Can a Flanger Sound Like a Chorus Pedal?

Yes, a flanger can sound like a chorus pedal. In fact, many people mistake Andy Summers fine guitar work in The Police to be associated with a chorus pedal when it was actually a flanger.

For the uninitiated, a flanger can sound a lot like a chorus pedal if it is set in a certain way. In fact it can sound so good you might even prefer it.

Flanger Pedal - Boss BF2

The Difference Between a Flanger and a Chorus Pedal

If you’re looking to add some depth and texture to your guitar sound, you might be wondering what the difference is between a flanger and a chorus pedal. While both are classed as modulation effects (which also includes a phaser) they alter the original guitar signal in different ways.

A flanger is a type of audio effect that creates a “whooshing” or “swooshing” sound. That sound is somewhat reminiscent of a jet plane.  Chorus pedals, on the other hand, create a much more subtle doubling effect.

Both effects rely on the original signal being split with one of these signals being altered.  A chorus pedal alters that signal with a delay (20-50ms) and pitch modulation. A flanger on the other hand treats it with a shorter delay time of under 20 ms which is then modulated in a constant up and down cycle using Low-frequency oscillation (LFO).

While we primarily think of the flanger as producing a jet plane sound it certainly can produce something of a faux chorus sound.

How to Use a Flanger to Get a Chorus Sound

Flangers can be used to create something of a faux chorus sound. Here’s how to do it:

  1. You need to turn the Manual / Delay / Sweep knob to the extreme left
  2. Set the Depth / Width fairly low
  3. Speed / Rate should be at around 9 o’clock
  4. Keep the regeneration / feedback setting at its minimum

The goal is to find the “sweet spot” where the chorus effect is most pronounced.

Conclusion

While it’s not going to manage to replicate all of the sounds / variations of a chorus pedal, a flanger can indeed be adjusted to sound like a chorus pedal. Certainly enough to fool many people listening.

If you already own a flanger then you might well question if you need a chorus pedal as well.