Effect pedals interacting with the whole setup

Ask the DudeOne loves the Tubescreamer, the other hates it. It is impossible to keep everyone happy. While to one guitarist the overdrive pedal sounds perfect, stresses the mids in an optimal way and creates the ultimate range of distortion, the same pedal seems hollow with the bass cut quite too much to another guitar player.
Doubtless, on the one hand, it is a question of individual preferences and feeling but on the other hand, the sound of an effect pedal always depends on the guitar and the amplifier it is used with.
Whereas one raves about the enormous gain reserves of an overdrive pedal, another user will only drive the same stompbox slightly into saturation. The decisive difference in this case is, if you are using a guitar with humbucker pickups with a lot of output or weak vintage style singlecoils.

One for all?

This is why generalized statements like “the XY overdrive pedal is the best low gain overdrive ever” or “the analog delay AB is the one that cuts through the mix the best” ought to be appreciated with care. Besides the output of a guitar, the basic character of the instrument is also decisive. The sound of a Telecaster with maple fretboard and ash body will vary from the sound of a mahogany guitar.

And the amp which amplifies the incoming signal will also influence the sound. In front of a Vox amplifier, a pedal will sound definitively different as in front of a Fender or Marshall.

Last but not least, the kind of music you play, and the idea of the perfect sound should also be taken into consideration. While rock music longs for prominent mids and a tube sound, this sonic character can be absolutely wrong for another style of music, other band members and different setups.

You see, there is no effect pedal that is perfect to everyone. And I think, that is as it should be. When a new stompbox is put on the market and the manufacturer alleges that this one is a perfect solution for every guitarist, this is a bad lie – or rather: fake news! It is important to look or listen pretty precisely if a new pedal is suitable for the style of music you play and your very own setup. Of course, demo videos may make this pedal sound awesome. And all of the other members of a forum might say that this pedal is exactly what they have been looking for and will stay on their pedalboard for all times. But this does not mean, that you have to use this pedal as well. Mostly, these hyped-up pedals have disappeared from many boards only a few weeks later because they did not sound that brilliant with a certain guitar and amplifier.

The perfect match

If you have found a pedal which is perfect for you, it can stay on your board. Frequently, I read on the internet, that somebody used a pedal for years because it was exactly what he was looking for. But than he found himself forced to get another pedal as everybody else is sooo in love with this new stompbox. No! If you have found a pedal you really like, you ought to use it. This does not mean that you should avoid getting in contact with new pedals but sometimes it is better, not to run after every trend just because all the others do so.

In my honest opinion, it is important to rely on your sensitivity and your equipment and if return from a trip to the world of new pedals quite disappointed, you don’t have to be afraid of saying that there is a pedal you will always love because with your guitar and your amp it simply sounds perfect.

To learn more about how certain effect pedals interact with and may even affect each other, click here.