Guitar Effects Explained - Flanger

by Mark Starlin

The original flanger effect was produced back in the 1960’s by recording to two tape deck simultaneously and mxixng the result. As they were recording, an audio egineer would lightly touching the flange of one the reels of tape. When it played back, it creating a swooshing effect similar to what you hear when a jet airplane takes off. Stompboxes use a delay effect to create a similar sound.

Typical Use

The flanger is most often used sparingly to add a swooshing effect for a brief time. It is also used during single note solos with distortion.

Popular Flanger Pedals

Here are some flanger pedals that are popular with guitar players.

MXR EVH-117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger
Mxr Evh-117 Eddie Van Halen Flanger

Dunlop and Edward Van Halen have collaborated to bring back the classic tone of the MXR Flanger that powered timeless Van Halen tunes like "Unchained" and "And the Cradle Will Rock." The result of their effort is the MXR EVH 117 Flanger, a stompbox with the same bucket-brigade technology that provided the sweeping, whooshing magic of the original. This updated model comes with the EVH Switch, which instantly calls up Eddie's "Unchained" sound with the exact settings used to get the original guitar tone. On top of that, it comes painted with the cool striped graphics Eddie used to customize his guitars.

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Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature Airplane Flanger
Ibanez Af2 Paul Gilbert Signature Airplane Flanger

Paul Gilbert's AF2 Signature Flanger boasts two sections: one is a traditional chorus flange, while the other is the "taxi/take-off" effect (hence the Airplane moniker). In this mode, you get Gilbert's own crazy sound that includes shifting the pitch up and down. Controls for delay time, speed, modulation depth, and feedback let you create all sorts of cool flange effects. Includes 9V adapter.

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BOSS BF-3 Flanger
Boss BF-3 Flanger

The Boss BF-3 Flanger gives guitarists and bassists an updated version of the classic BOSS flanger with the thickest stereo flanging sounds ever. Two new modes (Ultra and Gate/Pan) create flanging with incredible depth—plus slicer-type effects and sounds that seem to swirl around you.

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