Blocks Guide Description
The sound of a flanger can be anything from subtle chorusing, to jet-plane swoosh, to robotic drainpipe, to trippy zero-crossing. The sweeping comb-filter sound of the flanger was originally created using synchronized tape decks and shifting one of them out of time by pressing a finger on the “flange” of the tape reel — hence the name of the effect (unless you ask Beatles producer George Martin. . .). Classic examples of tape flanging can be heard in Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces, or Listen to the Music by The Doobie Brothers.
As technology advanced, pedal and rackmount versions of this effect appeared, simulating the tape effect. These have an amazing legacy in their own right. Unchained by Van Halen, The Spirit of Radio by Rush, and Barracuda by Heart all feature prominent flanger effects.
The flanger has many variants, but almost all of them have a “feedback” control, sometimes called “regeneration” or “intensity”. This returns some of the output signal to the input and intensifies the characteristic sweep, creating a real attention-getting effect. With feedback reduced, a Flanger moves easily into “Chorus” sounds, as exemplified by Andy Summers’ signature use of the “Mistress” type flanger.
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Owner’s Manual Description
The sound of a Flanger can range from
subtle chorusing, to swooshing jet plane, to robotic drainpipe. The effect was intended to duplicate the sweeping comb-filter sound created when one of two tape decks playing synchronized material is shifted out of time by pressing a finger on the “flange” of the tape reel (hence the term). Great examples of tape flanging can be heard in “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces (hi Justin!) or the “Listen to the Music” by the Doobie Brothers. The flanger effect has evolved through countless variants, but almost all of them have a “feedback” control (sometimes called “regeneration” or “intensity”) which returns some of the output signal to the input and intensifies the characteristic sweep. A regenerative flanger is a real attention-getter.
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