New pedals vs. old stompboxes from the edge of the locker

While you are searching for the perfect sound, you browse through forums, read special magazines and follow the manufacturers on Twitter and Instagram. After countless reviews and endless time of waiting after the NAMM product announcement, you can finally try out a new pedal. Just to find out that you’ll have to keep on searching…

But mostly there are some forgotten treasures hidden in the locker that, some time ago have been abandoned from the pedalboard. Re-connecting these pedals regularly causes a big surprise: “Oh, actually, the sound isn’t that bad. I ask myself why I have not used this pedal for a long time?”

Frequently, altered listening habits lead to the elimination of the pedal from the board. By using a pedal for a long time, I get used to the sound and it becomes less surprising and inspiring. If you replace this pedal by another one, the different sound will be somehow new and changed.
But in the end, the excitement will also not last forever. This is the right time to take a look into the locker where you store your discarded pedals.
And also new techniques of playing, extended competences or other variations of the setup may make the old stompboxes sound quite different (click here for more about this issue).


If you like the general sound of a discarded pedal but certain aspects bother you, a modification might be the right way. In this context it is always important to figure out which aspects you don’t like. A generalized “on the internet I have read about the super-duper-extra mod” is definitively not the right solution. Pedals can easily be modified to the wrong direction. That means, that after the mod the pedal lost its character. For example, when the distortion is not as crisp as it has been before, or the low end will be emphasized far too much so that the sound will be booming.
And sometimes you can choose quite cheap parts if you want to add some dirt to the clean signal and get rid of the HiFi sound.
Its always important to modify your pedal little by little. Keep in mind: less is more.


The once rejected overdrive pedal can sound much better if it is used in combination with a booster. The same applied to the tone sucking tremolo. And in this case, you can also think about a small modification.

In the end it is always worth it to keep your old effect pedals and try them again from time to time. This might be much easier and cheaper than buying the latest versions of new pedals. And if you don’t like the old pedal on your board anyway, you might get a good price for it.
One way or another: It can be worthwhile to rediscover the old treasures in the back of your locker…