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

Messages
828
Seems like a really expensive solution marketing itself to a problem it made up to justify its existence.

More complicated, more cables, more wiring, more power requirements, more space, more money.

How much is avoiding perceived 'tone suck' worth to you? Well, I'm sure the people who make and sell them can work with your budget if it's big enough.
 

Alex Thump

Member
Messages
5
A lot of it has to do with quality of the pedals, and understanding buffering and their place in the chain. Not all pedals are buffered, some are, some are selectable, and some have variable buffers. A lot of guitarists don't understand buffering and pedal order, as it's a little bit of sorcery.
Yup - test, rearrange, test, rinse & repeat of you've got a big board.
 

D4vidgd

David
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
248
But realize this: only the cabling for the loops that are ON are in your signal chain, so unless you have most pedals on all the time - and I suppose some players do - you end up with LESS cable in your chain when using a switcher, because all the unused loops are completely taken out of the equation.

As for the internal wiring in the looper, it’s typically either trace on a PCB or unshielded wiring between relays (or other switching mechanism) - neither of which has capacitance like shielded cable and therefore is not a concern.

Agree and one good buffer would make up the loss from extra capacitance if all were turned on.
 

kombi1976

Member
Messages
688
Seems like a really expensive solution marketing itself to a problem it made up to justify its existence.

More complicated, more cables, more wiring, more power requirements, more space, more money.

How much is avoiding perceived 'tone suck' worth to you? Well, I'm sure the people who make and sell them can work with your budget if it's big enough.
It depends on which looper you have. Some of the very basic ones may not make much difference. But if you use midi gear, or want to switch pedal order, which I do frequently, or like to program set lists, or have many songs to play, then a looper like the RJM PBC is very valuable. Especially if you have to sing and play. Are there many pros that sing and play? Maybe not. I'd say it was a solution for using old pedals that really are problematic in a long chain of pedals. Maybe the new crop don't need it.
 

jwny72

Member
Messages
3,106
I think it's odd that cleaning up "tone-suck" is the perceived selling point of something like the GigRig G2. To me, it's presets, volume correction for pedals that boost or cut when you don't want it, midi control, and the ability to do w/d or w/d/w with relative ease.

That said, I ditched that system and use a modeling rig now...
 
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kombi1976

Member
Messages
688
I think it's odd that cleaning up "tone-suck" is the perceived selling point of something like the GigRig G2. To me, it's presets, volume correction for pedals that boost or cut when you don't want it, midi control, and the ability to do w/d or w/d/w with relative ease.

That said, I ditched that system and use a modeling rig now...
Having set up a full board, first around an ES-8 which needed the main PCB replacing under warranty, and upgrading to a RJM PBC 6X (as I couldn’t trust the ES-8), I’m seriously considering downsizing and either going to mini pedals or to a modeller/multi-fx system. It’s the weight. At 21 you don’t care. At 49…..I’m getting soft.
 

jwny72

Member
Messages
3,106
Having set up a full board, first around an ES-8 which needed the main PCB replacing under warranty, and upgrading to a RJM PBC 6X (as I couldn’t trust the ES-8), I’m seriously considering downsizing and either going to mini pedals or to a modeller/multi-fx system. It’s the weight. At 21 you don’t care. At 49…..I’m getting soft.
I'm the same age, and feel the same!
 
Messages
1,724
I think it's odd that cleaning up "tone-suck" is the perceived selling point of something like the GigRig G2. To me, it's presets, volume correction for pedals that boost or cut when you don't want it, midi control, and the ability to do w/d or w/d/w with relative ease.

That said, I ditched that system and use a modeling rig now...

I agree with all of this. I set up a Boss ES-5 because I wanted something that could turn multiple pedals on and off at the same time, and change presets through MIDI. It’s especially useful if you’re singing and playing at the same time, in a band that uses lots of different effects. Tone was never my concern. If you just need one pedal at a time though, it’s probably just not worth the hassle of creating all the presets, or in your John Fruscisnte example, if they’re jamming every night he probably would rather be able to turn things on and off as needed, instead of wanting specific presets.
 

GuitarGordon

Member
Messages
45
I use some double pedals. TIM, KOT, Protein, ARDX20. How could you incorporate a switcher with these? I'm tap dancing enough. Wouldn't it take two stomps instead of one?
I use a Boss ES-8 switcher on my board. I have my ARDX20 post switcher. Since it has a great sounding buffer, I leave the pedal always ON. I have an expression pedal plugged into it which allows increasing the amount of the effect from completely off to 100%. With one stomp of the A/B switch, i can switch sides. A is “slapback”, B is more of an Echoplex type sound. Amaze 1 is always available for tap on B side. Hope that gives you some ideas.
My KOT is a 4 jack, uses two loops.
9FFE19F9-A893-4D45-9742-348846C0EBAB.jpeg
 

killer blues

Member
Messages
4,244
it's all about proper impedence matching between pedals and the combined impedence of all fx going into your amp. there is a rule of thumb for this. I'd imagine guys like Mayer and frusciane can afford top electronics te hs to get their boards right.
 
Messages
141
I guess i'll be the one to say it..

"True-bypass loopers are insanely overpriced".. even the most basic ones.

The most basic 5+ looper will set you back a few Ben Franklins, easily.. that's ridiculous. That's the main reason people don't use them.

Thankfully I scored a Loop-Master for a fair price, used of course. There's no way I'm paying $350+ from Loop Switchers or somewhere else.. I'll build five of them on my own time for that kind of price.
 

John Mark Painter

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,968
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
One thing that comes up for me is that I might have pedals that are definitely altering the tone and I am not using them constantly.

If they were a fundamental, I set up for them. But if not….I either disconnect them from my my recording board or I use a switcher for those.

I’ve had “group loops” with a few extreme garage tone fuzzes. And one for a few mods like small clone/stone/jet phaser etc rather than a separate loop for each one
 

ultrasun

Member
Messages
422
I'm using 13 pedals and no switcher... If I plug my guitar straight into the amp, I get the exact same clean sound. I've been a pro player for 20 years and I've never really experienced tone suck. maybe I'm lucky? Whenever I come up with a new board, If I like the tone I'm getting, I don't bother comparing.
-I think that a lot of players want to feel free. When you start using switchers, you kind of enter a different state of mind, and you can feel "stuck" with your board. What if you're using so many sounds that you don't have one switch available for each sound? You will have to juggle through all the loops and pedals thinking things like "oh this is sound #7 but without the chorus pedal within the same loop". Then, 15 minutes later it's sound#7 but with the chorus on, so you have to remember turning it on again. You're sometimes better off with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get board.
-I believe switchers are great if you're on the road for a long time, and you need tremendous changes of sounds (turning off 3 pedals and turning on 2) at a very fast pace, but most of all, with the kind of tour where you're just "doing your job". Like, it's not your own band, you're a sideman, so you want to be "perfect". In that case switchers are probably ideal. But if you're touring a lot with your own band, it's a different situation: you're kind of starting with a clean plate every night, and the music might differ, you might emphasize this or that, add an effect on a whim etc... depending on where the music takes you. In that case, a switcher is your enemy; it will make spontaneous improvisation a nightmare.
-To be fair, watching a few rig rundowns is very interesting. A lot of pro players might have pedals in front of them, but they still have a tech guy doing the switching backstage! (see The Black Keys).
 
Messages
295
I guess i'll be the one to say it..

"True-bypass loopers are insanely overpriced".. even the most basic ones.

The most basic 5+ looper will set you back a few Ben Franklins, easily.. that's ridiculous. That's the main reason people don't use them.

Thankfully I scored a Loop-Master for a fair price, used of course. There's no way I'm paying $350+ from Loop Switchers or somewhere else.. I'll build five of them on my own time for that kind of price.
I was going to say the same thing. :wave

A good looper can cost more than most touring professionals' entire pedalboard, and most musicians are not as wealthy as hobbyists. It's a luxury they may not be able to afford (literally).
 

RolandKorg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,849
Costs money. Takes up a lot of board space. Added complexity. It’s never obvious that it is needed. As you said, ‘most pros aren’t using them, so why would I?’
 

tgp_noob

Member
Messages
221
One thing I tend to think about "tone suck" is sort of a trcik of the definition...
If it's unwanted it's tone sucking
If it's wanted or inherent then we call it voicing

a typical instrument speaker like for a guitar amp is tone sucking compared to a high fidelity speaker...but the latter used on, say, guitar, a lot of ppl would say is icepicky or nasal etc etc
but we say the guitar amp speaker is "voiced"

or take a fuzzface type fuzz that "doesn't play well with buffers" - well it's tone sucking, it just so happens it's part of the usual sound

SO I think it comes down to if it is a PROBLEM, if someone doesn't find it a problem, then they are fixing a problem that, for them,doesn't exist

I kind of have a thing with things like delays that are mixing an extra sound in (the echos) as opposed to altering the tone as their job
If the delay has an unwanted effect on the dry when engaged, I'd rather see if I can deal with that and let the bypassed/engaged sound the same b/c I just want the delay to be whatever tone I'm using, just with echos
I don't want a tonal change when I kick the effect on

With an EQ or a dirt pedal or something, well since it's job is to alter the tone, the transition is already unsmooth by nature so that's not such a big deal (though I guess the "transparent" overdrive type stuff if a little more on the inbetween)
 
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OotMagroot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,460
I'd rather just have a 2 or 3 loop switcher. I can put all of my drives in one loop, and then all of the pedals for my clean tone in the other (like a chorus and a compressor). Since I play through a clean amp I can move from modulated, compressed cleans to dirt with one step. Anything beyond that involves more space and cables than I want to deal with.
 

ribbons of euphoria

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
264
I tried a switcher once, one of those brands mentioned in the first post and from all of the talk was both disappointed and surprised by the loss of tone when running it in bypass, just my two cables between guitar and amp. I repeated this with one cable (guitar to switcher) and one very short patch cable (switcher to amp). It still wasn’t as good to my ear, and of course whatever was at work in my straight-to-amp sub-conscious.

When I think about the inside of the switchers I wonder if connections are all made via pcb or what wire is in there? In the interests of space and practicality of manufacture can the connections inside the switcher ever be as good as guitar cable?

Caveat - I use mogami leads and patches that I soldered myself years ago, still there is nothing as immediate and toneful and satisfying to me as the sound and response when I do plug straight into my amps.

I do like a boost or fuzz pedal as much as the next person but my deliberately small board and psu limit me to four pedals plus a tuner and looper. In my experience the bypass of the switcher didn’t justify the space or one of my precious 9v leads.
 
Messages
18,134
Im not a pro
I used to use two road rage switchers for my pedal board...lots of pedals...lots of buffered boss and true bypass booteeky stuff...

I had issues with the road rage switches crapping out 4-5 years into using them

removed them and noticed no loss of high end or added noise
the ONLY benifit I saw with them was easier trouble shooting if a cable or pedal went bad (unfortunately the only failure I had was the damn switchers)
I went back to simple pedal to pedal cables and dont miss em

however if I was -playing professionally and needed to switch many pedals on or off instantly or needed midi for some other reason, then id reconsider

but for tone suckage or loss...meh...dont need em
 

Guppie

Member
Messages
1,713
They use a huge pedalboard but without any switcher and their tone is just phenomenal in my opinion?
This indicates that people really overthink their setup.
And do all professional guitarists really have phenomenal tone?
 




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