Ever look down at 10+ pedals and just shake your head?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by NuSkoolTone, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    So here I am, I just finished my modular pedal board system that will consist of 3 pedalboards (2 are finished.) Why 3? Because I play guitar AND bass and have regular jams/gigs on each. 1 pedal board is stuff that really only works for bass, 1 board that is strictly guitar stuff, and one board that has stuff that works on both with a couple of setting tweaks.

    So the idea is whichever I'm playing that night I take the common board, and then the bass or guitar board depending on what I'm playing. Right now the bass and common board are finished. Including volume/expression pedals, EACH one has seven pedals.

    I look down, and think to myself "This is RIDICULOUS! WHEN am I gonna use all this ****???" :NUTS Part of me likes having all the sounds for impomptu tones for when the mood strikes, but another part of me is nearly embarassed(!) for having this much gear on the floor.

    Now maybe it's because i'm looking at what would be the BASS setup, and I'll admit it's more than I've ever seen most guys use. I had all this stuff on one board at one time when I was strictly on bass and was infamous in a "Holy cow" sorta way locally for it. However I DID have some of the coolest sounds. Overdrive to bootsy to rocket ship, I had it! It also doesn't help that 3 of the pedals are HUGE.

    However while it's a little less overwhelming, part of me still feels this way with the proposed guitar setup too. So what's going on? Am I just growing up? Maturing as a player? Subconsiously(spell?) tired of schlepping all this gear? Feel I'm getting too old to have a setup like this and that it looks funny? I don't know....

    Anyone else have the same experience?
  2. MarkWorth

    MarkWorth Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    i shake my head as well,

    ....but then i do a roundhouse kick and give a resounding thumbs up!:AOK
  3. Last Nerve

    Last Nerve Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    Mile High
    I shake my head....up and down though! ;)
  4. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    east coast
    hell yeah....me too...even though i have 4 OD's on my board...
  5. Grant Ferstat

    Grant Ferstat Some guy in obscure bands in a far away place... Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Perth, at the end of the Earth...
    Sometimes I do wonder if all the lovely overdrive options I have become undiscernable in a band mix & through a PA. Still there's always the studio so I can rationalise the need!

    Another thing is for the last few years I've really fallen in love with the volume control on my guitar again. It's really nice to re-discover all the tones you can coax via pick attack, picking position, fingers versus pick and volume/tone changes on the ol' gee-tar
  6. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    I know what you mean.

    Keep in mind as you read this, I am NOT implying everyone else should throw out al their pedals, OR even feel like I am, this is just a thing that happens to some of us, some of the time but...

    I have currently 6 pedals on my board. If I had room for 10, I'd fill it with ten, just like you, and for the same reasons. I "might" one day want to use my octron in a blues setting, even though...

    Don't get me wrong. the pedal is fantastic, so is my Mojo vibe, and I am not one that rules out "you can't have octave in a traditional blues song" because I believe you CAN if the sound is right. But also I notice that I have had the mojo vibe on the board for months, and never used it with the band I'm in now. I did use it in a jam with a possible new collaboration, and it was perfect for that setting (as well as the Octron)

    Point is, it's like packing for a trip. I used to pack books, games, guitar, plus MANY tab books, when I went on business trips. I ALWAYS found I could have gotten by with guitar and one tab book. I like options :)

    But in reality, it works this way. Some song I may "need" (decided at some point this was the thing to use in this song...subject to change) a tremolo, set medium fast with hard trem. So I set it up just before the song. Turn it on, we start playing after the count in. Song over, or maybe in the solo I turn it off, then on again to go back into verse.

    That's how 90% of my effects use goes...once in a while in the middle of a solo I will want suddenly to have a little delay/echo...or reverb off, or slight boost (neat trick I have been doing now for a while...start the solo a little boosted but not much, use a volume pedal to ratchet it up as you go, just a touch, touch more, little more, til you are screaming!).

    My main point here is, it is NOT often that I need some really phasy or chorusy, or vibey sound in the middle of playing...

    I just keep THINKING that I might....but it never happens almost. The times I have tried doing it, seems to me to sound too artificial to go from a chunky, OD guitar to suddenly phase or chorus as one example.

    So I find out that for my regular band, I can remove the vibe. But then I added the Octave to take its' place. Found after a while I didn't use IT. So I put a compressor in there. Found I DO sometimes use the compressor.

    Notice I only currently use the chorus on my H2O (great pedal though, chorus/delay) for one song, and in the original it is a tremolo, and to be honest, it is used so subtley that it almost isn't there anyway, so I think...do I want to haul this around for one song. I use the echo-delay a little more, way more, so I trade out the large H2O for a smaller footprint Ibanez DE-7 delay only.

    So NOW I look down at MY board...and notice that 90% of my effects are clean effects...not swirly, (delay, EQ, reverb, tremolo, compressor) and ONE is to add grit (Blues Pro OD pedal).

    I would never have predicted that. But really, after looking at what I ended up with when I was honest with myself, I see that I am most interested in my real sound, not gumming it up with choruses, vibes, octaves, fuzzes, etc. At least in my current situation.

    I was spinning my wheels putting all these other pedals in there because I love their sound, and love playing with them. The fact is, I didn't use them because I almost never started a song with them, and almost never think to turn them on in the song.

    Now I'm looking closer at my setup, I could drop the delay or the reverb. I could easily get by without the EQ (though it is fantastic to have, especially IF I play in a place where it seems no matter how I set the amp and guitar all is too bassy...that's a legitimate reason to keep it on), the OD I love...but in a pinch the lead channel of my amp will do, tremolo...I like, It isn't necessary.

    I find out as much as I love effects, I realy am not nearly using them as much as I kept thinking I was.

    A few weeks ago though, give me a ten-pedal-holding board, and power supplies enough, and I'd fill them up :)

    Sorry for the rambling, I am kind of stream of consciousness trying to work this out myself.
  7. Charles#5

    Charles#5 Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    A big board with lots of pedals like most of you seem to have would drive me crazy. I think I wouldn't be able to play anymore with so many pedals to step on. Most of the effects I use are on during a whole song, I rarely switch them on and off during a song (I play rhythm 99% of the time). On my small board I have:

    -Strobostomp (used between songs, as you would expect...)
    -MoFaux (used on 2 songs, on during the whole song)
    -Boost (used on about half of the songs we play, when I want more overdrive)
    -Hot Cake (always on, integral part of my sound)
    -Arion SCH-1 (used as a rotary speaker effect in about 1/4 of the songs we play, on during the whole song)
    -EBS Dynaverb (always on, but very natural and discrete, only noticeable when I switch it off)

    These cover all my needs.


  8. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    I know what you mean.

    The main difference for me, I LOVE doing the effect where (usually most effective in a solo...but for rythm guitar if it is featured could work well also) you are playing and there is some reverb and suddenly NO reverb. What I specifically love is it just suddenly brings the guitar SO up front...think about the small section in the solo in "Money" where Gilmour goes from the lush delay-verb-echo sound up to just...vibrato and OD, whatever it is...then back out again.

    It's a trick (like gradually raising the volume with a vol pedal, as you build up a solo in intensity) but one that can easily become "you".
  9. Don L

    Don L Member

    Jun 12, 2004
    10 plus? I can barely cope with 4 - 5 I use... :eek: :)
  10. Bob Sweet

    Bob Sweet Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Stompbox and Sixpack you guy's are SO right.

    If you're not happy with your basic sound, all the pedals in the world will not change that. I've been playing longer than I want to remember (approaching 40 years!) and when I listen to old recordings from the 70's I did, I can't believe the tone! And that's with NO pedals at all! The only pedals I used back then from 76-79 where a Vox Clyde MCcoy and a Phase 90. Had them mounted on piece of plywood with a power supply and all (hey that was hi tech back then). Of course using an Ampeg V-4 head (no master vol) I had to play REAL loud to get that tone. And trust me there is NO little box going to sound like a V-4 with 4 x 15" EV SRO's! I had a bunch of pedals because I was really into Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, Tull, Focus, ELP, but in the bands I played in I never got to use that stuff. Only in about 1980 did I get to use more toys. But the tone was no better. Just more variety, which is cool.

    Ok, I did forget to mention one effect I used back then. I carried around a Leslie for a few years (we did a lot of Badfinger). But that got old REAL quick!

    Don't get me wrong, I love all the dirt boxes and swirly's and whatever (God knows I have have enough of that junk around here ), but You have to have your basic tone first and foremost (whether that includes any effects or not).

    But that's just my opinion.....Hey I look down at 7 effects and shake my head!
  11. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars

    Yeah...wow, you were into Focus too?? Picked up any Jan Akkerman solo stuff? He's STILL fantastic.

    If (ideally) I had another band too that played "other stuff" I still think I would want to carefully select (have to have another pedalboard) and I think I know, I'd drop the compressor, add a vibe, drop the trem, add the octave, in both I am going to add a RMC Picture wah whenever it gets here.

    BUT...I am focused on not "needing" any of them. That my tone, maybe with a two channel or only one OD for mixing it up, is enough and will do just fine.

    My first real equipment was an ES-335 (still have and play that), Sho-bud volume pedal, into an Ampeg VT-22 with 4 10"'s.

    I would LOVE to get that sound again, but as you say...no master vol, it could only really shine it's best at high vol.

    Ah well...my ears were better back then too, but I didn't use them NEARLY as well as I do now...even though they are getting old.
  12. covert

    covert Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    I keep trying to figure out a really good system for being able to scale between the 5 pedals I will almost certainly use at any given time, to the 12 or so that cover most versions of anything I need, to the kitchen sink, sonic mayhem rig. Coupled with that issue is the long term cycle between using pretty much nothing, then writing a song that I like effect X on, until I'm back up to way too many. Then there's the issue of whether to use the reall good sounding, but overly large units, say the Mu Tron III, or the not quite as nice, but much smaller ones, say the Auto Wah.

    I must admit I'm pretty curious about the 10 pedals for bass. OD and envelope filter are about the only ones I can easily picture.
  13. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I'm a total pedal whore. The more the merrier! I'm about to start another pedalboard rebuild project, and when I'm done there will be 13 on my board.
  14. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Columbus, OH
    i do that every day ... my home rig is a combination of pedals that i like and other pedals that are trying out for a permanent spot...


    however, when i play out with friends i manage to just take a small board of the things i think i'll actually use. usually, that means 1 boost, 1 or 2 overdrives, 1 wah, 1 modulation, and 1 tuner ... so 5 or 6 total.
  15. changeling

    changeling Member

    Jan 14, 2006
    ...where the strings come in.
    ....ever hear that story about when eric johnson and b.b king did some dates together?
    eric is on stage at sound check,b.b walks by,takes a look at his pedalboard,shakes his head,and goes his way.
    guess who the punters went home remembering?

    but to me,both approaches are equally valid.

    eric,on any given night can be the best 3 guitarists in town(clean spatial rhythms thru his twins,rockin' crunch w/ his marshalls,huge cello tones thru his dumble or amp du jour)...
    b.b. can give you 1 note that is like the universal truth;i've seen EVERY HEAD in a 4000 seater nod at the same time at his conviction.including mine.he can stop your breathing with a bend/release. seen it.

    gibson guitar,cord,lab series amp.

    God gave us all something,and we should get to it the best way we know how,i reckon. could jimi have chilled us to the marrow on "machine gun" without that univibe? probably,but i'm grateful for his choice. you,too have that freedom of choice.
  16. hbentley

    hbentley Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Occasionally we'll play a gig and another band will show up with a board that has delay, reverb, overdrive and tuner and i think to myself ..."he's got it figured out". But, I'd totally miss most every pedal on my board if i didn't have it. My pedaltrain pro can't fit everything i want at a gig anymore, so i'm moving up to a 40x16 inch board. Part of me thinks this is dumb and embarrasing, but most of me thinks it awesome!
  17. david henman

    david henman Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    toronto area
    Ever look down at 10+ pedals and just shake your head?

    ...not me, but a fellow musician stood looking at my over-populated pedalboard for the longest time then, finally, turned to me and asked: so which one makes it sound like a guitar?

    had i been quick, i would have answered: all of them!

    that said, my absolute top priority is my basic, unaffected tone. always.

  18. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Member

    May 12, 2006
    ow, my back. I'm going to my chiropractor today. Glad I read that before and not after.
  19. orogeny

    orogeny Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    Yardville, NJ
    I have to say I have the following pedals on my board this week (and for the past couple of months):

    Keeley Blues Driver
    TS-9 (I have four types of this)
    Dynamic filter (Old Boss FT-2)
    Chorus (for leslie-sim, mostly)

    That's 9. . . . I had my fuzz on the board, but realized it was wired in the wrong spot. . . so I removed it and play at home with it along with the others that have YET to make my board (or have been there and been removed) , including:

    Silver Kiss
    King of Tone
    3 TS-9 types
    Octave (LOVE that chili-dog!)

    There really is only room for 10 pedals on my Pedaltrain 2 the way I use it. I have to say this, though, about the 10-pedal discussion:

    I don't make it through a rehearsal without using all of them, let alone a gig. I USE my pedals. I can get by without them too. I just miss 'em otherwise. But sometimes I'll show up to rehearsal with one or two pedals just to give myself a different headset to wear.

    By the way, the KOT and Silver Kiss haven't made it yet b/c I simply have been putting time into the MUSIC instead of my board. We have two tunes finished for the record, and a third on the way, and that's that.

    If you don't use a pedal at rehearsal or a gig, get it off your board. Something else wants its place, even if that something else is just the breathing room that velcro needs :-D

    My "special effects" are ON the board b/c I use them. I wish I had room for the octave. . . . it would get used. . . for SURE.

    All I have to do is check out the stage at a Chili Peppers' show or a Pink Floyder and NOT feel so . . . . extravagant. How wide is John's board, do ya think. . . 15? 20 feet?

    The best compliment I ever got (and this is when I was using 7 pedals, including wah and tuner):

    (From a straight-up, older blues cat who used NO pedals on stage with me that night. . . he was sitting in):

    Dude, I've gotta say that I usually get REAL worried when I see folks bust out that many pedals, but YOU SOUNDED F*CKIN awesome. Everything you did with that was real simple and organic. It didn't sound processed at all. I'm so used to seeing kids play through all that crap into a beautiful amp and hearing it sound like. . . . like they were playing a toy instead of their beautiful amp. And some of these kids can PLAY! man! They just SOUND like SH*T! Keep working on those chops man, 'cause your SOUND is IT. You should be making it based on your voice, your rhythm, and your sound ALONE.

    After that. . . I discovered THE GEAR PAGE. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (only to discover that my Boss OD-3 really "IS" a MF of a pedal, and that the combo of this pedal, or something related to it, and a TS-9 style is still my THANG). Right now, it's a Keeley BD-2 phat and an Analogman Silver. Love that Katana though. . . . sometimes all you're hearing is me and Katana making loooooooooooove with my Blues Junior. . . .

    Peace and hairgrease!
  20. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

    Mar 17, 2002
    My main board has twelve pedals and an expression pedal, plus two rack effects units with footswitches on the board, and it isn't even one too many. Many times I have wanted to put a new pedal on the board, but found it impossible to take off any of the old ones. (Sometimes I've actually tried replacing a pedal, but always gone back to the original set fairly quickly... I eventually realised that I'm really pretty happy with how it is, although it doesn't stop me thinking about new ones!)

    I use every pedal at least once in a gig, and the ones I use least - there are a couple I use only in one song - are so important to the arrangment of that song that they stay.

    My bass player has seven pedals on her board too BTW :)... although I'm not sure of the last time she used the wah.

    I also have a small board for jams, cover gigs, and acoustic stuff which has eight. One too few for what I really want, but there's no more room.

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