Tuesday, November 23

New Pedalboard

So, after having successfully predicted that I was done re-arranging my pedal board, I've re-arranged it some more! Things really haven't changed since May though, which is a shocking amount of time considering that I play electric guitar.

This was spurred by two events: one, my recent purchase of an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay (which I need to play with more, but I've been looking for an actual analog delay for a while now, and I got a pretty good price on it), and two, I was watching Daniel Carson (Chris Tomlin's guitarist) take me through a song I already knew (Our God, in this case), and he finished with a shot at his pedalboard and something just clicked. He's definitely not the end-all, be-all of guitarists, but he needs to get tons of different sounds and he does so pretty simply. So I simplified.

First, I had to decide what effects I actually use. So off goes the Wah, the Chorus and the eq pedal, since I've never actually turned any of them on in front of people. I do intend to take a bit of good advice that James Duke (John Mark McMillan's guitarist) gave only to me (and anyone else who would read his blog), and that is that, just because it's not on your board doesn't mean you should sell it. I don't know how to use chorus, but that doesn't mean I never will, and my CE-2 is a really good chorus that would probably be somewhat hard to find again. And as much as tastes change with electric guitar playing, who's to say I won't want it some day in the future?

Once that was settled, I rethought my chain, mostly because I saw a cable in this video going from Daniel Carson's guitar straight into the volume pedal. And my volume pedal's always been in a loop. Which means I never turned it on as much as I'd want to. I decided that I wanted to try using my volume pedal as an always-on kind of pedal, even though it does suck some tone. If that really bothers me, I can just go find a good buffer. So here's the chain as of November:

Guitar-> Ernie Ball Volume Pedal -> Loopmaster bypass strip:
- Tuner out: Hardwire Chromatic tuner
- Loop 1: Fulltone Fulldrive 2
- Loop 2: Boss DS-1 (Keeley mod)
- Loop 3: empty
- Loop 4: Voodoo Labs Tremolo
- Loop 5: Boss DD-7 (with tap tempo, just to right of bypass strip)
- Loop 6: MXR Carbon Copy
- Loop 7: Line 6 DL4
-> Amp

With my pedalboard bypass securely fastened (via both velcro and a zip tie) to the top right corner of my board.

What I like about this setup is mostly that the volume pedal gets in on the action. I'm not very happy just setting my drive somewhere and keeping it there during the whole song. Hitting another boost or something just feels really...discrete to me. Mathematically speaking. Which, in this case, means the opposite of discreet. It was really noticeable to me when I kicked on a drive, and that kind of bothered me since I feel it should be a smoother transition from a clean part to a dirty part. Continuous.

What it all boils down to is that I've got more playing to do. I need to get a good feel for how my effects interact now. I also have an open space where I can plug in a flavor-of-the-week effect, be it a drive (I've had my eye on a Bluesbreaker for a while) or a POG or whatever. Maybe even something that can change from gig to gig. And I think I'm still on the lookout for a Trem with a tap tempo (really digging the Cusack Tap-a-whirl), and there's a good chance I'll end up with some kind of buffer before everything's said and done. But before I go all crazy and buy tons more stuff, I need to just get better with what I have! But that's not as much fun as buying new pedals...


  1. Hey, been reading your blog for a while. Always enjoy it, all parts (music, gear, drinks, etc.). Never commented though but had to this time, I really appreciate you turning me onto James Duke's blog. I've sat here the last 30 min. or so reading his posts. What a cool dude! Keep up the cool posts man thanks!

  2. Thanks man, I'm glad you like it! I'm never quite sure what to write about, but I figured if I just wrote about everything that interested me, at least some people would like it! Thanks for reading.

  3. How are you liking the Keeley DS-1? I just started looking at those this week. I have a Hermida Mosferatu that is just too much gain. I'm wondering if this would be in the same boat or if its a little more usable. I play a lot of P&W too.

  4. It's definitely an interesting pedal. It can go anywhere from a somewhat clean boost to almost fuzz-like distortion. But it's definitely pretty high-gain. I usually use it as my "rock" pedal, for when I need that crazy distortion (Let God Arise, for one), but I haven't really played around with it too much lately. It's on the list of things to do.

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