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How do expression pedals work with other pedals? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 12th July 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

How do expression pedals work with other pedals?

My setup has always been straight-forward and I have never really needed or wanted an expression pedal.

But I've been seeing videos on YouTube of some weird pedals (ex: Count to Five, Red Panda Particle) used in conjunction with an expression pedal and thought: I need that! I need to be able to play guitar with both hands and tweak knobs simultaneously...

So I'm guessing expression pedals go at the end of the chain? Do they work with every pedal? Multiple pedals at a time? What are the best ones? Anything else I should consider?

Thanks!
Old 12th July 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

No, expression pedals connect to other pedals that have an expression pedal option.

In simplest of terms, say you wanted to adjust the gain or a drive unit or repeat of an echo pedal when your playing. You'd typically either have to nudge the knob with your foot or bend over and twist the knob right?

When the expression pedal does it take the place of a knob when you plug it in. Instead of tweaking a gain knob on the pedal the pedal becomes that gain knob, or echo knob, or any other knob on any pedal you have.

Thing is hard wiring a foot pedal in becomes quite a problem. Even if the jack uses a three prong plug you can only wire up one pot at a time and switching it to something else becomes are real challenge.

Most new pedals solve this by using a digital scheme and within the pedal you assign whatever control you want to the pedal. If its a multi effect pedal and you only want volume for one patch that's what you can set. If you want it to act as a wah on another patch you dial it up and save it that way. If you want the pedal to pitch shoft, or speed up an echo, or add drive, you simply choose the parameters and save it as a normal function.

Some pedals have a single jack where the pedal only controls one parameter. Others you can choose what's adjusted. It simply depends on the type of pedals being used.
Old 12th July 2018
  #3
Gear Head
 

Gotcha, that's great feedback. Is there any obvious to know which pedals have the expression pedal option and which don't? Are there are any in particular that you like that work really well with one?
Old 12th July 2018
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
BasHermus's Avatar
 

Or you buy a 3rd Hand pedal, and you have an expression pedal for any possible knob on any possible pedal (just don't blame me if it destroys the potentiometer).

Last edited by BasHermus; 12th July 2018 at 10:36 PM.. Reason: added info
Old 12th July 2018
  #5
Gear Head
 

Wow, I like the 3rd Hand pedal, in concept anyway. Seems like they're hard to find and not so well-built.

But I found a discussion that led to these Option Knobs. Kind of silly in theory, but maybe useful...? Anyone used one?

WingMan | Option Knob – Oknob, GloKnob & VKnob, Guitar Pedal Accessories
Old 13th July 2018
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Is there any obvious to know which pedals have the expression pedal option and which don't? Are there are any in particular that you like that work really well with one?
Yep, it's called Google.

The H9 works really well with an expression pedal, it's great cos you can basically control any parameter of any effect with it.
Old 13th July 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 
norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post

The H9 works really well with an expression pedal, it's great cos you can basically control any parameter of any effect with it.
Line 6 pedals work exactly the same way.


MC
Old 13th July 2018
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Gotcha, that's great feedback. Is there any obvious to know which pedals have the expression pedal option and which don't? Are there are any in particular that you like that work really well with one?
Just check the pedal manuals on line. If the pedal has an EXP jack (expression jack) then its designed to take an external expression pedal.

Many pedals have built in expression. Here's one example. Amazon.com: VOX STOMPLAB2G Modeling Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal: Musical Instruments

In the manual they put an * next to all the parameters which could be assigned to the expression pedal and you can save whatever you want to adjust as a preset.


COMP SENSITIVITY * WAH WH MANUAL * RESONANCE * OCTAVE EFFECT *
ACOUSTIC AC TONE * UNIVIBE SPEED * EQ TONE * RING MODULATOR * ECHO MIX * REVERB MIX * AMP GAIN * MASTER VOLUME * CHORUS SPEED * MULTI CHORUS SPEED * FLANGER SPEED * PHASE SPEED * TWIN TREM SPEED * ROTARY SPEED * PITCH SHIFT Pt PITCH * FILTRON1 RESONANCE * FILTRON2 MANUAL *

This one is obviously a multi effects pedal and gives you allot or assignable options. Other pedals may have fewer or less options. For example I have an older Delta lab pedal which the pedal works as a volume pedal until you push it all the way down and activate a switch then, the pedal changes to operate whatever you have it assigned to. Pretty handy if you like using multi effects and take the time to properly build presets.

On the other hand, some pedals may only let an expression pedal affect one parameter.

30, 40 years ago I used to wire in my own expression pedals. One of the more useful was for those old multivox echo units that used a tape cartridge. I drilled and installed a couple of stereo jacks and used a pedal to operate the tape speed and the repeat levels. People thought I was a genius for doing that back in the 70's but it was actually very simple stuff. I got allot of mileage out of that unit but changing tape speed like that tended to make the tape jam up.

Years later I could have simply used rack effects and midi pedals to do that but by then I had lost interest having that much control. I was a teen Synthesizers were just hitting big time and all the bands were incorporating them into their bands. If you had a simple 3 or 4 piece rock band you'd use whatever pedals available to sound synth like prior to things going midi

By the time the 80's were over and disco died people had enough of all the crazy synth effects and were going back to basics. Then when on line file pirating took off in the 90's it put a steak through the heart of the music business. There simply isn't a business model for the same of music so there are no significant trends for other artists to emulate.

Effects aren't the big deal they used to be because there is no music factory pushing trends other artists had to follow to get work. The generation factor that drove the album sales has been gone for a good 20 years now. On the other hand, if you are in a working band, you aren't limited to using the same effects everyone else is. You can pick any music and any tier of effects you want and not be out of style.
Old 14th July 2018
  #9
Gear Head
 

Thanks guys, this is great feedback. The only last question I have is, do I need to factor in stuff like impedance when buying a certain expression pedal to work in conjunction with a certain effects pedal, or are expression pedals pretty generic/universal?
Old 16th July 2018
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Thanks guys, this is great feedback. The only last question I have is, do I need to factor in stuff like impedance when buying a certain expression pedal to work in conjunction with a certain effects pedal, or are expression pedals pretty generic/universal?
The few times I've worked with an expression pedal, the controlling device asks you to "calibrate" it, by letting it read full scale, and all the way off. But I haven't used that feature much, and don't know what use you're putting it to, so maybe my info isn't as useful as it might be.
Old 16th July 2018
  #11
Gear Head
 

I'll be primarily using an expression pedal in conjunction with the Old Blood "Dark Star" pedal and the owner of Old Blood told me that really any decent expression pedal should work with it so long as it has switchable polarity ideally so it can work with a variety of pedals. I went ahead and bought the Moog EP-3 so we'll see how it sounds. Still learning the basics over here...
Old 16th July 2018
  #12
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deern View Post
Thanks guys, this is great feedback. The only last question I have is, do I need to factor in stuff like impedance when buying a certain expression pedal to work in conjunction with a certain effects pedal, or are expression pedals pretty generic/universal?
Eventide TimeFactor requires a low impedance pedal to manipulate expression parameters. I am using an Ernie Ball VP Jr with a 25k output impedance. I also have a normal VP Jr with 250 K impedance. If you use this pedal in the expression input, the parameter movement is very jerky and linear. So there probably are some pedals where the output impedance will make a difference in how the pedal responds to control inputs....
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