A couple of things before I give you my run down.
First thing is that I don’t light the world on fire with my guitar playing. I use basic stuff, which was ultimately why I reverted back from my digital gear to the conventional stuff. I don’t use spacey, trippy effects and don’t really write that kind of music. I doesn’t inspire me. That doesn’t mean I’m not in awe of people like Steve Vai, Pete Thorn and many others who play and write that kind of stuff. I play mostly blues, my version of jazz (although not very well) and straight ahead classic rock type stuff. So my pedal set up is pretty basic, simple stuff.
The second thing is, being an Old Guy, I don’t need the latest, nor greatest stuff, and I don’t even need it brand, spanking new either. I get the excitement of opening up a new box and having something pristine to use, but for effects pedals, if it works, I really don’t care how it looks. I’m not afraid of factory B-Stocks, either. I got all these effects on Reverb for a fraction of the cost of them new, and they all work perfectly. No one can see your pedal board anyway, so who cares what those magic boxes look like.
I seriously went back to my roots and got some old school stuff that I had had and enjoyed many moons ago.
Cry Baby Classic Wah: This Wah is an old throwback to the very first series of Wahs when Dunlop bought over the rights to the circuit. It has the original Fasel inductor in it and the sound is divine. I prefer it to the other Dunlops, as I find the sweep more even and the bottom and top end to be more smooth. I used to run the Morley Bad Horsie, Steve Vai’s Wah, which I loved because of the optical switch, but always wanted something a little more classic sounding. This is the perfect fit for me. Factory B-Stock for $80, shipped.
Boss CH-1 Super Chorus: I was never a huge fan of the super modulated chorus effects that drip from recordings. This is a simple, subtle chorus that adds just enough to the mix to know it’s there, but is subtle enough to not overpower the sound. I also used the pedal many moons ago, and for my style of playing, it fit perfectly into my rig. So here it is again.
Boss TR-2 Tremolo: Of all the effects in my digital rig, this one was the one I used the most. I could never get it to sound “swampy” enough digitally, so once I got rid of all my digital stuff, I went looking for a super basic, yet really muddy sounding Tremolo. After listening to a bunch on YouTube, from the most basic, to the more expensive, this is the one that not only sounded like what I heard in my head the most, but was also simple and basic for my needs.
MXR Carbon Copy: This is another one I used, as my main delay pedal, for years before going digital. And once again, I just couldn’t recreate the smooth, warmth this pedal delivers on my digital gear. There is something rich, warm and all around awesome sounding to this pedal. Such a simple little box, but such an incredible sound. If you listen to early Eric Johnson instrumentals like “Zap” and “Cliffs of Dover”, THIS is the pedal that made that magic. It’s just an incredible sound like no other. $100 mint on Reverb.
Ibanez TS9: The OD pedal that basically started it all. Believe it or not, I actually never had one before. For what I play, and the sound I was looking for, there could be no other choice. I’m not nearly good enough to play like the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan, nor do I have any intention of actually sounding like him, but if you play any kind of blues, i really think this pedal should, at least, be a consideration. For me, it was the only possible option.
Just to give you an idea, I got the TS9, CH-1, and TR-2 from one awesome guy on Reverb for a grand total of $220, packaged and shipped. He doesn’t live far from me, so I got them in one day. Awesome, honest Reverb vendor and a real pleasure to deal with. You can find him here: Ace in the Hole Vintage Tone
TC Electronics Ditto X2: Every guitar player needs a Looper. There is no excuse for not having one these days. You can get one for $40 if you look around. I wanted something a little fancier, with a dedicated “Stop” button, but also one that I could export my Loops into a DAW if I wanted to. This pedal does all that and I got it for a killer deal, once again on Reverb. If you don’t have a Looper, go get one. NOW. Your playing with exponentially improve if you learn how to use one and practice with it. Just ask Ed Sheeran what it can do for you. $110 on Reverb.
When I was hunting around for my new set up, I looked at multi channel amps and eventually settled on the Blackstar HT Venue 40 MkII, which has two channels, but two voicings per channel. Stellar Amp in every sense of the word. But browsing around YouTube, I found another OD/Distortion pedal I had to have. The reviews and demos of it were so good, even though I had some OD and Distortion on tap, I felt I could use this pedal to color my sounds a bit more if I wanted.
Suhr Eclipse: This pedal is somewhat unique. Two identical pedals in one. Both sides of the pedal have the same circuit and same controls. Each side has dedicated Gain, Volume, Treble, Mid, and Bass controls, so you can have two completely separate sound structures on each side, or have the identical setup on each side with a touch more gain or volume. The other unique thing about the pedal is that it has a knob to change how bright or dark the pedal sounds. It’s that “voice” knob you see below. This was intriguing and relevant to me, as, even though I really like the gain structure on the Blackstar, it did sound a touch dark to me. That knob will allow me to brighten things up if needed.
Also, this pedal is designed to be used somewhat like the TS9, in that it is to be used more so with a clean or slightly broken up clean channel, rather than to boost an already seriously gainy channel. I guess it can be used for that, but not really what my personal intentions are for it.
Basically, now I have a 6 channel amp and can dial anything from pristine cleans, to slight boost with the TS9, to a little more gain and added volume with the Eclipse, all the way to heavier classic rock tones with the distortion channel of the Blackstar. $180 on Reverb.
I will eventually get my YouTube channel up and running and will give a complete gear rundown/review with sound and video clips to let you hear exactly how I use the Amp and the 4 “channels” it has, along with how I use each pedal, and what they sound like with the settings I like for each.
Think of this as just an appetizer! Thanks for reading and much more to come!!