Pedalboards have become just as important to electric guitarists as the very amps they play on. Having the ability to culminate a multitude of individual effects to one place is pretty amazing. These different effects can really help you create tones and textures that are impossible to do with just a guitar and an amp. In some cases, these effects provide us with sounds that were only once attainable in high dollar studios.
Pedalboards come in all shapes and sizes with the tonal possibilities being endless. Some guitarists run just a few pedals…while other guitarists have run out of space and are considering buying another pedalboard to house their additional effects! But this begs the question; do we need all these pedals?
There is a point when you can have too many pedals. But how does one really measure that?
One way to know if you have too many effects pedals is to see how much you “pedal dance”. This is when you are turning each effect on and off. If you find yourself “dancing” more than 4 to 5 times on each song you play…you might be running too many pedals.
Novice guitarists have to look down frequently at what they’re playing. As an intermediate to seasoned guitarist though, you shouldn’t be looking down at your feet. You should be engaging your audience. I had a friend record our band once and I took a look at the video to see how we did. The first thing I noticed was that I only looked up twice during an entire song. I was far too focused on clicking on and off all the effects I was running during that set. Having too many pedals will have you looking down instead of up.
Pedals have knobs. Knobs get turned. When knobs get turned they change your tone. Part of your soundcheck as an electric guitarist is making sure that ALL your effects are properly dialed in. I can’t tell you how many times I would spend over 5 minutes tinkering with my effects just to get all the levels and sounds right before a worship service. Sure I could skip checking them…but that would also mean when it came time for me for me to engage my overdrive for a lead its level would be too low and not cut through the mix. The more pedals you have, the more setup it takes.
The two times rule
You need to be honest with yourself. If you haven’t used a pedal at least two times in a month the chances are you probably don’t need it on your board. Having unused pedals which cost hundreds of dollars is simply a waste of money and space on your board. Not to mention, each pedal you add to your chain is sucking the tone right out of your guitar. Fewer pedals equal more tone. After all, you didn’t spend all that money on your guitar just to have its tone sucked away did you?
Pedals off the board
Just because you take a pedal off of your pedalboard doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. Put your unused pedals somewhere you can quickly access them for a rainy day. You never know when you may want to dust off that flanger or maybe your old fuzz pedal to use for a particular song. It’s fun to surprise people with these things. But if you don’t end up using them after a year I think you’d be better off selling them to purchase something you’ll actually use.
That all being said…the simplest pedalboard is NO pedalboard. If you find yourself hardly using effects or you mainly play rhythm, you may be the ideal candidate for this. If this is describing you, check out Why I ditched my pedalboard.
Prepare For Worship. A resource provided to you by WorshipTrac.