New pedal, epiphany on lots of stuff all in one day..... my discussion

FortyEight

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So I went out and got me an electro harmonics holy grail reverb. Then I ran it, my dan electro flanger, and fender chorus through the effects loop on my Laney amp.

The whole process nuclear bombed my whole guitarist life. Not cuz I thought it was soooo much better, although I did like it a lot better than when I had it all plugged into the front. But because now I feel like my world got put upside down.

I'm never likely going to ever use that big old Laney Pro Tube 100 with it's 4x12 stack anywhere live. Cuz I'm not moving it out of my basement.

But I mean now I'm spoiled.

Since i've been playing I have always enjoyed the sound of an amps distortion over pedals. I've never owned really expensive distortion pedals. But I did have the one that every one seems like is the gold standard (Boss DS-1) back in the 90's and I preferred any of the amps I had, their distortion. Which were all peaveys. 1 SS 100 watt head and then a classic 50. Then I had a combo in like 94 that was a more metal sounding combo, tube. all black. I don't recall the name of it. I think it was a 2x12 er too.

I never used to like a lot of reverb. Or really a lot of anything. My focus is really rhythm guitar and singing. I will do a lead now and then but I'm not technically going whip out an awesome solo like some of you can. And noodling scales over songs is not really my thing. I'm more about melodies and lyrics.

Anyways... point being is that I can totally hear a difference in this reverb when playing with disortion in the front of the amp, and through the effects loop. And it sounds way better to me.

Now I do play a lot of clean and that's more of my focus so that part doesn't matter. But even at that, when I use my Vox Cambridge, I like the little bit of break up sound with some gain dialed in. That nice reverb loses something in the process of distorting.

So...... I don't know if it's me or what but most distortion pedals have a... disconnect to the guitar that the amp distortion doesn't.

So what do you guys do? Distortion pedals and just use the amp clean? Make sure you have an amp with an effects loop if you use the distortion? Or some other solution. I know one solution is having an amp with reverb. But then that doesn't solve chorus or other wet pedals.

I have been liking my JHS 3 series fuzz. Although admittedly I think I would prefer one with an octave...... And I don't think I will only use that as my only dirty.

It just complicates things but once I've tried it, I'm not sure I'm gonna wanna go back. LOL. Good thing is most of the time I can just use my laney for recording. For now that should be fine. But if I end up playing guitar in a band at some point.... I'm going to have to figure something out.

3rd world problems.

That electro harmonix is very very good. IMHO. Simple but lots to do with it. Sounds really good.

I may end up a pedal guy after all. I guess old dogs can do new things.
 

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xjazzy

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I have never used an FX Loop.
I had one amp with that. Sold it a long time ago.
Never felt the reverb from pedals sounded that much different than the one on my DRRi, even when I was running it pushed so, I'm keeping everything in front of my amps.
 

Cyberi4n

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I have an FX loop on my amp, but no channel switcher. I use the amp on the clean channel, with the gain at just OVER breakup so if I pick HARD it breaks up a little, but when I pick softly its a softer tone. My 'verb pedal is last in my chain, just before the amp. I have two OD pedals, a sugar drive set to a medium gain so it provides a slightly MORE rock tone, and can be used to solo where I want moderate gain. I then have a tumnus which I use with raised volume purely as a solo gain when I want much more OD. I can stack this with the sugar drive as well. Both these pedals are before the reverb in my chain.

I've never really gone down the 'four cable' method, which is where you have some pedals on your board running in front of the preamp, and others running in the FX loop (hence why it's called the 4 cable method). I appreciate it gives a different tone, and some purists suggest it's the only way to run various time pedals etc, but it's always seemed like a bit of a faff to me, for very little perceived gain in tone in my opinion.

If you're using the amp's distortion though, and have a channel switcher, then it makes sense to do the following

guitar > wah > preamp > fxloop send > time/modulation effects > fxreturn > power amp > speaker

I've only recently been experimenting with putting my phase BEFORE my OD pedals instead of after, jury's still out on that one lol. I guess there are no hard and fast rules, just what you think sounds best.

In case you're interested, this is my signal chain

guitar > wah > tuner > phaser > sugar Drive > tumnus > delay > reverb > pre-amp > power-amp > speakers

ALL my effects are before my preamp gain, but the gain is set quite low in any case, so I dont think it colours the time-based effects before it much
 
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hotrodkid

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I’ve been spoiled having old Marshalls and Boogies back in the day and I will not argue that amp distortion has a certain compression and feel pedals have a hard time replicating. But, after much experimenting I’ve come to the conclusion that a single overdrive pedal into the clean high headroom of my Fender amp will not bring me tonal bliss. For the past few years I’ve been doing the “foundation” or “tone sweetener” always on pedal(s) thing and I’m sold on it. I’ve come to like a TS/808 before my drive and a Klone after, both set low. The TS and the Klone never get turned off. I guess in a way it lessens the burden put on my OD pedal to sound like a tube amp in it’s sweet spot.
 

stormsedge

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No epiphanies here, I'm afraid:oops:.

I think it is user, amp and probably pedal dependent. I have a couple of amps that sound right using the FX loop...and a couple that just do not (in fact, was thinking about rerouting my board on that amp today).

I've also noticed some of my pedals play better with others.

AND, I'm certain when I get out to play above house/bedroom level the pedals will sound different yet again:(. It is all a science experiment:lol::lol::lol:.

Edit: AND if they do not get in the groove...it is into the drawer of shame for them:twisted:.
 

Festofish

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I’ll never buy another amp without a loop.
I run Vol>Wah>Tuner>Delay> OD>Fuzz>Amp in.
Loop out>Mod>Delay>Reverb> Trem>EQ>loop in.
Delay before OD for wild repeats. Delay in loop for clean repeats.
I use my reverb as a space station. I used to run everything into the front but it sounds better with the appropriate effects in the loop. I’ve got reverb on my amp but rarely use it. For clean I just shut off the OD/fuzz…but that’s not very often. Enjoy!
 

naveed211

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I used to be an amp drive guy 100%.

Around the time I started being in worship bands, I got into the whole pedalboard scene that’s so popular in that world. That’s when I started doing drives and pedals in front of the amp, most of the amps I had didn’t have effects loops.

I’m kind of hybrid now. My amp doesn’t have an effects loop, but does have a good drive sound. So I use either drive pedals or the amp drive for different things. If your goal is different tones, then it’s not a competition between them.
 

Junco Partner

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If you consider the DS-1 the “gold standard” of distortion pedals, it’s no wonder you prefer the sound of your amp. There are many, much better, more amp-like drive pedals out there. Granted, a lot of guitarists prefer amp drive over pedals, and there are some fans of the DS-1 who like it for what it is, but IMO a more modern, refined dirt pedal would be a better substitute for amp gain.
 

FortyEight

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I like how there's so many variations to how everyone does it and what works. I guess that's the cool thing about all the guitar stuff. There's so many options that it's easy to have a sound that is different everyone else. I think there is some truth in the fact that a lot of the sound is coming from our hands though. LOL.

@Junco Partner Yeah, I totally get what you're saying. I'm sure there are many distortion pedals out there that are good and sound maybe more like an amps distortion. I have yet to find one that sounds like good amp distortion, but I haven't looked real hard or spent much time with them. Which OD's do you like and have?

@naveed211 Yeah, the church I'm going to now, it almost seems clone like....... Meaning every guitarist there is all into big pedal boards and etc. I found it kind of odd coming from a much stripped down way of doing things in other churches. This kid is like 16 and he's got about a dozen pedals on his board that are not cheap..... I'm like???? The other older guys I can see how they can afford it, well actually I don't either but..... LOL. Everyone's budget is different and what they put their money into.

I've never been much of a gadget guy with tools and such. But there's no doubt that the right tools make for better results. Or sometimes easier work.

@Festofish Wow cool, two delays... I had one and got rid of it. LOL. Boss DD-3. It just wasn't for me. I don't usually love tons of reverb but I'm liking the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail. Just like with OD's probably, when you spend a little for quality stuff it might make a difference. Although I like my Danelectro Flanger and my older Fender chorus I got for like 15-20 bucks used. Can I ask what amp are you using currently with the fx loop? My thing is I prefer smaller amps for recording and it seems like there is a lack of effects loops on the smaller amps. Although I think if I had my ultimate amp it would be 1-12" with an effects loop. And a good sound. But I'm not sure what is all out there. I noticed the Orange 35RT has an effects loop. I think the monoprice does too... And then I saw a Crate 30 amp for sale on facebook that is a tube amp and if my memory served me correctly, that one had one too. But my mind said friends don't let their friends by Crate. But I'm going by how they were in the 90's. And I never met one that I though sounded decent.....

Either way I feel like I'm a bit stymied now. I like my little vox amp (Cambridge 15) and how it sounds. But I may have to only use that for clean stuff. Or maybe just a bit of gain. I like the reverb so much better that way. Or in the effects loop of the laney. I will probably just keep using the laney but I think it sometimes is lacking in sound cuz it's a 100 watt tubes and I don't think I'm getting to its sweetness. Sounds kind of harsh sometimes. Although I think I have the master volume on 5-6 right now.....

When you go high gain with that amp it sounds pretty freaking good. But it is loud.
 

naveed211

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I like how there's so many variations to how everyone does it and what works. I guess that's the cool thing about all the guitar stuff. There's so many options that it's easy to have a sound that is different everyone else. I think there is some truth in the fact that a lot of the sound is coming from our hands though. LOL.

@Junco Partner Yeah, I totally get what you're saying. I'm sure there are many distortion pedals out there that are good and sound maybe more like an amps distortion. I have yet to find one that sounds like good amp distortion, but I haven't looked real hard or spent much time with them. Which OD's do you like and have?

@naveed211 Yeah, the church I'm going to now, it almost seems clone like....... Meaning every guitarist there is all into big pedal boards and etc. I found it kind of odd coming from a much stripped down way of doing things in other churches. This kid is like 16 and he's got about a dozen pedals on his board that are not cheap..... I'm like???? The other older guys I can see how they can afford it, well actually I don't either but..... LOL. Everyone's budget is different and what they put their money into.

I've never been much of a gadget guy with tools and such. But there's no doubt that the right tools make for better results. Or sometimes easier work.

@Festofish Wow cool, two delays... I had one and got rid of it. LOL. Boss DD-3. It just wasn't for me. I don't usually love tons of reverb but I'm liking the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail. Just like with OD's probably, when you spend a little for quality stuff it might make a difference. Although I like my Danelectro Flanger and my older Fender chorus I got for like 15-20 bucks used. Can I ask what amp are you using currently with the fx loop? My thing is I prefer smaller amps for recording and it seems like there is a lack of effects loops on the smaller amps. Although I think if I had my ultimate amp it would be 1-12" with an effects loop. And a good sound. But I'm not sure what is all out there. I noticed the Orange 35RT has an effects loop. I think the monoprice does too... And then I saw a Crate 30 amp for sale on facebook that is a tube amp and if my memory served me correctly, that one had one too. But my mind said friends don't let their friends by Crate. But I'm going by how they were in the 90's. And I never met one that I though sounded decent.....

Either way I feel like I'm a bit stymied now. I like my little vox amp (Cambridge 15) and how it sounds. But I may have to only use that for clean stuff. Or maybe just a bit of gain. I like the reverb so much better that way. Or in the effects loop of the laney. I will probably just keep using the laney but I think it sometimes is lacking in sound cuz it's a 100 watt tubes and I don't think I'm getting to its sweetness. Sounds kind of harsh sometimes. Although I think I have the master volume on 5-6 right now.....

When you go high gain with that amp it sounds pretty freaking good. But it is loud.

Funny you mention pedalboard costs, the singer in my current band is from the “worship band world” and has a massive pedalboard with expensive stuff on there. Then he plays a $150 guitar that’s constantly breaking strings.

It does sound pretty good, but still, why not sell a few of those pedals and upgrade your guitar a bit to even things out?
 

Ronzo

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Funny you mention pedalboard costs, the singer in my current band is from the “worship band world” and has a massive pedalboard with expensive stuff on there. Then he plays a $150 guitar that’s constantly breaking strings.

It does sound pretty good, but still, why not sell a few of those pedals and upgrade your guitar a bit to even things out?
For the last few years, I’ve been all about the inexpensive mini pedals. By trial and error (and angering Amazon with returns), I’ve found a few that work well to meet my needs. Lately, that means three small pedal cases, holding 15-17 pedals. All the 5 time/modulation-based effects are in the effects loop (4-cable system) of my Egnater Tweaker 15 head. A TomsLine 5-place case houses these. The other two boards mount in a 6-place Mooer case and a 5-place Rowin case. A One-Spot and a Donner power supply handles their power requirements.

Why? Ease of transport, for one reason. I have an Egnater Rebel 20 head bag, and all three pedal cases go in it with the Tweaker 15 head and the power supplies. The case’s shoulder strap and padding make for an easy carry.

It also allows me to carry and use multiple drive pedal flavors, which can be combined. Not as convenient as a multi-loop Bradshaw CAE controller - but what is?
 

telemnemonics

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Fair enough.
If you like that then buy some smaller dirty tube amp with FX loop, like one of the Orange 15w heads.
Many factors though.

Verb sux in front of a dirty amp.
Amp dirt at it's best is better than pedal dirt.
Flangers can sound superb in front though.
Digital verb may have a honeymoon phase after which you notice things you don't like after all.
Big ol' Brutish amps may be something else entirely you can't get without 'em!
 

beanluc

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Anyways... point being is that I can totally hear a difference in this reverb when playing with disortion in the front of the amp, and through the effects loop. And it sounds way better to me.

I'm confused because - doesn't your amp's pre stage distort (before the effects loop)?

Am I to understand that until now you've only been getting distortion from your power stage (after the effects loop)?
 

Obsessed

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For me, I started out as a surf guitar player, so I was always playing through super clean amps. Pedals became my building blocks as time went on. Becoming a blues player, after many traditional OD/dirt pedals, I eventually got into amp foundation pedals through the clean amp. As of a few years ago though, I am enjoying playing through distorted amps and relying less on pedals. I’m in a very satisfying place now where I enjoy both. I have never ventured beyond the most basic effects though and perhaps that is my savior of keeping things as simple as possible and try to do everything possible with the hands and guitar tone/volume pots.

Fingerpicking really opened my eyes to string dynamics. So much to learn, so little time. The angst of a guitarist.:(
 

Festofish

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@Festofish Wow cool, two delays... I had one and got rid of it. LOL. Boss DD-3. It just wasn't for me. I don't usually love tons of reverb but I'm liking the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail. Just like with OD's probably, when you spend a little for quality stuff it might make a difference. Although I like my Danelectro Flanger and my older Fender chorus I got for like 15-20 bucks used. Can I ask what amp are you using currently with the fx loop? My thing is I prefer smaller amps for recording and it seems like there is a lack of effects loops on the smaller amps. Although I think if I had my ultimate amp it would be 1-12" with an effects loop. And a good sound. But I'm not sure what is all out there. I noticed the Orange 35RT has an effects loop. I think the monoprice does too... And then I saw a Crate 30 amp for sale on facebook that is a tube amp and if my memory served me correctly, that one had one too. But my mind said friends don't let their friends by Crate. But I'm going by how they were in the 90's. And I never met one that I though sounded decent....

I use a Hotrod Dlx. When I’m feeling spicy I plug into the Peavey 6505 Mini head into a Peavey Classic 1x12. Hotrod Deluxes are fairly inexpensive and plentiful in the used market. It’s also a 1x12. You gotta start somewhere. Most of us have started with less than choice gear. I have always heard good things about the Crate Vintage amps. Also the Blue Voodoo(?). That’s about it. I don’t have any first hand knowledge with any of their amps. I love EHX and Boss! You can get them cheap used and they work great. You can get a lot of American made EHX classics for well under a hundred. It’s a lifelong persuit! Enjoy.
 

FortyEight

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@beanluc I probably said that wrong. I apologize. I meant I was using the amps distortion. And yeah I think the reverb is cleaner sounding with using the effects loop in that particular amp. (Laney Pro Tube 100 circa 1987)

@Festofish I don't think I see a lot of hot rod deluxes for sale but now that you mention it I think my music go round has one currently cuz I think I remember seeing one on there the other day. I don't recall how much it was... I'm not sure which Electro Harmonix, american made, pedals you can get for less than 100 but that's cool. I'm assuming those are the ones made in the 70s? Cuz I think now they're all made in the russian factory even though the company is American. I think that's what I surmised after reading their whole history. It was a wild story.....

@Obsessed for the longest time I didn't use any pedals either. But now I see the benefits of reverb. And neither of my amps have it. And basically recording got me going on effects. I could just use the effects in reaper. But when I started recording it was with audacity and I didn't use any of their effects. I guess I could've with that program too. But I used flanger on my bass once and really liked it. And for a while I've used chorus to fatten my guitar sound a little bit on some songs. A small amount of it at times.

Then came the fuzz..... That was my first good pedal. JHS 3 series. :) Although my chorus is an old Fender that seems decent. It was cheap though.
 

Skyhook

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I've always used a clean amp and fed pedals into the front. I've never tried FX loops on amps(on mixers, yes, but that's another kettle of fish). On a tangent, I feel that using the FX-loop to make the MT-2 "sound good" is cheating. It wasn't designed for that. It was designed to be fed into the front of an amp and "your" challenge is dialing it in properly like that. I'm sure it would make an eminent paperweight or doorstop as well but it wasn't designed for that either </OFF-THREAD-TANGENT>. Anyway... my personal beef with amp distortion is not a quality issue but instead that you're tied to that particular amp. I've often been in the community-backline situation so all I ever look for is a clean tone from the amp and most amps I've come across can deliver on this. Then I just plug my pedals into the front. If the community-Anybrand™-amp goes *poof* I can just slap a Mooer Radar or Behringer TM300 between the pedal-chain and the PA mixer. Same distortion and effects retained.
 

FortyEight

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it does simplify things. i get that. if i find a distortion or gain i like i could change to be like that.

im not sure what u r referring to as the mt-2 and thats its not designed for that. i dont see how its cheating if i found some combo of sounds i like.
 

loopfinding

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I don’t play with verb on a dirty amp, I only use verb when clean. It’s just a recipe for mud in a live context, unless you are trying to get that vacuum cleaner sound from a shoegaze record or something.
 

Killing Floor

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Once I got a fuzz face clone with a really cool etched enclosure that sounds fantastic but the LED never turns off. And once I got another handmade pedal with a light that never turns on. The hardships of my life, I swear, sometimes I think I'm like one of those pioneers riding a wagon over the Oregon trail. Woe upon woe.
If you angle your amp in the corner of a room you can use the space behind the amp to stack pedals you're not using (pro tip). That works for most pedals except for fuzz because you might have 40 fuzzes.

Guess what showed up today? A Matchless type OD circuit with twin 12AX7 tubes. So I'll lift and strain against this heavy burden until my wife tells me to turn down! Chime for days.
upload_2021-10-28_14-5-35.jpeg
 




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