Hey Everyone,

Here's the signal chain and pedalboard we used on our latest album.  I'd love thoughts/comments on it, especially if there are easy ways to tweak arrangement to improve tone or performance.

Check out our site, blog, and music, too (zachicks.com).



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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Zak - thanks for sharing! It's fun to see what people out there are doing with their rig. I tend to do what you're doing - simple, nothing fancy. The only thing I use in my chain at times that I don't see here is a chorus.

My personal opinion about the CS3 is that you're better off without it if you can't get something better given how much they mess up your tone. But I wouldn't necessarily go for the Keeley - it all depends on what you want. I have three - Keeley, Diamond and Hartman. All three do different things.

Also - does the MXR EQ cause any/much noise? I need an EQ, but the Boss GE7 that I tried was horribly noisy.

And you're right - the Pod is sacrilegious - he he he. 

Thanks for the reply, Stevo.  I'll look into other compressor options.  It's probably next on my pedal reorg priority, as I've been thinking about a Keeley for a long time.  I'd be curious on your take on what Keeley, Diamond, and Hartman do differently.

The MXR EQ hasn't given me any noise problems.  I under-use it, though, only as a lead boost.  I have seen/heard it used effectively for tone-shaping by others.

I think I'll go to Guitar Center and listen to one in the "quiet" room. I have a Fender Brownface Deluxe clone that I really like but it's too honky and midrangey for church. If I could get a nice mid cut, it might do the trick.

  • Keeley gives a classic "Ross" style compression goes from subtle sustain to significant sustain to squash. The Keeley is my favorite of this type of compressor for it's low noise and smooth operation.  I have the 4 knob version and like it much better than the 2 knob version I used to have. It's also my favorite compressor with steel string guitar as well as over driven electric guitar.

  • The Diamond is an optical compressor and as such, it has a very quite, smooth and "un-effecty" action. It's more of a tone enhancer than a sustainer although you will get sustain at higher levels. I like to put it after my Ibanez AR300 and into my Vibrolux Reverb for a  wonderful warm tone that I love using in church.

  • The Hartman is my most "effecty" compressor - it's a faithful recreation of the classic Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer. It's famous for its dip and swell action where a strong note will cause a dip in the volume and then swell back up in a very predictable and energetic way. I often use it with arpeggios or strumming to enhance the rhythmic effect. Think of Mark Knopfler's leads on Sultans of Swing and you're hearing this type of compressor.

There are other uses for compressors like limiting or adding punch, but these are the main things I like them for. Bass players often use them for limiting among other things. So what are you after? Sustain? Limiting? Swells?

Seems a perfectly workman like rig. Boosting upper mids and highs with the EQ is sensible, and many classic rockers have found Vox amps respond well to that kind of thing (I used to use a cocked wah to similar effect with an AC30). Tube screamers have a good reputation for working with a hard driven valve amp.

Never tried a CS3, but I've not yet found a compressor pedal I liked. My favourite compression is from a Korg AX30 processor, which was very musical and didn't squish or pump.

Might be worth having a look at a small valve amp (say 5w or less) as an alternative to the Line 6. Coupled with a smaller & less efficient speaker, you can get some nice tones without killing the first 5 rows (remember that AC30 I mentioned?).

Anything to add? Well, I quite like a tremolo pedal for a subtle alternative shimmer to chorus - the Behringer UT100 is actually really good if you want to try something out for little cash. Analogue delay can be nice, although if you require tap tempo to make delay work for you then I'd not bother - it also seems to work best in the effects loop if you get some drive from the amp. A fuzz might be nice too, and a chorus as well, but not essential.

Oh, the one other thing is that I'd make the volume pedal last in the chain and control drive levels with the guitar volume. With the VP where it is you'll not have so much control over volume (because the TS9 will act as a compressor) and it can be very effective to violin with a foot pedal.

Have fun.

Zac, that is a great set up! I'm lovin the modded tele and the gibson. The vox is also a classic! I'm not too much of a fan of multi-effects and i hate compressors but too each his own :)


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