The $500 Gig-able Pedalboard Challenge

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by al carmichael, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'm interested in hearing how different musicians would approach this theoretical problem: you have 500 bucks to buy five meat and potatoes pedals that will allow you to cover a gig that could include country, jazz, blues, classic rock and hard rock/metal. The pedals you select will be from these five categories:

    1. Compressor
    2. Overdrive
    3. Distortion
    4. Delay/Echo
    5. Clean boost

    I'm leaving out wahs, chorus/vibe, phasers and fuzz tones, but lets say you could sub a chorus for a delay (one time based effect) or a fuzz in place of a distortion.

    The idea is that we are looking for as much overall quality from the five pedals as we can get for $500 total.

    There are SO MANY choices these days, I'm curious as to how different players would approach this based on their experiences, since we've all probably gone through some cheap pedals and some rather expensive ones. What are your choices?
  2. subversivepinko

    subversivepinko Member

    Mar 14, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Interesting challenge, and the replies should be useful to some guys around here that have tighter budgets, myself included.

    I'll assume we're talking new value here, and opposed to "I saw it once on eBay for next to nothing" values.

    Compression: Barber TonePress, $140
    Overdrive: Digitech Bad Monkey, $40
    Distortion: Proco Rat RI, $90
    Delay: Digitech DigiDelay is a favorite, but for sheer delay options and other modulation effects to boot the Yamaha MagicStomp comes in as a better value at $100.
    Boost: Hellbaby, $110

    And you've still got enough left over for some beer.
  3. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Los Angeles, Ca
    The only problem with your challenge from what I can see is:

    1) No pedalboard listed (or is it a given that you have one already?)
    2) Power supply for the pedals (or is that covered in #1?)
    3) Cables (good ones)
    4) Velcro to stick them down
    5) Carrying case/bag included? (#1 again?)
    6) Are they all true bypass pedals to keep them from sucking as much tone as possible?

    I wanted to go this same route with my demo pedalboard earlier this year. I'm not a big pedal user, either, so you're idea was appealing.

    I'll pull out the wah/flanger/chorus/OD pedal for some Hendrix, but mostly I'm using a clean boost in front of my amp for solos, and that's it.

    Even then, I arrived at two different OD's, plus your other items listed. If you take off the volume pedal, tuner and ABY box, my pedalboard came in right under $1300. If you take off the 2nd OD, we're down to $1100.

    Granted my pedalboard isn't top of the line, or bottom of the line, but the components and pedals on it are pretty close, so I guess if you can live with a "giggable" setup, and don't mind compromising on some pedals/parts/etc. it can be done.

    I just think it will be very hard.
  4. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    under the stars
    Just off the top of my head, getting combo pedals would save money, and space.

    I fell in love with Visual sounds' weird shaped pedals.

    So for example a Jekyll & Hyde would give you overdrive ANd distortion in one.

    The Route 66 would give you compression and an overdrive in one.

    The H20 (though you didn't mention wanting it) would give chorus ANd delay/echo (and I love this echo).

    Power supply. I would get a Carl Martin Big John. At least here in Norway it is much less expensive than "the Brick" though there are others maybe also out there that are even less expensive.
    Powers 7 units.

    Clean boost...I would get a Zvex double...I forget what they are called, but they are a doubling of his popular "Super Hard-on" pedal...that could get you clean boost AND distortion in one.

    I think if you are setting the limit on price, but want quality again, get "double duty" pedals like these. Saves space in the long run (well...the Visual Sound pedals are pretty big though)...and it is all compact.
  5. erksin

    erksin Member

    Nov 17, 2004
    Good suggestion!

    I picked -

    Visual Sound H2O (around $150)
    Timmy ($100)
    MI Audio Blues Pro ($89)
    MXR DynaComp ($75)
    MXR Micro Amp ($75)

    Stacking any of the ODs/boost/compressor should get you into hard rock territory. I think there is some overlap having a clean boost and a comp, but those were the parameters...
  6. cuz/karl

    cuz/karl Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2004
  7. b_rad

    b_rad Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2004
    Big Thicket
    Let's see...

    1. Compressor - Squeeze Factor (doubles as compressor or clean boost) $129
    2. Overdrive - Barber Direct Drive or Timmy (both great choices) $99
    3. Distortion - H&K Warp Factor $50
    4. Delay/Echo - Digitech Digidelay $99
    5. Clean boost - Hellbaby (doubles as overdrive) $119

    Total = $496
  8. Leonardo

    Leonardo Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    1. Compressor - MXR Dyna Comp ($75)
    2. Overdrive - ToneFactor Hellbilly ($119)
    3. Distortion - Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion ($135)
    4. Delay/Echo - Digitech DigiDelay ($99)
    5. Clean boost - Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster ($75)

    Total $503.
  9. amper

    amper Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Only $500? Why bother?

    Here's something much more useful:

    1. Compressor - Demeter Compulator $250 (or similar...I have no particular affinity for compressor pedals)
    2 & 3. Overdrive/Distortion (no need for two here) - Blackstone Appliances MOSFET Overdrive 2S - $225, or Mesa/Boogie V-1 Bottle Rocket - $200, (or similar...OD/DS/FZ pedals are like opinions...but those two are my faves)
    4. Delay - Boss DD-20 GigaDelay - $230
    5. Clean Boost (why you would want this if you already have nice OD/DS pedals is beyond me, but...) Z.Vex Super Duper 2-in-1 $280

    Figure $250 each for high quality effects, for a grand total of $1000 or so for the above effects. I wouldn't bother with anything else.

    If you want to substitute or add a fuzz...Analogman Sun Face w/ NOS NKT275's and Sun Dial - $235. And I wouldn't play without a Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah - $260.
  10. D.G.

    D.G. Member

    Jan 22, 2004
    Portland, OR
    SansAmp GT-2 ($167) - metal/hard rock
    Barber Direct Drive ($120) - blues/fusion/country/classic rock
    EB JR. Volume Ped. ($70) - I just gotta have one!
    Line 6 Echo Park ($150) - I'd prefer the DL4 but that'd put me $100 over

    Total: $507
  11. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    I appreciate the mental/fun exercise you're trying to push, but I think you're leaving out the most important thing - the amp. Certain amps can cover (or obviate the need for) 1,2,3, and 5. Does that mean I can dump $500 into a delay?
  12. studio8000

    studio8000 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Long Beach, CA
    i did something like that. so i'll contribute.
    i wanted a budget board, light weight, small, just a few pedals for practices and stuff. this is what i came up with and the cost for all of it....

    Pedalworx McSqueeze Compressor - $90 used
    Nobels ODR-1 - $60 used
    MXR EVH Phase 90 - $85
    Sweet Sound Booster - $90
    SIB Mr Echo - $99

    Dunlop DC Brick - $75 used
    Lime Green Cutting board - $7
    some extra Line 6 cables i had lying around. but i guess each end is around $4.00 so 8 x $4 = $32.00

    total cost = $538.00
    oh yea, and the velcro... i buy it in a big pack.. so probably only a few cents to attach the pedals. and i used some amp feet i had lying around to screw into the bottom of the board to raise it a bit.

    i guess i could have gone several different ways with some of the pedals and still been at around the $500 mark. but for my "cheapo" board, this works. and the pedals sound pretty darn good too.

  13. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    There are some great and thoughtful responses so far! The dual type pedals are something I hadn't thought about either. Plus, a lot of suggestions for certain pedals that I haven't used, but seem to keep coming up, like the Digitech Digidelay in the $100 ballpark.

    Studio 8000 has the right idea--maybe you just want a small board for those one nighters or rehearsals. Sure, some can spend a grand or two (and good for you if you have that much disposable cash,btw) but a lot of us have to stick to a budget, looking for the most bang for the buck. So, mainly what I was looking for is what other players would choose, given a $500 ceiling.

    And, yes--if your amp already gives you overdrive and distortion, maybe you don't need those pedals.

    I've got two small boards that work well for me (YMMV) (most likely! LOL!)

    Fulltone Fulldrive ii
    Pro-co Rat
    MXR Micro-amp

    this came in at under $500 thanks to a couple used pedals

    Modded Boss CS-3
    Tubescreamer (modded to 808 specs)
    Pro-Co Rat
    Ibanez Echo Machine
    MXR Micro Amp

    This one was even less.
  14. studio8000

    studio8000 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Long Beach, CA
    yea, it's great to have a small board that doesnt cost that much, is light weight and doesnt take up that much floor space. great for rehersals, small gigs, coffee shops, or short spots in a line up of multiple bands. plus, i dont always feel safe taking my larger set up which is worth... well, a lot...
  15. Cusack Effects

    Cusack Effects Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    Holland, MI
    1. Compressor - Any Boss pedal Bypassed ($25)
    2. Overdrive - Cusack Screamer ($150)
    3. Distortion - Cusack Screamer Fuzz($175)
    4. Delay/Echo - Dan Echo ($99), or Sub in a Small Stone ($75).
    5. Clean boost - No opinion, I don't use one.
  16. amper

    amper Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    If you really want maximum bang for the buck, and you're really limited to $500...get a couple of MagicStomps and be done with it. Two of those in series will give you just about any combination of effects you can dream up.

    But, assuming you're really limited in funds and you want authentic can dispense with the compressor, use the distortion from your amp, and forget the clean boost. Put your money into the delay and get a wah. The only problem you might run into is if your amp only has one channel, or no reverb. If you're trying to be flexible and cover all those styles with one setup, you'll need at least two channels, and reverb in the amp.

    Compressors are of very limited utility outside of a recording studio. Overdrive, distortion, and clean boost all do exactly the same thing, just varying degrees of it. Nothing else will substitute for delay, chorus, or wah, if the song demands it.

    So, assuming you have a channel switching amp reverb (bonus if it has tremolo or chorus, as well), buy a delay and a wah, and add other things later.
  17. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

    Jul 5, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    all these prices don't include shipping. Modding is where it's at, baby.

    Boss DS-1 (I got one for 30 bucks on ebay) and mod it with indyguitarists mod ($15). This includes a number of different mods, your choice which one to install. Some soundclips:
    Tube Emulator:
    Classic Rock:

    Timmy ($100)

    Boss CS-3 ($30 on ebay) with this mod ($20). It's on par with the keeley compressor:

    Delay: Ibanez DE-7 ($70)

    boost: Catalinbread Super Chile Picoso (seems most folks on HC paid $120 for it. I paid 145 CAD, if that helps).
  18. studio8000

    studio8000 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    Long Beach, CA
    all the prices i listed either included shipping, or were local deals through stores, or private sales.

    i agree on the Ibanez DE-7 for a cheap delay. sounds pretty good for the money. can get them for under $50.
    for a good budget chorus, the Boss CE-2 is pretty good. and a used Arion SCH-1 if you can find it.
    i'm quite pleased with the Nobels ODR-1 for overdrive. and it was only $65! get a good range of gain, so i dont need two gain pedals on that little board.
  19. CharlieNC

    CharlieNC Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    Fort Bragg
    this is easy, i've rarely ever had more than $500 to spend on anything in my whole life. i took out a personal loan to buy my Dr. Z

    $ 30 Boss DS-1 on ebay
    $ 50 Ibanez TS-9 on ebay
    $100 Boss DD-5 on ebay
    $ 10 Tap tempo switch for DD-5
    $ 60 Vox 847 on ebay
    $ 70 TU-2 on ebay
    $ 20 1spot power supply
    $ 20 Roland 8 plug daisy chain cable
    $ 20 pack of 6 peavey patch cables assorted colors
    $100 Core Pedal board Case
    $ 10 Velcro at Lowes

    Grand Total: $490 with $10 left over.

    i nearly forgot about the tuner, had to recalculate my purchases accordingly
  20. somedude

    somedude Member

    May 30, 2004
    South of Heaven
    1. I don't use compression
    2. I use my amp
    3. I use my amp
    4. Maxon AD999
    5. I use the volume knob on my guitar

    Total cost, ~$356.95

    Plenty of money left over for a bottle of Crown Royal. :)

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