Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

5 for $500 (a hypothetical pedal game)

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Lance, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'd like you all to play a hypothetical game. On a $500 budget, I'd like you to create a reasonably well-rounded pedalboard. But, before you start just writing down what you currently have on your board there are a few rules in this game.

    - You must choose 5 pedals.
    - These pedals must be very readily available. In other words, you must ONLY choose pedals that can be bought from a current catalog or are cheaply littered on the EBay market and easy to get. Many players don't have easy access to stores – especially outside the US. Even if the pedal is available on a manufacturer's web site, in an online boutique pedal shop, or in Guitar Center (that's carrying more boutique stuff), I'd prefer you to stick to more pedestrian choices that you might find at the local Music & Arts Center store, Musician's Friend or Sweetwater catalog.
    - Don't think in terms of a list of "best" pedals. Each choice should be a known, reasonable choice for a pedal of its type. This is the pedal that you used to have before you got the fancy boutique pedal.
    - You may include a tuner pedal.
    - Indicate the order that you would buy these pedals as if you got $100 per month for 5 months. In other words… most important to least important.
    - Estimate a street price in the US dollars. I know prices can be higher overseas but for the purpose of the game, just assume US street price. Prices vary. Target $100 per pedal and stay within the budget. If you go a little over on one pedal, you’ll need to make it up on another - just try not to go over $120 on any one pedal.
    - Ignore taxes and shipping.
    - Optionally, consider adding a comment as to why this is a good choice.
    - A preference is that these pedals would fit within the confines of a Pedaltrain Mini-sized board.
    - Bonus points for being able to afford that Pedaltrain Mini in your 5 month!
    - Cables are not part of the budget. Assume these are thrown in. In later months, you can buy fancy cables.
    - Don’t include a power supply. Assume you will run these pedals off a power supply that is not part of your budget. (Aunt Bertha is giving you a 1-Spot for your birthday).
    - While factors such as true bypass are important for many of us, don't consider it essential.

    The format is:
    1 - New/Used, Price$, Manufacturer, Pedal, Comment
    2 - New/Used, Price$, Manufacturer, Pedal, Comment
    3 - New/Used, Price$, Manufacturer, Pedal, Comment
    4 - New/Used, Price$, Manufacturer, Pedal, Comment
    5 - New/Used, Price$, Manufacturer, Pedal, Comment

    So what's this all about? I guess it’s time to fess up. I'm writing an eBook about FAQs for guitar players (check the sig). I'm hoping to publish this in the next few months if not sooner. Since new players are always asking for pedal recommendations, against my better judgment, I'd like to include a list of good starter pedals.

    So, set aside our crazy online world for a moment, your hand painted and wired boutique pedal and imagine you've just started your pedal board journey. What would that 5 month journey look like for the "regular folks"?
  2. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    1 - Used for $39, ProCo Rat, will cover most dirt chores from light OD up to fuzzy tones. Got my price from this source with Google shopping:

    2 - Used for >$100, MXR Carbon Copy, analog delay with the bonus of having long delay times, which is rare. Also nice and compact to fit on a small board. Got this price for one currently selling on eBay:

    3 - Used for $60, Boss OD-3, does light to medium OD with "a bit of evolved design" vs. a TS or any of its clones. The link provided is for a store located in MA, but they have another in PA, and possibly other places:

    4 - Used for $100, MXR Classic 108 Fuzz, basically a nicely refined silicon Fuzz Face with great bypass switching, and even a buffer switch for those that have issues if they can't park it first in line. That said, I DO park any old school fuzz first in line. Again from the same source as above, but this time from a location in WI:

    5 - Used for $20, Dano Tuna Melt tremolo - rivals almost every other trem I've tried at almost any price point. Also has the hard/soft switch. It will fit in very small spots on a crowded pedalboard, which is nice given that the Classic 108 is a "double wide." Yeah, it's plastic. But at $20, it might make sense to get a backup. Yeah, the Cool Cat trem is undoubtedly more durable, but the TM has the knobs on TOP where they need to be, IMO. And even though they are small, there's only two, so any whining about that is usually at a minimum. Link at time of writing this:

    So that puts me at $329. You can make that $349 or so if I'm going for a backup Tuna Melt, but the premise is five pedals only, so I'm not going for a backup. That leaves me with $171. Even though this game doesn't really allow for modded pedals, I didn't want to assume I could find the modded one of my choice on eBay or something. That said, I'd like to get a 308 chip in the Rat if possible, and there are 4 components that I like spec'ed out to make sure that the pedal hits the "sweet spot." But it's not even a standard mod per se. There's no "clarity mods," or "clipping diode toggles," or any of that other krap. IMO, the Rat does not need them.

    ...There is a certain way that I like a BD-2 modded, or that would have been pedal #2. Again, I know I can get that done from an online source, and it doesn't matter where in the world I am, but it still violates your COTS criteria. And the OD-3 in stock form already has the improvements done, but the voicing and such is a little different.

    Anyway...$171 left over will get me this Pedaltrain Jr with an ATA flight case:

    ...but if I am going to continue with my frugal purchasing process, I might as well get one for $100. And it includes a soft case.

    The cheaper pedalboard leaves me with $71. Since I'm not allowed to grab a 6th pedal or it won't fit on that board, I'll grab a clip on tuner for $14.

    ...If this game has a "bonus round" because of money saved, I'd grab this used $50 Pitchblack off eBay:

    ...and still have $21 left over. I think I could get a new Pitchblack for that price, but would only do so if I couldn't grab a used one. Or I could definitely grab that backup Tuna Melt...

    The above pedals were chosen assuming that I had to have a fuzz pedal. As of right now, I have to have one. If that were different, I'd want a compressor, and I'd get it 3rd. I'd grab a new Biyang Compress X, which is a Dyna Comp clone with much less hiss and GREAT bypass.

    ...That's new for $58 on eBay, or about the same price as the used OD-3 I chose for pedal #3. I would use the comp in place of the OD-3, and simply use it in conjunction with the Rat.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  3. chunkyluke

    chunkyluke Tele-Meister

    Mar 16, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    1) Danelectro Daddy-o overdrive (new $99 on ebay, a little pricey can normal find for $50 used)
    Great Guv'nor clone and will get some great crunch for that Marshall sound we have a soft spot for

    2) e-h LPB-1 (new $40)
    Now I have my amp set clean, daddy-o for crunch and this to give light od with amp or lead tone saturation with the daddy-o. It's just such a great all round pedal and that little bit of extra bass really floats my boat :)

    3) e-h Small Clone (new $80)
    Chorus is My fav modulation, and it the small clone stopped my search for one. It's a classic and my all time favourite chorus, and its so cheap :) (only problem is now I have two large pedals on my board)

    4) Mooer Orange 90 (new $85)
    A great little phase 90 clone, the vintage modern switch adds some versatility and the small package gets back some room I spent on the daddy-o and small clone

    5)ok time to cheat a little :) seeming I saved some cash throughout this project I'm going to splurge for a Catalinbread Merkin fuzz (new $150) this takes my total to $455. I'm a big fan of Catalinbread and the merkin gives you a different flavour from your run of the mill fuzz faces or muffs. It's super versatile and great fun to use.

    This gives me $45 dollars left to which, like 11 gauge I'm going to use on a clip on tuner. The rest is beer money :)
  4. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    1 - Used for $39, ProCo Rat, Overdrive
    2 - Used for $39, ProCo Rat, Distortion
    3 - Used for $39, ProCo Rat, Fuzz
    4 - New for $99, Boss TU-3, Tuner
    5 - Used for $80, Boss DD-3, Slapback

    > $300

    Plus, it could be a lot less than that if I opt to bend over and actually change Rat settings at a gig. :lol:
  5. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2008
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    Strymon Flint - Trem and Reverb - $ 275.00 -
    Barber LTD or that new one they have out ( used ) - $ 112.50
    TC Flashback Delay ( used ) - $ 112.50

    This would cover what I use day in and day out. Right now, I have an MXR Trem and Hall of Fame Reverb. I would like to have both in one box and the Flint sounds great.
  6. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I'm just looking down to what gets used on most of my gigs- I never use more than 5 pedals:

    GFS Brownie Classic (Rat Type) $50 new
    Boss Blues Driver-$99 new
    Barber Direct Drive-$99 used
    Boss TU-2 tuner- $100 (more or less)
    Boss DD-3- $80-$100 used
    * So that's $450 max

    edit: since I came in under $500 and I like to switch out my OD pedals for specific gigs- I'm giving myself a 'bonus 6th pedal' - my beloved Biyang Mad Driver ($50 TS) ;)
  7. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010

  8. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    1) Mooer Blues Crab, $88. I play a GGG Blues Breaker v1. It's my favorite light OD. The Mooer is the cheapest assembled clone I'm aware of.

    2) Used Ibanez AD-9, $79. Another essential part of the kit. My amp has no reverb. The AD-9 is great for faking up a little ambiance.

    3) Used Boss DS-1, $25. Mine has maybe $10 worth of Radio Shack pixie dust sprinkled on it but we won't go there...

    4) Used Boss TR-2, $59. A perfectly good basic trem.

    5) Used Boss TU-2 tuner, $20. Works for me!

    These total up to $271. With the $221 I saved I bought a used ROG Umble, a GGG Jordan Bosstone kit, and a used Pedaltrain Mini. I've still got $26 left which will probably go towards a 4-pack of George L's connectors. True story.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  9. russpurdy

    russpurdy Tele-Holic

    Feb 11, 2007
    Ok, I am going to try and stick to the intended rules as best I can and think like I did before I knew about DIY and Boutique. Depending on the seller maybe allow an over/under of 10%

    1 - New, $100, Electro Harmonix, Bass Big Muff, If I can only have one Big Muff for gigging I choose this one. Partly because it can send a dry signal out.
    2 - Used, $110, MXR, Carbon Copy, Never actually owned one. I have a Deluxe Memory Boy now but if I were to do it again I think I would try the Carbon Copy first.
    3 - New, $60, Electro Harmonix, LPB-1, Boost with some low end kick.
    4 - New, $140, Line 6, M5, This thing will cover the octave effects that I need as well as any other seldom used modulation and filter stuff. Also has a tuner built into it. Not sure if this is cheating but I'm sticking with it.
    5 - New, $75, Boss, SD-1, Gotta have an overdrive.

    Leaves a bit of change. Give it to charity.
  10. idjster

    idjster VERY grateful member Silver Supporter

    I'm going over $120 on one pedal, but I'm only choosing one pedal, sorry.

    New, $160.00, Zoom Multi Stomp MS100BT - This pedal emulates 92 Stompbox Effects and 8 Amp Models. You can choose up to 6 effects to use in whatever order you want at the same time. You can find just about any effect you're looking for on it, and set the parameters just as you would the original pedal. You can download new amps and effects via Bluetooth. I love the Fender reverb this pedal has It's better than the Boss pedal.

    Again, sorry, but there it is.
  11. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    Used for $50-$60- BBE Boosta Grande
    Used for around $75- Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde (two birds with one stone!)
    New for well under a hundy- MXR Phase 90
    New for $40- Danelectro Cool Cat Tremolo
    Used for $50-$65- Boss DD3 Delay

    Under $400 for a very effective rig for all kinds of gigs.

    I could use a clip on tuner if I didn't have one on my board.

    My current board is-

    Tu3--> Boosta Grande--> FDII Mosfet--> OCD--> Phase 90--> Dano CC Trem--> TC Electronic Transition Delay.

    The Fulltone pedals replaced my old Jekyll and Hyde, and the TC replaced my dead DD3. Otherwise, with the exception of my TU3, I used the budget rig outlined above for years, and still do. It'll cover pretty much anything but metal, which I don't play anyhow. Upping the expense, all of my live board stuff is mounted on a Pedaltrain board w/roadcase, and powered by a VooDoo PP2+, and is all nice Planet Waves cable custom cut by me. I also have a Vox Wah in the case I can throw down on the floor if I need to...

    So all in all, I gig with what I consider a fairly expensive rig, but if I had to, I could get by plenty fine with the budget line up. I did it for years.
  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    New $75 Planet Waves Chromatic Tuner
    New $70 MXR Dyna Comp
    New $75 BBE Green Screamer
    New $150 MXR Carbon Copy
    New $100 BBE Tremor Tremolo

  13. Fuzzblaster

    Fuzzblaster Tele-Meister

    Jun 10, 2010
    Kelowna, BC
    1 - New, $100, Dunlop, Mini Fuzzface, Great lil fuzzy and adorable, nuff said
    2 - New, $80, Dunlop, Crybaby, I love Wah-Wah, and Dunlop does it right for the price
    3 - New, $80, MXR, '78 BA Distortion, Great sound for rhythm OD/Dist or lead
    4 - Used, $100, MXR, Carbon Copy, Best delay ever for price and size
    5 - New, $50, Behringer, Ultra Shifter/Harmonist, Good for noise making/fun lots of options on the cheap!

    $410 Not too shabby...
    For me MXR/Dunlop is the way to go, now if only they would make an octaving pedal!
  14. Outspan79

    Outspan79 Tele-Meister

    Jan 1, 2013
    Since this pedal survey is aimed at new guitarists, I think the first pedal a new player should buy is a loop pedal. Without a doubt, the best practice tool available.
    1. used Boss RC2 - €100

    2. used OCD - €125

    3. used Big Muff - €40

    4. used Nova Repeater - €150
    The repeater from TC Electronics is a ridiculously good digital delay with tons of features. Really nice tape and analog settings, also has ducking and reverse. Vibrato and chorus. Dotted eight, tap tempo and its stereo. My carbon copy has been in its box for over a year now. The repeater is that good.

    5. new Joyo tremolo - €50

    That's a pretty solid setup for
    €465 which works out at $600...damn it, I thought the exchange rate was a little closer than that.

    Can I have an extra month to save? ;)
  15. juxtapolice

    juxtapolice Tele-Holic

    Mar 31, 2011
    Jersey City
    - love amp 50 - 80 (boost/drive, as simple as it comes - assuming you have a decent amp/guitar this will act as a preamp to hard overdrive)
    - mxr cc - (as mentioned) <100 (great all round analog delay, keeps it simple, adds texture)
    - duncan tweak fuzz - 60 (not my fav fuzz, but real easy to find cheap and versatile, now your drive and distortion sounds
    - malekko trem - <100 (really cool "lofi" style trem)
    - ibanez cs9 chorus - 60 (great buffer and cool faux leslie)

    thats all i'd need ;)
  16. shovelrider

    shovelrider Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 2, 2013
    I picked mine up used on ebay right after they came out for $85. It's nice to have around.
  17. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    $380 badcat unleash (w/ footswitch = clean boost, run the amp full out and set the volume level w/ the unleash)
    $35 used BBE boosta grande (hit front end harder)
    $50 used Boss DD-3 in unleash efx loop.

    I just ordered a Badcat Unleash, waiting on it to arrive, so I thought I would approach the problem differently.

    Edit to add: I always forget the tuner pedal. Find one for $35...
  18. fezz parka

    fezz parka ---------------------------

    1. Used Boss Tuner $45
    2. Bad Bob $150
    3. Bad Bob $150
    4. Bad Bob $150
    5. Six Dollar Burger.$5.
  19. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2008
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    My local guitar store carries Strymon and TC pedals in stock. The Barber is the only one I would have to get off ebay. I can almost always find a used TC Flashback at our local GC. I followed the rules ( except I don't need five pedals ). ;)
  20. Lance

    Lance Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlottesville, VA
    I guess I'll play my own game!

    Prices are all Ebay but I've seen all of these pedals in local stores so I'll go with it.

    • 1 - Used, $120,Fulltone OCD - If I had to start with one pedal, it would be the OCD as it'll cover low and high gain sounds (or even clean boost)
    • 2 - Used, $90, Ibanez TS9 Overdrive - Then, I'd add a TS9 so that I'd have overdrive and move the OCD to high gain duty. Not that it's critical yet but the TS9 would be my non-true bypass pedal to act as a signal buffer.
    • 3 - Used, $130, TC Electronic Flashback - Super versatile and has a serviceable looper.
    • 4 - Used, $100, TC Hall of Fame Reverb - Has a variety of reverbs.
    • 5 - Used, $60, Korg pitchblack - Decent tuner, easy to read

    Total: $500! (and no money left over for a beer)
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