Nothing beats a good tear down and rebuild of the old pedalboard. With a few diverse gigs on the horizon and fresh acquisitions in the last year, Mick went back to square one with a full pedalboard redesign. With that black velcro canvas staring back, he journeyed us through a new arsenal that conjured sounds from subtle to epic and everything in between. So what were some of the highlights of the gear set on the new board?
Things that Go Roar (Gain and Overdrive)
It goes without saying, but if you have a signature pedal, it’s probably going to be the anchor of your overdrive. Not surprisingly, the Keeley D&M Drive was front and center. (If you haven’t explored this brilliant orange box, check out our review here). As a twofer with multi-directional stacking capability, the D&M Drive provided boundless options for gain engineering.
When Mick needed to tailor his signature sound with a bit more push, he called on the Klon Centaur next door. “The Klon’s got that real upper-mid thing. That, for me, defines the Klon sound.”
If some combo of these pedals still wasn’t cutting it, Mick called in some fuzzy reinforcements from the Thorpy FX Warthog. The range of this pedal means it can boost, cut, and pierce through a mix without losing definition or clarity of the distortion.
The question everyone’s asking, however, is do you need this many overdrive sources on a single board? As Dan commented, “You just get different textures when you stack them,” which is particularly the case “when switching in between guitars…you’ve found pedals that work with everything and the amps.”
Things that Repeat (Echo and Delay)
Mick’s echo and delay needs also extended beyond one pedal. This time it was a tag-team between the full-featured, digital Free The Tone Flight Time and the old-school under the hood Analog Man ARDX20.
As Mick noted at the beginning of the segment, “I love both of these delays for different reasons. The ARDX 20 is just a beautiful sounding delay.” Mick used this pedal for a lengthier delay to add space and dimension to his playing. If you’re looking for an analog delay that puts you in the neighborhood of a vintage bucket-brigade sound but with modern appointments, check out the MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe, JHS Panther Cub, or Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall.
The Flight Time was set tighter, with a bit of slap back to provide some company for riffs, lead lines, and solos. “This one is much more hi-fi,” noted Mick, “what I like about this pedal is that every single [parameter] on is available on the top panel.” For a similarly diverse and dynamic digital delay that you don’t need a degree in aerospace engineering to explore, check out the Seymour Duncan Andromeda or, my personal favorite, the Boss DD-7.
Things that Go Wobble (Modulation)
With the roars and echoes sorted, the only thing left was modulation. Here too, Mick made the most of his pedalboard real estate with a number of modulation options.
The Boss DC-2w Dimension Chorus pedal is the latest launch in the Waza Craft series and instantly won a place on Mick’s board. This pedal has the sounds of the sought after rack-unit of yesteryear, all of which are selectable with four pushbuttons. Dan chimed in, “It’s just superb sounding…it’s just magical.” The signature sound of the effect is created by two modulated chorus, with one flipped out of phase and blended back in. With this pedal you get all the brilliance of the 1980s accessible underfoot.
The Supro Harmonic Tremolo was another one of Mick’s main modulation sources. After hearing a few riffs played in tandem with the Klon, Dan had a simple summary: “That’s just heroic!” If the world of harmonic tremolo is beyond the effects terrain you typically traverse, give it a go with the EarthQuaker Night Wire or Walrus Monument.
Whether it’s a complete pedalboard rebuild or a partial renovation, enlist us for assistance in the project. We’ve got everything you need to reimagine your pedalboard. From the foundation of Pedaltrain boards, power supplies to get everything fired up, and patch cables to connect it all, Riff City has you covered!
TPS Rig Rundown:
Guitars: Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335, Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster, Collings 290 DCS, Paul Reed Smith Silver Sky.
Pedals: Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah, Boss TU-3S Tuner, Analogman Sun Face BC183 Fuzz, Fulltone Octafuzz, Thorpy FX Warthog, Keeley D&M Drive, Klon Centaur, Boss DC-2w Dimension C, Analog Man ARDX 20 Dual Analog Delay & Amazeo, Free the Tone Flight Time Digital Delay, Supro Tremolo, Neo Instruments Mini Vent II.
Amps: Two Rock Classic Reverb Signature with Two-Rock 2112 cabinet / WGS12L speaker; Victory V40 Deluxe with 1×12 Custom Zilla cabinet / WGS12L speaker.