Anyone Use EQ Pedals?


I just swapped out the master volume pot on my g5435 with a 1meg CTS pot. I was wondering if I'd get a little more oomph from the stock blacktop pickups. I can't really say definitively if they made any tonal difference, but I now have an actual volume taper (the stock pot was basically an on/off switch!), so I'm considering it a successful mod.

I've gone back and forth about swapping the blacktops for HS Filtertrons. I'd like to be able to switch between my 6118t-120 and the 5435, but there's a noticeable drop in mids and even some volume.

Does anyone use an EQ pedal with their filtertron-equipped Gretsch? I'd consider using a boost pedal, but I'd like something that would make up for the difference in the mid frequencies.

Thanks again!

PS If it looks to anyone like I'm exhausting every possibility before just giving in and swapping pickups, they're probably correct!


Absolutely. It's the first thing in my chain. Fromel Shape EQ with bass cut or boost, treble cut or boost and a parametric mid. I consider it the most essential pedal on my board.


For 20 years I always had an EQ on my board (usually an MXR 6-band or Boss 7-band graphic). Then for 10 years or so I didn't (but used other tone-shaping preamps).

And I almost always used parametric eq on guitars in my studio, using a pair with four freely adjustable bands each. (Now any self-respecting DAW software has unlimited bands of fully parametric control.)

If you have the ears to dial them in (and I don't always), an EQ with parametric control is miles ahead of a graphic in the kind of surgical tone-shaping you'd need to do to compensate for perceived deficiencies in pickups.

And there aren't a lot of parametrics out there, so the shopping isn't too daunting. Costs range from 150.00 or so to maybe 350.00.

• Recently I put the Wampler EQuator on my board for fine-tuning. It's similar to the Fromel in having fixed high and low eq and a parametric midrange - but has two bands of mids (plus overall volume cut/boost). It's a bit smaller than the Fromel (always a critical concern). It's predictably effective in all its functionality, quiet, and sounds smooth and tonally transparent. I like its color, too. Both it and the Fromel list at 200.00.


The Fromel has Audrey Hepburn on its top, though, and it's hard to beat that. She does have a fetching shape.


• There's also the WMD Utility Parametric (3 bands, all frequency-adjustable, with Q and level controls for each, plus master volume), also 200.00 and nicely compact.

Like the Fromel, though, it lacks any sort of frequency calibration markings around the dials, and sometimes I like numbers for reference.

I haven't heard it, but it probably sounds good. Inherently bad-sounding parametrics are hard to find, because - almost by definition - guys shopping for them are done with graphic EQs and looking for something to improve, not just adjust, their tone. (But you can certainly use a parametric EQ to make your guitar sound...if not bad, then at least very strange.)

All considered, in terms of features for the dollar (and size) and maximum adjustability, the WMD is hard to beat.


The Empress Para EQ is a long-standing and well-proven champion in this narrow field. You get three overlapping bands of fully parametric adjustment, each with three switchable Q options, and a separate boost button so it can double as a clean boost. It's a little larger than the Wampler, the WMD, or the Fromel, and a bit more money at 249.00. Empress makes top-quality stuff, though, so there's that.


• At about the same physical size and money as the Empress, there's the Tech 21 Q-Strip EQ/Preamp. Fixed high and low bands, two bands of parametric mid, XLR and parallel outputs, plus switchable hi/lo filters, pad, and impedance matching for studio use. Looks like it comes close to being a studio board channel strip in a pedal. Lots of functionality for both live and studio use. Plus, it has red knobs - which makes it almost irresistible to me.


• Last (and most expensive) - but far from least (and probably worth it) - is the Chase Bliss Condor universal utility muffin. As a parametric EQ, it has fixed low and high bands and a single parametric midrange, each with 3-way toggles for Q and resonance. Which means it's also a filter - and can be set up for (minutely configurable) auto-filter sweeps, wah effects, tremolo, and harmonic tremolo - or all at the same time. Besides all of which, master volume (boost or cut) AND crunchy input gain for low-level overdrive. All in a package the same size as the smallest EQs in this set.

While turning knobs to tweak EQ is as easy on the Condor as on any of the other contestants, setting up other functions can be more complex. So it's cool you can save two settings onboard and switch them with a toggle (which means 3 settings, including the "live" WYSISWG state of the pedal). And if you're brave enough to wade into MIDI, you can save unlimited programs AND control every knob dynamically. (I've been playing with one for a couple of weeks, and found plenty of settings I'd like to get back to easily - so the programmability is not pointless complication here.)

It seems pricey for an EQ at 349.00 - but it does so much other stuff that it begins to look reasonable. It also sounds great - smooth and rich at all settings.



Thanks for the responses! I checked out the Fromel, and wow! The aesthetic alone is enough to make me want to buy one, let alone the functionality

Do any of you have any suggestions in the $100 and below range? There doesn't seem to be anything in that range for parametric EQs. Are any of the graphic EQ options worth it?

Thanks again!


The industry standard graphics remain the Boss GE-7 and a reissued MXR. If one of the fixed freq bands happens to be in the area you want to adjust to tweak the response of your pickups, a graphic might do the trick. But it might not be adjustable enough to have the effect you want.

I bet you can find both of those on Reverb for under 100.00. Years ago, both were noisy - in that they introduced a certain amount of white noise along with their EQ functions. That may have been cleaned up in the interim. But I sent my GE-7 to a guy in Chicago last year for a mod that cleaned up it considerably.

The only sub-100.00 graphics I know of are in the micro-formats now coming from lots of Chinese brands. I think they only get 5 bands in. Worth a shot, but based on my experience with Chinese micro pedals, I wouldn't count on pristine audio quality.


+1 for the Empress ParaEQ. Bought one on a bit of whim to try with a couple of bass heavy amps. It turned out to be a training tool for my ear. Now I better understand why guitars and amps sound so different.

I just use it at home, not on my gigging board.


Since the beginning, I've used EQs to fine tune sounds or even to shape them extremely. Mainly, I use an eq for overall sound adjustments in live venues, where sound can be totally different (especially the low response). Depending on the used setup, this can be set on the amp's loop or in the stomp chain, but always post gain/preamp/drive. Currently, I use two stomp-EQs: A Danelectro "Fish'n'chips" (cheap, tiny 7-band eq, with good bypass) and my old, faithful Ibanez PEQ-9, a 3 band eq with parametric mids. Dano has an overall volume adjustment (like the GE7), which makes it good for simply altering the sound without affecting the overall volume, or for a solo boost. On the contrary, Ibanez allows very fine corrections (especially when used on setups with different cabs/speakers), or even very deep alterations, due to the +/-15 dB parametric mids. I like them both, as they are very musical.


Thanks for the responses! I checked out the Fromel, and wow! The aesthetic alone is enough to make me want to buy one, let alone the functionality

Do any of you have any suggestions in the $100 and below range? There doesn't seem to be anything in that range for parametric EQs. Are any of the graphic EQ options worth it?

Thanks again!

– BennytheJet

I use one of these -- Boss EQ-20 Advanced EQ -- modded for $15 so that all the stored presets can be scrolled through via footswitch (which is how its functionality should have been designed in the first place, a mistake that led to its failure in the marketplace). Great piece of gear, long discontinued; prices vary wildly depending on condition, but there are always several available online at any given time.

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