What pedals should every guitarist own?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by TheOneFatGuy, May 1, 2014.

  1. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I did too, and my teacher was smart enough to point out something very important - guitar uses a tempered tuning system.

    While a tuner may have some ways to compensate for that, there's no substitute for using a trained ear as opposed to reading how many cents sharp or flat you are on a tuner.

    I think the best compromise would actually prove to be unnerving for those who are dependent on tuners - just have something that tells you if you are basically where you need to be, or are 'clearly sharp or flat.' That way - your ears are still the primary tool used, but a 'quick visual' might help you to isolate if you have a single string that's way out (this is the most common situation for me, anyway).

    It's painful for me to watch someone re-tune down to 'dead-nuts on the cents' for every string, only for them to strum a chord and hear that something is sharp or flat. Or one minute into the next song, all strings are out by more than a few cents anyways. :eek:

    I have to say that guitarists owe it to themselves to not feel that tuners or something like a compressor are 'absolute essentials.' I know some folks feel that ANY pedal is a potential crutch, but there are instances where it doesn't hurt to determine if that really is the case.
     
  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes. And because of this, I think most of us are tuning/intonating as we play in real-time. Subtly changing finger pressure within a chord, etc. Both to account for the tempered nature of our instrument but also for the relative tuning with other instruments in our mex. Still, it's just easier for me to start with the tuner. That way we're all going to a common starting point at least, rather than each tuning our instrument to itself. While I can tune by ear, I don't have "perfect pitch" or whatever it called, and so I do need a reference pitch anyway. I'm weak.
     
  3. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    No - you're not weak. That's just the one real requisite for tuning w/o a tuner - a reference.

    That said, there can be a method that's a little more picky about said reference, sans tuner. I found this nice little web page:

    http://timberens.com/essays/tuning.htm

    Important parts here:

    "The quickest way I have found to tune the guitar without a tuner is what I call "Kings Island tuning", so named because many years ago I played guitar at an amusement park named Kings Island, and frequently found myself with just a few seconds to tune up before the show.

    I tune the top E string to the reference pitch (from a tuning fork, or piano), then tune each string to the top E string as follows:

    B - 5th fret to open E

    G - open string to 3 fret G

    D - 2nd fret E to open E

    A - Open A to open E (listen for beats in the perfect 5th - check against open B string too)

    E - Harmonic 12 fret E to open E

    You can quickly get the guitar very close to in tune with this method, then, if need be, make minor adjustments.

    Tuning all of the strings to one string eliminates the potential for the passing small variations in tuning from string to string, by tuning 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5 and 5 to 6."
     
  4. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That is cool! I'll have to try that. Because for me at least, the 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, etc. takes forever, and is less accurate.

    Who would have thought in a thread about essential pedals. Only on TDPRI. Which I mean in the best possible way.
     
  5. nathanteal

    nathanteal Tele-Holic

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    Usually, if I'm just playing at home for kicks and don't wanna pull out the tuner I'll do something like this....

    Staring from the low E

    A - 5th fret E string to open A

    D - 5th fret A string to open D

    G - 5th fret D string to open G

    B - 4th fret G string to open B

    E - 5th fret B string to open E

    This has been my casual tuning method since I started playing and it has served me well, provided I am not shooting for perfect pitch. But string to string it should be consistent.
     
  6. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A good reference pitch is Sweet Home Alabama. I bet you have that riff engrained in your brain... it's in D.

    Then I will tune the B string fret 3 to the D, the G and A to the D, the E to the D string fretted at 2 and the top E to the B. I think...
     
  7. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Tele-Holic

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    And the reason a tuner is an essential pedal is because in a loud rehearsal or a fast moving gig it is simply easier and quicker. I love the Polytune feature where you just strum once on mute and you can see if any string has moved. It's quick.

    As for other situations, yes it is often better to tune by ear or to use a tuner for other than just open strings, especially if you are a bit OCD. :)
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  8. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    A "just" perfect 5th has the upper note at 1.5 times the frequency of the lower note. In equal temperament it's (checking) 1.498307, a little flat. You could tune to 1.5x then go flat a little.
     
  9. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I have seen two concerts where the guitar player/singer tuned from bizarre tuning to bizarre tuning through the whole show while talking to the audience and with no tuner.

    One show was Ani DiFranco and the other was Patty Larkin. They were chatting up a storm and twisting tuners going from crazy tuning to crazier tuning and they always sounded perfect. Blew my mind.

    I need a tuner set to tune silently. I couldn't function without a tuner. I have the Peterson Strobe tuner app in my iPhone so that I always have a tuner.

    Must have pedals......
    Tuner
    Comp
    Overdrive
    Trem
    Delay
    Reverb

    If your amp has Trem or Reverb then skip those two.
     
  10. Slickster

    Slickster Tele-Holic

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    LOL ... I play the same thing. Helps me get that G string in the best spot for open playing and the normal pressure I use.
     
  11. AMERICAN_Tele

    AMERICAN_Tele TDPRI Member

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    Boss SD-2 is pretty sweet. Two overdrives in one pedal.
     
  12. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sure, there are tuning considerations 'by ear', beyond what a tuner allows - even beyond a Peterson or a Turbo Tuner. I've intonated instruments to particular sections of tunes prior to recording projects. A tuner gets me started with a B-bender guitar, but the ear finishes the job. On one of my lap steels I use the old dobro players' trick of tuning the string that represents the major third slightly flat, such that it *sounds* 'in tune' - problem with that is that sometimes I need to fall in to the tune at hand live without the benefit of being able to hear to tune first - so I've had to learn how the display looks on my tuners for the F# in open D tuning, such that it sounds good. So using a visual where hearing is not really an option.

    As a multi-instrumentalist I'd say that a tuner is absolutely an essential. Not only as tuner, but as mute/kill switch. As a guitarist I'd say that a tuner is absolutely an essential.

    The first thing I think of when I hear of somebody tuning by ear live is, is there also a bassist and another guitarist or stringed instrument player tuning by ear as well? Are everybodys' ears so on the same page without need for a tuner that everybody sounds hunky dinky fine? That's what bands I was in in the '70s tried to do and it sucked eggs and pond water through a straw...
     
  13. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    A looper. Nice practice toy.
     
  14. AMERICAN_Tele

    AMERICAN_Tele TDPRI Member

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    Yeah I second the looper too. I don't have one though... just gas.
     
  15. nathanteal

    nathanteal Tele-Holic

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    I third the looper. I was borrowing a Boss ME-25 for a while, but after I started buying pedals and gave it back to its proper owner, I desperately miss the loop function.
     
  16. Boobjobber

    Boobjobber TDPRI Member

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    Strymon Timeline

    If you have some money to spare and you like delay, the Strymon Timeline is a "must own" pedal. I've owned mine for a couple of months now and I keep finding new and crazy sounds to come out of it. The kind of sounds that inspire new songs. It's also got a looper built-in so you get that too. I have a Carbon Copy and a Boss RV-3 (delay and reverb in one) as well and they've been made largely irrelevant by the Timeline. It's the last delay pedal you'll ever need.
     
  17. Boobjobber

    Boobjobber TDPRI Member

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    I would disagree with this, but then again I love me some reverb. I have a Fender Twin with a good on-board reverb and I like it's sound but I find it a bit one-dimensional. So I picked up an EHX Cathedral pedal. I use the Cathedral way more than my amp's reverb. It all depends on your sound and your reverb needs, but I wouldn't say a reverb pedal is useless just because your amp has reverb on it.
     
  18. teleroj

    teleroj TDPRI Member

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    I agree with save your money for a good amp first. In terms of effects my opinion would be a good compressor, delay and overdrive (xotic bb is a good example) top the list. I hate digital multi effects so go true bypass and analog where possible. It really depends on what you like. I am not that into distortion that is not from a good tube amp naturally driven (although I do own three different pedals).
     
  19. byrddog123

    byrddog123 TDPRI Member

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    Keeley compressor

    keeley compressor is the one pedal I never turn off. Just makes everything sound better and no endless tweekeing with it. Also a delay pedal. I prefer a light digital delay over reverb. Also a tuner, but I consider that a given:p
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  20. Bearcat

    Bearcat TDPRI Member

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    Essential pedals seems to be a pretty subjective thing. I'd suggest starting with an ultimate octave, and once you've mastered that one, move on to a Hendrix octave fuzz and eventually to a Blue box. I mean, is there really a bad genre for octave fuzz?
     
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