Hey guys! Welcome to my 2014 setup. Im REALLY liking what I have here. This will be a run down of how I use my board. Please note that this has all been a huge hunt for tone that suits ME. This is by no means the rules of setting up a pedalboard or things that are “needed” to get tone. Tone is based on opinion. Its ALL UP TO YOU on how YOU want to sound and what you can afford to achieve what you and or your worship team needs.
Visual Sound Route 66
1. EHX POG 2
2. JHS Morning Glory
3. Paul C Timmy
4. Visual Sound Open Road
5. EHX Freeze
Ernie Ball VP Jr. :: Korg Pitch Black Tuner
True Effects The Trembler
MXR Carbon Copy
Strymon El Capistan
Loop Master In/Out Junction box
*Strymon Timeline and Bigsky are controlled by the Disaster Area DMC-6L. The DMC-6L is NOT in the effects chain.
So first up is the Visual Sound Route 66. This pedal has the compressor side always on for me. I use this pedal more as boost with a touch of compression. Enough compression to make sure all of the strings are heard and give it a little extra sustain, but really the boost is what I love about it. I play guitars with low output pickups so having the boost first up is great. It gives the pickups more drive or push without loosing their sparkle. I like a really bright tone so this helps my standout and give me that cut and chime I love. There is an overdrive side to the pedal that i use every now and then just for a different feel or push with my other overdrives. That overdrive is an 808 based drive (tube screamer kind of circuit)
Next up is my true bypass looper that carries my main drives, my EHX POG2 and my EHX Freeze pedal. I use this for two reasons, ease of pedal selection and of course keeping my pedals bypassed from my chain. All of the 5 pedals I will talk about are able to be turned off and on by this one switch as well as shortening the amount of cable my guitar runs through while the pedals are off AND gives me true bypass to any pedal that isn’t true bypass. True bypass is a whole 20 page article and debate that is for another time and another place.
First up, the POG2.This is an octave generator pedal that has LOTS of options. I use this pedal a lot when doing swells and to help out with leads. With leads I like to use a simple octave up to help the leads sing or chime a little more or even thicken up leads with an octave down. With swells, all depending on how big I need them, Ill use a variety of octaves to get a really full pad. I like to play with the attack feature on this pedal with the swells as well. You can do two things. 1. Make the pedal do the swells for you (works great since its at the beginning of my effects chain) or have just the octaves swell in while you swell in with your volume pedal. This gives it a shimmer type effect. In short, thats how I use my POG2
Next in the looper chain is the JHS Morning Glory. This is my main overdrive. Its first stage drive for me. Its a great light “transparent” overdrive (meaning it doesn’t give you that mid range hump like a lot of the 808 type pedals can. Sounds like an amp that is cranked). It ads just the right amount of crunch to my tone while keeping the clarity nice and “sparkly”. Great for rhythms that need that slightly overdriven amp sound.
After that is the Paul C. Timmy. This is a classic overdrive pedal. This is also a transparent overdrive. I use this one for my mid range drive for those times I need more overdrive but not getting crazy.
After that is my Visual Sound Open Road. I put this back on my board simply because its an awesome overdrive. Again, another transparent drive and the cheapest! (only monetarily. Its built like a tank and sounds incredible for the money) I’ve been using this for my wide open overdriven sounds. Leads and BIG rhythms.
Now, all depending on my needs, I do have most of these overdrive pedals set up so I can stack or cascade them (meaning two on going into each other at one time) this offers a whole other range of tones out of my pedals. So all depending on my needs, I can go from nice and slightly crunchy to all out crazy
The last pedal in my true bypass looper is the freeze pedal. The EHX Freeze pedals loops a very small mS of your playing and continuously loops it. So really it sounds like one note or chord that goes on forever. Now some may think this is an interesting place to put it but here is why I do it. Before a set If i know there is going to be some kind of transition in key or if I need to switch guitars or what ever, I can preset it before we start then simply turn the Freeze pedal off via the true bypass looper. Note this pedal (and the looper itself) are before my volume pedal. SO, when the time comes for me to do that transition, with my volume pedal down (volume off) I can turn on that loop that is holding the Freeze pedal and fade in the Freeze pedal (that is still looping that note or chord I recorded before the set). This gives me a nice transition into the “frozen” or looped tone that I preset at before we even started playing. Pretty cool way to utilize it. It has a couple other option you can use it with but thats how I utilize it the most during sets.
Next is my Ernie Ball VP Jr. Its a volume pedal. I have my volume pedal after my drives and before my delays and reverbs. Keeping the volume pedal there allows my drives to keep a consistent tone. So my guitar signal travels through my drives and its full volume before being effected by the volume. So I can turn the overdriven tone volume up or down. If it was before the drives, I would effect how much guitar volume is being put into the overdrives causing the tone to be weaker or the drives not responding properly when the volume pedal is down. I also like to keep it before the reverbs and delays so that what ever I am swelling or what every volume I want to play at doesn’t effect the trails of the reverbs and delays. If I had it after my reverbs and delays, it would cut off the reverb and delay trails and act more as a master volume for my whole pedalboard rather than giving me some nice swells or volume control. My tuner is also plugged into the tuner out on this pedal. There is a myth or story that doing that effects your tone…I like how my tone has sounded for about 6 years and I’ve used the same set up for about 6 years. So…. just saying!
After that is a True Effects Trembler. This is a tremolo pedal. Really nice smooth tremolo. I just use as needed. The cool thing about this pedal is that it has an effect off/on and a bypass. So I can turn the pedal volume up and use it as a volume boost by turning the tremolo effect off. Pretty cool.
On to delays!! My favorite. You’ll notice I have 3 of them. This not only gives variety but allows me to stack delays. When you stack different types of delays (particularly ones that have different sounding textures) you can get a great field of sound. Great for doing swells and ambient stuff. I like to have my delays stacked from the darkest or warmest sounding to the clearest sounding. Just the way I do things. Sounds best to me. The clean repeats can keep repeating the darker or deteriorating repeats. Its pretty cool.
So first delay is the MXR Carbon copy. This is an analog delay pedal. This pedal offers a really nice warm (or darker) sounding repeat that has a deteriorating type of sound as the repeats trail away. I like to use this delay as kind of a bottom layer or wash in my playing. Sometimes Ill have a lot of repeats and a low mix to offer a wash underneath my play while I have a clean digital delay doing my time based work.
Next is the Strymon El Capistan. This is a Tape delay emulator. In my opinion the best on the market. But this gives you a pretty awesome feel for delay. Its not a clean pristine digital sounding delay but its a dirty warped warmer sounding delay. I like to use this one for other textures and just a unique delay sound. It also offers some cool muti tapped delay (not just one repeat but several all tapped into one) I like to do a lot of my crazy stuff with this pedal. This is a great pedal to have for swells too.
Next is the Strymon Timeline. Most people know this pedal well. Its a work horse. I do everything off of this pedal delay wise. From digital to all the fun shimmer ice delay sounds, it all comes from here. I LOVE this pedal. I don’t think I need to explain much of this pedal because there is honestly way to much to explain. haha. But on a regular basis I use about 2-3 different patches a set on this pedal. All depending on the needs of the song and set, Ill use it accordingly.
Be sure to check out our Strymon TimeLine preset library!
Last in the effects is the Strymon Bigsky. This pedal is AMAZING! Again, another work horse of a reverb pedal that offers a HUGE range of tones with endless possibilities. Honestly I just got this about a month ago and am still trying to figure how I want to implement a lot of the new reverbs in it but so far there are all kinds of different textures to use. As of right now, Ive been able to replicate what I used to use a lot on my Strymon Bluesky and Neunaber Stereo Wet. So far I find myself using the cloud and bloom mode a lot for swells as well as the tradition Hall. Great pedal.
I use a Disaster Area Designs DMC-6L to control both my Strymon Timeline and Bigsky. The DMC-6L is midi controller that offers presets, easy preset scrolling for the individual pedals and this particular model has a wheel on the left to control expression for one or both of the pedals (all depending how I have the TimeLine and the BigSky set).
And the very last thing on my pedal is a in/out junction box. This is just a small patch bay that I plug my cables going out to my amp(s) to.
Another thing to note with my set up is that I run Stereo starting from the El Capistan. Running stereo allows you to have delays that bounce from one side to the other or modulations or reverbs that do the something. This makes your tone sound WAY bigger, almost surrounds you in fantastic sonic bliss!
Well that is it for my pedal set up. I hope you guys enjoyed taking a walk with me through it. If you have any questions please leave your comments below or shoot us an email and we will connect with you as soon as possible! Thanks!