What is the "Three Guitars at Once" effect pedal called?

I want the effect pedal that seperates the tone into three seperate notes, with (I think) a third between them, though I’m not sure…so that it sounds like three guitars are playing three notes at once. Like the one used in Boston. What is it called? What’s the “official” name of it?

I believe the effect you want is called chorus.

My amp has several built in effects, Chorus is one of them and it doesn’t quite sound like what I’m talking about. It sounds kind of blurry, more like a vague echo than a straight-up tritone (if that is indeed what I am talking about.)

Maybe I will have to tinker with the knobs for a while until I have it sounding the way I want it.

Chorus is one, another possible is a digital delay, set on a few milliseconds with the feedback loop control turned partway.

The feedback on these devices mixes some of the processed signal with the dry signal. The feedback loop then samples the total output for mixing in again - sometimes some devices call it a reverb, or perhaps depth.

One further reading, it sounds like you want a pitch processor, which does exactly what you want, you set an upper and lower note at an interval you want, pretty sophisitcated if you want scale accuracy rather than just a frequency gap.

I’ve seen them around, harminisers I believe, but naturally there are differant levels of sophisiication, from a simple octave divider right up to the programmable device I just mentioned.

I think that is called a harmonizer effect. Eventide is famous for it but you could do it in neuendo by copy and pasting and then pitch shifting.

Be careful with your terms here. In musical terminolgy, a tritone is an interval of an augmented fourth/flatted fifth. It’s called a tritone because there are three whole tones between the two notes. For example, the interval between a C and F# is a tritone.

Anyhow, the effect you’re looking for is most certainly not chorus. Chorus effects work basically by taking the input signal, detuning it slightly, and outputting it along with the original signal. Thus, you have your original note playing in-tune, and another one playing a few cents detuned. This creates a thicker sound.

It definitely sounds like what you want is a harmonizer. I do know Boston did use them at some point, but I think that most of the harmonizing you hear on the albums is done with overdubs. The Boss HR-2 Harmonist does exactly what you want, and dial in what intervals you need.
There’s also the octave pedal, which adds one or two notes an octave and two below the played note.

If I remember correctly, Tom Scholz from Boston is an MIT graduate and hand built many of the amps and effects that he uses. One is called the Tom Scholz Rockman Amp. It looks like a little walkman almost and you can play your guitar through it. I’ve never personally used one, so I do not know if it has the sound processing capability. I saw Boston about 7 years ago and I remember Brad Delp making a comment about how Tom built practically every piece of equipment you see on stage, minus the keyboards, guitars and etc.

** pulykamell** mentioned it in passing, but I think the term/item you’re looking for is ‘octaver.’ A google search offers up a bunch of related stuff on the first page, you’re welcome to search deeper.

There’s also a detune filter that SOUNDS like 3 guitars, but doesn’t actually fill in the harmonies like you mention. It’s pretty cool to dirty up your sound if it’s still too clean and you don’t want fuzz or overdrive:

"Pitch Detune
A Detune effect has a sound that to some extent can be associated with a Chorus effect. The source signal is split and a specified amount of the signal is detuned by an amount of cents specified by you. (100 cents is 1 semitone). The main difference between the Detune effect and the Chorus effect is that the Detune amount does not change. It is a split signal where you simply offset the pitch.

The Detune algorithm in the Pitch block holds two voices. If you think your sound is simply too direct and clean, try out a setting with only a few cents off detune on both voices. - E.g. +2 cents on Voice 1 and -3 on Voice 2.
A Delay for each voice can be applied as e.g. a Slapback effect."



All I need is my cry-baby, my strat, three chords and the truth. YMMV :slight_smile:

…oh, and an amp and someplace to plug in.

And dobly. Must have that dobly. (Spinal Tap)

** pulykamell** mentioned it in passing, but I think the term/item you’re looking for is ‘octaver.’ A google search offers up a bunch of related stuff on the first page, you’re welcome to search deeper.


I only mentioned the octave pedal in passing beecause it doesn’t do what he describes. An octave pedal doesn’t actually harmonize (it adds the same note at different octaves.) Plus the OP specified an interval of a third (although I suspect he’s really thinking of a fourth or a fifth), which is another thing an octave pedal does not do.

That said, melodically, it’s much easier to work with an octave pedal than a harmonizer.