Pedals. Essential tools for many electric guitarists. Great tools for sonic textures and cool sounds, as well as a pain in the ass. It´s really a jungle out there, and no-one but you can know how you want to sound. And then there´s the long road to finding the gear to get you to sound the way you want to.
There´s a few classic pedals, and many of them are classics because of how they sound - good. Nowadays you also have the advantage of Internet. Thanks to Youtube, most gear is tested (in better or worse ways) and just a click away from you. If you´re unsure how that Boss CE-2 sounds, just search for it and most likely several videos where it´s reviewed will pop up. But of course, you need to try the pedals out yourself, and you will most likely buy one or two by chance that later on will prove that they´re not right for you. And even when you think "that´s it, I´ve got exactly what I want", some other gear will come your way that most likely will suit you better, or just complement your rig, than that old flanger you carry around.
I´m myself a real pedal-junkie. I´ve got loads of those suckers, and I like most of them. This installment and more further on will deal with how I look at guitar effects. Not so much what to buy, that´s really down to you, but how to use your pedals. In what order they should be placed, how you build your pedalboard and how to power it up. So let´s start with this:
- Get a shitload of pedals. Ok, get as many as you think you need. But buy them with in mind "what do I need for my sound?". If you don´t need a phaser, don´t buy one. If you really like flangers, make sure you buy the one that suits your style of music best. Some of you will surely imitate what your favourite guitarist is using. And thanks to Internet, it´s easier to do this nowadays than ever before. If you want to know what kind of pedals Graham Coxon uses in Blur, make a search at Google. My favourite resource for this kind of business is called Guitargeek and can be found at http://www.guitargeek.com/. Here´s where the real nerds hangs out. And they know a lot about guitar effects. Search for gear, search for what your guitar god uses, or anything else geeky and you´ll most likely find it here. Use it as a reference, but still, buy the pedals you want, not what other tells you to buy. And remember, all of Graham Coxon's sound isn´t in his pedals, or his guitar, or his amp - it´s just as much in his hands.
When I think about it, maybe you shouldn´t get a shitload of pedals. Just get the right amount of pedals for what you want to achieve. And if you are on a limited budget, try to get them on the second hand market - they will be much cheaper that way. On the second hand market there´s also the possibility of getting effects that isn´t made anymore, the ones that for some strange reason has been discontinued. There´s loads of great effect pedals from the past, call them vintage if you want, which not seldom are likely to outclass newer pedals. Some of them come cheap, some of them is hot stuff on the market and will make your account bleed. But some of them are really bang for the buck, and that what counts in my world.
Next blog entry about guitar effects will deal with in which order you should put them. Or more in which order I would have put them.
Here´s some of the pedals I used while recording with indie act Rooni a while ago: