Essentials If you’re not sure which pedals to start with when you’re planning out a board that’ll meet your needs, guitar tech Scott Appleton (who has worked with guitar gods like Alex Lifeson, Neal Schon, and Slash) has a few suggestions regard- ing gear that facilitates a versatile tonal palette. “Typically, I’ll see a wah-wah, a distortion or overdrive (or two), a chorus, a delay, and some- times a volume pedal.” As for gear that’s road- worthy and tone-worthy enough to satisfy a lot of big names, Appleton says, “I see a lot of Tube Screamer-type variations, Dunlop wahs, and
delays like the Line 6 DL4, Boss DD- 20, and
the Eventide TimeFactor. Also the TC Electronic
chorus is very common.”
That said, there are innumerable worthy
options on the market. Appleton says one of the
most important things to keep in mind when
you’re choosing new pedals is that some pedals
may sound great on one amp, and poor on the
next—it can be a matter of trial and error to find
which ones work best.
Order of Effects
Once you’ve got a bunch of pedals, the next step is to
decide what goes where. A typical order of effects is
shown in Figure 1. But there are no hard-and-fast
rules: If you like the way a particular “unusual”
configuration sounds, then—by all means—go for it.
1. The Boss BCB- 30 is a molded-resin case with a built-in handle and slots for three Boss
Compact pedals or similar-sized stompboxes.
2. The Road Runner Pedalboard All-in- 1 Gig Bag measures 21 3/4” x 12” and features zippered
utility pockets and a top cover that folds under to act as a nonslip pedalboard bottom.
3. The SKB PS- 45 measures 27” x 15” and features 11 power jacks (eight 9-volt DC and three
120-volt AC) and a hardshell case.
4. The Gator GPT Pedal Tote Pedalboard with Carry Bag measures 16. 5” x 12” and features
a built-in handle.
“Where you place things
depends on a lot more than
where you’re able to fit everything on your board. There are
practical considerations to be
136 PREMIER GUITAR JANUARY 2011
Analogman Mike Piera (aka AnalogMike),
add more distortion, because the distortion pedal
is already clipping and will clip more when you
hit it harder. That’s also why a small amp cranked
up does not get louder when you hit it with a
louder signal—it’s already out of headroom, so it
can only distort more. A clean boost after a dirt
pedal will increase the volume, without adding
Planning and Layout
Physically positioning your pedals requires some
logistical planning that can be pretty aggravating,
depending on the shape of your pedals and the
amount of real estate on your pedalboard. But,
naturally, where you place things depends on a lot
more than where you’re able to fit everything on
your board. There are practical considerations to
be made, too. For instance, if you have two distortions or overdrives (say, for lead and rhythm), you’re
probably going to have to turn one on and the
other off simultaneously with one big stomp across
both pedals—unless you have them both plugged
into an A/B box. For this reason, it’s practical to
place the two pedals right next to each other.