I love using effects to alter the sound of my guitars. In the past, I’ve tried many of the digital multi-effects units but the sounds that move me most always seemed to come from “old school” analog effects pedals. Keeping my signal path from guitar to effects to amp to microphone seems to give me the most organic guitar sound. When my guitar starts to sound like a living breathing organism, I know I’m heading in the right direction.
I’m a big fan of the boutique pedal builders because I like the idea of supporting these mad scientist musicians experimenting with different circuitry in their basements. It’s obvious that they care about their products in a very personal way and I’ve been really happy with the pysical quality of these pedals. Many of these pedals have managed to capture the classic sounds I’m after while at the same time reducing background noise and increasing durability.
Over the years, I’ve gotten into doing some of my own modifications to my pedals and I’ve even built two from scratch – a tonebender clone and an electra distortion variation I call the Electric Church. The pedals that live on my pedal board are the ones I turn to every day. I also have a few others that I use for recording from time to time as well as a few that I’m still in the process of bonding with. It takes time to develop a relationship with a new pedal because every modification of your sound requires adjustments in your playing style to find the sweet spots.
Below, I’ve presented all the pedals on my board (seen to the left). I’ve included audio samples of each effect so you can hear how it affects the guitar’s sound. I begin each clip with a quick sample with the effect turned off so you can hear how the pedal changes the sound. In all the clips, I’m playing my Fender Stratocaster guitar through my S2Amps Micro Plexi Amplifier on all of these clips.