward

Guitar Lessons Kilburn North London

Guitar Lessons Kilburn NW6 – Start with our step-by-step beginner lessons

Learn the Guitar in Kilburn London NW6.  London Guitar Academy are very patient and friendly and the lessons will progress at your own pace. Our lessons will be fun and relaxed as well as structured and informative. Guitar Lessons Kilburn for YOU!

Acoustic Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Electric Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Classical Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Bass Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Ukulele Lessons Kilburn London

Acoustic Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Electric Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Classical Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Bass Guitar Lessons Kilburn London Ukulele Lessons Kilburn London

 

Kilburn Guitar Lessons London NW6 London Kilburn Guitar Teachers | Kilburn Guitar Lessons

Guitar Lessons Kilburn teach all styles of acoustic guitar including fingerstyle and plectrum techniques!  We have been teaching guitar in Kilburn for 25 years and all our excellent highly educated, experienced tutors can easily show you how to form a game plan for becoming a better guitarist on your musical journey. Our goal is to provide a lesson program that fully supports you along the way and makes you the best possible guitarist you can be. Here at Guitar Lessons Kilburn are committed to excellence in music training and welcome anyone ages five and up from beginning to advanced levels. We recognise that every student’s interests are unique, and we strive to provide a program based upon their individual needs. In our Kilburn Guitar Lessons all of the basics are covered for both acoustic and electric guitars.

Guitar Lessons Kilburn

Guitar Lessons Kilburn

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Guitar Lessons Kilburn North London

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Guitar Lessons Enfield North London

ENFIELD Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers 

Guitar Lessons Enfield North London. London Guitar Academy is committed to helping you to achieve the best results possible, no matter what your guitar playing ambitions are. One on one lessons give you the luxury of learning at your own pace and receiving personalised attention to your guitar playing. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Enfield, we welcome your enquiry. Subject matter includes music reading, harmony, theory, ear training, rhythm concepts, improvisation, songwriting, composition and arranging, chord and scale concepts, and performance. We also specialise in complete beginners and have an excellent rate of success with those just starting out.

ENFIELD Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers

Whatever style of guitar you’re interested in, we’ll be able to help you achieve your dreams of playing it. Students are constantly encouraged to seek their own personal tastes and follow their own musical path while remaining open minded to new challenges on the instrument that will be presented in the lesson. We offer multiple guitar lesson formats aimed at providing you with optionsflexibility, and maximum value. Edmonton, Southgate, Enfield & all over north London. Whether you’re learning to play as a beginner, want a technical upgrade for professional purposes, or just want to enjoy yourself while learning at your own pace, our lessons are structured to respond to your needs.

Guitar Lessons in Enfield North London

Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Enfield 

Guitar Lessons East Barnet New Barnet Guitar Teachers in Enfield, Edmonton & Southgate

  • Guitar Lessons Enfield  has some of the finest music teachers in London

  • Styles include Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country, Folk, Americana, Rockabilly, R&B, Soul, Funk, and Reggae

  • lessons are designed to ensure that you progress at the fasted possible speed when learning the guitar

  • Instant live feedback on your playing,  barre chords, improvisation, composition, as well as  many other aspects

  • Lessons cover all the theory required for a guitarist, all the different techniques you’ll need

  • Reading and Playing Guitar Melodies: A Step-by-Step Approach

  • Patient, direct and attentive with a sincere passion to share our knowledge

  • Have tons of fun while learning to play real songs

  • Our studio is equipped with quality amplifiers, tuners, capos, and metronomes that are ready to use

  • Time to pick up that old guitar and come in for a lesson

Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Enfield

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Muswell Hill Guitar Lessons

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Guitar Lessons Streatham

Guitar Lessons Streatham

Guitar Lessons Streatham. London Guitar Academy offers guitar lessons Streatham South London. Our longtime Streatham tutor Gero is a fantastic loyal teacher who’s enthusiasm and love for the guitar is always evident as he  teaches with real care and attention and helps his pupils play with speed & confidence. Gero teaches from his home music studio in Rosedene Avenue, London, SW16 2LT. When you take lessons with Gero you will be taking lessons with one of LGA’s first teachers. He is a great musician who loves to share his musical skills & guide his pupils to reach their full musical potential.
Guitar Lessons Streatham

Guitar Lessons Streatham

GUITAR LESSONS STREATHAM SOUTH LONDON

GUITAR LESSONS STREATHAM SOUTH LONDON

 

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London’s dedicated full-time guitar teacher committed to student success! When learning to play guitar, one of the most important decisions you can make is choosing the right guitar teacher…..London Guitar Academy is Europe’s premier guitar tuition service call 07957 230 354 to start learning today.

NW2 Cricklewood, NW3 Hampstead, NW4 Hendon, NW5 Kentish Town,NW6 Kilburn, NW7 Mill Hill, NW8 St John's Wood, NW9, NW10 Willesden,NW11 Golders Green

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Guitar Lessons Crouch End Beginner and advanced guitar lessons in Crouch End

 Beginner and advanced guitar lessons in Crouch End Guitar Lessons Crouch End

LGA offers private Guitar Lessons, Bass Lessons, and Ukulele Lessons for all ages and skill levels, in all styles of music. Our Program is designed to maximise the student’s musical potential with the goal of preparing each individual for future performance, ministry, and personal enjoyment. Guitar Teachers – Guitar Lessons London

 Guitar Lessons Crouch End Beginner and advanced guitar lessons in Crouch End

LGA teachers can teach you to play by ear, read tablature (“tabs”), or sight-read music, while at the same time focusing on your musical interests and goals. We teach young children to adults in all styles of music. We’re passionate about music—and we want our students to share that passion too!  Our music lessons are designed not only to develop skill, but also to inspire a love of music that will last a lifetime. Call us to set up a lesson and give us chance to prove to you why we offer some the best guitar lessons London has to offer. Lessons are customised so you can start at anytime! Guitar, Bass Guitar And Ukulele Lessons In London. Professional Guitar Teachers Anywhere In Greater London including Crouch End.

Guitar Lessons London – London’s Best Guitar Teachers Guitar & Bass Lessons  with no age limit. Successfully Teaching Music For Over 30 Years! We Provide Quality Music Lessons for Ages 5 to Adults

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Guitar Lessons Edgware

Guitar Lessons in Edgware

Edgware Guitar Teachers And Edgware Guitar Tuition. London’s dedicated full-time guitar teacher committed to all our fantastic student success. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced guitarist, Guitar Lessons Edgeware will help you master pieces in a variety of styles by empowering you with a knowledge of music theory, piano technique, finger exercises, improvisation, composition and sight-reading.

Guitar Lessons Edgware

Guitar Lessons Edgware

Guitar Lessons Edgware Tuition and lessons in Edgware, London

Guitar Lessons in Edgware

Guitar Lessons in Edgware

Guitar Lessons and Guitar Teachers in Edgware,Guitar & Bass guitar , Music theory lessons in Edgware

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Guitar Lessons in SW19 Wimbledon Morden Guitar Teacher

Learn Guitar in London Guitar Lessons SW19 – Colliers Wood, Wimbledon, Merton, Raynes Park, Tooting

Guitar Lessons in Wimbledon and South West London Guitar Lessons SW19 – Colliers Wood, Merton, Raynes Park, Tooting. Our lessons provide great flexibility, are easy to schedule, and are available in a wide variety of instruments. London Guitar Academy lessons are designed to help new students get started or experienced musicians to take their playing to the next level. They can also provide for an individualised course of study to allow you to advance at your own pace. Quality Music Lessons for All Ages! London’s quality music education, service and performance studios. Guitar Lessons London strive to offer quality music instruction, performances and services. Our guitar method which enables students to learn to play rhythm and lead guitar while having fun playing with a full rock band via backing tracks..

Guitar Lessons in SW19 Wimbledon Morden Guitar Teacher

Guitar Lessons in SW19 Wimbledon Morden Guitar Teacher

 

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, professional, or somewhere in between. You can count on us to assist you with your musical needs and goals. Having fun playing music is the priority in every lesson as we help each student develop the belief that their talent and intelligence can always be improved through hard work and dedication.

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London Music Tuition Wimbledon and South West London

Learn Guitar in London Guitar Lessons SW19 – Colliers Wood, Wimbledon, Merton, Raynes Park, Tooting

Learn Guitar in London Guitar Lessons SW19 – Colliers Wood, Wimbledon, Merton, Raynes Park, Tooting

Practise tips for Guitarists

Practice tips for guitar Practise Practise Practise! That’s the advice given to us by countless teachers,...

Blues Box

Thinking Theory: The BB King Blues Box All right, we’ve had our fun. We’ve had a good nine weeks of talking pedals, and guitars, and which amp we think helps us sound like that lost B-side...

Picking Styles

Picking Styles When it comes to picking on the guitar, there are a wide variety of techniques at our disposal to achieve the effect we’re looking for. Certain picking...

How to sound like Sonic Youth

5 Pedals or Less: How to sound like Sonic Youth Its funny what being branded a loser in high school has done for some of the most iconic Alt music in the game today, and the same can be said for...

Amplifiers

Amplifiers: What do all the controls do? Amplifiers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some have a variety of whizzes and bangs to play with on your quest for the perfect tone, others are fairly straight forward and opt to include a limited amount of features, instead relying...

A Brief History of Chorus

Guilty Pleasures: a Brief History of Chorus Chorus. Is there a more polarizing word in the guitar pedal world? Maybe Ring Mod, but even then that’s a heavy seventy-thirty split against it. Its...

Private Guitar Lessons London Music Tutors

Private Guitar Lessons London Music Tutors

London Guitar Academy guitar lessons are full customised for each student, and LGA have an approach which is designed to include your own musical interests as much as possible. Private Guitar Lessons London Music Tutors all over London! Structured lesson plans tailored for the individual will give you the tools you need to take your playing ability to new heights. Private music lessons focus on building solid fundamentals as well as allow for creative expressions of music, along with training in improvisation.

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Guitar Instruction Guitar Lessons At Home

Private Guitar Lessons London Music Tutors

Private Guitar Lessons London Music Tutors

 

London Guitar Academy

The London Guitar Academy is London’s only dedicated Rock Pop and Blues guitar school specialising in one to one guitar tuition in either electric or acoustic guitar.

Each lesson is tailored to suit each students individual taste and ability; offering a fresh and innovative approach to learning the guitar.

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