• TGP is giving away a Strat, Tele, and Jazzmaster. Click Here for full details.
    Click Here to upgrade your account and enter today!

Pedals to spend on and pedals to save on?

hawk45

Member
Messages
10
With the awesome but overwhelming amount of pedals and pedal companies that exist today. When looking at pedal categories (distortion, overdrive, reverb, delay, modulation), which do you find is best to spend the most to get the most per pedal. For example, Is it better to go all in on great OD and maybe get a cheap delay or reverb that you can upgrade down the road? Or any distortion and OD will do in the sub $50 class, but getting a pristine delay is the best way to spend $200?
 
Last edited:

jlectka

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,105
Interesting question. I have too many pedals, again, and as I look at what I have it’s a pretty good mix of non-expensive vs pricey. Almost all of what I buy is used so if and when I sell something I dont take much of a hit.
Unfortunately, expensive doesn’t always mean it’s for you, and there are a lot of gems that are cheap. What’s hard is that you never really know what will sound great in your rig, with your amp and your guitars. I paid like $60 for a really old Fulldrive 2 that’s amazing with my amps. I also bought a Kingsley Harlot v3 that’s amazing but very pricey for me.
That said, there are safe bets for all types of pedals. Do some research, buy used, be patient, keep the keepers and sell the losers, and buy a great amp...
 

RJS11

Member
Messages
84
It really depends on your Budget and personal tastes. If you hear a sound that you love, and it works perfectly with your style, then I would say go with it up to your budget.

There are many small producers that nail a sound so perfectly, but due to the scarcity of components, the time it takes to build, the shear quality, and the limited production capability, they are expensive but totally worth it.

If your patient, the less expensive pedals are generally less expensive because they're mass produced. You will always be able to get a great deal on them used, just because of the shear numbers made. Patience is the key. Just look around reverb, and be ready to jump when you see your pedal at a great price.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,843
My advice to folks who don’t have a lot of pedals now is usually pretty simple. Get a computer based or pedal modeler and figure out what you like first. Then, starting with overdrive, build your board with quality gear.

I’ve found over the years I like smaller better. So these are my boards now, and I use them one at a time, often with a wah out front of the board, just as often without one.



 

1973Marshall

Member
Messages
6,759
Great question.

These days with all the import mini pedals on Amazon you could technically cheap out on everything. The Mooer and Donner stuff is scary good and the prices are insane whether it’s a a Yellow Fail Delay or a Hustle Drive or any number of variants. Buy one and go make a record then take it on tour. No lie.

Then if you’re dying for the Klon sound, well hate me all you want, the EHX Soul Food gets you in the game among other cheap options.

If you have more discerning tastes I’d argue that if you’re serious about fuzz as part of your sound, and not as a toy to do Cherub Rock or Purple Haze for a hobby, then that’s the place to focus on spend.

I’ve had the fortune of producing some nice sessions and the consistent thing I’ve found is a cheap fuzz is murder to slip into the mix. It’s one thing to admire your own sound but to really make someone else’s music work is eye opening. That and recording puts everything under a microscope.

Fuzz Face and Big Muff sounds are murder to get right. There’s times I’ve volunteered my own Analogman NKT275 when things weren’t working and that thing is magic - fixes the boomy lows, balanced, smooth in the top and cleans up like the records in the 60s. The EHX Big Muff reissues of late are incredible as is the JHS Muffaletta, though I’d say the EHX Green Russian alone can get a lot done.

Delays are another place to concentrate but many classics will work well like the Boss DD5 or EHX Memory Man. I’m a die hard for the Eventide and Catalinbread Belle Epoch. Either are worth every penny.

No doubt OD is a core tone for many and it’s essential to get it right but if we aren’t lying to ourselves, aside from fine shades, the TS808 and Boss SD1 still get it done... and cheap. Those have been on so many records it’s hard to count. They work with everything literally. That’s not to say they are perfect but an 808 into any amp you can imagine has made it onto some major record or live show that you’ve loved in your lifetime. Hey, I love pedals like The Dude, Eternity and BB Preamp so spend away if you must.

Distortion is another story. You might need to spend if you plan on getting your distortion purely from a pedal.It’s a search for sure. The Boss DS1 or MXR Distortion+ absolutely work but they were designed to goose old Marshalls thus as pedals they are harsh, toppy and lack mids. They can be awful into a clean Fender. This is where you really need the right box, kinda like the challenge with fuzz, so you aren’t sounding like a mess.

With Trem some of the worlds greatest have used the Boss Tremolo. Done deal.

Chorus is hard to say as it’s not as must-have as it used to be. The Waza CE2 is amazing but pricey. Eventide is worth a look too. With Phasers you can get the sound with many moderately priced reissues like an MXR Script Phase 90. Flanger is another story, hard to get a great one but unlikely it’s worth a huge spend unless you must sound like Andy Summers for a whole night.

Ok I’m gonna finish my coffee now :p
 
Last edited:

Benz2112

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,924
I use a $50 od, almost as much as I use a $250 one. Its nice to have the hot new fancy thing, but there are plenty of things that go under the radar. It is a matter of finding the right types of sounds for you.
 

LawrenceBr

Member
Messages
235
If I would start my pedal journey again, knowing what I know now, I would make sure every next pedal is good/high quality and gets me what I really want instead of something that gets me in the ballpark but is cheap(er). Because quality lasts.

That being said, of all the times I upgraded cheap(ish) pedals to more expensive pedals, I was especially amazed with a quality delay and quality reverb.
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,381
Will the awesome but overwhelming amount of pedals and pedal companies that exist today. When looking at pedal categories (distortion, overdrive, reverb, delay, modulation), which do you find is best to spend the most to get the most per pedal. For example, Is it better to go all in on great OD and maybe get a cheap delay or reverb that you can upgrade down the road? Or any distortion and OD will do in the sub $50 class, but getting a pristine delay is the best way to spend $200?
It really depends on your Budget and personal tastes. If you hear a sound that you love, and it works perfectly with your style, then I would say go with it up to your budget.

There are many small producers that nail a sound so perfectly, but due to the scarcity of components, the time it takes to build, the shear quality, and the limited production capability, they are expensive but totally worth it.

If your patient, the less expensive pedals are generally less expensive because they're mass produced. You will always be able to get a great deal on them used, just because of the shear numbers made. Patience is the key. Just look around reverb, and be ready to jump when you see your pedal at a great price.
Definitely agree with @RJS11 here, it's all about the sound and how it works for you. The frequencies don't know your budget.

In general I would say divorce sound from $ in your mind as you start your search. With forums like this, you can literally just Google "Best X pedal" and you will see some crazy long thread on TGP. I've done it more than once and it's given me so many pedals to check out of a specific effect. From there, just go crazy listening to them on YouTube and reading about the builder/company. The ones that grab your attention, listen to all the videos you can find. If you find a specific demo person that really does it for you, key in on them. A perfect example is Aleks K Productions or Joe Gore pedals. Never knew they existed until I saw them mentioned on TGP. Great stuff, and if you wait, you will find what you want used if the new price is too high.

Once you find the ones that make you :love:, then consider price. Just go down your list and decide "Do I love this one enough to pay X for it?". If it's too expensive, then go to the next one on your list.

Regarding going all in on a specific effect and cheap on others, I'd say don't do that. They are all connected to each other. So if there is one that you don't really like, it is going to shape the sound of the whole chain. Again, goes back to find only the stuff you like and then consider budget. If you have X to spend and have an OD, delay and reverb all on your list that you like, then decide, but never get a cheap pedal you don't like the sound of just because it's cheap.
 

hawk45

Member
Messages
10
Thank you all for the great advice and taking the time for the detailed replies. I'm just getting back into playing after a too long hiatus for no particular reason, except maybe just life in general, and I've found that gear has a way of re-sparking my interest. I am in the camp of researching for quality and investing in good gear that stands the tests of time, but also agree that quality is not necessarily tied to price. The past few weeks I've been occupying my coffee time with many a YouTube video from JHS and Aaron J Livecchi. SO much out there these days. I'm in no rush for anything in particular as I'm playing for my personal enjoyment. My previous setup was a Peavey Envoy Transtube 1x10 with a Line 6 POD XT Live. Outside of the XT Live being incredibly annoying to create presets with, it made some OK sounds for my needs. I moved on to trying pedals for a more simplistic approach and picked up a Digitech Bad Monkey and was gifted a Phase 90. Keep in mind this was 10-15 years ago. A few years back I got back into playing a bit and picked up a TC Electronic HOF Reverb, Flashback Delay, JOYO Ultimate Drive and Behringer Super Fuzz. I also picked up a Blackstar HT5 5 watt head around the same time. I've really not put enough time in with this setup yet to decide what really works and doesn't and how I want to move forward. I am a big fan of the "less is more" philosophy as well. I actually like the tone I get out of that little Blackstar w/o much assistance. Anyway, that's my background and where I'm at. Wanted this to just be a general topic though, not necessarily specifically for my needs as I know everyone has a different ear, gear and style of music. Thanks again and much appreciate the advice so far.
 

korgi

Member
Messages
654
Personally I go for quality over quantity, so I think it’s better to
Go slow and save up and buy the best you can rather than just fill your board with loads of half decent stuff - but that’s just me, it’s obviously not for everyone. But compressor: if you are going to buy a decent anything, then get a decent compressor (of course only if you need one!)
 

monty

Member
Messages
21,642
For me the best thing is go hard on a delay and grab the other stuff as your tastes change. I bought a DD500 a couple years ago and haven't sniffed another delay since after years of going through them. This one does pretty much anything I could imagine. Dirt boxes are cheaper than delays usually, and come in so many different flavors so you will probably want to have a bunch of those around.
Good question!
 

No_Stairway

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,757
As Fenderbigot pointed out od's/dist can be found under $100 that will work well.

If I wanted a great budget board I'd chose an SD-1, mxr Phase 90 but spend a little on reverb or delay (my budget board would be delay only and rely on my amps footswitch for reverb when needed). I love my very simple Greer Black Tiger delay I got in trade.
 

Hawkmoon269

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,450
It’s tough because the cheap stuff has gotten a lot better in recent years. In the past year I’ve purchased two pedals, a spring reverb and a tubescreamer clone, directly from China. They were about $25 each, shipping included. Both have a metal chassis and are true bypass, and both seem sturdy enough so far. And both meet my needs well enough, but if I decide to upgrade then I won’t feel bad about the money I’ve already spent.

So I guess my strategy is to buy one of everything I need (chorus, delay, compressor, etc) cheaply, and then upgrade the stuff I really like or the ones I tend to rely on. And since dirt pedals are so cheap and since I love them so much I have about a dozen of those.
 

Junco Partner

Member
Messages
466
Oversimplified generalization: analog designs are usually easy* to copy fairly closely, cheap digital stuff kinda tends to suck more often.

*with the exception being designs like fuzzes, Univibes, etc, that use rare, hard to source components and/or temperamental circuits that need to be biased or otherwise tuned in by someone with good ears who knows their stuff
 

Alabamarama

Member
Messages
302
Whatever sounds good with my rig. Prices are what they. I tend to find quality pedals for a hundred bucks. If I have to save a but more so be it. I just want my gear to fit my needs without ripping through my wallet.
 

KBN

Member
Messages
1,068
Budget delay and reverb pedals have always disappointed me. There are loads of great overdrives for good prices. There are also plenty of good, simple modulation pedals for very little money, though something more complex that sounds good is worth spending for. You don't have to pay $200-300 your great pedals though. The "latest and greatest" rarely is the greatest, but just the most expensive.
 

deceased

Member
Messages
178
As I get older I’m starting to appreciate the unprocessed sound of the guitar and composition enough that I don’t really think any pedals are worth spending too much on. If I lost my entire humble collection tomorrow, I’d probably just grab another SD-1 and DM-2w or cheap multi-fix at some point down the line and practice more in the meanwhile.
 

deceased

Member
Messages
178
Budget delay and reverb pedals have always disappointed me. There are loads of great overdrives for good prices. There are also plenty of good, simple modulation pedals for very little money, though something more complex that sounds good is worth spending for. You don't have to pay $200-300 your great pedals though. The "latest and greatest" rarely is the greatest, but just the most expensive.
Have you checked out the Behringer VD400? It’s a clone of the Boss DM-3. Great sounding, dark analog delay. Creaky plastic housing, but mine’s lasted a few years just fine.
 




Trending Topics

Top