Had a moment last night while........

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by onestop, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. onestop

    onestop Silver Supporting Member

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    ....at practice. I'm currently playing in a 4-piece cover/original band and while practicing last night with the band for a big upcoming show, I had a moment.

    As I'm playing my Strat through a bunch of pedals (too many to list right now) into my amp, I'm realizing throughout the night that I was getting SO CAUGHT UP with my pedals and what pedal to engage and when, that my playing was being compromised! Missing parts and thumbing my way around the fretboard which is not like me at all!!

    I know that we've all seen several threads where we discuss - to use pedals or not to use pedals, and how being in a cover band typically pushes a guitar player toward using pedals in order to comp different sounds.

    Well, I think I'm done with it all! I've come to the conclusion that I play a Strat through a Goodsell Super 17 (ie. nice guitar - nice amp combination) and that I need to get down to the bare essentials (tuner, 1-2 ODs, delay pedal AND THAT'S IT!!!) No more phase or tremolo or boosts or all that stuff).

    Am I crazy? Have I lost it? Did I just have a bad rehearsal and I'm taking it out on my gear when I should be taking it out on myself and my abilities as a guitar player.

    Well, it's probably a little of everything but my thought is to minimize the gear in order to allow me to focus on what's most important - PLAYING GUITAR!!

    Please chime in.
     
  2. erksin

    erksin Member

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    A bunch of effects are only appropriate if you have specific uses for them within the context of your music. I don't have a bunch of stuff on my board that I don't use - it all has to have a purpose or it's gone.
     
  3. ReddRanger

    ReddRanger Member

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    No, you are not crazy. In my opinion, you haven't lost it, you've had a valuable revelation, and are now on the right track. Just my opinion, as I am an effects minimalist. (I love gear, but just not using too much at once.)
     
  4. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I think it is a valid thing to bring up here.

    Either way, it will recur time and time again.
    My problem is NOT with this kind of thread, but instead with the over-zealous ones that (typical of "born-again" pedal minimalists) make the claims that anyone using a pedal is not really a musician.

    It gets pretty ludicrous. I'm with onestop, pedals (for ME) can get in the way sometimes, and I spend too much time playing with them. Then I purge...go down to some minimal, and it often builds up again...and I have fun along the way.

    But for the hardcore (guitar into amp ONLY...MAYBE can use a cord between them!) I think someone should ask if they ever use their volume controls...or other pickups? Because ALL of it is "effects" in a way.
    ASK those guys, "so, um...do you have like only a volume control on your amp, because really, no REAL guitarist should need more!"

    I did mention elsewhere here recently, came across the idea too that some folks, or many folks at some time, rely on the pedal for tonal changes that actually can be gotten with pickup, attack, finger tone, where you hit on the strings, etc...

    Pedals are fun, can be necessary, can be superfluous...can become an obsession that takes you OUT of the music, can be a tool, can be a crutch..and can do all these things at various times to the same guitarist!

    I always look to Hendrix...I still get amazed at what he could do with just a guitar and amp, but also with what nowdays would be considered "Minimalist" really (I mean...a wah, fuzz, Octavia, and vibe.... not even a TUNER!) what he GOT out of that...how well he used it like colors on a palette.

    But I think these threads serve as much a purpose as "What order should I put my pedals in?". Or actually, more.
     
  5. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    I know exactly what you mean. I love effects too, but I hate doing the pedal tapdance on some songs-here comes the solo, time to switch from OD to fuzz, kick on the clean boost and switch delay patches...oops, solos over :crazy

    I find that the best thing is to get used to using the effects and knowing when you're going to use them, so with rehearsal it becomes second nature dealing with multiple stomps. I'm a lot less likely to have my playing disrupted by multiple stomping if I'm prepared mentally. :messedup
     
  6. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    I think the thread is valuable, this is a place to discuss these things. My friends don't get it, my wife doesn't get it, so who am I left to talk to about gear and gear related issues.

    As for your revelation, I had the revelation about 3 months back and have been on a simplifying quest as well. My goal was to limit my effects, and access all tones with a single stomp. NO TAP DANCE. Except for my wah (which I only keep on the board becuase I think they are cool, rarely do I use it). I really wanted to dig into the Axe a bit more (volume, attack, etc.) and get away from turning something on or off.

    What I ended up with was a Barber Burn Unit w/ FX loop. I have a keeley AD-9 in one loop (that is my lead loop) and another Keeley AD9 in the bypass loop.

    I have a mofaux vibe on there as well for some added color in the slower numbers.

    Works out really good. Once I get the cables for it, and wire it up with the board I will share a pic with ya.
     
  7. vorvick

    vorvick Member

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    I used to work with an electrical engineer in Portland, OR (Jeff W - you out there?) That played a Rickenbacker strait into his Hi-Watt stack. He felt the the guitar's volume pot interferred with the tone so he removed it, rigged a wire that ran from the volume knob on his guitar to a servo motor that controlled the volume on his amp. i.e. So when he turned the volume up or down from his guitar, the amp's volume is what actually changed. Kind of like a Third Hand, only twenty years ago.
     
  8. Big Bob

    Big Bob Guest

    Clean boost, 2 or 3 ODs, distortion, fuzz, delay, and some modulation. Any more than that and I'm lost. Oh and I love the sound of my amp by itself.

    Bob
     
  9. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    I love these kinda threads. I find I learn something new everytime.

    And this is coming from a guy who was forced to strip down his rig and was actually looking forward to the experience. I figured it would be a good transition in my playing, and I'd be able to focus on the notes more and whatnot.

    You know what? I was wrong. I miss my board. I haven't touched it in two months. It doesn't sufficiently detract from my playing and phrasings. I know it like a sensitive longterm lover and I'm infatuated with all that it can do. That's the sound in my head, not what I get now.

    I miss you, baby!
     
  10. onestop

    onestop Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks so far everyone. Keep 'em coming!!

    BUT, this is my favorite quote so far :D
     
  11. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    So 8 pedals and that's it. :AOK
     
  12. enditol

    enditol Member

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    You don't need less pedals - you need MIDI! :crazy
     
  13. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    Sometimes we see neo-classical or shredders and think that while it's impressive/nice to be able to play that many notes...it often doesn't translate to great music. It's nice to have the ability to play that fast but just because you can play that many notes doesn't mean you have to all the time. Restraint is needed.

    Seems similar with pedals. I have a Vibe on my board and I used it maybe 3 or 4 times a night (occasionally not at all) when I was gigging and some of those times were just stomping on it for the last chord of a song to get that pumping/swelling, feedback-y fade out. Other than that I didn't even think about it. Just because you have all those options doesn't mean you have to use them all the time. But to remove them from your board just limits the options.
     
  14. doctorx

    doctorx Member

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    My rig has gotten fairly complex:
    Two heads into a stereo cab with overdrive and stereo chorus pedals and an Echoplex, A/B/Y'ed with a Leslie Vibratone.

    Having said that, I can and often do play through a single combo or amp/head combo with just an OD pedal all day long.
     
  15. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

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    I only ever use a tuner, delay, od and dirt pedal. Anything more and I start playing with knobs instead of effects.

    A lot of the time if I listen to a certain band, I'll think that I "need" that tone. I'll hear He Is Legend and want a Mk IV driven by a Tubescreamer, or listen to Jimmy Eat World and want a Tele or Les Paul into an AC30, or hear SRV and want a Strat, TS808, and a Blackface Bassman.

    But when I go play guitar, I don't play like any of those guys, so I always end up with a dirt sound, compressed overdrive boost, a delay, and my strobostomp.

    Works out pretty well, so long as I can figure out which pedals I want for the few pedals I need :Devil
     
  16. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Heh..that is a GREAT story, and THAT guy has earned the right (howver misguided) to tell others that pedals are superflous.

    BUT...did he have more than one tone pot on the amp?????


    For me, whenever I have had a rig for a good deal of time stay the same I DO sometimes get to a place where the whole thing is "organic"...sometimes I have to strip down to basics and work up to it again, but what I mean is...let's take a hypothetical case:

    I've had the same setup for a while, and am very worked into the song...I know my parts, but they aren't "static"...I don't play the same thing each time, but instead on solos I touch on certain key phrases usually.

    So I start the song...I'm playing maybe with slight chorus for my rythm part, using the volume pedal (after the effect on input, so kind of like a master volume) to get my level right..sometimes popping slightly up in volume for a small, between vocal lines, part.

    Then comes a solo, I start out by hitting another OD set to a slightly higher volume. I have it set (always..so I know if I hit it alone I will get this) so that if I gently hit a string it sounds louder than my rythm guitar part, but is clear with a slight edge but if I hit it hard and "dig in" it REALLy rings out and slight overdrive. I start slow...I build up slowly...at some point in there maybe I turn off the chorus, and maybe start getting more intense in the lead....as it builds maybe I go over to the middle pickup position, and just gradually turn up the guitar vol for even more OD...and as I get up there, maybe I have my foot on the volume pedal and am raising my volume as well, and then hit the delay that is set (when not specifically set to a longer time for a certain couple of songs) to double my guitar...slight delay which is more than slapback but not where you hear two guitars sound...

    Depending, maybe even the wah will come on...

    I have a looper...so when I suddenly end the solo wah goes off, volume pedal adjusts to close to where it was, I hit the MASTER switch to go completely clean, back to rythm part...now I just have to (on the looper mostly...so it takes no real thought) turn off everything but the original OD and chorus. Doesn't matter if I either play straight while I turn them back on, or keep playing straight (one cool thing I learned...if someone hears an "effecty" part in the beginning of a song, even if that gets later buried in the mix, or is played less effecty later,there is the perception that it is still sounding like it did the first time they heard it) or gradually turn on these other things.

    It is a LOT to describe this...but all those things above, when I am familiar with my setup, can happen without premeditation...takes some practice, but it can be in the space of the same thought that says "go to the neck pickup now" when I'm playing...just a yearning for THAT sound, of a neck pickup or a wah or chorus...etc.

    There are times when that is TOO much...too much to think about, and when I am trying out a new setup, I almost (unless something really sounds bad) always should try using it until I get to that point again, before judging if it is a good setup or not.

    Generally though...I can handle an OD, and a fuzz OR two OD's, OR OD and boost...but that is about my limit as I find when I have several OD's and fuzzes, etc...it confuses me. I like to know what I am going to get when I turn them on...I don't know what it is, I see others have like 4 or 5 OD's on their board and I am just full of admiration and envy that IF they can use them all...that they can. I can't. I need that simpler.
     
  17. dosmun

    dosmun Member

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    It's not how many or how few pedals you have, it's learning how and when to use them when playing. Not much different than learning how to sing and play at the same time.
     
  18. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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    I think StompBox is right on! For me right now, I want to focus on my playing so I can start working in the pedals in the tasteful ways Stombox described. Very cool. I am looking forward to getting there.
     
  19. Miles

    Miles Member

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    I got rid of every pedal save for a tuner and my amp's channel switcher. You reach a point where you realize that gear has taken over, and your musicianship or writing comes second, and that's not a good place to be.
     
  20. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Always be thinking ahead. It IS difficult to hold the last vocal note, step on a pedal and have your fingers in the right place at the right time to start the guitar solo on time.

    Practice, practice, practice!

    When going to pedals while doing other important musician stuff during songs, muscle memory tends to take over ... after the 356th time! :jo

    dave
     

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