#1
Greetings all, first post here!

I'm working on a nice versatile pedalboard, and need a bit of advice. I'm currently playing in an alt-country band with my dictated tonal goal being Drive By Truckers, think Santa Fe off 'The Big To-Do' for my standard tone. A little bit dirty but still articulate. I think I have this down between my guitar and amp.

I play a mix of rhythm and lead. A lot of what I do is accents or doubling the lead singer/guitarist, who is either playing an acoustic (75%+) or a clean electric (Tele '72 Custom, stock aside from shielding/wiring mods to clean it up).

Samples of what we play can be found at http://www.crillswilson.com/media.html. Cell song and Grifter are a good example of the range.

I do a decent bit of soloing, split between slide and regular picking. I have a bit of freedom on the solos, as long as I don't get into crazy tapping shreddy stuff, which I generally shy away from anyway.

I play a late 90s American Standard Stratocaster through a Vox AC4TV currently, and I have a Fender Hot Rod Deville 410 I need to re-valve and possibly put back into rotation. I'd love to stick to the Vox, as it's about 400% lighter than the Fender, but you really can't beat the Fender's cleans, headroom, and reverb. Well, I'm sure you can, but they are good enough there's no reason for me to consider getting a new amp until I really have money to burn. I think I'm going to switch to 6V6s to drop the output of the Fender to 30W and swap out the volume pot for an audio taper to make it a bit more usable.

My current rig consists of a Gator Pedal Tote with a stock DS-1 and an MXR Blue Box. I generally use the DS-1 with the volume matched to my clean volume and the distortion all the way down. I plan to mod the DS-1 and tinker with it a bit in order to use it as my "medium" distortion. The Blue Box I never use outside of messing around. I may use it for a solo or so in the future, but it's mainly there because it's an interesting sound to use for solos whenever I need to stand out. I just received a General Guitar Gadgets effects loop pedal, as I want to use mainly true bypass effects kits, but don't want to take the DS-1 and Blue Box off the board until I have something that distinctively takes their place.

My plan for completing the pedalboard consists of adding a reverb, tremolo, and a general modulation pedal. I generally just run clean or distorted, probably 90%+ of the time, but once I have my distortion sorted out, all I would ever use is tremolo, phase, flange, and delay. I use reverb a good deal, but I have the spring in the Fender and have settled on a GGG Reverb for the Vox. I'm not really worried about modulation, I plan to get a Danelectro trem to use until it breaks, just to see how much I use it before dropping serious coin on a better reverb, and an EHX Stereo Electric Mistress, as I figure it will cover all my bases on modulation in one pedal. I have a Line6 DL-4 that I wore out the tap tempo on, and I figure I can get it refurbed for less than I'd spend on any comparable delay. I'm really only typing out this paragraph to put my real inqury in context.

I can't seem to settle on a good distortion and fuzz setup. My main goal is to have 3-4 distortions/fuzzes and a volume boost to use the natural tube distortion in my amps. I'm planning on sticking to the DS-1 as my Tubescreamer style pedal, as I already have one and have no problem tweaking it until I find a sound I like. I'll probably get a BYOC OD-2 in the distant future just for the option of tweaking all the tubescreamer variations without breaking out a soldering iron, but for now a modded DS-1 will do me fine.

I want one more vintage style distortion that won't step on the DS-1 too much. I don't really want two pedals that sound indistinguishable on stage. I almost want to find something as far as possible from the modded DS-1/tubescreamer vibe as possible. I'm going to have a lot of options here, so I'm basically looking for recommendations of something to try that will let me say "I have a DS-1 and X, what other vintage distoritons out there would give me another option." I'm thinking a GGG WHRL (Way Huge Red Llama clone), as it's a nice fuzzy distortion. The GGG DIST kit may be another good option, as it covers all the bases of Distorion+, 250, and Ross. The only other obvious option is a ProCo RAT clone.

The WHRL clone is pretty cheap, so that's my leading candidate, but I'm not sure if I could save money by getting, say a BYOC OD-2 or their RAT clone, both of which have a huge variety of switching and building options (symmetrical, asymetrical, MOSFET, different op amps, etc), one of which may cover the WHRL's tone well enough to make it a waste of money.

I also want a good "heavy" or "modern" distortion. Cranked marshalls are really my goal here. "Heavy" by Collective Soul is a good example of this. From what I can tell they pretty much play straight into Marshalls. "Ain't Talking Bout Love" or "Hot For Teacher" are decent examples of other sounds I'd be looking for, as the Brown Sound, while not my favorite, is a pretty epic example of Marshall tone, and about as "metal" as I'm ever likely to get. I guess older Metallica (Ride the Lightning/Master of Puppets/And Justice For All) are also in the picture, but I rarely get to play that heavy.

Last base to cover is fuzz. I'm guessing from the stickied fuzz thread that I may need two pedals to cover this. I'm equally a fan of the vintage "Keith-Richards-On-Satisfaction" sound and J Mascis in Dinosaur Jr/Billy Corgan (Zero is probably my fav tone ever) tones. Big Muff and Fuzz Face clones seem to be pretty common, but I'm not sure which direction to go. The Big Muff sounds good, but it seems to overlap with distortion pedals and amp overdrive a decent bit. I figure the crazy Dino Jr/Pumpkins fuzz will always be a work in progress. I like the SCEF (Shin Ei clone) and will probably work back from that. I guess a decent middle of the road fuzz is what I'm looking for, maybe that I can dial in with the knobs for now.

So the question I'm posing is which overdrive and/or which fuzz would you put in front of a tube amp in order to start my quest for tone? I'm not willing to spend more than $100, and it looks like $50-60 is as low as you can go without sacrificing quality. True bypass isn't a must (I have the effects loop pedal), but greatly preferred (more options of location on the pedalboard). This is for live work only, as I have plenty of options for amps/effects for studio work.
#2
It's really cool that you're this dedicated, but this is the internet, and on it people do not like words... they like pictures...

As for advice I have to give to you: from personal experience, there's this awesome little Yngwire Malmsteen pedal that boosts treble and gives some upper frequency distortion that sounds really good, great for cutting through and sounding tight (not necessarily good for chugging metal, though)
from word of mouth: I would say investigate something from Fulltone, like the OCD, or maybe a seymour duncan tube distortion pedal, or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfFhgYLblTM
#3
Thanks for the quick response. I do tend to be wordy, I'd like to cut it down, but Sierra Nevada six packs always get me going. Plus I see it as a good filter for people who spend more time on the internet than playing their instruments. I don't expect to get a lot of responses, but as long as I get a few like yours that make intelligent suggestions I'll be fine.

Honestly, I often get as far just in typing it out as I do in the responses.
#4
I really should break this up into a couple of posts. If any mods/experienced members can give me any suggestions that would be great. Probably working on one pedal at a time would be better. Vintage Distortion/Hard Distortion/Fuzz in three separate threads or something. Any responses are still greatly appreciated. I guess "I use this one distortion for everything live" responses would be ideal.
#5
As far as that boost goes, I'm looking at an LPB-1 clone and an Alembic StratoBlaster clone, both from General Guitar Gadgets. Would the Flying Dragon really be worth double+ the price? I'm guessing not.
#6
this is so funny. we are working on prototype designs for modular distortion pedals. the first prototype is a LPB-1 with a crossover and 2 transistors (a can and a silicon), it's sweet. one of the next is a rat and a big muff in a box.

funny.

if you are trying to consolidate, i'd say try an expandora, it scoots the edge of fuzz and distortion pretty well. the expandora is out of production, but you can find them.

big muff clones are pretty cool, but our version will be able to copy most versions of the big muff, with optional values for components (just like the real ones, where parts were harvested from junk electronics and components of particular values were thrown into buckets, later anything in those buckets could be used as that part number... this is what i have heard, and its pretty random for consistency).
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

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