Today’s pedal line is from Todd Reynolds. 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.
This is my current pedal set-up that is (admittedly) a mess of cables, pedals, boxes that the pedals came in, and whatever else. Honestly, I plan on building a custom pedalboard at some point in the (hopefully) not-so-distant future, but for now I’m constantly trying new routing schemes, finding my favorite pedal settings, etc.. One thing that is funny to me but works really well as a temporary pedal platform are the boxes for my OctaSwitch and Strymon TimeLine. I plan on having two tiers in my final pedalboard so this is a decent mock-up of that. For now when I go to band rehearsals or need a really ‘pure’ signal for recording, I just use whatever specific pedals are needed at the moment versus trying to use all of this gear for everything. But once my board is ready and able then I’ll likely haul things around. Ironically, this rig is very quiet and very transparent in spite of all of the pedals/cables that are in queue. Here’s the signal path that I keep resorting to:
1) Vibrance Ambrosia Double-Cut
2) Vibrance Padauk Single-Cut
(Both guitars were custom made for me by Craig Collins at Vibrance Guitars…Very nice rides!)
3) Swart Fuzzy Boost (pre-OctaSwitch) – Michael and Kelly at Swart hooked me up with this boost pedal for a special price for some upcoming demo videos I’ve been hired by Vibrance Guitars to do. It really sounds amazing and since it’s a germanium circuit it sounds best at the front of the line before any other pedals. I tend to use moderate settings on this and I often just leave it on for everything. Cleans up really well but also has some nice hair to it when pushed. Stacks well with my other OD’s. I hope to make good on Michael and Kelly’s generosity!
4) CE Pedals FET Dream (pre-OctaSwitch)- Hands down my ‘go-to’ OD for anything and everything. Some people have compared this little wonder to the Hermida ZenDrive but honestly this is more transparent and less compressed (we’ve done comparison shoot-outs between the two). A lot of FET Dream users tend to gravitate towards one of two camps: those who like the Drive at 11:00 and those who like the Drive at 2:00. I like both neighborhoods and have been hounding the guys at CE Pedals to make a dual FET Dream. A fantasy perhaps. That being said I may eventually buy a second FET and switch between the two. Mine is serial #003. Sweetness.
5) Carl Martin OctaSwitch MkII – Worth every penny and the folks at Carl Martin are very friendly to boot. I’ve flirted with the idea of modding the MkII with some extra relays to make Loop 7 a Mono-In-Stereo-Out circuit and Loop 8 a Stereo-In-Stereo-Out circuit. I emailed the guys at Carl Martin about modding it in this way and they were kind enough to send me some schematics and the part numbers for the relays that I’d need to get the mod done right. How many manufacturers can you think of that offer that sort of help? I’ve since bought the extra relays and am weighing out my options…
6) Way Huge Swollen Pickle Fuzz MkII – I really love fuzzes and this one is really versatile. It is especially mean sounding with low-to-moderate gain levels and using it more to boost the front end of my amps. I ended up dialing in different settings with the two internal trim pots and I think I may have found the sweet spot. Also, I saw Robben Ford and Larry Carlton in a concert together a few years back and there was one moment when Larry Carlton kicked in his Dumble and his tone just got really mean and punchy. It was breath-taking and wasn’t at all what I was expecting from a guy who plays a lot of jazz stuff. Since then I’ve been trying to find something akin to that tone. The Swollen Pickle has probably brought me closer to what I heard that night than anything else.
7) DOD FX35 Octaplus – Some pedals are just plain quirky and this one is especially so. Other octave pedals track better than this one but I really like how this one tends to fall apart when it gets confused. It’s great for slower one-note playing and it sounds very organic. I find beauty in its ‘flaws’…
8) Xotic EP Booster – I really like how this pushes my amps. I tend to use it only in conjunction with a tad of echo and my amps’ reverbs and tremolos. It just works and it brings out the best in my amps’ 6v6 tube circuits. It’s also a bit more refined and ‘true’ than say the Swart FuzzyBoost so it makes for a good complement to the rig. I still say that the FuzzyBoost is my most ‘fun’ boost pedal, but sometimes I need the tighter/punchier vibe of the EP Booster. “The right tool for the right job…”
9) Axtron DD5 – This pedal was given to me several years ago because it was broke and a friend thought I might be able to use it for spare parts or whatever. I ended up parking it in the bottom of spare cables tub that I keep in storage and I eventually forgot about it. Just recently, while digging for some spare speaker cables, I ran across this little pedal and took it apart out of curiosity. Turns out it just needed a new battery connector and voila it powered right up. Then I plugged it in and wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise this ‘Digital Delay’ from the 80’s(?) is actually all analog pretending to be digital (funny how the pendulum swings yes?) Also to my surprise, this pedal sounds amazingly good and warm/organic and is ironically perhaps the quietest pedal in my line-up. The more I played with it the more I started thinking that maybe I shouldn’t judge this book by the (plastic) cover. I’m very obsessive about my tones and this little pedal has become a favorite. Funny that…
10) Pigtronix TremVelope – While I wish this pedal was a little bit quieter, and even though one of the LED lights is already on the fritz, this pedal is extremely cool. I usually set it to where aggressive pick attack reduces the overall effect and simultaneously slows down the tremolo speed….or conversely, as my notes trail off then the tremolo effect starts to fade in and gradually speeds up. All while panning in stereo. Dang. Having a tremolo effect controllable by picking dynamics is just brilliant. Once you get the sensitivity settings the way you need, it’s all good from there. It’s one of those effects you don’t realize you need until you give it a try. There’s no going back now…
11) Strymon TimeLine (currently post-OctaSwitch…I may change that if I mod Loop 8 in the OctaSwitch as I mentioned earlier) – What can one say about a pedal like the TimeLine? Is it as good as all of the hype? Yep. Was it worth waiting in line for four months and paying $450 for? Oh yeah. Seriously I can spend hours with this pedal just tweaking and listening. It really changes how I do everything. I don’t know that there’s ever been a delay-based pedal that can compare with the TimeLine. It’s one of those ‘desert island’ pedals for sure…
12) Pair of Swart AST’s – I’ve been playing guitar for 27 years and I’ve finally found my perfect amp(s). My newer AST is all stock (EH power tubes and MojoTone BV-25M speaker) with the Night Light back panel added. Per the other AST, Michael Swart recently modded my older AST to give me a little more headroom, and it has a Celestion G12H30 Anniversary, a full set of JJ’s (they break up slower than the stock EH power tubes), as well as the Night Light back panel. Each AST has a Swart Night Light perched under their top handles and I almost always run the amps with at least some attenuation. Both amps’ volume knobs are usually around 11:00 and the tone knobs vary as needed. I can’t say enough good things about how these amps sound or feel or perform, and Michael and Kelly at Swart are great guys who genuinely care about the people who use their amps.
All power is first filtered by an Ebtech Hum-X and then the pedals are all fed by a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus. There are a bunch of other pedals that float in and out of the rig (as seen in the picture) but none that have made the cut like the ones I’ve listed. I have invested a lot of time and money into finding the right line-up but I think I’m getting closer to where I can commit to a specified pedalboard layout and routing. I know this picture is not pretty (but that’s partly the point as it is a work-in-progress…I wanted the pic to match the vibe of the rig in its current form) and I’ll be sure to send out some more updates/pics to Effects Bay as the rig continues to evolve and take shape. A lot of guys I know worry more about how shiny or cool looking their boards are more than how they sound or function. I’m sure my board will look ‘all that’ someday but not until I know exactly what I want and how I want it. Priorities, man. And I still have a lot of cabling to buy (I plan on using Lava solderless cables throughout…once I can afford them) and I am also looking into some sort of custom transformer isolated signal splitters so that I can use the OctaSwitch’s external switches to turn on/off both amps’ reverbs simultaneously at the same time (and both of their tremolos on/off simultaneously at the same time) per foot-switch banks without having any grounding issues between the amps. I also may build another supplement board to house a TC Helicon VocalLive2 processor that I use for my vocals when my band ‘FP’ starts performing out. I want everything to be fast and efficient for live set-ups with everything marked and labeled accordingly.
And lastly, you can hear what my band and I are doing either on iTunes (paid) or else SoundCloud (free) under the name ‘theFPband’….And we also have a blog (www.thefpband.blogspot.com) and of course a FaceBook Fan Page under ‘FP’. Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve been commissioned to make a series of comparative demo videos for Vibrance Guitars (www.vibranceguitars.com) and I hope to have those finished soon. Some of these pedals and the Swart AST’s will be featured in those videos (and some of the other ‘featured’ manufacturers have even offered to host those Vibrance demos once they are done! Yeessss! Very exciting to be a part of something like that!)
So I hope you all enjoyed my long-winded tour. I’m really into this and I’m a total guitar geek about everything. It’s a labor of love to get the tone you’re after but most importantly it’s a lot of fun along the way! Thanks for checking this out!