Footpedal Suggestions

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Footpedal Suggestions

Postby Icepick » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:57 am

Hello!
I am a relatively new blues guitar player. I am currently playing with a Fender Strat and Amp and also a Seagull Acustic. I am looking for some suggestions for a footpedal setup that won't break the bank, but help give that blues 'feel' to the sound. Any help is appreciated! Thank you in advance!
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby rustyslide » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:15 am

Aside from a big box you stomp with your foot, I can't give any other suggestions.

The notes you play and how you play them matter more than the guitar or amp. If you want to sound like a particular player or players, start naming names.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby Jakeblues » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:06 pm

Maybe some more specifics? Most blues sounds are fairly straight forward. Good technique and a tube amp (or modeling of one), some reverb, possibly some slapback delay.

"Back in the day", most of my sound came from the amp, some tube overdrive and a little reverb. Sometimes I used a compressor for certain slide sounds, maybe a volume pedal.

These days, I rarely plug into an amp. I do mostly home recording, which is direct. I never thought I'd say this, but digital amp modeling works pretty well for me. I bought a used Line 6 POD 2.0 and it's got more sounds and effects than I'll ever use. I can use it for direct recording or for a headphone amp to practice. Used, it was a little over $100. It's compact and doesn't require piles of patch cords or add lots of noise to the signal path.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby guitarslim101 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:36 pm

The blues "feel" can be tricky to get out of pedals. As Rusty said, it has a lot to do with how and what notes you play. However, I am a certified effects geek, have bought, sold, built, and used my fair share of effects pedals, so I'll offer some suggestions.

Depending on just what kind of blues you're after, there are a lot of different options for things you might want to check out. For early electric blues, whether it be Chicago or Mississippi, they usually got by with an amp turned up to the point that it was starting to distort and, like Jake said, a lot of those amps may have had reverb or tremolo/vibrato. A simple overdrive pedal (Blues Driver, Tubescreamer, etc) can give you the sound of an amp getting the tubes cooking a bit, a simple reverb pedal with a spring setting (Boss makes some affordable options, and there are also things like the Malekko Spring and other dedicated spring reverb emulations available now), and a simple sine wave tremolo (Boss makes a nice one, as does Danelectro) can put you in that territory.

If you're wanting to get into some British/late 60s blues sounds like Yardbirds, Cream, Hendrix, etc, you would probably want to add a wah and maybe a Fuzz Face variant, possibly even a simple delay pedal and something in the Univibe family. Then, of course, as you get in to more recent stuff, you can find blues players using all sorts of crazy gear ranging from Leslie simulators and Chorus pedals to pitch shifters and synth modules. It can get a bit crazy.

However, the basic suggestion I'd stick to would be a simple overdrive, and then you could add a reverb or a tremolo if you wanted a few more tonal options.
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multi-effects

Postby michaelm » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:51 pm

I've got a multi-effects pedal which I bought some years ago to let me try out all sorts of pedal sounds and combos. It is a DigiTech RP-80, I believe no longer in production, but there are still plenty more out there. Whenever the pedal urge hits, I hook that thing up and go for it. Once the urge has passed and relative sanity returns, I go back to Guitar, Cable, Amp with Reverb.
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Re: multi-effects

Postby ricbleu » Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:16 am

michaelm wrote: Once the urge has passed and relative sanity returns, I go back to Guitar, Cable, Amp with Reverb.


Spot on. Then spend all your spare time building your technique by listening, watching, copying until your own style begins to emerge like a chick from its egg. :D Peace.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby The Breeze » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:20 pm

guitarslim101 wrote:For early electric blues, whether it be Chicago or Mississippi, they usually got by with an amp turned up to the point that it was starting to distort and, like Jake said, a lot of those amps may have had reverb or tremolo/vibrato. A simple overdrive pedal (Blues Driver, Tubescreamer, etc) can give you the sound of an amp getting the tubes cooking a bit...


Spot on! Though I find you still have to turn the amp up to get a good sound with a tubescreamer.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:38 pm

Yea, over the years I bought a few, but for me it's just a hassle to plug in a pedal effect every time I wanna play a 5 min. thing.
I have a tremolo pedal ready to add to my amp, but I'll probably only use that when I wanna make a formal recording.
It's just mo betta to invest in an excellent 15-30 watt amp. :wink: 8)
Better still, make that a few different excellent amps. :mrgreen:
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby j bird » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:19 pm

Icepick...what is the amp you have? Asking about pedals (for those of us that use them) is a broad area. Guitarslim has some great suggestions.

For dynamics (depending on what your amps is) I would suggest looking at boosts and or overdrives like the Tubescreamer (and the thousands of variants on that circuit).

Ambient effects I would suggest keeping it pretty simple. Reverb, tremolo or vibrato are all pretty safe.

To me anything outside of the above mentioned puts you into categories I'd classify as blues rock, etc. For that kind of stuff the door is wide open.

Since your questions is a bit more generalized I'd suggest you research an artist that delivers the tone you consider the blues sound you would like to have. You really can't get a better source than finding out how the "pro" gets his sound. I have been chasing tone for over a decade now....I've got a closet full of pedals and a wall full of amps. It's a compulsive hobby but if you buy the good stuff and get it used you can almost always unload the item for what you have in it later if it isn't what you hoped for.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby bottleneck » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:10 am

I THINK an overdriven tube amp is the best effect.otherwise,i don't use effects.

www.shakeylee.com
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby texas blues » Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:45 pm

For big balls blues sounds I go straight no chaser right into a Marshall JMP 50w. For almost as loud loudness and with a bit more hair, a 5e3 tweed clone gits 'er done. For playing with low wattage low volume sitchyations I go into a tweed champ with either a Box of Rock or sometimes a Bixonic Expandora for some very hairy blues sounds. I have also been known to run a Pignose 7-100 with a Microamp in front of that which adds some much needed high end and have mercy that do sound guud! Most decent quality dirt boxes will get you there in the realm of swampy dirty blues. Even my Smokey Amp running through a 4 x 12 cab can sound pretty dang good. I have a sheeit pile of pedals that I don't use and ever 'thang from tremelo boxes to delay's and fuzz. I keep 'em around though for that time when I'm playing like crap or uninspired. Slowing down a JLH type riff way down and slapping some heavy tremelo and whiskey snortin' distortion on it opens up a whole new world and perspective.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby Jakeblues » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:15 am

bottleneck wrote:I THINK an overdriven tube amp is the best effect.otherwise,i don't use effects.

http://www.shakeylee.com


My favorite tones are from just that. I seem to tend up with 12AX7's/6L6's, but I doubt I could tell the difference between different tube tubes/configurations. I have an '80's Mesa 50 Calibre, and love the tones. The fact is, I mostly record direct, but it's still a tube overdrive sound and some reverb. On clean sounds, compression and maybe slap-back echo. Lots of pedals aren't really my style, especially for blues.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby ricbleu » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:13 pm

http://www.shakeylee.com[/quote] On clean sounds, compression and maybe slap-back echo. [/quote]

I hope I don't get laughed out of the house for asking this naive question, but when I was good enough to play in straight-up blues bands, the only pedal that was available was a wah wah, and even that was cutting edge technology (the first ones were home made). I was using a Gibson SG Les Paul Custom (SG shape but Les hadn't had his name disassociated at that time ; but you know the story) into a Vox AC30.That's all. For the dirtier sound it was just a case of turning up the volume. So by the time pedals became standard, I was into building my house, raising my family etc and apart from a brief period playing in the church band (early Ibanez Les Paul knock off), guitar playing took second place. And I've only been back seriously since illness took me out of the workforce about eleven years ago and it's been acoustic all the way. But in that period I missed out on lots of developments. So at last my laughable question. What exactly do compression pedals do, what sort of sound do they create and why would you want that sound? Thanks Jake. :D Peace.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby j bird » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:26 am

Compression in short reduces dynamics. If you were to set the dials on a compressor to max, you would not be able to discern a volume difference between a light and hard strum on the electric. You can use it subtle to smooth dynamics a hair and increase sustain. Some compressors add tonal color as well. That increased sustain works really well for lap steel and slide.
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Re: Footpedal Suggestions

Postby Jakeblues » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:33 pm

j bird wrote:Compression in short reduces dynamics. If you were to set the dials on a compressor to max, you would not be able to discern a volume difference between a light and hard strum on the electric. You can use it subtle to smooth dynamics a hair and increase sustain. Some compressors add tonal color as well. That increased sustain works really well for lap steel and slide.


That's a good start in describing something that's had to describe. In fancy terms, it reduces the dynamic range (the difference between loud and soft). In more meaningful terms, it "smooths" the volume differences and adds sustain w/o distortion. A lot of country players use compression on clean sounds. Lowell George used compression on his slide sound to get sustain while remaining clean (for the most part). Some people don't really consider it an effect, more of processing. It can be subtle, or it can be so "squeezed that it sounds almost alien.

Compression is used a lot in production to smooth things out and keep the overall volume higher. It's also used in broadcast to keep the audio from pushing the transmitter out of the licensed bandwidth. Listen to the the audio on most recordings made through a video camera's mic, and you'll hear compression.

If I get a chance today, I'll record a little clip.
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