#1
Hey everyone,

I recently got a new pedal board as an Xmas gift (yay), had outgrown my old one and I couldn't fit all my pedals on the board which was just sad. Laying out everything on my new board, I've got a little bit of room in one spot where I could fit a pedal with a small footprint.

Long story short, I was wondering if anyone uses a booster pedal as an "always on" pedal to just push everything a bit harder. I know a lot of people like the EP booster pedal, and it caught my eye because its small footprint would be perfect for this spot in my pedalboard and also be perfect to be "always on" as it isn't in a good position to be constantly stepped on and off as it is kind of under the "upstairs" of the board (I've got my OD, distortion, directly in front as they will take most of the on/off stomps).

I was wondering if anyone used a boost early in the chain to just kind of push everything harder. I play live in a cover band which requires some guitar switching here and there to fit certain songs and I also thought this method may be useful for switching between guitars. For example, going between my Les Paul and Gretsch Hollowbody results in a gigantic drop in volume, and thus I've got to go to my amp and kind of EQ everything everytime this happens. An early boost may help this too as I could hit it on when playing my more lower output guitars.

To this point, I've mainly used EQ pedals as my solo boost pedals as I like having control on what specifically I'm increasing (i.e. mainly the mids to help cut through the mix better).

My primary gigging amp is a Vox AC 30 C2, and I'm always interested if anyone has specific experience with an AC30 since they have a reputation of being finicky with certain pedals (although honestly this hasn't been the case much in my experience, but I don't run anything that crazy). But any input or suggestions (regardless of amp experience) are most welcome!
#2
Yes, this is common. Many use the Timmy for this.
www.facebook.com/yourbadinfluence
#3
Any budget? If you just need mini-sized pedals (Mooer size) then the EP booster is the first that comes to mind. If you can swing it, the Wampler Tunmnus is a Klone in a small package. I use a Chellee Ponyboy as my always on with an AC30C2, the Tumnus would get you the same idea.
#4
Thanks for the replies - yes I definitely am trying to find something with a small footprint. Basically everything on the board is laid out how I'd like and I have some small room for what is the front of the chain. Definitely room for a Mooer/Xotic footprint and I've got an extra power line I can use for it. Guess I'm being greedy trying to cram as many pedals on the board as possible.

Looking at the Xotic pedals, I do like the idea of getting the xotic sp compressor, as I can turn the compression knob all the way down if I don't want any compression signal and have it as just a boost, or obviously blend in some compression to my liking (I've never been a big compression user but the added option is nice).

Thanks for the Timmy suggestion - that is actually the OD I use, although I don't leave it on all the time. I play clean a lot, and then turn the Timmy on for a light crunch and use a Rat for a heavier distortion (and often stack the two if I want more gain). A lot of the songs we play call for a very clean tone so its nice to have the three levels available (totally clean, light crunch, heavier crunch).

I'll definitely check out the Tunmnus - although I was hoping to go a route that wasn't an OD as this will be before my wah and my phaser (and I like both to be before my dirt pedals). Based on a quick introduction though it does look pretty sweet.
#5
Quote by Clarkinator
I'll definitely check out the Tunmnus - although I was hoping to go a route that wasn't an OD as this will be before my wah and my phaser (and I like both to be before my dirt pedals). Based on a quick introduction though it does look pretty sweet.
Klones do have a fair amount of gain on tap but traditional use with them is to put the gain level low/minimum, and then bump the volume up, tone knob to taste. That imparts just a bit of compression as it hits your amp a bit harder, but also gives a bit of the EQ signaure of the Klone- sparkly with a touch of midrange boost.
#6
Quote by Clarkinator
Guess I'm being greedy trying to cram as many pedals on the board as possible.



Been there, done that.
Which is part of the reason I eventually went to a multi-FX and thence to a modeler. Especially true when switching guitars -- you can set up presets that will run a boost when you want, etc. Some of the current higher-end modelers (like the Helix) have multiple FX loops. I got spoiled on those when working with the old Carvin Quad-X tube preamp, which has six (!) FX loops and built-in selectable boost. The Helix has four, which allows you to tie external pedals into your chain when and where you want them.
#7
^ so to save money, instead of buying a boost which costs maybe $50 (soul food) he should buy a high-end modeller which costs the guts of $2000?

(I know, I'm being facetious, but still )

Quote by Will Lane
Klones do have a fair amount of gain on tap but traditional use with them is to put the gain level low/minimum, and then bump the volume up, tone knob to taste. That imparts just a bit of compression as it hits your amp a bit harder, but also gives a bit of the EQ signaure of the Klone- sparkly with a touch of midrange boost.


not sure how close it is to the real thing (i've tried the real thing, but it was once and it was years ago ) but i like turning the gain up a bit on the soul food when i use it as a boost- cuts the bass a fair bit.

granted... when run like that it sounds pretty much bang on like a timmy. i know Clarkinator said he already uses the timmy for something else (and a change is as good as a rest, I always think ) but for what he's describing, a timmy is really good for. not saying not to buy another pedal (since he'd need another pedal anyway if he doesn't want to do tweaking while playing), but it might be worth dialling the timmy in as an always-on boost to see how it sounds.
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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Dec 26, 2016,
#8
I used to run a Fulltone Fatboost all the time, but eventually I decided it defeated the purpose of having a pedal in the first place. You might see if you can get similar tone by tweaking the amp settings.
#9
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ so to save money, instead of buying a boost which costs maybe $50 (soul food) he should buy a high-end modeller which costs the guts of $2000?

(I know, I'm being facetious, but still )


The TS's got a pedal board and difficulty putting everything on it. Add up the cost of pedals, cables, power supply and pedal board some time. When I did it (I may have had more expensive pedals?), it left the cost of a $500 HD500X in the dust. In fact, in my case, it was arcing pretty close to a couple of grand. I've been seeing Helix on my local Craigslist for around $1000.

He's also having issues with volume and tone when changing guitars. Those are issues for which there are trivlai solutions if you're using user presets on a modeler. And if you still need a few "special" pedals that aren't covered by the modeler, there are those four FX loops and a whole lot of routing options available to tie them in. And then there are size and complexity considerations, as well as what happens when you want a *little* bit of a pedal during most of a song and a *lot* of that pedal (or a different setting of any kind) during another part. Unless you have *really* talented toes, a modeler is the smart way to handle it.
#10
^ Oh yeah absolutely. I was being a bit facetious. But wouldn't a simple boost cover the guitar output discrepancies? (Granted, you'd have to tweak it for each guitar but at the same time I'm guessing you could work out beforehand exactly where you had to set it and mark it with some stickers or something- you'd have to do that with user presets too.)

Quote by cdgraves
I used to run a Fulltone Fatboost all the time, but eventually I decided it defeated the purpose of having a pedal in the first place. You might see if you can get similar tone by tweaking the amp settings.


yeah. i mean, it depends on exactly what you're using it for and why. there are situations where an always-on (or almost always-on) might be useful... but as you said, if you genuinely have it on all the time, if you can get that tone without the pedal...

sometimes though an amp might clean up a little better with the pedal on than without, which can be useful if you roll back your guitar volume for cleans. or if you don't have another buffer in your chain an always-on booster will be buffering your signal.
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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#12
A Zoom 3G would give you options to use up to 6 boost pedals all set differently for different guitars and different songs. Granted, it is probably larger than the place you have reserved on your pedal board, but with all of the preset pedals in that unit, you can probably eliminate a few pedals to make room.
#13
Quote by Dave_Mc
yeah. i mean, it depends on exactly what you're using it for and why. there are situations where an always-on (or almost always-on) might be useful... but as you said, if you genuinely have it on all the time, if you can get that tone without the pedal...

sometimes though an amp might clean up a little better with the pedal on than without, which can be useful if you roll back your guitar volume for cleans. or if you don't have another buffer in your chain an always-on booster will be buffering your signal.


It's definitely dependent on the specifics of the rig. If I felt I couldn't get the ideal clean tone just through the amp, I'd be looking at the longer term solution of different amp. Obviously not a budget friendly or immediate solution, but certainly more failsafe.

Also depends on how genuinely clean the boost is. Gain is Gain and it never makes the signal cleaner. Having some gain up front does make it easier to clean up the sound by reducing saturation, but the downside is that it's hard to get that saturation back without also getting natural compression, which can defeat the purpose of the boost in the first place. Saturation vs compression is kinda the battle we all fight when combining gain stages.

The problem I encounter is that when I need the volume boost during leads, I lose the saturation, and thus some of the tone, of the subsequent drive pedals.
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 27, 2016,
#14
Quote by cdgraves
(a) It's definitely dependent on the specifics of the rig. If I felt I couldn't get the ideal clean tone just through the amp, I'd be looking at the longer term solution of different amp. Obviously not a budget friendly or immediate solution, but certainly more failsafe.

(b) Also depends on how genuinely clean the boost is. Gain is Gain and it never makes the signal cleaner. Having some gain up front does make it easier to clean up the sound by reducing saturation, but the downside is that it's hard to get that saturation back without also getting natural compression, which can defeat the purpose of the boost in the first place. Saturation vs compression is kinda the battle we all fight when combining gain stages.

The problem I encounter is that when I need the volume boost during leads, I lose the saturation, and thus some of the tone, of the subsequent drive pedals.


(a) Yeah. And even that can get complicated- maybe you can get that perfect sound out of an amp alone, but if that amp costs three times what your current amp costs and you can get the exact same tone out of your current amp when using another (cheap) pedal to help it...

(b) I normally don't mind saturation or compression
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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ Oh yeah absolutely. I was being a bit facetious. But wouldn't a simple boost cover the guitar output discrepancies? (Granted, you'd have to tweak it for each guitar but at the same time I'm guessing you could work out beforehand exactly where you had to set it and mark it with some stickers or something- you'd have to do that with user presets too.)


You are correct, sir. If all you're doing with that single pedal is covering output discrepancies, then you could simply bend over and rotate the boost to the specific point that works for that guitar.

It's when you have other pedals (or pedals that have more than one switch or knob) that user presets really make their presence felt. I'm thinking that the TS has a lot of other pedals (with a lot of other switches and knobs) on his pedalboard that he's not using to the fullest because it's a PIA to reach down and tweak each one each time he wants to make a change.
#16
yep
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.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#17
To OP, this is exactly the problem I have in my band. When switching from my les paul to my strat, there is a huge drop in volume.

I have the MXR Micro Amp for exactly this purpose at the beginning of my signal chain.

It also becomes an extra option for a volume/gain booster for solos with the louder guitar!
#18
Quote by danielwewo
To OP, this is exactly the problem I have in my band. When switching from my les paul to my strat, there is a huge drop in volume.

I have the MXR Micro Amp for exactly this purpose at the beginning of my signal chain.

It also becomes an extra option for a volume/gain booster for solos with the louder guitar!


Seems to me that it would work better at the end of your chain in the effects loop so that you are past the preamp. I'm going to try it out when I get home from work because that would be a real cheap idea to get my Strat at the same volume as my Schecter Hellraiser.
#19
Quote by Jeffh40
Seems to me that it would work better at the end of your chain in the effects loop so that you are past the preamp. I'm going to try it out when I get home from work because that would be a real cheap idea to get my Strat at the same volume as my Schecter Hellraiser.


It depends on what you're looking for.

For example, if you are expecting a certain amount of distortion from the pre-amp, you will get less when you switch to a quieter guitar, and putting the boost in front of the pre-amp fixes this issue, whereas putting it after the pre-amp does not.
#20
Quote by danielwewo
It depends on what you're looking for.

For example, if you are expecting a certain amount of distortion from the pre-amp, you will get less when you switch to a quieter guitar, and putting the boost in front of the pre-amp fixes this issue, whereas putting it after the pre-amp does not.


True, but in the context of our discussion, a Strat isn't generally used with a bunch of distortion.

By the way, I set it up tonight and it works great as a lead boost of a Strat boost, or both. Right before the noise gate at the end of the effects loop.