I decided to do a quick demo of the pedal board in its current format. I find it’s a good idea to do these demos because I change my rig around so much that sometimes I wonder if I may have already had a good setup in the past that I may be missing out on after all the chopping and changing.
These demos serve to remind me of anything I may want to go back and recreate.
I’ve found that I quite like having the entire rig set up to be brighter-sounding than I’ve had in the past, making the volume and tone controls on the guitar that much more effective and useful.
The idea, which I hope will work wonders on stage is to setup my gain-related pedals to work as a unit and to stay on almost all of the time, interacting to create the main voice of the amp – just like a preamp.
The gain section consists of:
Overdrive (Donner Blues Drive):
This is a tubescreamer circuit, but in the “hot” setting, it’s more like a clean boost. It has a lot of output, but needs the tone control on max to have enough brightness, but it’s a great pedal especially for the price.
Boost/EQ/Preamp gain (Donner Boost Killer):
RC Booster clone. I use it mainly to clean out low end, add top-end sparkle and a little bit of extra gain. The gain knob can be adjusted to taste from song to song and tone-wise is like the volume control on a classic (non-master volume) amp. This is effectively the preamp section of the gain stage.
“The Sag” (DASETN EP Booster copy):
I gave it the name (it had no name originally) – It’s the special sauce of the rig. It’s always set to max, it provides some grit and rawness and runs out of headroom pretty quickly, so saturtes beautifully with boost in front of it. This comes very close to emulating a tube-rectifier type effect. It’s a wonder pedal.
Compressor (Mooer Yellow Comp):
I always found this to sound better before the gain pedals and never got into it when placed after. However, it’s an optical compressor and so should perform well as a post gain compressor. I persevered and unlocked the magic in having it after the boosts and drive pedals.
The other pedals are simply effects that can be switched on and off: Phaser, Chorus and Delay.
In use the gain section works great, at least at studio volume. I hope this translates well to stage volume. Having the compressor post gain and boost is the closest I’ve come yet to having total control of overdrive and cleanup on the volume pot of the guitar whilst maintaining a consistent overall “loudness”.
It’s great to be able to turn down and clean up instead of suddenly becoming too quiet. Having the rig set to be brighter also helps keeping the sparkle when I turn down the guitar’s volume.
Amazingly this 200w, solid state Quilter Tone Block through my little 2×8 300w cab (with typically non-guitar speakers) sounds very classic and raw, almost Supro-like to my ears. I’ve been after that sound from a compact rig like this for a long time.
The proof of how good it is will be when I try it out on stage though. The rules totally change when everything is 10 times louder! I’m optimistic though.