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The talk box pedal is a guitar effects pedal that allows the guitar player to sing or “talk” into the pedal, and it is typically used by lead guitarists, but it can also be used by bass players.
The talk box was originally developed in the 1960s by Peter Frampton as a way to imitate the sound of the human voice: the original design was created by Roger Linn and Bob Heil, who are also responsible for creating other popular guitar effects pedals like the Auto-wah and envelope filter, and it has been used in a lot of songs, becoming particularly popular in 1970s and more recently with Daft Punk and their music (you can read more about this here).
In order to use a talk box, you will need an electric guitar with two pickups in order for one pickup to be connected to the amp and one pickup to be connected to the talk box. The player then attaches their mouth or lips over an opening in front of a speaker.
In this article we’ll see the best models for this particular electric guitar’s effect!
1. THE EASY-TO-USE: MXR M222 TALKBOX
The MXR M222 Talkbox has a smaller plastic tube (compared to other models) that let you sing through it easier, and pronounce things more intelligibly, and it doesn’t even need an external speaker, as it has its own amplifier and speakers.
As for the majority of this kind of stompbox, you’ll need a microphone for the plastic tube, but in general this is one of the more beginner-friendly model.
Some good additional features are a good dimension that can easily fit in your pedalboard, as well as a very robust and durable housing and the true bypass design.
MXR M22 FEATURES
- Mostly independent pedal: you only need an extra microphone in order to use this;
- robust housing;
- small dimensions, perfect for pedalboards;
- true bypass
- Price range: about 150$
- No need for external cabinets or speakers;
- small size;
- true bypass
- None at all
2. THE CHEAP ONE: HARLEY BENTON TALK BOX
This model is based on one of the classic effects that helped in shaping the sound of the decade of the 70’s: It amplifies your guitar (but it can work also with a keyboard, to be fair) volume and passes it through an integrated amplifier.
This electric guitar’s effect pedal also need an external microphone (not included), and is a true bypass one, and it can be used both with combo amplifiers (placed in the signal chain) and with amp and cabinet settings, between the amp and the speaker cabinet.
Only (potential) downsides for this are the bigger size and the heavier total weight compared to other models.
HARLEY BENTON MODEL’S FEATURES
- Integrated amplifier (no need for other dedicated amp or speakers);
- cheaper than other models (about 100$);
- a good budget pedal overall
- Only need an external microphone;
- cheaper than other models;
- true bypass
- bigger size;
- heavier than other models
3. THE BREAKTHROUGH: ELECTROSPIT
Electrospit is a model that doesn’t actually need a plastic tube in order to work: this works with a sensor that you place on your throat and control in this way, without having to plug in a weird way your effect in the pedalboard with additional microphones or even external amps.
Another feature is that it can be controlled with a mobile app as well, giving you a lot of flexibility.
All that stuff, though, (obviously) comes at a price, and because this is a new technology it costs about 600$.
- No need for tubes or external things;
- Far easier to use, as you simply have to place it on your throat;
- Mobile app for setups and easy configuration
- lightweight and also easily portable
- No external guitar stuff needed;
- easy to use;
- lightweight and small;
- dedicated mobile app included;
- also compatible with synths;
- it’s compatible with every DAW
- High price (at the moment it’s about 600$)
CONCLUSION: CHOOSING THE BEST EFFECT
Choosing one specific model can depend on lots of things, as if it’s your first attempt in using this (in that case the Harley Benton may be a good choice, giving that it’s the cheapest), or if you need an easy to use and very portable model for live gigs (MXR M222 has a bit higher price but it’s indeed valuable for its practicality).
Obviously, also the Electrospit is definitely great and easy to use, but the price may be not easily accessible for a first use; if you need the latest tech in your playing, though, it’s a great investment for your gear!