Pedalboard Plus One: Extra Sauce For Those Who Have It All

Finding the perfect gift for someone who has everything is hard enough. Finding the perfect gift for someone who seems to have every pedal every made is enough to make you throw their pedalboard out the window (but please don’t - we’re bleeding hearts for gear and the people who love them here at Reverb). For those looking to give something more substantial than a strap or capo but less than a $400+ guitar, pedals are great gift ideas. Unfortunately, everyone has that friend, family member, or significant other with an array of effects they’re convinced is all they’ll ever need. We're here to turn that idea on its head.

Effects chains can be constantly evolving, living entities that beg experimentation. This is half the fun of playing an electric instrument. As set in their ways as some guitarists can be, everyone has a blind spot leading to that eureka moment. Today we’re going through four genres; each with distinct sounds and preferences, and each with a pedal suggestion sure to open the ears of the pickiest of guitarists.

Country

Modern country is about calling up the twang and slapping it at the audience. In addition to a slick Tele and a clean amp, a country guitar player’s setup is typically accompanied with a compressor, overdrive, and maybe a plate reverb. With these tendencies in mind, projecting that signature sound without compromising clean tone is a concern at the top of the list. Bring in the clean boost.

Walrus Audio Plainsman Dual Stage Clean Boost

Walrus Audio Plainsman Dual Stage Clean Boost

In addition to the fat, clean boost pumped out of this pedal, there are several options for customization you’re not going to find on other boost pedals. Featuring between 8 and 15 dB of boost with total volume control, true bypass and an “Engage” switch for beefed-up sound, the Plainsman can make a guitar burst with clarity or push your amp with a touch of overdrive. Great for bringing out chicken pickin' lines or standing out for a solo without sounding too "rock." When a country gentleman’s scratching his head on the next addition to the pedalboard, introduce him to the Plainsman for a lifelong friendship.

Find a Walrus Audio Plainsman boost on Reverb.

Blues

Blues is one of the most contentious genres of music when it comes to what - if anything - is necessary on a pedalboard. Blues players can be some of the hardest musicians to buy effects for. Fueled by boosts, overdrives and vibratos, their prime directive is creamy, fierce tones while retaining the character of the rig.

ZVex Fuzz Factory

A nuanced but distinctive fuzz can be a powerful addition for any bluesman, as the message board buzz over John Mayer's "Ain't No Sunshine" tone proves. While his Pete Cornish NG-2 might be out of reach for most, the ZVex Fuzz Factory is an affordable and versatile stand-in. An incredibly sensitive pedal that reacts to even slight variation in playing and picking style, the Fuzz Factory can sprinkle on just the right amount of grit while retaining a rig’s inherent sound. For the player looking to really snarl, the pedal features Comp and Stab knobs which can take you straight into Jack White or Dan Auerbach territory.

Find a ZVex Fuzz Factory on Reverb.

Shoegaze/Indie

Oh the wide, wonderful world of indie effects (“indie” will refer to the dizzying array of genres that fall under its general umbrella from here on out). Breaking away from mantras of clean tone and the pillars of solos, indie guitarists often seek texture instead. The idea is to create entire sonic worlds with six strings, turns of a knob, and stomps on a pedal. Reverb, delay, fuzz, and loopers are all standard issue on an indie pedalboard. However, given this genre's effects-happy reputation, what’s that perfect gift for someone chronically looking at their pedalboard during a show?

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

The Afterneath is an entirely original reverb, comprised of swarms of short delays rather than traditional ambience. Set apart by a Drag knob for separating short delays and a Diffuse knob for honing in or bursting apart a reverb, this pedal is capable of everything from phrenetic staccato sprinkling to cavernous, drippy wash. Your favorite shoegazer will be the toast of the basement show.

Find an EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath on Reverb.

Metal

We would never leave the shredders out there hanging, so naturally metal has a well-deserved spot on this list. Chasing thunderous volume and tectonic layers of gain, most metal guitarists have serious amp heads, large speaker cabinets and possibly several boosts chained together. Just as cars require better transmissions and suspension setups when you jack up their horsepower, amps also need stronger controls when gain reaches stratospheric levels.

ISP Decimator and Boss GE-7 Equalizer

In their quest for gain, some metal musicians overlook the need for strong EQ shaping and noise suppression to rein in what can otherwise be a wild, feedback-ridden signal that doesn't play well with others in a mix. It might seem counterintuitive to suppress noise while trying to play loud, but it's essential. The ISP Decimator can sense whether you're holding a note that's decaying or playing with a sharp staccato attack, giving it an edge over most noise suppressors. The Decimator can keep your playing tight and focused even with ultra high gain. The Boss GE-7 is a great tool for metal guitarists looking to scoop the mids or bring out the highs to add definition. Together, these two pedals make for a great paired addition to any metal rig, without breaking the bank.

Find an ISP Decimator on Reverb.

Find a Boss GE-7 Equalizer on Reverb.


comments powered by Disqus