Guitar effect pedals

kplante

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Hi all. Looking for ideas for effects pedals for my guitar. Only the clean chanel works on my amp. I don't have clue what good pedals are. Thinking a distortion and maybe a flanger or chorus type. Are there some standards? Brads to stay away from?
 

Sequimite

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I'm a fan of the bang for the buck that TC Electronic provides. Their "regular" sized pedals regularly go on sale for $100 and lightly used ones can be had on ebay for $60-$75. The TC pedals best loved by pros are the Spark booster and the Flashback delay. I also have the Hall of Fame Reverb and the Hypergravity compressor. TC is moving tech from the recording studio to live foot pedals so they are digital, quiet and capable of subtlety.

If you have a tube amp a booster may be enough. I still have an Analogman mod Ibanez TS-9 which i used with solid state amps to good effect.
 

Lazmo

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What is a good guitar effects pedal? ha ha, we could be here a while.

First off, what is your amp? and is it solid state or tube? and are you happy with its clean sound?

For me, no matter what the amp, ss or tube, my must have pedal is a compressor. I have it on all the time and set quite mild to take the edge off my pick attack and smooth out the amps dynamic range so that that it loses its bitey-ness. I've got a couple of Boss CS-2 compressors that have been great, but I'm sure there are better ones out there, and I use the one that comes with my Zoom G2 multifx in almost every patch.

If you are happy with your amps clean sound, then it's very likely you can get some nice overdrive and distortion with pedals but how you get there will depend on whether your amp is solid state or tube. With a tube amp, you may be able to use a booster pedal to get your amp into tube breakup territory to get some natural real tube overdrive but boosters generally don't work with solid state amps, in which case the solid state amp will need a pedal that creates the overdrive or distortion and colours the clean amp sound. The exception is a solid state amp which has pre and post volume controls that generate distortion via clipping diodes, and a booster can sometimes be used there. With my Laney VC15 tube amp or my Vox Pathfinder 15R solid state amp, I often use a Boss GE-7 Equalizer pedal or an MI Audio Blue Boy or a Butler Tubeworks TubeDriver or my Zoom G2 as a booster. With my other Solid State amps, I use the MI Audio Blue Boy or Butler Tubeworks TubeDriver to generate overdrive tones or a Marshall JH1 or MI Audio Crunch Box to generate Marshall style distortion and I can get any variation of those tones with my Zoom G2 multifx.

For delay I have a Boss DD-2 Digital Delay or use my Zoom G2 multifx. I have had Flanger and Chorus pedals, but am not a big fan. My two main amps have reverb, but I usually leave it off.

So, my gigging setup tones usually are clean amp with compressor / mild Blues overdrive / Plexi Marshall --- with Delay and lead volume boost when required.

But really my recommendation is to just go and buy a guitar multifx pedal. You could spend the rest of your life buying and selling pedals, but for not much more than the price of a single pedal, you can get a multifx and get an bazillion tones and effects and experiment to find out what you really like then go and buy the real pedals once you know what you want. You will need to RTFM to learn how to program it. I started on pedals because that is all there was and have two full on pedal boards but have ended up getting everything I need out of a Zoom G2 I'm likely out of touch as I'm sure there is much better multifx out there now as my G2 is 8 years old, but it has never let me down, and has a much smaller footprint than a pedal board. Check the reviews of the current crop of multifx and find out what is presently the flavour of the month and get one.
 

Rik_Everglade

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I recommend an Ibanez Tube Screamer for the very first pedal to buy. If you have a tube amp, this is a sweet pedal to drive it further. I just got back into guitar, and I am amazed at how deep the available pedal selection is. I suck at guitar, but I want great tone no matter how badly I play: just like I want a great drum sound, no matter how bland I play. I did two pedal mods on an Ibanez stereo chorus, and I love that sound, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer. Both used JFromel mod kits. Now I found out that a Fuzz pedal is something that I want, and fuzz alone is a rich category, with silicon and germanium transistors making a big difference in sound, germaniums alone come in all types of parameters that make pedal builders giddy with their take on each build.
 

Lazmo

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Sequimite said:
I highly recommend this Youtube channel, "That Pedal Show":

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnUXq8mGmoHt0e6ItuTs10w

As has been pointed out, without knowing your particular amp and genre it's impossible to make specific recommendations.
Great stuff... thanks Sequimite, I just lost a few hours there, and I'm sure I'll lose a few more. Their "Setting Up Your Amp To Use With Drive Pedals" gets across very well what I was trying to say above about overdrive pedals and different amp types.

Something I didn't mention before, is that some pedals work great with both tube or ss amps, like my MI Audio Blue Boy or my Butler Tubeworks TubeDriver, but they are dialed in quite differently for both amp types to get good results. For instance, both these pedals when used with an ss amp, I have the gain up and the level set low... and this gives the overdrive tone of the pedal to the clean sound of the ss amp. But using the same pedal with my tube amp, I'll usually have the gain low and the level set high... and this blasts the tube first tube stage of the amp and gives the sweet tube overdrive tone coming from the amp. With my multifx pedal... I have a bank of OD and Amp Modelling patches dialed in for my ss amps and bank of Boost and Amp Modelling patches configured for my tube amp. I obtain similar tones from both amp rigs, with either pedals or multifx, but get there in different ways. Weirdly, I just about always end up using a tone in the Bassman / Plexi zone.

It certainly would be helpful to know what amp our OP has...
 

MatrixClaw

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Indeed, without knowing what amp/guitar you currently play and what genres (plus your budget) you're looking to get out of a pedal, it's a bit difficult to make recommendations ;)
 

swarfrat

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Instead of buying three or four pedal, get a used Avid Eleven Rack for around $300. After almost 30 years I retired my tube amps finally. I generally don't play a lot of effects, but the AC30 and JCM800 models are fantastic.
 

kplante

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Thanks for the input! Btw, the amp I'm using is a Peavy Classic VTX series, It is a tube amp but unfortunatly before I got it it was rewired to just the clean channel because of an issue it had. I would love to get the amp repaired but I haven't found anyone to do it. Plus I figured I could probably find pedals for cheaper that a repair.
 

Lazmo

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I had a squiz at the circuit diagram of the Peavey Classic VTX and its preamp is a solid state op amp design with a 6L6 tube push pull output stage.

The drive channel, uses clipping diodes to get its distortion, which is what 99% of pedals will use anyway, so unless you are handy with a multimeter and can fix it then maybe overdrive and/or distortion pedals or a multifx is the best way to go.

There is no point in getting boost pedals for your amp, as the preamp is not tube based, so a booster will not work. The 6L6 tube output stage would have to be run VERY loud to get it into its sweet spot, so I think you are going to have to do it before it hits the amp.

I still recommend you dial in the nicest clean tone you can ... and go and buy a multifx pedal from Boss / Digitech / Line 6 / Vox / Zoom / etc learn to tweak it, and away you go, good luck.
 

Lazmo

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kplante... I'm wondering how you went with your guitar amp setup... ?

I was meandering through some of my old stuff and found an ancient mp3 of me playing my Strat through a Zoom G2 multifx into a solid state Vox Pathfinder 15R which was set clean... the Zoom was tweaked with some compressor and a very mild Marshall Plexi amp model happening. The drums are my Tempus fibreglass kit... 22, 10, 12, 16 and 14x6.5 snare. Anyway, not earth shattering stuff... but you can get some OK tones out of ordinary gear, if you take the time to tweak it so.
 

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kplante

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Thanks for the help everyone! After much deliberation I ended up getting a Digitech RP500. I wanted to go the individual pedal route but it would cost too much. I really don't have any business owning any guitar gear but why not? Looked like a good starter pedal so I can get a better idea of the sounds I like. Also found playing a bass through it is pretty sweet too!
 

Lazmo

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kplante...

Inquiring minds need to know...

How are you going with your Digitech RP500?

Have you tweaked any cool tones out of it?

Got endless delay happening till you disappear up your own exhaust pipe?

Found your favourite amp model?

Well???
 

kplante

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This pedal is great! No real faves yet. I'm still struggling to play an E and A chord lol. Let a couple friends play it and it sounds awesome with some skill involved lol. I also have a bass rig I'm messing with. great pedal for that too
 

Lazmo

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kplante said:
This pedal is great! No real faves yet. I'm still struggling to play an E and A chord lol. Let a couple friends play it and it sounds awesome with some skill involved lol. I also have a bass rig I'm messing with. great pedal for that too
Yeah, I think having a do it all processor is really great... like you say, it can be used for guitar or bass... and you can use it for vocals in a pinch too. In fact, I've used my Zoom G2 as a compressor limiter for the PA for one of my daughters birthday party discos, to quell any random volume surprises ... just so handy to have a signal processor.

Here's a pic of my two small amp rigs... both with many gigs under their belts the Vox and pedal board was eventually superseded by the Laney and the Zoom G2.

I also found another home brew track using the Zoom G2, this time on its own, no amp, straight into the recorder with drums.
 

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swarfrat

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My only "Pedal":


Oh yeah, it connects to this:


I bought the 11R used for under $300. FCB1010 was also used. Happy as a clam. Most of the time the Behringer isn't plugged in. About the only "effect" I use is a bit of reverb (fairly static, depends on the room, not a lot of 'effect' reverb.) and occassionally a delay - usually like about a 1/4 note mixed in really low. Some of my patches have compression and EQ baked into them, but I typically run the amps fairly dry.
 

Lazmo

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Well this thread got me motivated to break out my multi-fx it's been a while.

Of late, I've been focussing guitar-wise on my fingerstyle acoustic, but I just had a whole evening on the couch with my Strat, some Sennheiser cans, the Zoom G2 and some nice red and it was a lot of fun. Amazing really what you can get out of such a little box and it was no trouble working my way through its myriad of effects, overdrives, distortions and amp models which is a testament to how easy it is to program.

Tremolo, phaser, auto wah, ring modulator, chorus, love the stereo chorus through the cans, flanger, various pitch shifters, delays and reverbs plus overdrive and amp models it took me all night to touch on what is on tap. After trying the gamut of clean through to full on saturated as always, I tend to end up with a mild Marshall JCM800 dialled in as the base amp model and then tweaked the effects from there. Even used it's drum machine for a little bit.

I can see a repeat performance soon I ended up putting my pick down and was starting to get a handle on playing electric with just my fingers which, till now, I've sucked at it through my amps but a few more nights on the couch might get me over the line. Plus no one has to hear my clams.

Good fun.
 

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