It’s like showing your bedroom to a stranger after a crap workweek. Don’t judge me!
Every year when the PG Pedal Issue rolls around, I don’t necessarily feel compelled to dedicate my column to guitar pedals, but I often do. With so many cool new stompboxes rolling through the office, it’s hard not to.
As I was contemplating whether to indulge this time around, the working title “What Does Your Pedalboard Say About You?” popped into my head. Followed closely by Shit—have I already written this one? I took a quick stroll down memory lane and found that exactly 10 years ago I wrote along similar lines in “What Your Pedal History Says About You” (emphasis added). So, I tweaked it a little to make it about me. Because this is my column, dammit.
What kind of cheapskate am I—why don’t I just get a board that fits them the right way?
Although I see my pedalboard just about every day, I ran down to my basement studio to snap a couple of pics for reference while typing this mind dump. Usually, when I’m contemplating the happy little collection of 11 or so stomps, it’s in the thick of rehearsal or performance and I’m thinking, “Do I usually kick this one on for this part? Oh well, let’s see how it sounds.” Standing back for a look without a guitar at hand prompts a few observations
- 1. I need to buy a new can of compressed air. Do you ever see board closeups in a Rig Rundown and think, “Cripes, that guy’s a slob” or “Jeesh, their tech must be kinda lazy”? Well, apparently, I am also a lazy slob, because dust blankets my entire stomp setup. Take a look at your board—I bet it’s grody too. It’s not easy keeping up. Maybe we should allocate space to mini cordless vacuums?
- 2. I’m a lot less OCD than I used to be. One would think this based on item 1, above, but seriously. Look how crooked they are. And more than half of the guitar pedals are sideways. What kind of cheapskate am I—why don’t I just get a board that fits them the right way? Answer: One who likes that his pedalboard fits perfectly between the supports of his keyboard stand.
- 3. Reverbs and delays rule my world. Of the eight guitar boxes on my board, fully half are one or the other. Ninety-plus percent of the time, three of the four are on simultaneously. I’m not ashamed.
- 4. I no longer like fuzz. This is a bald-faced lie and I will sue your ass for spreading it. The real deal is that a hollowbody now handles the lion’s share of my band repertoire, so I’ve removed one of my favorite effect types for the time being. It is sorely missed, but I haven’t given up hope that it could return in some shape or form without splintering said guitar’s top.
- 5. I should probably get some knob-setting protector thingies. Especially for that SoundBrut knob (lower right). Or at least some real gaffer tape—cuz that green masking tape ain’t doing shit to stop my foot.
- 6. I really need to bust open that new patch-cable kit I got five years ago. Some of the 1/4" connections on here are 25-ish yearsold. Others, just over a decade. It’s beyond dumb that I’m still remedying random sizzling/humming/exploding sounds by “checking” (aka nudging) various connection points.
- 7. I dedicate a lot of space to a big ass pedal I never step on. Exactly one preset in my Boss VE-20 vocal processor gets used for pretty much every song. I programmed two others for one song apiece. Waste of space? Sorta … but nah.
- 8. I treat keyboard-sustain and amp-trem footswitches like second-class citizens. Sure, I guess. Sometimes it’s handy to be able to scoot ’em around. [Shrugs.]
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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.