Gear Update Sep 2015

New Pedal Board

My fellow band members are always laughing at me and my forever work-in-progress pedal board. I can’t complain though because they’re right. Whenever I say to myself that this is the final incarnation of my setup, it changes within days or weeks at best.

This time I really am going to try and keep it as it is and I’ve gone so far as to give my Pedaltrain Nano a definite role as backup board in order to resist the temptation of ripping up the new one and going back to the nano. From now on I intend to simply take the nano if I have a change of mind and rejoice in the freedom to be able to change my mind at will without having to redesign my pedal setup and start from square-one every time.

In fact the nano is likely to be used mostly at band practices, where it’s easy to carry and just plugin, low current draw on the battery and less instances of needing a recharge. If I ever have a last-minute or smaller gig I can also just throw the nano in the case and take that along.

Saying all that though, the new board is not exactly a huge monster, it’s just fully comprehensive compared to the nano setup. It’s basically my old nano config with a load of versatility and sound options added. Those new options require an overall bigger size, so the board isn’t really over the top, it just has easy access to pretty much any sound I’m likely to want to use on stage.

It’s now about the same width and twice the depth of a Pedaltrain Nano+ (the newer version). Measuring in at about 18″ x 9″. Actually I think it’s pretty much the perfect board as far as versatility, ease of use, ergonomics and size goes. It’s taken me quite some time to arrive at this design, through trial and error.

When I get the time I’m going to make a demo video of this new setup. In front of the Quilter Tone Block it’s really a rig for all occasions. I can cover any genre of music now with what I’ve got and without any changes on the amp’s settings I can go from clean and polite to mayhem that would make Neil Young blush at the stomp of a footswitch or two. I’ve never had a rig that could cover so much ground in such a small overall footprint.

Effects Breakdown:
(from right to left)

  • Hotone Soul Press – Crybaby voiced wah, switchable to be a volume pedal.
  • Donner Tutti Love chorus.
  • Donner Blues Drive overdrive.
  • Donner Blues Drive overdrive (another).
  • Dasetn EP Booster clone.
  • Line 6 M5 Stompbox Modeller.
  • Tech21 MIDI Moose MIDI foot controller for direct selection of all M5 presets.
  • MaxZ custom-made expression footswitch (hand made in Bangkok Thailand) for doubling preset settings options.

It may appear really busy and convoluted, but it’s actually the ultimate in convenience because it minimises tap-dancing on the fly to make the changes I usually make during songs.

I made the board out of some bits of wood and it was very quick to put together.

UPDATE: I added my mini Bass Limiter after the gain pedals and before the delay/FX. It helps bridge the wide gap between the loudest and quietest gain setting and gives the overall tone a little more girth. It’s on its own little riser that I constructed and sits sideways at the back of the board.

It’s an almost “Always on” pedal. If I choose I can turn it off and with all other gain pedals off, it makes my guitar quiet enough to blend into the background behind things like flute and sax solos in my band. It just adds another step of versatility to the rig and keeps the functionality the same as it was really.

The attack knob on the limiter seems to help me dial in more or less presence/sparkle to the overall tone too, providing a subtle HF rolloff effect.

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