Another "playing with no FX" thread. This time, against your will!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Moe45673, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    So as some of you may know, I've recently relocated to NYC and it's a pretty interesting transition. Lotta cool things going on, but the jury's out on whether I'd move here permanently.

    Anyhow, this is my story: I've got a sweet pedalboard at home which I love dearly, but I didn't bring it to the states. Instead I brought my RC-20XL (for practise), OD-20, Bad Monkey, and Catalinbread SPP boost. I tried out for some bands, and here're my observations.

    The OD-20 and SPP I brought specifically to gig with. I took them to a practise to try out with a band, and the OD-20 I could not get to a setting I liked (through a marshall JCM 800). Now, I pretty much figured on this, as it is a very finnicky pedal and reacts very differently from amp to amp (great pedal once dialed in, though). I could sit there and dial it in, but it would take a bit of time and I don't feel like putting the band through that, especially on my audition.

    So to the next audition with this band (got a callback!) I'm taking just my Bad Monkey and booster. This is a really stripped down rig (though the bassist looked at my OD-20 and SPP and went "woah". I looked at him with this expression of "oh you sad sack of dung"). They also said I should learn the 3 songs on their myspace for the next audition, and figure out some sweet guitar parts for it.

    Now a part of me is going "Oh DD-20, oh DD-20, wherefore art thou DD-20?" and the other part of me is kinda warming up to the challenge. I know pedals do not have to be a crutch, but are they really not a crutch for myself? Do I have what it takes to play with one or two different sounds and still not come across as generically blah? Can I take these songs to the next level?

    I think this is a question we can all ask ourselves. Can I take the songs to the next level (trying to be the minimalist I like to be), without all the effects to make it more interesting? Can I use octaves and single note grooves tastefully and effectively without any modulation to flow it along, depending on feel and dynamics?

    I believe I can, but it's going to take me a little while longer than it would if I had delay and pitchshifting at my disposal. Effects may not be a crutch, but they can be used as a fallback if your creativity muscle gets a little lazy. It'll be nice to strengthen that sucker back up.

    Thought I'd share :RoCkIn
     
  2. gitpicker

    gitpicker Silver Supporting Member

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    Right on Moe45673 - I often cut back just to force myself to listen to the notes instead of listening to the tone. I think both are important. I am not suggesting that anyone minimize their creative options, but I think it does help to change the focus from time to time.

    I will say that I am not as brave as you are - I might play for the bulk of the night using just one or two pedals, but I still bring the whole board - just in case.... :AOK
     
  3. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Ha! Wish I was brave. It's more of "pedalboard is 2000 miles away" syndrome :crazyguy
     
  4. slacker

    slacker Senior Member

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    Whilst I own 11+ pedals I often play straight into an amp. IMHO a low powered or attenuated amp is the way to go. BUT, as a listener I get bored hearing one sound from a guitarist. I’m not going to carry two amps etc, so an overdrive is a necessity. I also think that clean/dirty gets boring after a while so I’ll use delay and or modulation as a ‘special effect’. My current board consists of an AB to tuner, vibe, overdrive and delay. The vibe gets used once and the delay once or twice. This is hardly excessive effects usage. This is what works for the band I’m playing for.

    With my own Indie band I’ll use od, fuzz, vibe, trem, filters, you name it. My own music is more texture and sound based.

    Ok I could have just said use what fits the music and your role in it. :jo
     
  5. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    This band is fronted by a chick who plays piano, but the bassist and drummer come from a more rock background. There is a lot of room for airy guitar bits to add some texture and atmosphere, and this could be done, to a more limited extent, without effects.

    For example, I was playing this one part where I was just doing ascending inversions of the chords up the guitar neck, and the band said they thought a backup vocalist had joined, cos of the way my guitar intertwined with the vox. Of course, I intended to do that :rolleyes:

    Different ways of strumming, attacking, rhythms, dynamics, slides, etc provide a wonderful array of "effects" to choose from. I believe that by understanding this, we can then use pedal effects much more diversely.

    I agree that one or two tones can get boring. But I'm also of the opinion that a creative guitarist does not get boring. Not to mention that a full band can switch up songs and such in countless ways to keep it from getting repetitive.

    Anyhow, I really hope to grow from this. I'm also kinda excited to just have a Bad Monkey and lead boost on the floor. We'll see!
     
  6. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    For me, this is one of the reasons to challenge yourself to play without pedals on occasion. I hear what I want to play in my head, and if I don't have pedals, I'm forced to use my fingers to create the sound.

    Over time, I've learned how to create many different sounds by altering picking technique, palm muting, harmonics, mutola techniques (left hand muting that DiMeola uses), chord partials, single string solos, octaves, picking near the bridge, arpeggios, glissandos, and the list goes on.

    I don't want to find myself in a situation where if my battery craps out that I do too.

    This is in no way an anti-pedal post, I have a bunch of them, but I enjoy the discipline of playing without them often in order to challenge myself to continue to develop my finger technique.

    A guitar plugged directly into an amp can sound glorious.

    stratzrus
     
  7. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    I love the tone of my amp plugged straight in and prefer to play it as such. If I were forced to play without pedals, that's really okay with me.
     
  8. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    We're still talking about the guitar, right? :confused:
     
  9. cameron

    cameron Member

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    Have you considered copping an ebow? Or would that be cheating?
     
  10. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    I do gigs from time to time without effects (maybe a boost but more to boost the solo volume) and if I do it's normally the Matchless with a Strat infront of it. It forces more creativity upstairs...and I like that. Plus the Matchless being so transparent and the strat being transparent...I better play good or suck. :)
     
  11. bickertfan

    bickertfan Member

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    Interesting thread. I used an 800 series amp for years playing bars with a boost (OD1) for leads and a miniscule amount of delay (no reverb on the amp). But that's playing with a bunch of tight musicians. Man, for an audition if the tunes are calling for a delay, I think I would go borrow one. You can always do the more difficult stripped down thing later.
     

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