Today’s Pedal Line Friday submission (and is the last Pedal Line Friday submission of 2016!) is from Sean Fear. 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.
Pedal Line Friday – 12/30 – Sean Fear
Really enjoy the blog. First started coming here to win gear (which I have yet to win sad-face) but stayed for the news/reviews/pedal-board Friday. My pedal-board is focused on live looping and is laid out so that I can rapidly build songs that imitate a band including bass, guitar, keys, and drums. To make matters more challenging I do this all with a tenor Stagg solid body ukulele with piezo pickups. After years playing bass and guitar picking up the ukulele felt like the instrument I was supposed to play. Also it is ridiculous.
My pedal chain is as follows. First is the Xotic SP Comp. I was using the MXR Dyna Comp but wanted something smaller so I could cram as many effects onto a single board as possible. The SP is always on and helps keep everything evened out since my preferred instrument is rather spectacularly mediocre. I like the SP because of the size and it has a really nice response that does not color your tone.
Next is the Boss NS-1 Noise Suppressor. Most of the rest of the pedal-board is in the effects loop of the NS-1. I fought some bad hum for a while but my current setup is fairly quiet even without the NS-1. When layering loops (samples) things can get muddy fast even with a little noise and the NS-1 really keeps things whisper quiet.
First in the effects loop of the NS-1 is the Saturnworks Dual Parallel looper, this is a custom made box that has two effects loops that can be played either together at the same time or individually. Effect loops within effect loops (insert Inception joke here).
I have one loop that acts as a Bass. First in the bass loop is the Boss OC-3 Super Octave which is set at two octaves down. I tried quite a few octave down pedals and really like the great tracking and tonality of the OC-3. The OC-3 goes to the EHX Mole which fattens the sound and lastly the SolidGoldFX Beta Superdrive, an awesome bass distortion pedal with gnarly synth like tone when the distortion is cranked.
The other effects loop has all the pedals up to the reverb and delay pedals. That loop starts with Korg Pandora which I mainly use as a tuner and sometimes for cheesy synth effects, tremolo, and as a harmonizer that plays a 5th below the played note for one finger power chords. I like to play bass lines and power chords at the same time to really quickly make loops with the Boomerang.
Next is the Electro Harmonix Freeze. I don’t use it much but the infinite sustain really works wonderfully with the B9 Organ Machine to make it sound more believable as an actual organ. I have pulled it off my board numerous times but it always makes it back.
Next is the Crybaby Mini Wah. I originally looked into this because it was smaller than the Morley Volume Wah Mini I was using but when I tried it liked the broad sweep the Crybaby. I was a little concerned it sounded a bit silly compared to the rather subtle effect of the Morley but rather quickly got over that. I could solo on the blues scale while working the wah for hours and never get tired of it.
This goes to the SolidGoldFX Zeta Superdrive. The Zeta Drive is a really nice low gain distortion that is almost always on and adds a little texture.
This goes to the Digitech Luxe which replaced a Digitech CF-7 Chorus. I like chorus but not the way chorus modulates. Luxe is basically non modulating chorus. It works by detuning both a little above and below your original signal and then recombining the signals. It is really nice and I since I got it recently, find myself just leaving it on for the most part with the knobs at noon.
Next a couple distortion pedals that stack nicely the first is the EC Metaldisc Distortion, which is a really cheesy dirt cheep heavy metal distortion with a high pass switch that I like to use for solos. This goes to to the Earthquaker Devices The Dunes Distortion which not cheep and is supposed to be a tubescreamer clone but I think is magical. It sounds so good and reacts perfectly to my picking dynamics. Single notes ring out and chords become crunchy that can easily build into a wall of sound.
This goes to the EHX B9 Organ Machine which makes your guitar sound just like an organ. Cute. I just wish it was half the size.
This ends the effects loop. Outside the effect loop of both the effect loop pedal and noise gate are all the reverb and delays. I recently got rid of a Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport mainly because I wanted to make room for a reverb and I discovered the Catalinbread Echorec which does a modulated delay that is similar to the Disaster Transport. I may not like modulation in chorus effects but I really like modulated delay. The Echorec pedal outputs to the HOF Mini which I use always on to add a bit of space and lastly the Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star Pad Reverb which I had hoped could do double duty as a vanilla reverb and wild effect but is too much to be always on even with all the knobs turned down to zero.
This all outputs to the Boomerang III Phrase Sampler. In my opinion the Rang III is the best live looping pedal currently on the market. Sadly I believe they are going out of business. Next is the Ditto Sampler almost only because I have the space and might need make some sort of non rythmic wash.
Lastly is the Beat Buddy. It is a highly customizable drum machine pedal that can be controlled entirely with your feet. The Beatbuddy is the midi master of the Boomerang which keeps everything in time when building songs.
I currently run this all out to a Roland Keyboard amp since I typically have drums, bass, one or two guitar, and often a keyboard part going once I have built a few layers. It sounds nicer than my old Ampeg tube amp for this use.
My most recent solo stuff is here: https://soundcloud.com/sean-fear-986142479
Let me know if you have any questions.