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Necessity of Pedals??

MikeVB

Member
Messages
7,823
Serious question for discussion and sharing of opinions. I'm just getting back plugged in over the last year after 20 yrs of nothing but acoustic music.

Many/most of us around here spend a lot of time, money, and grief on finding exactly the perfect and often high-end tube amp for our ears. We go on and on about how great it sounds when you crank it wide-ass open, how the tubes just sing and sag and etc., etc.

Why then do I need/want all these overdrive, distortion, fuzz, etc. pedals?

I understand about playing in cover bands and needing to cover a diverse range on tones. But many of us tend to hang out in a fairly limited area of the spectrum once we find "our sound." This seems especially true if we're focusing on original music.

I can understand about delay and various mod pedals. In fact, I called the builder yesterday to find out what he uses himself for these sounds - to find out how he makes the world's best amp even better.

But if I love my Goodsell 17's own ballsy OD, isn't just manipulating the volume knob on the guitar or maybe a good volume pedal enough for that territory? Why would I want to leave it clean and get my dirty tones from solid-state or digital pedals? Is it mainly due to not being able to run our amps full out very often? I thought that's why I bought a 17-watt amp.:dunno

My apologies if this is retreading over old ground. Couldn't find much when searching. And I'm seriously wanting to educate myself here not start any arguments over various pedals.

Thanks.
 

Totally Bored

Member
Messages
9,411
Dirt Pedals will get you dirt at a lower volume. If I dime my Super Reverb at a club to get dirt, I 'll never get another GIG there again.


And when I get older I will need one of these

 

birv2

Member
Messages
102
I think you might be asking this on the wrong forum....

;)

Seriously, it's a good question, but.... if you're on this board, you love to obsess over pedal details. I'm one of them.
 

rawkguitarist

Member
Messages
11,318
It is retreading old ground, but you're being cool about it. :beer

I was literally thinking about this issue this morning as I was playing guitar while my wife and kids were asleep. When I'm at home, I don't want to bother anyone and I've never liked the way attenuators sound at this “family friendly” level of volume. So I usually play a great OD or Distortion through my TopHat Club Royale set clean (not kinda clean, quite clean). I usually play through an Eternity, a BJF DRD or a Barber Dirty Bomb.

Now for my gigging requirements. Since I do play mainly covers and jazz I need a clean tone. And I use the same rig for both types of gigs. Plus, even with a lower wattage amp (say a 15 to 18 watt EL84 powered combo) cranked to get distortion it's still too loud for many gigs. So I use the same pedals I use at home to get the diverse tones I need on the gig.

I guess the main reason I use pedals is that I need a real clean tone. And after trying dozens of different pedals, I'm convinced that a distortion pedal for use with a clean amp is *the most difficult* to make sound convincing. To me the DRD and Dirty Bomb do this beautifully.
 

kelvinator60

Member
Messages
891
I use a Cmatmods Butah because it will add some grit but leave the amp's tone intact. Generally I only use it when I have to play quietly and can not wind the amp up to the level I want. This pedal sounds like I turned around and turned up the amp. It is that good.

If I was finding that I needed to leave the pedal on all the time I would start to look for a lower watt amp. Of course my Allen Encore has a master so I can cover a lot of bases if I need to.
 
Messages
489
Here's a fine analogy for you.

Let's liken your tone from your amp to the color blue which I am now telling you is your favorite. No, I don't care if your favorite color is actually green or red or biege. This is my analogy, and you like blue!

Alright... So you like blue. The tools you have can only give you so many variations on blue. You want to have a nice big palate of as many shades of blue as you can so maybe you need some things to augment your current tools to help give you those shades. You'll need something to lighten your blues and darken your blues. Because you really like blue. You don't want something that will change your blues to say, oranges because, you don't like oranges. You like blue. But maybe you need something that will take it almost to green and almost to purple, so you add some totally different colors to your palate so that you can blend them with your blues and get those other shades. Then one day you wake up and say to yourself "I think maybe today I'll try something red." Since you have a broad palette, you can now get some shades of red. Not as many as blues, but enough to inspire you. Don't get me wrong, you still love blue, but red isn't all bad either and now you can get red as well as blue.

See what I'm saying? Guitar and amp are your base tone generators. Sometimes you want to drive the amp a little harder, not necessarily take over the tone completely but give it that extra ooomph. So you get an overdrive pedal because that's what it does. Then maybe you want to add just a bit of hair and bite to your base tone, but not completely take it over, so you get a good fuzz. Maybe you find yourself wanting to kick out the jams on your dream amp and you find that it's too loud when you really get the amp to sing, so you need something to simulate that at a lower volume (because 17 watts is still LOUD) so you can still bring the rock while the old lady watches a lifetime movie in the next room. So you get a good distortion pedal. Then maybe you say to yourself, I like this amp but maybe I want some variety to spice things up and inspire my writing a bit. Then you have an OD, Fuzz, and Distortion pedal to mess with while you see if anything sparks your muse.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,618
It's already been touched on in the posts above, but even low wattage amps (22, 18, 15 or even 12) are too loud in small clubs/bars if you want that all natural overdrive. Pedals make it so we can pull off the sounds/tones of many covers AND original material that require OD and/or feedback. Try to play a Hendrix-like or Gilmour-ish solo without pedals and your ears will bleed!

I'm thinking of adding a 5 watt amp to the mix so I can get that natural scream when I need it... The Marshall Class 5 has been calling my name.
 

sbcallstar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
304
For me its been all of the above, and the fact that pedals are cheaper to buy than amps. Rather than buying and trying a bunch of 2 channel amps I have found it easier and cheaper, for me anyway, to find an amp with a great clean tone, and then add pedals for low gain and lead tones. Its usually easy to buy used pedals and try them out, then get your money back out of them. Hell sometimes you get lucky and find a deal and even make a little $$. Problem is, you can read all the reviews you want, listen to sound clips, but everything sounds different in everyones personal rigs. I've been through probably 45 overdrive pedals in the last 3 years...
But I'm getting close! ha ha
 
Messages
17,997
Same here...I cant afford a Fender blackface, tweed, a marshall or two, a mesa or two, a vox or 2 etc etc etc...
I have a couple amps with great clean tone and a ton of pedals...
 

chervokas

Member
Messages
6,839
It's a good question. For me I use an overdrive pedal for a couple of reasons--with my band I'm rocking a Blackface Bandmaster which has a beautiful big clean sound but doesn't break up like a small tweed amp or a Marshal with out and OD at nearly any volume and certainly not at anything short of earsplitting volumes.

I also find that in a live set I need to move quickly between various sounds and tones and pedals help me do that.

But when I'm recording I almost always use smaller amps cranked for crunch and rely on picking attack and the volume knob to get my tone.

I'm also using some pickups that are lower output by today's standards (in the 7 ohm DCR range) and pure nickel strings which, with their higher nickel composition, don't drive the picks ups as hard. Love the clean sound. Love chicken pickin and popping with them, but they need some OD or extra gain to push an amp into grinding tones compared to hotter pickups and/or hotter strings.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,146
I've been through channel switchers and single channel amps and for me the best sounding, most user friendly, most versatile combination of excellent clean and distorted tones comes from a clean amp and dirt pedals. Every rig has compromises but this setup has the least for what I need.

The key here is that a great clean tone is very important to me as is sonic versatility. YMMV.
 
Messages
17,997
^^ Although I do occasionally enjoy plugging straight into my classic 30 and playing with just those two channels and the onboard reverb...sometimes simplicity forces you to focus on other things...:)
 

rawkguitarist

Member
Messages
11,318
I've been through channel switchers and single channel amps and for me the best sounding, most user friendly, most versatile combination of excellent clean and distorted tones comes from a clean amp and dirt pedals. Every rig has compromises but this setup has the least for what I need.

The key here is that a great clean tone is very important to me as is sonic versatility. YMMV.
:agree

Excellent, concise post here. Wish it were mine...
 

DavidLopezJr

Member
Messages
484
It's mainly due to guys not being able to play mic'd. So they can only be soo loud while with a mic you can set it and then have it through a PA. In that case all you really would want is a volume pedal which is the direction I'm heading towards.
 

cj_wattage

Member
Messages
6,716
I like dirt pedals for variety. If I had the money, I'd have a dozen amps instead of a dozen pedals. ;)

If you get all the variation you need from your amp, then I wouldn't bother with dirt pedals.

Hey man, if it ain't broke.....

:)
 

Tibbonds

Member
Messages
1,046
I use high wattage amps and pedals for gain because i need the clean headroom for all the delay and verb effects i use as an integral part of my sound. I could use a high wattage channel switching amp instead, but i'm kinda partial to layering different dirt pedals to get different levels of texture, saturation, and feedback where needed. A low wattage amp like the OP's is literally useless to me.
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
5,569
I've been through channel switchers and single channel amps and for me the best sounding, most user friendly, most versatile combination of excellent clean and distorted tones comes from a clean amp and dirt pedals. Every rig has compromises but this setup has the least for what I need.

The key here is that a great clean tone is very important to me as is sonic versatility. YMMV.
I agree with this also. Yes, my favorite OD sound is my amp run wide open but that isn't always practical. I can still crank it when the volume isn't a problem. When it is an issue I can use a pedal like the CMATMODS Butah (already mentioned) or Jetdrive or AC Booster to do the trick. I'm learning to keep my pedal board simple and focus on playing. Ex: Tuner, 1 overdrive, Vibrato & Delay.
 

DavidLopezJr

Member
Messages
484
This is why I'm very fond of smaller tube amps. Cheap great tones, controable volumes, cheap prices, and less to carry. But then again I dont play bar or club gigs where most dont mic.But if you do need all the clean headroom you need then all you really need are boost or a few transperent drives.
I like dirt pedals for variety. If I had the money, I'd have a dozen amps instead of a dozen pedals. ;)

If you get all the variation you need from your amp, then I wouldn't bother with dirt pedals.

Hey man, if it ain't broke.....

:)
 

pgissi

Member
Messages
2,481
Why then do I need/want all these overdrive, distortion, fuzz, etc. pedals?

Because the interaction of the guitar pups, cords and pedals with your amps V1 is a tone all its own that you cannot get without all of the above.

There is a reason its called Overdrive and Distortion!

Sometimes this interaction can be used for tonal shaping to carve out a freq niche for your solo to live in either amongst or above all other freq sources, sometimes the change in feel, either by tightening or loosening is whats desired, sometime its the character of the clip or overdrive, just a good kickin voltage boost or a thrashing/trashing of your amps tone is the goal.

It can be one or a combination of all that at one time.

Many players have been identified with a certain pedal derived tone-

hendrix - fuzz face
beck- tonebender
gibbons- insert myriad of pedals thru the years
EVH- purported to be an EQ hitting V1 hard
SRV- TS808 Tube Screamer...or 2!

Pedals are bling for guitar players and as far as collection obssessions go, pretty affordable and harmless
 




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