I don’t get pedals. What’s the big deal?

walldot

Member
Messages
72
edit:
I am no longer responding to this thread. I may have expressed myself badly, people may have misread what I meant, or both. Either way, this thread did not turn out the way I had hoped and I am not going to add any more fuel to this fire.
Feel free to continue this thread as you please.

(original opening post below: )

First: I’m not trying to stir a debate or a “you don’t need this, you just need to play better” debate. This is an honest to god question.

I started playing in the late 80s as a teenager. Couldn’t afford any kind of “real” amp, and the fist thing I used was an extremely cheap/bad headphone amp through my cassette player. Sounded like crap, so I saved up my paper route money for a single Ibanez distortion pedal. Better, but still not good. Eventually, a summer job gave me the income for a used Valvestate combo, and from there in it was guitar+amp for me, no pedals.

fast forward to now. I haven’t been following the guitar market and am now just getting back into it. Floored by how cheap tube amps are nowadays and that you can get a $250 modeling combo that beats most $1000 amps from my youth.

However, what’s puzzling me is the pedal craze. What’s the appeal of simple diode clipping that makes it cost $200+? I remember the RAT pedal from the 90s, and thirty years later it still reminds me of the terrible 15W/8” practice transistor amps we had back then.

Anyhow, didn’t want to dismiss things right away. My valvestate back then had diode clipping too, after all. Got my hands on a PCB, finished a lovepedal jubilee clone last week. Tried it.
Sounds exactly like what it is: overdriven transistors with a low pass.

i still have two more I pedals I want to build (amp in a box each, jfet stages), but I don’t see myself getting of my tube amp any time soon. Building is fun, I love that part at least.

What are you doing with your pedal boards full of buttons? Noodling around for fun? Not my cup of tea, but I can understand. Trying to nail sounds for cover bands? If so, wouldn’t a multi-effect/19”/MIDI setup be the better option?

ELI5, please. I see you’re all having fun collecting pedals and I feel like I’m missing out on something.
 
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R2-DD2

Member
Messages
300
I, for one, was very frustrated with issues I encountered playing live before I discovered pedals; I just wasn't satisfied with the sound I was making in the room. Trying to do stuff like play funk without a compressor, or hit a lead without a volume boost or eq shape in a big loud band. Stuff like that was driving me nuts.
 

walldot

Member
Messages
72
I’m serious. I know basic electronics, and can follow the schematics of most pedals that I see posted. I just have no idea how people use them in their playing. My Katana has dozens of pedals built in, I’ve tried them and have no idea why I would use them or what for. Almost all of them just suck definition and make things muddy, mushy or blurry in one way or the other.

Obviously I must be missing something. If pedals are spices, I feel like I know what each tastes like individually but have no clue how to use them in a meal.
 
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walldot

Member
Messages
72
Trying to do stuff like play funk without a compressor, or hit a lead without a volume boost or eq shape in a big loud band.
Thanks, that’s the kind of answer I was looking for. I don’t play funk, but I can see how a compressor will help there.
 

InkblotNebula

Member
Messages
974
I’m serious. I know basic electronics, and can follow the schematics of most pedals that I see posted. I just have no idea how people use them in their playing. My Katana has dozens of pedals built in, I’ve tried them and have no idea why it would use them or what for. Almost all of them just suck definition and make things muddy, mushy or blurry in one way or the other.

Obviously I must be missing something. If pedals are spices, I feel like I know what each tastes like individually but have no clue how to use them in a meal.
Well the katana pedals aren't going to give the full experience of something like a real Phase 90 or an old Electric Mistress flanger. As far as blurry, sometimes you have to be the blurry part of the picture. The like a photo with a depth of field effect, the singer is in focus, and you gotta be that blurry forest in the background.
 
M

Member 202408

Well, I don’t know of any amp in the history of the universe that would give me even 30% of all the different sounds I like. And yes, I also own a Helix and a Katana, both of which are not that good for most things. I use dozens of different pedals into a couple of different tube amps to just get different sounds for different songs. Coz I like them sounds. There’s nothing really clever to say here, it is so obvious.
 

guitarnet70

Member
Messages
3,854
Main purpose of dirt pedals is to push the preamp tubes of your amp in to Distortion without getting in to deafening volume levels. As a plus, each pedal has his own EQ/compression footprint that mostly cannot be achieved with just the tone stack of your amp.
It just gives you a broaden pallette of sounds
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
21,209
Well, I don’t know of any amp in the history of the universe that would give me even 30% of all the different sounds I like. And yes, I also own a Helix and a Katana, both of which are not that good for most things. I use dozens of different pedals into a couple of different tube amps to just get different sounds for different songs. Coz I like them sounds. There’s nothing really clever to say here, it is so obvious.
:munch :munch :munch Thank you @Johnny Fuzz . Well explained
 

Frosted Glass

Member
Messages
2,221
I just have no idea how people use them in their playing. My Katana has dozens of pedals built in, I’ve tried them and have no idea why I would use them or what for. Almost all of them just suck definition and make things muddy, mushy or blurry in one way or the other.
I’m confused. Are you seriously trying to imply you can’t detect when an effect is being used in popular music, given you “have no idea how people use them in their playing”? Can’t hear the wah-wah on Tales of Brave Ulysses? The flanger on Barracuda? The delay on Where the Streets Have No Name? The chorus on Walking on the Moon?
 
Messages
12,410
First: I’m not trying to stir a debate or a “you don’t need this, you just need to play better” debate. This is an honest to god question.

I started playing in the late 80s as a teenager. Couldn’t afford any kind of “real” amp, and the fist thing I used was an extremely cheap/bad headphone amp through my cassette player. Sounded like crap, so I saved up my paper route money for a single Ibanez distortion pedal. Better, but still not good. Eventually, a summer job gave me the income for a used Valvestate combo, and from there in it was guitar+amp for me, no pedals.

fast forward to now. I haven’t been following the guitar market and am now just getting back into it. Floored by how cheap tube amps are nowadays and that you can get a $250 modeling combo that beats most $1000 amps from my youth.

However, what’s puzzling me is the pedal craze. What’s the appeal of simple diode clipping that makes it cost $200+? I remember the RAT pedal from the 90s, and thirty years later it still reminds me of the terrible 15W/8” practice transistor amps we had back then.

Anyhow, didn’t want to dismiss things right away. My valvestate back then had diode clipping too, after all. Got my hands on a PCB, finished a lovepedal jubilee clone last week. Tried it.
Sounds exactly like what it is: overdriven transistors with a low pass.

i still have two more I pedals I want to build (amp in a box each, jfet stages), but I don’t see myself getting of my tube amp any time soon. Building is fun, I love that part at least.

What are you doing with your pedal boards full of buttons? Noodling around for fun? Not my cup of tea, but I can understand. Trying to nail sounds for cover bands? If so, wouldn’t a multi-effect/19”/MIDI setup be the better option?

ELI5, please. I see you’re all having fun collecting pedals and I feel like I’m missing out on something.
Not entirely sure what you are asking, so this is a guess at addressing your post.

Depends what you want and need.

A lot of people don't like modelers and multi effects units as they want all the nuanced control you get from tube amps and the best pedals.

You only need what you need. Cleans? Crunch? Lead tones? Can an amp do it all?

Do you just want any old guitar tone?

If you want a comprehensive tool box to create all the organic sounds you imagine, then a good pedalboard plus your ideal amp and guitar empowers you to create the universe of sounds you want.

Agree about diode gain, but if you just want to add a hint of gain, maybe nothing does it better. Transistors add a bit more of their own character, nuance and complexity, which can also be grand.

Even with a stellar amp, certain boosts help you get more versatility, way more really.

And then there are reverb, delay, mod, and miscellaneous effects.

Individual pedals give way better quality as every element is optimal.

But if your rig does all you want and need, then it does. I wouldn't buy stuff just to buy it. Wait until a need becomes clear based on the music you want to play. Stuff will suggest itself, or it won't.

I tried to keep it simple, but couldn't, as far as the electric music I have wanted to play. I needed a basic and versatile palette of sounds.

But I do avoid buying more stuff than I need. I try to get every purchase right the first time. It takes work to make your money count.

I don't think you the OP know exactly what you want and need, though. Often you can just start simple and see what comes up over time. That's what I did. But now I have a complete rig. I had a certain amount of money but was efficient with how I spent it.
 
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