Gear Ov Hell: Pedals for the Pedal God
Welcome to a new feature where we discuss what music gear you’re using and/or abusing. Up first: things you put on the floor and hit with your foot.
When I first started playing guitar and bass, I was of the opinion that effects and pedals and whatnot only impeded an instrument’s true, intended tone. I felt that musicians should, wherever possible, strive to make do with only the absolute minimum of unnecessary extras. You should be able to achieve everything you need with your guitar, your amp and little to nothing else. I reached this conclusion because A) I didn’t have any money to buy that cool extra stuff anyway, and B) I had been playing for like 2 weeks and I was a fucking idiot.
Fast forward a number of years and I’ve found myself unable to escape the maelstrom of researching and trying new effect pedals. Anyone who’s been down or is currently going down this path probably reached it in a similar way. “$50 for a tuner pedal? Sure why not, that’s all I really need though.” “You know a little overdrive pedal might not hurt either.” “Actually a tremolo effect might also be useful, let’s get that.” “Oh man I need that fuzz box, I need it bad.” “Holy shit someone made this?! Fuck it it’s mine, too.” You get one, you want another. You get three, you want three more.
And once you’ve built up a collection of a few pedals, you can’t just be hauling them around and plugging them in one-by-one each time like a hobo; you need yourself a pedalboard. You can either take the lolbuttz approach or get a little more hands on and make your own. A toileteer recently told me he once witnessed a guitarist using a wooden pallet plank with his pedals duct-taped onto it like a goddamned majestic DIY king. We should all strive to be so kvlt.
All this is an especially easy thing to become addicted to. Not only does hearing new music make you want to emulate certain tones, but in acquiring new gear to get those tones you become more inspired to play, and you get that much better at tuning your sound to match your song, artist or genre of choice. Plus, it’s fun as hell having an array of sonic possibilities at your feet with which to melt faces and/or slay posers. Or fuck dragons if that’s your thing, but I don’t think that has a specific sound yet. Maybe this, but correct me if I’m wrong.
So if you’re in a similar position of tracking down tiny little metal devices you lay out on the filthy floor and smash with your feet, jump down to the comments and tell us what you’re using. Share what the ever-reliable mailman bro has recently brought you gear-wise and whether or not it lives up to its usefulness – or, if you’re in need of a recommendation, list your requirements. This obviously goes for drummers too, whose pedals have fewer blinky lights but receive infinitely more foot-smashing (and occasionally kick flips).