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New to the effects world - advice please.

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  • New to the effects world - advice please.

    For the last 25 years I have been playing my acoustic guitars and haven't touched my electric guitars in that time.

    Last month, I started playing the electrics again and want to play more. I want some advice on effects pedals. I last bought an effects pedal in the 1980s (Boss Flanger BF2), so you can image how far behind the times I am.

    If I carry on with the electric, it will be worth me investing in better equipment, but for the moment, I am using an old (but hardly used!) Yamaha SG300, a Rickenbacker 4001 and a Peavey amp. In the meantime, I have been looking at buying a muti-effect pedal. Here are the questions:

    1) The multi-effects pedals look inexpensive against the individual ones (eg: Boss ME-20 Multi-Effects Pedal is $199 vs. indivdual effects at about $100 each). Is this because the individual effects are better? The zoom g1 and g2 are even cheaper.

    2) Do I need all the effects in the multi-effects? Or would I be better off buying two or three to add to the flanger?

    or conversely, would the multi-effects pedal give me the opportunity to experiment before making better decision later.

    Any advice is welcomed.

  • #2
    I'm not a big fan of multi-effects pedals. They never sound as good as standalone pedals to me and I never liked to use all of the effects.

    However it could be a good starting point for you to figure out what kind of effects you like and could use.

    I personally would go with individual pedals.

    What kind of music are you playing on your electric? You may want to start with a fuzz, distortion, or overdrive. Maybe a delay and/or chorus. Depending on what kind of music you play.

    You can buy used and get a lot of these pedals for pretty cheap if you search around a little.

    You can listen to a lot of sound clips online to get an idea of what each pedal sounds like also.


    • #3
      Multi-FX come in several varieties, with the basic split being between analog and digital. Basic digital FX handle all time-based and filter stuff (so, chorus, flanging, delay, reverb, EQ) quite well, but have a harder time responding to instantaneous signal-level changes. So, much of the (often well-deserved) bad-mouthing of digital multi-FX you might see comes from folks disappointed with the distortion tones. Use of a budget digital multi-FX unit (like many of the things that Zoom produces) for the time-based stuff, in tandem with your personal taste in analog distortion pedals, might easily get you the sound you like.

      All-analog multi-FX that use digital switching and patch storage, cna be decent sounding, and provide for easy access to your favourite sounds with minimal fuss. The only thing to be wary of is the sometime awkwardness of trying to combine your preference in a particular effect-type that the multi-FX produces (but doesn't do to your liking) with the multi-FX, and the fact that the order of effects in the smaller more cost-effective units is often fixed.

      For those reasons, individual pedals that allow one to mix and match, and play with the order of effects (or even running them in parallel), are often preferred. Of course, because they require their own individual chassis, jacks, packaging, manual preparation, and power, they are costlier to manufacture and sell. So, your choice of which direction to go in would tend to depend on where you see your priorities lying: inexpensive and convenient, or costlier but flexible.


      • #4
        +1 with Mark. When I got back into playing electric a few years ago I bought a zoom gu2 as it offered digital recording via usb and a copy of cubase le. It helped working out what kind of sound I wanted, although the distortion while sounding good in the bedroom, fell on its arse in rehearsal/live, prompting the search for the best all round distortion/overdrive box (still looking but have settled with a tech 21 gt2) since then I have bought many other pedals (beware Gear aquisition syndrome) overdrives and loopers etc. despite this the zoom is still on my pedal board for the delays and reverbs and quick patch changes between songs, and I can't see any way to replace it. Its the one pedal that always raises an eyebrow from other guitarists as they can't see why have this cheapish piece of plastic has real estate in my rig.


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