On two out of the last three Mondays I’ve taken a walk down “memory lane” and revisited my guitar setup from my playing days. I started with my guitar, and then followed up with my amplifier. Now I want to tell the story of the gadgets in between – my pedals.
I thought about listing them chronologically, but while I can kind of remember the order I bought them in, I’m not completely sure. Instead, I will follow the signal path from my guitar to my amplifier, and since my amp has an effects loop between the pre-amp and main amp I will look at the path from my guitar to my pre-amp here in Part One.
Note: These are all BOSS pedals, so no need to specify the manufacturer below.
TW-1 T Wah
I think this was the second pedal I purchased (after the PH-1r Phaser). At the time, I didn’t understand the difference between a traditional wah pedal (like the Crybaby) and an “touch wah,” which is really an envelope follower. But it’s a really nice effect that works well with both melodies and chords, and both clean and distorted. I liked it so much I never bought a Crybaby-style pedal. Of course, I never bought a volume pedal either. I learned to get the same effects from my guitar’s volume knob, and I’ve always been a bit of a showoff.
CS- 2 Compression Sustainer
A good compressor is a must for any lead guitarist, and this one really helped smooth out my solos. It’s also great for getting sharp attacks on quick rhythmic passages and for articulating staccato playing. I changed the knobs on this one so much that I briefly considered buying a second one so I could preset them and switch back and forth.
This was a great effect, but I used it less frequently. At the time, harmonizers weren’t as sophisticated as they were today, and the OC-2 tended to “warble” when it tried to track two or more notes at the same time. Guitar amps tended to roll off the lower octaves on the low strings. It does a great job fattening lead lines, and sounds great through distortion doubling a bass guitar part up an octave or two.
Next week, I’ll talk about my unusual choice of distortion pedals, and why I stuck with it. Then in two weeks I’ll cover my modulation effects (phase, flange, chorus, and delay), and finally in three weeks I’ll introduce the most important pedal on my board. Stay tuned. I hope you enjoy it.