Thoughts to avoid pedal abuse

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by carltonh, Jun 27, 2006.


  1. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    I know I'm no pro, much less even a good guitarist, but I am assemblying my first pedalboard after 15 years of playing without one. Not that I haven't played with pedals. I used digital multi-FX before I got my first tube amp eight years ago. Since then, I would have at most one pedal between guitar and amp at the same time.

    1. Main rule: If you have a great great amp, (Pritchard in my case) then you will get better tone by turning your amp up and guitar volume down for a standard base clean tone than by having a gain pedal as your primary gain sound without using your guitar volume. Application of rule: You probably have the gain on your pedal(s) too high and too low on your amp.

    2. If you *need* to use more than one pedal at a time or event, like delay plus chorus, you might as well make a pedal board.

    3. If you are going to have a pedal board, you might as well experiment with as many pedals as you can, including gain pedals.

    4. If you are going to have gain pedals, you might as well develop setting to create tones you like so that you can play just through your pedalboard into any clean amp and get a predictably good tone dependent only on your pedals.

    And so I transition from recently straight to Pritchard amp, to guitar > modded Vox 847 wah > Throbak ODB > MI Audio BBD > Maxon Rotary Phaser > MI Audio Tube Zone > Barber DD w/ mod board > Arion SCH-Z > Digitech PDS 8000 > Pritchard

    I have to remember that despite 4 great gain pedals, my best base tone will be with them off and not let them take over my basic tone. Rule 1 & 4 should not be merged. Don't cross the two setting, keep them separate and you won't have any epiphanies that you can get even better tones by plugging straight into your favorite amp and end up selling all the pedals out of annoyance that they became a bad habit to hold back your tone.

    So any additional ideas or contrary thoughts?
     
  2. bchamorro

    bchamorro Member

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  3. analogmike

    analogmike Gold Supporting Member

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    5. If you ever drop your boutique pedals into a river of molten lava,
    let'em go, because, man, they're gone.

    -Jack Handey
     
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  4. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    Noooooo!!! My precious! :D
     
  5. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    Very well thought out post Carlton-thanks. I find no point of real disagreement, my main issue with point #1 is finding the spot where the amp is still clean enough to allow the use of time delay and modulation effects, but not so clean that I end up using an OD pedal 90% of the time...still experimenting with that ;)
     
  6. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Just a question;

    How do you use your PDS 8000??

    I have the 2 second pedal as well as the Echo+ and in my heyday, I had them slaved to 2 Korg drum machines. Patched to both delays w/a 'Y' cord from my guitar, I'd continuously sample & loop my playing, which would play back when triggered by the drum machines - sometimes the result was quite sublime.. usually not.

    Are you finding the sound quality's good enough to use the PDS as your main delay line?
     
  7. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    is this like from ghostbusters when you should NEVER, EVER cross the streams. that would be very very bad..
     
  8. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    I use it mainly just like a standard delay. I know there are lots of ways to use it that I'm not creative enough to do. I occasionally do simple loops, and it sounds incredibly cool for that. Mine is quite beat up, but I got it that way at a pawn shop for $30 around 1995 or so. I'm wondering if it could be powered with a Power-All's adapter as it uses an included AC power converter that says 11 volts, oddly enough. Being digital, I'm not sure it is safe to use a 9 volt adapter, but I worry cause the original AC adaptor gets rather hot when in use.

    I think the PDS8000 is about the coolest pedal that doesn't yet have a boutique clone version. It doesn't have any real competitor in current mass production or custom made. I might loan mine to a serious pedal maker if they wanted to try.
     
  9. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    :roll
    That's a good one. Though it might be more comparable to looping the speaker out of your amp into your pedals for a feedback loop.

    Seriously though, if you get a pedal board set up to sound its best through just any amp, then it isn't set up to sound best for *your* amp. And those settings crafted for use with any amp, if used with *your* amp, will sound best with your amp set to sound like just any amp! (This may sound circular, but it's not.) You have then nullified the qualities of your amp! So you *need* different pedalboard settings if you want your amp to sing in its own peculiar way.

    If you have a cheap SS amp you can try this by getting the best sound from your pedalboard from it, and then compare the best sounds and setting from your pedal through your Holy Grail amp. If they are the same, then your Holy Grail amp was way over priced, or you need to change your approach to pedal board settings, or your personal sound really is from your pedals and you don't need a Holy Grail amp cause you don't use it's abilities.
     
  10. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    I like this one.

    This one, also. It saves your fellow players from watching you play rocket scientist as you find all the jumpers, adapters and wall-warts to hook up your big bag of pedals. "Boarding" your pedals is the polite thing to do.

    Ack! No! At what point do you become more of a knob-twiddler, programmer and tap-dancer than a guitarist? And what about the signal degradation? You reach a point where the nuances of the guitar are lost to a couple dozen switches, jacks, plugs and however many buffers you have (or need) in your signal chain.

    I'm certainly not going to tell anyone who uses "as many pedals as [they] can" that they're wrong to do so. Some players make really good use of effects. Still others must use effects to duplicate a recorded sound created by another band. Sadly, some (no one here, I'm sure) use effects as a crutch...

    As you may have guessed, my philosophy is different. I have three pedals on my board - pedals that I can always find a use for because they don't make drastic changes to my basic guitar sound. I like to get as much expressiveness as I can through note choice, chord voicings, attack... and to a lesser extent guitar and amp settings.

    I can see where you're going with this, but I can't agree. It's a slippery slope from your "board into clean amp" approach down to "I may as well plug a modeller into the PA." And besides, there's enough variation among "clean amps" that you're probably not going to be able to find "universal" settings for your board.

    The tones that I like best are the clean tones; those are largely a function of guitar, amp and player.


    :AOK
     
  11. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    Good point. Though I didn't mean experiment with as many pedals as possible turned on at the same time. I meant more along the lines of adding and subtracting pedals over the years. Twiddling time doesn't count as practice either, so I can't imagine more than a dozen pedals ever needed, with almost all of them off almost all the time. Some might be part of your regular sound, but most would be one trick (sound) ponies.
     

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