If you are like most guitarist’s you have or have had, more than a practical amount of guitar effects at one time or another. Like most sufferers of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), I have more than my share. I have found that part of the allure of effects is the constant research, demos, forums etc that bind our infectious community together. The result for me is an ever growing amount of pedal boards for specific task’s because for us, let’s face it, one board is simply not enough!
In my Music "Man Cave", I have at my disposal a plethora of guitars, effects and amps (just like I’m supposed too.) I can entertain myself for hours just copping the tones of my favorite artists. But what about when it actually comes time to play a gig? It only took a few times of tearing apart my home rig and hauling a massive pedal board around before I began to think in terms of efficiency and economy. So then the question of “what pedals do I really need to pull off an average gig?” needed to be answered.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of parting with any of my beloved effects, after all, the possibility that some one of interest, “say, Jeff Beck” for instance; may call me for a gig some day and I will need every single one of them! Until then I offer this line up as the sacred 5, all which fit nicely on a small, 1 row pedal board.
1# Pedal Tuner: Let’s start here, I play in standard tuning as well as open G, open E and drop D, and while I usually bring extra guitars, I still do a lot of retuning. I wouldn’t leave home without it.
#2 Overdrive: I have used 1 overdrive many times and varied my gain with the guitar volume knob, but I, like many, prefer a combination of drive and distortion. The ModTone Dirty Duo is my go to pedal for this. http://www.modtone.net/
#3 Delay: This is an absolute essential pedal for adding spacious texture to solos, and if I bend out of tune you won’t notice it too much.
#4 Wah: This one is too fun to leave at home. When my brain goes dead and my solos suck, this can make it seem not so bad.
#5 Compressor: This one isn’t for everyone, but I never turn mine off. It’s not so much the compression that I’m after but I love the percussive attack and sustain it adds to notes when I am playing clean or when I’m “Chicken Pickin”. If you are doing country covers you will want this one with you.
Please feel free to comment on your favorite 5. And when in doubt remember, “Get 2 of each!”