22 October 2012

Pedals: Checking different sound of the pedal board


After a while adapting myself to my wamplerized pedalboard, I think I've reached some point where I think I have every pedal set up to work alone but also stacked with the rest. So, I wanted to check different combinations for my own memory but, maybe they can be useful also for your needs.

I would like to share my impressions about how each pedal is contributing to my tone.

Tricky Clean Foundational Sound

I couldn't lie anyone, the best tones are always those coming directly from a tube amp with its tubes boiling but, unfortunatelly, is not always possible to put the amp in the desirable loudness level to make it sing and, that's the situation where some pedals can help to have a good tone even at lower levels.

To restore some high end, lost because of the capacitance of the cable (even using a high quality cable as Evidence Audio The Forte) and, some signal stregth, I have the Wampler Clean Buffer always on. For sure, any other quality buffer will do the trick. Since the amp was previously set up for a darker sound, the tone stack should be revisited again to compensate highs. Any buffer that I've used makes the sound apparently thinner and harsh but, this sensation quickly disapears when heard in the mix.

To give some ambience, I am using the Wampler Faux Tape Echo, with some kind of Slap delay. It's not really an slap delay but just the first echoisclearly heard, while the rest fade out quickly. This unit has some kind of emulation of a typical tape echo unit (as the Echoplex), saving the differences.

To give the final touch, I am using the Xotic EP Booster, with just the right amount of gain to put the sound on the border of break up. In that way, picking hard the tube breaks up and, picking soft the sound remains clean.The EP Booster was modeled from an EchoPlex unit so, I found natural to always place it before the Tape Echo simulation to make it more convincent.

This three pedals are just enhancing the signal, preserving the natural tone of guitar and amp but, adding some attractive nuances.

I build rest of sounds over this tricky clean foundational tone.

Compressor at work

A compressor pedal can have as many creative uses as you wanted but, in my case, I am using the compressor more like a sustainer than a compressor. I usually don't like to kill my attach but, a single-coil loaded guitar, as the Stratocaster, can benefit sometimes of an added sustain.
For sure, I am maintaining some compression level that helps to level the average level of every note during arpeggio parts.

In general, the compressor is adding sustain to the tails of the sound, while preserving most of the attack. In front of other gain pedals (overdrives and distortions), I find it as clarifying the signal. I think the reason is that because the peaks in both directions (high and low peaks) of the signal are being smoothened, the gain stages tend to clip less. Another clear effect is a very sustained sound, that can last long and provide some feedback at the end.

Also, when the Chorus is being combined with gain pedals, the compressor helps to clarify a bit the signal, making more present the chorus effect that, can be masked with the distortion.


Thre are the overdrives I am loading in my pedal board and, one more will come soon (tweed '57).


It's some kind similar to a Tube Screamer, but very different and way more versatile. It has a clear bump in Mids, a bit in the darker mids and, remembers me the overdrive sound of a combo (somewhat boxy). The distortion grain is smooth and creamy and, has an overall warmness.

It seems to like to push any other pedal and, its bump in mids helps to move the EQ of the guitar to its natural space in the mix.Very interesting used in combination with the Sovereign and the Plexi Drive to get some kind of Tube Scream in front of an old school cranked Marshall stack.


From the three modes, my election was the Smooth one, that is Wampler's take of the Dumbleish sound. Distortion grain is thick, more crunchy than creamy, in oposition to the grain of the Paisley. The EQ is somewhat even or, hollowed in the mids and basses are grainy and fat.
Used with other gain pedals, seems to clarify the signal, making notes more clear. Maybe, as in the case of the Compressor, has some compression level that it's not clearly noticiable but that can explain that behavior.

Likes to be pushed by the Paisley. With the Compressor in front, the overdrive quite well disapears. Stacked into the Sovereign gives a lot of clearity and adds some sustain. Stacked into the Plexi Drive, enhances the crunch and the mid highs.

Plexi Drive

More than an overdrive is some kind of Amp-in-a-box. Its sound was modeled to cover the earlier Marshalls, something between the JTM45 and the 1959. Intantanely, mid highs are present and, some crunchy overtones are randonmly appearing. It adds complex harmonics but, overdone, can sound honky and harsh.

With the Sovereign in front, you get that crunchy distortion a la Purple. With the Euphoria in front, you get a more british rock overdrived sound, with lots of crunch.
With the Compressor stacked into the Sovereign into the Plexi Drive, you get some Marshall stack alike tone.

It's a good pedal to make your open chords to sound huge and full of harmonical content, as well as for crunchy distortions.
Together with the Chorus, sounds very acoustic like,a bit on the brittle side but with lots of spark and chime.


Even that I've got the Wampler Pinnacle and the Wampler SLOstortion, those are one trip ponies that perfectly mime the driven sound of the amps  that they are modeling.
So, my workhorse is the Sovereign. This unit is highly versatile and can cover a wide ground of distortion sounds (even the Pinnacle and SLOstortion territory) but, I've set up it to a medium distortion or hard overdrive to be able to mix it with the rest of gain pedals without saturating or excesivelly clipping the signal.

I can even run Compressor into Paisley into Euphoria into Sovereign and into Plexi Drive and the sound is defined, thick and sustained but, feedback can be high.

The generic character off the Sovereign allows it to be reshaped with the sound of any other gain pedal stacked before or after. The different grains, clipping modes and EQs of the three overdrives give different nuances to the Sovereign so, we can achieve crunchy distortions as well as creamy and flutty distortions.


The Nirvana Chorus has two modes: chorus and vibrato. I've set up the pedal as I liked more and, to be honest, I am not sure if it is in Chorus or Vibrato mode but, I think is in vibrato mode.
The set up is very generic and, made to work in the most of cases and with cleans as well as with gain.

Over the "clean" foundational tone or with the compressor in front, it delivers very interesting tones that make arppegied work very interesting. Also for open chords and, overall for sustained notes.

Under gain, can be maked by an excesive distortion level but, the compressor at the beginning of the chain refocusses the sound and makes the chorus more apparent and defined.

The Video

I tried to compress a large testing session with the fundamentals but, you know, even like this, is about 30 minutes long. I wanted to "save" in the video the settings of the amp, as well as of every pedal, basically, for me, to recall them if I lost some. Maybe you want to check those, also.
I am sorry if some licks are quite well the same between some combinations but, sometimes is the best way to compare different versions of the same effect type.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, feel free to add your comments.