8 Mistakes With Guitar Pedals

(upbeat music) – Hey guys, how’s it going?
It’s Nate Savage here, and Sweetwater just sent
me this awesome pedalboard full of boutique overdrive pedals that they used in their epic video with Rob Scallon on creating
the world’s largest pedalboard. If you haven’t seen that video, check out the link in
the description below. Anyway, this board
actually got me thinking, “Man, I have made a lot of
mistakes with the guitar effects and pedalboards over the years.” So I wanted to share with
you my eight biggest mistakes that I have made with
effects and pedalboards. That way, you can avoid
them when you’re chasing your absolutely perfect
tone for your guitar, and if you want to win
one of these pedals, just wait to the end of the video, I’ll show you how to do that. Also, Sweetwater is giving
away some pedalboards too, and if you want your
chance to win one of those, stick around. So if you’re just getting started with electric guitar or pedals, they’re not as intimidating
as you’d think. The big key here is to remember that there are really no rules
and experimenting with pedals is the way to get good
sounds out of your gear. Speaking of gear, the
amp I’m playing through, just so you know what you’re listening to, is just a Peavey Classic
30 mic’d up with a SM57 and a Royer over there. I’ll be going through my
humble little pedalboard here for all the sounds. Okay, the first mistake that
I made with my effects pedals, and I did this mostly because the touring situation I was in, I had just a backpack and my guitar, so I couldn’t carry a pedalboard, but the biggest mistake
that I regret over the years is using a daisy chain and
a power supply like this. There’s nothing wrong with these if you’re just at home
running two or three pedals, but as soon as you go out on the road or start adding more pedals, the biggest problem with these is they are going to introduce noise to your signal at some point, so that’s gonna really kind of degrade your sound a little bit, and they’re not the most
reliable things in the world. I probably own three or four of these. I’m not even sure if
this one works anymore. When the best solution
would’ve been for me to get a really good isolated power
supply like this 1 SPOT that I’ve had for years. It’s probably about the same price as buying three or four of these, and it’s gonna sound a lot better. Another thing you might want to do as far as power is concerned, just throw a couple of 9
volt batteries in your bag. They’re always a good backup. Number two, using too much
cable in between your pedals or using poor quality cables. Those are all things that might contribute to noise or a bad signal, and just kind of suck the
life out of your tone. I have three pedals here, all powered with this daisy chain and way too much cable in between. This is a 100-foot cable right here. That’s just ridiculous,
but listen to this. (humming) That’s my clean sound; it’s already noisy. When I kick this on, (loud humming) super noisy, and this guitar
has humbuckers on it– (guitar music) Sounds great when you’re
playing, but as soon as you– (humming sound) kick that off or you know, have some kind of quiet time
when you’re not playing, it starts to sound pretty bad, and I know we can’t all go out there and buy the most expensive cables, but get what you can
and do the best you can and try to keep things neat and tidy. It’s a lot less chance
the thing will go wrong and sound noisy for your board. Number three, general pedal order, and this is by no means a rule, but it is kind of a nice place to start, and this is really the general
consensus for everybody, kind of in the online community,
for setting pedals up, but it really doesn’t mean anything. The main thing here is
you have to experiment with what you want and the sound you want with your own gear. A really good rule of thumb
here is what I call DDR; it’s Dance Dance Revolution. I’m just kidding. It’s drives, delay, reverb, and that’s like the most basic one. If you can remember that,
it’s a good starting point. Put your drives first, so
overdrives, distortions, delays, and then reverbs at the end. Now, I use the reverb on
my amp most of the time just because I like that, but I have an amp right
here with no reverb, so when I do have reverb, I usually put it at
the tail end of things, and if you have more pedals,
different types of pedals, a little bit more detailed
order would be wahs and volumes, or tuners at the beginning, then you have a compressor
maybe, before your drives, then your drives, and then any
kind of time-based effects, like chorus, delay, reverb. A lot of people put phasers and flangers at the beginning before drives, so that’s something you may
want to experiment with too, but the important thing is that you find out how your gear works, and we’ll get to this more later, but find out what specifically
you like in your gear and what order things sound best for you and for what kind of music you play. This one is near and dear to my heart because, well I’ll show
you in just a second. Number four is stacking order, or the mistake I made
was not experimenting with the stacking order of drive pedals. It’s a really cool way to
get a lot of different sounds out of the gear that you have, and I have these 10 pedals
here that are just awesome, nice boutique pedals, and you may not like the way one sounds running into another. Let’s say, you’re coming into
this pedal, into this one, and you have both of them on, and you just don’t like
the way they sound. Well, one thing you might
want to experiment with is putting them in a different order to get a completely different sound, and a really good example of that is these two pedals right here, this TS808 and this
OCD, this is a new one. My old one had been on my
pedalboard for probably 15 years, these two pedals, and they’re like my
go-to bread and butter, and if you swap them, if
you put the OCD first, they sound completely
different than they would if they were the way I
prefer to have them set up, so let me just give you a sound, (humming) or a taste of what they sound like, so here’s the Tube Screamer on its own– (guitar music) And if I wanted to stack the OCD with it, just to give it another level of gain, it’s a really cool way
to get some nice sounds. (guitar music) And the cool thing about that is you get to get creative with
it and experiment for yourself, and that’s why I’m sitting
on the floor for this video. This is where guitar players sit when they’re figuring
out their pedals in a fix because you’re gonna have
stuff all over the place, plugging things in, unplugging things, experimenting to get the
best order for your pedals, and different sounds by stacking them, or you know, putting the
order a little bit different. Number five, not fully experimenting with the pedals that you have. Oftentimes, if I’m trying out, let’s say a new pedal from this port, I may plug it into an amp and be like, “You know what, I don’t like this pedal. I’m just gonna dismiss it,” when I could really be
missing out on something because it could be the pedal to unlock some kind of magical tone for a song, or just my sound in general, and not experimenting
fully with what you have is really an opportunity to miss out because some pedals sound great into the clean channel of an amp, some pedals sound great into
the drive channel of an amp, some pedals sound great with humbuckers, some pedals sound great with single coils, but not experimenting with your pedals and seeing what they can really do in a lot of different contexts, you’re kind of ripping
yourself off when you do that, especially when you lay
down money for a nice pedal, but I’m just gonna throw on
this OCD pedal right here, and I’m gonna just show you what it sounds like with humbuckers and then with single coils too. (humming) (guitar music) So, two very different sounds. You may like that with humbuckers, and maybe it was a little
too bright or shrill if you split it into a single coil, if you use a Strat or something like that, but experimenting with
that and finding what combinations of things
work really well together. There’s a big part of growing
your tone with guitar effects. Mistake number six that
I made for a long time, and I thought I was just
bad at using delay pedals, I thought I sucked at it,
but it wasn’t the case, this mistake was running loads of gain through a delay pedal
into the front of an amp. It just sounded muddy and garbled to me, and I could never figure out why, but the reason– you know, you aren’t going
to have the necessary-less of a pin here as far
as your taste and tone, but I liked delay and reverb a lot better if I was using pedals through the effects loop of the guitar amp, especially if I was
using a lot of distortion directly from the amp or if I was using a lot
stacking gain pedals through the front of the amp. Let me even let you hear what
the difference sounds like between running the delay
through the front of the amp with a lot of gain and
then running the delay in the effects loop with a lot of gain. So here’s the gain channel of the amp with the delay run right
into the front of the amp (guitar music) It gets really washy really quick, and let me change this over to where it’s the clean channel of the amp with the drive pedals going into the delay and then into the front of the amp. (guitar music) So to me, that sounds a
little less washy already. I did not change the
delay settings at all. Let’s see what the
effects loop sounds like. So, I have one cable right here. I’m gonna put it into the
send of the effects loop, and that’s sending signal
so it’s going to go to the input of whatever
the first pedal in my line that I’m putting in the effects loop, which is my delay and
then goes into reverb and then it goes out. The output comes back
around here to the return, and that’s how you use an effects loop. So all of my time-based effects, like reverb and delay right
here that I have going, are going post all the
other pedals and all the EQs and pre-amp section here. So, I’m coming into my volume
pedal with a just guitar cable and then I come through my drive pedals, and then drive pedal output, my last one, goes to the input of the amp. And that’s the setup I’m
running with right now. Here’s what delay, a lot
of delay, sounds like with an overdrive, an OCD,
through the front of the amp. (guitar music) That’s probably my
favorite way to do this. The delay just doesn’t, it’s
not as obnoxious and clanging. Let me show you what this sounds like when I use the drive on the amp. (humming) (guitar music) So there are four different ways, if you have an effects loop on your amp, that can experiment with different sounds. I thought those all sounded
pretty drastically different. It took me a long time to decide how I like to run this stuff just because I didn’t
know about effects loops or the best way to run
time effects like delay. (guitar music) So that’s a great example of
using way too many effects and too much gain on an amp setting. It’s so loud, comes through the amp too. So, tip number seven is
don’t use too much effects, or just don’t overdo them. I have a lot of reverb, a lot of delay, a lot of gain on here, and the overall tone wasn’t bad, but it’s just really garbled, so maybe go for more moderate settings. I’m turning my delay on down there, I’m using a little bit less gain here, and I’m gonna go turn the
reverb on my amp down. Just a second. Okay, I didn’t change
anything as far as EQ, just turned everything down a little bit as far as intensity with
the effects and overdrives. (guitar music) And it’s the same tone
characteristics and everything, but it’s a lot more
decipherable, a lot clearer. Probably the biggest
offenders from experience, as far as putting too much of
something into a guitar sound, are delay, number one, and then number two, to me, would be gain. Using as little, the little, the littlest, amount of gain as possible on your tones is a really good way to
keep them clean and clear, and just using enough
delay that’s appropriate for whatever type of music you’re playing is a good rule of thumb to go by. The last one and the biggest one that I have been guilty
of for such a long time is depending on your pedals
to make you a better player. If you go and buy new
pedals, they’re gonna be fun, they’re gonna be entertaining, but they will not make you a good player, and I am a living proof of that. The only thing that
makes you a better player is spending time with your instrument, setting goals, and working toward them. So those are just some of my guidelines and some of the mistakes
that I’ve made over the years to help you whip your
pedalboard into shape and start to learn how
to use guitar effects a little bit better, and just remember this, there is no magic rule that says how you have to use your pedals, but experimentation is
probably the biggest key to getting the sound that
you want out of your guitar. Alright, now the part that
you’ve all been waiting for, Sweetwater, as I
mentioned, sent this board full of awesome drive pedals that they used in that Rob Scallon video with the world’s largest pedalboard. We’re giving three of these away. All you have to do to enter to win is comment on this video, what is the biggest
mistake you’ve ever made with a guitar effects pedal, or the biggest mistake you’ve
ever seen someone else make? We’ll be choosing three winners at random on September 4th, 2019,
at 12 p.m. Pacific, so be ready for that. We’ll ship it to you; you may have to pay a
little bit of duty on it, but it won’t be much, depending
on what country you live in. Also, if you want to enter to win an awesome pedalboard from Sweetwater, all you have to do is check out the link in the description for this video. Follow it; enter for your chance to win. Thanks so much to Sweetwater
for sponsoring this video, and remember even if you only
have two or three pedals, experiment with them as much as you can with the gear you have to
find your own unique voice with the gear you have. (upbeat music)