Why don't all professional guitarists use a looper/switcher system to avoid losing tone when using many pedals?

jamester

Gold Supporting Member
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7,807
I don't want the extra size, cabling and power tap required to add a switcher on my board.

Also I prefer stomping the actual pedals for live playing, as they are easier to see (different colors and box sizes/shapes) and I am in control of their spacing.

With switchers I have a row of identical switches on a black strip equally spaced, I feel like there is more potential for mistakes in the heat of battle.
 
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7,062
I don't want the extra size, cabling and power tap required to add a switcher on my board.

Also I prefer stomping the actual pedals for live playing, as they are easier to see (different colors and box sizes/shapes) and I am in control of their spacing.

With switchers I have a row of identical switches on a black strip equally spaced, I feel like there is more potential for mistakes in the heat of battle.

Another great point. Especially when you sing a lot. The heat of battle takes your eyes off the ball a bit more.
 

Hawkmoon269

Irrational Digitech Fanatic
Silver Supporting Member
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3,608
I think it’s because hobbyists tend to be fussier than pros.

I was watching the Rig Rundown with Slash’s tech and he uses the MXR M234 chorus, and the interviewer asked if he has problems with the bypass tone, and he responded with something like “No, I just turn the treble on the amp up a little bit.”

:dunno
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
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24,566
Because some of us only use 5 or 6 pedals true bypass and we don’t lose tone…
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
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20,465
Just imagining the effort needed to route cable for a 10 pedal with 10 loop switcher makes me want to puke.
I have ten pedals on my board. I used a looper. I used it to check if the pedals were affecting my sound. Found out they weren’t.

I rest easy knowing that. I don’t even have to adjust my amp for the pedalboard, there is virtually no difference in the tone. I did the test blind, and no diff.

Also, running pedals in a looper can have unexpected results. If you loop in suddenly a buffered pedal (say one with two pedals in the loop) maybe that could affect the tone as well.
 

Magnets And Melodies

Silver Supporting Member
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7,311
The short answer is, they have found other ways to compensate, through their gear selections and settings.

A good example is Kirk Fletcher. He went on TPS and had Dan set him up with a Quartermaster. Kirk seemed genuinely shocked at the sounds he was getting with everything set the same as without the switcher, and it all sounded gainer and brighter than I associate with Kirk. So now, with his new and improved pedal set up, he has to go from the ground up retweaking his pedals he has already put time into dialing in, and maybe needing to replace a thing or two to get where he likes to be.

It's all relevant. I love switchers due to the functionality they give me, so I build my rigs around them. If a player is accustomed to doing things without the switcher and doesn't value the function, it is absolutely possible to get amazing tone without one, as every guitar hero before the rack craze can testify to.

Jimmy Page, Hendrix, SRV, etc. etc. never had one, and I happen to think they sound pretty darn good.
Those guys also used max 3 pedals at a time.
 

Magnets And Melodies

Silver Supporting Member
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7,311
Personally, if there's more than 5-6 pedals, I'm getting a switcher.

Particularly one that can do pedal reordering on the fly.

That particular feature alone pays for itself in the time it saves me unplugging and plugging in pedals. It opens up a ton of possibilities that would take so much time to experiment with without a switcher. Not to mention saving and being able to access any of those arrangements with presets. No tap dancing ever again. No physically rearranging pedals ever again.

Then if you want to run stereo rigs or other stuff... it can save a ton of money and headaches too if you get the right switcher.
 

tele_jas

Member
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4,027
Not a professional here, but a pretty steady weekend worrier for the pat 25 years (with some hopes of making it big in the 90s/early 2000s).

I had my tone dialed in the way I wanted it, sounded perfect... I used that base tone for years and I guess I got used to the "tone suck", because when I finally got a looper/switching system I hated my tone!?

I had just become so accustomed to adjusting my amp and pedals around the tone suck, that it became a part of my sound.

Now, I do make sure I have at least one buffer at the front of my chain and one towards the end...which luckily, some of the pedal builders are now including a buffer circuit you can switch in our out (Wampler, TC Electronics). I still have a dedicated buffer pedal at the front, mounted under my pedalboard though. This doesn't take up any extra room or require another dozen to 18 patch cables, so I can still use my (roughly) 12x24 pedalboard. When I run direct to my amp, I can still tell there is a bit of tone suck, but nothing I can't compensate by turning up the treble and cut a little.
 

PierreBTGP

Member
Messages
16
Hello,
_ As some said, it is all aout the quality of the "active" buffers inside the pedals...
_ In the case of passive "TruBypass" it is ok: if you have even 15 pedals in chain with quite short 20cm between them, you add "only" 3 meters of your existing overall cable lengh, that is ok for most case...
(If not, just an insert one Buffer pedal first: just after the guitar)
 

jorricustom

Member
Messages
434
I only see the advantage if it has presets and/or you like turning many pedals off at once (putting many in one loop can do that). Considered it once, but i want to change knobs too and most my pedals dont have MIDI so it would be a bit pointless.

Or of course, everything is vintage sucky-bypass...something like that.
If its true bypass pedals, the looper probably degrades more than all the pedals! Unless you just have one for all- for some "almost straight to amp" level of crazy obsession.

Some have racks filled with pedals like edge or kevin shields having to sort thru about a hundred. Or pedalboards made of rack units...Suppose that's another scenario.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
10,796
It's going to come down to what the individual user prefers. If you don't mind some tap dancing either during or in between songs then you don't have a problem. A buffered pedal somewhere in there usually takes care of any tone loss issues.

People start to go to loop switchers when their setup has gotten complicated enough that tap dancing becomes a problem or they want to keep their pedals etc in a rack and just have the switching at the front of the stage.

You can probably find just as many players with loop switcher systems if you start looking.
 

Strat_lover

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,046
Those guys also used max 3 pedals at a time.

They were just a few that popped into mind. OP mentioned Frusciante, a player with an enormous board that I don't think anyone would say "sounds bad." And while the pedals were few, let's not forget the quality of bypass in the old Univibes and such that Jimi and SRV used... and let's not even talk about their cables!!!

Point is, there are people that have managed to get amazing sounds without them, because that's how they've designed and built their rig to function. Guys like you (and me, I'm a switcher guy too) designed around using them. Just different approaches, both equally valid.
 

kombi1976

Member
Messages
688
Switchers are useful if you have to cover a ton of ground and switch midi and amps as well. I can see that as necessary on some pro gigs but in others I’d say it’s unnecessary. If I built a studio board it’d have a true bypass strip switcher like the Gigrig Quartermaster. Switching through the presets or separate pedals on a system like the RJM PBC is not as simple.

As far as true bypass and tone goes, the audience don’t care. The sound guy doesn’t care. Your bandmates really don’t care. And if you can’t hear yourself the way I couldn’t yesterday afternoon then you may as well be Beethoven. Even recording isn’t an accurate reflection if you have tinnitus/hearing damage the way many of us do. More and more I’m thinking that advanced FX units like the Helix or GT1000 or, if you have the money, Kempers, etc are the best idea with IEMs.

The only time you can really worry about ”tone” is when you aren’t trying to cover a TON of ground for different songs and you’re playing a specific style of music e.g. blues, metal, classic rock, etc, where you use 3, maybe 4 sounds and you aren’t tap dancing.

Mind you, if you have roadies and are playing huge gigs, well, I guess the sky is the limit. But it just becomes more to break.
 
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1,267
I think some of it is the issues raised above, but some of it is likely because they are focused on practical issues in touring rigs in a band context at gig volume rather than minutia that can only be heard with a guitar being played in isolation under a level of scrutiny that never occurs in real world musical situations.

Same reason I gigged the same amp for a decade and became unhappy with it only after I stopped gigging. :)
I agree. this is the answer to half the questions posed on TGP.
 

amper

Member
Messages
1,928
Hey guys :)
since the looper/switching systems like the G2, Boss ES8, One Control Crocodile etc. have become extremely popular within the last couple of years, I wonder why not every pro guitarist, who uses a lot of pedals before the amp, uses a switcher? There are many advantages to it like it keeps the signal as clean and "tone saving" as possible. When I used my 10 pedals in line before the amp and switched them all off and then played through the amp it felt there was a blanket over my amp (although I had high quality buffers in the pedal chain). When I purchased a G2 it felt much more like I was plugging the guitar directly to the amp.

What about John Mayer or John Frusciante for example? They use a huge pedalboard but without any switcher and their tone is just phenomenal in my opinion? Do the pros who do not use any switcher have another trick to not lose too much signal when playing a lot of pedals? Maybe through some rack unit or something? Or is it just because they play so loud or compensate the tone loss by turning up the treble more (Since you lose some high end when playing through a lot of pedals in line).

What about your experiences with playing a looper/switching system? Did it enhance your tone?

I am looking forward to your answers! :)

Best,
godeluxe
Because contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, use of a true bypass loop switcher does not necessarily equate with better quality sound, and may under many, if not most, circumstances, actually substantially *degrade* the quality of your sound.

Realise this: for every pedal you put into a loop on a true bypass loop switcher, you are adding anywhere from a half metre to a full metre of additional cable and additional cable capacitance, plus all the internal wiring distance within the switcher.

In addition, loop switchers are generally large, expensive, heavy, and complex, and might not actually be more useful than a different pedalboard design which might obviate the need for a switcher, in the first place.
 




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