For many years I used a processor (Korg AX30G if you care) which was an excellent solution to the problems of pedals, but although sometimes it sounded quite stunning, later I became frustrated by it because of amp issues. That led to building amps (which isn't what this is about) and a search for great tones that would bless people in worship with smaller congregations and also work with me instead of making me feel like I was having a battle with my kit.

A few years back I started using separate pedals again, but quickly realised that having them loose in your bag is a recipe for disaster, so picked up a cheap pedal case with a snap-down lid and never looked back. This is where my choice has evolved to now, and I plan to briefly talk about each of the pedals on the board in order of chain. Non-guitarists can leave now. :D

First pedal is a compressor - nothing surprising there. The best compressor I ever used was the one in the Korg processor, and I tried an MXR Dyna Comp, but was very disappointed. The Love Squeeze is little known, but works without colouring the tone too much and leaves some life in the signal too. Useful for funk rhythm and picked arpeggios, I don't use it often now, but it's nice to have.

The tiny green pedal is an Eno ES9 tube screamer clone. I have the gain down lowish and use it for mild overdrive and palm-muted rhythm parts because it's quite crunchy and clear, crisp and responsive.

The white pedal next door is an Eno Trouble clone of another popular pedal of similar colouring. I use quite a bit of gain on this and have it set dark and fat for rounded lead tones and volume swells.

The Rocktron Deep Blue is the best separate chorus pedal I know of. It can do thargoloid sounds, but set like this it will widen my soundscape and make the guitar sparkle and shimmer when picked, grit up a little when hit hard. Used with overdrive it's like we're back in the 1980s in a good way. Had this probably 15 years, and apart from the chorus in the Korg, have never found anything that sounds as good. If you can find one at an affordable price then grab it.

The pedal is a passive volume pedal with a simple variable resistor inside. It's cheap, stereo (when one pot wears out I can use the other side) and is great to set volume without taking my hands off the guitar and for swells with overdrive and delay.

Mooer eleclady was one of the first tiny pedals I bought. It sounds a lot like my Boss BF-9, which is a shame because it's not that great. I love flanger, but this is probably coming off the board soon because it just doesn't work for me in worship.

But the Mooer Trelicopter stays. Tremelo and worship work really well together, and I have this set for a moderately slow, round-edged pulsing that makes picked argpeggios float and wobble gently.

The Carbon Copy is a lovely warm analogue delay that works brilliantly in the effects loop of a high gain amp or in a typical signal chain like this. It just sounds really nice in the right place, either with drive tones or with chorus.

Harley Benton sell the Joyo Ironman series pedals under their own name, and the timemagic is a digital pedal made to sound analogue, degrading the signal over progressive repeats. Very different tone to the CC, I have it set to about half a second and giving about 8-10 repeats for either big echoey leads or creating a soft wall of sound when you don't want a strong rhythm, but don't have a synth.

The HOF mini is relatively new, but is 'the reverb I always wanted but couldn't afford a Big Sky' and wished I'd bough long ago. I use the 'church' setting, with reverb length (up to 20 seconds) on the knob. It will do a huge range of sounds, and you can assign multiple parameters to the single know. It's also possible to send patches to it using a smartphone through the guitar pickups.

Finally, my Korg Pitchblack. Had a few tuners, this one is more accurate than most, not too big and easy to read on stage. I have it last because I can use it to mute the chain if needed. Just a solid, reliable tuner.

That's it really. Comments welcome if there are any. I'm using this with a JJ Guitars goldtop with Dimarzio P90-size humbuckers and a Pignose G40V amp (roughly a tiny bassman with a 12AT7 valve in V1 for lower gain) and eminence Ragin Cajun speaker that's OK for 20 people or can shake the floor. The JJ is a bit dark-sounding so takes the edge off the Pignose, and together they sound good enough to play completely dry without effects or needing any help, though it's nice to have a palette available.

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Sponsored by Fulltone? ;-)

In many ways not so different from mine (though a bit larger and with 'nicer' pedals). I'd be happy to use your rig, but would want a chorus on there too. I'd like the HOF in full size like you have but budget wouldn't run to that, though at some time in the future we may see if that changes. :-)

You can tell that I'm a bassist rather than a guitarist not just because I use my trusty Zoom B3 bass multi-FX unit even when playing electric guitar but also because I'm really quite happy with what I can get out of it and not inclined to chase after ultimate tone from a bespoke medley of separate pedals.

Two things I'd be interested to know from Toni, Greg and any other folks who have gone down that route are:

a) how many different effects do you use at once?

b) in live settings, how much difference do you think the nuances make to the audience / congregation?

If I had to pick a single pedal, I'd probably opt for something like that Pitchblack - an easily visible tuner with the option to mute the signal. I think you can get a long way and have a lot of fun FX but better yet to have a solid and in-tune foundation before you start adding the spice.

Wulf

Reversing the order, I sometimes use a TC clip on poly tuner, although it's a lot less good than their videos would have you believe, so I can run w/o pedals. ;-)

How many effects - as many as sounds good. :p

Pedals I usually use alone: compressor, ES9 overdrive, flanger, tremelo.

Pedal combinations often used: Chorus, delay & reverb, Trouble/OCD overdrive, delay and reverb. Sometimes I'll use both delays and reverb with chorus, and occasionally add chorus and overdrive with delay for an 80's tone.

It's not a case of chasing an ultimate tone, so much as finding one that doesn't feel like it needs constant controlling, is lacking something or is fighting me. I used the processor for years and loved it, but it was really hard to make it sound good with most amps over a range of clean and dirty (especially dirty) tones, to the point I just had enough in the end. It still has the best compressor I've found anywhere, and the reverbs and delays were great, chorus also very good.

I have a B2.1u sat 2 feet away - I'll take it if I play bass anywhere, and have recorded guitar through it. If I had to pick a single pedal then it would be either the chorus or overdrive.

I think one of the significant advances in the last 10-15 years has been amp modelling. Do they accurately recreate the sound of the amps they are based on? I haven't had a chance to do comparisons and I'm not that bothered. However, for my money, they do give an excellent way to coax a decent base sound out of whatever amp and speaker combination you are faced with.

Wulf

Wulf Forrester-Barker said:

I think one of the significant advances in the last 10-15 years has been amp modelling. Do they accurately recreate the sound of the amps they are based on? I haven't had a chance to do comparisons and I'm not that bothered. However, for my money, they do give an excellent way to coax a decent base sound out of whatever amp and speaker combination you are faced with.

Wulf


TBH I've never got on with modellers, though I've not tried any recently. I don't know if they sound like the amps they're supposed to be based on either, but I suspect they tend to be caricatures instead of copies: lets make the Marshall bright and gritty/scoop the mids and wind the gain to 11 for the Diezel/hoof the upper mids and treble for the AC30 etc. That's not to say that a Kemper will do that, but that and the AxeFX were out of the price range of most people. I do have a Tech 21 Trademark 60 analogue modeller which sounds like quite a few amps (but mostly a very high quality Marshall MG30) but that's a different concept.

It seems much easier to just have a good basic tone and then add stuff to it in a controlled fashion, and I also like to feel what I play with a live amp 5 feet behind me.



Greg Newhouse said:
Yesterday I went back to .010-.046 on the strat. I adjusted the truss rod, saddle height, and intonation. That's apparently a gift not everyone is given: being in tune. I don't think any pedals or emulators can correct that. And autotune still doesn't correct that one guy in the third row.

10-46 is my go-to gauge, and has been for >25 years, whether Les Pauls or strats. I do have a couple of exceptions where I'll use 9.5-44 (yes, really) but otherwise that's it for electric. And it's always good to have decent intonation and be able to play in tune. :-)



Greg Newhouse said:

Awhile back I modified my ancient (as in pre-revision, prob 1985ish) Dunlop GCB95 wah to true bypass with a DPDT switch. Today I finally got around to adding in a 9v switched jack so no more batteries. It sounds just like it used to, but could use a bit of white grease to attenuate the "squak" sound when I rock the pedal. Anyway, one more way to mess with the sound.



Nice - I must get around to fixing at least one of my crybabies so it works again (suspect the switch has gone in the newer one & KNOW it's gone in the 70's one).

Yes, it probably would be cheaper, though not cheating. :-)

I don't really know what the Hiwatt sound is like, and I'm trying to remember which amp company I remember the name Mark Huss from. As to whether it's too much, that's more a question to ask yourself than anyone else - if it's better for you then it's just right.

That sounds like it's just what you needed, Greg - hope you have a lot of fun with your new friend. :-)

What you really need is an AC15, so you can blend in passively, and no-one will notice anything out of the ordinary. ;-)

Sound good to me.

How did you get a pic of your board on the thread body?
Nice set up btw.

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