Other Equipment

Expression pedals…Anyone use one?

1

So I searched this topic from quite awhile ago. Nothing there. I'm on the fence about adding one to my pedal board. I'm thinking that since the pedals that I use the most can accommodate an expression pedal, I think that I can get more out of them. Thoughts?

2

Thoughts : I think the current pedalboard phenomenon is pretty funny. It's very impressive how many features manufacturers can stuff into a relatively small pedal these days, and how high the "quality" of those effects are getting.

But I think as for people people populating their pedalboard with all those bells and whistles, there's a pretty big "because they can" factor in there, as opposed to "because they need all those sounds/possibilities" for their music.
Bedroom guitarists have "mission control" boards the Edge could do a U2 gig with, even if they can barely hold a barre chord. Nothing wrong with that, but it is kind of funny.

3

I just use pedals to help support Tavo’s family.

4

I use 2 expression pedals with my Line 6 pod HD500X. The unit has one built in expression pedal, that can be used as a volume pedal and a wah pedal. It can be switched back and forth by pressing the pedal all the way down, until it clicks.

I added a second expression pedal, to avoid the need to switch back and forth on a single pedal. The unit has a 1/4 inch jack for adding a second pedal.

5

I don't play blues so I never make those faces anyway.

6

I'm thinking that the expression pedals are mostly associated with MIDI equipment like Line 6 pod or the Fender Cybertwin.

I have a Behringer FCB1010 foot pedal board that has two foot pedals to handle the Cybertwin expression pedals.

Unless you're working with MIDI, your particular individual fx pedal should have its own foot pedal if needed.

Lee

7

Check out the Source Audio Reflex Universal Expression Controller, a multi control expression pedal that sounds like it would be ideal for pedal boards with lots to control. It will let you dial in the sweep and other things.

Somewhat similar, but without the expression pedal built in, is the Mission Expressionator.

I recall that maybe the ES-8 can do similar things, you put an EXP in and it will send modified controls out. It will send waves out.

The tiny Mooer Expline looks ok, if you need small.

Some expression pedals have a minimum setting, which is good if your pedal doesn’t.

I love control pedals, I have lots of them.

I just bought a Dunlop DVP1XL. It’s nice, it’s huge, smooth. It matches the DVP1 I bought a while ago, except it’s black. The smaller DVP3 and DVP4 would be better suited for most people. I think big is beautiful.

I have these other expression pedals.

Boss FV-500H, M-Audio EX-P? plastic thing.

The M-Audio, like some of the cheap Boss ones, is plastic, but it hasn’t broken and you can get them for $15, cheap enough to try.

The FV-500H, DVP and many other volume pedals have expression outputs. They are worth having as volume pedals, and you can experiment with them as expression pedals.

I have a Morley EP-1 Midi control pedal.

I have two Roland DP-10 continuous damper pedals. They work like an expression pedal with a spring. I’ve got one wired backwards and an adapter I made to switch the other one if needed. They are pretty easy to use, a little touchy. I think you could do the same thing with a continuous hi-hat pedal.

8

Hogman: If interested in reading up on them (past and present) here's an article I wrote a while ago. I spoke at length with various manufacturers, as well as Doug Wimbish and Vernon Reid of Living Colour, who use expression pedals a lot.

Expression Pedal Basics: Take Control! / Premier Guitar

(Looks like some of the videos that were linked in this online version of the article have since been removed from YouTube.)

9

The only pedal I really use is a volume pedal for my Korg BX-3.

10

I do sometimes use expression pedals; they can be crucial for getting the best out of some pedals. And if a builder supplies his pedal with an expression pedal input, it's likely to be a route to new and fresh dimensions in the pedal.

Using them more is a frontier I'm currently exploring.

Most pedals with MIDI let you control ANY knobbed parameter (and sometimes hidden parameters for which there's no hardware control) via a MIDI expression pedal. But those are by no means the only pedals which open up more horizons via expression. Many non-MIDI pedals have expression-pedal functionality, sometimes sweeping a single parameter but often a parameter of choice. An increasing number of pedals fit this category.

I'm admittedly well into pedal mania, and am guilty of not maintaining a gig-reasonable board (though I can play barre chords when I have to and my pedalboards are not technically in my bedroom). I think at last count I have 18 or 20 pedals with expression capability. (Another 10 or 12 if we count MIDI, but that presents a different connectivity challenge along wth tedium of configuration, and I'm not going there yet.)

Having a dedicated expression pedal for every one of those holes is a logistical impossibility: I couldn't effectively manage them physically, even if there was room for them along with the pedalboards at my feet.

Instead I'm using a patchbay just for expression pedal assignment, with the expression jack of every pedal-to-be-controlled AND the expression pedals themselves plugged into jacks on the patchbay. Then I can use patch cords to connect the expedals to the effect pedals I want to control at the moment.

It's something of an undertaking, because most of my pedals are mounted in close quarters, and it takes right-angle low-profile TRS jacks both at the pedals and at the patchbays to connect everything - and the pedalboards are already studies in high-density cabling.

While this setup is more a self-indulgent all-purpose guitar home entertainment system than a practical gig rig, the expression-pedal patchbay COULD be perfectly giggable. You'd just patch the expression pedals you want to use for that gig before the downbeat, and off you go.

With the parts I have on hand now, I'll be able to use expression for up to 8 pedals at a time. I have the M-Audio, two of the plastic Boss pedals, a DOD mini pedal (quite robust), three Hotone Soulpress minis (also metal and robust, currently used as volume pedals, but switchable for wah or expression).

The most interesting expedal I have is the dB Instrument Amps (DUMB name for a company...) E-4. It has four expression outputs, and can control two pedals at the same time in the usual rocking motion, plus another two via a simultaneous side-to-side pivot. I don't know how I'll deploy that, but it will be ridiculous.

I'll look into the Source Audio Reflex and Mission Expressionator, hammerhands. Thanks for the heads-up. nielDa, thanks for the article. I'll take that in.

If you're into this stuff, there's no such thing as knowing too much about it.

11

Hogman: If interested in reading up on them (past and present) here's an article I wrote a while ago. I spoke at length with various manufacturers, as well as Doug Wimbish and Vernon Reid of Living Colour, who use expression pedals a lot.

Expression Pedal Basics: Take Control! / Premier Guitar

(Looks like some of the videos that were linked in this online version of the article have since been removed from YouTube.)

– nielDa

Great article Neil, thanks for the link. I use expression pedals, and this article really got me thinking about how to better use them.

12

Proteus, you’re getting into territory for custom switching.

I like the patchbay idea. I think if I were to build a board I would use either a patchbay rack or a switcher as the basis.

Have you seen the Switch DR? It has been advertised on clearance from Decibel Eleven for a long time. I wonder if there are any left.

I wonder f you could use a digital I/O to control pedals. I know there are hardware CV controllers used in automation.

I was looking at 4 input MIDI control interfaces like Audiofront Midi Expression, but MIDI output control interfaces, I’ll have to look around.

That seems like the obvious solution, from MIDI to expression pedal, but hard to Google.

13

I was a pedal junkie for several decades, until I had a burglary, and over 20 Japanese Boss pedals, and a dozen or so other brands of pedals were stolen (along with several guitars and amps). Fortunately, my high dollar guitars and main amp were at my brothers studio at the time, so at least they didn't get to steal everything. I was in a devistated state of shock, and thought "how in the world do I start over"? To be honest, out of all those different pedals, I only regularly used about half a dozen of them. I had just about every whizzie gizmo donut maker made at the time, but most of them just sat on a shelf gathering dust.

My brothers band had begun to use the Line 6 pod's, and I saw this as a good alternative to get back up and running again. I purchased an HD500, and resently upgraded to the HD500X (for the additional processor power). I still ended up buying a few select pedals, to fill in the gaps. The unit uses one on board expression pedal, and has a TRS jack for an additional expression pedal.

Now enter my new Boss Katana 100 watt 2x12" amplifier. It truly is all the rave! I have access to 58 different Boss effects (downloadable), with up to 15 on board simultaneously. The amp is controlled by a 6 button (dual function) foot controller that has two expression pedal inputs. I had always shied away from solid state amplifiers in the past, preferring tube amps. But Roland (Boss) very successfully emulates the characteristics of a tube amp, in the Katana series, and I just can't say enough good things about the Katana amplifiers.

One of the coolest features is the ability to store up to 8 panel (knob) settings, which can be called up by the foot controller. They also provide a power selector switch, to give the amp 1/2 watt, 50 watts or 100 watts output. The 1/2 watt setting is perfect for living room practice, the 50 watt setting is for small venues and the 100 watt setting can blast out 120 decibels of ear deafening sound. They topped it off with a pair of Waza Craft custom 12" speakers, purportedly modeled on Celestian Greenbacks. It is an incredibly versatile amplifier, that is very intuitive and user-friendly.

I'm very happy with my new rig, and although the burglary sucked raw eggs, it did steer me into the 21st century of guitar gear. I know this a thread about expression pedals, and yes I do use them. I felt the need to share how and why I modernized my set up, to include the use of expression pedals. I also love spreading the word about the Boss Katana amplifiers. I'm absolutely amazed by how good they sound, and what a tremendous bang for the buck they are. Thanks indulging me my friends.


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