I was the type of a guitar player that always wanted to have more pedals.
I was the type of a guitar player that always wanted to have more pedals. I thought pedals were something you can never have enough of. They look good on my pedal board, they make all kinds of cool sounds and there was always the exciting search for the next pedal. Until one day my wife told me, “Look why don’t you just learn how to use the ones you have really well before you buy new ones.”
I thought, “What does she know? she is probably just upset that I am spending money on more music gear”, but I hated to admit it, but she did know what she was talking about since her indie band in Peru(Electro-Z) received recognition because of her use of weird effects.
A good musician knows his gear to a point where he knows what to press and when to make the right sounds.
BAM! She delivered it to me like a cold bucket of water. There was nothing I could say to that, so I started getting to know my pedals one at a time. I found a plethora of sounds to be experimented with. Once I learned each one individually I moved on to the combining of pedals. I sat there transfixed at all the possibilities when I combined them together. For example, you turn on the Delay, add Tremolo into the mix, stick in a Phaser and you get a sci-fi movie. At the turn of the tremolo your ship either sped up or slowed down. Moreover, then I took my pedal board to a Guitar Pedal Board aficionado (Vexter Effects) and he advised me on the order in which they have to be put together to generate even more combinations. Therefore, once you play around with the location of your pedals, you get a completely different sound depending on what pedal comes first. Without buying any more gear, I was able to learn my pedal board completely from a whole new angle.
After that I realized I really didn’t need anymore pedals. I was happy with the ones I had, even though there are millions of other pedals out there.
Stop your search and get to know the gear that you have now. This way you first understand its full music juice and only then add what you need.
It sounds like a redundant thing, but here is another story: A friend of mine was always looking for the next gadget or recording device. He was investing money and shelling out for all kinds of guitars and gear. I told him dude, why do you keep investing and buying the gear if you dont’ even play live. He said, “Once I will buy this other thing I will be ready to play.” Time went on and I kept asking him the same question and he kept answering, “Yeah Yeah man I am not ready.” Finally, I stopped asking knowing that it’s kind of like an addiction.
“Why do you need this next pedal? Is it crucial for your band’s sound or maybe you’re not focusing on what you need to be focusing on?”
I figured probably that’s because he wasn’t done with his demo for 7 years. Finally he had a breakthrough moment and booked his first gig. I was excited beyond words. Last month I went to his new band’s debut show and it was the best show ever. After that I didn’t hear from him about the lack of any gear. He was happy with what he had and it was never about the gear in the first place.
Here is my little secret for guitar players on how to organize your pedal board.
First, start with the fuzzes. Lastly add the tuner.
First, start with your fuzzes and distortions.
Second, add the fun stuff, such as phasers, tremolos and delays in any order you want
Lastly, a guitar tuner.
Why tuner last? The most beloved, TU-2 by BOSS has a built in buffer that sucks out the sound as the signal travels through the wires, so that’s why the tuner TU-2 should go last.
But hey, don’t let me stop you from experimenting on your own, with any order you want and get the sound you’re looking for, because in the end that’s what makes you unique, it’s your own creation of your unique sound with your gear.