Pedalboard Malaise

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Jaguar018
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Pedalboard Malaise

Post by Jaguar018 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:04 am

I feel like I'm at the point where I want to sell just about all my pedals except for a few and just be okay with that. I don't play them enough to really feel like I need to keep them and I'm not convinced I need to save them for my kids or anything.

I still really like pedals, but I'm kind of bored of them at the same time.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by Bert Camenbert » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:06 am

The more I learn about playing guitar, the less I feel like I need pedals. :whistle:

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:26 am

I've been doing that a bit lately, just grabbing a small amp and a few pedals, in this case a few that I haven't used much in a while - the old TS9, BD-2 and a Keeley 30MS for short delay, reverb and dimension.

It's been a hell of a lot of fun being sort of minimalist about it. I brought that setup outside and played it all day Sunday, and I found that it helped me focus on my playing a little more, wrenching different sounds out of the guitar, instead of relying so much on pedals. Concentrating on playing is a big reason why I think I had so much fun, changing my focus back to basics.

But, I also like having the ability to go fire up one of the pedalboards and the amps, and have all of those different sounds and options at my disposal, whenever I feel the urge.

Things typically happen in cycles, and this feeling/thinking may pass or subside some. Later on, you may be glad you didn't sell the pedals, and get caught back up in all of the pedal fun again, whether full tilt or back and forth between the 2.

And if not, after enough time passes, you can sell a bunch of it, pocket the cash (or buy a new guitar?) and be pretty sure you'll have no regrets...
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:44 am

Jaguar018 wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:04 am
I feel like I'm at the point where I want to sell just about all my pedals except for a few and just be okay with that. I don't play them enough to really feel like I need to keep them and I'm not convinced I need to save them for my kids or anything.

I still really like pedals, but I'm kind of bored of them at the same time.
They don’t have to all be on your board.

I like having a small board. Everything really has to earn its place and it’s freeing in that it’s made me concentrate more on the playing part.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:18 am

I have pedal malaise kind of generally. Use of pedals has become almost standardized, which has started to bore me a bit.

If you're a working guitarist, you have "guitar, amp, and pedalboard." Those 3 things are your rig. And on that pedalboard will be generally the same sorts of things, etc. It starts to feel "automatic," and for anything artistic, I hate things that are automatic.

When I was a bit younger, around the early 2000s, my effects setup for live use was an EP-3 echoplex with a Maxon OD-808 tucked inside the accessory compartment (a battery in the OD-808, even!) It was great!

I kind of fantasize about going back there again. I've also flirted with the idea of using one overdrive pedal plus an H-3000 in a rack (but logistically that's just too complicated, and you need a full stereo rig to really take advantage of what the H-3000 can do).

Basically, I kind of feel this restless feeling where I want to use anything but a pedalboard.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by Bert Camenbert » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:20 am

I have a small board, five pedals tops, and I rotate pedals in and out. I don't want things sounding exactly the same all the time, I think that's boring. And honestly, when I play, the pedals are mostly off. I have the good luck of being able to turn my amps up, and I get almost all I need from messing around with volume and tone.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by somanytoys » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:10 am

I'm just saying no need to rush into extremes, especially ones that can lead to regrets.

Let the bigger board collect dust for a while and go all minimalist, and see if you get that desire back or not. If you do, it's all right there waiting for you; if not - sell, Mortimer. I think each person has to figure out & decide for themselves what's enough/too much.

I'm kind of a hoarder anyway, but I find it to be a buyer's market right now, in most cases.
-David

It's a boost booster, to boost your boost - it makes your tone much muchier.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:27 am

Right. I’ll periodically leave my (small) pedalboard at home and take just my guitar to practice.

It doesn’t require any kind of big commitment to mix things up a little.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by stevejamsecono » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:35 am

marqueemoon wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:27 am
Right. I’ll periodically leave my (small) pedalboard at home and take just my guitar to practice.

It doesn’t require any kind of big commitment to mix things up a little.
I do this as well. Or I'll bring just my SD-1.

I interviewed a friend for a podcast who plays in several bands and is a fan of fuzz pedals. He told me that he never kept a standardized setup and basically would do a random board every time they played out to keep things interesting. Sometimes this would go horribly awry, but often it would give him a chance to flex some different sounds he hadn't thought about in awhile. I'd say that's well worth attempting if you're actually gigging or playing with folx on the reg.

FWIW, I think pedals disconnect us from the instrument somewhat, so going direct in can be a really thrilling experience even if it takes the safety netting away a bit.
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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:26 am

For the counterpoint to that--

When I'm playing in a group where there are songs that have parts, I don't want to make the artist, band, or song a platform for my restless experimentation. I want to rely on my experience to spec the right gear for the gig and do my best to give the music what it's asking for, in terms of sound. I want the rig/gear that gets me the right sound for the music, and I want to give time for the ensemble sound to "gel" across the course of a run or tour, etc.

But if it's a group that's centered around improvisation and "anything goes," then yes, it can be great and inspiring to throw a spanner in the works now and again, and see how the music (and other musicians, and you) react to it.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by StevenO » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:58 am

This is me in general. I have a slew of effects pedals but they see almost no time. I generally just use reverb with my amps, either onboard, pedal, or external tank, and it remains always on. Sometimes I'll add tremolo (onboard or pedal), and maybe delay, compressor, vibrato, or overdrive, but for the most part I am a straight into the amp kind of player.

When I listen to my favourite guitarists, I am never really hearing an over reliance on effects pedals, if they even use them at all. Reggie Young, Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, Jimmy Johnson, and etc etc. They all coax incredible lines out of relatively simple gear and I really admire that. I love effects as much as the next guy and they certainly can be of use, but I generally don't like to rely on anything beyond the bare essentials. If a line needs a phaser to sound good, maybe the line itself just isn't that special? But then again, life is short, add some phaser or whatever and be happy with that too.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:13 am

Yes-- and when recording, I rarely use pedals in the way I (or most folks) use them live. Crafting the sound in that case is MUCH more about choosing the right guitar + amp, at the right level.

Sometimes something will NEED a pedal... like a fuzz, or a wah, or whatever. But mostly, recorded overdrive sounds (for me at least) are crafted by selecting the right amp and cranking it. Occasionally with a boost of some sort on the front end, but not the majority of the time, for me.

I can't remember the last time I used a reverb, modulation/chorus, or delay pedal in a recording situation (Boss CE-1 excepted... that's sort of a "pedal," I guess).

If I want spring reverb, it will often be a dedicated spring reverb unit like the Fender 6G15, or maybe even an AKG BX-10, BX-15, or BX-20 (though the 20 is so smooth it's almost not even a "spring reverb" if that makes sense). Or the spring on a Fender amp. I rarely get that precious about other types of reverbs in the tracking stage, knowing that outside of spring as an effect, most reverb is very dependent on what else is going on in the mix and production.

If I want a chorus, I might use a Leslie with a combo preamp and a pair of mics. Or I might ask to have it sent to a Dimension D, or H3000, etc etc. and have that printed to another stereo pair.

If I want delay printed during tracking, I'll often use a tape echo of some sort... OR (VERY rarely) a digital unit printed to another track or pair of tracks.

I'll use amp tremolos (and Magnatone vibrato) a LOT.

Anything goes, and whatever works, but pedals for me have lately grown into a thing that 90% of the time are most useful only to craft a compromised approximation of what I want that's workable in a live setting. I'd rather not have 4 different amps onstage, and I have to be able to play at a level that blends with the ensemble. I'm usually having to switch between clean and overdriven sounds and have the levels of both make sense. I'm usually playing a SET and have to have a range of sounds that can get close enough to what I need for each piece, etc.

When recording, none of these things are necessarily restrictive. You can do different sounds through different amps on different tracks. You can choose the perfect amp for each song, and sometimes several amps.

Big exceptions-- wah (and filter) pedals, Si and Ge fuzzes, Klon Centaur sometimes (but not usually), weirdo oddball things, etc. But delays, reverbs, choruses, phasers, flangers, overdrives... all of those feel like compromises to me in their guitar pedal forms.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by Jaguar018 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:47 am

Most of my pedal usage these days is in the ol' basement playing alone. I DO like all sorts of effects. My pedal board(s) have: overdrive, distortion, fuzz, flanger, phaser, and a few delays. I have four really solid analog delay pedals; I know why I bought them-- mostly on impulse.

When I was playing the most I had one pedal besides a tuner: a Rat. It was the heyday of the quiet-loud-quiet thing. Never even used reverb. That's not to say that pedals aren't cool and fun, because they are. When recording I used a few of them. Because of Waylon Jennings I had a dash of phaser in on song. Klon in a few. One with a Fuzz outro. Rat on the whole time for a 'loud' song etc. . I've never really written or recorded effects-drenched songs as much as I enjoy a few groups that can pull that off in a way I enjoy.

It's like I needed to buy and get dozens of pedals to realize that I don't really need them very much. I am not a pedal hoarder, and I'm never really regretted much of my gear purges in the past. I feel like I'm wasting time chasing a flanger sound I almost never use, and all the delays I have all sound pretty decent and similar.
Last edited by Jaguar018 on Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by StevenO » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:08 am

I have to say... Using specialty effects, especially ones that are popular at a specific time period, can really make a recording sound potentially dated and in short order. It's like what happened about ten years ago where every band has a Black Keys style lo-fi sound and fuzz guitar riffage, even when the song didn't call for it. Or contemporaneously with every indie band using a chorus pedal to approximate the Mac DeMarco sound, which I think even he has moved on from...

Some recordings like this have this feeling of an entire track being fed through the audio equivalent of an Instagram filter and I just don't see that aging well...

While using effects can potentially end up sounding dated in short order, NOT using effects has the potential to be timeless, if it's a quality piece of music/recording.

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Re: Pedalboard Malaise

Post by Singlebladepickup » Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:42 pm

Pedals have made me enjoy playing guitar again. It sounds kind of boring without them, but they aren't mandatory as long as I've got effects from the SFPR. I can't imagine going back to playing synth without using pedals, and I try not to think about it.

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