Today’s pedal line is from Chris Palmer. 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.
I had the hardware store cut a 6′ × 1’board into three 2′ × 1′ boards. Then I sanded the edges down and used an extremely stinky glue to two strips of 2″ wide velcro to each board. (The velcro is self-adhesive, but I want it to really never come un-stuck.) Then I stuck some rubber feet onto the bottoms of each board. (At some point I’m going to cut hand-grips into the boards.) I power everything with a Visual Sound 1-Spot and two of their power-distribution cables. They come with adaptors to fit any type of effect, but thankfully all my pedals happen to use the Boss 9V, negative-tip standard so I don’t need the adaptors.
Having three velcro boards allows me to re-order the effects, group the effects into three groups, or use a reduced rig. For example, when playing bass in Tall Sheep I only need the tuner, compressor, and distortion.
Currently, I’m breaking the full rig into three groups: volume effects, modulation effects, and delays. Here are the volume effects:
I love the T. C. Electronic Polytune. It has a great feature where you can strum all the strings and tune them all at once. You can also go string by string, and you can tweak its various parameters in fine detail from a computer, with the USB port (!).
The Seven Sisters Grace compressor works wonderfully: simple, sounds great, and comes with a built-in rechargeable battery.
For distortion I use a Behringer Vintage Tube Monster. The 12AX7 inside doesn’t get too hot, but it sounds awesome. With the 3-band EQ and the noise gate, it is very tweakable. If you crank the Bass to max it gets boomy then flubby, and if you crank the Gain and the Mid to max, it turns into a spitting, frying fuzz. In between there is a full range of warm drive and screaming lead. I used to use two distortions (a Tech 21 Tri-O.D. and a Fulltone O.C.D.), but I think this one will do now.
Here are the modulation effects:
The Empress tremolo has ideal features for the music I play: tap tempo, three waveforms (Triangle, Tube, and Square), a good strong Gain, and multiple rhythm settings (not just ONE and TWO and…!). Rhythm # 8 is in 5!
The Home Brew Electronics Psilocybe phaser is a great, gentle phaser. It’s not as crunchy as the many MXR Phase 90s I’ve loved, but it’s got a surprisingly wide range of sounds, and the Shift 1 and Shift 2 switches give it different characters.
And finally, les pièces de résistance…
The Strymon El Capistan has only mono in so I start with that. It’s a beautiful digital-emulating-analog-tape echo effect with a million knobs and bonus features (including a very good spring reverb). It has sound-on-sound recording, multiple tape head modes (Single, Multi, Fixed), tap tempo, and a bunch of ways to degrade the sound in soulful ways.
Then I have two Boss DD-7s: 1 for use in Hold mode to sample phrases (doubles as a heavy chorus effect in Modulate mode with the delay time all the way down), and one for regular digital delays. I use the FS-5U for easier tap tempo.
From El Capistan forward, I have stereo outs. One side goes out into my Fender Blues Junior and the other into my VHT Special 6. (I love low-wattage tube amps! They are plenty loud, and they have soul.)