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Advice on building a pedal board


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Hi All,


I'm looking at building a pedal board and am looking for a few tips and answers to some questions:-


At the moment I have a range of medium to good quality production guitars (Epis as per Avatar, Gibson SG faded, Charvel San Dimas, old Yamaha superstrat. Amps wise, I have a nice little Peavey Royal 8 Valve King 5W (one channel, no reverb) which has a lovely creamy medium gain sound; and an old Peavey Backstage 50 (solid state, two channel with reverb) which has great cleans but a not too good distorted sound. I also have a 9V transformer which will handle 300mA - fine to start me off until I need a higher Amp rating. I also have one old late '80s MIJ Yamaha Digital Delay pedal. I want to build up a range of pedals which will give me options for blues, rock and metal styles with a range of 'must have' effects. All will be used at home player volume levels. I guess that, over time, I would like to get the following pedals:-








delay/reverb (already have the digital delay but do I need a new one based on the questions below?)


My questions are as follows:-


1. Do I absolutely need to buy pedals with 'true bypass'?

2. Should they be analog and what difference would this make to the sound/performance vs. digital?

3. What are the best 'bang for buck' brands - Maybe electro harmonix, digitech, boss? Obviously I'd like to enjoy trying before buying as I build them up.

4. Do I really need all of the above, or are there others I should get in preference to some of those listed e.g. compressor/sustainer, EQ?


Thanks in anticipation



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All my pedals are not true bypass(as far as I know...)and I can't tell the difference. An eq pedal is essential, it will have a huge impact on your sound. Here's my chain...I put my 6 band MXR eq after my distortion which is currently a EH Metal Muff. Total control of sound scaping. After the the eq pedal is a Digitech Digiverb, sounds pretty amazing considering it's digital. Then I have a Ibanez DE-7 delay/echo at the end...cheap construction, but sounds frickin' fantastic! I'm probably going to get rid of the Muff for a Boss Metal Zone Keeley mod. As you can see my chain is set up for metal. If you buy a compressor, put that before the distortion.

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I have no pedals, but an EQ pedal is essential if you're going to add anything, especially if you're going to be performing with other guitarists (and bass), or if you find you have a very muddy guitar. I use EQ almost exclusively to eliminate frequencies below 250Hz. There's so much more space once you free up that range.


You can raise the upper end for a bit of "shimmer," also.

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+1 on the eq pedal, I had alot of questions about wanting to mod some of my little tube amps, and the most common reply was to get a eq pedal, the only pedals I own are a big muff, danelectro chorus , and a holy grail reverb, I have had them for a long time and rarely used them, then for x mas this year i decied to go with a Danelectro Fish & Chips Eq pedal..............WOW................right now I dont even use the muff pedal for distortion, its crazzy what these things can do to your tone, I havent stopped filleding with it for days, all sorts of tones from cocked wah, to some pretty spot on Brain May esk tones, u can make a clean amp dirty or a dirty amp clean, very nice and only 30 bones so its a good starter pedal I would highly recomend buying an eq pedal and maybe a reverb first then take it from there...and it has a true bypass for got to tell ya that


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1. Most of mine aren't. It's more important to mind what order to place the pedals in.

2. Depends on the pedal. The old stereotype of analog translating to warm and tubey, and digital pedals having a ton of options but sounding somewhat clinical holds true but up to a point.

3. IMO there are no bang for buck brands. Just bang for buck pedals. Every major pedal maker sells major duds as well as musthaves. All depending on personal opinion, needs and budget.

4. To me a good EQ and overdrive are the base building blocks of good tone(besides the amp). The rest is just embellishment.

A parametric EQ is my desert island pedal. YMMV.


Good luck.

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Unless you're going to be doing high quality home recording or high volume gigging, you don't need the expensive stuff.


At the risk of upsetting Musikron, unless you play loud through a tube amp, a Tubescreamer is wasted. If you DO play loud through a tube amp, he's dead right.


If you're not sure what you want, I highly recommend you do what I did. I bought cheap but functional Behringer pedals. In the UK, they are ridiculously cheap and spec-wise most are copies of Boss favourites. You can hear test samples at a range of settings on the Behringer website. They work fine, you can listen to the samples and pick 3-4 for about the same price as one Boss pedal. Play them for a few months. If you decide you don't like one or two, you can sell them on e-bay for about 60% of the new price, and you haven't dropped a lot of money. The ones you like, you either keep or eventually upgrade to the Boss version (or another brand) when one comes up secondhand on e-bay.


Behringer are good entry-level pedals and they do a wide range. In half an hour on their website, you can hear what most of them do. They are cheap partly because they are plastic casing instead of metal, less robust switches etc, and would probably fall apart after 4 months heavy gigging. For light use, they are ok, and the phase/chorus/flanger ones certainly produce nice sounds. I don't know about the quality of their wahs though. But Dunlop are not expensive anyway...

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I don't use the effects loop on my amps. Two amps have them and the rest don't. I find it less of a hassle hooking everything up on my pedal board and just using the input of the amp. I use a lot of pedals. I'm sure that there are others that use the effects loop and love it. For me I just see more cords to hook up and more of a hassle. Not to say one is right and one is wrong, just another option.


Everyone has different ideas as to what are the most important pedals to have, but I need a good overdrive, EQ and volume pedal. The rest are for color, which I also find important and fill my board with.


I use a modded TS9 Tubescreamer thru a tube amp and I don't crank it. I get some absolutely great tone out of it. I don't find it a waste.

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Thanks for the advice folks. I've also been scanning Harmony Central reviews and youtube vids and have just ordered the four pedals shown below.


I haven't decided on a reverb pedal yet. I'll make do with reverby sound from my old Yamaha digital delay for now.


So much for trying before buying and building up gradually but I just couldn't resist - they were going for great prices.


Can't wait for them to arrive.


























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