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7 Creative Ways to Use the Chorus Effect


The chorus effect is one of those modulation effects everybody kind of knows how to use but they always seem to use it the same way. Maybe you just use it for an eighties clean sound, or for distorted rock solos. But there are a few different ways you can use chorus, all on different instruments with different agendas. Read on for 7 creative ways to use chorus.

  1. On 12 string acoustic guitar – Even before you think about any sort of modulation, the rich harmonics of a twelve string guitar almost sound slightly chorused by themselves. However, if you want to add a slightly richer and deeper sound, inserting a slow and subtle chorus effect will make the part sound like it’s being played by five different guitarists, creating a wall of 12 string chord strumming.
  2. To add shimmer to an electric piano – A Rhodes piano already has a shimmer to itself. If you are working with some other type of electric piano sound that sounds sort of dull and lifeless then adding a touch of chorus can brighten it up and make it shimmer.
  3. To add doubling to select phrases – Chorus can be used to double vocals pretty effectively, and even add some sparse doubling to select phrases. Accenting the final words or phrases can give the sensation that you have two vocalists singing the part, forcing the meaning home.
  4. On snare – I tried this the other day and it was surprisingly effective. If you dialed in just the right amount of the chorus effect the snare just seemed to come alive. Just beware of phase issues, forcing the sound into mono can be a good way to get a cool chorus snare without phase problems.
  5. For a slow oscillating bass – If you are working with a slow song with a steady bass line that doesn’t involve too much acrobatics then a touch of chorus to the bass can add a new dimension to the sound. I used it when the bass player was playing steady whole notes and it just created this slow wave of bass which complimented the song perfectly.
  6. On the guitar bus – If you have a few different guitars grouped and sent to one bus you can spread them out even more with some chorus. Process each guitar with compression, EQ and panning; send them to one bus and insert some chorus on that bus. Instant Super-Bus!
  7. On backing vocals – This is very standard, and maybe not so creative. But it still works wonders. Using a touch of chorus to like there’s four, five or ten of them.

What have you been using the chorus effect on lately?

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About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

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