Asbestos suit...Boutique blinded me..

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by StompBoxBlues, Feb 26, 2006.


  1. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Okay, this won't be the most popular thread I ever started.

    Let me start by saying, I like botique pedals. I know many of us do. We guitarists like to have "our own" (even if in reality, everyone has the same pedal) sound. There are certainly SOME mods that are great, but we gotta admit as a group, some of us got then hung up on modding.

    How many times have you heard a guy just go on and on about how great his pedal sounds...how it is THE pedal, he just wishes he'd discovered it (we like to think we are "discoverers" also) earlier, and it sounds just PERFECT...any by the way, has anyone tried another chip in it? How does it sound then?

    Heh..that's a sickness kiddies.

    Not necessarily bad. I definitely have bought some butique pedals that beat everything that I had tried before or since...Mojovibe is one, MI Audio Blues Pro another, also Picture Wah...one last, the Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde, silver version.

    Those are all fantastic, but I have bought WAY MORE butique pedals, and when I honestly evaluate them...against mass produced, to be honest a lot of times it's the idea of butique, of some guy in a garage, the idea that I have a pedal that is "special" (though I'm beginning to wonder how many BP's are out there).

    Case in point. I was looking recently for an inexpensive delay and had been thinking of just picking up a Digitech Digidelay. I went in (they were sold out, some problem with distribution, but they had one of those multi-pedal displays with one on it among other X-series pedals).

    So I tried it...I spent a good deal of time with it. Since the other pedals were right there and I was in an amp room, I took some time and tried out some others at a good healthy level. I tried one called the "Tone Driver Overdrive" and...to be honest, it blew me away. Folk talk about an SRV sound, this thing has it. It was really flexible. Some of these pedals you have to try out for a while before you know how they are..and this was just in a store but my god this thing sounded as good as anything I have...honest.

    The delay was as good as the one in my H20, and frankly had a LOT more options, and sounded great.

    I think we like ignoring the mass producers, and I think we are missing out..I mean, how much easier and cheaper if they have pedals that sound as good? Some guy just starting out, if he reads here, will get the impression that all mass produced are just junk, and to get a good one you have to go butique...

    Just some points, I also find Marshall pedals to be great. I am not crazy about most Boss pedals, though there are exceptions. (I got a bias too).
     
  2. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    I do hear what your saying StompBox. I had been unemployed for a while and just recently got a job (finally), so up till now I have not been able to afford a lot of GAS. And now that I have some cash am looking forward to a Tim and maybe a couple other things. BUT, I have a couple Dano pedals on my board that have been there for years now, and have yet to be replaced. Sure, they might someday, but I have tried a lot of Trem pedals and have yet to hear something knock off the little plastic Dano trem. Sure, Dano puts out some crap as well, but every once in a while there is a diamond in the rough that can be snagged for dirt cheap. The point is, what sounds good sounds good (at least to the ears of the person playing), and if that's a Berringer or Dano or Visual Sound or whatever, so be it. Right now I am using the Wasabi Dano OD, I have tried a LOT of OD's and the Wasabi still sits there. Yes I am sure the Tim might be the one to knock it off, but that thing still sounds great and has enough options for just about anybody to get a killer sound. Another great example is the Digitech Bad Monkey, $40 of sweet overdrive.

    The boutiqe stuff can be awsome, dont get me wrong, I greatly look forward to trying some of the stuff avaliable, but look how long the Big Muff has been around. ;)
     
  3. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Glad to hear you are getting back on your feet! I think we agree...it isn't a put down of butique but just too many folk here seem to think all butique is inherently better than the mass produced stuff. It just isn't so, and it really costs a good deal of money (or at least it did me) to get to the point where you can discover that for yourself.

    But it really is true. You NEVER see someone raving about say the X-series Digitech Tone Driver OD, but I just happened on to it (I would have overlooked it because..I get caught up in this too) and it's kind of a shame, as that pedal REALLY can give you something close to that SRV sound, as well as do a kind of marshally sound (it has something called a "Morph" knob and claims it goes from TS to whatnot...it has effect and sounds good, I can't say it is exact but it does get some fantastic sounds) and stuff in between. At the ragged edges it can sound dull or too much, but that's because it has a wide range.

    I don't own a Tim yet. I believe though that the Tim and Timmy are probably superb pedals that will give you something the Mass produced can't, I believe the Blues Pro and Zendrive also do that...but I'm definitely picking up a "Tone Driver" and probably a Digidelay as well. I think they sound great.
     
  4. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Tone is where you find it but that implies that you have to look.

    On my board, the Juicebox is the most booteek piece and that's a holdover from when I had a larger board with more finicky power needs. The Rumble Mod is there because it's one of the more Dumblesque ODs out there. The Sniper Mod GE7 is just a better GE7. Other than that, my board is commodity stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    How many professional guitarists play their whole career with nothing but Boss and Ibanez mass-produced pedals and mass produced Fender type guitars? How many hacks are sitting in their basements with $500 pedals and $5000 custom guitars decked out in stuff like abalone and koa? There's nothing wrong with it, but custom boutique gear just isn't neccessary to get the job done.

    The one piece of truly boutique gear that I have personally found neccessary is my custom head and custom speaker cabinet. Both pieces involve special designs that aren't being produced anywhere at a lower price point, and both designs have been tweaked by the builder to suit my playing style.
     
  6. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Agreed. And if you do your homework, it doesn't have to cost a fortune, either. My Timmy and my BluesPro cost LESS than most Boss pedals and sound far, far better.

    I'll admit, I'm not blown away by my Zendrive, but I could sell it for more than the $150 I paid in less than 5 minutes, if I was so inclined.

    Same with the BJFs and Lovepedals I own. Sure they cost a lot more, but you don't see people losing money when they flip them. But Bjorn & Sean's stuff is extraordinary, and to me, worth every penny.

    As far as digital delays go, while analog's my preference (and they're ALWAYS expensive- boutique or not) whenever someone asks for a recommendation on a cheap delay, I always steer them towards the DigiDelay. I have one myself.

    And those mini Danos are great. Some fabulous sounds to be had, but they are fragile and their buffers are undeniably poor. Severe tone-suckers in bypass mode, and I can't live w/that.

    I think the issue of durability must be addressed in any comparison between hand-made effects and their factory produced counterparts, w/micro-miniature board mounted parts.

    I have 30 year old mass produced effects that are still going strong, but they're not makin 'em that way anymore. When my Line6 DL-4 broke, it was irrepairable, and there's more and more gear that's being made this way.

    I don't expect my DigiTech delay to last, but I'd be willing to bet that my Eternity will last, well, shall I say it? Naaa- I can't, but I bet it lasts longer, anyway...
     
  7. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    As much as I like bowteek stuff, I would certainly agree that you can get great tones with production pedals. Heck, most small co. pedals are clones or derivatives of an old design.
    Greg
     
  8. grego7

    grego7 has left the building Gold Supporting Member

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    Ummmm - I know this one does:

    [​IMG]

    Though his main guitar used to be a Hohner!


    Edit: And love him or hate him, did you see the amount of internet scrutiny he got after his SNL gig -- people were going crazy trying to figure out what effects he was using.
     
  9. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    GREAT point. Often overlooked. Too many folk think they just plug in an effect and that's it.

    Other folks (like Prince, definitely Hendrix in his time, and many others) KNOW ways to use the effects to way more than the sum of the parts.

    Couple examples, delays...I didn't see the SNL, but I gather from the responses his use of delay (using Boss pedals!) was something phenomenol. I know even from his old "Purple Rain" film, and other recordings, he DOES get the most out of effects.

    Wah..a wah is an instrument that is somewhat simpler than a guitar, but still needs practice to use and experimentation to find out what you can do with them.

    Also..there are ways to use delays (we all know about triplet, or using them in the BPM of the song) and ways of using delays...

    Vibes, what a difference to hook up an expression pedal with it...play and hold some nice note with a relatively fast speed...and slow it down as you hold the note.

    Here's another I had completely forgotten, the other night I was doing almost a call-response solo in song alone...repeating a phrase and then expanding on it...got the idea to use the OD on for "one of the guitars" and off for the other...cool effect in itself (since I was both guitars).

    Playing the guitar WAY down by the bridge, for a really spiky guitar sound. Doing that with an Octave.

    Sometimes I think we (I know I can get this way) sometimes lose our imaginations...and often buy the next pedal just to get something new when you could use what you got and experiment.

    We're like teens on a beautiul sommer day that say "there's nuthin' to do!" and "I'm bored", until someone like Prince or someone else reminds us what can be done with the tools you already have.

    I'm not ragging aout this...I mainly am reminding myself publicly of this.


    And it gets down to amps too. Today I took an amp I thought I wasn't so crazy about, and played with it and got it to sound really great. Not the same as what has become my "normal" sound, but really cool, interesting sound.

    It's our minds that can make the best effects. That's why it IS sometimes good to retire a pedal for a while and retry it later...your mind is more open to it's possibilities.

    I noticed this even with that Digitech I mentioned. I had no manual, so I didn't know what the "morph" knob really did...but I tweaked it and listned to it and heard/felt what it was doing. I tweaked it, and tone, and retweaked and just discovered a lot of cool sounds. Later on I took one of the X-series phamplets home, read about what the "morph" did, and to be honest, IF I had read first, I probably would have heard it in a completely different way, and maybe been dissapointed, because it is sort of "modelling" some other pedals. Taken in that context, it could be just getting into comparison and negative comparisons (all comparisons with a thing and its copy are like that) but just taken as "what does it sound like" I was happy with it.
     
  10. Don Rusk

    Don Rusk Gold Supporting Member

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    Yupper , music gear is just gear to express music with....

    you have to have something worth expressing first....:AOK

    if your expressing real emotions - a kazoo and a spoon will do fine for some

    --- if your just manipulating mathmatical excersizes then getting your expressive variety from a box is another alternative
     
  11. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Please forgive, and no disrepect intended whatsoever, but while you are all on that subject, which I am glad someone started and responses in agreement followed;
    Try putting something up for trade or sale in the " pedals and everything else emporium" that isn't botique, and watch your views and responses stay at zero forever.
    It's a stigma or something.
    Hendrix changed the world with a stock in it's day strat, stock SLP.a fuzzface, wah and univibe.
    Go figure. Maybe it is in the fingers after all.
    I own visual sounds pedals and love them, but sometimes you get the feeling that you are sub-par for the gear you own.
    Play on, keep the faith, and what a great thread.
    best regards to all of you,
    Mass
     
  12. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    It's been my experience that when it comes to effects, less is more. The only exception being over the top fuzz.

    This is a great thread. As a guy who has spent more $$ on pedals than most have spent on their rigs, I can tell you that I'm not proud of the fact that I fell into the pedal trap. It didn't make me a better player. In fact, there were times when I used pedals to cover up the suck :D

    There are some things that I still prefer "boutique" pedals for...better noise floor, and increased tweakability. Having said that, I bet I could do everything I want to do with a few well thought out choices, though I'd still want them adjusted for the best noise floor. Guitar rigs are noisy enough as it is without introducing more junk to the signal.

    Boss DD20, Tremolo, and an MXR blue box would probably do me just fine in a pinch.
     
  13. redpony

    redpony Member

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    There's a negative aspect to everything--inluding things that are otherwise positive. I agree with what was said above--its all about the carpenter, not the hammer--but I think, taken as a whole, the recent trend in effects pedals has been really wonderful. Sure, a certain snobism is inevitable, but I think its great that builders are experimenting more and are able to make a profit from their vision and talent. If I have the cash, I don't mind spending a few dollars more on a pedal made by someone working in small, self-owned shop.

    Making music should be about passion not the bottom-line, and the sense I get from the "boteek" builders is that they care about what they do. They aren't in the business of making widgets.
     
  14. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    Point well taken.
    I use a classic crybaby wah,>(love hendrix) > V/L Micro-vibe (love hendrix)> TU-2(need to tune)> Fulltone '69 fuzz.(gives me that Monterey era fuzz I love>J&H red (highly enjoy gain options and stacking with the "69>MXR 117-R reissue flanger (for floyd stuff and the like)>Mxr phase 90 (enjoy the phaser on occasion)>V/S H20. (gotta have chorus and echo)>
    MXR TEN Band EQ(tone tweaker)
    Now, I am currently looking for a reverb pedal and a COT 50, thinking I will be complete.
    Maybe it is too much already, but I try to cover the tools to play the music I love (late sixties power blues), but something tells me this search never ends.
    Take care all, Mass
     
  15. grego7

    grego7 has left the building Gold Supporting Member

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    However, if they wanted to make widgets, they could probably sell a boatload of them, as long as they were true bypass and had interchangeable op-amps. Although some might grumble if there was no ac tap or LED...:p

    Sometimes, if you are in the position to be able to, it's also just fun to be able to try out new and different things (I know, as has been mentioned before in other threads, everything around today is pretty much a tweaked version of what's come before). Some people get as much enjoyment out of putting together a killer pedalboard (making sure it's got loopers and buffers and etc. etc.) as they do out of playing. And that's okay, but it may distract from just playing. And some folks with these monster boards don't take them out of the house -- also OK. I realize that this forum probably has a much higher percentage of people who play out than say HC or GG, but even if you just play at home it doesn't make the enjoyment you get out of it any less valid.

    I like Tomo's approach that if he's practicing, he just plugs the guitar into the amp. I try to do that more and more (and pretty much 95% of what I do could be classified as "practicing"). When I can learn something new, or actually discern that I've improved a little, it's much more gratifying than buying my 13th overdrive pedal (only to sell it a little while later because it didn't make me play better - only half-joking). Having said that, I'm scheduled get a shipment from PaulC any day now and I can't wait. So I think that you can straddle the line between playing the instrument and getting a little swept up in the current atmosphere of the truly cool boutique gear. It's all just really fun. Maybe if I played for a living, I'd have a different approach...? Your gear (I assume) becomes more about the right tools for the job, and less a distraction from whatever the real world is hurling at you.

    Okay, here's a challenge. Spend one day with the guitar only plugged into the amp - no effects whatever. See what happens. Could be good (inspiring) or very ugly. But the results should be interesting either way.

    Peace.:BEER
     
  16. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    To be quite honest,
    I actually have a passion and a love for learning the science of tone, circuts, and the mechanics involved with our gear.
    That way there are two forms of majic to be had.
    1. The expirience of creating, playing and getting lost in the music that drives you here in the first place,
    2.Knowing that there is actually a science behind the equipment, and that is a totaly different passion in itself.
    WE all love getting lost in every aspect of our music and gear, or we wouldn't be here in the first place.
    Best to all,
    Mass
     
  17. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Well, as a Boutique builder, I have to agree with you guys! There's some great mass produced stuff out there, and in many cases, in terms of flexibility, the mass produced stuff is often much better (compare a boss DD20, with say, a 300ms analog delay,..).

    Also, 95% of the boutique market has it's origins in mass produced market anyway. I must confess, it's a personal frustration of mine that there's so much hype around pedal cloning. There are a small handful of boutique builder who are trying to do something a bit more unique and refined, and get lost in a sea of 808 clones, with mojo caps, sparkly paint,...

    Part of the problem may be the way that we define the boutique market. Perhaps the reality of the situation is that there are 3 types of manufacturers, not 2: There's mass producers, cloners, and true boutique. If we take the cloner component out of the boutique market, then we're left with a much smaller (10% of the original size?) pool of companies, making some really good products,... and often at a reasonable price. Funny how expensive some clones can get,...
     
  18. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    all that said, would you consider your blues pro essentially an 808 clone? (not trying to be a smartass, especially since you don't gouge with your prices; I just don't know much about it.)
     
  19. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    No, that's a fair call. I think yes and no. In reality, the only thing it shares with a TS is the use of diodes in the feedback path of an opamp. The input circuit, details of the gain circuit, tone control circuit, output/volume circuit are nothing like the TS. And I'm not talking tweaked values. I mean done in a completely different way. Putting the circuit diagram of the two next to each other, it would be impossible to recognise any similarities other than the diodes. So based purely on the circuit, I guess the answer would be no.

    Having said that, I make no attempt to suggest that the BP isn't meant to be a similar style of pedal. It is my take on that sound, rather than my take on that circuit, if that makes sense. Also, the BP does in fact have a very different sound to the TS, even though the style of sound is the same.
     
  20. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    thanks for the answer, even though I know nothing of pedal technical jargon. I get the jist.
     

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