Pedal Boards

My large pedalboard is in flux at the moment — there are just too many pedals on there and I’m getting signal degradation, so I need to figure out which MIDI pedalboard controller is going to work best for me. In the meantime I’m using a small board I rigged up on a PedalTrain Nano.

My small pedalboard/fly rig changes depending on the particular gig, but when called on for Byrds/60’s Jangle Pop related projects, this is pretty much my setup: tuner, compressor, overdrive, fuzz, delay, chorus, clean boost. I am in the market for a Keely 30ms Double Tracker, which I think will do a better job than the Mooer mini chorus.

Acoustic Pedalboard:

This is what I use to amplify my acoustic instruments in a live situation.

The best option is to use a microphone. If you’re a bluegrass or folk band, or playing solo, you can do that. You can’t really move around much, other than to “work” the proximity effect for volume, dynamics, etc., but it usually sounds great, or at least “natural.” However, if you’re playing larger venues where the sound system is pumping out a lot of volume, and/or playing with a full band, this is a non-starter — excessive feedback is just one of the many downsides — so you have to plug in. I’ve tried every acoustic guitar pickup configuration invented over the decades: contact mics, triple-element soundboard transducers, undersaddle piezos, electro-magnetic sound hole pickups, hybrid systems with a mini-condenser mounted inside on the cross-brace, you name it. They all miss something important about the instrument, which is the sound of moving air in front of the sound hole. And they can get very “quacky.” You know what I’m talking about. Eventually the penny dropped — the pickup is less important than the D/I.

Enter the Fishman Aura Spectrum. The technology has a lot in common with the “fingerprint” equaliser plug-ins used in recording studios. They call it “imaging,” and use 24‑bit audio converters with 32‑bit processing. It comes pre-loaded with 128 images, and amongst these are many popular acoustic stringed instruments — acoustic guitars (6 and 12-string in a variety of body shapes…mandolins…bouzouki…dobro…autoharp…dulcimer…even fiddle, if you play that — and of the 128, 16 are user-configurable, via a USB connection and the bundled Image Gallery III software.  What it doesn’t have is banjo.

To amplify the banjo, I use a Gold Tone ABS compact gooseneck dynamic mic, coupled to a shock mounted adjustable bracket that attaches to the flange. It comes with a stomp box sized preamp.

So my signal chain is as follows: Fishman Aura + Gold Tone ABS preamp > Epiphone A/B box (switches between the Aura and the ABS) > Fishman Platinum Pro EQ D/I > XLR out to the mixing board. In the effects loop is a Hotone Skyline VERB reverb mini pedal (surprisingly organic sounding for a digital effect only slightly larger than a matchbox) and a Mooer Repeater digital delay (fairly transparent in Normal mode, plus a chorused and spacey Mod setting).

It all sits on a PedalTrain Mini, powered by a Cioks ADAM LINK power supply (Kevin Shaw at Shaw Audio, who also services my amps, set it up and did the wiring for me). I use Asterope instrument cables exclusively for their pristine audio quality and low noise floor.


TSW Boutique Effects Pedals BudBender

This is essentially a VOX ToneBender clone, built to vintage tone specifications, but able to take modern power requirements and not freeze up if placed on a cold floor like the old Germanium diodes were known to do…and they thoughtfully engraved my glasses into the case! Trevor Wong builds these fabulous top quality analog effects, using the best components they can find, by hand out on Long Island, NY. Need something cool, groovy, unique and unusual? Check them out!

No-Name Rangemaster Clone

A gift from fellow guitar enthusiast, former student and very dear friend in NYC, Jef Smith, this is a clone of a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster. Originaly released in 1966, it goes in front of an over-driven amp, and was apparently the “secret weapon” for a wide range of classic British guitar heroes like Clapton, Richie Blackmore, Brian May, It’s a very simple circuit, just a germanium OC44 transistor (in this case a NOS Texas Instruments CV7003), with a tone knob and an on-off switch. No AC, powered by battery only. It’s not a traditional treble boost, like the VOX, instead it’s a frequency selective boost: the higher frequency you put in via the tone pot, the more dB’s of boost you get. It certainly does get brighter, but not in the typical way. When played through an amp that is overdriving, the low end remains tight, but the higher you go the sustain and gain is increased. It seems to like the circuitry and EL84 tubes in the little tweed Fender Pro Jr I keep in my studio. Both 12-string and lap steel got very nasty indeed through this magic dingus box.

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-10 Classic Overdrive

Back in the 80’s when I was still fairly clueless about gear, Gregg Gutierrez of The Three O’Clock suggested this to me as a good, basic overdrive pedal, and he wasn’t wrong. There are a million distortion pedals on the market, with new ones seemingly introduced every damn day and frankly they all kind of sound the same to me. I just want a little dirt in my signal when I need it, not bone-crushing, face-melting molten sludge, and a modicum of EQ flexibility. I that too much to ask? This was the later, less desirable iteration of the Tube Screamer, and had circuit changes from the TS-9, but it served me well for decades, and it still finds its way back onto my pedalboard periodically. A couple of years ago I sent it out to AnalogMan for the TS808 mod, and the breakup is a bit smoother and more musical. He also replaced the board-mounted jacks and pots. It’s not “true bypass,” but with the mod it works really well as a clean boost; if you turn the gain (top left) knob almost all the way down (maybe on 1) and turn the tone (middle) knob down almost all the way too, and crank up the output volume (top right) to the desired boost level. This can boost a tube amp with nice smooth tone and very little pedal distortion (though it boosts amp tube distortion).


Want to know how to get that classic Rickenbacker 12-string “jangle”? This is how. I’ve been a JangleBox endorser for several years and count owner/operators Steve and Elizabeth Lasko as very dear friends. I own a couple different iterations, including the Classic that started it all, the JB2, and the new JB NANO, which was designed after I and others requested something that would better fit on a small pedalboard that one could fly with (and which they’ve thoughtfully sprayed in my favourite colour, Royal Blue). The NANO also features a dynamic treble boost foot switch on top, which you must have when the RIC 12 appears (Roger McGuinn’s classic sound comes from a combination of outboard compression, and the guts of a VOX Treble Boost that he had built into his 360-12’s). This works quite nicely as a stand alone compressor for everything else, as well, from chime to Nashville squish, so it’s always there. Hand built in small batches, as used by Mr. McGuinn, Mike Campbell, Marshall Crenshaw, Elliot Easton, Buddy Miller, Bill Kirchen, Pete Kennedy, John Beland, and a bunch of other folks. I’ve also recently added the J-Boost Non Compression Clean Boost to my arsenal.

Red Witch Violetta Delay

This is where things get stupid: trying to find a good analog-voiced delay in a mini pedal for my small board. I can’t believe how picky I have gotten about delay. No, I don’t need a bazillion options, no I’m not going to use tap tempo, an external expression pedal or feel the need to bisect the repeats into equidistant quintuplets. I just want a nice, warm slap with a wobble option, but doesn’t introduce a bunch of annoying clock noise into the signal. I want to Set It and Forget It. Maybe delay time adjustments once in a while, but that’s it. I’m embarrassed at how many mini delays I’ve gone through and discarded. Pros: The tone is darker than your dry signal with plenty of the high end roll-off characteristic of tape delays, which is exactly what I want. On longer delay times, you can really hear the delay dissipating with each successive repeat, decaying naturally and darkening in timbre. Perfect! I’m still not totally convinced they haven’t found a way to squeeze bucket brigade chips into this tiny little housing. How do they do it? And at this price point? Cons: the chrome exterior makes the controls hard to read onstage, and the knobs are tiny, so I have to suss out presets ahead of time. Too late, it’s on my board to stay. I may need to get another one for the acoustic instrument board.

MXR Distortion

A 70’s model I bought second hand in the early 80’s for next to nothing. They go for a fair penny on eBay these days, but I can’t imagine parting with it because it’s so naaaaasty. It sort of straddles both the overdrive/distortion and fuzz spectrums in a way you don’t really see any more. Check out the pedal scene and you’ll find hundreds of dirt boxes out there with multiple tone controls, bias knobs, switches to choose between germanium or silicon chips, boost features, garage door openers, blue tooth options and home alarm systems. Not this little monster. There’s no LED to tell you whether the pedal is on or off, and no 9v power supply option (battery only, and you have to unscrew the back plate to insert a new one). Just two controls which can dial up serious audio damage that harkens back to a primordial era when distorted guitars ruled the world. I usually keep the distortion level between noon and 3 o’clock or risk internal haemorrhaging, and it doesn’t play nice with humbuckers. Best when paired with one’s neck pickup. Ever heard of the legendary “brown sound,” a frequency reportedly developed by the Army Corps of Engineers to make troops poop their pants on the battlefield? It has that. Use at your own risk.

Outlaw Effects 5 O’Clock Fuzz

I needed a mini fuzz for the small board, and Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Incredibles) suggested this. It doesn’t quite have the “dentist drill” effect I was looking for, but that’s a minor quibble; it does the job it was designed for. And Harry likes it.

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food:

This is supposed to be a clone of the legendary Klon Centaur. How close is it? Hell if I know. Barring any obvious mechanical issues, I doubt I’d really be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test, and I’ll bet neither could you, nor would it matter to the casual listener. Like the Centaur, the Soul Food uses a TL072 op-amp and a dual-gang Gain control, which makes the gain and volume controls more interactive. Unlike the Centaur, it won’t cost you $1200. There’s also a switchable buffer, which is good if you use fuzz pedals ahead of the Soul Food in the signal chain. When the buffer is switched off, it functions as any standard true bypass pedal. Overall, the build quality is what you expect from EHX: rugged, and built for abuse. It works great as both a clean-ish boost or a down-and-dirty overdrive, has plenty of headroom, reacts well to player dynamics, and doesn’t carry a boutique price tag. What’s not to like?

Tech21 Boost D-LA and RotoChoir:

Thanks to brother Vinnie Zummo for hooking me up with these guys. I’ve been using at Tech21 SansAmp to record bass at Spatula Ranch, for ages, but had no idea about these gems.

The Boost D-LA does an excellent job of nailing the quirky sound of my old Echoplex, and even has a Flutter knob for “tape wobble,” which can also create lush chorus sounds on its own, with or without delay, just using the Tone and Flutter controls. What a great feature. Two foot switches: one for bypass and one for tap tempo. Above them are two small buttons labeled “trails” and “triplets.” The mix control sweeps from 100 percent dry to 100 percent wet, which is important for two reasons. One is, of course, to get the proper balance of delay to the dry sound. The other is to allow for finer control of the delay, which makes this the first one I’ve found that is truly useable in line before the front end of a distorting amp. The tone control covers all bases, from the most pristine digital to the warmest analog, and all points in between.

Tech21 Boost D-LA and RotoChoir

One of the Leslie rotating speaker’s best features is that it has its own onboard tube amplifier. So of course Tech1 included their SansAmp tube-amp simulation technology and really nailed it. The RotoChoir is both an amp simulator and a rotary-speaker effect, and will send you to Doppler Heaven in a nonce. Amp controls include Level, High and Low EQ knobs, and a Drive control. Bass rotor and horn rotation speed settings are adjustable via the Top Speed knob and Fast/Slow switch. The Biamped button “spins “ both the bass speaker rotor and treble horn when engaged, and the bass “speaker rotor” alone when switched off. This latter setting gives you the effect of simulating microphone proximity. Also includes a stereo output option. Wow! There doesn’t seem to be a way to only “spin” the treble horn, which is how Booker T. Jones had his Leslie wired, but maybe I’m missing something…I’m notoriously too impatient to fully read instruction manuals…

I’d put these up against equivalent models by Strymon, Wampler or any of the other high end flavour-of-the-month tone shapers. When the large board gets sussed, these will occupy a permanent slot. Why don’t more people know about them?

TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper:

TC Electronic Flashback Delay and Looper

I got this TC Electronic’s unit for one reason and one reason only: reverse delay. It does lots of other stuff as well, and you can upload other delays from their website, and maybe one day I’ll have time to explore those options. Or I’ll just wait for Danelectro to reissue the Back Talk (*ahem!*).

DOD FX52 Classic Fuzz:

DOD FX52 Classic Fuzz

I’ve had this for about 20 years, and you know what? It’s thoroughly adequate. Maybe a little tinny and not quite as full bodied as one would like, and definitely doesn’t compare to the BudBender. But I can always get usable sounds out of it, including something pretty close to the dreaded “dentist drill” fuzz heard on songs like “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night” by the Electric Prunes. Three knobs — volume, tone and fuzz — no waiting, instant cerebral haemorrhage.

Frantone Hep Cat:

Frantone Hep Cat

Oh yes, I have one of the rare and highly prised 90’s-era Hep Cat overdrives, because designer Fran Blanche is my friend, and I’m not above trading on friendship for personal gain. Transparent tone, bright grind, with all the legendary punch and glimmering tinsel that will make you jealous because you don’t have one. Tough cast aluminium case, true bypass, Switchcraft jacks, hard mounted PCB, external power jack and really cute clear feet that I peeled off so I could put velcro on the bottom to stick to my board. One of the absolute best overdrives I’ve ever used. Less a roundhouse and more of a rabbit punch. Especially nice with single-coils, I don’t have time to list every track I’ve used this on, including several you wouldn’t think I had…I’ll just say its provides very cool results when placed in the signal chain between a mic’ed acoustic instrument and the recorder.

Danelectro Reel Echo:

When I sold my old Maestro Echoplex in the 90’s I got this (and a bunch of other cool gizmos) in trade. I hate that it takes up too much real estate to keep on any of my pedalboards, because it’s totally whack. [Ed: Really? “Whack?”] Built with options for tube/solid state sounds, a “warble” switch for organic tape pitch deviation and speed range control of up to 1500ms. The Lo-Fi knob is a great feature, rolling off the high frequencies of the successive repeats for an authentic analog tape delay sound. A cool slider replaces the usual Time knob, similar to the Echoplex, letting you have complete control over the sound, and making it fun and easy to experiment in the moment. Capable of summoning haunting trails and delay along with a unique Sound on Sound stomp switch for layering multiple tracks, this is an excellent addition to an ambient, post-rock, rockabilly/roots rock weirdo or shoegaze arsenal. Still my go-to in the studio.

DigiTech HardWire RV-7 Stereo Reverb:

Purchased specifically for the really awesome “Reverse” reverb setting (try it on the solo of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love” and see what you think), but also has other lush, studio quality, Lexicon reverbs, including Room, Plate, Modulated, Gated, Hall, and Spring — all of which can be adjusted for Level, Liveliness, and Decay. Built like a Sherman tank from all-metal components, and weighs almost as much. Sadly the whole HardWire line has been discontinued, but I suppose they’re not as practical for today’s trend towards smaller, more portable pedalboards.

Danelectro Tuna Melt:

Who doesn’t love an amp with beautiful, deep, hypnotic, built-in tremolo? My Vibrolux Reverb supplied that and then some for ages until my urban apartment living years when I had to stick it in the closet and get used to a much smaller amp that lacked reverb and trem, which meant I had to use pedals for those effects. Dano’s “diner” series — which in the late 90’s could be had for, like, $25 — scrimped on the case, pots and switches, but splurged on tone. Knobs for Speed, Depth, and…wait for it…a switch for selecting between Hard and Soft tremolo. Its got an extremely juicy and organic “soft” setting, somewhere between a ’60’s Fender amp and Hammond console vibrato. On the “hard” setting you can dial in a super fast square-wave, i.e., The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”…yes, this is the second time I’ve mentioned that song here. Yes, the housings are plastic (there’s apparently a whole cottage industry for rehousing them). It’s not “true bypass.” The little fiddly knobs can get lost (see mine…anyone know where I can get replacements?). But for my money this is the closest trem for under a couple of C-notes that I’ve found that apes the storied “harmonic tremolo” used in early 60’s Fender amps before they replaced them in the blackface-era with a photocell circuit. Sadly Dano no longer seems to be making pedals, a shame because they were the millennial-era’s go-to for quite a while, and produced some wild, wooly and wacky offerings. I still wish I’d gotten a Dano “Back Talk” reverse delay back in the day…check out what they go for on the used market these days…holy crap!

Danelectro Rocky Road:

At the time this was introduced in the late 90’s, there really weren’t any spinning speaker emulators, certainly none with a “ramp” feature, that were smaller than a toaster oven. The best one then was the Hughes & Kettner RotoSphere, which ran on a 12AX7 tube and sounded fabulous, took up over half your pedalboard and was heavy as a boat anchor. The Rocky Road is perhaps less like a Leslie, and more like an old Fender Vibratone, which still kind of gets you in the rotating ballpark. However, WTF was Dano thinking when they made this with an automatic gain boost when the pedal was turned on? Not only dumb, but noisy as hell. There is a whole cottage industry that sprung up for doing “unity gain” modifications on the Rocky Road, which basically involves soldering a small piece of wire between two points on the PC board, and largely solved the problem. The ON/OFF and RAMP buttons are pretty close together, so square-toed boots are out. The housing is plastic and won’t stand up to much abuse, and the knobs have a habit of popping off and getting lost. But for $25 how could you lose? There are better options out there now, of course, so maybe one day I’ll investigate a hardier replacement for the small pedalboard. The effect hasn’t gotten much use lately, but like the sanctity of military secrets that could change overnight.

Mooer Pure Boost:

The need for space saving “micro” pedals has led to an explosion of companies, including some of the Big Boys, offering a bewildering array of options in the last few years. Mooer in particular has been hitting it pretty hard, and offers a line of mini clones of well known and loved stomp boxes that offer good value for the dosh. I don’t have any particular brand loyalty for Mooer, nor do I endorse them. The fact that I have several of their pedals is simply because you can find them easily on the used market for cheap, and there are plenty of reviews of the various models should you wish to research the interwebs before purchase. The Pure Boost is more or less a clone of an Xotic RC Booster, which gives you up to 20db+ clean boost and a +- 15db 2 band active EQ. I tend to avoid leaning on the Treble setting too hard, especially at higher gain levels, because it can get a bit harsh. Otherwise, it does the job reliably.

Mooer Pure Octave:

There were a couple songs in my set that were recorded by double-tracking a Tele and a Fender VI. Not having four arms, or the budget for another human on the gig, I was faced with either having to choose one or the other instrument, or finding something that emulated that sound. I borrowed Mick Hargreaves’ BOSS OC-3 Super Octave in the 90’s, but it had some serious issues with crackling pots (a rarity for normally rugged BOSS pedals) and tracking problems that produced an obnoxious warble in the sub octaves. Fast forward to a couple years ago when I needed that effect onstage again, but it had to fit on my fly board. Behold: the Mooer Pure Octave. The sub-octave tracking is about average…not awful by any means, but there are much better (and expensive) options if you need your -1 or -2 octaves to sound more like a doubled part. That warble is still there, but less apparent, and I find if I duck it down below the dry signal, till it’s more like an effect than an equal volume doubled part, I can get away with it. The upper octaves track much better, with less noticeable warble when you’re playing at normal volumes. Blend knob works well, Sub octave and Upper octave knobs let you dial in the specific amount of octave you want. Pretty intuitive and makes it easy to find the sweet spot. Build quality seems sturdy. The micro knobs are tiny and fiddly, but what do you expect from a mini-pedal?

Mooer Funky Monkey:

I needed an “auto wah” effect for a one-off project, figuring I’d probably not use it again for quite a while, and the price was right. It’s more or less a micro-pedal clone of the EHX Q-Tron (hence the “Q” knob on the right). You have all the usual peak selections: Hi, Mid and Low, with Mid seeming to be the most musical when you set the range at about 3 o’clock and the Q about 1 o’clock, with the rate set to about 2 o’clock. In this set-up it mimics the characteristics of the Q-tron admirably, albeit without the envelope sensitivity (because it isn’t an envelope follower). It does the job, but there is a bit of “whoosh” when set to higher ranges and rates.

Mooer Trelicopter:

A Demeter Tremulator clone, purchased as a fly-board replacement for the Dano Tuna Melt, which has gotten too fragile for road work and lost its knobs. It’s a fairly smooth sounding opto-tremolo emulator, similar to a blackface Fender, with the added ability to adjust the clipping waveform via the Bias control. Other controls include Depth and Speed. As with all mini pedals, there is no battery compartment, it only runs on a DC 9V adapter, which is fine by me as I use a power supply on all my pedal boards. I also had the Mooer ShimVerb as a companion, but got rid of it due to excessive clock noise.

Mooer Ensemble King:

A virtual clone of a BOSS CE-2 chorus, including (reportedly) the MN3007 chip. Depth, Rate and Level controls, true bypass. Maybe not as flexible as more expensive modern chorus pedal options, but I don’t use it often and when I do it really nails the 80’s James Honeyman-Scott watery slow speed/deep chorus in spades. Very transparent, low clock noise. For the price it sounds fab!

EHX Ravish Sitar:

EHX Ravish Sitar

Electro-Harmonix has been producing some wild and wacky pedals lately, and this is one of them. This thing is a deep bag of tricks and treats. Even in its most basic and obvious applications, it can turn a run-of-the-mill verse, chorus, bridge, lead, or guitar harmony into something kooky and extraordinary. And while it’s not going to fool anyone familiar with the sound of a real sitar — like an old Danelectro electric sitar, it has a cool voice all its own — but it can do many magical and unexpected things that can add an Eastern flavour to your jams as well as lend cool sympathetic-tone ambiance and a myriad of tone tweaking options in any musical context.

EHX Mel9:

EHX Mel9

Developed in 1963, the Mellotron polyphonic keyboard used keyboard-activated magnetic tapes to, in effect, sample other inst ruments. This quirky, primitive hybrid of sampler and synthesizer became a staple of ’67–’68-era Beatles tracks and bands like the Moody Blues, King Crimson and The Zombies on their legendary Odessey & Oracle album. Electro-Harmonix’s Mel9, a multi-voiced effects box and part of their “keyboard” family of stomps, is an attempt to capture the sounds and feel of the Mellotron in a guitar pedal. It’s not always completely successful, and some of the orchestral and horn patches sound more like an old Lowrey theatre organ, which is fine with me. I was recently called on to arrange a string section on the cheap for a client, so I had a friend come in and multi-track violin and viola, and I did the cello and contrabass parts on the MEL9. When mixed together it worked pretty well, with flavours of both Mellotron and real strings. It’s weird and quirky, which is just what I look for in a pedal like this.

EHX C9 Organ Machine:

EHX C9 Organ Machine

A companion to Electro–Harmonix’s B9 Organ Machine effects pedal, the C9 is based on the same hardware but offers somewhat different sounds. The sounds are all produced by modifying the signal that comes from the pickup of a regular guitar, so there’s no sample triggering involved and no need for a hex pickup. This makes the playing experience very natural. simple set of controls, with a rotary switch selecting nine different preset sounds, separate level controls for the dry and effected sounds, and a pair of controls designated Mod and Click. These last two actually change function depending on which preset sound is active. The output can be a mix of organ and dry guitar if you wish — which has come in very handy — or you can use both output jacks to route the two signals to separate amplifiers. Settings include Tonewheel, which is a typical Hammond sound; Prog, which is similar to ELP’s Keith Emmerson’s sound; Compact, which is a fair approximation of a VOX or Farfisa; Shimmer, which is a low-attack that can be set to fade up slowly under your dry guitar part (I’ve used this setting quite a lot lately); you get no prizes for guessing what Lord Purple is all about; Mello Flutes isn’t an organ at all but a Mellotron flute sound a’la “Strawberry Fields Forever”; Blimp, which is a Led Zeppelin type mid-range drawbar sound; Press Tone, which is the Beatles’ “Let It Be” tone; and finally Telstar, which sounds like the kooky old Clavioline used on the Tornadoes early 60’s hit of the same name. Crazy, man, crazy.

Keeley 30ms Double Tracker:

Keeley 30ms Double Tracker

This is quite possibly my best recent acquisition. What does it do? It’s a modulation machine that emulates the “Automatic Double Tracking” unit Abbey Road engineer Ken Townsend built in 1966 for the Beatles Revolver sessions. I used it on sessions the first week of purchase, and while I haven’t even had a chance to unpack all the other features it has, in “Abbey” mode (and of course in conjunction with the JangleBox) it makes the RIC 12 sound like a chorus of angels. Wow. Just…wow.

VHT V-Drive:

This was a gift from my friends at The Music Link. Crammed with goodies, including a sui generis way of tweaking the overdrive character. There are so many clipping diode configurations at one’s fingertips, I haven’t even begun to dig into all the options. The Depth control pinpoints where the low frequency roll-off point is, Texture controls the harmonic content, and Select gives you a wide range of diode switching. The secret weapon, though, is the Voltage control (on the back of the pedal) which either cuts or boosts the standard 9v power level. Crazy! This is, like, 12 dirt pedals in one. Maybe more.

VHT Melo-Verb:

If you have a single channel amp with no inboard effects, i.e., Reverb and Tremolo, then you owe it to yourself to check this sucker out. The Tremolo side has four tweak able parameters — including a Shape knob that will give you everything from a vintage tube-like undulation to a modern square wave chop — and the Reverb side has three. Solidly built, the sounds are gorgeous and very user-friendly. Fantastic.

Electro-Harmonix Freeze:

EHX calls this a “sound retainer.” Basically it’s a sampler, that specifically creates infinite sustain of any note or chord by hitting the momentary foot switch. Selectable decay rates, including a “latch” mode. I haven’t used it much, but l have some ideas for future deployment on an upcoming session.

Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST-200:

After years of using BOSS’s excellent TU-2 tuner, I wanted to try something different. The ST-200 responds very quickly when you play a string. Other tuners have an algorithm that takes longer to read the note, convert it to data, and display it accordingly. Extremely precise +/- .02 cent accuracy. Fully programmable for alternate tunings and temperaments, with six easy-to-use preset banks means you can use it with multiple instruments with any custom tuning settings you can imagine. USB port. Muted output for tuning, and true bypass. They also make a mini-stompbox strobe for smaller pedalboards.