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Come on, Bax-man…Pedals!

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We have a Pickup forum. Can't we really have a Pedal forum? I promise we'll be good. We won't make too much noise, and we'll pick up after ourselves.

I know we can talk about them in "Other Equipment," but it just feels demeaning. You literally subtitle the section Pedals and picks. But some pedals cost more than some guitars, and they're clearly as much a component of one's overall playing experience as guitars, amps, and pickups.

Picks...you know. Not so much. Show of hands, who's ever paid more than 30.00 for a pick? Or gotten into vitriolic forum battles over them?

Pedals. We can admit to them.

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I support this. I'll submit my pedalboard as Exhibit A:

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Very distinctive board, Otter. Nothing me-too there!

Have you compared the Fairfield Accountant to other comps? I like its size, and it's got a decent reputation. I have the Fairfield Randy's Revenge, a huge-sounding ring mod with delicious syrupy trem - and had the Shallow Water random chorus/vibrato. I wanted to keep it, because I liked its oh-so-subtle and unpredictable modulations, but it had a very subtle noise floor with little audio worms running through it occasionally. That wouldn't have been fatal in a pedal meant for grand gestures, but I wanted it for the quiet repose the name suggests, and those moments were not when I wanted little squirms of noise.

The VibroThang has a decidedly mixed reputation. Are you a lover, or does it just happen to be on your board?

And OK...you gotta tell about Black & Blue there on the bottom row. No fair showing pedals without ID. ..

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Well I haven't tried as many comps as some, but the Accountant compares favorably to the Dyna, Orange, and Opto style compressors I've used. I'd say it's most similar to the Orange Squeezer type in tone, as it does add a little grit, but it's more controllable. For a simple control set, it's capable of a good range of tones, from squishy chicken pickin, to funky rhythms, and smooth Dire Straits stuff. The "Pad" acts as sort of a threshold, adjusting the pedal's sensitivity to the input, useful for adjusting to different guitar output levels. "Ratio" is what you'd expect, controlling just how squishy it gets, and "Volume", well...

As you're no doubt aware, compressors are more often about feel than tone, and it's got the right feeling for me. Word is, it came about as a standalone version of the feedback-path compression from Fairfield's "Meet Maude" analog delay.

The VibroThang is a recent pickup, and so far I'm really digging it. It does trem and phase, and you can dial in how much of either you want. The trem is unassuming, not aiming for any particular 60s amp sound, as many seem to do these days, just a nice sine wave volume modulation. Likewise the phase circuit, and I don't have enough experience with phasers to really compare.

Where it really shines, of course, is the marriage of the two. Set for a gentle trem with just a hint of phasey other-ness, it's a nice flavor for my brand of sparse and slow fingerstyle. Tuned right, it can also do a decent Leslie or "harmonic" trem. Overall, it's different enough to not be redundant when using my amps with built-in trem, and subtle enough to scratch the tremolo itch when using my other amps.

Black and Blue are, respectively, Box of Rock and Rangemaster clones. To quote from a recent writeup:

I'll start with the Box of Rock, as that's really the heart of this thing. I suppose technically it's two Distortrons in one box. I leave the right side on a moderate gain, edge-of-breakup sound so I can easily cross from clean to crunch based on how hard I play. I won't make any claims that it's a "Marshall in a box", but it definitely gets me the classic rock crunch that I'm after. From Stonesy Open-G rhythm to "All Right Now" and all the Foghat you can take. The left side is set clean and loud for solo boost. When it's cranked it does a decent JCM800/900 pop punk tone, which satisfies another teenage dream.

The Rangemaster is there to do the Rangemaster thing, boosting the treble into the psuedo-Marshall Box of Rock. T Rex for days. I'd say it can do the Brian May thing, but I can't play like him. It has a switch for full-range boost which really brings out the sag in the Box of Rock, great for Neil Young amp-on-fire tones.

The new Keeley Fuzz Bender is the real champion here though. I tried Tone Benders years ago, as I always liked their recorded tones, but all the ones I tried were pretty underwhelming in person. I switched to Muffy fuzzes for a long time because they were a little more predictable and easy to dial in. Then I saw some demos of this thing recently and had to have it. The Bias knob and active EQ elevate it beyond the one-trick-pony sound of more traditional Tone Benders. It'll do the farty "Spirit in the Sky" or blown-out "Let's Work Together" tones or your favorite spikey in-your-face Fuzzrite, Maestro, and Jack White stuff. Seriously impressed with this thing.

Just a sample of the riveting discussions that could occur in a Pedals sub-forum...

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Just a sample of the riveting discussions that could occur in a Pedals sub-forum...

I'm tellin' ya! If only they knew what they're missing.


I read some complaints that the VibroThang is noisy. Have you found it so? I like the idea of very subtle modulation (thus my conflicted relationship with the Shallow Water), and the notion of combining pitch vibrato and a bit of something else appeals to me - is in fact something I do with mulitple pedals. I suppose I should try a VT and see what's up with it.

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Just waiting for the reverb/vibrato footswitch pic that always makes us laugh so. OR, a bicycle pedal, that one's a hoot! Or how about a lady with a plump bottom wearing...wait for it... pedal pushers! Cynical valentines day post over

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Just waiting for the reverb/vibrato footswitch pic that always makes us laugh so. OR, a bicycle pedal, that one's a hoot! Or how about a lady with a plump bottom wearing...wait for it... pedal pushers! Cynical valentines day post over

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I have been advocatin' for this for YEARS even tho my pedal board is exactly 2 Boss pedals. I still like seeing these moster boards people make. And while we're at it can we move Other Equipment up under Other Amps ... it just gets lost where it is.

Just my 2 cents.

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The Dyno Brain into the Josh modified Tube Screamer Is something worth doin'.

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I've got a Vibro-Thang too - it cycles on and off my board - it's definitely got an 'otherness' to it. Fun pedal.

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The Orange Bax Bangeetar Pedal

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it would be a worthwhile, dedicated section, for sure.

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That's pretty cool, Curt. Yes, I have noticed that a great way to run that pedal deign is stacking it or pushing it with another pedal.

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I AGREE!! A Pedal Forum would be a GREAT enhancement to the GDP!!

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+1. Good idea. Gretschies use pedals too!

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Tim, like all proper tremolos, the VibroThang does tick a little at high depth settings, but I've not noticed any unruly noise otherwise.

You're welcome to try mine if you want

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A dedicated section for pedals is a very good idea -- me still trying to figure out the difference between "gain" and "overdrive."

However, in my limited experience with coding, I can say with complete confidence that making those adjustments would be a total time-consuming PITA that I would wish only on my worst enemy.

To expect perfection -- in a website or anything -- is like expecting a mid '60's Gretsch to have no binding rot -- which is a rare beautiful thing when you find it.

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Clutch, Brake, Gas.....that's all you need!

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I'm still wrapping my head around "Other Guitars" is in "Other Equipment" and "Pickups" is in "Guitars".

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My pedalboard:

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Clutch, Brake, Gas.....that's all you need!

– Billy Zoom

He needs a brake, hahaha!


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