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Eseential Guitar Pedals Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 16th August 2007
  #1
Gear Head
 

Eseential Guitar Pedals

Hi folks. There's probably a thread on this somewhere but nothing came up in my initial search so here goes...

I lost all my old guitar pedals during my many moves and I started working so much in the studio that I didn't need them as much. But now I'm starting to play live again and need to put together a good guitar rig/pedal board.

Just wanted to see what essential pedals you would include on your board, starting from scratch. I'm sure there's a lot of new products out there since I last bought a pedal like 5-6 years ago.

Thanks,
J.
Old 16th August 2007
  #2
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hangman's Avatar
 

A TUNER (boss Tu-2 or planet waves)

maybe a decent distortion or fuzz (proco rat or big muff)

analog delay (maxon Ad900)

maybe a decent Tremolo (Flip vintage tremolo)

maybe a nice phaser (moog, tc electronic)

I use a rack unit for reverb and everything else.
Old 16th August 2007
  #3
Moderator
 
Oroz's Avatar
 

I need at least 2 pedals to be comfortable and to achive the sound that I like, a good chorus and a delay. And if I had to choose pedals (because I love rack effects like TC Electronic stuff) it would be:

Boss Super Chorus CH-1 or CE-5 Chorus Essemble

and

Boss DD-6 Digital Delay or Line 6 Echo Park
Old 16th August 2007
  #4
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Unclenny's Avatar
Let's see....essential.

DynaComp.
EQ (Boss 7 band)
Sparkle Drive
Old 16th August 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 

After years of changing out, changing out, and changing out again, I finally put together what "for me" is the ultimate pedal board. It has been this way for about 2 years.


Fulltone OCD
Keely Compressor
Maxon Analog Delay AD-900
Maxon Stereo Chorus CS-550
Maxon Rotary Phaser RP-350
Original Digitech Whammy
Boss NS-2
Boss Vibrato
Teese RMC3 Wah Wah
Old 16th August 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
FossilTooth's Avatar
 

Tubescreamer.

Analog delay.

Tremolo.

Big Muff or Fuzz Face

Dyna comp.

Everything else is cake.

PS: There's a lot of delicious cake out there.


(Phase 90, Mu-Tron, Digital Delays, plenty of boutique distortions and overdrives.)
Old 16th August 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
Here's mine...in present order...which changes somewhat...from time to time.

All are indispensible. At least presently. Though that might change.

Boss TU-2
Keely Comp
Full Drive II
Hot Cake
EB Jr. Volume
Analogman Mini-Chorus
Supa-Trem
Diamond Memory Lane (with expression pedal)
Zvex SHO
Old 16th August 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
CommunityMart's Avatar
 

+1 for the Boss TU-2 and the Boss DD-6 (can drop it too)
Old 16th August 2007
  #9
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

a good comp
a good delay or echo
something for a bit of drive sometimes

i like the carl martin comp, delayla xl and plexi tone.
Old 16th August 2007
  #10
84K
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84K's Avatar
essential is the key word.

tuner
TS-808 or 808 clone
Univibe or univibe clone
an octave pedal
and a wah
the rest is just icing.
Old 16th August 2007
  #11
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Wes Kuhnley's Avatar
 

None. Tune by ear like a real man. Tubescreamers are for hippies.
Old 16th August 2007
  #12
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ewegogetemtiger's Avatar
the only pedal essential for me is the boss dd-20 giga delay. killer

the rest I can get from my amp: best spring verb in the world and amazing overdrive
Old 16th August 2007
  #13
Gear Head
 

Thanks for all your input, guys. This is really helpful.

Seems that my choices (from your picks) are the following:

tuner: boss tu-2
compressor: keeley, mxr dyna comp
delay: analog (mxr) vs. digital (boss dd-20, echo park)
distortion: big muff, fulltone ocd
chorus: boss, maxon, dunlop uni-vibe
phaser: maxon, moog, tc electronic

The tuner is a no-brainer but everything else, there's a lot to choose from...

As for compressors, the keeley vs. dyna comp is a tough one. I've never used either but I've heard great things about both.

As for the dealy, do those of you who prefer the analog delay really feel strongly about what it offers that the digital delays don't? Also, I've only seen one post mentioning the echo park but more who like the boss dd-20... have you guys also tried the echo park and compared?

I actually have a big muff but it's the black Russian reissue. I haven't directly compared it to the NYC, USA one, but I've played it before. Anyone have experience with the direct comparison who can sway me to pick up the US version? (I know this could be a whole new thread... you don't have to get into explaining why)

I've played the OCD before and I remember really liking it. I may just have to pick that up on top of the big muff anyway...

As for chorus... I own an MXR Stereo Chorus which I really like, but I may have to check out some of those other ones.

And last, regarding phasers, I'd actually like some more opinions on this one. I intend to use it a lot and I guess I can pick up a few, but I don't have experience with a lot. And if I can ask Hangman, which model Moog unit would you consider a good one as an all-around guitar phaser?

Thanks for all your help, guys!

Cheers,
J.
Old 16th August 2007
  #14
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hangman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowmusic View Post
Thanks for all your input, guys. This is really helpful.

Seems that my choices (from your picks) are the following:

tuner: boss tu-2
compressor: keeley, mxr dyna comp
delay: analog (mxr) vs. digital (boss dd-20, echo park)
distortion: big muff, fulltone ocd
chorus: boss, maxon, dunlop uni-vibe
phaser: maxon, moog, tc electronic

The tuner is a no-brainer but everything else, there's a lot to choose from...

As for compressors, the keeley vs. dyna comp is a tough one. I've never used either but I've heard great things about both.

As for the dealy, do those of you who prefer the analog delay really feel strongly about what it offers that the digital delays don't? Also, I've only seen one post mentioning the echo park but more who like the boss dd-20... have you guys also tried the echo park and compared?

I actually have a big muff but it's the black Russian reissue. I haven't directly compared it to the NYC, USA one, but I've played it before. Anyone have experience with the direct comparison who can sway me to pick up the US version? (I know this could be a whole new thread... you don't have to get into explaining why)

I've played the OCD before and I remember really liking it. I may just have to pick that up on top of the big muff anyway...

As for chorus... I own an MXR Stereo Chorus which I really like, but I may have to check out some of those other ones.

And last, regarding phasers, I'd actually like some more opinions on this one. I intend to use it a lot and I guess I can pick up a few, but I don't have experience with a lot. And if I can ask Hangman, which model Moog unit would you consider a good one as an all-around guitar phaser?

Thanks for all your help, guys!

Cheers,
J.
J,
the black big muffs are quite different sounding from the USA ones. I would say the USA one is more fuzzy, less aggressive, but overall more useful. I think the black big muffs sound kinda lacking. Now the GREEN Russian big muffs were AWESOME. the footswitches were kinda wonky... but not too difficult to replace.
I once had a broken circut board from a green bigmuff given to me (don't ask me how it found its way out of the box, or why it was all cracked up) and I pulled out all the transistors, and capacitors, and put them in place of the ones in the new black big muff, and it sounded just like the old green one! needless to say I was pleased.

the moogerfooger stage phaser is a really high quality phaser... rather expensive, but well worth it if you like phasers. I'll tell you what sounds awful, the Boss phase shifter, and the digitech hyper phase. YUCK!
I suppose some of the Electro harmonix small stones have sounded good over the years... but they don't really allow you to really dial in sounds. I found that when I was using one, I was always wishing there were intensity and resonance knobs.

also... the Dynacomp/keeley question... I've never heard a keeley. but heres how I feel about the dynacomp. I Never understood why people raved about the dynacomp. so many people used to just go on and on about what a great compressor it was. I'd go to the guitar store, try one out... and think "what the hell? I'd much rather have a maxon, or a EH...etc... UNTIL I tried an old one. a script logo one. Totally different beast. I wouldn't go about with my head spinning like most people, but I now understand. SO... my point is, if you're gonna go for a dynacomp... get and old one. I have not used the keeley, but it seems to be a little more "hi-fi". perhaps some of the keeley users could correct me on that assumption. I'd like to hear more about it.

And finally... the Delays.
I use both Digital and analog delays. I find them both equally useful.
I mentioned my analog delay unit before. i use an old Korg A1 effects processor for reverbs and digital delays among other things here and there. I find that the digital reverb and delay pedals of today STILL do not meet the tonal quality that the Korg has... and it was made in 1989. that being said, I used a boss DD-5 forever, and it does have a nice sound.
Old 16th August 2007
  #15
Gear Head
 

Thanks, hangman! That's some great info. Guess I have some shopping to do.

By the way, and anyone can feel free to jump in here... Any preferences on pedal boards? This is so much fun reassembling everything from scratch.
Old 16th August 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Hmmmmm.......no takers on the EQ pedal.

I find one very useful for tone shaping before the amps......sometimes even two, one before distortion and one after.
Old 16th August 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 
frans's Avatar
Tuner: Peterson strobostomp
crunch: Crowther hotcake
fx: Lovetone doppelganger (vibe/trem) or meatball (envelopefollower) or ringerstinger (ringmod)
Old 16th August 2007
  #18
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Wes Kuhnley's Avatar
 

www.buildyourownclone.com

Don't buy booteek anymore...
Old 16th August 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Hangman is right on about the Dynacomp compressor....you gotta find an early one or they are crap. The Keely is very simple but needs to be dialed in correctly for it to sound it's best. I also like the true pass through.

If you are going to go DD Echo you might want to try and hunt down one of the old Ibanez echomachines.....small blue box but it ROCKS
Old 16th August 2007
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wes Kuhnley View Post
index

Don't buy booteek anymore...
This can be habit forming - some of their stuff seems very useful
I like the VB-2 clone
Old 16th August 2007
  #21
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
The Keeley comp will be like a Dynacomp x 100 (modern Dunlop variety of dynacomp is a definite tutt too much tone suck).

Also check out the Barber Tone Press: has a feature where you can blend in the uncompressed signal

---

Tremolo - None better than the Demeter Tremulator

---
Fuzz --- do yourself a favour and check out the Fulltone 69 pedal an dthe ZVEX fuzz factory
Old 16th August 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
honestly, the one thing I want after having my pedals for a while now is a gate

I am probably going to buy a hush.

Essentials to me...well it matters..do you have a high gain amp or not?

I have a fender tube amp..so :

Boss tuner..for the guy who said tune by ear, thats nice, but I don't want to hear you tune when I watch your band.

Dynacomp..I want to mod mine..I love what it does to a Tele early in the chain though.

TS9 or similar OD pedal..turn this on..add reverb..instant kick ass lead tone.

Bigg muff..I have this after the OD..I have the black one..I like it better then the silver american, but the green IS the best.


Memory man...my favorite..I can use it on recordings too..it does trem, chorus, delay and gets crazy tones too..just the coolest pedal..a must IMO if you like delay and chorus.
Old 16th August 2007
  #23
Lives for gear
 

my "pedal board", for lack of a better term:
Guitar
Boss TU2
Boss CS2 (usually off--only turn it on for songs where clean arpeggiating is needed)
Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde
Visual Sound H20
Old Crybaby
Ernie Ball Volume
Amp


i really love the 2 widely different drives on the J&H. and the H20 does a great job at chorus and tape echo. i demo'd it b/c i was looking for an echo.....but i bought it b/c of the chorus.

the crybaby comes and goes.

if you want "essential", i need my tuner, volume pedal and J&H.


cheers,
wade
Old 16th August 2007
  #24
Moderator
 
Blast9's Avatar
ooh yes good call Methlab! - Deluxe memoryman - the newer version is better (for a change). - longer delay and less noisy and true bypass

the genius of this pedal is modulation after the delay --- very emaotionally evocative sound -- the ehx.com site has some lovely clips by Gerry Leonard. Check 'em out!
Old 16th August 2007
  #25
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octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Let's see....essential.

DynaComp.
EQ (Boss 7 band)
Sparkle Drive
Yup, those 3 for sure- but I'd mod the GE7 and Dynacomp with the monte allums kits for better audio fidelity.

I'd also add a good octaver (Ibanez OT10, digitech whammy 1)
A great fuzz: Big Muff, ZVex Fuzz Factory, Voodoolab Superfuzz

Ibanez Analog Delay is a must have I reckon.
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal

ElectroHarmonix POG is highly desirable as well.
Boss SD1 with the monte allums mod is pretty amazing also/
Old 16th August 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab View Post
honestly, the one thing I want after having my pedals for a while now is a gate

Forgot that....this is the essential list, after all.

Boss NS1.

I run multiple amps with plenty of gain and noise suppression is a must, especially for tracking! Gotta dial it in right though or lose too much tone. Also works great to mute your whole rig with one stomp.

Hey, Jim........I gotta learn to solder..........these Monte Allums mods look to be the way to go.
Old 16th August 2007
  #27
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octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
I run multiple amps with plenty of gain and noise suppression is a must, especially for tracking! Gotta dial it in right though or lose too much tone. Also works great to mute your whole rig with one stomp.
Err.... It has been a while since I used the Boss Noise Suppressor but I always found it totally killed guitar tone- particularly the top end.
I've modded all my pedals for true bypass and I tend not to have more than two pedals on at once anyway otherwise it sounds like a mess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
Hey, Jim........I gotta learn to solder..........these Monte Allums mods look to be the way to go.
They are certainly afforable ways to mod the pedals- not something I would recommend for the first time solderer though.
Spend a while making cables before you try modding a pedal.
Old 16th August 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 
feyshay's Avatar
 

Peterson strobotuner--really--no excuse not to have it, although it is not as durable as the Boss tuner (which would be for the road)
Carl Martin Compressor--this thing does everything--you'll need nothing else for compression.
Memory Man Deluxe. This is really an incredible pedal. I doubted it at first and also have a Memory Lane from Diamond for tap tempo functions.
For digital, I'd go with a processor.
Distortion. I still haven't found something that growls better than the Fireburst from Diamond. For more subtle overdrive, I think the Fulltone Fulldrive 2 has some more variability over the OCD, but the OCD does spank.
I also love the MXR Bichorus.
Those would be what I consider to be the essentials. The rest, I can go with a processor if needed.
Old 16th August 2007
  #29
Lives for gear
I hear the rocktron hush pedal is very good if you dial it in right.
I have not used one yet though.
Old 16th August 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
John Peacock's Avatar
 

Obviously, so much of this depends on your own sound.

As far as actual pedal boards, I can recommend the following:
..:: NYC Pedalboards - custom pedalboard solutions - call 1-888-935-5526 ::..*****
great price, great product, great service

I'm surprised no one has mentioned gain boosts. If you have a high quality tube amp, driving it with some sort of gain booster can really really maximize your tone. Lots of companies make them. If you go with any of the boutique brands with true bypass, you will probably be just fine. Honestly that and a tuner could be all you need...

But for those of us who need more:
Tonequest ran an article a few years back listing what they believed to be an ultimate guitar board (with a somewhat small foot print).

* Boss TU-2 Tuner

* Ibanez Tube Screamer (these can be modded at robertkeeley.com or analogman.com - many of the pedals mentioned above like the sparkle drive and fulltone are variations on this sound - not for me personally)

* Z Vex SHO (great gain boost, like many others - I like Z Vex's Super Dooper 2-in-1 for 2 gain boosts in one compact pedal - with the right amp this is your best pedal purchase)

* Klon Centaur (Wow - a second clean/gain boost pedal - obviously they agree with me that you can't beat a good gain boost or two)

*Pedal Power 2 (highly recommended)

*AnalogMan Bi-Comprosser (perhaps my favorite pedal - includes 2 compressors in one body - like a good compressor in a studio, definitely a tone shaping tool. I prefer the Ross clone to the Orange Squeeze. The ROSS clone is similar to the Keeley comp. I had to be on a waiting list for almost a year to buy this pedal. I think the wait times are down now.)

*H2O (For $150, this a great pedal for someone who doesn't use chorus or delay too often, but would like to have some quality sounds when they need them. VERY good analog modeled delay. It runs on 9 volts which can be a little low for a delay. You can run into headroom issues if this is placed after a few gain boosts.)

Short, no-frills list.

As far as distortion goes, lots of people have mentioned Tube Screamer-inspired pedals, and there are plenty of good options out there. But I'll let others debate those further. The Boss DS-1 is a great (and cheap) sort of high gain pedal (used on Nirvana's Nevermind), if that is your cup of tea. AnalogMan and Z Vex both make excellent fuzz pedals. I'm a RAT man, myself, for when I need more gain than just a clean gain boost will give me. The Build Your Own Clone site is great, and their mighty mouse pedal is a great variation on the RAT. Robert Keeley also does a cool RAT mod. I recommend against any generation of Big Muff. IMO there are a lot of pedals that do what it tries to do better.

Delay is a tough one. I think if you really need a delay pedal, then it IS worth getting an analog delay. The Memory Lane is a crazy analog delay that will do most of what a digital delay will do. But it has a large footprint and costs a lot. You'd better be sure that is the right pedal for you before making that plunge. You could buy a lot of boutique clean boosts for that kind of scratch. Fulltone makes a sick tape delay, but again... We are talking the price of a good studio delay. Maxon/Ibanez or vintage Boss pedals are probably your best bet in analog delays. I second the recommendation for the Maxon AD-900. More headroom, and probably the best sounding chip-based analog delay made to date(?). But again $300+ on the used market. There are a lot of types of music that you would never need any delay...

I, like most musicians working in this decade, don't use a wah. But I do like tremelo. The Supa-trem by Fulltone is my favorite.

The value of having a small pedal board on stage (or even to bring to the studio) should not understated. So choose wisely, and don't buy more than you need. And of the things you need, buy quality. If you are playing mostly your own music, I would think you would be able to pick just a small handfull of special pedals to create your sound. If you plan on doing session work, something like the list I posted from Tonequest, with a few additional distortion and amp flavors, is probably a good route.

-Jp
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