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Editorial: The Pedalboard

In other news: my Pedaltrain 2 has arrived, along with my new Dunlop DVP-1 volume pedal. So, the pieces of my pedalboard are lying around. All that remains is to put it all together into a configuration. Other than the Pedaltrain and the power supply, the components are, in no particular order:

  • Korg DT-10 tuner
  • TC Electronic Spark Booster
  • MXR Phase 90 (block logo)
  • Dunlop Crybaby wah (limited edition white painted)
  • Dunlop DVP-1 volume pedal
  • TC Electronic Shaker Vibrato
  • MXR Carbon Copy analog delay

The vibrato and delay will go into the effects loop of the amp, the other five before the input. Cable cornucopia! The tuner will likely be connected to the tuner out of the volume pedal, unless I prefer the sound of its buffered input. More than that, I haven’t really figured out exactly in which order to put the pedals. The one thing I know is that I want to keep the phaser before the amp input, because I’ve yet to hear a phaser that sounds good after distortion. (Edit 16 March: accidentally wrote BEFORE distortion. Oops!) The vibrato does sound pretty cool before distortion, but the delay sure as hell doesn’t. Keep the regeneration and mix above 9 o’clock and it immediately turns to mush.

One thing that strikes me is that this pedalboard is not that different from what Hendrix would have used. That is entirely intentional. Listen back to those albums from 1967 and onwards, how the great players experimented with tones. Other than the really saturated modern metal tone, all the basic rock tones were already discovered before 1972. Before flangers, before choruses. In those days, there were Leslies, wahs and phasers, which are effects that simply feel more organic to me. Believe me, I have an incredible itch for a proper fuzz and a Uni-Vibe!

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Posted by on 15 March, 2014 in editorial, gear

 

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Review: Warwick Rockcase pedalboard

The Warwick Rockcase is a large-format, small-capacity pedalboard. You pay less than for other brands, and barely get what you pay for.

Pedalboards are no fun. They are not gadgets and they add nothing to my sound. They are simply necessary, for organization and protection purposes. Therefore, a good pedalboard should be able to perform the following tasks: 1) protect my pedals during transport, 2) allow me to fill the board from edge to edge with pedals, and 3) act as a solid platform on which to operate the pedals.

The Rockcase failed at all three, which I will now show:

1. The Velcro on the bottom of the pedals came undone and when I opened the case at the destination, all my pedals were in a big pile at the bottom. I could attribute this to the summer heat, since it did happen only once. Still, it was annoying.

2. Even though it’s a fairly large pedalboard, you can’t actually use its entire surface to mount pedals. The edges (or lips, or whatever you call them) are too tall. If you place a pedal too close to the edge, the cable sticking out of the jack will hit the edge (or lip), making it impossible to mount the pedal flush to the surface of the board. Angled plugs get you closer, but not all the way. There is no way around that the effective mounting area is way smaller than the apparent dimensions of the board. You’re basically just carrying and stowing lots of air.

3. The surface of the board gives when you push on pedals, especially when activating a wah pedal. I don’t know if this stresses the material badly enough for long-term problems, but it sure is distracting and hardly the mark of quality.

To close out the review, let me tell you about the build quality. I hadn’t even left the rehearsal room before one of the little rubber feet on the bottom had come off. After subjecting the board to the torturous test of three gigs in eight months, one of the metal corners had disappeared. I cannot even begin to imagine what the rigors of regular rigging would do with this board, let alone touring.

The Warwick is therefore not recommended for any level of musician. Steer clear and spend a little bit more money on something that actually works.

 
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Posted by on 19 April, 2013 in gear, review

 

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