#1
Are boutique pedals a rip off? Are they really that much better than affordable ones like Boss? Most drive pedals I've heard sound either the same or only slightly different from each other. Anyone well educated about these kinds of things?

I can think of only a few pedals that have their own distinctive tone. The Big Muff has more low end than most other pedals, Boss drives tend to have a sort of blandness to them and abrasiveness that I'm not too fond of. And when it comes to these expensive boutique pedals they all sound the same to me, and I've never been able to dial in a sound I liked with them. The bass is always too loose.
Last edited by andersondb7 at Nov 3, 2015,
#2
Are they better? That is really up to the individual. I think the main thing of why people go away from Boss pedals is because they are not true bypass. But other than that it really is preference, budget, build, etc. Often people do think "boutique" (or at least more expensive pedals) are worth the money for the sound. Some people are satisfied with lower-price units and that is fine too. Although I would be one to argue they could sound better if they got a better unit...
Last edited by Will Lane at Nov 3, 2015,
#3
I just recently was on a bit of a search for the ultimate OD for my rig (RM!00 with SLO modules). Here's what I bought/built:
TS808 clone
Bad Monkey
Green Rhino
Soul Food
Toyroom OD+ (basically a Boss OD1 with a nice tone control)
Timmy

I actually really like the OD+, followed closely by the Timmy. The best of the Tubescreamer variants was definitely the Green Rhino.
The Toyroom OD+ is what you'd call boutique but it was actually rather cheap. What have you been looking at? Some boutique stuff is TGP overpriced wankerism, some is no more expensive than mass produced stuff, even cheaper at times.
It depends largely on what you expect to get out of the pedal. ie. do you want a transparent boost, one that cuts the bass, one that adds it's own distortion? What are you chasing?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 3, 2015,
#4
Quote by Cathbard
I just recently was on a bit of a search for the ultimate OD for my rig (RM!00 with SLO modules). Here's what I bought:
TS808
Bad Monkey
Green Rhino
Soul Food
Toyroom OD+ (basically a Boss OD1 with a nice tone control)
Timmy

I actually really like the OD+, followed closely by the Timmy. The best of the Tubescreamer variants was definitely the Green Rhino.
The Toyroom OD+ is what you'd call boutique but it was actually rather cheap. What have you been looking at? Some boutique stuff is TGP overpriced wankerism, some is no more expensive than mass produced stuff, even cheaper at times.
It depends largely on what you expect to get out of the pedal. ie. do you want a transparent boost, one that cuts the bass, one that adds it's own distortion? What are you chasing?


Cathbard, thanks a ton for your suggestions.

Ideally, for me, I'm looking for something that will run a sizable amount of drive without sacrificing its quality of tone. Enough gain to do hard rocking style guitar. Has fat yet tight bass, non-abrasive highs, is versatile enough for all rock styles.
Last edited by andersondb7 at Nov 3, 2015,
#5
Buy a Timmy
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#7
When it comes to dirt, there are many ways to skin a cat.

I personally prefer squishy (i.e. woofy bass, slightly honky mids, mildly attenuated treble) sounds for most of the shit I play, so fuzzes, or boosted low headroom amps is where I get my dirty sounds. Higher headroom and attenuated low-freq harmonics would be the opposite of that effect. Which is what a lot of overdrive pedals offer.
#8
better can be very subjective. i will say that there are a ton of overdrives out there and i personally own 3 different ones. some of the boutique ones are very well made and do offer sound that is rarely found in production units. whther it's that much "better" is anothe story and again subjective.

i have a chinese knockoff Tubescreamer that makes a nice throw it in the case pedal as it is a mini. sound is actually pretty good and certainly fine for practice or jams.

i also use a digitech Hardwire CM-2 which was a mainstream answer to boutique pedals. for a tubescreamer style pedal it is excellent and offeres better tone shaping than a regualr TS. good workhorse pedal especially for more metal type tones

lastly i use a T-Tex Crunchy Frog. this is a low end boutique pedal. it offers a seperate clean boost function which comes in handy for sure. it also offers a degree of touch sensitivity not found in the other pedals. for music that requiers a great amount of picking dynamics it's hard to beat.
#9
A lot also depends on the amp you run it through.
What may sound like angels singing on a Fender Twin Reverb may sound like ass on a Vox AC30.
Regardless of manufacture.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Nov 3, 2015,
#11
Quote by CodeMonk
A lot also depends on the amp you run it through.
What may sound like angels singing on a Fender Twin Reverb may sound like ass on a Vox AC30.
Regardless of manufacture.


very true
#12
pretty much what cath and codemonk said

some stuff is worth the price, some stuff is glorified clones
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
#13
To my mind, the better boutique pedals will be cleaner, more flexible or just better overall than their mainstream cousins.

Some are just marketing BS, though.

The main benefit of the mass-market pedals is dependability. Not necessarily that each such pedal is going to be more reliable than the boutique version (which may cost 4x more), but that IS possible. What I mean is that you can go into almost any music store in the world that sells electric guitar gear and find Boss and a few other brands.

Think of what that means if you're a gigging musician on a tour, and your favorite phaser dies: if it is from a 50 pedal limited run made by Unobtanium-Unicorn Pedals with rare NOS Russian mil-spec parts, you may be S.O.L. trying to replace it. If its a Boss product, you might be able to find half a dozen replacements in a 15 minute drive from your hotel.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#14
Are you relying on the pedal for your main overdrive, or are you using in front of an amp that already has good overdrive? What pedals have you used? What are you trying to achieve (genre or even a guitarist similar to the sound you want)? There's no one single way to achieve overdriven sounds and whether or not the pedal is boutique or mundanely common is irrelevant to whether or not it just simply works. I've heard $60 pedals that were great and $300 pedals that make me want to sell everything to get.
Fender Telecaster
DeArmond M series
Vox Night Train 15 head w/Weber loaded 1x12
Dunlop DVP3 Volume (X)
Klone circuit/Russian Big Muff 2in 1
Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET
TC Electronic Nova Delay
TC Electronic Nova Repeater
Line 6 M5
#15
For me, for instance, I have a TS-808 RI, TS9DX, and a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET (Fulltone was considered boutique at one time, many years ago).

I rarely run the Ibanez pedals on their own, usually to push my Box of Rock or FD2.
With those, my chain is TS9DX > TS-808 > BoR > FD2
The Fulldrive however, I will run on its own, with its gain maxed, and it sounds glorious all by itself (Rush's "Working Man" tone is right there).
The TS-808, gain is at 0 - 2, the TS9DX, gain about halfway.
The Ibanez pedals, I just don't care for on their own on my AC30, but for me, they work great pushing something else.

The TS-808 RI and TS9DX might sound great by themselves on a Fender (ALA SRV), but for me and my AC30, they don't sound that great to my ears all by themselves.

And I have my amp set for the legendary "Vox Chime", a bit below breakup (most of the time).
I like to throw a lot of arpeggios in when doing rhythm and that chime sounds great when doing that.

An amp, and where its set, can make all the difference between the same OD sounding great and sounding crappy.

A lot of people rave about the Boss DS-1 with the Keeley mods, but for me, it just doesn't work.
Which is why I can see it sitting on a self on my closet right now.
Someday, I plan to put it back to stock, and starting from scratch, come up with my own mods for it to, IMO, better suit an AC30.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

One of the advantages (out of possibly many, or possibly none), of buying a boutique pedal, is the one-on-one customer service is supposed to be better.
PaulC, maker of the Tim and Timmy pedals is very well know for outstanding customer service.
Sadly, that's not always the case.
Some boutique pedal builders may ignore you after they have your money, and some will bend over backwards to make sure you are a thoroughly satisfied customer.
And large scale manufacturers are no different really, although many will take the ignore route, or give you an RMA number and tell you to send it in... most of the time, though not always.
The large scale manufacturers are more likely to just send out a replacement.
A boutique builder is more likely to do a repair job on your pedal. Which can be both a positive and/or a negative.
Like there may be other issues with the pedal other than the one that gave you the reason to send it in in the first place.
Last edited by CodeMonk at Nov 4, 2015,
#16
Quote by sg4ever
Are you relying on the pedal for your main overdrive, or are you using in front of an amp that already has good overdrive? What pedals have you used? What are you trying to achieve (genre or even a guitarist similar to the sound you want)? There's no one single way to achieve overdriven sounds and whether or not the pedal is boutique or mundanely common is irrelevant to whether or not it just simply works. I've heard $60 pedals that were great and $300 pedals that make me want to sell everything to get.


I want to avoid buying another amp. I have a vox ac15cc2 right now, and it'd more affordable to just find a good drive pedal and plug it into that instead of paying for another amp. But I need something that will sound as close to a good high gain amp as possible.
#17
Quote by andersondb7
I want to avoid buying another amp. I have a vox ac15cc2 right now, and it'd more affordable to just find a good drive pedal and plug it into that instead of paying for another amp. But I need something that will sound as close to a good high gain amp as possible.


For some nasty dirt, a Rat is well regarded as a great pedal for a Vox AC amp.
I don't own one myself, so I'm just going by the suggestions of other people.
Someday I will though.
A Suhr Riot is another pedal on my list to try out.
Another OD pedal that gets a lot of positive feedback for a Vox AC amp is the Crowther Hotcake.
Thats another one on my "I want to try it someday".
I think I may have all the parts to build one already.

I really like the Zvex Box of Rock with my AC30.
Its not really what some would consider "High Gain", but it works for me.
Its a "Marshall In A Box" pedal (JTM45 to be more specific).
Last edited by CodeMonk at Nov 4, 2015,
#18
Pedals I liked when using them in conjunction with AC30s

EHX Soul Food
EM Drive/Paramount
MI Audio Crunchbox (more marshall in-a-box than OD)
Crowther Hotcake

However, best bet is to see if there's a bunch you can try and see what you like!

Gibson Les Paul Traditional Satin
Fender 72' Thinline Telecaster
Fender Am Telecaster
Bad Cat HotCat 30R



Korg Pitchblack
Xotic BB Preamp
TC Flashback X4
Strymon Timeline
EHX POG 2
JHS Double Barrel