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Getting disillusioned and burned out with pedals

PatriotBadger

Member
Messages
1,703
Just got the new Sweetwater catalog today. Geez.

I use pedals because I want an analog signal path (I do have a digital reverb) and I HATE menu diving and editor jockeying. I like to twist knobs and press switches. 9 of my pedals are ones I built on classic circuits with NOS components, the two exceptions are a Vapor Trail and a Ditto. But, like everyone I sometimes get the urge to buy a factory pedal and check something out.

The market is radically oversaturated. I saw something like 3 new featured pedal builders in the new SW catalog, a huge section is dedicated to pedals. Holy crap, where do you even begin to try and decide what to try? It's pretty well known there are only a few dozen basic analog topologies for nearly every effect available, and everyone just does their own tweaks. Suppose you want an overdrive pedal...how do you even begin to narrow it down? There are 58 builders with a combined 524 different flavors of overdrive. At $200 a pop for a non-Chicom pedal, this is one expensive endeavor. And I am all about hanging out your shingle and following your folly in an already overcrowded market, but for a few bucks worth of components...yikes.

A resurrected 1960s brand tremolo that is $220...TS clones with a few changed resistors for $250...something that warbles for $300. It's nuts. And then you have to figure out what to even try, while considering countless options. Honest question - how do you decide where to begin?

Suddenly that old TC G-Major in a two-space rack ins't looking so bad. I have to say I'm glad to have the skill set to build my own, though limited online schematics keep me into a core set of effects and mods.
 

skiltrip

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,962
I always try to remember, before this huge pedal boom, in the 70s, and 80s, and even 90s, people just used what they ended up with. They didn't do all this pedalboard curation that's going on these days. I love curating my pedalboard, but I realize it's excessive and probably ultimately unnecessary.

The market is over-saturated, and also wonderful. Like you said, there are a finite number of topologies (Thanks Josh Scott for teaching me what that is), so just get to know what they are, figure out what you want, pick two that look good to you, and pick your favorite of the two. I get the desire to try it all, and some of us have nearly died trying to do so, or at least our bank accounts have nearly died trying.

Maybe it's a blessing and a curse to have all this choice. I try to separate the hobby of collecting and trying these things, and when I actually make music with them.
They are two completely different activities. If you look at them as one in the same, you'll never actually get around to creating any music.

Oh, and I instantly throw those SW catalogs in the recycling. I keep forgetting to tell them - no more catalogs!
 

longgonedaddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,075
I’m kind of with you, as I’ve gotten to the point of realizing that the gear I have is good, there’s nothing i don’t have that I need to make my music, and that my past few tone chases via pedals have just shown that the new ones don’t add anything of substance to my rig.

Gain pedals are probably the biggest culprit, as i end up dialing them all in to sound the same. Can I justify one each of boost, ts-type, fuzz and distortion? Yes. But four ts-types because they all have slightly different tonalities that are barely apparent to me, let alone a listener? No.

I imagine that for some on TGP, pedal collecting is a hobby within a hobby, or even guitar playing is a hobby within the bigger hobby of pedal collecting. That’s fine for them, but if your hobby/goal is making music, then keep your rig simple. And if you have GAS, chase pedals that aren’t in your core sound. For me, that’s envelope filter and wah. I’m sure you have them, too.
 

Nacho8807

Member
Messages
222
I find it funny that people complain that there are... a lot of options. Its arguably the best era ever to be a guitar player. If you can't get a tone you like, its honestly your (or your bank account's) fault.

(not a dig at those with budgets btw, just saying price is a factor too)
 

Slevin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,723
Over saturation sure but I’ve never found the need to deep dive to the deepest of depths to find effects. I stick to core brands I trust to put the work in to make an effect I could keep forever if I choose to. Maybe you could say I’ve got blinders on, but there’s really only 15-20 brands I’d buy from overall and they make any and everything I could ever want to use.
 

PatriotBadger

Member
Messages
1,703
Maybe it's a blessing and a curse to have all this choice. I try to separate the hobby of collecting and trying these things, and when I actually make music with them.
They are two completely different activities. If you look at them as one in the same, you'll never actually get around to creating any music.
Exactly this. You'll never hear me argue with more choice, but it can radically complicate things if you let it.

A dozen years ago you couldn't even give pedals away. What's old is new again.....
 

disconnector

It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down.
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,772
I feel ya OP. I used to have at *least* 100 pedals - and I know for many folks here that's a tiny collection. Eventually I burned out and bought an Axe-FX - and gave up the pedal chase entirely. I still have a few drawers full of pedals but they just gather dust for the most part. My Turbo Rat and a few Skreddy pedals still pop up every once in a while in a signal chain but everything else is done in the box.

It's actually freeing not to worry about it any more.
 

mos6507

Member
Messages
219
As multi-effects units became mainstream in the 90s I wondered whether there would still BE pedals anymore. I can understand them still being available but I really don't understand why it's exploded so much. It seems like an antiquarian fad sort of like the resurgence of instant cameras.
 

Sean

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
796
how do you decide where to begin?
In the olden days of yore (the 80's), you just bought a pedal and that was your pedal. Done!
You bought an overdrive or a chorus and that was it. You had that pedal. There was no buying four others that do the same thing to compare. Selling used stuff was difficult.
Keep in mind I was in high school and had zero money/resources. But I don't think it was too different for most people. This obsessing over resistor composition and op amps crap is a relatively recent thing.
 

stagolee

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,350
I find it funny that people complain that there are... a lot of options. Its arguably the best era ever to be a guitar player. If you can't get a tone you like, its honestly your (or your bank account's) fault.

(not a dig at those with budgets btw, just saying price is a factor too)
Fair point. I would say that if price has become a significant factor in achieving the “tone I like”, then I need to consider liking some other tones as well. There are plenty of options that work the same way to build and release tension and express feelings and all that - which is hopefully what we are all in this for after all.
 

sleewell

Member
Messages
10,383
years in i still love the knobs and sounds from my helix. i find it way easier to dial in whats in my head than it was with individual pedals. when we are writing songs i can find the exact effect that is needed for that part instead of settling with what was currently on my board.
 

sonikjuice

Member
Messages
79
Over saturation sure but I’ve never found the need to deep dive to the deepest of depths to find effects. I stick to core brands I trust to put the work in to make an effect I could keep forever if I choose to. Maybe you could say I’ve got blinders on, but there’s really only 15-20 brands I’d buy from overall and they make any and everything I could ever want to use.
Yeah, it sounds like the OP should just stick with basic major brand pedals that guitarists have used for decades. I don’t know what type of music the OP plays, but just stick with a tube screamer or SD-1 for overdrive, RAT, DS-1, or MXR for distortion, MXR or Boss for chorus, etc... you could probably get away with all boss pedals if you want to keep it simple. It worked for Prince.
 

jturner

Member
Messages
333
I've come full circle. After building out a pedal chain rivaling Eric Johnson, I built a Ceriatone OTS20 'lunchbox' Dumble and have found I don't really need an overdrive, 90% of the time I am just running straight into the amp with reverb in the effect loop (and sometimes delay).

That's pretty much it. And I've never been happier with the tone. Clean, a bit of hair, a little crunch, and nice thick chewey OD. It's all there with a click of a channel or a twist of the volume knob.

My tuner is about the only pedal I really use anymore.
 
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