Explain Yourself (and your pedalboards), Ben Adrian

I recently cut my pedalboard into two pedalboards.  Previously, I used the size of my pedalboard as my upper limit.  However, I had grown frustrated by ergonomics, not size limitations.  That frustration resulted in this…Image

Every important switch is now on the bottoms or outer edges of the boards.  There is no more stepping over other pedals, which usually led to my clumsy feet changing settings.  Also, it got the volume and the expression pedals on the board.  Before, they had to be set up on the floor.  Finally, it’s nice having the M9 on a separate board, because there are many times when I can just use that and it’s enough.

Some of you may be asking, “why that order?”  It doesn’t seem all that unusual to me, but everything is placed as such for a variety of reasons. 

First off, the Fuzz is first.  It’s a fuzz face variant, and it interacts with the direct connection of the guitar.  When I turn down the volume all the way, I get AM radio.  It’s rad.  I would RATHER have the fuzz after the distortion, but it really does sounds much better first.

The Hotcake is next.  It’s set for just a slight overdrive and boost.  The biggest reason why this is second is because the pedal has an awesome buffer built in.  It’s not true bypass, and that’s great for me.  I need the high quality buffer right there.

The hot cake feeds the volume pedal and tuner in.  I’m the kind of nerd that notices signal losses and tone changes with passive volume pedals.  I would never use the tuner out as well.  However, since the volume and tuner are post buffer, they sound and work great.

Following the volume is the Boss DM-2 Analog delay.  This gets the most questions when nerds bother to notice.  The tradition role is to put delays at the end.  I do that, as I’ll explain later.  However, I began running my analog delays before distortion many years ago.  This accentuated the analog qualities of teh delay when run into a distortion pedal or a distorted amp.  The traditional tape echo sound is the echo placed in front of an amp on the edge.  Plus, when playing single note runs, the compression that comes with the distortion will bring up the echo level until I hit the next note.  The new note will cause the echos to be ducked and squish down in volume.  It works great.

The Ben Adrian Bunnydrive is next.  This is the Distortion that I make, and it’s set for medium gain.  Nothing fancy; just good, reliable tone.

The Freeze is pretty much only used when I play solo guitar.  It’s a ton of fun, but being last also allows me to pull it off the board easily if I know I won’t need it for a gig.  In fact, I could probably pull it off and replace it with a digital delay for certain gigs, and just leave M( at home.  Of course, I’d need to be using an amp with reverb.

The M9 now sits alone on its own board.  This gives me a complicated and awesome digital delay and looping setup, with the expression pedal altering the delay feedback.  I also use this for big, fake reverbs, or for a more subtle verb when I’m using a non-reverb amp.  I’ll also pull in the random phaser or chorus from time to time, and I’ll use it for a lot of looping duties in solo performance.

The whole thing seems like a large and unwieldy setup, and it can look a bit messy, but the end result is two useable, separate units that can Voltron into one big unit that is equivalent to my old big board.

Now excuse me while I plug my Tele straight into my Pro Reverb.