Today’s pedal line is from Nate Shoemaker. 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’m Nate Shoemaker, lead guitarist of Westward, a alternative rock band from Portland Oregon, and this is my pedal board! Check out my band and our EP which will be released soon at www.westwardmusic.com. You can reach our Twitter at twitter.com/westwardtheband.
Board (order of pedals is the order of the chain) –
JHS Little Black Buffer – Man this thing is great. Gives that high end clarity back when 99% of your pedals are true bypass and you have over 40′ of cable between you and your amp.
Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner – Had the TU-2 for a long time and finally upgraded to this one! Also tried the Korg Black and thought it was a piece of junk. You can see the LED readings from a mile away! Perfect for playing outside. The output is on the “Thru” signal so it’s always on; just have to lower the volume pedal and I can tune with ease.
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr. – Nothing special here, just the volume pedal that has become the industry standard. Fantastic for swells, feels good. It is a tone sucker, and JHS makes a mod to put a buffer in it so there is no loss of signal. Definitely gonna get that.
Digitech Whammy V5 – This is the bees knees guys! Had a V4 for forever, and this thing is phenomenal. The jump from the V4 to the V5 came with some sweet mods, such as true bypass and 9V AC (finally), along with some cool new harmony settings and a switch that goes from “Classic” to “Chord” mode, and chord mode provides better tracking and modulation when more then one note is present. The biggest change is the sound. It’s super clear and smooth now, and is a lot less intrusive, which I know will be a negative to some of you. It also pixelates less, which is nice. It just feels more modern, and the tracking with pedal is laser accurate.
Diamond Compressor – This thing is pure magic. Plug it in, set everything at twelve, and boom, your tone is FAT. It’s great! Brings out a lot of notes that weren’t really pulling through (see: high e string on a strat while playing chords), and now I can hear everything all the time. For you guys that know how compression works, this one has a 3:1 ratio, which is my favorite in my opinion. Some offer up to a 10:1 ratio, but that is way too spanky and country for me. 3:1 is great for rock and roll, and it doesn’t shape the sound of your pedals (in a negative way). There are about 1000 features this thing has, but I won’t go into them there. Check out Diamond’s website!
JHS Morning Glory – JHS has done a wonderful jon with this overdrive, basing it on an amp circuit instead of a distortion box circuit (see: tubescreamer) which translates into the clearest and most transparent overdrive I’ve ever heard. This is usually on all the time if I’m on my clean channel, and is a beautiful pedal. Also has a treble cuttoff switch which fits quite nicely in dealing with the harshness of strats.
Blackout Effectors Mantra – This baby is on the other side of the Morning Glory. With the gain at 0 and the bass barely on, this thing SCREAMS rock and roll and FAT chords man. Simply a monster. This thing is also fantastic with my strat because it can run my bridge pickup with this thing on and it sounds great; the bass response evens out the highs of my guitar and offers a truly unique sound that I haven’t heard from a pedal yet. It’s no overly dark though; I played a gig the other night with a Tele with EMG’s in it and with a little EQ change it brought a sweet and punchy midrage tone though that pedal.
Empress Multidrive – So…. Many… Knobs…. This one takes awhile to dial in but I use it for my “Hey I’m about to play solo everyone listen to me.” This thing will cut through any mix with three separate gain circuits; fuzz, overdrive and distortion, with two channels on the pedal so you can switch from any two combinations of those three. Not a big fuzz fan myself, but the distortion channel is phenomanal! Sounds like a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier on my board! The distortion section of the pedal was created to emulate the natural complression that high gain amps have, and this does the job wonderfully. My second setting it the distotion and the overdrive setting at the same time, with the gain on the overdrive dialed back but the volume cranked for a nice db boost for solos/lead lines. Sometimes you can’t always trust the sound guy!
Diamond Memory Lane – Not much to say other then the best sounding analog delay I have ever heard. Sweet features, two bank settings, and it doesn’t oscillate as easy as the Memory Lane 1. The modulation is very pleasing and the EQ is my favorite. Super expensive in my opinion, but it was $100 in a “blemished” case at Pro Guitar Shop because of a sticker missing on the back. It stayed there for about a year and a half and I finally bought it before someone else did. My favorite pedal on my board.
Diamond Memory Lane Jr. – The oldest pedal on my board, and perhaps the best digital/analog delay on the market. This I use exclusively for dotted eighths, because I can crank the mix and the repeats are bright and shimmering, and don’t change tone as they repeat, like an analog delay. Modulation is always cranked on this one because of how much color it gives; never have had a chorus-y sound from it. My second favorite pedal on my board.
Wampler Faux Tape Echo – This is actually a prototype of the version that is out right now, found it on Ebay. Has some nice controls on it, and I only use it for swells. Having an all analog delay only use for swells might seem like overkill, but it is so nice to be able to swell into a song, tap the temp on one of my Diamonds, and be ready for whatever is coming up without worrying about changing and settings. Sometimes three delays is what you need!
Strymon Blue Sky – This is an oddball on my board. I haven’t decided if I want to keep it, because everyone and their mom sem to have one of these things these days. Don’t want to be all hipster on you guys, but I don’t want to sound like everyone else. Luckily there is only one setting that a ton of people use because it’s a “turn to this setting and you will sound awesome” type of deal, which is true. But there are some other sweet sounds if you spend time dialing them on. Also great that it has a favorite bank on it, so i always have two settings at my disposal.
Empress Tremolo – Holy freaking awesome. I love this thing. Features features features. Just go read about it, I could write about it and review it for about a page and a half haha. Definitely the most fun to play with on my board, and the gain knob is one of my favorite features. Very impressed by Empress.
About my pedal chain order: there is really nothing special about it. Just a few core choices that are made in the beginning, and everything fites into place. Mine being that I wanted my delay after my overdrives, so the effect them in the chain, and other “true” effects (such as reverb and tremolo) afterward. Another big decision is if your compressor lies after or before your overdrives/boosts/distortions. I have mine before because I want my signal to be compressed before going in, so the compressor doesn’t have to actually compress the signal that the overdrives are creating. Also buffer placement is not as crucial, but is merely an opinion. With my rig it sounds better up front.
About my board – I have a Trailer Trash Pro Series 30“. Rooster (the guy who makes them) is an awesome old-school rocker that helped me out a lot on what I needed, and his boards are priced great. His motto is pedal board art – and the craftsmanship/look/feel of his products are a testimony to that.