Pedal Pusher

I think my meager collection includes a RAT, a chorus, and a wah-wah, and I have no idea where they are. It’s about all I deserve. This guy, though:

“The merits of a geezer with my inconsiderable musical skills owning even one Big Muff are debatable; more than one is indefensible. See, I have a problem. I quit drinking 35 years ago and began spending beer money on guitars and related toys, like amps and speakers and, worst of all, effects.

My guitarsenal now takes up so much space in my house that I “joke” that at this point I would have been better off had I just kept drinking. Pedal addiction is particularly evil because so-called stomp boxes take up so much less space than instruments or amps or speakers, and also because there’s so damn many different ones out there! I realized long ago that I have too many pedals, and also that I’ll never own enough. Now I’ve got suitcases and drawers and cardboard boxes full of them. I’ve also got a rack effects problem, a close cousin of pedal addiction. I spent last weekend in the basement wiring up a ridiculous arsenal of decades-old tube overdrives and multi-effect units in one big shelf. Push a few buttons, and this assemblage of rock electronics can turn “Kumbaya” into “Eruption.”

Effects aren’t for everybody. The Beatles, it should be noted, weren’t pedal pushers. Gearheads took to message boards to marvel about how in the new documentary about the band, Get Back, pedals get next to no play. Eagle-eyed nerds claim to have spotted a Fuzz Face, a box also stomped on in that era by Jimi Hendrix. But little else in the way of tone-enhancing implements could be spotted. (I haven’t watched much of Get Back yet, but of the scenes I’ve seen so far, nothing hit me harder than seeing John Lennon playing through an Ampeg B15 amplifier. I have two Ampeg B15s.) Then again, there weren’t that many pedals being sold in their day, and as the new doc shows these guys had sound technicians in lab coats walking around Abbey Road Studios, inventing sounds for them on request.

It has been reported, but not confirmed, that there are bassists and keyboardians amongst us. Do you people use effects pedals? Do you need a Rick Nielsen secret storage location to manage them?

8 Replies to “Pedal Pusher”

  1. Never used one. Nothing against them, I’ve just never played on a song that needed a bass effect.

    I’ve always really liked Paul’s fuzz bass on “Think For Yourself.” It single-handedly raises that song from C-grade to B-grade. It’s more interesting than the song itself.

  2. I think I assumed all you bassers played every instrument in the band (often better than anyone) and had the most equipment.

    1. No pedals in the house, but I do I have a Fender Champion 20 with some cool toys built in, including various classic amp sounds and the usual effects.


  3. Well, yes, I’ve played guitar on tracks and used a couple of pedals, but I’m embarassed to admit that I don’t remember what pedals they were. They added some distortion and sustain. They belonged to the studio or other guitarists. Although I was a guitarist in a band for a couple of years back in the day, I was really a briefly misplaced bassist. I don’t consider myself a guitarist.

  4. I was a guitarer, but not a pedal pusher. I had a couple of Boss pedals–an orange Distortion one & and a yellow Overdrive one. They were really just to have in case I had to play on an amp somewhere that couldn’t cut it, crunch-wise. I think I had a Tube Screamer for a while too, for the same reason. Insurance.

    I never had any real “effects”. I’m not that guy.

  5. Yes, Boss was good stuff. I liked the design of the pedals. Well made and fairly inexpensive. And I liked the colors. Like candy. I had a blue one too, I think it was Sustain. Tube Screamers were made by Ibanez, and they were green.

  6. I used a volume pedal on my keyboard set up. It’s nice for volume control (!), but also makes the fake organ sound a little more dynamic during cheesy Smoke on the Water renditions.

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