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


What I'm doing with pedals is looking for sounds that serve my songs. Guitar + amp is not versatile enough for me. I also have a Helix and a digital setup but it does not sound as good in person and is lacking (no polyphonic pitch shifting for instance).


But a guitarist who enjoys listening to Hendrix might well also enjoy listening to, and playing, songs that utilise vibe, wah, fuzz etc. That was my point. It's not about reproducing someone's sound, or "copying" them. It's a case of enjoying those elements of that style of music.
I see. So I may not be missing anything at all, other than taste. I just seem to like a bland sound, comparatively. (No sarcasm intended.)
You started this thread claiming not to be trolling, but disingenuous summarising of people's honest answers by reaching for words like "copying" belie that claim.
My apologies. That was not my intention.


I used to think this way until I moved from bright clear spectrum to the dark or muddier side of my amplifiers.
winding down those clear freq's gave me more room to express myself. To come out of nowhere with a slow phase and some long delays.
yeah, toys are fun.
I'll take all the toys you dont want k.
I like how theres no wrong move for any of us

Sam Xavier

I'm sort of with you on this. I don't - or didn't - get drive pedals until recently. Pedals in general, though; I've always liked effects as... effects. Wah, modulation, delay and so on.

With drive pedals, though, I decided to get a couple to try out, just for the hell of it. I have a JCM 2000 Marshall DSL (as distinct from the new DSLs), and have one channel set to a little hotter than a classic rock tone, the other one almost clean. Tried a couple of drive pedals (BD-2, DS-1) through the clean channel and, presto! A bunch of new tones. I'll probably add a few more, just to see what they can do for me, and if they'd work in a live context. Nothing really shines at home playing levels.

My first loves, however, are still flangers, choruses, delays and so on, and I'll most likely add to those more than anything. Another couple of delays, dimension, vibrato and a good reverb should see me right. Oh, and maybe a good octave pedal, envelope filter, phaser...


It's pretty straight forward:

You have a Guitar/Amp

Is this all the sounds I like/need?

If yes, stand pat.

If no, add proper pedals to achieve desired sounds.

If on TGP, add more pedals, adding in periodic additional guitar and amp purchases, until you're out of storage space.


Well, I've bought a lot of dirt pedals and they all do the same thing. Lately I've been using mostly amp gain and a treble booster, maybe one OD pedal I really like, but just to push the amp a bit more like the booster, but a different flavor.

That's dirt pedals, but I can't enjoy playing and practicing without my delays, modulations, and reverbs and pedals do that for me in spades. Sometimes, at most, I'll only have my reverb pedal on and play with amp gain using my guitar's volume knob. Maybe kick in a little OD. When practicing alone I really dig my reverbs and delays, when playing live they must be set to very subtle or off unless the song calls for it.


No amp on its own will ever sound as awesome as a breaking up amp slammed w my behringer superfuzz!

its all a matter of tinkering , basically.


I like pedals. I don't think I'll ever run 25 units on a board with all their knobs and blinking lights, but I do like having a few options.

Oh and years ago my band opened for Ozzy and the RAT (and a Deja Vibe) really delivered.

Buzzard Luck

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.

That’s a lot to reply to. The fact that you mention your rat pedal is an immediate signal. Well, it’s like once the computers arrived, within a few years, they had attached themselves to most of the humans, and called it ‘smart’. So the humans toting those little boxes of internet access felt proud, with a ‘smart phone’.
Hey man, I live in a giant city and rely on my feet or public transportation. I can’t simply purchase and transport a nice sounding amp to all the places I need to make my guitar sound loud and nice. I have to use whatever the house provides. That’s why I proudly purchase and use the finest modern guitar pedal products available, such as the Friedman BE-OD, and others, in order to achieve a high quality tone that is consistent (for me) and professional sounding. That’s why I buy and use and promote the fantastic modern distortion pedals available. Not my grandfathers rat and tube Screamer, by a long shot...
My apologies. That was not my intention.
I honestly believe you are asking your questions in good faith. At least that is my take from having read the initial post, the responses, your responses to those responses. It is expected though, that many pedal enthusiasts, not knowing you, are going to look askance at such a question.

Because you appear to be new the forum, please know that there have been a myriad of threads which feature guitar > amp, 'that's all you need' folks on one side versus 'I love effects' folks on the other. That is where the cynicism may be coming from, though I will say everyone's been more or less polite so far.

I see. So I may not be missing anything at all, other than taste. I just seem to like a bland sound, comparatively. (No sarcasm intended.)
I think 'taste' is not really an adequate descriptor of what's going on here and is a little reductive. There are issues of thought and perception that you are leaving out, and others are leaving them out too. There are presuppositions not being exposed or discussed...

While we would all more or less hear the same thing if we heard the same piece of (recorded) music, we do not listen to the same thing. That is, what we focus on in that piece of music can vary pretty widely and is a matter of thought more than sound waves. Some may focus on the rhythmic elements, and care only about the beat, where syncopation occurs, what the time signature is and where the tempo might shift (assuming a pre-click track recording). Others may focus on the harmony, where certain notes overlap, what notes the melody is hitting in a scale. Still others may focus on the sonic textures - what space are the performed sounds occurring in, what is double-tracked versus single-tracked, how where rhythm guitars texturally different from lead guitars, and so on. I could go on...

My assumption is that you, as a listener and player, are focused on texture far less than on (perhaps) melody, rhythm and/or harmony. What does a musical composition mean to you? For many pedal enthusiasts, the texture of sounds, often accomplished via effects, are an integral part of a piece of the composition. But you said such things 'are for the recording' and that live somehow such things need to obtain. The issue is simply that IF one values texture highly, divorcing texture from composition is not a casual thing. For you, it is perfectly natural. Neither one is right or wrong, but I do feel it is a matter not just of purely subjective 'taste' but how we think about the interaction of all the elements of music differently, and what we view and value as essential parts of a composition.
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Silver Supporting Member
It sounds like the OPs baseline for quality tone is so bad that almost anything that says "phaser" or "flanger" on it will do. If you can't tell the difference sonically between a multi effects unit and a phase 90 or electric mistress then its going to be really tough finding any answers.

It's like asking why people drive different vehicles. They are all automobiles, why don't people drive the same one? They all accomplish the same thing, right?

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