Andy Summers seems surprised his new signature pedal with Electro Harmonix is a flanger: "I would have called it a chorus"

Electro Harmonix Walking On The Moon
(Image credit: Electro Harmonix)

What is chorus and what is flange? The confusion over whether Andy Summers used a chorus pedal or a flanger effect on Message In A Bottle and Walking On The Moon has raged politely and quietly for years. 

Well, he used an Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress flanger on the songs. There: settled. Except Summers himself calls the effect a chorus, and in a new interview with Johnny Beane seemed surprised to find out his new Walking On The Moon signature pedal with Electro-Harmonix based on the Electric Mistress was called a flanger at all.

"What do they call it, a flanger?" asks Summers as Beade holds up the new signature pedal during the video interview. "Who calls it a flanger? I would have called it a chorus," adds The Police icon. 

"I met him in New York," Summers says of collaborating with Electro Harmonix's Mike Matthews on his first ever signature pedal at the age of 80 (no we can't believe he's 80 either). "But I think it came out good because I worked on it. They were just going to make a straight silver-topped black pedal – it could have been anybody's. But I got them to call it the Walking On The Moon pedal and put my name [on it] blah blah blah," continues Summers. 

I always liked Mike Matthews because he's always pushed the edge with electronics

"I always liked Mike Matthews because he's always pushed the edge with electronics and I've used his stuff over the years," praised Summers of the company's charismatic founder. "And he's a great guy – a really nice man. He came and we had a nice breakfast in a posh hotel in New York and we discussed the pedal. "So I hope he's done well with it."

So anyway, back to the opening question: what is the difference between a flanger and chorus effect anyway? Both modulate the signal but it's all in the delay times.

A flanger splits the signal in two; one part is delayed at around 15ms (but this can be controlled with the rate knob) and then layered back on the other.

A chorus splits the signal too but it slightly detunes and delays one of the two parts. And here the delay times are usually slightly longer at 20-50ms. 

And if Andy wants to call his flanger a chorus, who are we to argue with a Police man? 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.