Rig Explanation… and a better vid… I think I’m getting the hang of it!

Here is my  current rig:

Cuz we have to turn off the lights and get a shoe as cool as a Converse in the pic...

Cuz we have to turn off the lights and get a shoe as cool as a Converse in the pic...

Jump for explanation:

First I set my basic tones– guitar to amp, then guitar and overdrives to amp. I set my guitar’s volume pot to about 5-6 and then my amp for the loudness/breakup I want. Then I set my overdrives just a tad louder than that base amp sound, and turn the gain to where I want it. From there, I can just tweak my volume up to 10 on the guitar for my lead/solo boosts.

So here we have my chain:

1) Crybaby wah (true bypass mod)– first in my chain because it affects ALL the components after it. If I find I am not using wah, I replace this with my compressor (Barber Tone Press).

2) Ernie Ball Volume Pedal with Boss TU2 on tuner out.

3) Zendrive for low gain sounds. Its just a hint of drive to stand out and “sparkle” at normal guitar volume. When I crank the volume, it offers a little crunch for power chord work, or light leads.

4) Fulltone OCD: for more distortion, and gainy, sustainy type leads.

5) Lil’ Big Muff- for volume swells. I’m thinking of replacing it with the Hartman Ge Fuzz, but Fuzz is temperamental and doesn’t like the humidity here. So what works in my room does not work on stage.

6) Boss DD20, my staple delay pedal. Set for 1- delay with modulation, 2- tape echo w/ 2 tape heads (for dual delay type needs), 3- Analog delay dotted 8th, 4- Analog delay quarters, 5- Long delay quarters with modulation for swells.
I have found that the “dual delay” setting in this thing just doesn’t cut it… but for some reason the tape delay 2 heads gives 2 distinct echos at different times that fits perfectly. I cut back on the “tape warble” settings to make it more clean. Works great.

7) Line 6 Verbzilla: puts the finishing touches on the overall sound. I tend to keep it on “hall” which is a longer decaying, thick reverb. Sounds great in leads and also is nice to “finish” swells.

Notice– most are True Bypass, there are no loopers, and I run straight into my volume pedal (which does suck some high end). I’m not too worried about the dreaded “tone suck” as compared to rig-amp vs guitar- amp.
See, I’m from Nashville where our heroes rode in on a horse that had been drinking beer (men get whisky mind you) and latched together rubber bands on brooms and blew in jugs to create music. Some of the best songwriters and players I know do not have loopers and do not care about “tone suck” as much as some of us less than pro players do. (I’m speaking of Willie Nelson and all the other local heroes.)

I took these lessons to heart– if the tone coming out of your amp is what you want, then don’t change. As in, I know I loose some high end on the volume pedal, so I dial more in on the guitar and more in on the amp. Sure, it still sounds different from the rig versus if I went straight to amp from guitar, but the tone out of the amp is still sweet, beautiful clean. That’s all that matters.

Your end product sound is more important that quality/purity of signal, true bypass, or George L cables throughout. If you close your eyes, is the tone you hear clean, pure and natural?

Here is my walk through: (better audio this time, video quality a little off… still trying! I think my third will be best! 🙂 )

And on top of all I discussed in the vid- i love a light tremolo in sine wave form (soft wave). A small soft wave gives a nice shimmer that sounds like chorus. Except I don’t like chorus– but this is nice for slow picking.
Also, slow tremolo into quarter delay is marvelous. Mmmmm

And did I mention my little amp is HOT?!?! It works great.

Question for you guys (lets get a discussion!): what would you change about my rig? (As in: don’t like my TU2? What would you want to exchange?) Not so much what you would use, but what do you think I could get better use out of? Feel free to critique, and yet if needed–>   feel free to say “good job.”


19 Responses

  1. Nice job, man and a well thought-out rig! There’s really nothing I’d change as I run a Verbzilla as well, the DD-20 is the best delay with memory settings out there (that’s not the size of a boat!), the Zen Drive and OCD are freakin’ legends!

    I run a TU-2 as well but I’m eying a Strobo Stomp 2…

    I really would check out Visual Sound’s fuzz pedal. Don’t get caught up in the name brand boutique snobbery! The Visual Sound Route 66 just knocked my Keely Compressor and Blackstone MOSFET off my board (for real)…

  2. what happened to your compressor & booster pedals?

    btw, is that EB VPJr? 25k or 250k? i just removed my 25k VPJr recently, takes a lot of highs out … i kept my TU2 first in the chain for buffering.

  3. @blogs- Route 66 is a classic in its own right. Bravo there!
    And I’m selling the Blackstone, just not doing it for me right now– I’ll try it again when I get a Strat to see the difference.
    – I am eyeing another tuner, but I have had the TU2 for 15 years. People say its not “accurate” but so far its good to my ear.
    -The Keeley is great, but is just… overrated? A lot of hype with that pedal. I LOVE my Barber which is as transparent/squishy as you want it.
    You are right about the boutique pedals… I’m still very impressed for $50 that the Electro Harmonix Lil’ Big Muff sounds so great. Not true fuzz, but sweet sweet nonetheless.

    Blogs— where is your blog????

    Rhoy– comp is back and forth with the wah. If I’m playing more rhythm, I use the compressor. It and the wah get equal play time.
    Booster— since I started setting up my rig for my guitar’s volume knob I haven’t really needed the boost. My amp breaks up enough on my settings…
    I might use it again with a different amp or single coil. For now, Its not needed 🙂
    The VP pedal is 250, and its pretty smooth sounding. Just a slight loss of highs, but if you have a pedal “on” in front, it pushes it through very well.

  4. TU-2 is great. I tried a few tuners and it’s the most accurate, responsive one I’ve used. Had two of them at one stage but sold one to buy something.

    I’ve been looking for a new delay and was tempted by the DD20 but ultimately decided to get the TC Nova… just waiting to for it to be shipped here to Oz from the USA…

  5. Bags– TC Nova was one of my top choices before I got into the DD20. Looks great. You’ll have to let us know what you think of it!
    G’day brother!

  6. I cannot live without my strobo stomp: true bypass, DI out, easy to read in daylight or under stage light and is super accurate. …Worth every dime.

    Gents – not following you on the loss of slight highs with the VP Jr. I also have one…cannot perceive any high end loss (seriously – we are talking about such minute gaps in overall frequencies that even an engineer would yell “stop it!”).

    That said – I have my Volume set up after my gains so I can get cool swells with the delay. I’ll go not too far out on a limb here and tell you that you are messing with tonality far more with the gains that you are with the Ernie Ball. Moreover, if the pedal is a permanent fixture in your chain, you can compensate with the amp’s EQ.

    I promise you, no one listening is going to come up to you after a show and say “Hey man, I dig your playing a lot, but I think your volume pedal is cutting high end from your tone.” Therefore it’s more about the utility of the pedal than it is about 1/1000 of a cycle on some engineer’s oscilloscope.


  7. @Jeff– looks like you’ve nailed what I hope my blog is about: END PRODUCT TONE. If it sounds good out the amp, then no worries. I try not to get too wrapped up in boutique gear, true bypass and all that, as long as my playing and concert volume do not stink. I do not care that my guitar-amp sound is different from my guitar-rig-amp sound. As long as the latter sounds good and natural.

    I agree that no one notices the volume pedal but … me? Most of my congregation can’t distinguish between a tube amp and solid state amp, and the first service doesn’t know the difference between an acoustic or electric guitar (not making this up).
    I do notice some high in loss, but I tweak my treble up some on the guitar tone knob and add some in the amp. Boom, fixed!

    I’m not crazy about all this stuff as some are (they know who they are)…… and your perfect quote: “it’s more about the utility of the pedal…”
    EXACTLY!!! 🙂

    —- now, you run your volume pedal AFTER the gains/drives? Interesting…. I run mine before, because in swells I can vary the depth/harshness of the gain. So about half-cocked its a sweet smooth-violin, but all the way out it becomes this violin into a cranked Marshall.

    Thanks for the dose of reality bro!

  8. The swells sounded nice and I really liked the shape shifter. Do you ever use the Octo in church? In addition to regular shimmer, I have used it after a tape delay sound to get more sustain without compression.

    It seems like you’re happy with your tone – which is the most important thing for playing your best!

  9. Larry, I use the volume after my overdrives to retain the strength of the gain during the swell. Otherwise, when the volume drops, the gain level falls off as well. For those times when I need to roll off volume to manage gain (my Keeley BD-2 cleans up exceptionally well like this) I use the guitar’s volume pot. My personal playing style (plus the fact that I, like you, stack gains, allows that I can select the appropriate overdrive and keep the gain consistent into the delay pedal throught the volume pedal’s throw. Thinking about your setup (maximum flexibility) you may want to give this a try – added possibilites from your rig.

  10. I’ve got a pair of those shoes too!
    I don’t know, I probably wouldn’t change anything. If anything, I’m jealous of your board.
    I’d second the dd20, I traded in my H2O for one, for the presets and flexibility.
    you’ve got nice stuff.

  11. @Dan– I have used octo for more modulation “sweet” sounds off delay, swells etc….. I am tempted to use it cranked up (full Mix) to play chords in really light airy pad. I really haven’t used it to its full advantage yet! 🙂

    @ Jeff– great setup there. Yeah, if you have a pedal that cleans up well, then you are set for swells the way you have it. Bravo!

    @Don— Seriously, you have to wear Converse to be a “modern” guitarist. Really.
    Thanks for being jealous of my board 🙂 That represents 3 years of obtaining/trading gear and many disappointments. hehe….

    @ all the guys: I really want to try one of these Timelines everyone has, but I don’t want the midi and all that space, and the sounds I need and like are in the DD20. So… I guess I’m sold!
    However this Line 6 M13 has had many fun delays/modulations that alot of guys are using now. So I need to check that out too perhaps?

    I have about 3 other pedals that have had waiting lists (like the King of Tone) that are due this year. I plan on only buying those as I want another guitar and eventually a Vox or similar type amp. We’ll see how that goes!

  12. That stuff you did on the wah kinda makes me wanna put mine on my board… But i have no room!

  13. Hey man!
    I’m from Germany and read some stuff from your blog. I especially like the way you set up that pedalboard. It’s small, not too much stuff on it (although still to much for my wallet) and it’s versatile what else does a worship guitarist need?

    Cheers brother
    Jesus loves you

  14. Thomas– Beinvendidos from Puerto Rico.
    Thanks for dropping by-

    Don’t get discouraged at not having a board, you only need a few effects to get the best sound. If I had to start from scratch again I would have a 1: low gain pedal, 2: high gain pedal, 3: a good delay (echo park/DD20).
    Thats it. I could do many things with that. I would slowly add a Wah Wah and tremolo.
    Good luck brother- thanks!

  15. Hey man, awesome stuff!! I really love your rig. I would consider: replacing one of the overdrives for a more versatile OD like maybe a fulltone fd2 or something, using a compressor to sustain even more for volume swells, and checking out the TC electronic nova delay.

    These are purely personal opinions and not super strong ones at that–just suggestions. i’d love to see more, man! keep it up!

  16. Matt:
    Thanks for the input! As it is, I already posted once more on my board, you can find it here: https://lespaulplayerdoctor.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/pedalboard-update/

    At the time of this post, I did rotate a compressor with the wah depending on what I needed. As of the update, the compressor IS on the board! I also added another overdrive or two and explained which I rotate out.

    Check it out! 🙂

  17. Hi Man, I am a worship guitar player too,I am tryin to buy a Zendrive 2 but don´t know where I can find it, I live in Brazil, you know,I been thinking in a rig like yours,Tone Press,OCD or Fulldrive 2 and Zendrive 2,I got a Gt -2 Samsamp and a DG-stomp Yamaha among another pedals, but I want some more natural, What you think about the Fulldrive 2?God bless you, Jony

  18. What do you think about Fulldrive 2 ? And where can I get a Zendrive 2 ? God bless you, Jony

  19. Jony–
    Bienvenidos de Puerto Rico. Gracias para tu visita! Yo espero que yo tengo repuestas para tus preguntas.
    But I’ll go in English for everyone else… and I don’t do Portuguese well!

    If you want a natural sound, I think I would basically go with the OCD. I really like it. The Fulldrive 2 is a good pedal, but I personally preferred the OCD and Zendrive over it.
    What style of music do you do the most? I am going to guess… latin stuff? Santana type leads, Mana’, or Blest, Rojo…. you tell me! I may have other ideas for you.

    As for where to get the pedals: I would check “thegearpage.net” forums for buy, sell, trade.
    I would check Hermidaaudio.com for direct purchase of the Zendrive or Zendrive 2. He has instructions and will mail directly to you. He is also originally from Puerto Rico.
    Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

    Dios te bendiga!

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