Today’s pedal line is from Michael Smyth. 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 email@example.com. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
My line runs:
Boss tuner – Digitech Whammy – Zvex Machine – ProCo Rat – Boss OS-2 overdrive/distortion – EHX Small Clone – Boss BF-2 Flanger – EMA Phaser – Boss TR-2 Tremolo – Marshall RF-1 Reflector Reverb – Boss DD-3 Delay – Snarling Dogs Mold Spore – Akai Headrush
When I started buying pedals I done some research into placement and FX loops, which I still don’t really understand, and then just played around until I found something that worked for me. I am actually going to put the Snarling Dogs Whine-O-Wah after the Headrush, which I use as a loop pedal, in order to add the Preamp boost and ‘Wah’ everything that’s being looped. Most of my sound comes from my ProCo Rat giving me a really full thick sound and then I use the other pedals for various sections in songs.
I have my Machine set so it’s at its most abrasive, I love this pedal it allows me to dirty up the sound or any riffs or add an industrial edge to chords, well worth the money. I used to have a Zvex Fuzz Factory but at the time I thought it was too much obviously I now regret selling it and its in my list of pedals to buy.
The Small Clone I think is OK its fine for certain things but it does cause a significant drop in volume so I tend to use it as another layer of sound in noisier sections rather than as something that’s on all the time. I’m looking to get a better chorus but its not a priority.
The EMA Phaser cost me £10 I got it second hand and was weary it would be a waste of money like say a Behringer pedal but it is incredible. Since buying it I have played the Boss Phaser and EHX and neither come close. The pedal seems to have been moded and an on/off switch has been added at the side which boosts the pedal, it is so loud, I love it.
The Marshall Reflector I bought primarily for its reverse reverb function, which is great it allows for all sorts of strange passages, but the Reverbs on it are good as well, certainly an improvement on the JCMs reverb which was horrible.
The crown jewel in my pedal line is my recently purchased Mold Spore, Snarling Dogs discontinued Wah/Ring Mod combo, the tag line says if you want weird you want the Mold Spore and they aren’t wrong. This pedal does so much it has so many different options it allows for so many sounds. I am stilling playing with the settings and trying to get to grips with the ring mod but nothing sounds bad its just an exercise in control. The ring mod and Wah on at the same time sounds especially brilliant and due to the many controls still allows your chord or notes to shine through. This pedal was well worth the money and well worth the wait, it took me 6 months to track one down. It probably isn’t for everybody but if you play any kind of noisy rock or shoegaze, Kevin Shields has one, you’ll love this.
The Super Feedbacker Pedal isn’t in the line for a few reasons first off its far too quiet and no matter what I do I cant get any real volume out of it also it actually doesn’t sound great, I was pretty disappointed when I got it and it sounded tinny and really low-fi. However I do like the feedback function on it, if you play a note and hold down the pedal it will feedback on that one note and you can continue to play over it, but having the pedal in the line sucks so much tone out of the signal its just not worth it. It will be something ill use in the studio but live it just doesn’t make the cut. I have heard that if you put a Zvex Super Hard On before it then the pedal comes alive.
My next set of pedals I want are Zvex Box Of Rock, Fuzz Factory and Super Hard On, Napalm Feedback Looper, That’s Echo Folks, EHX POG, Boss DD7, a good chorus, a Boss TU-2(I know I cant believe I don’t have one either) and a Digitech Vox pedal which will allow me to alter my vocals. I would also like a Korg Kaoss pad as well but its not essential due to the fact that I would need more arms to really effectively use it on stage.
About Michael Smyth
My name is Michael Smyth and I am from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I currently play guitar and do vocals in a band called Comply or Die, the best way to describe us is as the weird cousin at the family reunion that no one really knows how to treat or just what’s going on with them were too heavy for the punks, too punk for the metal crowd and too loud for all those indie kids. We like it this way. We currently have one full length out and are about to go in and record our second album in July which will show a significant step forward in the bands sound and song writing, moving away from the post-punk post-hardcore sound of our first record and covering a broader range of sounds and styles. Check us out at http://www.diecomply.com it will cater for all your Comply or Die needs.
I have only been playing guitar properly for around 3 or 4 years and I have had no formal training what so ever I just learned a few chords and figured it out from there. I wouldn’t say that I am the most technically accomplished guitarist in the world, not by a long shot, but I do think that what I am able to do allows me to express myself and say what I want to say in a very direct and often very loud way. Having no formal training or being aware of say key signatures or what the notes are called or anything like that allows for no restrictions in a way, I am not constantly thinking oh that chord can go there or that note shouldn’t come after that, it allows for a lot of experimentation. Very often I have spoke to guitarists who say they try and forget everything they have learned on the theory side of things in order to try and let go. I never learned anything anyway its all been trial and error so I guess in a way it puts me in a good position however I would like to learn a few things in order to expand my musical vocabulary.
I currently play a Hagstrom F20-T, as seen in the above picture, I have kept it completely stock and made no modifications to it. It is an amazing guitar and it plays so well, Hagstrom are famous for their fast necks and this is no exception. I use feedback in my sound quite a bit and this guitar allows for just the right amount of squeal, to some guitarists this would be a problem but not for me. Recently I bought a Fender Squire Jagmaster as a back up guitar but I’m not overly happy with it and so I am going to add a Di Marzio Super Distortion pick up to it to try and lift some tone out of it.
Up until recently I was playing a Marshall JCM800 Lead Series 50w into either a Marshall 4×12 or a Marshall 2×12, which was just a 4×12 sawed in half. But I have just bought an Orange Rocker 30 head and an Orange PPC412, I can not wait to crank these up when I get them both as I am still waiting on the Cab.