state of the stomp

Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana chatting with rig designer Bob Bradshaw.

Our columnist tells the story of his visit to a recording studio, interviews an Indonesian guitarist, and releases some of his prejudices about a rack-system-style rig.

Last month, I had the opportunity to do a recording session at a professional studio, or more precisely, the best recording studio in my city. As an amateur musician, I only brought my Marshall 6101 combo, Les Paul, and ’70s fuzz wah. The owner and engineer of the studio had said that I could use all the equipment in the studio, especially the rack system that was available there.

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Photo 1: Two pedals with top-mounted jacks on either side of a mini pedal with side-mounted jacks.

CopperSound Pedals founder and lead designer Alex Guaraldi breaks down arranging your pedalboard’s ins and outs.

We’re living in a golden era of music gear, with no exception for effects pedals, pedalboards, and their various add-ons. We have more pedal companies than ever to choose from, and they offer a plethora of sizes for almost any player’s needs. The options range from mini flatboards that hold a modest handful of pedals, to monstrous, multi-tier pedalboards that invoke comparisons to spaceships.

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Universal Audio’s Max Preamp/Dual Compressor—one of the more effective tools for bringing your favorite acoustic sounds to the stage.

Preamps, compressors, and space—these are the staples of acoustic setups. But be prepared to adjust your settings to fit the room you’re playing in.

How does an acoustic player add some sonic flair via their pedalboard rig? Well, unless it’s your name on the ticket or your employee at the mixing console, you may need to tread lightly. Working with your mix engineer is critical, and developing some mutual understanding and respect will certainly make things go more smoothly. As players, we need to recognize that spacious reverb may simultaneously sound wonderful in your monitor and be impossible to manage in the venue PA as your reverb combines unfavorably with the room’s natural acoustic response. The bit of low-mid frequency boost you added to fill things out in rehearsal may coincide with a room resonance on show day, causing difficult-to-control feedback. What you hear in the practice room or from playing position does not necessarily translate to what the audience will hear, and understanding that is an important first step in picking out effects for an acoustic pedalboard and dialing them in for a show.
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