I'm basically clueless when it comes to guitar pedals. The only pedal i only use is a MXR Micro amp pedal. I mainly put it in the effects loop to turn it into a boost switch so my solo stands out from the rest of the band. The only problem with this is that my guitar solos always sound dry; even with reverb. Are there any pedals that can make it sound juicy and thick? Any help would be appreciated. If it helps, i play classic heavy metal.
Last edited by tycoonman123 at Sep 7, 2016,
There's all kinds of techniques and tricks. Some are genre dependent. Some are gear dependent.


What gear do you have?

What kind of music do you want to play? Who are some of your favorite guitarists? IOW, who do YOU think sounds good?
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I use a volume boost in the loop as well. I suggest adding an overdrive in front of the amp. Which one is up to you. Personally use a tube screamer, which regardless of which version and how tweakable, all share a common thing of boosting mids and gain/sustain. Pretty universal in most rock/metal genres (for classic metal it's between screamers and the mxr distortion+).
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Last edited by Maidenheadsteve at Sep 7, 2016,
Take that thing out of the loop! That may be your issue. Run it in front of the amp and see if that helps. Also look into adding a delay pedal - the delay can give you some ambiance and take away the dry-ness ( this should go in the loop if your amp distortion is high gain).
I have learned over the course of time and recording that solos need mids oabove anything. I usually dial back mids somewhat for rythm but switch channels on my amp for leads where its eq'd with mids at at least noon. I have had zero luck with tube screamers, boosts and overdrives. Plus when you increase the mids you really start to see the personality of the amp cone through ie: tone.
I think you probably need analog delay, I use Modtone MT-AD which is cheap and on mid settings adds that extra dimension and lushness. MXR Cabon Copy is also another great option.
Last edited by diabolical at Sep 7, 2016,
One trick I noticed David Gilmour and a few others use is having an extensive signal chain, but with none of the pedals used dimed out. Instead, like a great chef cooking a dish with many ingredients, they use the multiple pedals subtly- a dash of rotary, a pinch of fuzz, a sprinkle of chorus, etc.

Another trick? Splitting their signal between two differently voiced amps.
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Log off and play yer guitar!

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The first step is to place the microamp in front of the amp and not in the effects loop. This would reduce the overall output but it would increase the gain. As you are playing single notes, the natural compression of the amp is reduced and the gain is reduced. This compensates.

For more volume, I would place an MXR M108 10 band EQ. Use this pedal as a volume boost in the effects loop. Furthermore you will be able to shape your tone with the EQ settings.

A delay is a great pedal during lead playing. I like the Boss DD-3 for a digital delay (I would generally set this loud and clear with a longer delay time around 440ms) and I like the Boss DM-2W (this one is a bit darker and I would set it lower and with a shorter delay tie around 280-300ms)

Beyond this, you would have to start choosing for your style and personal taste. I like using a compressor, a Dynacomp. It compresses the signal and gives longer sustain. It also changes the attack of the notes, but it does not bother me especially if I am going t use gain pedals. The use of a compressor is used to fake a heavier distorted tone with overdrive/distortion pedals. The increased compression gives the impression of more gain, but having a lower gain setting allows for better note clarity. I find the TS9 a great pedal for low overdrive.I use it to dirty up a clean amp such as a Fender amp and push its scooped mids or to boost the mids on a crunch amp such as a Marshall to a cutting lead tone. It is a great pedal for lead playing, but not as good fr rhythm in my opinion.

For a heavy lead tone I like the ProCo You dirty rat. It compresses a lot, and having germanium diodes it is smoother than the silicone counterparts. The drawback of germanium diodes is that they are less efficient, thus, the overall output is lower than the silicone ones at any setting.

The next step to add depth to the solos and lead playing is modulation. The most common one is a wah pedal. I do not like this pedal as I prefer to focus on my playing rather than having to operate it by foot. I like using a phaser. It fakes a wah. I like to place it the first pedal in the chain. I would use a chorus too, but this time I would use the pedal in the effects loop. after the EQ but before the delay. Another great modulation pedal is the flanger. This can be placed either like the chorus or like the phaser. It produces different sound in each situation.

Sory for taking too long, but I thought I would give you a somewhat detailed explanation on how I approach lead playing. Classic heavy metal is a bit broad term, and the effects I would choose would depend on the guitar and amp.
an overdrive up front (like a tubescreamer or sd1, or clone) and a delay in the loop normally work well.
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