First Pedal Board Questions

Headless Axeman

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As the title says, I’m putting together my first board. I’ve been playing for awhile but have never tried any pedals beyond a looper. Have been thinking about starting with pedals, then I got invited to a monthly local jam at a rehearsal studio that has a couple Marshall and Fender stacks. A basic pedalboard should come in handy then.

I usually play Americana/Indie, sometimes classic rock or blues type sounds too. I like to keep things simple (and I’m pretty cheap), so I’m thinking that a board with six pedals should cover a lot of bases: tuner, looper, and four effects pedals.

For the effects (and here is where the questions start), I was thinking a compressor, an overdrive, a delay, and one *other* (second overdrive, boost, chorus/vibrato, or maybe something weirder). Distortion/Fuzz is probably heavier than almost every play. Does this lineup sound about right? What would you suggest for the last spot?

My goal was to keep every pedal under $150, but optimally under $100 (happy to buy used). I started by focusing on overdrives. Looking at things like Plumes, OCD, Timmy, Tumnus, etc. watching a hundred videos, and finally hit the Special Cranker, and that just seems to be it. It is the exact sound I was looking for. And a good price to boot.

From there, I looked at delays. I didn’t see a lot in the price range that looked great to me, but had more or less chosen the Carbon Copy. Then, I stumbled across the Dispatch Master. Highly regarded online and the YouTube videos are amazing. I realized that I must have it. Lol. It’s at the high end of the price range, but it covers so much ground that I’m ok with the higher price (~$150). It potentially removes the 4th effects pedal from the equation (potentially).

So that leaves me looking for a compressor, which I’m pretty undecided on.

I’d love to have a sanity check on the overall setup, my choices and/or other options I should look for on the lower end of the price range? Any compressor recs? What about particular pedal board and power supply recommendations?

Would appreciate any guidance I could get. Thanks.
 

Headless Axeman

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The Mooer Yellow Comp is relatively cheap, easy to use, and sounds good. I replaced mine with a Suhr Woodshed Comp only because I needed more flexibility for country, which is the vast majority of what I play.

Thanks. I can't tell if a comp pedal is one spot where I can *ahem* be frugal. I hear a lot of good things about the Mooer Yellow or the Dyna Comp. Both can be had for $60 or less. Don't know how much of a difference it is between those and, say, the Keeley 4 knob that @skradlee (and others) have suggested.
 

Phrygian77

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Thanks. I can't tell if a comp pedal is one spot where I can *ahem* be frugal. I hear a lot of good things about the Mooer Yellow or the Dyna Comp. Both can be had for $60 or less. Don't know how much of a difference it is between those and, say, the Keeley 4 knob that @skradlee (and others) have suggested.

If you're looking for a smooth sounding comp that can be subtle and works for nearly everything, the Yellow Comp is perfect. A Dyna Comp will produce an obvious compression effect that is not subtle.
 

skradlee

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Thanks. I can't tell if a comp pedal is one spot where I can *ahem* be frugal. I hear a lot of good things about the Mooer Yellow or the Dyna Comp. Both can be had for $60 or less. Don't know how much of a difference it is between those and, say, the Keeley 4 knob that @skradlee (and others) have suggested.

The main (and huge) difference between the Keeley and others you mentioned is the blend knob, which to me, makes it way more usable than the others. It is certainly not the cheapest, but worth the extra $ in my opinion.
 

Jakedog

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The JHS 3 series is a great place to look for high quality pedals that don’t break the bank. I have the chorus and the delay and I’m very happy with both of them.

None of mine are super expensive.

My chain is TU3— EHX Tone Corset comp (under $100)— TS Mini (under $100)— Wampler Euphoria (gifted to me)— J Rockett Steampunk clean boost (bought on sale for $55)— JHS chorus (on sale for $89) — MXR Phase 95 ($100)— JHS Delay (on sale for $89).

It’s a killer sounding board that covers my classic and alt country gigs, blues gigs, pop/rock cover band gigs, backing up songwriters, everything. There’s nothing I need that it won’t do, and it was really quite affordable.

I have them all mounted to a pedal train Classic 2 board and powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+.

I’ve had a LOT of boards, some that cost a whole lot more. I’m as happy with this as I have been with anything. You don’t have to spend a gazillion bucks to get good sounds.

If fact, I often think a lot of money is wasted on super high end pedals. I think for playing at home, or recording purposes, it can make sense for sure. In a noisy bar, with a lot going on and often with questionable power sources anyhow, a lot of the subtleties and nuance that you can hear with really high end electronics isn’t going to come through anyhow. Subtle differences you can hear on a studio playback or isolated track, and stuff you can hear in a room at home where you’re the only person making noise, just doesn’t come through at a rowdy bar gig. With this in mind, my goal is to find the best combination of rugged reliability and reasonable cost.

If I were an A list session cat, I’d probably use different stuff. But as a bar scene mercenary, I find what I have both practical, and great sounding.
 
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tfarny

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i wouldn’t get a comp at first, probably just a versatile OD and a delay for now, then maybe a modulation of some kind (I’m a tremolo guy who likes occasional phaser, YMMV). fuzzes can be awesome and surprisingly versatile, that would be my third pedal. i use a compressor but i play a lot of country.
 

arlum

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I agree on waiting on the comp.

It would be helpful if you listed the type of guitar and amplifier you'll be using. Your main rig. You mentioned acess to both Fender and Marshall amps but both of those brands make amps ranging from lower gain / clean, medium gain / crunch and higher gain / vintage distortion models. If the guitar sports single coil pickups and the amp is known to be a very clean I'd go with an overdrive first and follow with delay, chorus or reverb depending on your selection of music to be played. If it's a higher gain amp I'd wait on the overdrive in favor of one of the other three I listed. You mentioned classic rock but didn't talk about a wah wah. These two tend to go hand in hand. On a clean amp for classic rock I'd go overdrive, wah wah and then move forward. On a higher gain amp I'd start with a wah wah and move forward. Overdrives are meant to push a preamp. Many amps, like most Mesa Boogie models, have a built in cascading type gain structure in the preamp. An overdrive wouldn't be needed at all. There's already more than enough preamp gain available than you would ever need. Other effects I would consider, depending on the era you'll be choosing songs from would include phasers, ('60s / '70s), and flangers, ('70s / '80s). Going back to compressors .... the three instances where I would warrant them for an early selection would include ... 1). For use with a Telecaster playing clean classic or crunchy modern country music. 2). For use with a Rickenbacker electric 12 string, ('60s classic). For use with a single coil Stratocaster to pump up it's middle and add definition to fast picked lead passages so the notes don't spill over each other. I own many compressors but none in your price range. Quality compressors that don't just squash the tone would be hard to find at that price point. There are many examples of good quality overdrives, distortion, reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger and wah wahs within your price limits. Both decent compressors and most decent delays would cost more.
 

Headless Axeman

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I'd suggest not starting with compressor.

i wouldn’t get a comp at first

I agree on waiting on the comp

Seeing a trend here. I'm ok with waiting on a compressor for now. Thanks.

My chain is TU3— EHX Tone Corset comp (under $100)— TS Mini (under $100)— Wampler Euphoria (gifted to me)— J Rockett Steampunk clean boost (bought on sale for $55)— JHS chorus (on sale for $89) — MXR Phase 95 ($100)— JHS Delay (on sale for $89).

Very cool, and definitely budget-friendly. What are the 3-4 must haves on the board for you? Particularly if you're doing alt country or blues?

fuzzes can be awesome and surprisingly versatile

I'm getting a lot of fuzz recommendations from people who know this stuff better than me. I envision a wall of thick, wooly noise when I think of fuzzes (which I know is what a lot of people look for). I'm surprised to hear that they are considered versatile - any recommendations for good fuzzes under $150 (or less) where you can retain good articulation in the driven tones?

It would be helpful if you listed the type of guitar and amplifier you'll be using. Your main rig. You mentioned acess to both Fender and Marshall amps but both of those brands make amps ranging from lower gain / clean, medium gain / crunch and higher gain / vintage distortion models.

Baja tele, and the amp will be changing, but let's presume it is a quilter aviator cub. And I'm not positive of the models at the studio, but my buddy says he plays there through clean amps, so that is my presumption.

You mentioned classic rock but didn't talk about a wah wah.

Thanks for this (and the rest of your extensive response). Hadn't even considered a wah wah, I'll dive into that a bit more.
 

Cyberi4n

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I have this.
It's an excellent fuzz pedal, that produces some VERY good hendrix tones (expected ofc) but also when dialled down produces some really great blues grit. You could probably get away with just this one pedal for all your OD needs if you dont mind tweaking mid-set etc.

I have several ODs on my board currently, namely the MXR Raw Dog for full on drive, a Wampler Tumnus Mini for more saturated classic rock vibe, and for a solo boost I have the excellent MXR Mini booster (with an internal trim pot for additional gain). In all honesty if I had to pick the ONE OD pedal it would be this one, as the tone is just superb into a Marshall just into breakup.

Here’s my current rig

1C1A17C9-FD57-40E4-9C7F-9983CAD7B94C.jpeg



GTR > Tuner > Wah > Phase95 > Tumnus > RawDog > Tidewater Tremolo > CC Delay > Wampler Reverb > MXR Booster > Amp

As others have said, I'd echo that I'd stay away from a compressor to begin with. With four spaces to fill, I'd get an OD a booster, wah and a tremolo (but that's just me and mine lol).
 

Jakedog

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Very cool, and definitely budget-friendly. What are the 3-4 must haves on the board for you? Particularly if you're doing alt country or blues?

I have my comp, drives and boosts on the bottom row. I could do all my gigs with just that. The modulation and delay are on the top row cause they’re the gravy.

If forced to keep as few as possible, I’d choose the tuner, comp, Euphoria, and the clean boost.

I like to set up the lower row so the signal chain stacks well. That way I have a huge array of volume and drive levels available depending on which ones I select. I can use none, one, or any combination of them to drive the amp and each other.

I’m not sure why so many folks are recommending to wait on a comp? I mostly use mine for 80’s-90’s country and jam band stuff. But it’s nice to have it available. It’s also really good for the more red dirt and Texas country stuff if you’re into that. If any of that stuff is on your radar you’re gonna want one IMO. Just remember it’s an effect. A specific sound and tool for a specific purpose. It will (could) eventually have a negative effect on your playing if it becomes an “always on” thing.
 

Headless Axeman

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a fuzz face style pedal can really be an amazing thing and the are lots of good examples out there. Think Hendrix not smashing pumpkins.

Yeah, I'm really starting to see that. Some fuzzes that do really nice low gain sounds and all the way up. Lots for decent prices. I am way, way down the rabbit hole right now...
 

Cyberi4n

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There’s a guy I follow on youtoob. A young Scottish guy who plays killer blues and does tutorials. His tone is quite often his fuzz pedal turned low, and it sounds immense
 

scottser

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if i was starting off building a pedal board, knowing what i know now, i would first get a decent overdrive. for me, that's a boss bd 2, available 2nd hand for 60 bucks all day long everywhere or a proco rat for a little more. next, an eq pedal - again, boss ge 7 for the same money. then a delay or verb; you could go boss but there are lots of probably better options like the tc hall of fame. modulation effects like chorus, phaser and flanger you'll use the least and you can pick up as you go; the chinese cheapies will probably be enough to get you started. a compressor is really not essential unless you're playing clean for the most part.
do you or would you use a wah pedal?
 




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