Sunday, May 16, 2010

Custom Pedal Boards vs BOSS GT-10

Which is best? Stomp box effects or a multi-effector like the BOSS GT-10? If you are gigging a lot this summer, here's how to make the call. Left Keeley's Fuzz Head and Digitech's - Scott Ian Signature multi effect pedal.

One of the main travel issues bands have to contend with is portability and weight. My acoustic rig consists of: A Fender Passport PD-500, (mixer is built in), an Audio-Technica Wireless Guitar System & AE5400 condenser vocal mic, Fender Wireless Headworn Mic, BOSS Dr. 3 Drum & Bass Machine, T.C. Helicon mic preamps, Martin D-16 and HD-28 acoustic guitars with pick ups, Autoharp with pickup.

My electric rig hauls a: Tech21 NYC Trademark 60 guitar amp, Fender Stratocaster, Keeley Fuzz Head, Keeley Compressor, BOSS Digital Delay, Ibanez WD-7 Wah Pedal OR the BOSS GT-10 with the same mics and sound support systems as listed above. So you can see that I can get most of all the same effects and more in the signal chain that I wish with the BOSS GT-10.

Still there is a place for home grown pedal boards. Most bands either have them custom made or set them up themselves such as the one here below by Jon Falk, a guitarist for the band 40Winx.

Home Grown Pedal Boards

You can see here that Jon has his pedals in the order he prefers and spaced for easy access during the set. The Volume pedal is over on the left but many guitarists have their Wah / Volume pedals on the opposite side of the board on the right. Still this is the beauty of making your own. One size does not fit all and this guitarist's preferences come first. The result? Mr. Falk was hitting his switches with ease and confidence throughout the concert. This band does many classic rock covers from the Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to Neil Diamond to the Black Crowes. When you have to cover that many styles, these pedals are almost a necessity to capturing the original "tone" of the guitar leads. With out them, a cover band could not pull off the "flavor" of the song they are trying to recreate.

BOSS GT-10 Multi-Effector

The BOSS GT-10 offers some of the same options as a custom or hand made pedal board. For example, you can order the pedals in a specific sequence or allow BOSS to do it for you by using one of the factory presets. Notice too that the volume/expression pedal is over on the right. If that is not to your liking, well you're sort of stuck with it!

Another thing that I noted with the BOSS GT-10 is that while many of the 400 + presets are good, they will often vary in volume. You'll be playing Texas Crunch and then switch to another preset and have a huge drop off in volume. So switching effortlessly between presets as shown in the BOSS videos is really just hype. Some of the presets are so much hotter than the others that they can cause major feedback should you want to plug in an acoustic. This even happens when you are trying the ultra clean channels.

The Wrap

You really have to judge for yourself which option is best. I like the fact that the GT-10 is a all-in-one multi-effector with more cabinets, amps, modeling and effects than I'll ever use. Still, it has its limitations. If you can keep it clean and sweet, I would recommend building your own pedal board for the road and powering it with a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power II. This will mean, no surprises and you will most likely be more comfortable finding and hitting the switches you yourself have put in place. Read our down and dirty article on how to build your own pedal board with tips on sequencing your pedals right here: Guitar Pedals Get the Effect & check this video below showing some of the features of the BOSS GT-10.

Eclectic Sound TV's HD Video Demo of the BOSS GT-10


Anonymous said...

Dr. M: Thanks for mentioning my gear! Actually, the pedal on the left is a volume pedal, and not a wah. Every once in a while I shift things around, but for some reason the volume stays to the left - go figure. All of the pedals are held in place with velcro so that they can be moved around and swapped out. They are powered by a Godlyke Power-all, which is a cheap and easy way to get rid of 9 volt batteries.

- Jon

Dr. "M" says.... said...

Hey Jon, great set! Thanks for filling us in on the details of your cool pedal board. I've covered how to make your own pedal board, (linked in this article) but your extra points are very helpful. We hope you enjoyed the GT-10 video and the other great reviews we have here at Eclectic Sound.