It’s underappreciated and not as sexy as an overdrive or fuzz, but an EQ on your pedalboard can open myriad tonal doors.
Greetings, tone hounds! This column is, of course, called “Tone Tips," and I've been writing it every month for a number of years now. Still, there's an incredibly powerful tone tool I haven't yet covered: the often underappreciated EQ pedal. Most guitarists get excited about drives and delays, but relatively few have an EQ on their boards. I've just recently gotten acquainted with the relatively new Boss EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer, and it's allowed me to rediscover the magic and power of integrating an EQ pedal.
Different ways to use EQ.
Let's talk about a few famous EQ-pedal users and how they've utilized them. Sometime in the early '80s, David Gilmour started using Boss EQ pedals to fine-tune the tone from his drive and fuzz pedals, as in his Tube Driver overdrive and Big Muff fuzz pedals would each have a dedicated EQ pedal. In recent years, Gilmour has been known to use a programmable Source Audio EQ pedal as well, which allows a player to store four EQ presets.
By running an EQ after the drives, Gilmour can easily tailor the tone of each pedal with surgical precision. If you've never tried shaping the tone of a drive or fuzz pedal using a graphic EQ, you're in for a treat. It's super-easy to tame harsh or tubby frequencies, and boost the frequencies you want to stand out. Boosting mids can really make solos and leads sing.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Eddie Van Halen. In the late '70s, he was known to sometimes use a Boss GE-10 or MXR 6-band graphic EQ, mainly to buffer and boost the signal for long cable runs from his pedalboard to his amps. Whether he actually used the EQ sliders to alter his tone significantly is one of those ongoing rock 'n' roll mysteries. It's certainly possible.
Back in the '80s and '90s, hard-rock guitarists such as Warren DeMartini, Doug Aldrich, and Dimebag Darrell used the rackmount Furman PEQ3 for boosting. The PEQ3 was a parametric-style EQ, and the magic mid frequency for boosting was usually somewhere from 800 Hz to 1 kHz. The preamp gain control on the Furman EQ could be run hot as well, which would nail the front end of the amp with level and send it into screaming overdrive! And by mainly targeting and boosting just the mid frequencies—and possibly even cutting some lows—the tone could be kept tight.
By running an EQ after the drives, Gilmour can easily tailor the tone of each pedal to his liking with surgical precision.
Slash was known to sometimes use a Boss GE-7 equalizer in a similar way, but with one key difference. He'd run the EQ in the effects loop of his amp with the mids and level sliders boosted—just for solos. Because the pedal was placed in the loop of his amp, the level slider could provide a powerful volume boost. This is perfect for players with single-channel amps needing a volume bump for solos. Remember: If you run your amp dirty and primarily want a level or volume boost, try an EQ in the effects loop of your amp, because running in front of the amp will just saturate and overload the amplifier's front end more. Experiment! Both approaches are cool.
Radical tone shaping.
I've used EQ pedals in front of amps to shape pickup tones. You can make boom-y, wooly neck pickups "speak" with the clarity and cut of bridge pickups, and you can easily warm and fatten up harsh bridge pickups. I've also run an MXR 10-band graphic EQ in a slaved-style rig—post amp, after a load box, and before a power amp. Running the EQ after the load lets you fine-tune the tone before you hit the power amp, which mitigates the effect the load box may have on your core tone.
Running the Boss EQ-200 in the effects loop of my Suhr PT15 I.R. amp was a real eye-opener. The amp has a classic Marshall-esque drive tone. And by subtly boosting 120 Hz and moderately cutting low and high mids from 200 Hz to 3.2 kHz, I could dial in the distortion for a dry, raw, and brutal modern tone—more akin to a Diezel amp! The entire character of an amp can be shifted, and once you try it, you'll find it's addictive. In the studio—when dialing in individual parts or doubling and hard panning—little EQ tweaks can really make the tones shine and speak with a dimension and clarity that just wouldn't be possible otherwise.
It's incredible how one simple pedal can increase your tonal palette so exponentially. Think about it: What else can you use to boost and overdrive, tailor pickup tones, and morph amp tones in such a dramatic way? And let's not forget that an EQ pedal costs far less than buying more guitars or amps. If you've been less than happy with your sounds, an EQ pedal could be just what the tone doctor ordered. Until next time, keep on rocking, and I wish you great tone!
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Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.