All posts by Stu M

Guitar Pedal Signal Chain Basics

So you buy your first guitar and amp and start learning to play. I can almost guarantee that it will not be long before you start to become interested in buying some pedals to stick between your guitar and amp and start a lifelong stomp box obsession……….

Pedal order is something that is talked about all the time and nothing is cast in stone and I always say to experiment and if it sounds right it is right!!!

That being said when you first get going you are going to want the basics so that is what I intend to do here. So in no particular order…………well actually in this order…………

  1. Tuner
  2. Wah Wah
  3. Overdrive
  4. Distortion
  5. Modulation (Chorus?Phaser)
  6. Reverb/Delay

The above order running into the front of the clean amp will give you the perfect starting point to experiment.

Hendrix for example was Wah-Fuzz-Uni vibe-Marshall Stack which follows the above starting point with the uni vibe being his modulation at the end of the chain.This is a classic signal chain and lets (fuzz) face it Hendix had a fantastic sound.

The other subject to touch on here in the basics is when you use the amp itself for your distorted tone. This is where you will find the reverb and delays respond differently going in the front end of your amp. Based on the above signal chain if your amp is providing the distortion then you are now running the reverb and delay before the distortion which is a completley different ball game. At this point it is time to find the effects loop on your amp and plug your reverb and delay through the loop to keep the signal path correct as shown below.

Effects Loop Send-reverb-delay-Effects Loop return

Effects loops are another lesson  to explain fully the different types and uses but for now lets just use the basic rule of reverb,delay,modulation(chorus/phaser) etc can all go through the front end or the effects loop but lets just leave overdrive,fuzz,distortion and boosters going through the front of the amp via the input socket and leave them there where they belong.

In the coming weeks I will post some alternative pedal orders and how to set up your pedals for the best results.

Wampler Pinnacle Distortion Pedals. “Brown Sound” Anyone?

The entire range of Wampler Pedals are now available here at Scan and we are just slightly pleased to have them all here under our roof. I say slightly pleased……..as a pedal freak I’m ecstatic that these pedals are here as they are fantastic and I get to sneak off and have a play through them whenever I have some spare time!

I get asked about distortion pedals all the time and often the customer has a particular sound or style in mind. This narrows the search beautifully as a player looking to nail that SRV tone is not looking to buy a high gain pedal and vice versa the high gain lovers are not looking to buy a mild overdrive pedal. This is all well and good but what do you do when you fancy a light crunch for lunch and a high gain thump for dinner? Buy different pedals is one answer and many do for specific tones that they can switch between instantly but if this is not a requirement then a wide ranging drive pedal is probably ideal for your needs. Which after all this rambling brings me to this beauty……

In a nutshell the Pinnacle gives you mild overdrive AND extreme gain all rolled into one beautifully built pedal and its party piece is one of the most convincing “Brown Sounds” in a pedal you will hear. In fact, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar tech Zeke Clark played through this pedal and said….

“I’ve played tons of pedals that promised that “Brown Sound”… this pedal NAILS it better than anything I’ve ever heard or played.”

Trust me when I say if you are considering a drive pedal this has to be at the top of your list of must tries and if you love the tone but need extra versatility Wampler has got you covered on this score as well with the V2 pedal below. Full three band E.Q and a boost as well!

Did I mention it does that ”Brown Sound”…grab a PAF and enjoy !!

Wampler Pedals @ Scan

The Providence SDR-4 Has Returned For a Limited Run

It’s not coming soon it’s here NOW and it’s limited to 50 pedals worldwide of which we have secured 2 pedals currently in stock.

Based on the original and highly praised SDR-4, they have retained the original circuit while using updated parts. To say this pedal gives you a full sound that cuts through the band environment is an understatement.

The SDR-4 has a fast attack and an edge to its’ sound that helps create a punchy tone with a thick low mid-range.

That Fat switch is an added bonus. When engaged it raises the gain in the low frequency range which is what gives that fat, aforementioned thick tone. This is really prominent on a single coil pickup and thickens and adds power beautifully to your bridge position.

I love a drive pedal that gives you “snap” and this pedal does it. Use a pick or use your fingers or preferably use both as hybrid picking rocks!

SDR-4 @ Scan

Introducing The Dark Blood Distortion Guitar Pedal by KHDK

The Dark Blood is the new pedal from KHDK. The partnership between a certain Kirk Hammett and his business partner David Karon.

Combining solid state and mosfet technology this pedal delivers an amp like sound with plenty of gain and a powerful mid heavy tone.

I tried this pedal through a speaker simulator straight to the desk and through the clean channel of my old 6L6 loaded 120 watt valve amps clean channel and it performed exceptionally well in both circumstances.

You can trust me when I tell you there is plenty of gain on tap. Keep the gain low and the Doom counter clockwise and its tight. Perfect for those heavy riffs. Increase the gain (use the gate to keep the background noise in check) and the clarity remains which is not something that can be said of all pedals of this type. Turning the Doom clockwise increases the bass and gives you a spongy amp like feel under your fingers, perfect for those blazing fast lead runs and long sustaining notes.

The treble control is a passive low pass filter and is wide ranging enough to let you tailor the top end from bright and cutting to a more mellow smooth tone.

The HI/LO toggle switch offers two types of gain. LO is geared more towards rhythm while the HI mode adds compression giving sustain to your lead tone.

The aforementioned gate is an excellent addition and careful use keeps the background noise to a minimum without impacting on your tone.

Yes this pedal can do metal standing on its head but its crunch and lead tones really are wide ranging enough to cover many tones outside of this genre. There are plenty of tonal options from the wide range of controls on this pedal. If you are looking for a distortion pedal this is definitely worth adding to your list of must tries.

The one thing I have to say about the KHDK range of pedals is that they are well designed and perfectly executed. You don’t have to be a Kirk Hammett fan to want one of these pedals you just have to be into good tone……

KHDK Products @ Scan