Struggling with pedal board envy

Saltbath86

Member
Messages
202
I'm less envious of everyone's lovely, expensive pedals and more jealous of the ability to try and play a smorgasbord of different pedals. Living in a small town with a mostly acoustic music store, paired with the pandemic I can't really go out and test and turn knobs in real time. I'm envious of the ability to buy a bunch of pedals and A/B them.
I'd love to be able to just go somewhere and try stuff, like a real tape delay, or Fender 6g15
 
Messages
3,568
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.
Thank you so much for your insight. Appreciate it very much. These are very wise words :)
 
Messages
3,568
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
Very wise words. Thank you. It is definitely of my own doing. Whether it be Strymon, Ralph Lauren, BMW or Quiksilver, I search out those brands that think will make me feel better. I'll DEFINITELY feel better if I own a Corvette, right? Never mind the $1000 per month car payment that I can no way afford!
 
Messages
3,568
Prince had a simple board filled with simple pedals.
View attachment 282071
I'm just trying to say that you don't need boutique pedals and the hottest version(s) of [Insert Pedal Here] to sound amazing. It's doesn't matter. Don't let what others have take away your joy of playing. Rock what you possess at your fingertips...or feet.

Cheers!
I always love looking at this pedalboard. Thank you for posting it. Prince played Boss, Digitech and Line 6 pedals, played a Hohner Tele copy and oftentimes a standard Made-In-Mexico Stratocaster. And he did okay for himself :D
 
Messages
3,568
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 admire that attitude. The one thing I want more than anything in this world is to be good with who I am. To be good with what I have and not worry about what other people think.
 
Messages
3,568
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.
I love your suggestion. I remember when I first learned Blackbird and how excited I was. I think I'm going to break out the Breedlove and play some acoustic guitar music.
 

cam0122

Member
Messages
1,847
instagram pedal boards do nothing for me. i see them less as a tool to make music and more of a way to get likes on social media. hey guys i havent played guitar in months but i did rearrange my very expensive pedals and used a cool filter.. please validate me!!
Validated! Mind if we call you Bruce to keep things clear?
G'day, Bruce!
 

cam0122

Member
Messages
1,847
I went from no pedals on a board pre-TGP, to a few pedals on my first board when I first joined TGP:
View attachment 282094

I then felt just like the OP, and decided to fill it up. Traded my first electric guitar away and my big honkin' twin reverb for a CS Rosewood Tele and a '52 tweed princeton. And I should have STOPPED RIGHT THERE:

View attachment 282096 But oh, no. GAS had other designs on me. OP, take my advice, never let it get THIS bad:


View attachment 282098

When the pedalboard is bigger than the amp, it's time for some soul searching instead of tone searching.

These days my board is much more manageable, and is just right when it comes to the guitar-pedals-amp ratio in every way. Good stuff.

View attachment 282099 I do still have that Pedal Pal but it doesn't connect with this new board, so it might as well be a dinner plate. And the only stuff on there is my real situational pedals, a Champion fuzz, and my Janglebox compressor for my Ric 360-12 soirees.

Which klone is that? What is the pedal to its left?
Nice memory man! How old is it?
 

cam0122

Member
Messages
1,847
I went from no pedals on a board pre-TGP, to a few pedals on my first board when I first joined TGP:
View attachment 282094

I then felt just like the OP, and decided to fill it up. Traded my first electric guitar away and my big honkin' twin reverb for a CS Rosewood Tele and a '52 tweed princeton. And I should have STOPPED RIGHT THERE:

View attachment 282096 But oh, no. GAS had other designs on me. OP, take my advice, never let it get THIS bad:


View attachment 282098

When the pedalboard is bigger than the amp, it's time for some soul searching instead of tone searching.

These days my board is much more manageable, and is just right when it comes to the guitar-pedals-amp ratio in every way. Good stuff.

View attachment 282099 I do still have that Pedal Pal but it doesn't connect with this new board, so it might as well be a dinner plate. And the only stuff on there is my real situational pedals, a Champion fuzz, and my Janglebox compressor for my Ric 360-12 soirees.
Would you mind describing the signal path to the big pedal board picture?
 

skiltrip

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,352
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."
If it helps you any, know that you may or may not actually like those pedals that you are seeing once you actually get them. Not everything works for everyone. Some people adore the Flint, I thought it was just ok and I sold it off. People never mention the $30 Danelectro Cool Cat Tremolo, but that's my goto and I love it.

There's no harm in seeing what else is out there and curating your own ideal pedalboard over time. But the expensive stuff is rarely the best, and may not be the best for YOU. Try things out and stick with what makes you say "that's what I'm talking about". Maybe plan out what spots you need... like... 1 light OD, 1 heavier OD, 1 delay, 1 reverb, etc.... then work on filling those spots ONLY if you don't already have something you really like in that spot! If you have a light OD, no matter what it costs, and it makes you want to play, count that spot as full and move on.

Also know that even if you went and put a Flint, a Timmy, a BigSky, a Chase Bliss Brothers OD, and a Nemesis delay on your credit card right now, that would NOT be the end of it. There is no end. So proceed slowly, stay within your means, and stick with things you love.
 

RockDebris

Member
Messages
3,580
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 just try to be more impressed with what people do, not what they own. I know that's hard in the pedalboard Instagram culture. And even though I do own those Strymon's that you refer to, I also want people to be more impressed with what I do and not what I own.

When I was in college taking computer illustration courses, everyone had Macs and Adobe Illustrator, as is the norm. I was strapped for cash in a big way and at home I had Windows and CorelDraw. Our finals could either be done in the computer lab at school or at home, so long as we submitted the file in the correct format, it passed preflight check, judged based on the proof that was printed and how your choices translated into technically acceptable plates. I did mine at home despite all the snobbery (some of it perceived, some of it real) people had about which products you had to use. I ended up with the highest grade on my final. The results speak for themselves, and the results are rarely the tools that we choose.

Ownership of a ubiquitous piece of electronic gear is not a real achievement of any note. Doing something people like regardless of what gear you have is. And I do mean regardless ... some people think that judging people negatively just BECAUSE they have expensive pedals is somehow better. It's all silly, IMHO. Just go your own way and pick the things you like and can put to good use.
 
Last edited:

Tiresias

Member
Messages
70
I usually find that when I desire a pedal "just because", it almost never works out for me. It has taken a long time (and lots of money) to really learn what fits me, both musically and physically.

When I start to covet gear based on the seeming cool factor of other people's setups, I'm finally at the point where I can talk myself out of it because I'll already know whether it's going to be a good fit or not. I've got some big ticket boutique items living in their boxes, and I've got some run of the mill stuff that always seems to find its way back on my board..
+1. I went down an 'ambient reverb' window-shopping rabbit hole for a while before realizing that the only reason I was coveting one is because I was seeing them on all sorts of people's boards. Very little thinking about how I would actually use it in the music I play. Eventually realized that my amp verb + DMM are about all the 'ambience' I can handle for what I do.

I will say, at risk of sounding like I'm proposing a form of the problem as a solution, owning a Vox-voiced amp is great antidote to dirt pedal envy. No matter what the OD flavor of the month is, I know odds are it'll sound horrible through my amp...

The only pedals I let myself get fetishy about these days are fuzz. Love trying out different flavors when a good deal comes up. Always inspiring devices. I find it sometimes helps to sort out my motivation for getting something before springing for it—to fill a need? To simplify my setup? To improve on something I already have? Or to try out something fun and potentially inspiring?
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,805
Would you mind describing the signal path to the big pedal board picture?
In short, it runs through all the dirt and fuzz from the Pedal Pal first, then runs into a signal chain that I still use today - I blogged about it so here's an excerpt, the only change is some of the pedals in the "goopy time based effects" loop that the Japanese Apartment takes care of:


I’ve been enjoying Premier Guitar’s Rig Rundowns recently, and I thought to myself, why not get into the nitty gritty of a particular setup that I’ve been into recently. So, here’s the rig – a 1984 Gibson ES-335, a 1966 Fender Pro Reverb running in 4 ohms, a Fryette Power Station 2 attenuator, and a mess of pedals we’ll get into:

1A44DB74-2D07-45FD-BB5B-18AAA12B9BEA


The first step is the guitar. When it’s overdrive time I flip it to the bridge only, but my default is the middle position, where both buckers can do their thing. I roll a bit off the neck volume to cut the bass a bit.

E38EC99E-06F5-47B1-ADA7-16B0ED9D70D4


The signal goes to the first pedal in the chain, and the always-on pedal, the Ceriatone Centura Klon overdrive clone. Take a look at the settings –

8FAD8137-9E61-483F-A9AD-89ADD1A0320F


As you can see, I don’t use it as much for an overdrive as I do a line level boost with just a touch of gain to give the clean tone a bit of character, and the treble up a bit because the 300k pots that come stock in this Shaw-era ES-335 would otherwise keep things a bit too dark. This is also a good level to drive my swampier channel of time-based effects without overdriving them.

Ok, next is the early “breadboard” version of the Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive:

C557AD71-21C2-4FB8-91BF-0E05A5763B63


If I am not using the time-based effects, this is the last gain pedal in the chain before goosing the amp, so this pedal’s role is to serve to crank the amp up so you can get the amp’s own OD cooking, or I stomp on the boost (red) channel on top of it to get the Tim’s own rage in there, which is an amazing sounding paper tearing growl that I’ve been searching for and finally found. I was looking for it in fuzz pedals, but who knew it was lurking as a gain stage in a “transparent OD.” Here’s a trick – run the Tim not as a 9V but instead as a 12V from your power source (it’s a dip switch on the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus). Cleaner, bigger.

486DAD3E-A3E2-45B5-8DB6-2E883C487D3A


Next in the chain is this little guy, a Keeley Japanese Apartment. All it does is loop in the time-based effects, or I click and boom the loop is out of the chain. So yep it can go Tim to this to the Boss Reverb to the amp, or Tim to this to the time-based pedals back to this, to the Boss Reverb to the amp.

E3BB2288-C50F-4FC0-938D-4FCA274D924A


So this is the start of the time-based effects in the Japanese Apartment loop. This is an A/DA Flanger reissue, a PBF, which stands for PedalBoard-Friendly I believe. It runs off a normal 9V plug into the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus like all the pedals do (well, the CE-1 doesn’t and the DMM uses a special setup to get its juice from the PP2) and I have the settings set as above for a very slow light atmospheric swirl.

5DDF8754-D63E-43F5-AF0B-94EE533C92B7


This Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble is like having a Roland Jazz Chorus at will. It’s a monster sized pedal that runs off the mains and needed a tweak by Analogman to make it guitar-friendly instead of having a resistance made for keyboards. This is the setting that gets me that perfect chorus sound. I almost never use the vibrato side, unless I want to sound like Tom and Jerry. Some people like the level control’s overdrive – I hate it, so I set it just to give me the Centura’s line level and that’s it.

E730B4C7-3FA9-40E6-987A-29CDF6E0D9BF


Everyone has a different approach as to what the best default position is for their DMM. This one gives me the delay version of what I have going on in the flanger – a slow atmospheric swirl. The degeneration of the sound and how it tapers off is what makes the DMM’s footprint all worth it.

CF862BC4-B032-4BD9-B858-D59E0905A65A


Monster Effects has a few variants of this Swamp Thang out there, but this is my fave. The tremolo effect on this thing nails the sound of a tweed/brownface era Fender amp “vibrato” – it really is a strong throb, like you get from a tube-based bias-driven effect but without the tube and without the amp. The special sauce is the Speed button, as it slows things down by half, so it can go way slower (but still strong) than any Fender amp, and slower than any other analog-based trem pedal I’ve tried. Truly the secret weapon.

E151F365-69DD-478D-9D0E-D092B549E79A
So the time-based loop heads out of the Japanese Apartment, and lands on the Boss RV-6 Reverb. This pedal has a buffered bypass and an analog dry-thru, so I have full confidence that any goop coming from the time-based loop isn’t an unintended impedance problem, and when I want to just rage through with the Tim the Reverb won’t get in the way. I have it set to a real subtle Room setting, since the time-based effects get me that atmospheric stuff on its own, or I switch all that off and use the Centura signal and the Pro Reverb’s very nice blackface-era onboard spring reverb to get there.

2964303E-4C30-4D35-894E-D328AAF1550E


Speaking of which, I didn’t forget the amp settings for you. In this setup, I’m going into Input 1 of the Vibrato Channel, as it has more EQ shaping available plus it just sounds better. Check my earlier blog post on this amp to get some use out of the normal channel, by the way. Input 1 gives a brighter livelier sound than Input 2, especially with humbuckers like this ES-335 has (a difference in impedance, and a db pad I think) and I tame that a bit by turning the Bright switch off and adjusting the EQ knobs to taste. I like having the amp’s volume just at the edge of breakup, and I let the Tim dictate when to push the amp over the edge.
 

cam0122

Member
Messages
1,847
In short, it runs through all the dirt and fuzz from the Pedal Pal first, then runs into a signal chain that I still use today - I blogged about it so here's an excerpt, the only change is some of the pedals in the "goopy time based effects" loop that the Japanese Apartment takes care of:


I’ve been enjoying Premier Guitar’s Rig Rundowns recently, and I thought to myself, why not get into the nitty gritty of a particular setup that I’ve been into recently. So, here’s the rig – a 1984 Gibson ES-335, a 1966 Fender Pro Reverb running in 4 ohms, a Fryette Power Station 2 attenuator, and a mess of pedals we’ll get into:

1A44DB74-2D07-45FD-BB5B-18AAA12B9BEA


The first step is the guitar. When it’s overdrive time I flip it to the bridge only, but my default is the middle position, where both buckers can do their thing. I roll a bit off the neck volume to cut the bass a bit.

E38EC99E-06F5-47B1-ADA7-16B0ED9D70D4


The signal goes to the first pedal in the chain, and the always-on pedal, the Ceriatone Centura Klon overdrive clone. Take a look at the settings –

8FAD8137-9E61-483F-A9AD-89ADD1A0320F


As you can see, I don’t use it as much for an overdrive as I do a line level boost with just a touch of gain to give the clean tone a bit of character, and the treble up a bit because the 300k pots that come stock in this Shaw-era ES-335 would otherwise keep things a bit too dark. This is also a good level to drive my swampier channel of time-based effects without overdriving them.

Ok, next is the early “breadboard” version of the Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive:

C557AD71-21C2-4FB8-91BF-0E05A5763B63


If I am not using the time-based effects, this is the last gain pedal in the chain before goosing the amp, so this pedal’s role is to serve to crank the amp up so you can get the amp’s own OD cooking, or I stomp on the boost (red) channel on top of it to get the Tim’s own rage in there, which is an amazing sounding paper tearing growl that I’ve been searching for and finally found. I was looking for it in fuzz pedals, but who knew it was lurking as a gain stage in a “transparent OD.” Here’s a trick – run the Tim not as a 9V but instead as a 12V from your power source (it’s a dip switch on the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus). Cleaner, bigger.

486DAD3E-A3E2-45B5-8DB6-2E883C487D3A


Next in the chain is this little guy, a Keeley Japanese Apartment. All it does is loop in the time-based effects, or I click and boom the loop is out of the chain. So yep it can go Tim to this to the Boss Reverb to the amp, or Tim to this to the time-based pedals back to this, to the Boss Reverb to the amp.

E3BB2288-C50F-4FC0-938D-4FCA274D924A


So this is the start of the time-based effects in the Japanese Apartment loop. This is an A/DA Flanger reissue, a PBF, which stands for PedalBoard-Friendly I believe. It runs off a normal 9V plug into the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus like all the pedals do (well, the CE-1 doesn’t and the DMM uses a special setup to get its juice from the PP2) and I have the settings set as above for a very slow light atmospheric swirl.

5DDF8754-D63E-43F5-AF0B-94EE533C92B7


This Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble is like having a Roland Jazz Chorus at will. It’s a monster sized pedal that runs off the mains and needed a tweak by Analogman to make it guitar-friendly instead of having a resistance made for keyboards. This is the setting that gets me that perfect chorus sound. I almost never use the vibrato side, unless I want to sound like Tom and Jerry. Some people like the level control’s overdrive – I hate it, so I set it just to give me the Centura’s line level and that’s it.

E730B4C7-3FA9-40E6-987A-29CDF6E0D9BF


Everyone has a different approach as to what the best default position is for their DMM. This one gives me the delay version of what I have going on in the flanger – a slow atmospheric swirl. The degeneration of the sound and how it tapers off is what makes the DMM’s footprint all worth it.

CF862BC4-B032-4BD9-B858-D59E0905A65A


Monster Effects has a few variants of this Swamp Thang out there, but this is my fave. The tremolo effect on this thing nails the sound of a tweed/brownface era Fender amp “vibrato” – it really is a strong throb, like you get from a tube-based bias-driven effect but without the tube and without the amp. The special sauce is the Speed button, as it slows things down by half, so it can go way slower (but still strong) than any Fender amp, and slower than any other analog-based trem pedal I’ve tried. Truly the secret weapon.

E151F365-69DD-478D-9D0E-D092B549E79A
So the time-based loop heads out of the Japanese Apartment, and lands on the Boss RV-6 Reverb. This pedal has a buffered bypass and an analog dry-thru, so I have full confidence that any goop coming from the time-based loop isn’t an unintended impedance problem, and when I want to just rage through with the Tim the Reverb won’t get in the way. I have it set to a real subtle Room setting, since the time-based effects get me that atmospheric stuff on its own, or I switch all that off and use the Centura signal and the Pro Reverb’s very nice blackface-era onboard spring reverb to get there.

2964303E-4C30-4D35-894E-D328AAF1550E


Speaking of which, I didn’t forget the amp settings for you. In this setup, I’m going into Input 1 of the Vibrato Channel, as it has more EQ shaping available plus it just sounds better. Check my earlier blog post on this amp to get some use out of the normal channel, by the way. Input 1 gives a brighter livelier sound than Input 2, especially with humbuckers like this ES-335 has (a difference in impedance, and a db pad I think) and I tame that a bit by turning the Bright switch off and adjusting the EQ knobs to taste. I like having the amp’s volume just at the edge of breakup, and I let the Tim dictate when to push the amp over the edge.

This is good stuff.
Thank you.
 

Pure_Phase

Member
Messages
180
Most of my pedals live in a milk crate and usually only have about 4 on my board at any time. Less is usually more for me. Variety is nice, but have no need or desire for a massive pedalboard, and like others have mentioned, just because you have a bunch of pedals doesn't mean you have to have them all on one board.

I've since swapped the DD3 for a DM-2W. I Switch out the Blues Driver sometimes for an old RAT pedal or a Soul Food, but the Gain Changer never leaves the board.

 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
4,743
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."
It's common to see more $$$ on pedals at a church than Tom Bukovac brings to a session. He mentioned playing on a lot of P&W until they got tired of his "foul moth and heavy drinking".
I want to have amp envy from that clip but I don't want to cart that much gear and really, I am not close to that type of gig.
 




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