The Ones That Got Away, or, Why Did I Sell These Pedals?!?
Let's be real for a moment: ALL guitarists have bought & sold pedals throughout their lives. It's okay. There are plenty of reasons why.
Here are mine:
1: I don't use this pedal anymore.
2: I need the cash...yesterday!
These are just MY reasons why I sell my pedals. Everyone else has their reasons and motivations. But regardless of what the reasons may be, we all inevitably regret selling some of those pedals. Today, I'm going to tell you about the ones I wish I still had.
The KANGRA by Walrus Audio
Why in the world would I sell this? When I first got the Kangra I was very much taken with it. It combined a wonderful, modern interpretation of a vintage octave fuzz with a sweepable and envelope controlled Filter. By themselves they are fun but COMBINED they are something else entirely!
The big reason I wish I still had the pedal is because of the "Freq" control. I've been getting into using static filters to accentuate parts in songs and the Kangra is the simplest one I've found. Plus, the Filter's "Q" is perfectly tuned. It's not overly resonant or honky; it just WORKS!
So why in the world would I sell it? Well, I didn't use it AND I needed the cash. Oh well...maybe ONE DAY I'll get it back in the arsenal. We'll see...we'll see...
The RIOT Distortion by Suhr
Aaaaahhhh...look at young and spry SPJ! Man, what a throwback. This was one of the first episodes of "Stompbox Saturday" I shot. At the time, the Suhr Riot was a veritable "internet darling" of the effects pedal world. Suhr came out swinging with their first trio of effects pedals and the Riot quickly found favor with a wide swath of guitarists...including myself. I actually bought mine at the LA AMP SHOW when Suhr made an appearance.
And at the time I shot this video, the Riot was on my pedalboard.
The Riot was viewed by many as an "OD-100 in-a-box" pedal. It was amongst the best (and probably was THE best) of the amp-in-a-box distortion offerings of the time. It's nuts to think how far pedals have come in just 10 years. At the time, I was using mine as more of a "crunchy" distortion for a mid-gain sound. Since I used my Rockerverb 100 for my main high-gain sound, I wanted something that would keep a similar character BUT would be less saturated.
Looking back, I really wish I still had this pedal. It sounded so good. But it's nice to know that Suhr has increasingly upgraded the pedal so I can only imagine it would be BETTER than I remember!
The Airplane Flanger by Ibanez
Woah! Another video from 2014! Was that just a bad year for me? Nah, it was much better than my 2013...anyway AIRPLANE FLANGER!
I'm a huge PAUL GILBERT fan and when Ibanez announced this signature Flanger pedal for Paul I was very excited. Paul has long used the ADA Flanger for some of his more memorable modulated sounds...specifically his "Jet Airplane/Laserbeam/Divebomb" sound.
And of course, this pedal has THAT sound...BUT it's FAR more than a "special effect".
The Airplane Flanger borrows heavily from the ADA Flanger BUT does also share some sonic character with the Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress, both of which Paul Gilbert has used over the years. I had mainly been used to the MXR Flanger and the Airplane Flanger offered me a different "color". The sound of the flanging was more "watery" and "swirling". I could even lapse it into a mode that was a bit like a chorus effect...just like Andy Summers of The Police.
So why would I get rid of it? Well, I stopped needing a flanger for much of my music AND all our gigs required me to use a VERY SMALL pedalboard. So I listed it on Reverb and, lo and behold, a close friend bought it AND he's still using it! So all ended well...
The Tomahawk by Greer Amps
I've only been playing in the Praise & Worship world for a couple of years now. In that time, I've learned plenty about what kind of sounds the guitarists in that genre use.
Naturally, ambient guitar sounds are the "bread & butter" of the PDubs guitarist but I've noticed a huge influence from country music and Americana guitar tones. That means warmer clean sounds that break up a bit, tremolo, slap-back echo AND warm and slightly grungy overdrive tones that are smooth one minute and more biting as you dig in!
Greer Amps has made quite a few pedals church guitarists love. Yet I have not seen the Tomahawk on their boards. In my opinion, they're missing out! The Tomahawk is meant to capture the sound of a cranked Fender Tweed Deluxe amplifier. The sound is wildly dynamic and can get fuzzier the harder you push it. It responded well to many different guitars and was quite touch-sensitive. Had I been playing in church all those years ago I would have immediately put this on the board for a distinctly "American" overdrive flavor! Sadly, it is no longer with me but we can hope for its return sooner or later.
The Philosopher's Tone by Pigtronix
Compression is a weird effect. Not because of WHAT it can do but because of HOW it has been presented. Most guitarists see a compressor as a "sustainer" pedal that makes notes sing and sound out longer than normal. That is a by-product of what a compressor does but not the whole story. This confusion has caused many guitarists to avoid compressor for YEARS. And in 2008, I was one of them...until I went to Nashville and ran into the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone.
And it was this pedal that introduced me to the magic of a compressor.
Now, the Philosopher's Tone CAN do that whole "sustainer" thing. But it does the job better than most any compressor because the sustain effect doesn't create any unwanted distortion. But it can also do what a compressor is MEANT to do: control your dynamics and even out the transients! But Pigtronix was never a company to rest on their laurels. In addition to the clean sustain they also added a blend-able, highly compressed distortion via the "Grit" control. A truly unique sound that I used for years! Eventually, I parted with it because I came across other compressors that suited my needs better...looking at you Keeley Compressor and Orange Kongpressor...but I still think I should have kept the PT. I can see it working REALLY well for those ambient volume swells I love.
If this were all the pedals I wish I hadn't sold, I could live with it.
BUT...there are TWO pedals I parted with that I regret SO BADLY I'm currently scouring Reverb
and Craigslist in and effort to replace them...
The Fuzz Factory & Super Duper 2-in-1 by ZVex Effects
Why do these ones hurt so much? Well, for starters ZVex Effects was the company that TRULY kickstarted my obsession with small, boutique pedal builders.
And it didn't hurt that both pedals came HIGHLY recommended by a band I admired.
I bought the Fuzz Factory for myself as a High School graduation present (the same day I bought my first tube amp). Boy, was I in a fuzz-laden heaven!
And very shortly after this I bought the Super Duper 2-in-1...and boom! Aggressive distortion and bright clean boost dreams abound.
Both pedals served me INCREDIBLY well over the years. INCREDIBLY well! As you can see in the picture above, the Super Duper 2-in-1 was on my board for some of my earliest gigs. And once again, we have another old-school "Stompbox Saturday" episode that shows off the beauty of the Fuzz Factory!
NOW WHY IN THE HECK WOULD I HAVE SOLD THESE TWO PEDALS?
FOUR WORDS: I REALLY NEEDED MONEY.
When I first moved out of my parents' house and struck out on my own (with the future Mrs. SPJ alongside of me) I struggled big time. I had held a series of unfulfilling part-time jobs for many years and despite being a two-income household we were always short on cash. Couple that with a failing effort to teach music lessons and a house flood and it just was NOT good times. Back then it was common for a used ZVex pedal to fetch quite a good sum of money.
And in one of those moments where cash was short, I made the heart wrenching decision to let go of these two pedals.
Looking back, it wasn't exactly a "hard choice" to make seeing as both pedals hadn't been used in some time. But it was hard considering what they had meant to me. I associated them with some of my earliest inspirations and a time in my life that was full of musical wonder and discovery. They were with me through college, through meeting my wife, through starting Cockeyed Optimist and finally moving out and getting married.
It's like Toy Story 3...but for guitar pedals.
I'm not crying...YOU'RE CRYING!
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