As a guitarist, I share the guilty pleasure of the ultimate tone search. This is the art of buying, replacing, and removing pedals, guitars, and amps on a pretty consistent basis. We are constantly searching for that perfect tone that comes from our rig, and because of that our guitar rig can go through some pretty vast changes. So I wanted to take a moment and look at my pedalboard 3-4 years ago compared to today. Which pedals I removed, replaced, kept, or may wish I had kept over the years. So first take a look at my pedalboard several years ago.
Let's look at what has happened to these pedals over the years.
MXR Smart Gate: (REMOVED) I had a lot of noise from my Les Paul's P90s at the time and I put way more effort into finding the perfect noise reduction pedal than fixing the noise issues inside the guitar. Eventually as I replaced the Les Paul and found better power solutions, the issue went away and so did the Smart Gate.
Ernie Ball VP Jr w/ This1sMyne Mod: (KEPT) The string broke, but other than that it is the same model I have used over the last several years and has served me well. May try the Tapestry Audio or Helweg volume pedal soon though.
Keeley Compressor: (REPLACED) This is a great compressor but very minimal options, which can be good or bad depending on the player. For me I wanted a good amount of soft sustain and this pedal only brought up more noise to accomplish that sustain. I replaced it with the JHS Pulp n Peel and 2 months ago replaced that with the Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor.
Fulltone Full Drive 2: (REPLACED) This is a pretty solid overdrive. The reality is that you could do with just this pedal for your gain stages with the drive as one stage and the boost as another. For me it just wasn't the right kind of transparent tone I was looking for, and now the JHS Morning Glory is in it's place.
Mad Professor Little Green Wonder: (REPLACED) This overdrive did very well for me over the years and was tough to replace. However I wanted something with a little more bit so I tried the JHS Moonshine, JHS Twin Twelve, and eventually landed on the Emerson Custom Paramount. Now I have that consistent transparency in my drive stages, and have that bite I wanted.
JHS Mr Magic: (KEPT) I still have this pedal because it is a sold overdrive and I love the custom paint job. I do not have it on my board right now but it will be back on it soon.
Line 6 Echo Park: (REPLACED) I loved the tone of the DL4 but it did not have dotted 1/8 notes. This gave me an easy go to lead delay that I used regularly. I now have the Strymon Timeline which gives me everything I could ever want into one pedal.
Boss DD-20: (REPLACED) Another replaced by the Timeline. Great digital delay tones and the presets were really helpful but the Timeline again does all this at a much higher level.
Line 6 DL4: (REPLACED) The 3rd delay pedal replaced by the Strymon Timeline. I loved the unique tones you could get out of this pedal. From the tape echoes, swell delay, and reverse delay, this pedal was unique. I didn't get to use it as much as I would have liked, so it made it easier to let the Timeline take it's place.
BBE Sonic Stomp: (REMOVED) This pedal gave that little extra top end that I was looking for to cut through the mix. However I found that with the right settings and guitar/amp combo, I didn't need that extra top end. So eventually I just removed the pedal, and it broke anyways so that made it easier too.
TC Electronics Polytune: (KEPT) Great tuner pedal and helps train you to know which strings are out of tune. One quick strum and you can see which strings are sharp or flat, and in the future it will help when you recognize the tones from out of tune strings while you play. Easy to use and small, can't beat that.
True Bypass Looper This1sMyne: (REPLACED) I loved this true bypass looper but I still found myself dancing to turn off and on multiple pedals at a time. I replaced this with the combination of the Disaster Area Designs DPC8 to have programmed presets for my dry section and their DMC6 to control my Timeline and Big Sky presets via midi. Gives me a ton of flexibility while making it easy to switch between any of pedals.
Cables: Lava Cable (REPLACED) I have tried multiple versions of the Lava Cables, and I am certain that I do not build them too well, but I still need them to work well. I replaced them with soldered cables from Goodwood Audio and they sound clear and are solidly built so I can trust they won't fail on me. So just like a did last week I just measure the lengths I need, add to cart, and in a couple weeks they will make their way from Australia. Absolutely worth it.
Here is my pedalboard today.