Andy's Tone Tips: Building a Miniboard for Rhythm Guitar Playing

If you keep up with the weekly stream of new pedal demos we release here on Reverb, you may have noticed that many of today's latest and greatest guitar effects are designed with high-flying lead heroics in mind. There are pedals that can create just about any sound imaginable, and the modern lead guitarist is spoiled for choice when considering a new pedal purchase.

But for every Angus there's a Malcolm, and today we're turning our attention to the equally important rhythm guitarists of the world. While many rhythm players rightfully get by running direct into an amp, the correct array of pedals can do as much for your tone as it can for the lead showboats on the other side of the stage. In the video above, Dr. Andy offers his sonic prescription for the basics of what goes into a practical and all-purpose rhythm mini-pedalboard.

For this deployment, Andy starts with an overdrive with real low-end capabilities as opposed to the mid-range hump you get from Tube Screamer-style pedals. For this board, Andy's going with the classic Fulltone OCD, keeping the drive setting relatively light, with the low-peak mode engaged. From there a Shape EQ from Fromel Electronics boosts the bass and quells the mid-range, while an Oceans 11 Reverb from Electro-Harmonix rounds out this line with an inviting clean tone that won't get too mushy in the mix.

A combination like this allows you to sit squarely with the rest of the rhythm section without doing anything that might override a vocalist or other lead element. For an even more versatile option, Andy also recommends the Keeley Aria, which combines both overdrive and compression in one box. The compression adds some overtones and sustain, balancing everything out a bit more.

Watch the video above for Andy's recommendations on how to build a small but powerful board that's primed for virtually any rhythm-playing scenario. Is there another tonal topic you'd like explained? Let us know in the comments or by email

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