Today’s Pedal Line Friday submission is from Joe Perkins. 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.
The 2021 build is about as far as I can take my ‘all-analog pedalboard’ concept; at least, using this particular board, loop switchers and power system. There’s absolutely zero room anywhere on there…every nook & cranny either has a bundle of patch leads, a power adaptor or jack plug wedged in it; and I think the GigRig Generator is about to explode powering this lot. But…it sounds great; and it makes my life making demo & comparison videos so much easier for the next year. Every sound I could possibly need is right underneath my feet; powered correctly; isolated in true-bypass loops so the signal is always super-clean; and all the amps are in phase with no ground loop hum. That means I can just kick a few switches and go, rather than spending the first part of each filming day ripping things apart, digging through my pedal collection and trying to work out where the annoying buzz is coming from. It streamlines my workflow and cuts a significant amount of time off shooting videos for a living!
The guitar signal comes in through the patch bay, and straight away hits the Terry Audio White Rabbit, which is (almost) always on. This buffers the signal right at the start and keeps the signal as clean and defined as possible. It then goes into the passive Lightning Boy 2020 Instrument Transformer which, to be completely honest, does almost nothing (but…I’d bought it, and wanted to feel I was getting some sort of use out of it!) It adds just a hair of subtle harmonic saturation. Then, the signal goes into the loop switchers; if no switch is kicked, it passes right through into a Suhr Buffer to split and isolate the signal, and the two identical feeds then go off to my amp rig. Those two feeds are then split & isolated again by a pair of passive Lehle P-Splits, giving all 4 of my amps a good, strong signal at all times (with full control over phase) for easy experimenting with pairing amplifiers together quickly on the job. I generally just flick switches and see what sounds best running together on any given day.
But if I kick any of the loops on, I can bring in whatever combination of pedals I like. I use GigRig loopers – a OMX8 and OMX6 chained together – and the loops are:
1) This mutes the signal and sends it off to an old Peterson 420 Strobe sat on top of my amps. I love old-school strobes; they’re super-accurate.
2) A Williams Audio MkI Tonebender (probably my favourite fuzz of all time!); an Analogman Sun Face NKT Red Dot; and Analogman Beano Boost treble booster. These all need an unbuffered signal so they’re in a loop together at the start of the board, and the loop’s ON switch and switch to turn the White Rabbit off can both be pressed with a single foot stomp for ease. Two classic fuzzes and a Rangemaster…all NOS Germanium transistors and running on GigRig virtual batteries.
3) I love compressors but parallel compression is where things really come alive for me. The Effectrode PC-2A is my favourite sounding compressor but it doesn’t have a blend control, so I’m running it in the loop of a GigRig Wet Box to let me blend some transients back in….the attack is still there and it’s not super-obvious, but you can get loads of sustain from the compressor too. Also in this loop is the ZVex Lo-Fi Loop Junky…a crazy all-analog looper (how it works is beyond me!) which isn’t much use as a ‘traditional’ looper, but can be great fun for ambient effects and mashing things to wobbly pieces!
4) The first of two modulation loops…I run all my modulation pedals pre-drive rather than the more typical post-drive that people go for nowadays. (Most of my favourite classic tones were modulation pedals into cranked amps, so for me, running them before the overdrives makes more sense.) The BigToneMusicBrewery Maggie is a Magnatone-style vibrato, and the Skreddy Little Miss Sunshine phaser is a modified Phase 90 that uses photocells rather than chips for more clarity and headroom.
5) The Analogman Mini Chorus is based on a Small Clone, and mine is running on 15V – which I believe is the voltage the chip is optimised for. Also in this loop is the Retro-Sonic Flanger running on 18V…this is the newest iteration of this pedal, which has less filtering up-top than the earliest runs. I’ve compared it to my original V3 EHX Electric Mistress and it is absolutely dead on…superb job by Tim, because it’s a very tough circuit to get right.
6) My mid-pushed OD loop. First is the Decibelics Golden Horse – a super-accurate Klon clone. Guillem makes them all by hand and A/B tests them to his best-sounding original Klon (he has three!) to ensure they’re 100% identical…this pedal ended my Klon search, for sure. The JAM TubeDreamer58 is a sort-of hybrid between a TS808 and the original Boss OD-1….both those old pedals are broadly similar in circuit, but the TD58 combines my favourite qualities of both: the mid-hump, but asymmetrical clipping and a tone control.
7) The Williams Audio Power Driver – which is a Colorsound Power Boost/Overdriver. I’d never tried one of these circuits before but this one floored me so much it had to go on the board….super-versatile, and sounds great regardless of guitar or amp. It has the common master volume ‘mod’ which is much needed….without that, the circuit is pretty much too loud to be useable!
8) Two famous/infamous overdrives! The Analogman King Of Tone, running at 12V and set as two clean boosts, which I prefer for the extra dynamics; though I still usually stack the two sides together. The Vemuram Jan Ray sounds astonishing on its own, but right now I’m using it as an additional gain stage to smash into the KOT…it’s a wonderful booster as well as OD, and the high & low pass filters are brilliant for stopping things getting too thick or fizzy.
9) The Hudson Broadcast (running at 24V) is a console-style preamp circuit; great for those Beatles ‘Revolution’ type tones, but also great as a clean boost…and the high-pass filter is brilliant for shaping anything before and after it on the board, as the 24V headroom means it can handle most things without distorting (unless you want it to!). The Williams Audio Ram Fuzz is a Ram’s Head Big Muff, which sounds brilliant (and is much less finicky with buffered signals)…but to be honest, this pedal is keeping the spot warm for a Kingsley Page (which has since arrived…and is my favourite OD I’ve ever used!)
10) The Origin Effects RevivalDRIVE is a crazy overdrive…it models everything about the breakup characteristics of classic amps, from negative feedback to ghost-tones that appear when everything is caving in on itself. I set the both sides broadly the same (modelling a Marshall Plexi) but the Silver side has touch more gain and bite, and a little less sag, for lead playing.
11) I used to love my Memory Man, but I found the sine-wave chorus/vibrato a bit predictable-sounding. The Fairfield Circuitry Meet Maude is a magic delay pedal…it has a great, clunky vibrato circuit for the repeats (this pedal sounds nothing like tape, but it does have elements of that glitchy, mechanical modulation about it) and never seems to get in the way of your clean sound, regardless of how soupy and insane you set the repeats.
12) Two simple delays chained together – individually they’re great, and I use them for different applications, but together they can give a pretty good emulation of the multi-head delay sound. The Analogman ARDX20 is quite DM-2 in nature – dark and moody – and has two sides; so I set one for a ‘standard’ thickener delay and the other for a tasty slapback. The JAM Pedals Delay Llama+ is quite bright and defined in comparison, a bit like an old 18V Ibanez AD-80, so I tend to use it more for chimey clean sounds…plus, it has the infinite feedback momentary switch to make it go nuts!
13) I’ve always struggled with Tremolo pedals and I’ve been through loads over the years. But this is my new favourite – the ThorpyFX Chain Home, which goes after the old Vox Repeater/percussion trem sound. It has a lovely chop to it – it’s definitely it’s own ‘thing’, but it does the job very well. It also has an amazing boost circuit which is great for hoofing into an amp.
14) I’ve tried a few spring-reverb-in-a-box pedals over the years, and this has been my favourite – the Gurus Sinusoid. It’s tube driven and can do subtle fatness when you want a basic ‘verb, but can get nice and splashy too. It also has a great sine-wave tremolo circuit for a different flavour to the Thorpy.
…and that’s about it! All of that is piled into a Dr Z Z-Wreck; Hughes & Kettner Puretone; Dr Z DB4; and Cornell Romany Plus. They all sound great both on their own and paired; but certain combinations work better for different jobs, so it’s nice to be able to choose what combination will show a pedal off to its full potential, for example. The speakers are a combination of Celestion and Fane…though I’m leaning more towards the Fanes nowadays; they’re handmade here in the UK and always sound epic regardless of what amp they’re in. They don’t have the ‘bitey’ upper midrange of the Celestions, so they sound a little less aggressive when recorded, but very beautiful and detailed too.
Check out this detailed break down video: