Struggling with pedal board envy


Silver Supporting Member
Thank you Riffa. And thank you everyone for your insights. @BlueLou said it best; if I'm buying an expensive pedal to make me feel better, it will work for a very limited amount of time. Frankly I'm going through a very emotional time with my divorce. And I'm looking for something to make me feel better. And expensive guitar gear won't do it. I've got some Boss pedals, some Dunlop pedals, some JHS pedals, some Digitech pedals, some Zoom pedals and a bunch of pedals from Amazon by Joyo, Caline, Mooer and Donner. And they all give me the sound I need. Maybe one day I'll invest in an expensive pedal that I really find inspirational. I'd love a good Tape Echo pedal someday. But being so emotionally charged, today isn't the best day for that.
So many thoughts on this subject... because lots have been there brother it's easy to go "overboard." Sorry to hear about your divorce also. I think it is about balance. What I feel like I can tell you with certainty is if it feels compulsive then it probably is.
I think you should try a Flint, but my suggestion is to do it to add another chapter in your journey if that's where you'd like to venture next, not because some P & W player has one and it looks killer on his airplane cockpit pedalboard the size of Rhode Island.

Glad to share any experience.
Edit: Not trying to sound preachy.
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Silver Supporting Member
You know, I buy fairly expensive pedals because I keep a small board and I like to have a few nice pedals on it. But, I have a friend who has probably 2x the number of “nice” pedals as me as well as a bunch of cheap $30 Amazon pedals. And I’ll tell you....there are some very good sounds in those cheap pedals! Having nice pedals can be fun but totally not necessary for good sounds I’ve learned, one of my favorite distortion tones I’ve heard came from one of his $30 Rat clones. And I have a 1981 DRV, so go figure.


Yes it is. Honestly, I don't even know why. I used to drink a lot (I haven't had a single drink in over a year, but that's another thread). I drank a fifth of vodka one night and the next day I discovered that I had changed my avatar to that. I left it - to remind myself of why I don't drink anymore. ;)
good for you!!

but... that does make it triple hilarious... flippin Gortons

I can see where a drunk guy might look up to Gortons... maybe something deep in my brain was triggered, lol.... I've had my moments, lol


Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Keep it simple. Everything I need for live use. I made the 3/4” board of pine, sanded rounded eges. fits in my laptop soft case. Takes up little space on those small stages. The One Spot $15 power supply is very quiet. 2 AC plugs for fan and powered monitor.....Less is more
View media item 187509
or for even smaller....

my recording board...that’s another story.....


I’m sorry to hear things are hard. I find that stressful times bring out the “desire to acquire” for me, too.
When I feel overwhelmed by “wants,” I try to put the electric guitars away and pick up the acoustic. That gives me the joy and reprieve of playing and helps me focus on learning. And once you’ve learned something like “Blackbird,” or “Mystery Train,” or “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” or “Something So Right,” that’s a treasure you’ll always have with you.
it's not about the gear.
develop your skill and technique.
then decide what colors you want to add to your palette: delay, reverb, modulation, etc.

TGP has a herd mentality and many seek validation in the form of acquiring the latest en vogue brand or pedal.
Strymon, Empress, Chase Bliss, etc aren't going to make you a better player or even give you better tone.
They're just tools.

I wouldn't get distracted with such things until you have an idea of what kind of music you want to make and what type of textures you want to explore.
Regardless- the pedals won't sound good until your playing is up to par.

If it is, then buy what you can afford and what you think will inspire you.
That's all there is to it.
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A little self reflection will show we are psychological victims of what the advertising industry would call priming. Priming suggests the more we are exposed to a brand, the more likely we are to want it. The company's that thrived during the Great Depression are the company's that doubled down on advertisement.

Even deeper reflection will reveal it's entirely our own doing. In this particular case, it's not the company's shoving advertising in our face, it's us looking for it! (i.e. "show your pedalboards" ; social media, etc)

With that said, I think a little envy is a good thing. Envy can eat you, or it can feed you. Channel that envy into goals and inspiration. It's a mindset thing

Side note: Since you mentioned the Flint. I've owned a Flint. Fantastic pedal. Turns out, I much prefer the Dr Scientist Reverberator which was 1/3 the price used. No longer own the Flint. Who woulda thunk

Don't ever make excuses why you can't have something you dream of... only you, stop dreams from coming true, not your family, surroundings , etc. So, fuel yourself with higher octane and go get it. You can do it.
Well said


Probably not the most popular opinion on TGP but for me Helix cured gas to an incredible extent. Don't get me wrong, I still have some very nice pedals along with it (KOT, CornishP2, Freqout, SuperPulsar) BUT I bought all but one of those before I got the Helix. With Helix, I can literally get anything my head can conjure quick and easy. It's also helped me see how yo can get the same results with different bits of kit. You don't need a KOT, you can get a very similar sound with other pedals and a bit of eq here and there.

Long story short, get a Helix. That's my 2 cents.

Sam Xavier

Never bothered me. I'm interested in what others use, insofar as what it could do for me. My board is mainly Boss with a few others here and there. Works for me. I'll add to it as funds allow but that's driven by my needs for particular effects.

Never cared about keeping up with the Joneses, envy or whatnot.


I know this is NOT the place to talk about this :D but I figure some folks out there would get where I'm coming from. I look at all your cool pedal boards on the forum here and struggle with envy. When I go to church on Sunday and see thousands of dollars of Strymon's and Timmy's I get envious. I often think "If I just buy that Strymon Flint" or "if I get that 200 overdrive pedal I'll be happy." I've got some decent pedals and frankly they all do the job I need them to do. But I guess there's a part of me that just wants to "fit in."
I know exactly what you are talking about. Especially in P&W you find all these fancy pedalboards.
But let me tell you this: I've spent many years chasing the perfect pedalboard. My board was evolving over the years, but finally last year I finished what I was planning for years: A custom built, two level board in cherry wood. Strymon, Chase Bliss, other boutique pedals, huge complicated true-bypass looper, all MIDI controlled. It's honestly the fanciest board I've ever seen. It does everything I want, has song presets, near endless sounds, my band mates got intimidated by that thing. But guess what happened after using it for a while? I got bored... Yes, it sounds stupid, but that's what happened. I have an amazing stereo amp setup with a vintage Fender and boutique AC-30 copy and I realized some day while playing live, I've reached the top with that, now what? I kind of ended up in a guitarist-midlife-crisis (I still have some years until the real one comes LOL). I was never using the pedalboard if I didn't need to and was just playing guitar directly into amp or unplugged. Then I realized it's more about finding your own voice than having the fanciest pedalboard. Found a great deal on a Dumble ODS clone and I've been hooked ever since. Now I play guitar directly into that amp with a simple analogue delay and simple reverb in the FX loop. It is so direct, it was almost painful to play at first because it shows every inconsistency and hesitation in my playing. But I found my own voice through it and that was very inspirational. Still have my big board, but it's only used if I absolutely need to.

Sorry to read about your divorce. Better times will come for sure, try to have patience and pull through. We all have to face hard times, but luckily these are only phases that pass. Try to shift your focus and energy on what you want to do or say as a guitarist instead of what pedal could do what. Every person has its own unique way of saying things that no one else can do. Focus on that and it will bring you more joy for sure.


I dont think I get envious, I love seeing other boards full of cool pedals. But I love my board. Everything on it is what I want on there.
I see boards that are definitly more expensive. But I'm like ,yeah it doesn't have my big muff or my rv5 on it etc.


Having many pedals doesn't mean you have to use them all in the same time. You could rotate, or use some of them for specific parts when recording, etc.

I have more pedals than I could reasonably afford, but for me it's not a visual addiction, it's an aural addiction. I just love to listen to different kinds of distortion. And there are so many - there's no end to it. Doesn't help if you're using pot or similar substances where your ears go into aural lust - just can't unstick them from the sound. A relatively innocent but regular nutmeg use can lead you to bankruptcy (almost did for me).


I like to keep my board(s) as small and portable as possible and keep on it only what I plan to use. Finding what works is most important IMO.


Pedals are tools, like screwdrivers. They elicit no emotions: only to the extent they help me do my job.

Plug a Fulldrive or a SD-1 into a JCM800. You'll forget all about those rare and costly booteek overdrives.

A Univibe or a ADA Flanger is better than drugs. What more could you want?

Fewer pedals, more girlfriends.
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