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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Cochrane Tim’

I’ve been wanting to do this shootout for so long. Now understand, I started doing these demos because my head was about to explode. Let me explain. The internet was a wonderful concept. I mean, information that we could get directly from each other? We didn’t have to rely on people with money? It’s fantastic. However, what they (everyone in power you just refer to as ‘they’) forgot to consider was that it appears the culture has been exposed to television for so long, that now if information comes off of a glowing screen, it is considered fact. So, I could write ‘Starbucks uses little slave children underground in all their suburban stores to manually grind the coffee beans’, and now that will turn up in search engines. And google will show a little snippet of that statement, and people will be too lazy to actually click on the site link, and then find out what I’m talking about, and hence…a new ‘fact’ is born: Starbucks harbors little slave children to make their coffee taste good.

Three Amigos 1
(Right before one of the many shootouts in Three Amigos. You simply cannot tell me that you don’t like this movie…just a little bit. ‘We ride, we fight, we love.’ Classic.)

And that’s when your head explodes. When you can no longer distinguish fact from ‘some guy wants hits on his website.’ Like me. Now anyone who thinks Starbucks is the reinstated Roman Empire will go to back up their opinion with the internet, search ‘Starbucks is bad’, find my site, and I’ll get tons of hits and a ravenous following. However, I used ‘Starbucks’ as my example, so as not to get hits, and to not become the very essence of what I’m talking about. Because no one in America will ever search ‘Starbucks is bad.’ It’d be considered heresy, and I honestly think you can be burned at the stake for distrusting Starbucks. See? I just proved they are the Roman Empire. How? The internet.’

And (sweet mercy, where am I going with this?) it’s the exact same with guitar pedals. You don’t want to have to spend money on an expensive Tim pedal to get great tone? Search the internet. You’ll find sources to back you up. You don’t want to own a Fulldrive because everyone and their guitar-playing second cousin has one? Search the internet. You’ll find sources telling you it’s a terrible pedal. But I warn you…do not search any deeper. Head explosion. As soon as you ask, ‘So how long did you have the Tim pedal for, to find out it wasn’t very good?’ You’ll get these answers: ‘Oh. Own one? Well, I’ve never actually owned one.’ Or, ‘Oh. I’ve never played one, if that’s what you mean.’ Or, ‘Ya, I’m just not a big fan of Paul Cochrane stuff.’ And how about my favorite, ‘I’ve been playing guitar for x amount of years. I don’t need to hear the pedals. They all sound the same.’ And suddenly you realize that in order to keep your head in the place on your body where you prefer it to be (i.e. not in tiny pieces scattered around your pedalboard…might help the tone, though…something to think about), you’re going to actually have to try the pedals out for yourself.

Which is why I do these shootouts. I’m trying to give an at least objective view on some of the incredible opinions out there. So then someone can ask, ‘Which is better? The Fulldrive or the Tim?’ And then I can not only give my answer, but say, ‘Here. Here’s a video. This is where my conclusions came from. Now listen to it. And draw your own conclusions.’ It’s a little thing I like to call ‘science.’ ‘Science’, as it refers to guitar gear, is a big word for, ‘Believing something because you heard it from your amp, rather than hearing it from the guy who wants to sell you the Fulldrive.’ Or the guy who bought it, hates it, but it didn’t sell, and now has to justify having it on his board, even though it’s not cool anymore because it no longer has a waiting list, and you can buy it at Guitar Center.

Three Amigos 2
(My favorite scene from Three Amigos: ‘It’s a sweater!’ Okay, I’ll stop now.)

Now are my videos the definitive answer? Absolutely not! Maybe if I didn’t play the same riff over and over, and could stop talking for a little bit. ;) But no, they are not. They’re a reference to use as a tool to help you decide which pedal might help make your tone the stuff tears are made out of. But it’s always a good idea to try these things out for yourself.

So anyway, here we go. We’ve got the Fulltone Fulldrive 2, and the Paul Cochrane Tim. Two pedals that are constantly being compared, put down, lifted up, glorified, and trodden upon. I’ve seen literal fights break out over these pedals. (Of course, they were fights over the internet, which means that the climactic ending without fail is always the picking apart of each other’s grammar. Yes. I know.) And so it’s just been a matter of time before I was able to get them both in my hands, and hear things for myself.

And we’ve also got the newcomer, the Damage Control Liquid Blues. I haven’t heard much about how it compares to the other two. But Damage Control makes good pedals, it’s blue, it’s got two switches, I figured it was close enough.

The Players

–Fulltone Fulldrive 2, blue version, non-mosfet, with the three-way toggle switch. (There’s a ton of versions of this pedal.) Running at 12 volts.

–Paul Cochrane Tim. Running at 12 volts.

–Damage Control Liquid Blues.

The Base Tone

Prairiewood Les Paul (Woldetone Dr. V pickups)–>

Matchless HC30 (EF86 channel)–>

65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue and G12H30 speakers)

Possible Tonal Biases

–I’ve had the Tim the longest, so it’s more set to my rig. As you can see, I never even have to touch a knob on it. (And also, I’ve demo’d it before, and didn’t want people to get bored by me going through all the knobs again.)

–The Liquid Blues has tubes. Sometimes that sways me. I love tubes.

–The Liquid Blues also has interesting tonal options with its knobs. So it’s quite possible I’ve yet to tap into its full sound yet.

Possible Personal Biases

–Everyone has a Fulldrive. And I want to be cool by not having one.

–It sounds stupid, but the Tim fits really well on my board.

–The Liquid Blues is huge, and runs on 2 Amps of power. So, if it ends up sounding the best, I’d have to get a bigger power conditioner or sell a Timeline. (And I’m not selling a Timeline.) So I kind of didn’t want it to sound the best.

And the Shootout:

And the addendum, with more rhythmic playing, after some comments that I was face-melting too much in the first video. ;) And by the way, ‘face-melting’ for me, is warm-up scales for most other guitarists. hehe

The Results

–Okay, whoa. The Liquid Blues not only sounded way better than I expected, but is also extremely versatile. If Damage Control was able to put their pedals in smaller packages, they’d be all over everyone’s boards. Wow. It can do compressed, searing lead tones, bluesy tones, but also just a warm pushing of your amp into it’s natural overdrive. Only one tone knob; but at least in my rig, it still was able to not change the tone of my amp, quite nicely. No control over the boost switch, though. It didn’t seem to matter, as it boosted the first channel audibly, but not over-the-top, but I could see that perhaps being a problem in some rigs. But just an incredible sound that really, really surprised me.

–And of course, the Tim never disappoints. It’s hard for me with the Tim, because it always sounds so good that sometimes I’m not excited by it anymore. It’s like, ‘Oh ya, the Tim sounds good no matter what. Whatever.’ But hearing it against the other pedals, it sounds good no matter what you throw at it in terms of your rig. Pushes your amp. Can’t say enough good about this pedal.

–And the Fulldrive. I was disappointed at first, because it did not bring out the natural overdrive in my amp like the other two did. However, once I found and started using its strong points, which seemed to be just by being a distortion on its own, it sounded very good. A little boxy, and it could have done with a better tone circuit. The one tone knob makes it very selective as to what amp it sounds good with. I would have liked to be able to dial it in to match the amp’s sound a little more. But overall, a very good pedal when used as a distortion sound on its own, and with a really clear and transparent boost section.

The Conclusion

As I like pushing my amp into its own natural overdrive, I’m going with either the Tim or the Liquid Blues. Sorry Fulldrive. And I’m going to be honest here. As much as I rave about the Tim, that Liquid Blues might actually be a touch warmer. But my rig already runs at about 11.5 Amps, and my power conditioner only handles 12. So the 2 Amps from the Liquid Blues would push me over the edge. So, we’ll have to see if I can come up with the money to get a Furman IT20. (And that’s probably a ‘no.’) But it did sound incredible. As did the Tim. It’s a tough choice. But as for the Tim versus the Fulldrive? In my hopefully extremely humble opinion, it’s the Tim, by a definite margin.

So there ya go. It’s on the internet. It must be true.

;)

Splendid.
Karl.

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This post and its comments have been moved to the way more awesome guitarforworship.com website. Click here to read this post.

Splendid.
Karl.

Boutique overdrives, man. It gets really, really hard to keep up! A few years back, if you had a Tim or a Zendrive, guitarists would come from miles around just to get a glimpse of them. And you couldn’t even touch them if your hands weren’t deemed toneful enough, because everyone knows that human touch from un-toneful hands kills the tone fairies locked up in the boutique pedal boxes. That’s why they’re painted so pretty…to coax the fairies into them. And then wham! We trap them inside the Malaysian Texas Instruments RC4558 chips with the state of Texas outline on them. I remember when some guitarists I knew first ordered like, the first Tim pedals ever. And they talked about it in hushed tones, and even seemed like they were making me go through an audition before they gave me the Paul Cochrane’s number. (Which by the way, I must have failed, because they never gave me the number. I’m not sure how I could have failed, though. I mean, they weren’t impressed by the 9 analog delays I had all running into each other at the same time? And by my knowledge, that I shared quite openly, that ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ could not be played properly without said 9 analog delays? Ya, I probably wouldn’t have given me the number, either.) But now it’s like, ‘Oh, the Zendrive? Ya, I’ve had a few of those. They sound great, but……don’t the Toneczar pedals cost more?’ The quality of the pedal hasn’t changed, and neither has the price……it’s just that new overdrives have come out that are now even more expensive, and even harder to get. And of course, if there’s one thing we know about boutique pedals, it’s that scarcity equals price, and price equals tone.

So this Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive  is going to sound spectacular. It’s expensive, hard to come by, and is one of the current ‘automatic tone’ pedals. You know, the ones that give an immediate pass to how your tone actually sounds? You’ve got a Landgraff? Your tone must be amazing! These are the types of pedals I rely on. I hear tone by what the internet tells me.

Vince Vaughn
(Sorry, it’s getting harder and harder to find good shootout pictures. I’ve already used Heat, Tombstone, and Hot Fuzz in previous shootout posts. So I figured I’d use Vince Vaughn in Mr. And Mrs. Smith, as the CIA assassin who lives in his mom’s basement. This is one of those movies that I would never be able to look anyone dead in the eye and say, ‘It’s a great movie.’ But yikes, do I enjoy it! Like Tremors.)

But in all seriousness, this Landgraff DO gets incredible reviews, and has some great clips out there. I’ve been wanting to try one for a long time. These are handmade by John Landgraff, who started out by building some great original TS-808 clones. And as far as I know, he only sells his stuff directly through Blue Angel Music. The Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive (Landgraff DO or LDO……for some reason, the cool factor on boutique pedals rises exponentially per initial added) is actually quite amazing with the different tones it is capable of. The gain knob is a gain stage knob, which for whatever reason, I tend to like. And then there is volume and tone. But is also has a switch that takes it into this crazy versatility territory. The middle position is just its normal overdrive voicing. But the top position shifts the mids up, and you can really get aggressive Marshall tones. And then the bottom position. Wow. Totally a fuzz pedal. Very, very cool.

Oh ya…and it’s painted like, awesome, so that raises the tone like, 50% right there. When your ears are taken away from you because the internet doesn’t have much info on a pedal, you can always rely on your eyes. John Landgraff is also a Christian, and each pedal comes with a tract. Which is cool. Well, except that they’re the cash-looking tracts. So you open the pedal up, and you’re like ‘Bonus round! A rebate!’ And then you’re like, ‘Oh.’ hehe But you don’t really think you’re getting a rebate with the pedal. And you gotta admire the guy’s heart for making a great pedal, and then doing his best to use his position to try to share an incredible gift. On a side note, though, ever meet with those Christians who give the cash tracts instead of tips? Like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to actually show God’s love to you by being kind and giving you money. I get to bypass that any real financial sacrifice for your benefit, because I’m giving you something better than money.’ Because Jesus definitely said, ‘Suck it up, I’m giving you something better than your physical needs’ when He was preaching and everyone got hungry. ;) No, He gave them free food. I’ve had some friends who have been servers at one time or another, and they all say they used to hate getting the Christian tables or the church groups after church, because none of them would tip. Way to go us. Spreading God’s love need not have any actions accompanying it, as long as you’ve got tracts, t-shirts, and words. And I’m just as bad, as I assume that typing this in a blog probably makes people assume that I’ve got the love thing under control; hence, I am exempt from actually doing it. ;)

But I think Landgraff putting tracts in is cool. Because he’s not having you pay for a $400 pedal, and then sending you a tract instead. hehe He’s saying, ‘Here’s a killer product, and here’s what I believe. Throw it away if you want.’ So, anyway, on to the shootout. Apologies for my long-windedness. But for those of you who still come to this blog, I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you’re used to it by now. You either read through it and laugh at my incredibly short attention span (even on things in my own head…which is really odd), or you just skip to the pictures and videos. (Probably the latter.) Oh ya, the shootout!

Landgraff 1
(It is physically impossible for bad sounds to come out of a pedal that looks that good. In the word of Will Ferrell, ‘Beautiful.’ Not sure why it had to be Will Ferrell that said that, but that’s the first thing that popped in my head. And I do have a habit, unfortunately, of typing or saying the first things that pop into my head. Mmmm…Landgraff.)

The Players

–Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive (tone fairies and sweet paint job included)

–Hermida Mosferatu (at 12 volts)

–Paul Cochrane Tim (at 12 volts)

The Clean Tone

Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups)–>

Matchless Spitfire–>

65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue and Celestion G12H-30)

Possible Tonal Biases

–Not too many. They’re all true bypass, running through short cable lengths into each other, and the pedalboard is not in the signal chain in this video.

–I didn’t call Landgraff to see if the DO can be run higher than 9 volts. I probably should have done that. But it seemed to react very well and have enough headroom at its rated 9 volts.

–I’ve had much more time to set the Tim and Mosferatu to my rig.

Possible Personal Biases

–I got the Landgraff in a trade, and I know I have to sell it. It was supposed to double as cash for me. So…I might not want to like it. Or I might want to like it, so I can post here in my blog about how stupid I am when it comes to pedals, and then people will laugh and I’ll get more blog hits and my self esteem will rise as I check my stats. (Wow, this honesty thing should probably stop if I want to maintain any semblance of coolness.)

–Gotta admit that the Landgraff would look really cool on my board. Everyone will say, ‘What’s that pedal?’ And I’ll say, ‘Landgraff.’ And then they will worship my tone without me even having to turn the amp on.

And the Shootout:

The Results

Well, the Landgraff definitely did not disappoint. It is an amazing-sounding pedal. For what it is, absolutely awesome. Warm, full, glassy…and could do low overdrive Tim sounds as well as high gain Mosferatu sounds. And it has this nice treble shelf that makes it sound very crystalline. Extremely nice. Almost like a fuller and warmer OCD. And the versatility in unmatched. To be able to do low gain, high gain, Marshall, and fuzz? Rad. But it does take over your tone a bit. In a really, really good-sounding way, but I tend to prefer more transparent-sounding pedals…ones that let more of my clean tone through. And it had a mid shift that I couldn’t get to come out of the sound.

So I think I’m sticking with the Tim and Mosferatu. They may not be as cool anymore, but I still haven’t found anything I like better. The Mosferatu is the only drive I’ve found that is able to get high gain without changing your clean tone. And the Tim, well…it just completely cuts through thick, full, and cleanly at any gain setting, with any rig. However, in a different time and different place (meaning, if I had more money), I would absolutely be keeping the Landgraff as my glassy leads pedal. I’ve wanted to do that with an OCD for a long time, but could never get over the thinness in that pedal. But the Landgraff DO takes that glassiness and keeps its fullness. However, I can’t get over my lack of funding for it right now. Maybe someday. Which probably means sometime next week.

Splendid.
Karl.

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The hallowed Tim pedal. Used to be the shangri-la of unobtainable tone, and is now bordering dangerously on the precipice of too many people having it on their boards. And of course, if too many people have it on their boards, the tone automatically dies. It’s a weird phenomenon…probably something to do with having too many of the same circuit in too close proximity to each other…and the tone of the pedal in question literally gets worse. I call it the ‘Fulltone Fulldrive 2 syndrome’, which the Paul Cochrane Tim pedal is like, two pedalboards away from contracting. However, the Tim pedal is one of the few pedals that I believe can actually back up its hype with tone and originality. And in this way, I hope that people will still dig this pedal, even if it starts to show up on every board of every indie band in existence. (I guess it doesn’t have to be just ‘indie’ bands…but it sounds cooler…at least for another two weeks. ‘Indie’ is also on a dangerous precipice. If three more bands call themselves ‘indie’, the term will officially have absolutely zero meaning. So I’m using it while I can.)

But the Tim pedal, handbuilt to order by gear genius Paul Cochrane, is what I think to be a very original idea. Or at least the first pedal to put it into practice this well. It’s a low to mid gain overdrive pedal, but it’s unique in that it pushes each amp into its own natural overdrive. It sounds like your amp. It sounds like your guitar. It’s your clean tone, just overdriven. The circuit is such that it integrates with your tone. You turn it on, and it overdrives the clean tone of your guitar and your amp that you’ve worked so hard on. And it pushes your amp into its own gain, almost like you turned up the gain knob. Not quite, and it is still an overdrive pedal which lends its own flavor. There’s no getting away from that. But for the most part, it sounds like your amp’s overdrive, and sounds quite different on each individual amp.

Tim pedal

However, before you buy it, make sure you like your clean tone and your amp’s natural overdrive. The Tim will do its job incredibly of overdriving your clean tone…it still sounds like your tone. So you better like your clean tone. And the Tim will push the amp to its own overdrive. So you better like your amp’s drive. This isn’t really a ‘fix it’ overdrive pedal for tone you don’t like, like say maybe a Matchless Hotbox or even a Zendrive 2 might be, or can be used as. It works with the sound you have. Which is fantastic for those of us guitarists who have spent countles hours trying to perfect our clean tone, only to never be able to find an overdrive that integrates with that clean tone rather than destroying it.

Now, this is the like, fifth, Tim demo. The first one suffered from suckiness. The second one rumbled the camera off the piano bench I had it sitting on at about 2 minutes through. The third one was 1 minute long, because the camera shut itself off…which would have been nice to know about earlier than when I actually finished playing. And the fourth…something else happened…oh ya…I hit like, the worst note in the history of man playing music, and decided that I wasn’t ready to be that humble yet.

So I give you this one. In which the lighting looks like a ’70’s B-movie horror flick (Piranha, anyone?), and for some reason, I decided to not actually focus on the Tim pedal itself. But by the time I finished this one, I was done. I simply could not say ‘transparent overdrive’ and ‘pushes your amps’ one more time. Apologies. But the fifth take saying the exact same things gets boring quick…even if you’re talking about tone. Now, if it was a delay pedal……

Piranha 1
(This is Piranha. It’s basically Ron Burgundy running through the ’70’s from paper mache fish. Oh, and a girl is helping him, of course.)

Piranha 2
(Yep. Those are the piranhas. And the lighting and picture quality does look eerily like my Tim demo video.)

Piranha 3
(Guess what’s gonna happen to this guy.)

Clean Tone

Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. V pickups)–>

Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive–>

Divided by 13 RSA23–>65 Amps cab (Blue and G12H30)

–or–

Holland AC30–>Heritage cab (Jensen P12N)

I specifically used two different amps in this demo to show how the Tim pushes each one into their own unique overdriven tones. Neither are ever played at the same time, and no a/b box is used. I simply just grab the chord and switch amps. But you can really hear how the Tim drives each amp differently. Here’s the demo:

My camera skills rock. But you can hear how the Holland sounds like its natural EL84 drive. And the RSA23 sounds like its natural KT88, Hiwatt-type drive. With the same settings on the Tim. I do think this is one of the best overdrive pedals out there right now. I’ve yet to hear another do what this one does so well. I’ve heard some great overdrives excel in other places, but as far as pushing your amp and maintaining your clean tone, Tim. It can do the low gain sounds beautifully, and then kick on the boost switch for mid gain sounds. Or, it can even do the mid gain sounds quite well on the first channel if you wish.

Now, I run the Tim at 12 volts, which I do with every overdrive and boost I have that can handle it. Increases the headroom quite noticeably, and I like that sound. The Tim can be run safely up to 18 volts, so if you have the means to try that, might be really cool. Also, I have to mention this again, even though I did in the video, too: the bass and treble knobs are cut knobs. They work opposite of normal eq conrols. So all the way counter-clockwise is all the way open or ‘on’ and all the way clockwise is completely cut or ‘off’. Sorry if that’s old news to everybody, but it has to be said, as it has caused a lot of confusion over the years and people have actually sold their ‘broken’ Tim pedals because of this. In reality, it’s pretty cool because it’s more like you’re cutting out the frequencies you don’t want, rather than adding in. For whatever reason, that starting point seems cleaner to me.

And I have to mention this, too. The Tim also has an effects loop, which allows you to put any pedal or combination of pedals you like, after its preamp stage and before its post-amp stage. I don’t use it because I use the Tim as my main overdrive for my amps. But if you want some crazy sounds, stick a phaser in there, or a fuzz or a something. Can be really fun.

And lastly, Paul Cochrane also makes the Timmy overdrive pedal. Now, this is the source of much debate, but the Timmy ‘should’ be just the Tim pedal without the footswitchable boost section. Technically. And that’s exactly what it sounds like to me. But there has been many a heated debate that the circuits are actually different. So have fun. But to me, it sounds like the Tim just has a boost switch.

So go buy one. It’s myspace.com/paulcaudio to order. Put it on your board, and then give terrible reviews of it so that nobody else goes and buys one, and the tone starts to die. ‘Unobtainable’ equals ‘tone’…this is one of the few universal truths of gear. But I must warn you…it will be very, very, very difficult to give this pedal a bad review. It sounds amazing…or, at least, I personally love the tone of it. But that is the sacrifice we have been called upon to make. We have to keep tone out of the hands of the masses. Otherwise, we will no longer be the cool, boutique, indie, bourgeois, tone-by-association-with-pedals-nobody-else-can-have-no-matter-how-we-actually-sound guitarists. And that is unacceptable.

Splendid.
Karl.

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In keeping with the theme of changing mindsets from ‘look how cool my rig is’ to ‘how best can my rig help the music (and in turn, glorify God) in tone, versatility, reliability, and playability’, it’s rig posting time. It’s been about a two year process for me, but I am finally close to finishing…….. well, I’ve been around long enough now to know that a guitarists’ rig is never finished. Nope, never. I’ve thought I was finished about 37 times in the last 5 years of tone journey (more if you include the first 5 years of playing where I would inform everyone that pedals were cheating, and good guitarists’ didn’t need them, and then proceed to try to emulate phase and rhythmic delay sounds without pedals while botching immensely some Eddie Van Halen solo….. oh ya….. those were the days.) So, probably not finished, but the closest I’ve been in a long while.

So, first off in the Rig Update Series is the pedalboard. If tone is made up of Mind–>Hands–>Guitar–>Pedalboard–>Amp–>Cab, the board is probably the least important of all of these. It’s important, but not as important as the other factors. But I’m starting with it, because, you gotta admit, the boards are the coolest. That’s what people ask you about after the show. They’ll say, ‘Hey, which pedal gives you that great clean sound?’ And you’ll say, ‘Actually, this bypass box takes all my pedals out of my signal for my clean tone, so that’s just the sound of the guitar and amp.’ And they’ll say, ‘Ya, but which one of these pedals is your clean tone?’ So…….it’s the coolest part.

Here’s my current board, as of today:

Pedalboard108-08small.jpg picture by rypdal95

(Big, unfortunately, but relatively simple)

 

Pedalboard208-08small.jpg picture by rypdal95

(I meant this to be a cool angle shot, and failed.)

 

Pedalboard308-08small.jpg picture by rypdal95

(And of course, the obligatory space ship shot. The lights on the two Timelines flash, and I missed most of their lights when I snapped the picture. Blast.)

So, yes, it’s still big, but only because I have the unfortunate fate of liking big pedals. Every time I try out pedals, it’s like……you gotta be kidding me. My favorite sound came out of the blasted biggest one again. Oh, well. But if you count ‘em up, there’s only 11 effects including the volume pedal, 2 bypass loops, 2 midi switchers, a tuner, and the pedal power-er underneath the tier.

It’s simple, quiet, versatile, playable, and lets my guitars and amp do the tone work. See, my mindset has come to be (for now) that the best tone you can have will come from the guitar straight into the amp. However, in a lot of modern music, you need some effects. So, you try and place them into your chain as inobtrusively as possible. So, the bypass loopers (grey ones in bottom left) allow me to take all my pedals out of the signal chain, so there is no excess cable length and circuitry to bog down my guitar signal. Currently, I’m not using any buffers or clean boosts either.

Compare that with my board two years ago:

Pedalboard110-06.jpg picture by rypdal95

(Scary……fun, but holy tone suck, Batman!)

There’s a Memory Man delay/chorus under the orange and black boxes at the top left of the board that split my signal to go into two amps. So, in this one, signal went into the fuzz (little electrical box), into the blue looper, down into the grey looper on the lower tier, into the Fatdrive clean boost, into the grey looper on the upper tier, and then into the Memory Man. Not so simple, and some definite tone suck.

So, here’s how my current board lays out.

Signal goes into:

Loop-Master 4 bypass loop box with tuner mute and master bypass–>

Loop-Master 6 bypass loop box with master bypass

And all (except like, two, that I still need to change out) Lava ELC cables. Very nice cable with no tone suck, but not adding their own highs to make up for tone suck. Transparent…..yikes, I use that word way too much.

And that’s it. Much simpler, cleaner, and more toneful. The first Loop-Master box is the grey one at the bottom middle. It’s my overdrive loop box. I have fuzz, overdrive w/ switchable boost, heavier overdrive/distortion, and a solo boost. The master bypass is quite useful if I’m stacking overdrives….means I can switch them all off in one click. And the tuner mute keeps the tuner out of my signal chain, and also allows me to mute my guitar, as I don’t keep the volume pedal in my chain anymore.

The second Loop-Master box takes care of my effects (as opposed to drive pedals). I have phase, tremolo, volume pedal, rhythmic delay & ambient delay (in one loop), modulation & recording loops (one pedal does both), and chorusy delay. And loops four and five have very little to no tone suck, so I leave them on most of the time, and use one of the delays as an always on, low in the mix, sound. Really adds some warmth and depth. 

And I power everything with a Furman Power Conditioner Pro in a rack. Really important for some of the high powered delays. The Diamond Memory Lane and both Damage Control Timeline’s liek their own power. And the rest of the pedals are powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+ underneath the rig. I had to sell some pedals to to get the power taken care of, but it quiets your rig so much. It’s definitely been worth it.

So, this is the part where, if you don’t want gross tech specs, you can just jump to the ‘splendid’ part below. ‘Cause I’m gonna list my whole chain and their purposes. Yikes.

Signal from guitar–>

Loop-Master 4 loop bypass box–>

–>Tuner out/mute–>Peterson Strobostomp 2 (this my mute switch, and I tune on it, too. I have learned to never, ever underestimate the beauty of being in perfect tune at all times. Just my opinion, but you should always have a tuner easy to tune with silently and at a moment’s notice. And the Peterson, though expensive for a tuner, is extremly accurate. I’d sell a delay if I had to to buy this and stay in tune)

–>Loop 1–>homemade (but not by me) Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face clone (germanium fuzz for nice, sweet, modulated and harmonic, saturated dirt sounds…… I use this for a lot of swells and such, as well as some just classic dirt and some weird stuff. It really takes on a life of its own, especially in providing feedback. I don’t completely ‘get’ this pedal yet. Fun to experiment with.

–>Loop 2–>Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive (light, indie overdrive with solo/distortion boost switch….. my main overdrive…..really transparent…… sounds like your guitar’s and amp’s tone, just overdriven)

–>Loop 3–>Hermida Mosferatu (beautiful, harmonic heavier overdrive/distortion….. clean, glassy, and full….. I use this for really driven sounds, as well as leads)

–>Loop 4–>SIB Varidrive with ECC81 tube (my solo boost…….. I leave it on the high gain setting and it just sings for solos…… cuts through the mix beautifully, and sounds really clean but still saturated…… has some compression to it which makes it not as desireable for me as an overdrive, but very desireable as a solo boost high on the neck….. the ECC81 tube is important, because the stock ECC83 has too much grain and grit in my humble opinion……. doesn’t really matter what pedal is on when you stack this, it just kinda takes over)

–>Loop-Master 6 loop bypass box–>

–>Loop 1–>Subdecay Quasar phaser (warmest and most useable phase sounds I’ve found in this small of a box….. sounds good fast and slow, and will go really slow, too…… also hasa mix knob which is very useful to hide it in the background of layers……I use it mostly for ambient stuff, though….. sometimes for vibe-ish chords)

–>Loop 2–>Guyatone Vintage Tremolo (probably the cheesiest pedal I own as far as name and color goes, but best sounding trem ever. I’ll use it for slicing sounds, rhythmic tremolo at moderate speeds to sit in the background, and for nice, slow throb)

–>Loop 3–>Ernie Ball volume pedal junior (best volume I’ve found, but it does suck some tone, so I stick it in a loop…..I only use it for swells and builds…..some sets it will never get turned on, but some sets I need it constantly…..good throw to it)

–>Loop 4–>Damage Control Timeline (my main delay…… I have to do a separate post on all the stuff this thing can do, but it’s got everything you could want…… and 128 presets that I control with the Rocktron Midi Mate at the bottom right…… I program my whole worship setlist into this thing…… dotted eighths, reverse, swells, multi-tap, modulation, whatever you want….. love this delay)

                –>Diamond Pedals Memory Lane 1 (same loop as the Timeline) (I use this for ambient delays that need huge, deep modulation sounds and also for rhythmic playing or solos that just need something more….. the tap tempo is invaluable…….works great for single strummed chords, too……. amazing analog delay)

–>Loop 5–>Damage Control Timeline (I use this Timeline for recorded loops as it has a really, really good and touch sensitive phrase sampler in it…… I also use it for modulation effects….. reverb, chorus, ambient delays…….seriously, an amazing delay…..and again, 128 presets that I control with the Tech 21 Midi Mouse)

–>Loop 6–>1985 Arion SAD-1 analog delay (I use it sparingly for washy, chorusy sounds on swells, and also to be able to switch the Timeline’s loop recorder off a little less abruptly)

–>Amp.

So that’s the long of it. There’s a ton of information here, and I only delved slightly into the mindset stuff, so hopefully you can skim through it and glean whatever you want. If you read the whole thing, you’re probably a guitarist as crazy into gear as I am.

More worship music mindset stuff to come, as well as a post on Guitars, and Amps in this series.

Splendid.

Karl.

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