Gear Update: Pedalboard, Guitar

It seems I get into the habit of making posts… then life happens and I either 1) Get busy or 2) forget I have this blog!

The good news Is I have been practicing about an hour, 3-4 days a week, and can really tell the difference it is making. I’m not doing anything hardcore or anything, just reviewing scales, the shapes, up and down the neck and scales on individual strings (up and down the neck on one string). Basically stuff to break my monotony. I have 2 scale shapes I wear out, and I really would like to use more of the guitar’s neck!

So here is my current board setup. I’ve been playing this since September, approximately 5 weeks now:

"Boutique" Board 2011

  • Effects chain: Guitar ->T1m MSB (unity, as a buffer) ->Ernie Ball VPjr (Boss TU2 on tuner out) ->Analogman King of Tone ->Hermida Zendrive ->Fulltone OCD (12v) ->Toneczar Dove (18v) ->Cusack Tap-a-whirl (tremolo) ->Strymon Timeline ->Strymon Brigadier (with Railhead Effects Favorite switch)-> AMP

This board is a work of art!! And was WORK to put it together. My Lytboard has been incredible! We’re working on our 5th year over here. However, these original models took some work routing power through out them. With this new setup, I had to get my electric drill out and drill through several of the braces enough to allow cords to reach everything, sand, polish and re-velcro. I finally adapted to a Pedal Power 2 to power the board. I will say this- for the money, the 1-Spot is amazing! But there is a huge difference with the PP2. Over $100 difference? I’m not sure, but now that I have several “Power hungry” pedals that need their own juice, the PP2 is the clear winner. Just for clarification– I’m keeping all the 1-Spots I have.

These effects have worked well for me and I enjoy the range of gain from my “top shelf” pedals:

  • I like the addition of the KOT which makes a great “cleanish” sound and nice “grind” overdrive without sticking out. The Zen is noticeably more “rounder” in sound, and cuts through the mix much better- for when I want to stand out more. The differences between these 2 allow a great range of tones- and I always have a solo-boost through ANY of the pedals thanks to the KOT 2nd side.
  • The OCD is my main “distortion” pedal. When heavy distortion is needed, this slightly scooped pedal really delivers. There is a touch more headroom and sparkle at 12v, which really makes this pedal something special. I’m sorry I ever sold it!
  • The Toneczar has finally made it on my board. I don’t know if because I was scared to play it out (loads of gain) or afraid It would stink (it was a long wait and a bit of $$$). Overall, I’m very pleased. I don’t think I’m using it as it was intended, but Its became my ‘base’ tone 1/2 of the time. I dial in the slightest bit of crunch and use dynamics for clean/dirty. I boost through it with the KOT or Zen for solos. Just in dynamics alone you can have a nice clean sound to incredibly dirty. It really is something special. However, what has impressed me the most is the working Eq of the pedal. You can dial in such a range of tones!! I’m only using 1/10th of the potential of this thing, yet am completely happy with it!
  • Timeline: yup, like it. I’m only using 6 pre-sets, and nothing weird, but I like it. Its easier to use “on-the-fly” than my DD20, sounds better, and takes up less space. Good enough for me!
  • As for the Brigadier- i really like this delay, except for the tap-tempo is a 3pdt tru-bypass type switch. This makes tapping in your tempo INCREDIBLY loud! Thus, I typically run it as an always-on delay that adds an ambient rumble in the background. I really enjoy this application.

Changes to this chain:
I’m still playing with using the weird effects of the Boss RV3 at the end of the chain vs the Brigadier. Both are awesome.

The T1M MSB is typically used for my single-coil guitars to help push the signal. For humbuckers, I replace it with the Plutonium Chi-wah-wah. This wah is small as a Boss pedal, and …. well, just watch this:

This way I get some great ambient sound with the Wah, and the buffer in the way pushes the signal through. I realllllly have been enjoying this wah!

Lastly, I picked up this guitar a few months ago at a steal! I always thought this guitar was neat and wanted to have it, but couldn’t afford the new price. Then, once I finished school and could afford it- this model was discontinued! So one day I’m chilling at my buddy’s music store and he says, “This collector just unloaded this guitar, I don’t think he has ever played it.” Next thing you know, I’m paying 1/2 of retail for a guitar that still had the little cling-plastic on the pickup covers and the tags on the tuners.
I give you, the Epiphone Alleykat:

A gentle rocker

This guitar has a beautiful acoustic-y clean tone and between the mini-hum in the neck and the vintage 57′ style bridge pup it can really hold its own. I’ve been impressed by how smooth it wants to play. The neck is fatter than I typically play and that felt awkward the first few times I played it out. But now, I almost prefer that style of neck. The strings are slightly further apart  and I feel I’m more accurate with my picking this way.

There ya go, an update! Hoping to post more soon!

5 Responses

  1. Hi Larry! Nice board again! I like Zen, OCD and the Timeline… Its realy nice setup… The wah is incredible I need this!😀 But I think the shipping to Czech republic will be problem😦

  2. cool rundown! and a chiwah-wah?! that’s cool, i’ve been wanting to check it out as I’ve not used a wah for years and i kinda missed it.

    and what is happening with all this semi-hollow guitars lately. karl (guitarforworship) just got a semi-hollow as well. you guys are making me gas for one! LOL

  3. Great set-up! Here’s mine for the fall: http://bigb94.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/update/

  4. Thanks guys! I’ve been really happy with my gear and haven’t really wanted/needed to switch things around. I only switch depending on set-list and guitars (Zendrive doesn’t like my Tele as much as the Nuvalve does!).

    @Rhoy, I have had the Alleykat since March…. a tax-refund present to myself🙂 I just haven’t played it out much. Once I started, it is awesome at low gain! I like to have it in my arsenal because I like to have a different sound than my bandmates. If they have a LesPaul type setup, I’ll bring the Tele. If they have a strat, I’ll bring the hollowbody. Just builds on the tones and fills the sounds out better as we each sit in the mix differently🙂

  5. Hi Larry,

    I use an i-spot and it powers about 9 pedals (none are particularly power hungry). I get quite a bit of hum while using the distortion pedals or compressor but I always assumed this was because of the pedals themselves but your comment on the i-spot makes me wonder. Would buying a pedalpower or equivalent pedal help with this noise? Or how do you feel it helped your sound?

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