Getting disillusioned and burned out with pedals


All this guff about too many choices, and the pedal market being "over-saturated" is a bit overblown, IMHO.

I only had to get on 3 different wait lists, and buy and sell 13 different ring modulators before I decided that my band could play "Mustang Sally" without one. Then again, bass is a new instrument for me...


Platinum Supporting Member
I love how the electric guitar can be used to produce an endless variety of colors and textures. I have no intention of limiting myself to someone else's standard of maintaining signal purity. If I was a painter, I wouldn't limit myself to one brush and a tube of white acrylic.

Spider Mark


Don't forget you can fill a pedal board with $20 pedals that rival the top end boutique collector models. Even if they are not exact clones ... they are pretty darn close and hey, they are only twenty bucks.

Really? There are $20 pedals that have 2 FX Loops plus the Side Chain and boost options and internal dip switches of my AmpTweaker TightDrivePro? A $20 clone of my Spaceman Polaris or Explorer Deluxe? A $20 pedal that can do what a Strymon Volante and/or Meris Mercury 7 does?

Basic pedals, yes, top end boutique ... maybe not so much.


Formerly posted as MkIIC+
Silver Supporting Member
If Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Angus Young or Eddie Van Halen didn’t use a given pedal...I don’t need it.
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Silver Supporting Member
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 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.
This is why I bought a Line 6 Helix. Complete package. No more pedal envy. I literally have everything I need.

The Pup

No Complexity Without Value
Silver Supporting Member
When disillusioned and burned out, I recommend plugging straight in.


P.S. Maybe a couple time-based pedals mixed low in the loop won't hurt too much.


All who seek become disillusioned until they find the one.
One pedal to rule them, One pedal to find them,
One pedal to bring them all, and in TGP bind them.


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.
My pet theory, based solely on my own perspective, is that because things like EDM are so easy to do on any household computer these days, most people playing guitar and other analog instruments are doing so specifically because they are analog - they're something to hold, they're a challenge to play (and thus give a sense of accomplishment when mastered), and they're not going to become unsupported when the next version is released. Accordingly, why go with digital effects? If you want digital perfection and digital convenience, you might as well do EDM.

I'm not criticizing anyone who uses digital effects and digital amp models, etc., though. We all each make our own choices based on preferences, convenience, etc., and there's nothing wrong with that. And I'm not a ludite, either - while I'd love to be able to crank an amp through a real cab, I live in an apartment, so I use a real amp with a load and IRs and play with headphones.


The pedal game has become superficial and yeah the prices are getting pretty ridiculous. Would love to HEAR more examples of what people are doing with their gear, rather than get bombarded with pictures of their boards.

I also don’t get the trend where pedals are practically glued next to each other to get the smallest possible footprint. How are people not stepping on the wrong switch or inadvertently changing their settings all the time when everything’s so close together?


maybe do what i've done and go exclusively tube-based pedals;
i used to have 50/50 tube-to-diode ratio of dist pedals on board & one by one,
all the diode ones just naturally got phased out (& sold) just through tonal comparisons rather than any conscious decision.
there just seems to be something harder sounding in the high-mids of ss pedals compared to tube, plus if they're faithful high internal voltage (as opposed to starved volt) then you seem to get much better dynamics.
take that for what you will, but running a small variety of tube-based pedals through the clean channels of a couple rack preamps cured me of both my pedal AND amp gas, as i like the tonal variety and quality i'm getting already.


Silver Supporting Member
Not disillusioned, but I just decided to stop buying pedals for now... I have more than enough and some of them I have very few hours playing with. Im now rotating them and just living with what I have... I do have a few I want but Im going to hold back for a bit.


I used to buy a lot more pedals

The thing that brought me down to earth is when I started going on equipboard and realising that no pro uses boutique pedals... they all use most of the same basic stuff

So I guess, when you stop having fun with pedal shuffling, holding on to so many becomes pointless


Senior Member
About halfway into my pedal-buying, I decided I needed an endgame. Seeing all the nerds geek out over the slightest differences in this or that showed me that I don't have the time, money or energy to go down that road. I decided that I was gonna get "one of each" effect, and it was going to be a pretty-to-very good, hopefully cost-effective version of whatever I was buying. Buy once, cry once, right?
I work on container ships, so I also have a Zoom G3Xn to bring out to sea with me. The amp sims are pretty bland, but the effects are surprisingly good. I don't know if it's OCD, ADD or a combination of both that just kill my brain when I'm trying to dial in something simple, but I can't leave "well enough" alone, even on that simple-ish thing. If I bought a Helix or Axe, it would be the same as me buying a Mesa Boogie or something; it would be a killer piece of gear, but I'd only use about 20% of the features on a regular basis. I play a 2204 and a small tweed. No need to complicate it.
Now that I've gotten what I "need", I can kinda take a look around and see if there's anything I missed that my current setup doesn't really do. I have a MJM Ge London Fuzz, and while it's the fuzz sound in my head, it needs a dirty (preferably very loud) amp to really work, and I'm kinda looking at a Big Muff for the Dino Jr/Pumpkins sound that will also sound massive into a clean/clean-ish amp.
But that's about it, although BMF has a few dirt pedals that look really cool, like the Purple Nurple....


In the 70's your choices were limited...what did the local merchant (singular) have. +/-20% components meant no consistency. Better hope you got a "nice" one. Some didn't play nice with others and no one had the slightest idea how to remedy any of this. Overdrive pedal? What's that? I know, uphill both ways. I've seen lots of folks plug in an effect for a certain cover tune and then stop and unplug it before the next because the tone sucked so badly. There was no used market, because they didn't exist before. So I don't begrudge anyone the choices available now.
I have a mixture of boutique and el cheapo pedals. If it's cheap and works I use it. Sometimes I feel I need to spend more. I very rarely use more than a few at a time. I didn't buy my first real board until a few years ago and still haven't set it up.
Years of buying have narrowed me to certain brands.
There's a DL4 on every working pro's board.
Eric uses off the shelf wahs.

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