I wrote an article called “Gear That Has Changed My Life” last year where I talked about various types of gear that have had a huge impact on who I am as a guitarist. But today, I realize that there have been several pedals that completely changed my approach to playing, and I thought that I’d focus on them here.
BOSS CE-2 Chorus – This was the very first pedal I ever purchased, and I also sold it after a few years because I didn’t know any better. Kicked myself frequently until I finally got another one earlier this year. To me, this pedal produces the chorus sound that means “chorus” to me. There are some great ones out there, but this to me is the original and definitive chorus sound. And despite its little quirks, like adding a slight gain boost when activated, I can’t think of a chorus pedal that does it better.
Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay – I’ve had a love/hate relationship with delay pedals over the years. Digital delays always seemed so “processed” and analog delays were always way too dark-sounding to me. I got close to what I wanted with the VOX Time Machine, and I actually still use that pedal for some specific songs. But then I auditioned the Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay, and my prayers to find a delay that I could love all the time were answered! From adding just a touch of ambience to drowning in heavy, pulsating, analog echo, the Deep Blue Delay delivers, all without turning mushy or going dark in character. I got mine before the PCB version came out, so I paid a premium for the hand-wired version at $325. The PCB version is a more reasonable $199 and apparently sounds great (though a touch different according to a well-trusted source). But hand-wired or PCB, there’s nothing like this delay.
Creation Audio Labs Mk.4.23 – I mentioned this pedal in my previous article, but it truly has had a HUGE impact on me as I use it a lot in place of an overdrive pedal to push my amp into distortion. When I want to retain the natural overdrive tone of my amp, the Mk.4.23 is where it’s at for me.
Fulltone OCD – Though I sold this pedal long ago, it was my first “boutique” pedal. Up to then, I’d stuck with the mainstream. It really demonstrated to me that there were sounds beyond the mainstream. Unfortunately – or fortunately depending upon how you look at it – it also was responsible for me to go on a quest to test out other boutique gear. Now I have a lot of it.
DigiTech Bad Monkey – This pedal reinforced the notion that great tone can come cheap. A Tube Screamer clone for sure, the one thing that this has got over the the TS is adjustable bass and treble knobs. It sounds great to boot! I no longer have this pedal as I gave it to a kid in my church band, but whenever I get the inking to spend big bucks on gear, I look back to the Bad Monkey and tell myself that there is great gear out there that doesn’t have to come at a premium in price.
Dunlop Original Cry Baby – This was my very first wah pedal, and up to that point, I had NEVER even considered playing wah. But curiosity got the best of me, and I got a second-hand one at a used gear shop. I still love playing with it now and then, though my main wah is a VOX Big Bad Wah. But the Cry Baby opened a whole new realm of expression; and even though I’m not playing it much, I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.
I’ve gone through so many pedals in my lifetime, and something tells me I’ve missed something. But these are the pedals that come to mind. Care to share and pedals that have changed your life?