We have previously looked at how to build your first pedal board – but what actually goes on the boards of real players? This week we are looking at the essential pedals from a range of music industry pros to see what they feel are the best pedals for their play style. I think you’ll actually be surprised that the vast majority of pedals are actually affordable for the beginner player (especially secondhand).
In terms of things that are necessary, well there are probably not pedals that are absolutely needed, however every player wants a certain tone from their guitar and that usually means that you can’t just plug straight into an amplifier. My main amp at the moment is the Boos Katana, so there are plenty of onboard effects, however there are some that I will use regardless, those are:
Fuzz – I play a lot of grungy, dirty rock – so I will always have something like the Big Muff or a Fuzz Face on the board at any one time.
Overdrive – again, a lot of rock, so I will always have an overdrive, such as a Tubescreamer, or a clone. At the moment I have a Dr Scientist Woofer Wailer on the board that is particularly cool and hits all the marks that I need from an overdrive.
Wah – This isn’t really a necessary for me at all, however it is something that I have been experimenting with at the moment – right now I have a Dimebag “Cry baby from Hell” on the board which is pretty awesome, especially considering that it has an on board volume boost and a ton of parameters that can be tweaked. The Dimebag is based on the 535Q Crybaby with a few added features such a LEDs and extra Input jack, so is super versatile for a range of playing – not just for Pantera songs.
Without further ado, here are the pedals that some others have on their boards –
Ryan – 60 Cycle Hum
Ryan, one of the co-hosts of my favourite guitar podcast 60 Cycle Hum, is in a surf rock band Dinosaur Ghost, so loves drippy reverb in general. Give the podcast a listen, Ryan and his co-host Steve do a weekly podcast on everything guitar both gear and playing in addition to having one of the most active and helpful Facebook guitar groups that I am involved with.
DOD 250 (pictured) – I hear such good things about this pedal, but never used it, I am super envious of the US market where they can be picked up used for well under $100AUD
Drippy Reverb such as the Catalinbread Topanga or the Boss FRV-1
Digital Delay – Ryan has also experimented with The Prophet digital delay from TC Electronic, check out the demo and explanation of the mods that he made on Youtube.
Lewis – FoundSound Melbourne
Found Sound is one of the best vintage/rare/weird gear shops in Melbourne, be sure to check them out if you are in the Carlton area. Having visited there previously, Lewis and the team will do everything to make you feel welcome and meet whatever needs you have. Checkout their Instagram too, the shop often has a who’s who of the Melbourne music scene walking through their doors. Working in such a great store, Lewis has some really cool picks.
Devi-Ever Truly Beautiful Disaster – seriously, check out the video of this one – people complain that all fuzz is the same, not this one
DM-2 – solid vintage Analogue delay from Boss
Coron Overdrive – all analogue, made in Japan vintage overdrive goodness.
Kevin – EHX
Kevin, from EHX – the makers of at least one pedal on your board. They have been on a wave of releases this year, with the Canyon Delay and Looper, the new expression pedals all the way through to the Green Russian Big Muff re-release. For me, EHX is always the brand that I can rely on if I need something solid and dependable.
Drive – East River or Soul Food Drive
Distortion – OD Glove
Delay, Reverb, Looper – Canyon delay
Leon – Pelican Noiseworks
We have previously featured Pelican Noiseworks on the site, it is a small operation with some big sounds including the Pelitaur and the Half Horse. Pelican and Leon are active on social media and has recently collaborated with 60 Cycle Hum to build the exclusive 50/50 dual overdrive, which I’m waiting on the second release of…Leon goes with some classics as well as one of the most well respected boutique delays at the moment.
Chase Bliss Tonal Recall – the boutique delay that has built it’s reputation in such a short period of time, also now with the Red Knob mod.
IC Big Muff – this is the op-amp version of the Big Muff, rather than the more common transistor pedal that you will usually find.
2x DOD Preamp 250
The guys from Dr Scientist make some really cool boutique pedals including the BitQuest. I am currently in possession of one of their very cool, discontinued Tubescreamer clones that were made early on – the build and quality of the Dr Scientist pedals are beyond most of the pedals on the market. The guys from Dr Scientist stayed pretty open with their selections with the following:
High Gain fuzz or Distortion
Infinite Reverb – Some examples of this would be the Neunaber Wet or the EHX Freeze.
So what are your essential pedals? The pedals that help you find the tone that you are looking for?