Pedals

I’m kind of obsessed with stompboxes….

Board


Better than plywood.

Delays


Echo. echo. echo

  • Boss DD-3—Adequate.
  • Digitech PDS-8000—Fun to play with but fragile. I have no idea how Bill Frisell toured with them.
  • Digitech RDS-8000—It came with a rack. Not weird enough.
  • Echoplex EP-2—Great sound. Should have kept it….
  • Echoplex EP-3—Disappointing after the EP-2. Nice as a boost with slight delay ala EVH, though.
  • Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy DeluxeInspired weirdness.
  • Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe ReissueThe best all-around delay pedal. I like these better than most of the vintage models.
  • Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe (Vintage)—Tons of character. Sometimes too much.
  • Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with HazaraiDoes almost everything. My album Analogues of Infinity was just an excuse to mess with this pedal.
  • Guyatone MD-3—Nice sounding digital delay. Especially good for slapback or with distortion.
  • Maxon AD-900The one pedal that’s always on. Great clean and simple analog delay.
  • Roland Space Echo—An Echoplex for surrealists.
  • Ampex Tape Echo—Built out of an of Ampex portable recorder. It was dead, so I didn’t destroy a classic.
  • T.C. Electronic Repeater—Bought for the 2290 setting. Sold when I bought a 2290.

Distortion


Like a chainsaw wrapped in velvet.

  • Boss DS-1 (Made in Japan)—Sounded like a DS-1 but I like my Korean-made one a bit more.
  • Boss DS-1 (Made in Korea)—Classic. Sounds great run into a dirty amp, sounds incredibly cheesy on its own. You have to try a bunch to find one with the right voicing.
  • Boss DS-1 (Keeley Mod)—Warmer and less noisy than stock, but brightness and noise are my favorite parts of the DS-1 experience. I have nicer pedals for pleasant distortion.
  • Boss DS-1 (Analog Man Mod)—Changes the DS-1 into a much smoother and more versatile pedal—you can even run it into a clean amp! Compares well to “boutique” distortions but it still feels kind of silly to put this much polish on a $30 pedal.
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (Triangle)—The missing link between fuzz and distortion. Must be played loud.
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (Ram’s Head)— Sounds like the triangle version, but it has a slightly different mid scoop. Perfect for later Pink Floyd.
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (Green Russian)— More mids, less bass but still a Big Muff. Plays well with smaller amps.
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi (Black Russian)—Very early model. Thicker sounding than even the green model, it’s like a Big Muff on steroids.
  • Marshall Guv’nor—Kind of a Marshall in a box, killer rhythm tones.
  • MXR Distortion+ (Script Logo)—For when I play Crazy Train.
  • Suhr RiotReminds me of the Marshall Guv’nor, but it has a vintage setting (to the left) that feels like a higher gain Fuzz Face into a 2204. Awesome.
  • T-Rex Mudhoney (Made in Denmark)—Killer RAT sound with a low gain mode and buffer. I use it whenever I need smooth lead tones ala Allan Holdsworth or Eric Johnson.

Fuzz


Buzzy.

  • Danelectro French Toast—A truly cheap and wonderfully dirty octave fuzz. Nels Cline sounded great with his so I had to have one too. I sounded less great but had a good time smashing its cheap plastic case into splinters during a show.
  • Fulltone 69 Fuzz—I loved it but sold it to buy a vintage fuzz face but the Fulltone was much better for gigging. I really want to try the new Mk. II.
  • Fulltone 70 Fuzz—Very nice, but the 69 is more my style.
  • Fuzz Face (Vintage Germanium)—Amazing when it wants to be but inconsistent. A couple of degrees change in temperature kills its tone.
  • Fuzz Face (Germanium Reissue)—Selected from a dozen or so, it sounds like the original.
  • Fuzz Face (Silicon Reissue)—More stable than germanium, but harsher and less Fuzz-Face-y.
  • Voodoo Lab Proctavia—Great sounding octave fuzz.
  • Z-Vex Fuzz Factory—Covers everything from vintage to unstable freak outs.

Modulation


Wibbly-Wobbly-Timey-Wimey.

  • Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Electric Mistress ReissueThe only modulation pedal I really need. I tweak the bias to warm it up, other than that it’s stock.
  • Electro-Harmonix Small Clone—Not a bad chorus.
  • Electro-Harmonix Small Stone—Nothing else sounds like it. I went through a phase (ahem) of collecting these.
  • Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Reissue—Good, but it’s weird playing a Small Stone that doesn’t reek of cigarette smoke and mold.
  • Boss CE-3—I owned it. That’s all I remember.
  • Boss CE-5—It’s usually used for normal sounds, but I like it for oddities. Start by setting the low range to max and the high to minimum. No other chorus does that sound, maybe for good reasons….
  • Danelectro Cool Cat—Possibly the best deal in chorus until it breaks.
  • Maxon PT999—My go-to for subtle phase.
  • T-Rex Tremster—I bought it because Louis Calvin and I decided we needed trem pedals. I prefer tube-based amp tremolo.
  • Voodoo Lab Analog ChorusMy favorite chorus. Usually used in place of the Electric Mistress for road work.

Overdrive


Lesser distortions.

  • Fairburn Modded Sparkle Drive—I made it smoother. Wrong move, since the raspy mids are what makes the original work so well live.
  • Ibanez TS-808—The pedal that started a revolution. Boxy mids, weird bass, but in front of a 60s fender it’s magic.
  • Ibanez TS-9—A bit different, but still a Tubescreamer.
  • Ibanez TS-9 Reissue (Modded)—Smoother and more versatile. A Tubescreamer in a tuxedo.
  • Klon Centaur—The legend. I loved it with the right amp, but I like Sparkle Drive-style pedals a bit better.
  • Maxon OD-820—Like a Sparkle Drive but more polite.
  • Maxon VOP9—An OD-820 in a smaller package.
  • Hermida Zendrive—Smooth as butter. Makes me want to wear a polyester suit, though.
  • Voodoo Lab Sparkle DriveA million shades of clean boost and overdrive. A bit much with a bedroom rig, but shines with a band.

Pitch Shifters, Vocoders, Synths


The sound of the 80s.

  • Boss PS-5—Mainly used with tin whistle. Because.
  • Digitech Whammy—Everyone owned one of these in the 90s.
  • Digitech Whammy II—For people who liked the original Whammy but wished it was harder to use.
  • Electro-Harmonix Ring ThingRing modulator, whammy, pitch shifter, detune, tremolo. I use this way too much but I can’t stop.
  • Electro-Harmonix Voicebox—Does terrible things to drum machines. Also, can make me sound like a cylon.

Switching


Hit one button instead of six.

  • Boss LS-2—Most versatile pedal award winner. It switches, it mixes, it even makes juilienne fries!
  • Fairburn Bypass 8—8 loops. Approximately 12 feet of extra cables. It was overkill and was dropped in favor of running everything in line.
  • Lehle D-Loop—It was nice while it lasted.

Volume


Louder, quieter.

  • Ernie Ball 6160— The first pedal I bought. It still works and it’s still awesome.
  • Ernie Ball 6166Every bit as good as the 6160 but the top mounted jacks work better with the routing on my MPS Pedal Pad.

Wah

For all your Eddie McCoy moments.

  • Dunlop Crybaby 535Q 18V—Tons of features but I could never quite find the perfect tone.
  • Dunlop Crybaby 535Q 9V—All the versatility of the original and the fasel-inductor blurs the mids into a perfect milkshake of wah goodness.
  • Teese RMC2—Bought as smooth-toned compliment to the 18V 535Q, it was retired after the 9V 535Q went on the board.
  • Vox “Picture” Wah—I’ve had a few over the years and I’m not a fan of vintage wahs.