Video: Kids Try Guitar Pedals for the First Time

The format was simple: Joe Shadid and Jess Godwin—a singer-songwriter/music educator at The Major Lift, a Chicago-based music nonprofit—sit down with some young effects explorers, who play through a table's worth of effects for the first time. In the process, Joe and Jess ask what the kids think they will sound like and then ask them to describe the sound after hearing the effect. The results are solid gold questions, comments, and reactions.

To kick (or stomp) things off, Joe opens with a ProCo RAT. When asked what he thinks will happen, Zach, 12, says "I'm just imagining, like, a giant colony of rats running around everywhere and taking over the space."

"And eating cheese," chimes in nine-year old Gabe.

After actually hearing the RAT, Morrison, 12, gives a pretty accurate closing statement: "It sounds like it's screaming."

Maybe the most electrifying moment of the entire video is Gabe admitting that he doesn't like pizza. It was the equivalent of an elementary school mic drop. While most of the kids recoiled from the fuzz, nine-year old Gigi summoned her inner Sabbath and started strumming out wave after wave of silicon-fueled snarl.

The fun goes up to 11 when Joe suggests that they start combining effects. The look on the kids' faces when they hear a RAT go through a wah is worth the price of admission alone, and the price of admission is just clicking on a YouTube video, so take that ride.

When asked what they think the Walrus Audio Julia Chorus will sound like, Gigi responds "Alien... kind of." Gabe, in disbelief, asks, "What does an alien sound like?" to which she responds, "They use a lot of math and like, code of their language."

One of this author's personal favorite effect descriptions came from Zach when he compared an envelope filter to the visual effects from '90s music videos. To elaborate, Gabe said, "It looked terrible, but it looked awesome."

The kids are alright.

However, there was one big question at the end for our guests: "How likely are you to use an effect pedal now that you've learned about effects?"

Watch the full video to find out.

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