Today’s pedal line is from Richard Memczak. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
My name is Richard Memczak. I play guitar in a couple of bands in the UK, Only Twin and Eyechild. I love guitars, and have a fairly excessive collection, and i’m a little obsessive. I played in a function band for a few years recently, until Only Twin started getting sorted out, so i needed a fair amount of pedals for the function band, but as Only Twin became quite experimental and i became more obsessed with collecting, i started buying more. And the result is what you see here. No less than 49 pedals in my board(s) right now, and then i’ve got a few more lying around the house too… So! Here’s a bit of a rundown of gear.
For guitars, i use a lot of different stuff. I buy far too many guitars (clocked up 75 in total, i own 27 at the moment…) but tend to prefer light weight guitars because i’m just weak. My favourites to use currently are:
1977 Fender Musicmaster, modded with a better bridge and a humbucker at the bridge, as well as the original neck singlecoil2011 Gibson SG Junior (with a Schaller 455 bridge. The original was awful!)1993 Gibson Nighthawk Special2006 Gibson Vegas High RollerMIJ JV Fender Paisley Telecaster with Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, ex-GallowsMIM 2000 Classic 50s Tele with Seymour Duncan 1/4 Pounder at the bridge. And then there’s occasional use of a few others – a few Strats, Gibson Marauder, Danelectro, Duesenberg, Patrick Eggle, Hagstrom Viking, etc. I vowed to cut down recently, but to not much luck. For the Only Twin recordings, i used a 2011 Fender Pawn Shop ’72, the Nighthawk, and a 2008 MIJ Tokai ’59 reissue Les Paul Standard with BareKnuckle Mules (amazing guitar, best Les Paul i’ve ever played, easily). For the Eyechild stuff, i think it was an ’87 Strat Plus, and a Hagstrom Viking. For anyone into Oceansize, you’ll notice that Only Twin is named after their song, erm, Only Twin… After they split, i bought Steven Hodson’s orange Fender American Jazz Deluxe Bass (used to record Frames, and toured with before he picked up his Gibsons) from him, and we used that on the Only Twin recordings! We’re big Oceansize fans, so for us, it was incredibly exciting.
Amp wise, i tend to just use a Peavey Classic 30 combo. I love that amp, it’s fantastic. For the recordings, i also used a Fender Hot Rod Deville 212, and a Blackstar Artisan 30 (for the Only Twin stuff).
Now, all that aside, the reason I’m here – pedals! I use two Diago Tourman boards, which are the sturdiest, most robust things ever that don’t cost ridiculous amounts of money, but they are very heavy. But you can literally jump up and down on them and they’ll be fine. I also use a Diago power supply, daisy chains, adaptors, as well as some other Harman supplies and a Phillips power supply. The patch leads are a mixture of Boss, el cheapo generic stuff, and a few half decent things. I’m not into solderless cables – i tried them, i just had problems with connections. One day i might get round to replacing all the cables with really good stuff, but it all works alright at the moment, in my opinion, and good cables aren’t cheap. Hopefully you’ll also notice the use of Pedal Labels. Fantastic stuff! There are also various Pokemon stickers on the pedals, just because.
So, my pedal chain is as follows:
1) Boss HR-2 Harmonist Bought from a mate (Ant from Insurgents [www.facebook.com/insurgentsuk]). Used for adding extra harmonies to single line stuff. Tracking isn’t the best, but it can be a pretty cool sounding pedal.
2) Big Knob UK Fuzz Barn (Fuzz Factory Clone) UK made, used for horrible screechiness, mostly, bought off ebay, as were a lot of my pedals.
3) Digitech XP100 Whammy-Wah Used for the Whammy effect. The ability to tap up and down for different settings on the go is fantastic. I wanted this one because Mike Vennart (Oceansize/Biffy Clyro/British Theatr) uses one, but i preferred it to the Whammy IV, actually.
4) Feisty Little One Rogue Leader It’s a distortion, with some crazy pitch shifter thing going on at the same time, working off the guitar’s pick attack. I made a video of it here. Really cool (albeit weird) pedal made by a small US company.
5) “Tourettes” Horrible, strange, glitchy, 8-bit/octave/arpeggiator/fuzz/thing. A bloke in the UK makes and sells them on ebay occasionally. Here’s a video he made of it
6) Boss CS-3 Compressor Sustainer Not the best compressor, but useful for little picky bits here and there.
7) Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator I think this is a really cool pedal. You have to take it out to the PA for the best sound, of course – it sounds awful through an amp. Great through a PA though.
8) Boss TU-2 Tuner It’s a good tuner. End of.
9) Digitech “The Weapon” I use the sitar setting for parts of a track, and i think the octave functions it has are great, but the distortions are some of the worst i’ve ever heard.
10) Digitech EX-7 Expression Factory I use the XP300 Synth Swell sound here, and it sounds incredible. I don’t mind that it’s not actually a real XP300. They cost a fortune, the EX7 doesn’t, and is smaller.
11) Mini Zvex SHO clone Bought it from pedalparts.co.uk, it’s a great boost, small footprint, everyone should have one.
12) Biyang TS9 clone Decent clone of a tubscreamer, sounds great, never had any problems with it. Love or hate Biyang, i use it, it works.
13) Zen Drive clone Bought from ebay, lovely low gain drive. I used a Blackstar HT Dual for most of the “standard” drive on the Only Twin recordings, but got rid of the Blackstar in favour of this and a few others.
14) Red Llama clone Made by the same guy who made the Zen Drive. It’s punchier, more modern, cuts through more. I often stack it with the Zen.
15) Danelectro Daddy O I bought it because it was cheap and i wanted to try it, and i think it’s fantastic. You do get some high-end hiss with the distortion turned up, but it’s a really underrated, properly nice pedal, in my opinion. Cuts through well, has a vintage edge to it.
16) Rat clone Again, made by the bloke who made my Zen and Red Llama. Really clippy, really over the top. I don’t use it much, but it has it’s moments.
17) Green Russian Big Muff Clone Made by my father out of a GGG kit, but he modded the schematic slightly. It’s amazing. I love it. I nicknamed it something which i can’t repeat here, which i tried to write on in Russian, but may have got it wrong. Huge Muff sound, just outstanding. I use it a fair bit, best version of the Big Muff around.
18) Artec Noise Gate Decent little Noise Gate, does what it says on the tin. Simple, effective. Bought on a recommendation from a friend.
19) Ibanez FZ7 Fuzz Disgusting sounding fuzz with a broken battery simulator built in. I use it for a few riffs/lead bits.
20) Modded Boss DS-1 It’s a regular Boss DS-1, but it has a mod activated by a little switch, which adds a horrible farty sound. Again, i use it for a few choice riffy lead bits for extra horrific grit.
21) DOD Grunge I had a Danelectro Fab Tone, but this was smaller and is pretty much the same thing. Hugely over the top metal distortion, for those Pantera moments. Very cheap to pick up used.
22) MXR Blue Box Really cool 8-bit sounding octave fuzz. Sounds like a Game Boy. I use it in some of the Only Twin stuff.
23) Modded Danelectro French Toast Modded by FX Doctor in the States, it’s essentially a Danelectro French Toast, rehoused into a much better enclosure, with upgraded pots, switches and jacks. It’s a clone of a Foxx Tone Machine. I used to love all the Danelectro lunch box series pedals as a kid, as they were cheap and strange (at the time). I had a couple of these before getting the modded version. They broke. But again, it’s just another very nasty fuzz.
24) MXR/Dunlop Hendrix Octave Fuzz It’s another fun octave fuzz, i sometimes use it for breaky-uppy solos. Picked it up cheap from the local guitar shop.
25) DOD FX13 Gonkulator One of my favourites. It’s a legendary pedal. Ring modulator and distortion, with “Suck”, “Smear”, “Gunk”, and “Heave” controls. I’d feel lost without it, it’s just brilliant.
26) Bright Onion Pedals mini looper BOP make loads of great utility pedals. I’ve got a custom made BOP feedback looper not in the boards, too.
27) Digitech DigiDelay I use it for stutter effects and a bizarre slow modulated delay/echo thing, which is pretty trippy.
28) Danelectro Psycho Flange My favourite flanger ever is the Danelectro Hash Browns, but they break. So, so cheap. This bigger, metal enclosure version sounds somewhat similar, but much thicker, not so subtle. I like it.
29) Electro Harmonix Freeze Nice ambient sounds, easy to use, simple, quite fun for softer stuff.
30) Digitech Synth Wah I use this for long, digitally filters, but it does so much more. Brilliant pedals, i’ve often thought of getting another one, or even two. There are some good demos online, but it’s well worth trying out yourself.
31) Digitech Turbo Flange I use the arpeggiator function on this, but the other settings have some interesting sounds. I wouldn’t use it as a traditional flanger, but it has some awesome, crazy, robotic sort of sounds.
32) Marshall SuperVibe Chorus I had a DOD Ice Box for a long time, then stupidly swapped it out for a Boss CH1. I bought this Marshall in a job lot of pedals, and fell in love with it. Sounds superb, and not like other choruses. The LED is rubbish and badly placed on these Marshalls, and there’s a bit of noise, but it’s still awesome.
33) Danelectro Cool Cat Pretty interesting stereo chorus. Max it out, have one lead coming out as if it were mono, through the rest of the chain, and a plug going nowhere in the second output, and you get a fairly hideous semi-tone vibrato going on. Not very useable. But fun.
34) Boss PH-3 Phase Shifter I use the arpeggiator (“step”) on this, as well as occasionally the “rise” and “fall” functions. Pretty cool effects, and i think it stands up alright as a general phaser, too.
35) Electro Harmonix Small Stone It’s the classic phaser, it’s great. Smooth, pretty, cool.
36) Electro Harmonix Nano Clone I use this as a vibrato. As a chorus, i think it’s terrible. But put it on max, not a bad vibrato. It is somewhat quiet though.
37) Joyo Tremolo I bought it really cheap, tried it out, and i quite like it for long, soft sections. I use it for a softer, subtler tremolo. Nothing wrong with it at all, a bit like Biyang. Cheap, but does the job fine.
38) Marshall Vibratrem I use this as a harsh, ultra-choppy tremolo. Tap tempo would be very nice for this pedal, but meh, it’s served me well for a long time. It has “TREM” written on masking tape in permanent marker, as i used to get it confused with a delay sometimes. The Marshall pedals all look the same.
39) MIJ Boss Bass EQ I picked this up at a pawnbrokers for next to nothing. Works great. I used to use it as a boost for solos, but now i just use it to boost pedals in this mini-looper chain should they need boosting a little. The signal then goes back to the mini-looper.
40) Boss EQ I use this for stupidly trebley, telephone-y tones. Decent enough pedals, works well, does what it should do.
41) Biyang Reverb Nice, versatile reverb pedal. Doesn’t do all the tricks that more expensive units do, but when you want a touch of reverb somewhere, it hits the spot. Can get some huge, over the top reverbs out of it, or dial it right down for just that extra tweak.
42) Vox Wah It’s an alright Wah, pretty standard. I prefer these to the Crybabies, i think they just sound better. Nothing better, crackles a little sometime (no worse than the couple of crybabies i had previous to it). A lot of people prefer wahs before gain, but i’ve always preferred wahs after gain. It’s more obvious, and great for slow sweeps and swells.
43) George Dennis Stereo Chorus Flanger Volume Picked this up in a pawnbroker’s in Quebec (on Rue St. Joseph for anyone who knows the area. I picked up a couple of guitars there, too). I’d never heard of George Dennis (a czech company) at the time, but it seemed interesting. I tried it out and had to buy it! Off, it’s a volume pedal, but a really good volume pedal. No crackles, nice and clean. On, it’s a chorus, or flanger, or both. I put everything on max, and it sounds like a spaceship or something. Also, when it’s on, the rocker position controls the mix, so heel down is just clean, toe down is full on crazy effect. and you can blend it in and out slowly. I’d love loads of George Dennis pedals, but they’re not too common, but they still make them, and you can email George himself online and stuff. I have a really rare George Dennis “Joker” too, not in the board, which is an effects looper, where the rocker again controls the mix, so you can slowly blend in everything in the chain. Cool for drifiting gain tones in and out of clean, or adding some clean sparkle to a huge gain tone, but it’s a bit crackly, hence not using it.
44) Marshall Echohead Delay I bought this one from a friend who was moving away and getting rid of loads of gear. It’s got some interesting functions, like a lot of modern delays, but i use it for reverse delays. You can hear it on one of the Only Twin tracks. These aren’t the best pedals, but it’s fine.
45) Biyang Analogue Delay I love this delay. It’s super smooth and clear and sounds brilliant. This is one of the earlier pink models (they were changed to blue later), and one of the very early ones, where “Repeat” is misspelled as “Repead”. That’s actually why i bought it, i just thought it was funny, but it’s a great pedal, and i’d definitely get another were it to go wrong.
46) Digitech PDS1002 I bought this on a different Quebec visit from a different pawnbrokers. I loved the sampler function, and the delay is great. When i want an obvious and reliable delay, this is the one i use. Two seconds of delay, too, which can be fun. I know lots of newer units have much longer delay times, but it just sounds great.
47) DOD Flanger An old school, beat up flanger. Far better than the Boss flangers, and lots cheaper. I got it for about £3 off ebay. It’s covered in scratches, and sticky residue from tape, and has been used a lot. Immaculate subtle flanger, although i’ve recently changed the settings to be a bit weirder, since getting the Psycho Flange. The only reason it is where it is in the chain too, is because that’s the only place it would fit, and i needed a pedal here as i didn’t have a long enough lead to go from the PDS1002 to the Akai.
48) Akai Headrush II I saw KT Tunstall use one of these and was really impressed, so when one day i decided i wanted a looping pedal, i looked for one of these. I prefer the way it works to the Boss and Digitech equivalents. The manual doesn’t really match up properly to how it works, but common sense and 20 minutes, and it’s easy to master. It was another ebay purchase.
49) Bright Onion Pedals Momentary Killswitch Finally, last one. It’s small, well made, does what it should, and i put a pokemon sticker on it. Useful if you have lots of effects on at one time and want to just cut to absolute silence.
So there we have it! Lots of pedals, some info, and lots of fun. I gig with this as much as possible. Smaller stages can make things difficult, but it usually works out ok. Don’t forget to check out Only Twin at and Eyechild, and feel free to have a chat about all things pedal/guitar/music/cat related!