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krock

Pedal market failure

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I was looking at the list of pedals released at musikmesse today and some companies are releasing 10 pedals at a time (T REX) and it got me thinking. With the vast amount of pedal builders out there/ products available, do you think market failure is/is not likely to occur (pedals market only, not market failure in general)? There are more pedals available today than ever before, and what were once niche markets are now fairly saturated. It's inevitable that like most markets, if the quantity of goods doesnt match price then at some point dis-equilibrium will occur. At the time being I think things are okay because people keep buying the products but what do you guys think will happen in say 10 years for example? The pedal market 10 years ago was very different from what it is now after all.

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Who knows?! Add to that, a lot of players make their own pedals, or at least "mod" them.

So...??? Personally, I'm trying to get away from pedals, more...at least, limit myself to 3-4

not counting a tuner. Overdrive/Distortion, Compressor/Sustainer (for the 12-string, mostly),

a Wah Wah, and "Leslie" pedal. But I actually prefer a good overdriven Tube amp, and just

my guitar, for most things! That's the way I started out, back in the mid '60's, and it's

the sound that I (still) love the most. But, if you have to play cover's, or even originals

that require a lot of 'effects," there's no getting around them, I guess?

 

CB

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Think I'm with you in the 'less is more' camp there CB - but I've seen some of the 'rig rundown' and similar youtube vidoes and some are mind boggling - some of these guys' footwork must be almost as good as their finger work!

 

I think the winners and losers in pedals will be down to media/endorsement around 'what/who's hot' with a follow up listening to tests on youtube as there's no way you could begin to try out a fraction of the pedals available before buying.

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Well, they do allow for what were mostly "Studio" effects, on stage, now.

And, as such, have their various uses. I guess I really am "getting old,"

as I prefer to "keep it simple," more and more, nowadays. [biggrin] And,

ironically, a lot of the "tone" that people (still) chase, was made with

minimal, to no special effects/pedals, as precious few were even invented

yet, back then. What were on record, quite often came from the "board,"

during the recording. I remember wondering how McGuinn got that sustained

and also very "Squashed" tone, with his Ric 12-string, on even the earliest

"Byrds" records. He recorded directly to the board (he still does), and it

was sent through 2 compressors, at once. This was well before Ric built a

compressor into his (by then 370) 12-string. So, pedals can be very helpful,

and effective, when used well. I'd never argue that. I just much prefer to

get the "tone," with just the amp and guitar, and use the pedals, sparingly,

for their actual "effects," and not for "tone!" But, that's just Me!

 

CB

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Think I'm with you in the 'less is more' camp there CB - but I've seen some of the 'rig rundown' and similar youtube vidoes and some are mind boggling - some of these guys' footwork must be almost as good as their finger work!

...

Good point. For twenty years I typically used eight stompboxes between guitar and amp. Eventually I owned seventeen of them. Every single song required certain adjustments.

 

Since about thirteen years I run a digital emulation with all the FX built-in and just recall my programs during playing. They are arranged in a way I just need one bank for every song and get each setting by just one step.

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The ones releasing masses of new pedals at a time are usually just cheap clones of popular boutique pedals or pricier mass produced pedals. Mooer is a big perpetrator. I think EHX has released half a dozen overdrives recently with some being approximations of famous models like the Klon (Soul Food).

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I quit using stomp boxes back in '92. I've got a slew of them laying in a drawer somewhere...mostly MXR and Boss stuff, and one mint condition Fender Blender. Maybe I can "PEDDLE" them to some kid...nyuk nyuk

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I think the market is way over-saturated now. But clearly the makes have decided that it's not about the specific pedals, it's about selling pedals in general. The differences in pedals are almost a moot point, it is marketing, bling, flash, and color-schemes that sell pedals now, not to mention catchy names and either inuendo or open allusions toward ideals whether sexual or descriptive...

 

I was looking for a simple sustainer pedal and I cannot even seem to identify a sustainer pedal that wasn't part of some digital multi-effects pedal...

 

I think it's the only way to break into the market, and I suspect it's a double-edged sword and can harm a small maker as much as help...

 

Without a way to try all of them to know how one sounds versus another side by side there isn't much reason to try new brands or names that aren't well known...

 

It's definitely not a market I'd like to try and get into right now!

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I quit using stomp boxes back in '92. I've got a slew of them laying in a drawer somewhere...mostly MXR and Boss stuff, and one mint condition Fender Blender. Maybe I can "PEDDLE" them to some kid...nyuk nyuk

 

A few years ago I sold off all my 70's pedals, MXR, Big Muff, Morley, etc. I got rediculous money for a few of them.

 

With the exception of specific and sporadic use of my classic Thomas Organ Company "Cry Baby", I've played pedal free for about 20 years.

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I'm pretty much with Larry.

 

I understand how some bands may consider they "need" this or that effect to "cover" given songs, but I question that it means nearly as much to an audience as it does to the players if the band is truly "entertaining" in a given venue. I've never, ever, heard average folks in any crowd howling or even gently complaining that a guitar "tone" didn't sound like it did on a record. OTOH, I've often heard, "Why don't they play songs I know..."

 

Functionally speaking I have two pedals I consider important. One's a Leslie emulator for when I'm gonna play with other musicians and a B3 sorta sound is appropriate and more of a contribution than a straight guitar sound, and the other is like unto it, a volume pedal that can change both attack and decay, either "straight" or in concert with the Leslie emulator for that B3 sound.

 

Also, I don't think it's necessarily a matter of being an aging picker, but more a matter of looking at what audiences are interested in finding in a given venue, and whether they leave feeling they've had a good evening of it, than in specifics of the sound.

 

Yeah, I consider myself a "picker" first and foremost, but in reality, when one's doing a gig whether at a neighborhood or family BBQ just for laughs, or in a saloon or concert venue, one has to consider the whole package of providing entertainment that the crowd believes is what they're paying for. In that context, a pedal is an awfully minimal part of the equation.

 

m

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More pedals, more selection, more innovation, more competition, lowerprices.... We win [thumbup]

 

The problem is that a company can only stay in the market for as long as it is profitable/ see's it being worthwhile. Couldn't large companies which already have their fingers in many pies just end up focusing on other product lines/divisions?

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I've really got mixed emotions on pedals and such stuff.

 

I think there's a good reason for them if you don't want your guitar to sound like a "guitar." But on the other hand, I think they really get overused.

 

As the old saying goes, if your only tool is a hammer, it gets used to solve everything - and may not be all that appropriate for everything.

 

In a sense it's kinda like any other item that has folks convinced they've gotta have the latest and greatest gadget. And that keeps 'em in business.

 

Of course, I'm not sure I'm one to talk, 'cuz I got my super-fancy smartphone soon after this version came out. Hmmmm...

 

m

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As the old saying goes, if your only tool is a hammer, it gets used to solve everything - and may not be all that appropriate for everything.

The same could be said for just plugging straight in to the amp ;) Pedals are great for "flavor" but, just like anything else, if it's overused you can become tired of hearing it.

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I sold all my pedals, i was really into them, but they never did anything for me truly.

 

I've learned it the hard way, if you need fuzz, then get the right amp. If you need gain, then get the right amp.

 

An amp made for the job is way better then an mediocre amp with a pedal.

 

Though i am grateful for owning some great pedals.

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I am a guitar - cord - amp guy. A good tube amp and I'm really happy. The other guitar player in the band I used to be in - loads of effects. He's fabulous. I'm simple.

 

Krock you bring up great points. I saw an email yesterday about Mesa's new pedal. Looks great. I won't get it though. Survival of the fittest in the pedal market, so they'll probably do well.

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Thanks for reminding me about the Thomas Organ Cry Baby pedal. I've got one from 1972, but haven't used it since 77. No call for it in the style I play now.

 

Milo I'm with you...if you constantly use an effect...its no longer an effect. I always hated players that used a phase shifter or chorus on EVERY song.

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Jeff's comment hit me about plugging straight into the amp potentially being as boring as playing constant pedal noise.

 

I think he (you) are both right and wrong.

 

If there is one thing I've tended to notice especially about electric players, but also with many flattop players, regardless of style, is that there's a tendency to have one basic place to play on the strings, etc., whether flatpicking, fingerpicking, whatever.

 

Then I compare that to how classical guitarists utilize nail, bare fingertips, thumbs, where one plays near the bridge or nearer the fingerboard, etc., in a way I seldom see or hear especially the electric picker working his/her strings. Granted, one seldom hears a nylon string picker bending the way many of us do on an electric or even a flattop, but with a classical one might even get a reasonable facsimile of a snare drum.

 

Bottom line is that I think "we" have a tendency to get into a tonal "rut" through our own picking style even more than string choices and flattop shapes. Or electric shapes.

 

I got to thinking that since I started doing classical/folkie/flamenco stuff on a classical guitar some 50+ years ago, my own mind set is to vary tone first through technique; if that's insufficient for a specialized sorta electric guitar gig, then I think of variations of on-guitar settings through a "neutral" amp - and if I don't really want to sound like a guitar, but a B3, I'll get the Leslie emulator and volume pedal. More like a piano, and here comes the nylon-strung box.

 

I'm convinced that the early fuzz boxes, and even some of Link Wray's experimentation with intentional damage to amp speakers, functionally were to emulate the Sax - and with increasing fuzz, "dirty" saxophone... Amps began to come with reverb and trem... and buttons to stomp on to bring in the "effects."

 

And as with the horrid designs of many early offset-printed computer-generated newspaper designs, the designers decided that the important thing was to be creative with all those new tools in their new electronic toolbox.

 

The problem is that the tool is no better than the craftsman, and a poor craftsman's poor use of his tools can damage, rather than create "good" art. In one "lesson" on Youtube, Jazz guitar genius Joe Pass noted that open string tones from root chords are among the most beautiful available on a guitar - but with a bunch of them together regardless of changing songs, an audience can be put to sleep.

 

Marketing gurus try to figure not just what they think a guitar player really wants for a stomp box, they work quite diligently to find a name that might express something to their target market segment. I think that shows the silliness of so many of us when their marketing proves their belief in their marketplace's mentality.

 

Some of us here can do very creative and musical things with a stomp box; or at minimum emulate others' playing while seeking a recording-like "cover" of a song. I personally prefer the "creative," but I won't knock the "emulate others."

 

On the other hand, I think if guitarists in general followed the lead of top pickers in nearly every genre, and first learned ways to vary tone just through technique, that their further ambitions toward specific sorts of musical creativity would be much enhanced.

 

I'm reminded of the huge plateau a friend and email correspondent in Europe had hit at a place about half way up to black belt rating in his chosen Japanese martial art. He was convinced that he knew how to do the technique and had only to work harder to perfect what he thought he knew. Bottom line was that his concept of technique was only halfway to black belt level, and his increasingly motivated efforts proved practice doesn't make perfect, but only habit through a conception that needed to be shattered in order to take that next step toward art.

 

Zen.

 

m

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Jeff's comment hit me about plugging straight into the amp potentially being as boring as playing constant pedal noise.

 

I think he (you) are both right and wrong.

 

If there is one thing I've tended to notice especially about electric players, but also with many flattop players, regardless of style, is that there's a tendency to have one basic place to play on the strings, etc., whether flatpicking, fingerpicking, whatever.

 

Then I compare that to how classical guitarists utilize nail, bare fingertips, thumbs, where one plays near the bridge or nearer the fingerboard, etc., in a way I seldom see or hear especially the electric picker working his/her strings. Granted, one seldom hears a nylon string picker bending the way many of us do on an electric or even a flattop, but with a classical one might even get a reasonable facsimile of a snare drum.

 

Bottom line is that I think "we" have a tendency to get into a tonal "rut" through our own picking style even more than string choices and flattop shapes. Or electric shapes.

 

I got to thinking that since I started doing classical/folkie/flamenco stuff on a classical guitar some 50+ years ago, my own mind set is to vary tone first through technique; if that's insufficient for a specialized sorta electric guitar gig, then I think of variations of on-guitar settings through a "neutral" amp - and if I don't really want to sound like a guitar, but a B3, I'll get the Leslie emulator and volume pedal. More like a piano, and here comes the nylon-strung box.

 

I'm convinced that the early fuzz boxes, and even some of Link Wray's experimentation with intentional damage to amp speakers, functionally were to emulate the Sax - and with increasing fuzz, "dirty" saxophone... Amps began to come with reverb and trem... and buttons to stomp on to bring in the "effects."

 

And as with the horrid designs of many early offset-printed computer-generated newspaper designs, the designers decided that the important thing was to be creative with all those new tools in their new electronic toolbox.

 

The problem is that the tool is no better than the craftsman, and a poor craftsman's poor use of his tools can damage, rather than create "good" art. In one "lesson" on Youtube, Jazz guitar genius Joe Pass noted that open string tones from root chords are among the most beautiful available on a guitar - but with a bunch of them together regardless of changing songs, an audience can be put to sleep.

 

Marketing gurus try to figure not just what they think a guitar player really wants for a stomp box, they work quite diligently to find a name that might express something to their target market segment. I think that shows the silliness of so many of us when their marketing proves their belief in their marketplace's mentality.

 

Some of us here can do very creative and musical things with a stomp box; or at minimum emulate others' playing while seeking a recording-like "cover" of a song. I personally prefer the "creative," but I won't knock the "emulate others."

 

On the other hand, I think if guitarists in general followed the lead of top pickers in nearly every genre, and first learned ways to vary tone just through technique, that their further ambitions toward specific sorts of musical creativity would be much enhanced.

 

I'm reminded of the huge plateau a friend and email correspondent in Europe had hit at a place about half way up to black belt rating in his chosen Japanese martial art. He was convinced that he knew how to do the technique and had only to work harder to perfect what he thought he knew. Bottom line was that his concept of technique was only halfway to black belt level, and his increasingly motivated efforts proved practice doesn't make perfect, but only habit through a conception that needed to be shattered in order to take that next step toward art.

 

Zen.

 

m

 

Interesting concepts for sure! Probably my greatest hero Peter Green played all over the place. The range of tones he got going in and out of reverb, in and out of overdrive, rhythm switch position, treble switch position, and of course the middle position out-of-phase all within the same song, let alone the same set, gave him an incredible edge of a magnificent plethora of tonal nuances that changed his sound from moment to moment. I think the only pedals I ever recall him utilizing back in the day was a wah toward the end of his run w/Fleetwood Mac...

 

He did use over-drive a bit but it may have been a more natural form from the amp itself turning up the gain...

 

He would play with the knobs and record fat and bassy or thin & bright and all points in-between...

 

I love some of the great Blues guys like Ronnie Earl that get that real surfy/twangy tones by picking very close to the bridge and then the fat sweet tones pickup up and basically over the fretboard and all points in between... SRV would often go up over the fretboard in his picking too...

 

I've learned from Albert King to vary my attack and cadence on the same licks to make my limited repertoire sound alot more varied and vast than it really is... Not that he was limited by any means, but it almost seemed like Albert King had about a half dozen licks, but he played them about a billion different ways and varied his attack, cadence, and even left hand finger pressure technique to make them sound completely different from one moment to the next gaining their persona and appropriate phrasing flavor from the performance and interaction with the audience for an emotional connection that actually lived in the playing of the moment...

 

Albert King would play the same exact notes in an immediate repeat of a lick and it would sound like a completely different guitar tone or even a different lick by simply putting emphasis on a different not or bending with a slightly different vibrato etc. He was an absolute master of changing the tone by simply changing how he played the same lick! It just doesn't get any better than Albert King for that!

 

Besides the fact of the lefty phenomenon of being able to attack down onto the high note strings that were located on top as opposed to the bottom of a right-handed guitar, which gave him a totally different tone/sound than most anyone else playing, much like Otis Rush, Eddie Clearwater, and a few other notable lefty pioneers of the time...

 

Hendrix was a little different in that regard, I don't know about early on, but at least later in his career he did restring his guitars lefty instead of it being upside down and backwards...

 

Too many pedals and effects can and do get "muddy" in terms of sound.

 

I like reverb, in fact I'm a reverb junkie and my friends tell me I use too much of it in my playing... To me that's just right!

 

I also have a DigiTech RP50 digital multi-effects pedal and it has like 85 effect presets and at least 80% of them sound the same and frankly pretty crappy, there are like a half dozen or so of the presets that I like and I think sound very good and actually use for some songs while I'm gigging...

 

I also can't seem to find a decent sustainer pedal these days. I like sustain for certain harder/rocky-er tunes and solos and within that digital pedal are a couple good effects with a good sustainer added to the mix...

 

I go thru my Sweetwater catalog and I can't even identify a sustainer pedal in the myriad of guitar pedals and wonder why they aren't out there in the open any more the way they were back in the day...

 

But I digress, I think there is alot to be said for technique in pulling out a ton more tones and sounds that are often marketed and our lazy nature in pedal form...

 

Too many effects make a negligible difference to the audience at best, and can make the sound too muddy and busy for it to sound good or nice.

 

But having a sound we like as players is nearly as important as how it sounds to the audience too because it can be what inspires us to play our best or better and when we feel good about our playing the audience will respond in-kind and that interaction feeds off each other and itself and brings the whole thing to a higher level that is more rewarding often times...

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