Sunday, May 15

You knew this day was coming....

I've been a little frustrated with my pedalboard for a while now. I know, I know, a guitarist saying that he's not happy with his gear is like...I don't know...something. Point is, we all expected it, right? Well, just this night I've undergone a pretty drastic re-imagining of my electric rig. There are some old favorites that have migrated back on, and some pedals that have been on the board since the beginning that are either absent, or will be quite shortly.

This all started when I got my shiny, legit Tubescreamer and the tone faeries announced their presence in a flash of lime-green light and with the unmistakable sound of a mid-range hump. And I (almost) never wanted to turn it off. Then, I thought, I like this compressor, and it should always be on, too, so let's throw that in there. Then, I started to play around with my volume pedal as a means to control how much drive my amp was getting, so that one was "always on", too. Little by little, pedals moved from my looper to just in front or behind it until I had more out than in. Then, I began to find some minor annoyances with the looper itself. Nothing drastic; an LED on the first loop that decides to work intermittently. The not-so-silent switching. The space/weight it takes up. It made trying to experiment with stereo amps very awkward. Some of the buffers in the pedals (most notably the DL4) would add a noticeable amount of treble just by virtue of being included in the signal chain when that particular loop was engaged. These are all minor points, to be sure, but I think you can see where I'm going with this....

Yeah, it's gone.

Not gone as in "gone forever" gone, at least not yet, but I gave my board a good, hard look and just sort of found myself subtracting off things that I never used. The backup DD-7 is cool, and it's not something I'll never do again, but I was using it so infrequently, particularly when I can just tap in a short quarter thing on the DL4 and get the same effect. I also literally never turned on any of my distortions (Aria Disnortion or the Keeley-modded DS-1) in a live setting, preferring instead to just stack my drives, so since they weren't pulling their figurative weight, I wasn't going to carry around their literal weight. The signal chain, as of May:

Guitar -> JHS Little Black Buffer -> MXR Dynacomp -> Vox Wah (modded for True Bypass) -> Analogman TS-9/808 Silver Mod -> Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET -> Voodoo Labs Tremolo -> Boss CE-2 -> Ernie Ball Volume Pedal -> Boss DD-7 -> Line 6 DL4 -> BBE Sonic Stomp -> Boss TU-2 -> Boss RV-5 -> Amp(s?)

Basically, this is all of the stuff I need. I've forgotten how much fun it is to play with a Wah and a Chorus. And literally the only reason why I can possibly do this board is because of the Little Black Buffer and the really good cables that I made earlier. That thing really is magic, because there's no discernible difference between my board and going straight in. I mean, I'm sure a difference exists, but it sounds amazing to me. The Fulldrive might turn into two or three other ODs, but for now it's versatile enough to stay on the board. The TU-2 acts as a kill-switch if my delays are getting ridiculous (the one biggest benefit to having the looper), and the outs on the RV-5 means that I can run in stereo if I so choose.

This definitely isn't the end-all, be-all, but it's where I'm at now. Having to lug around an 80+ pound pedalboard was getting tiresome, so even if this is 5 or 10 pounds less, it's going to make a difference!

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