This morning I stumbled on a good deal on the ModTone Clean Boostpedal. Clean Boosts are a great way to get some growl out of your preamp and to get some nice tone from the amp (not the pedal). The point of a clean boost is to increase the signal from the guitar to either the amp or the pedal afterwards. They’re designed to preserve tone of your guitar, but increase the signal strength. If you’re running a tube amp, clean boosts are absolutely great to have.
Here is the official description by ModTone:
The ModTone Clean Boost is exactly that, a clean way to boost your volume. Designed along side a US effects modification company, the ModTone Clean Boost offers up to 25 db of volume boost without adding any distortion to your signal. The Clean Boost also features an added Tone knob allowing you to also use it as a Bass or Treble boost. It also works great for your acoustic/electric guitar if your guitar does not have onboard volume and tone controls. The ModTone Clean Boost will run great in front of your amp, but throw it in the Effects Loop to maximize its potential and boost your rig to new heights.
I found this good video demo’ing what the ModTone Clean Boost is all about:
That deal that’s going on … the ModTone Clean Boost is available for only $65.55 at Amazon and that includes FREE shipping. At the time of this posting, there were only 7 units remaining, so if you’re interested.. you better jump on it. Once the unit count drops down to 1 or 2, the price usually jumps back up.
If you own a ModTone Clean Boost, please let us know what you think by commenting below!
I’ve known Peter Rutter at VFE Pedals for a while now. He’s been a long time supporter of EffectsBay, and it’s been really cool to see this company get bigger and better as the years go by. For those of you not familiar with VFE Pedals, they’re a great company outside of Seattle, WA developing highly versatile pedals.
I’ve had the opportunity to play with a few VFE Pedals, and the versatility is what always comes to mind. They do an excellent job of allowing you to dial in the tone, from intuitive controls for shaping the sound as well as providing internal trim pots to manage the frequencies on the outside of the enclosure.
Peter sent over the Focus pedal for me to give a spin. Well, I have to say this may be the best VFE Pedal I’ve had an opportunity to play. This pedal is incredibly well thought out. What they wanted to achieve with the Focus was provide the classic TS9 tubescreamer mid boost, but with MUCH more flexibility. In those tubescreamer, the technique was to drop the gain and raise the output. That midrange boost, is ideal for getting the leads on top of the mix. So many dirt boxes, just focus on the treble and bass, but the mids.. is where it’s at if you want to stand out.
What VFE has done is *focus* in this pocket, but give you much more control to shape that tone. Controls on the Focus are the following:
TIGHT: Basically this is a hi pass filter. It is stated that it varies the frequency of the cutoff point of the high pass. Turning fully counter clockwise, you reach *ear knife* frequencies.. basically cutting off all bass frequencies.
SMOOTH: Is the opposite of the TIGHT. This control varies the frequency cutoff point of the low pass filters. Turning it fully clockwise, you have massive lows.
I was getting all sorts of great tones by adjusting these two knobs.
MIX: is a small trim pot at the top, and again, I thought this was a great addition. MIX blends the dry signal with the EQ section (clockwise adds the EQ and counter clockwise gives dry signal). So if you wanted a little bit of your TIGHT and SMOOTH, you can dial exactly what you want! Again, another option for dialing in the perfect tone you’re looking for!
LEVEL: controls the output of the Focus pedal. Personally, I was loving it cranked or a couple of clicks away from cranked. But don’t get me wrong sounds great at all levels. Lower levels adds a fantastic bit of *medium grit* I like to call it. Awesome.
SLOPE: toggle switches under TIGHT and SMOOTH controls. It took me a couple of tweaks to fully understand what’s going on here. SLOPE switches affect how sharp the cutoff is. With 1 pole, the cutoff is a rather gentle slope, and at 2 pole it’s a much sharper dropoff of the frequencies you are cutting.
Under the hood there are two trim pots. The primary trim post controls the amount of clean gain in the dry signal path. The other trim pot (which I thought was great) controls the brightness of the LED! I like bright LEDs, but lately some of these pedals out there are bordering on laser LEDs.. so the option to dial it down is a great touch by VFE.
I played this pedal with a Rivera Knucklehead and a Matchless HC30 into a Avatar 2×12 with Vintage 30 and G12H30 cabinet (closed back) with an AVRI Fender Jazzmaster.. and I was thoroughly impressed with what this pedal was delivering. I think this would be a fantastic purchase to cut through the mix for leads or rhythm. The pedal cleaned up nicely with rolling volume and handled high gain amps well as well as sounding great with clean. The bottom line.. you can get this pedal to cut through the mix. That says a lot.
Today’s pedal line is from Rich Webber. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineeffectsbaycom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
I’m Rich, the bass player with the band MG & The Juggernaut, in the UK & I wanted to show you my current board with a few of the awesome pedals i use..
The chain goes as follows:
-Rock On Audio Instrument cable, (with headphone jacks/cables incorporated for wired in-ear monitoring)
-TC Electronics PolyTune Noir – (Simple, clear & bright on stage!)
-EBS Multi-Comp (Helps to keep the Low-A tuning under control in Multi-Band mode)
-Ashdown Lomenzo Hyper Drive (This pedal gets swapped in & out quite frequently! The TC Ditto or EHX Big Muff share the same spot)
-Boss CEB3 Bass Chorus (Classic, simple chorus)
-Darkglass B7K Pre-amp (The single most important pedal on the board. This IS the sound, and a 100% essential bit of kit. Also the reason why i dispensed with an amp entirely.)
-Tech21 Sansamp DI (Good clean DI, but here for FOH & driving in-ear monitors)
-Rolls PM351 (A great, simple pedal-board mountable mixer with wired in-ears in mind.)
-Everything is powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+. I used a daisy chain power lead previously, and couldn’t see the benefit of an expensive dedicated power supply before. Then i heard how quiet & clean the board became afterwards……!
The couple of obvious questions i get asked are why i need both the B7K and the Sansamp at the same time & why i have an iPad strapped to the board!
Firstly, i don’t use a bass amp in the traditional way. The board is set up so that no matter what venus/sound person i get stuck with, there is no variation from night to night with the core of my sound. Usually i’ll either go with just a power-amp / speaker, or purely by DI. This is very much venue-dependant. The same idea applies to the band in-ear monitoring, creating a 100% consistent and reliable system.
The B7K would normally drive the power amp exclusively (taken from the output jack), which for rehearsals was fine. My issues arose with sound engineers at various venues who seemed to struggle with the really hot output from the XLR, as i was REALLY pushing the pedal to get the volume i needed into the power amp, so the XLR signal was also super-loud. This invariably meant that my overdriven ‘sound’ to the amp ended up being compromised as i backed off to help the engineer get a controlled level, which became an irritation. The addition of the Sansamp is purely to control that volume back down to a reduced level to an alternate XLR for the sound guy & isolated from the signal to the amp. Everything is set flat & purely passing the signal through. It also provided a better signal to send to the Rolls PM351.
The iPad allows me to have a self-contaned way of practising silently through the board, via the Rolls PM351, so great for between-gig downtime. It also allows the band to silently run backing tracks/clicks to the other band members ears via iOS apps like SoundCue.
The only thing i really would like to add to the board is a good low-filter, to clean the headroom chewing sub sounds sent to the amp. The Thumpinator is the only current choice, as the fDeck annoyingly isn’t available to the UK.
While searching for venues/bands for my own upcoming mini-tour of the Northwest, I stumbled across This Patch of Sky out of Eugene, OR. After a couple of listens… I really really dug ‘em. This Patch of Sky is a instrumental / post-rock band. Similar to Explosions in the Sky, who I’m also a huge fan of. After talking with them about possibly doing a show together and venues around Eugene, I asked if they would be up for a quick gear related interview. Often bands with instrumental / post-rock vibe have interesting selection of pedals.. and they do!
Here is a video with a live performance and interview. To learn more about This Patch of Sky, check ‘em out on their site, Facebook and on Twitter!
My primary goal is to be able to achieve multiple sounds as needed depending upon the song while still maintaining a great sounding tone.
- How are you using the Disaster Area DMC-3XL Gen2 MIDI Controller?
The DMC-3XL allows me to control the banks on the Bigsky and the Timeline, and allows me to use the loop feature on the Timeline while still being able to use the other effects. I’ve also been experimenting connecting the DMC to Abelton Live to send midi clock to the Timeline/Bigsky as well as send program change messages for different song presets without needing to touch either pedal. It’s seriously a very powerful tool to have on my board.
- Tell me about the Neunaber Slate Stereo Effect Pedal
I picked up the Slate to have as a second reverb option on my board. What I like about the slate is that it’s reprogrammable. You can flash the pedal to use any 5 reverb options via Neunaber’s pedal customizer software you install on your Mac or PC. The software also includes a virtual trim pot that let’s you mess around with the tone of the reverb which is pretty neat. The other reason I chose the Slate is because you can write/draw on the surface with a permanent ink marker. As you can see, this is my kid’s favorite pedal.
- I thought your choices for overdrive and fuzz were pretty interesting. What eventually led you to the Triton and Fox Pedal?
I hate fuzz. Fuzz was one of those things that always made me cringe whenever I heard one, mainly because of how muddy they get. I was looking for a pedal that could turn a fender amp into a heavy sounding amp when I needed it to. I went through quite a bit of pedals and never achieved the sound I was looking for. One of my friends let me borrow his Triton Fuzz, and after playing a few chords I was instantly hooked. I love how deep and gnarly sounding it can get. A good example of this pedal is on ‘In The House Of Wolves’ at the 6:21 mark.
The Kingdom Transparent Overdrive by Fox Pedals I recently picked up. I was playing through a surf green Timmy which I liked a lot. I wasn’t looking for a new overdrive whatsoever, but I happened to stumble across this specific pedal and loved the tone they were achieving. After picking one up I was pleasantly surprised at how versatile it was. It has characteristics of a Klon Centaur but allows for a LOT more head room. I especially love the OD and Clip switches.
- You currently have 3 delays (MXR, Diamond and Strymon) – What roles do each play in your sound?
Being in a post-rock band, I obviously have a hard on for delay and reverb. The Carbon Copy is almost always on. I use it not so much as a delay, much more of a sweeping, lush, background effect. The Diamond Memory Lane Jr. I always kick on for leads. It can add a lot nice trailing delays which I love. Mix this and the Carbon Copy together with a little bit of reverb and you’re good to go. So why do I have a Timeline? I don’t really use the Timeline as a delay pedal. With the capacity to store 200 presents, I use it more as a “random effects” pedal. I can go from awesome ambient pads to lo-fi vinyl sounds. It’s basically a synth for a guitar.
- Do you feel that this board is where you want it? Or are you still trying to achieve your sonic goal?
It’s pretty dang close. Obviously as technology continues to move forward my board changes. Right now I am definitely content with my setup.
- What would you say is the most used pedal on the board.. and why?
Oh man – that’s a hard one! It’s a toss up between the Bigsky and the Carbon Copy. On almost every song we’ve ever created, the Carbon Copy most likely has a presence in the recording. The Bigsky is newer to my board, and I just can’t turn it off. It’s such an awesome sounding pedal.
My primary goal with my board is tone. I was taught early on how important tone is and over the years have trained my ears to find the specific tone that I love.
- I was unable to identify a couple of pedals. What is the orange pedal and the white pedal?
The orange pedal is home made boost pedal. Nothing too special about it. The washed out “white pedal” is actually a surf green Timmy OD. It’s newer to my board.
- I noticed you’re using the black russian Big Muff. Why is that the Big Muff of choice?
I love the Black Russian Big muff. It has that warm dark fuzz that I like. I don’t like pedals that are thin and whiny, the black Russian gives me more of a deep sounding bass fuzz which I love.
- How many modeled pedals/presets do you use on the M9?
I actually only use about 3 or maybe 4 presets on the M9. My favorite 2 are the particle verb (pretty much never catch me without it), and the Octoverb when I want a bit of shimmer (you can hear it a lot on Heroes And Ghosts). I use the particle verb set to Hazard on ‘In The House of Wolves’ to get that dark drone where you can’t hear the attack of the guitar. It’s such a great setting for stuff like that.
– What took you to the direction on M9 vs. getting individual pedals?
I chose the M9 over actual pedals because I am always experimenting and there are so many options with the m9. And to be honest, even for it being modeled they all sound really good. Line 6 has made some big strides in modeling. Almost every time we play a show someone asks me about a certain effect I am getting and its usually M9.
- The DE7 is an interesting delay/echo. What do you like about in particular?
The DE7 has been with me since the beginning, it all started with me being a fanboy of Explosions in the sky. I read somewhere that that’s what Munaf Rayani was using so I just had to get one! Ha! I usually just use it as a secondary delay nowadays.
- What’s the next pedal that you’re interested in?
Our other guitarist Kit has a ton of Strymon gear and I gotta say I am pretty envious, but I don’t want our stuff to sound to similar, I like the way Kit and I play off of each other. I do have my eye on an old Evantide Space. The broken glitch setting seems pretty brutal.
- What would you say is the most used pedal on the board.. and why?
Definitely the M9 hands down. It’s used on every single song we do.
I wanted to be able to get a variety of timbres other than just the standard bass sound. This board allows for bass swells, huge fuzz bass, and some approaching more of a affected guitar sound which allows me to fill other roles and be more versatile in songwriting.
- I believe the Blue Boss is a BD-2 Blues Driver (Keeley mod’d). How did you end up with this on the board?
The BD-2 was originally Kit’s and he gave it to me when he picked up some other pedals.
- I see that you and Joshua both prefer the Electro-Harmonix Russian Big Muff. What about it do you like? Have you tried the Bass Big Muff?
The Big muff allows me to get that huge doom bass sound that is on And Death Shall Have No Dominion and In the House of Wolves. It’s my go to pedal on any darker song we write. I’ve actually been wanting to try out the bass version of it as I’ve heard it works better with the bass frequencies but i have this one pretty dialed in so we will see if I ever get around to it.
- Having two *dirt* pedals on your board (BD-2 and Big Muff) do you use these in combination or do they offer two differing textures of dirt (Medium grit vs Full fury)?
Most of the time I use the two fuzz pedals for different purposes. I usually use the Big Muff when I am fulfilling the typically bass role and I want it to sound burly. I use the BD-2 most often with the carbon copy and holy grail. I can tremolo and come out with a full texture approaching a guitar or heavily affected cello. The BD-2 seems to work better with the higher frequencies for that type of stuff.
- How do you use the MXR Carbon Copy with your bass? By the look of the settings it looks like pretty extreme setting.
I use the carbon copy for bass swells mostly. It works well in the laid back parts of songs and gives bass support without more rhythmic playing breaking up the flow. I also use it for tremolo work as previously stated.
- Likewise, how do you use the Holy Grail? Drone? Or specific parts of the songs?
I’ve only ever used the holy grail on a high setting with the carbon copy for tremolo work. I’m starting to play around with it more to see if I can incorporate it in other ways
- Are you interested in any any other pedals for the board? If so.. what?
I am looking to pick up a tap delay of some kind. I also really want a compressor pedal to have more control over my tone.
- What would you say is the most used pedal on the board.. and why?
This changes from album to album. Overall, it’s probably the big muff though. It’s just so fun to stomp and that thing when the song climaxes and scream away. I have also been trying to use less effects on this new album so when I do use them, they are more meaningful.
I just wanted to give a quick reminder of that great pedal give away that’s happening at Pedal Finder! This is for the Physics Punk Pedals Bender Fuzz! The deadline has been extended to Sept 26th.. so you have some time to get some entries in! Remember, to enter is simple.. just participate in the site. Add a review.. those count as entries. Add YouTube links.. those count. Create an account.. that counts. So it’s easy to rack up entries to increase your odds!
Also, there is a bonus give away. If you ‘LIKE’ Pedal Finder on Facebook and you’re selected as the winner, I’ll throw in an extra prize – A free Pedal Label System pack (learn more at PedalLabels.com). I’ll also throw in a EffectsBay t-shirt too! So, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to like Pedal Finder on Facebook! Just click the ‘like’ below.
If you can, please help spread the word about Pedal Finder. Know of any pedal nerds? Guitar junkies? Noise enthusiasts? Let ‘em know!!!
Today’s pedal line is from Kevin Anderson. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineeffectsbaycom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
Hi EffectsBay,I have a submission for Pedal Board Friday. I may have a two-for in our band we have two lead guitars and I could give you the lead singers’ guitar setup next week – if you wish. I’m an Architect so I intially drew this board up in cadd and included a snap of the cad dwg. Also is the band contact info at the end of this email. The body of the below text is also attached in doc format.Thx
My Pedal board: Designed and built by myself, modified over the years to suit. The main idea has been to keep it relatively small, quick, flexible and portable. I purchased a mid-sized aluminum tool “briefcase” that was both perfect size, padded inside, had some storage, locking & looked good. A modification I made was to add an aluminum cased Loop-Master 5 loop w/Master By-Pass& Tuner-out pedal switch that is not “smart”, but greatly cuts down on the tap dancing. There are 2 (in/out for ea.) so I use GeogeL’s or cheap short patch cables – some 90 & some straight because of the tight area to plug into on the back of the LoopMaster. Everything is powered by a Gator Gbus-8 w/ (8) 9-volt & (3)18-volt separate supplies & mounted underneath. I used to use a single VisualSound 1-spot PS. I still kick in/out the main distortion/OD, and make small adjustments to pedals during a show, but mostly it’s a set & forget and just a tap, lower& closer by foot to activate. It’s all into 4×12 straight Celestion speaker cab and modded 22 watt tube Head with 2 channels & FX loop. A two channel setup allows use of amp’s tube overdrive on the 2nd lead channel and a cleaner setting on the 1st channel. To use Fx loop complicates my setup somewhat as only a portion of the effects are going thru the amp fx loop.
So the chain is; the guitar into a PitchBlack Tuner (I like more than the Boss Tu3, & others) it also acts as a mute and is not in the LoopMaster Tuner specific input. That is then routed underneath (for clean above board look) to the main Overdrive pedal FullTone GT-500 (I love this) Two Ch OD pedal, with sep controls for vol/Distort & Bass/M/Treble on each ch. This then route back out and goes to a DigiTech Jammman solo XT Looperand to the front end input of the amp. Sometimes lately I’ve also been using a BBE SonicMax at the front input too. The board effects are the modulations that are all input to the LoopMaster and out to the amp Fx loop. They are a FullTone Ultimate Octave w/ both Octave up & a most nasty dirty distortion sep/both, a BBE MindBender dual Vibrato/Phaser, a cheap Fab Flanger (sounds good), a TC Electronic Flashback Delay & Looper pedal (great!) I have other pedals that sometimes switch in, lend out & or are in the process of modding. I’ve tried the two separate distortion pedals and none are as good for me as the flexibility & great sound of a two-in one like the FullTone GT500. All of this on (mostly) a 16″x12″ platform. Tube amp mods were tube swaps (pre & power), a few resistor/cap mods and original transformer swaps for Mercury Mag’s. Who knew that just 22 watts could sound so flippin’ good and powerful when needed.
I remember a few years ago, I was curious about Fender Jazzmasters, but overall… frankly.. I thought they were not the guitar for me. Too many switches. Too goofy. I didn’t get it. About 3 years ago, I ended up buying an AVRI ’62 Jazzmaster for a project that required that sound, with the plan of selling it once the project was over. But, after cracking open the case, there was an immediate connection with this guitar. You know what I’m talking about? I noticed I was playing it all the time. Sure, there were issues that were annoying. The bridge sucked. I hated the trem bar falling off the guitar. But I added a Mastery bridge.. that problem fixed. I added a StayTrem trem bar.. that problem fixed. Now, this is by far my number one guitar for me (I’m sure this will change in the years to come).
Nels Cline is one of those dudes that I think of immediately with Jazzmasters (J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Robert Smith, Elvis Costello as well). I came across this interesting video by Fretboard Journal where Nels talks about his ’59 Jazzmaster.
I thought it was interesting that he credits Thurston Moore for getting him to initially want a Jazzmaster. I would have figured that Nels would have been playing Jazzmasters for years prior.
Let me know what you think of Nels. What you thought of this video. What you thought about that array of pedals he’s rocking (You can view a break down here). Please leave a comment below!
The title of this post says it all. This morning, I came across a stupid deal on the BBE Free Fuzz. The BBE Free Fuzz is a simple good sounding fuzz, and if you’re looking to pick one up on the cheap .. this is your lucky day. The BBE Free Fuzz lists for $169 and is currently on sale for only $24.99 and includes FREE shipping at Amazon. Yes… $24.99.
Now.. this deal won’t last long. At the time of this post.. there were only 4 units in stock. I would say when it gets down to 1 left, the price might spike back up. For all the later readers who are upset about the price change.. here is a screen snap showing what I’m seeing:
If you own a BBE Free Fuzz… let us know what you think by commenting below! Hope some of you get a chance on this deal!
UPDATE: Looks like price jumped up to $57 after the count dropped down to 1. At least a few of you guys got the sweet deal!
This morning I came across a great video by chicagomusicexchange - a bass fuzz pedal shootout! I definitely get asked about good fuzz for bass, and I’ve recommended a couple of these, but it’s really cool to see them side by side so you can see the differences. The video is fairly quick and there is no ‘dialing’ going on, but you get a general sense of the overall fuzz tones happening.
When it comes to bass and fuzz, it’s important that the fuzz is actually heard in the mix. Often time, fuzz will get lost, so think about the mid-range growl and the top note harmonics in the fuzz.. and think about how it will fit in with the guitar(s). Something that might not sound super great in the video.. might actually cut and be great in the band setting.
As pedals get more and more popular, one problem continues to happen for the pedal enthusiasts. We run out of pedal board real estate. You’re sometimes faced with that horrible decision of removing a pedal to get a new one on the board. After enough of this, you realize you *need* all of these pedals to do what you need to do. Your only real option is go get a bigger board. That would solve a lot, but thankfully, builders are trying to help out. Mini-pedals. Pedals with a smaller footprint get a bit more space on the board.
I was particularly interested when I saw the TC Electronics Flashback Mini. You usually don’t see delays in the *mini* form factor. Lots going on under the hood, so it was impressive to see that TC Electronics was able to squash the Flashback into this enclosure.
Here is the official promotion video for the TC Electronics Flashback Mini:
As you can see/hear.. that’s pretty cool. The Tone Print capability is a great option to dial in a rough preset and use the mini to manage that preset. If you tweak between delay modes, then you might need to stick with the standard Flashback.