09/04/2017

Pedal Power 2017

Nearly two years ago, I surveyed my effects pedal estate. Here's an update, and what's striking (to me) is how much has changed. Gone are a few old favourites I'd hung to for years, decades even - sacrificed to the obsession with new things (and the realisation that I never used them). However, I haven't bought anything new for months so I thought it was worth documenting what I have.

Cry Baby Super Wah [1]
This now needs a replacement potentiometer, but I'm somewhat nervous about doing it myself. If it was working properly I'd probably use it more.
Korg AX1G [2]
I've had this multi-effects box for ages, but I forgot about it last time, because I hardly ever use it. It was cheap and cheerful at the time, and now it seems very out-dated, but it offered a lot of bang for the buck, including as it does a bunch of simple but effective settings and an expression pedal, in a small footprint. Good fun. I can't remember where I got this or how much it was though.
MXR Phase 90 [3]
A simple, good quality effect. Adds a nice, certain something to the sound.
MXR Carbon Copy [4]
This is always on my board and has in fact supplanted any chorus pedals, because I prefer the sound of the delays being modulated rather than the direct sound, and it's a more subtle and very good quality chorus. Also fantastic as a simple, longer delay on lead lines. A modern classic.
BOSS FB-2 Feedbacker/Booster [5]
Despite what it says, this isn't a Metal Core, but an FB-2 with a replacement switch cover because the old one was broken. The FB-2 is something of an unappreciated pedal and it's tempting to say that if a boutique company came out with it now, it would get rave reviews. As a boost, it's very versatile, and the ability to add sustaining feedback at any volume (or even at no volume, via the amp's direct output) is great.
Mission Engineering VM-PRO [6]
A buffer and volume pedal. Somewhat expensive for what I needed really, but it's wonderfully solid and the action is super-smooth. Pro quality.
Moog EP-3 [7]
A few of my pedals have the ability to use an expression pedal, so eventually I caved in and went for this very reasonably priced example. Great fun with the Pitch Fork, which basically turns it into a Whammy.
TC Electronic Flashback X4 [8]
Having bought the Carbon Copy [4], I realised that, while it's a great pedal, what I wanted for some things is a longer delay. This has a number of different delay types, including a modulated 2290 (TC's famous rack delay), multi-tap (instant Edge!) and a looper too, which is good fun. It's rather big and I can't figure out how the expression pedal is supposed to work with it, but the delays are superb and you can edit sounds via the PC app, so it's incredibly versatile.
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame [9]
I wanted a bunch of different reverbs and this just does the job. I keep the reverb on the amp off (it's digital anyway) and run this last, in the loop. Originally I'd bought a HOF Mini, which is great if all you want is a "set and forget" reverb sound, but I like being able to adjust things more. This also works with the TC PC app.
Electro Harmonix Soul Food [10]
I think this is a bit of a modern classic, for all that it's a copy(ish) of the Klon Centaur. It adds a certain something to any sound, whether as a clean boost or adding "more" to another drive. The one thing I am not as keen on is its standalone drive sound, which is a bit harsh.
BOSS TR-2 Tremelo [11]
I was specifically after a square wave tremelo, which is why the Joyo trem I had last time got sold on. This BOSS model is simple but effective, and can do a basic amp-like, subtle trem, or an aggressive hard choppy trem. Ideal unless you're after something really different ... like the Super Pulsar [17].
Tech 21 Double Drive [12]
I saw this up for grabs on the board and it had been around for a while with no takers. Tech 21 isn't one of the favoured brands of the board (it definitely does have favourites), which must account for it, because it was an absolute bargain at £45. It's a superbly versatile overdrive that (along with the amp drive) has pretty much removed any desire for more drive pedals.
Mooer Blues Mood [13]
I bought this drive new, which was a mistake, because it was expensive, and it turned out I didn't really need it once I'd bought the Douuble Drive [12] a few weeks later. I've had it up for sale for a while but no-one seems interested - odd, because the BOSS Blues Driver is a board favourite, and this is a copy of it. Still, while I have it, it's another option.
Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi Tone Wicker [14]
Everyone needs a fuzz and a Big Muff is where you start. Does what you expect.
Electro Harmonix Pitch Fork [15]
Multiple intervals - octaves up and down, 3rd, 4ths, 5ths etc. Great fun and, with an expression pedal, much like a Whammy. A bit digital in nature but some very cool effects.
Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus [16]
Once you have this many pedals, particularly the higher-draw digital pedals like the Flashback [8], things can start getting a bit noisy with a daisy chain power supply. This does the job perfectly. Expensive but absolutely worth it.
Electro Harmonix Super Pulsar [17]
Only a couple of weeks after I bought the BOSS Tremelo [11], this came up second-hand. I'd been wondering about getting one for a while and I couldn't resist. It is incredibly flexible - as well as sine wave, triangle wave and square wave tremelo, you can make it work to a pattern you define, it can change depth or speed based on the volume of the guitar ... and it can take an expression pedal too. I haven't managed to use it in a track yet though!
Mooer Graphic G [18]
I saw Dan & Mick on That Pedal Show discussing graphic EQs, and then this came up in the classifieds. Pretty close to the industry standard BOSS pedal in function but nice and compact, and useful tailoring a tone.
Bright Onion Pedals Mini Looper [19]
Simple and effective.
3Leaf Audio Proton [20]
A bit of an indulgence - a superb example of an envelope filter, but quite niche. Popular with bass players, apparently.
Phase 45 Clone [21]
A very subtle but nice phase sound, with a mod to kinda do a Univibe sound.
Ken Multi MCP-7 [right]
Bought new from Maplins in the late 80s for about £40 (equivalent to £80 now), this is obviously a BOSS CS-2 clone but in all grey plastic. I hadn't used for literally decades until recently when I tried it - and it still works, and surprisingly well. Definitely worth keeping for those occasions when I want a compressor.
Frederic Effects Unpleasant Companion [product page]
My most recent acquisition is this completely bonkers fuzz, based on the "classic" (it says here) Shin-Ei Companion FY-2 Fuzz. Whatever. Far wilder than the Big Muff, but a fantastic "guitar about to explode" sound. 



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