Guitar pedal board effect theory/strategy....

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by tlester, Mar 8, 2006.


  1. tlester

    tlester Member

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    Hi all -

    I'm new to putting together a pedal board. I know the sound I want, but being new to putting it all together, I'm struggling with the strategy. For example... 90% of what I do is a low to mid gain OD sound. Rhythm stuff mostly. But, I do need to bust out some leads now and then and when I do I may want a little more gain/sustain. Now... I see a lot of people make comments about using two OD's cascated togehter. One for their general OD and the other cascading into that OD (or vs versa) for the lead.

    So.. please, oh wise ones, explain to me pedal board methodologies.

    Thanks.

    -Tom
     
  2. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    The Fulltone Fulldrive 2 is a pretty cool pedal, and may suit your needs just fine. The left side is just the overdrive and the right is a boost, with which you can set a seperate volume. The overdrive knob works for both channels, so I suggest you try one first to see if it is enough for your leads (depending on your taste).

    Here is an example of how I use it - Sweet Ham and Bologna (umm, Alabama:) I use the left for the entire song and kick in the 2nd channel for the 1st and 2nd leads. Settings are - (V) 10 o'clock, (T) 1 o'clock, CompCut, (OD) 2 o'clock, (B) 8 o'clock.

    Cascading OD's is cool as well, as long as you take care not to get too crazy, lol. You could use, say, an OD (too many to list, but whatever suits your ears for rhythm tone) and also use a "boost" pedal (AC Booster, Fat Boost, BB preamp) that gives you not only a volume boost but also another tweakable dist/od (for a little more grit/sustain on your leads).
     
  3. jeak

    jeak Member

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    Well, with over 10,000 forum members here, you might get 5,000-10,000 different answers. :) Sounds to me like you might be able to get much of what you need from the right amp. I would start there and see how happy you can get. If you get 80-90 percent there, then all you might need is an OD pedal to push you over the edge for leads. Something like an MI Audio Blues Pro (if you can wait for them to be back in production again) or even a Bad Monkey for fast and cheap.

    That's just a start. My strategy is to start with the amp and then go from there. It's like cooking a good basic meal and then seasoning to taste. Don't start with the spices and look for a meal to dump them on.
     
  4. tlester

    tlester Member

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    OK... explain to me the idea behind a boost. I know it'll make everything down signal drive harder, but does it actually make you louder? What if you don't want to be louder, but instead just have more gain?

    -Tom
     
  5. tlester

    tlester Member

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    Thanks Jeak. Actually... I am already 90% there with my amp. I'm not looking for specific advice on pedals. I'm looking for theory. I.e. Joe Blow says, "I like to have two OD's on my board. One for my general tone, one to put me over the top, then I follow that with my modulation effects,... blah, blah..."

    I see some people with two or three fuzzes, two or three OD's a boost or two, etc... I'm just curious as to what people's logic is when they are putting together their rig.

    -Tom
     
  6. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    First off - I agree with jeak. Gotta start at the source :)

    Boost pedals work in different ways.

    Some are close to "transparent" and, set the right way, literally sound like you just reached around and turned your volume knob up on your amp (RC Booster).

    Some do volume and add a little "sparkle" (Super Chile Picoso, Klon Centaur)

    Some have not only added volume, but other tonal characteristics (added gain, eq settings) to "round" out your sound (Fat Boost, AC Booster).
     
  7. Mac-P

    Mac-P Member

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    Think of the boost pedal as the first pre-amp section in your signal path.

    If you set your amp clean then the "boost" will make you louder.

    If your amp is set dirty, then the boost will mostly add to the distortion and provide very little if any volume boost.

    And everyting in between: The cleaner the amp, the more volume boost you will get.

    If you only want to add gain, you don't necessarily want a "boost". Probably more of an overdrive unit. That can also boost (different units have more volume on tap than other ones), but you can also just generate gain. From what you wrote, I'm guessing that is probably what you are looking for.

    When players "stack" the OD's, they are usually setting each one for a smaller amount of gain so that they can choose between the two, or have both together. If both are set sort of low, the resulting sound can be very good.

    Of course it can also work the other way around and sound like total ****, especially if the gain is set too high. Noise city.

    Hope this helps! Peace.

    :D
     
  8. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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  9. jeak

    jeak Member

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    Ah, I hear you. I think this is not so much about theory as it is about personal taste and needs. A guy with several dirt boxes just likes many flavors of dirt. His gigs may call for many styles, for example. If he's a studio cat, he never knows what someone will request, so he travels prepared for anything. I think it all comes down to how many flavors you want or need. Some pedals are good at one or two things, while others are more versatile. You just have to try a bunch at various settings to hear what they can do for you.

    Stacking ODs (goosing one pedal with another) is a popular way to get three or four (or more) flavors of dirt out of just two pedals. This is one way to go if your one or two ODs won't give you what you want individually. I avoid stacking because I don't like the added noise. I also find that 1 + 1 does not always = 2 when you're stacking. In my experience, I usually get what sounds to me like mud, and I'd rather hear just one pedal at a time. Other folks swear by stacking and could not live without it. Again, personal taste, and they are obviously better chefs than I am.

    It comes down to what sound you're hearing in your head and then how you get that sound. In the end it hardly matters how, as long as it works for you. I don't mean to evade your question, but I do think a lot of this is so subjective that you simply have to go it alone for "your" sound. Of course, it's always interesting to know what other folks think, and that's why we have TGP!

    Your scenario above is pretty typical, BTW: rhythm OD + lead OD + maybe fuzz, followed by modulation/wah/volume/delay/whatever.
     
  10. what?

    what? Member

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    Got a keely katana boost and Lovepedal twin 60. The katana is a very2 transparent clean boost without the knob pulled out, but only to a certain extent or maybe this is my amp, but when I boost high enough for the solo to cut through I get this fizzy thin high freq added to my sound. If you want to have a leave all the time pedal this might be a good choice.

    The twin 60 has got two level of boost each with separate volume/boost control. The left side has got a little bit of the fizzy top end, but not noticable, while the second channel is a fat boost, that thickens your sound.

    These two descriptions are for clean tone. For dirty, the katana is the winner, put it after a CB, which is a bit dark for my taste, is like opening a blanket that covers the original sound, it just sings...as for the Twin 60 I prefer them in front of dirt pedals cos when I put it after od's the sound becomes too thick and I dont like that for rhythm.

    When you've got your amp warm enough and boost it with either the twin 60 or katana, you're in crunch heaven!

    I'm still on honeymoon phase with the katana and I just cant figure how to use it with the knob pulled....too fizzy...
     
  11. dividedsky

    dividedsky Member

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    Keeley TS-9 > Keeley TS-9 :)
     
  12. Madsman

    Madsman Member

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    Yeah, to add to that...

    If your amp is breaking up, or on an OD channel, for the most part additional boost will be heard as additional gain, even if its a clean boost. An OD won't really increase the volume, and too much OD can actually reduce perceived volume.

    Going into a clean channel, boost, OD, and Distortion are 3 entirely different types of pedal. Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate.

    Going into a gain channel (even just at breakup) boost, OD and Distortion are like 3 variations of the same pedal idea... like Chocolate, Chocolate-Chocolate-Chip and Fudge-Chunk.

    I like having an amp that is breaking up enough that on its own it sounds a bit gritty, but can clean up with the volume knob. Then I like a boost to saturate and get it tight. Then an OD to send it over the top.

    YOU CAN DO THIS FOR CHEAP, but BECAUSE YOU ARE ON THEGEARPAGE IT'S GOING TO COST YOU A LOT OF MONEY! :) Serious warning. You can get a great clean boost and a great OD for under $100 for the pair, but because you're going to end up reading about all sorts of things, you're going to spend $200 to start, and then you'll sell one pedal and replace it with one that costs you $150, and then replace the other one, and so on and so on. Vicious circle from hell!
     
  13. jeak

    jeak Member

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    Truest words ever written. Seriously, this should be a disclaimer on the TGP homepage.
     
  14. twoheadedboy

    twoheadedboy Member

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    My board is probably a little different from some. Basically tuner, 3 fuzzes, a holy grail reverb, and my amp. one fuzz (z vex fuzz factory) is set for a really weird glitchy nintendo type sound, one is set for a really vintage 60s blues type rhythm sound (modded sovtek muff), the other is set for an all out wall of creamy fuzz(american muff). I can use different combinations of these for different sounds at different times. It works quite well for me. I guess I'm lucky to be so into muffs, because you can buy a muff from some random kid in just about any down for 20 or 30 bucks.
     
  15. Realfi

    Realfi trying to re-MEMBER

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    Although I've moved away from one myself because I've ended up with pedals that I thought were better for individual specialised uses, a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 with the comp-cut might be a good place to start.

    It will do a variety of overdrive characters, (especially the later models with combinations of FM, vintage and mosfet modes) and will also do clean boost using the comp cut.

    It may not be the absolute best for any of these sounds but it's a great all rounder if you're not absolutely sure what you require at this stage.
     
  16. Jacobpaul81

    Jacobpaul81 Member

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    I agree with the 1 + 1 does not always equal 2 notion. I personally have found that when stacking OD's, one really needs to have a firm grasp of the differences in tone an OD can create, as well as have an understanding (especially when it comes to tube amps) of the OD naturally occuring within ones Amp. I personally do stack gain pedals, and Ill try to explain how I do it.

    I naturally run my amplifier at the point of breakup (its an AC30, so thats about 1/2 to 2/3rds volume). I then have a variety of completly different gain pedals (3 to be exact). One Fuzz (germanium tonebender clone), One Tube Screamer (Direct Drive), and one Ranger Boost (gainy boost w/ germanium transistors). Each of these gain pedals is extremely different, and with the amps natural od, this gives me 4 different gain stages without stacking more than the amp and pedals.

    Certain pedals work well with others. Certain pedals hate each other. Ive noticed that germanium pedals don't seem to get along well with each other. Things get extremely noisy, when one is not playing, even invoking some delightful hiss sounds like a 4 track thats been bounced 20 times. I've found that a fuzz run through a compressor makes for some delightful tones. Ive found that running a compressor like a fat boost, will provide a wonderful additional gain stage, without the added noise of stacked OD's. Because of this, I will employ the compressor with all three gain pedals.

    I think the tube screamer sounds great with all three pedals in any combination (apart from germanium/germanium/silicon) much like the compressor, and will employ it in a multitude of gain stacked configurations.

    In my current set up, I have a total of 10 different gain stages (that I employ), created via 4 pedals (fuzz, OD, boost, compressor).
     

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