Graham Coxon Guitar Setup and Rig Rundown

The 1990’s were the time of significant changes in rock and metal music. The rise of grunge and alternative rock movement opened up new horizons and completely changed the game for the coming generation of musicians.

One of the bands that made a huge breakthrough later during the decade was Blur.

blur 1991

Fitting into the alternative rock category, while also keeping some of those Britpop and indie rock traits, they paved their own way to success.

The biggest breakthrough came with their somewhat unusual but really catchy “Song 2” that, by now, everyone knows as one of the most influential rock anthems.

But the band wouldn’t have the reputation that it has today if it wasn’t for guitarist Graham Coxon.

Now, he is not your typical guitar hero rock star, the kind that spawned from the 1980s after Van Halen blew everyone’s heads off. Pretty much a reaction to it.

graham and damon

Since he began his music career in the late 1980s and the early 1990’s, Coxon is more in the vein of grunge guitar players, with just a hint of other elements in there.

But above all, he’s a very versatile musician, multi-instrumentalist, and – above all – a great songwriter, having written a ton of songs with Blur and also a lot of cool solo stuff.

In his teens, Graham was already well acquainted with a few different instruments. Aside from the guitar, he also played the flute, drums, and saxophone. There were a few bands he was a member of, but it was only in Blur (originally called Seymour) that he found success and fame.

However, as you may know, we’re all huge guitar gear nuts over here. So what we’re really interested in is tone and how he got it.

Coxon has a pretty exciting and – dare we say it – somewhat unconventional collection of guitars, pedals, and amplifiers.

There’s some stuff in his arsenal that’s pretty unique. But it’s not like you’d expect anything less from a musician like Coxon. So get ready and let’s dig into it.


Guitars

Like we said, his guitar collection over the years has been pretty interesting, and we can even find some unusual stuff in here.

So let’s start with his Fender Telecasters that he’s so well-known for. The one that’s been with him for so many years is his 1952 Tele.

Even if we ignore Blur’s greatness, this is a very valuable instrument with all the original parts and original cream finish from its production back in 1952. Graham used this one all throughout his career.

Here’s Graham talking about his experiences with Tele’s.

There are a few other very valuable Fender Teles worth mentioning here. For instance, there’s this one that Graham is referring to as being made back in 1969, although some sources claim that it’s 1968.

This is not unusual for guitars from the ’50s and the ’60s. Either way, this is yet another wonderful cream-colored instrument.

graham coxon telecaster

But what makes it interesting is the ash body, rosewood fingerboard on maple neck, and Gibson’s vintage PAF humbucker on the neck position. The bridge features a regular Fender single-coil.

Among other Teles, we can also find his 1972 Deluxe, which is the guitar he used extensively during the band’s 2009 reunion.

Also worth mentioning is midnight blue Tele, but not much is known about this instrument.

Now, since he’s become known for these guitars, it was only a matter of time he’d make his signature Tele with Fender. This instrument is based on a classic ’69 Telecaster.

Visually-wise, the only significant difference is in the pickguard. What’s a little unusual is the fact that it has a humbucker pickup in the neck position, Seymore Duncan’s SH-1.

Meanwhile, the bridge position is the classic vintage-styled single-coil by Fender.

As for Fenders in general, Graham is also a huge fan of Jaguars and Jazzmasters. He also owns a few of these instruments.

graham coxon jazzmaster

There are also plenty of other interesting electric guitars we should mention here. There’s a small collection of Gibson Les Pauls that Coxon has been using over the years.

One of his earliest LPs is the black Custom one. This guitar has been used both live and in the studio, most notably on Blur’s 1997 self-titled album.

Graham also owns a ’56 Goldtop ’56 reissue with two P-90 pickups.

We can also find a tobacco sunburst one, but not much is known about this instrument, except that it had a black pickguard that has since been removed.

While we’re at Gibson guitars, there’s also an SG that dates back to 1962, back when these were called Les Pauls.

graham blur

To make things more interesting, we decided to cover some of his unusual guitars here. One of the examples comes with his Fender Coronado 12-string.

It’s not a type of instrument you’d see that often, and it looks like a mutated Gibson 335 with a twisted Fender headstock.

There’s also stuff like Rickenbacker 330, Burns London Sonic, and a few others, although he rarely uses these instruments.

graham coxon burns

As for acoustic guitars, he has one great custom piece built by Ralph Bown, his OM model.

Graham used this guitar both live and in the studio for quite a while now. It’s a very unique instrument and includes an L.R. Baggs M1 pickup.

There’s also an inevitable Gibson acoustic guitar in there, a piece like J-160E. He also owns a Martin OM-28V.


Amplifiers

When it comes to guitar amps, Graham Coxon’s setup has never been really that exciting.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s only a handful of amps that are worth mentioning here.

For instance, his main amplifier is his Marshall 1959 SLP.

graham coxon marshall amps

You can usually see him using two of these on the stage, paired up with the ’69 Marshall cabinets, each bearing four 12-inch speakers.

In this setup, however, Graham quite often used an attenuator for each of the amps.

The one he’s fond of is Marshall PB100 Power Brake, and it goes between the amp head and the cabinet. This way, he reduces (or “soaks”) the power from the amp before it goes into a cabinet.

marshall power brake PB100 Attenuator

As we said, nothing else is really that exciting, or at least we don’t know enough to share all the details.

It is known, however, that he has used plenty of combo amps. Some claim that he has used Orange rocker 30 and a classic Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker.

As you can see, he’s pretty much a classic straightforward Marshall guy. Nothing really exciting, but it gets the job done.


Pedals and effects

But contrary to his amp setup, Graham’s pedalboard has always been really exciting.

He is, after all, a bit of a pedal junkie, and has relied more on effects rather than amps in shaping his tone. There’s a lot, so we don’t know where to begin.

Let’s go with distortion pedals first. And what a better way to start than with the legendary ProCo Rat 2.

He’s been using this one quite a lot, and you can sometimes even find more than just one of these in his live setup. It’s a simple yet really effective distortion.

In addition, he’s also used another version of the ProCo Rat pedal, the company’s well-known Turbo Rat.

proco-sound-turbo-rat-144575

This one is a little harsher-sounding compared to the standard ProCo Rat, although it features pretty much the same control configuration.

Since Blur is so-well known for their “Song 2,” we can’t help but mention the DOD FX76 Punkifier pedal. And this is a rather unusual one.

The Punkifier is both an overdrive and a fuzz, which is really weird as overdrive features soft clipping and fuzz has an extremely harsh clipping process. All in all, you’ll never be able to find a pedal like this one.

Another unusual one is the old Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz. Produced back in the 1970s in Japan, these are pretty rare to find these days.

Back then, they were pretty innovative. However, these are pretty straightforward and feature only two simple controls for volume and gain.

It’s not completely certain what he used FY-2 for, but it clearly shows his great interest in vintage-oriented stuff.

Of course, it’s literally impossible for a guy like Graham to go without the classic Boss DS-1.

boss ds-1

This simple piece can be found on many pedalboards even to this day, both with amateurs and professionals. Just a classic piece.

T-Rex Mudhoney Distortion is another one we could see and hear Graham use over the years.

While not exactly the “mainstream” choice here, the pedal is as creamy-sounding as its name would suggest.

There’s also the Mudhoney II version, although Graham has been using the original model for quite some time now.

With so many different distortion pedals in there, it’s only obvious that there’s supposed to be a noise gate somewhere.

Of course, it’s not like Coxon is a hard-hitting heavy metal player, but fuzz and classic distortion pedals can get a little “messy” here and there.

For this purpose, Coxon’s choice is Boss NS-2. It’s a fairly versatile and useful example of a noise suppressor.

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal review

While we’re at it, Graham is a huge Boss pedal fan. Aside from the aforementioned pedals by the legendary company, there are a few worth mentioning as well.

For instance, he uses the classic DD-3 Digital Delay. It’s the classic choice among Boss lovers, even though it has a shorter maximum delay time.

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Guitar Pedal Review

Speaking of Boss delay pedals, there’s a rather interesting old unit somewhere to be found in his pedalboard.

The one we’re talking about is the DM-2, which is the company’s famous analog delay from the 1980s.

These kinds of delay pedals relied on the so-called “bucket brigade devices” to store the signal and repeat it. This results in somewhat of a saturated and even slightly muffled repeated tones.

Again, another example showing how Coxon is into older stuff.

Going over to other Boss pedals in his inventory, we can also find the VB-2 Vibrato, PN-2 Tremolo and Pan, BF-2 Flanger, TR-2 Tremolo, and even the RV-5 Digital Reverb.

The PN-2 is a rather interesting one.

Despite having only a handful of controls, there’s so much stuff that you can do with it.

As you might have suggested, it’s capable of delivering stereo output that shifts the signal from one channel to another according to set speed and depth. Otherwise, you can use it as a regular tremolo.

Then we have some pretty exciting stuff by Line 6. Most notably the FM4 Filter Modeller.

There’s actually a lot of stuff that you can do with a filter pedal, but this thing brings it to a whole new level.

The FM4 is practically closer to a synth pedal as it replicates some classic old synths. It comes with mindblowing 20 factory presets, as well as 4 user presets.

All in all, it’s really fun to use. Not really surprised to see this one in Graham’s collection.

Another one of those complex series of Line 6 pedals is DL4 Delay Modeller.

There’s just so much stuff that you can do with it, anything from standard delays and echoes, up to wacky bouncy stuff.

What’s more, it can also replicate some analog and lo-fi stuff. Who could have thought that a delay pedal would offer you so much creative freedom?

But from all the delays in his collection over the years, nothing can really beat his Akai E2 Headrush. It’s not an easy one to find, which is really a shame.

This pedal does so much stuff, anything from simple delay up to very complex looping. With it, you can also replicate some of those vintage tape-based echoes.

However, its biggest strength lies in all the looping features and overdubbing.

Talking of weird delay pedals, he also used Carl Martin’s EchoTone pedal.

Released in the late 2000s, it’s kind of similar to DeLayla XL, although EchoTone is a little bit more versatile.

It operates with an additional switch for two different delay times and another one for tempo of repeats.

We may as well stop there, since Graham’s bag of guitar pedal tricks does run very deep.  From album to album, he’s a bit of a kid in a candy store, trying out various things on various tracks. 

This is made all the more exciting by the fact that he’s not afraid of layering guitars on top of one another, to get exactly the effect he wants for any given song.  

This is why we love Graham, as he was and is, to a large extent, the sonic architect of Blur, although everyone involved in that band brings their own brand of genius to the mix.


Conclusion

If you aren’t your typical shredding rock guitar hero type of guitar player, but love sheer inventiveness when it comes to guitar playing and especially songwriting, Graham Coxon is definitely someone to check out. 

He’s played on some of the world’s biggest stages, delivering quirky riffs that are both melodic and mosh-able to tons of fans around the world, which is a big reason Blur is so beloved. 

In other words, he’s just your regular affable brit, but with a huge knowledge of guitars, guitar history, pedals, and so on.  So definitely worth diving into to see what he’s up to at any given time.  

Have you given him a listen, or used any of the gear he uses?  Drop us a line below.

BONUS: Some great video interviews with Graham Coxon


Social Kindred Local Live Music Event Discovery App – Beta Test & Preview

social kindred music app preview

Hello and welcome to this beta test & preview of the local live music event discovery app called Social Kindred, created by Jay Leonard.  But first a bit of context…are you ready?

Here is what you are in for with this article:

Let’s jump in!


wavy gravy

Everything is Groovy…Or Is It? (Intro)

If there are any two worlds that would seem to go together perfectly, and yet seem at perpetual odds with one another, it is the live music world and the online world.

On the surface, all would seem copacetic, with well-known apps like Spotify, Soundcloud, and many other lesser known apps, providing a platform for thousands if not millions of musicians worldwide to share their songs, via the power of smart phone technology and the relatively lost cost option of online music distribution and streaming.

These intermediary entities who bring the music to the music streaming platforms include relatively accessible (compared to the olden days) online distributors like Soundrop, DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby, that your average non-music business-y folk and even some musicians who use these platforms are sometimes only vaguely aware of.

By now the below screenshot of the Spotify interface should look familiar to most…

spotify interface

The two extremes of artist types on these platforms being the small indie artist (minimal promotional budget via working regular jobs) up to the major label artist (bigger promotional budget via the label). 

This is but an aside for you people at home, but the amount of streams that an indie artist gets (which pay such enticing amounts per stream as $0.004, depending on platform), is determined by, overall, how much money goes into promoting the artist.  It is rare that artists who have smaller (or zero) budgets get noticed by the algorithms, and, by extension, the populace, but that is nothing new.

Here is an average streaming day for your average artist on Spotify For Artists, checking in on the stats for the week, complete with anomalous spike in traffic.

minimal online streams

Meanwhile, in terms of music listeners and the apps they use to find shows, people are quite familiar by now with other online entities like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, who allow you to buy and sell tickets to all manner of performances everywhere around the world.

Here is what the Ticketmaster app looks like for those who don’t use it…

ticketmaster app interface

The fact that this process of music lovers everywhere in the world being able to listen to their favourite artists online, and then find out where they are playing next is just another marvel of the modern world, but when you go from a macro to a micro level, things don’t look quite the same.


Discovery App for Local Online Music Event Listings – A Gap In The Market?

While things might seem to function on the global level in terms connecting the public to their favorite musical acts with relative ease, on the local level, things are different.

Say, for example, you lived in Acton, Ontario.  Can you think of what app on your phone you’d use to see what bands are coming to town when, and playing where?

As of February, 2020, perhaps there is no such app. 

When you think about it, in most cities and towns, people are still very much dependent on local listings found in approximately four places:

  • Actual news periodicals with a music section
  • Online news periodicals with a music section
  • Music venue websites with a calendar or schedule posted
  • Websites of musical artists themselves who have tour dates posted

Actually, the above is not strictly true, as even apps like Spotify and others are incorporating musicians’ tour schedules directly into their artist pages.

spotify justin bieber tour dates 

As mentioned, however, there is still one demand which seems to not be met, and that is – how does one easily check which artist is playing at which venue in one specific city or locality by way of an easy-to-use smartphone app?

No doubt musicians and marketers alike have been pondering this logistical conundrum for a good while now, with Jay Leonard being one such person.

jay leonard social kindred


social kindred app

Social Kindred – Local Live Music Event, Artist, & Venue Listing App – Preview

Jay Leonard, hailing from the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario, has been involved in the music scene for decades now, playing in a variety of different musical acts, and he came to this author’s attention as a drummer in a progressive rock outfit called Humshuttle. 

Today, he plays with a band called Romeo Sex Fighter, and, in his spare time, has been trying to lauch an app that will hopefully solve the aforementioned issue of being able to check who’s playing where on any given night in your local region.

He admits that he isn’t the only person to have thought about how to make an app such as this. Many others surely have as well.  Heck, even this author has pondered upon such an app, but you have to be a certain kind of person to go ahead and actually “roll out” such an app.  It ain’t easy, baby.

For those who have any experience with making apps, or know what is going on in the world of apps in general, you probably know that making an app from scratch these days, as an indie developer, without having the ability to code it yourself (surprise! – most business owners are not coders), can be an emotionally and mentally exhausting thing to do. 

funny cat pic

Without getting into the actual nitty gritty of what makes apps in general hard to make, much less promote, suffice it to say that Jay Leonard, with his new app Social Kindred, is attempting to address the gap in the app market of apps that show users who is playing locally at what venue and when, with all the pertinent details included.


social kindred logo

Beta Testing & Functionality of the App – How is it?

Lucky me, I get to test out the app for myself, to see how it performs. 

Social Kindred is still somewhat in production, and not widely available, so I need to use a special testing software to use it.

While Social Kindred is currently available on Google Play, it is at this “pending” stage with Apple, where, despite it actually being a functional app, it is still waiting for approval by the app store gods.

For developers in this situation, it usually means that they must return to the drawing board

So, since Social Kindred is on the cusp of actually being widely available, with a few more hoops to jump through, such as proving its viability as an app, it means a few people get to try it out and provide potentially useful feedback.

Let’s take a closer look!

Social Kindred has 4 main screens, each of which is fairly utilitarian in nature, supporting the overall purpose of the app itself, which I also happen to like.  No frills.  Let’s start with the “Venues” page.

social kindred venues

In this version of the app, it is based around the Kitchener-Waterloo / Tri-Cities area of Southwestern Ontario, and the artists and venues reflect that. 

This is basically what drives the app – to be able to zero in on a local scene that affects you on a local level, versus knowing where all the big acts are performing around the entire region.  

In this case, the user (you, me, whoever) is mainly interested in the venue if you’re from that area, or visiting that area.  It’s a little bit like the concept behind Air B’n’B, where you are only interested in places you already are, or will be going to soon. 

As such, these venues are local to this particular area, and you as a user can see who is playing at them by clicking them.  Easy!  Except since the app is in its beta stage, we can’t yet see who is playing at this particular venue…

social kindred event page

Eventually, these pages will all tie together. But you might wonder, how will the app know about what is going on in the area?

Behind the scenes, Social Kindred does the heavy lifting by fetching (“scraping”, as we web geeks call it) the event calendar from a given venue’s website. 

For the end user, they simply have to click the venue to see who’s playing, and it’s up to the venue to keep that list refreshed, which will then by extension keep Social Kindred up to date.  

Now let’s move on and look at the “Artists” page…

social kindred artists

The artists, like the venues, are local to the area in question (in this case, Kitchener-Waterloo), and when the user clicks on them, they can see where any given local artist is performing on any given night. 

If that artist isn’t playing, then they the app tells you that there are no shows scheduled.  If they are playing, it tells you when and where.  Except, not yet.  Since it is still in the beta stage, you can only see the artists’ bio and perhaps a link to social media like Facebook.

artist page social kindred

Thus it is to every local artists’ advantage to be in the Social Kindred database, so that they can show up if someone searches for them. 

There will be, at some point, a tipping point where if and when the app gets popular, artists not included in the artist list for Social Kindred will almost seem non-existent. 

It is also to their benefit, if they are in the database, to play shows, or else then it looks like they aren’t active. 

Let’s now look at the events page of Social Kindred’s app…

social kindred events

This is arguably the most useful part of the app, because it brings together local artists and venues in the form of events.  In other words, an event would not exist if an artist was not performing at a venue.  Right? 

An artist can have no shows and still show up as an artist, and a venue can have no shows and still be in the list as a venue, but an event can’t be in the event list unless there is an actual legit event happening.  Fancy that!

This is the page that I would probably look at the most, if I had the actual app and was feeling like going out that night.  I think, personally, the thing that would stop me from looking at this page would be that if it cast too wide a net. 

Like, if I couldn’t see ONLY what was going on in my city, and was forced to learn about events too far for me to bother with, the app would quickly become like any other app that simply seems like it’s spamming me with irrelevant information. In this regard, the app will have to be carefully compartmentalized to be effective.  

In other words, if it can be laser focused to events that only I care about (ie. within reasonable cabbing/Uber distance), I’d probably check in regularly to see what’s up in my city / town.

Lastly, we’ll check out the “Articles” page of the app…

social kindred articles

This page could be useful to users, provided the content was good and relevant to their interests.  It might be cool if this page could be sorted by region, in case I didn’t feel like only reading articles relevant to my area specifically. 

For instance, I might only want to see shows that are close by, but I might want to read about things that are not close by, in case I want to go somewhere else. 

Then again… if this page was set up in a certain way, I could see myself reading about a band in a nearby city, and then “subscribing” to that band, even though they were somewhat far away from where I lived, because I read something cool about them, and want to go to that town, if there were enough cool events taking place with cool acts and such.

This makes me wonder, will the app have a way to sub to artists?  Or sub to venues?  Hmmm…the more I think about it, the more questions I have.  

Open Questions To The Social Kindred Team

So, the last section got me thinking of a few innocent little questions I want to voice before wrapping up.

  1. How much can I narrow down my search geographically for events / artists / venues? 
  2. If it can narrow these parameters down, how does it do it?
  3. Can I subscribe to artists I like?
  4. Will the content in the “Articles” section be only relevant to certain cities?
  5. Who will write the content in the Articles section?
  6. Will things in this app have permalinks?  For instance, will a venue have its own permalink?
  7. What if venues don’t update their tour schedule, does this mean Social Kindred won’t be up to date because the venue is slacking off?
  8. Will venues have things like up to date menu items (ie. food and drink)?
  9. Will artists be able to upload their own photos to their pages?
  10. Will the app pull artist data from somewhere or does the artist fill it out, or someone at Social Kindred does this for them?
  11. How will artists apply or qualify to be associated with the app?
  12. Will there be some kind of system by which popular artists will show up first, like Google search results, or will you be unilaterally fair, as in strictly keeping things alphabetical?
  13. Will you work in things like user voting with stars, and reviews like Yelp?
  14. Will this app notify me ie. if my favourite local band is playing somewhere in my city or do I have to keep checking the app?

Thanks!

Conclusion

Seems overall like a pretty cool app with a lot of potential.  Will it take the music world by storm, or be another skid mark on the road of apps that crashed and burned?  We will have to wait and see!  Thanks for reading, and comment below if you feel like it!

Shamelessly Gushing over Cockos’ Reaper DAW (Review)

cockos reaper review

decimu labs

It’s not only my subjective opinion – Reaper is definitely the best DAW for music production at home and anywhere else. 

Not only because a lot of digital audio enthusiasts say it, but also because of all the awesome features I’ll cover in this little article.

Let’s start with the most important thing: It’s ridiculously CHEAP.

$65 dollars for personal use (if you make less than 200.000 USD a year, if not it’s 225 bucks) multi-device use, with a 2 month trial period sounds like a real bargain.

reaper logo

But what’s the best part about Cockos‘ Reaper? Their developers trust you. Believe it or not!  So, if you are a greedy person (like many of us), you can try it after the period, only by skipping the “Reaper is not free” screen after five seconds.

So, you can download it now, and it will work in 2030 (after pressing a button that says “You’ve been evaluating REAPER for approximately 3,650 days”).

purchase a reaper licence

Imagine forgetting about I-locks, and copy protection and all that… sounds like a revolution to anyone!

(And with this I prove that I’m just a fanatic of this DAW and I’m not getting paid by the developer – Hey, Cockos send me some money or freebies if you read this!).

But anyway, I’ll convince you to spend the 65 bucks with the rest of this article, considering that any other cutting-edge (but probably inferior) DAW cost at least 300 bucks.

Although this may seem a bit intimidating, my favorite Reaper feature is the ability to program anything.

And when I mean anything, I mean ANYTHING. Let’s imagine that you don’t like the way the zoom or side-scrolling work.

configuration of reaper

You can change it in the ACTIONS menu and make it work exactly the way you need it – and this includes all shortcuts also – if you’re coming from a different DAW, and you’re used to the way it worked, you can mimic everything in the configuration (and even some people have done this before, and uploaded the configuration file to forums, etc).

What’s more, if you’re really a let’s say… Nuendo fan, there are Nuendo skins for this. Configuration and customization are Reaper’s second and last names.

If you even find something missing or wrong in this DAW, you can report it to the developers, and they’ll probably listen to you and fix it in the next update (which are really frequent). If you’re really into scripting, you can create your own scripts, and share them with the world.

reaper can open any plugin

Reaper can open any plugin, and i mean any  (VST, VST3, VST31, AU, AUI), and it categorizes them in a really organized way – especially the FX VST – and if that isn’t enough, they can be searched in a beautiful searchbar – really useful if you are a plugin junkie like me.

Changing plugin order in a rack is a piece of cake (just moving it one over the other does the trick) and you can even copy or cut and paste any plugin, in any track, without losing any configuration, anytime. 

Did I mention search bar? there is an extremely useful one in the configuration menu. So you don’t have to skip pages and pages searching for that configuration thinghy you’re looking for.

As a continuation to the versatility features I mentioned before, I should mention that Reaper is awesome for any music and audio jobs.

From sound design, dialog recording and editing, music recording, mixing and mastering, and the rest of the article will talk about that specifically.

There are three main important features I’ve never seen in any other DAW.

Any snippet of audio in Reaper is considered a Media Item, and any of those, individually, can be subject to any chain of effects, without the need of creating multiple tracks.

Imagine if for example, you don’t like the sound of a particular section of your recording (even one single note), it allows you to apply the needed fx to make it sound as you like.

multiformat tracks

Moreover, the tracks in Reaper are multi-format, which means you can import almost any audio file in any bitrate and sample rate, with any amount of channels in any channel. You can import midi and audio in the same channel.

And even more, you can import JPG or video files, which will display in the video window (I’ll talk more about that later).

Another interesting feature to mention is the audio-rendering flexibility. You can render audio in any know format, but also has a really interesting and versatile tagging system -with wildcards- and a nice region-selecting tool.

Plus, you can render all stem separately with a couple of clicks.

Reaper has some more features of which I’ll mention a couple, but i’m not going to talk much about them, to let you experiment them by yourself.

It has a built-in video editor plugin, a bit like a swiss knife tool for videos (don’t expect it to be awesome, come on 

Reaper is an audio editor at the end) that can help you make some rough videos. It has helped me to create short videos, for example, to create music videos with a still display image to upload to youtube.

batch file converter

Lastly, this has a really nice batch file converter which will allow you to transform an audio file to any other format with some clicks.

If you’re not convinced yet, let your hardware convince you. Minimum requirements for Reaper are not listed on their official site, but that’s not because they’re hiding something, but exactly the opposite.

I’ve known people who could successfully run this software and all the built-in plugins on a 2003, Windows XP, 1.3ghz processor with 512mb ram computer, and by googling a bit, you can see it has been used in even worse conditions.

It even works on Linux OS. If you’re using it on a good computer -less than 5-7 years old-, you can expect it to work fast and flawlessly, and also booting in less than 10 seconds (except those times when it loads all the plugins).

The download size is less than 20 MB (yeah, megabytes, not gigabytes), and 64 MB after installation, with all the base plugins included. You can get the really useful 80 MB extensions packs, which continue to be lightweight. All this make Reaper extremely stable.

sws s&M extension

So guys, try this. I promise you that after the learning curve, this will become your favorite DAW. Most audio editors in my country (Argentina) work with Reaper.

We might have started because of its price, but we continued using it for the rest of the features mentioned above.


About the Author – Marcelo Cataldo (Decimu Labs)
Marcelo Cataldo a musician, audio editor, composer, guitarist and bassist, Musical Education Professor and Licentiate in activity in La Plata, Argentina. Specialized in retro-electronic synth and videogame music. Currently working at DecimuLabs, creators of The Kirlian Frequency (Netflix)
More from our site:

3 Free Online Apps Every Musician Should Know About

3 Free Online Apps Every Musician Should Know About

Hi there. I’m back. For those that don’t know me yet, my name is Melissa Koehler and I’m a country musician from Ontario, Canada.

Being a professional musician is hard. On top of writing songs, practicing with your band and performing at shows, you have to know your finances, market your shows and sell your music.

Being a musician is not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Luckily, I’ve found a few free online programs that have made my life as a musician a little bit easier.

Here’s my list of free online apps that every musician should know about.


Invoice Generator

https://invoice-generator.com/#/1

I love Invoice Generator. When booking gigs, I recommend that you get into the habit of sending invoices to every person you agree to play for.

I use Invoice Generator to create my invoices which I then send to every venue or event that I am scheduled to play at.

I also make sure to bring a physical copy of that invoice to the show to avoid any confusion or miscommunication surrounding the amount of pay I’m owed.

With Invoice Generator, you don’t even need to make an account, and the best part is that you can create an unlimited number of invoices.

When you’re ready to make your first invoice, it’s super easy to do. Just fill in all the blanks that make sense for your situation.

At the top, make sure to include your name and who the invoice is for. Date it, include the total balance due, and when the payment is due by. If you have a logo, you can even include it right on the invoice too.

In the middle section, clearly describe what you are providing musically. Under quantity, outline how many sets you will be playing. Under rate, input how much one set is. Then, add everything up.

At the bottom, include anything else that may be of importance. For example, you could further describe what you’ll be providing musically or outline everything that the event or venue has agreed to provide you with, outside of the monetary amount. This could be providing you with food and drink or a P.A. system.

Then, tell them how they can pay you. This could be in person, an email for e-transfer, or whether it’s cash or cheque.

Above all, it’s important to remember to document everything on your invoice, whether you think it’s important or not. This is your contract and it’s better to have it in writing.

Here’s an example of an invoice I sent in 2018 for a wedding I played at:

gig invoice picture


Adobe Spark

https://spark.adobe.com/sp/design/post/04bb2039-9655-4795-a3c7-fd93d8909646

I am a huge fan of Adobe Spark. I have used Adobe Spark to create posters for shows and even to create some of my album covers. You do have to make an account with Adobe Spark, or sign in with Google or Facebook. Trust me, though. It’s totally worth it.

Once you have an account, you can create entirely from scratch or use their templates. They have tons of designs and sizes to choose from.

You’re obviously limited in what you can do. Adobe Spark is not like Photoshop or InDesign. But if you have a photo and some words you want to add to it, then Adobe Spark is perfect. And even if you don’t have a photo, they have tons of free stock images that you can choose from.

I highly suggest making an account, and playing around with it. it’s a ton of fun and it’s proven incredibly useful for me.

Here’s a Facebook event image that I created on Adobe Spark for the band, Hello Hopeless:

hello hopeless

Here’s my album cover that I created using Adobe Spark:

melissa koehler


Bandcamp

https://bandcamp.com/

Finally, we have Bandcamp. Bandcamp allows you to upload and sell your songs on their platform for free!

Unlike other platforms, Bandcamp only takes a small cut when a song sells. You decide on the selling price. If you want to sell your music online and you aren’t already using Bandcamp, I highly recommend making an account.

Check out my Bandcamp page here:

https://melissakoehler.bandcamp.com/releases


So, there you have it. I hope you find Invoice Generator, Adobe Spark and Bandcamp useful!

Are there any other amazing free online apps that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!


More articles about promoting and marketing your music by Melissa Koehler from this website:

5 Things Every Professional Musician Should Have to Market Themselves

Musician’s Guide to Booking a Show at a Bar or Club

5 Things Every Professional Musician Should Have to Market Themselves

5 Things Every Professional Musician Should Have to Market Themselves

Hi there. It’s me again. For those that don’t know me yet, my name is Melissa Koehler and I’m a country musician from Ontario, Canada.

As a professional musician, you have to be a songwriter, a singer, an instrumentalist, a business owner, a manager, a booking agent, an accountant and a social media guru all at the same time.😬😎

There’s a lot that’s involved with being a professional musician and sometimes, it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start.

Hopefully, I can help with that and give you a starting point. Here’s my list of 5 things that every professional musician should have in order to market themselves.


An Online Presence

As a professional musician in the digital age, you should absolutely have a Facebook page and/or Instagram account devoted to promoting your band and your music.

melissa koehler facebook

Here’s mine! (Click here to check out my FB music page)

Having a social media set up for your band not only allows for fans to easily find you and your music, but it also allows for band managers, booking agents and show promotors to find you too.

You should police your online presence heavily. Ensure your captions and pictures are professional. Stay clear of language that might be considered inappropriate, and watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Make sure the pictures you post would be okay for your grandma to see. I’m serious. It’s important to build a professional brand online because you never know who might be looking at your Facebook or your Instagram.


A Business Card

There is nothing more professional than having a business card. I keep a few of mine in my purse and in my guitar case so no matter where I go, I always have some on me.

If I’m out with friends and someone mentions needing live music for some future event they’re having, I can easily suggest myself as an option by handing them one of my business cards.

If someone comes up to me after a gig saying that they liked my music, I can hand them one of my business cards so they remember to check out my socials and music later when they get home.

I suggest contacting a graphic designer to help you create a professional looking business card. Make sure you include your band’s name, the genre of music you play, all your important social links, an email and a phone number.

Here’s what my business card looks like:

melissa koehler business card


An EPK (Electronic Press Kit)

If you’re planning to play in real live venues, then you absolutely need an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). An EPK is like your band’s resume.

It gives a band that no one has ever heard of some credibility and it gives venues an idea of who you are and what you play. I go into more detail on creating an EPK and booking shows here.


Some Professional Photos

What’s that saying? Images speak louder than words? As a writer, I don’t always think that’s the case, but photos are extremely important.

I recommend hiring a professional photographer for an hour. If it’s an option, have them photograph your band at one of your shows.

After an hour, you’ll have a huge collection of photos that you can use to up your game on social media, put in your EPK and place the best one on your business card.

I had this photoshoot done in 2016. To date, it’s the only photoshoot I’ve ever had done for my music. I got so many good photos from it; I can’t use them all fast enough!

melissa koehler


A Good Demo

Recording a full-length album, or even an EP, can be extremely expensive. And in the world of Spotify, recording a bunch of songs all at once for one project isn’t really even a thing anymore.

Invest in one good single. Trust me. The time and money are worth it. Find a good studio in your area.

When the song’s mixed and mastered, put it up on iTunes and Spotify. People online and at shows will be impressed that they can buy and/or listen to your song on popular platforms like iTunes and Spotify.

You can also impress venues and promotors with this demo by sending them the iTunes or Spotify link.

Here’s one of my songs that I really like which I always share with people!

This will automatically make them take you more seriously and gives them an opportunity to check out your sound at the same time.

Did I miss anything important? Let me know in the comments below!

More music promotion articles from this site:

How to Organize and Promote Local Live Music Events – 5 Easy Methods

The Most Famous Music Videos Featuring Puppets

We Review the Best Overdrive Pedals for Blues Today

There’s nothing like the joy of hearing that smooth, yet somewhat rugged, overdriven guitar tone. While many players often aim at those “scorched” tones of regular distortions, overdrives have their important role too.

They just give a different flavor, while maintaining enough thickness of the tone. Whether we’re talking about guitars with single-coils or humbuckers, overdrive always manages to give that highly desirable and distinctive creaminess.

While many consider it to be just a milder version of regular distortion, there’s actually another important distinction.

Yes, overdrive is indeed a type of distortion, but with softer clipping. Compared to fuzz and regular distortion pedals, the tone of overdrive has softer “edges” in the clipping process.

Essentially, these pedals add their own tone coloration but still manage to keep the natural tone of your guitars and amps. In a way, it replicates the tone of clean tube amps pushed over the limits.

This is why overdrive pedals are quite popular among blues, jazz, or and vintage-oriented guitar players.

Slash

In many cases, they’ll use them in pair with tube amplifiers to push them into uniquely smooth, yet distorted territories.

Even to this day, various manufacturers are still producing overdrive pedals. While these find use in many different genres, including modern metal, they’re mostly still popular among blues and blues-rock players.

This is why we decided to look more into the topic and find out – what are some of the best overdrive pedals for blues today?

After a lot of digging, testing, and experimentation, we came up with the following list. Now, whatever your musical tastes are, these pedals can come in handy for a wide variety of genres.

However, we would argue that they work best for blues and blues-rock.

Feature Picks


Boss BD-2 Blues Driver

bd-2_1

It’s not a surprise that we open up this list with a pedal featuring “blues” in its designated name. Made by Boss, the BD-2 Blues Driver has been popular among blues guitarists for quite some time now.

The pedal is pretty simple to use, and features the always present three controls – volume, tone, and drive. Just like with the classic Tube Screamer, there’s nothing more that you need.

While it mostly comes in handy with tube amps, trying one of these with a solid-state will do just fine. In fact, it will even slightly enhance the tone and add the much-needed warmth in the mix.

While it’s great for any type of guitars, we would argue that it shines when you use it with guitars equipped with single-coil pickups.

A few years ago, Boss also made the BD-2W version, featuring their Waza Craft technology.

Visit the Boss website here


Fulltone OCD V2

Fulltone OCD V2

The only thing we didn’t like about this pedal is the Comic Sans font on the front panel. Other than that, this could easily be one of the best pedals of all time.

Its rich harmonic content and the responsiveness of controls are what make it so great. Aside from the three basic controls, there’s an additional switch for highpass and lowpass filtering.

This way, any guitar player can orient their tone towards the bottom or the higher end of the spectrum.

Also, there’s an internal switch that allows you to use it in true bypass and buffered bypass mode. So that’s a pretty neat addition.

Visit the Fulltone website here


TC Electronic MojoMojo

TC Electronic MojoMojo

TC Electronic’s MojoMojo has got to be the best deal for the price. Although it’s pretty cheap, it deserves to be mentioned among the best pedals you can find today.

This true bypass pedal allows a lot of versatility with a 2-band EQ and the “Voice” switch that toggles between the vintage and modern-sounding drive.

Knowing that Paul Gilbert uses one, it’s pretty clear that MojoMojo is worth it. It’s just a simple little piece that can do wonders when pugged into clean or distorted channels of tube amps.

Trying one of these out, you won’t believe that the retail price is just around $50.

Visit the TC Electronic website here


Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

Electro-Harmonix Soul Food

What many don’t know is the fact that Electro-Harmonix made Soul Food according to the legendary, and somewhat mysterious, Klon Centaur pedal.

Knowing that Klon is no longer in production and that they reach some astronomical prices, Soul Food comes in as a viable solution. Although reasonably priced, it still does a great job of capturing some of the original pedal’s tone.

Featuring only three basic controls, Soul Food will give you some very transparent and bright overdriven sounds.

While it comes in handy for any type of pickup, we thoroughly loved how it sounded with humbuckers.

It’s also important to note that Soul Food features a true bypass.

Visit the EHX website here


Boss OD-1X

Boss OD-1X

Knowing what a great line of products they have in their arsenal, we just couldn’t help but add at least one more Boss overdrive to the list.

Here we have the old classic OD-1X Overdrive, made according to the classic old pedal released back in the 1970s.

Some controls are added, but the tones replicate the warmth of the original pedals. The best part comes with this pedal’s dynamic response.

You’ll feel as if though you’re playing through a tube amp.

Visit the Boss website here


MXR M193 GT-OD

mxr-m193-gt-od-overdrive-pedal

Anything from subtle sparkling overtones, up to harmonically rich and tasty drives – this pedal has it all with just three basic controls.

It’s interesting, though, how it manages to keep all the smoothness while also delivering that bright, transparent, and very defined edge.

What’s more, MXR’s M193 adds a decent amount of sustain to your tone without adding any unwanted noise. We’ve gotta say, it’s a real mystery to us how they managed to make it so good.

If you like adding something in front of your tube amp to push it over the limits, while adding some coloration and clarity to your tone, you should definitely consider getting the M193.

While the looks of it might suggest that it’s just another Tube Screamer imitation, it’s actually a completely different type of overdrive.

Visit the Jim Dunlop website here


Chase Bliss Audio Brothers

Chase Bliss Audio Brothers

Audio Brothers by Chase Bliss is a fairly expensive pedal, at least compared to many of the products that we listed above. However, it’s definitely worth every penny.

First off, it’s a pedal with two separate stages. While on the top panel we have six main knobs, there are many other mindblowing and complex features.

With its numerous controls, it allows anything from simple clean boosting, over smooth overdrive, and even the buzzsaw-like fuzzes.

Audio Brothers pedal fuses analog and digital technologies, allowing you to save 33 different combinations of presets.

You can combine channel A and channel B in different ways, and even blend them together. It’s one of the most complex and intricate pedals that you can buy today.

Visit the Chase Bliss Audio website


Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic

And we finally come to the legendary Ibanez Tube Screamer. The history of Tube Screamer has been explored by many guitar pedal fanatics, but for a good reason – there are so many great versions and clones.

What started back in the late 1970s with the original TS-808 has evolved into so many different overdrives. Today’s TS-9 is a direct continuation of that pedal, with just a few minor modifications done over the years.

This version is made according to the old Tube Screamer made in the first half of the 1980s. The circuitry is completely the same and the tones are some of the best that you can get for blues.

At the same time, this pedal presents a great basis for any kind of modification.

Visit the Ibanez website here


Keeley D&M Drive

Keeley D&M Drive

You don’t often find a pedal that’s as good as Keeley’s D&M Drive. Here we have a two-stage piece that incorporates simple boost within an overdrive pedal.

Interestingly enough, you can use it as two standalone pedals. But what’s really mindblowing is that you can choose whether boost comes before or after the drive section.

This provides some great tone-shaping options. What’s more, you’re also able to choose between true and buffered bypass. So aside from quite a great tone, we have a lot of functionality features.

As a result, the types of tones you can get are pretty much endless.

Visit the Robert Keeley website


Strymon Sunset

Strymon Sunset

Strymon is a one-of-a-kind pedal company that manages to surprise us with every single piece they’ve ever made.

For this list of the best blues overdrives, we’d like to include their extremely versatile Sunset. Additionally, you can also venture into the world of distortion with this pedal.

What’s really great about the Sunset is that it manages to convincingly replicate the responsiveness of a tube amp.

To be fair, many would fail a blind test and between Sunset in a solid-state amp and an actual tube amp. It’s just that good.

Similar to the aforementioned Audio Brothers, this dual overdrive has so many features, including the expression pedal connectivity. You can also choose the order of the two gain stages, or just blend them together. Barely anything comes close.

One of the best things we liked about it is the replication of those vintage germanium diode tones.

Visit the Strymon website here


Origin Effects RevivalDrive

Origin Effects RevivalDrive

Now here’s a very intricate piece. At first glance, it’s pretty clear that Origin’s RevivalDrive hides so many different tone-shaping options with it.

Like some of the others we mentioned, it’s also a two-stage drive, with one on/off switch and another one that toggles between the channels.

One channel is inspired by tube tones, while the other one features the classic silicon transistor.

But then we come to an abundance of controls that would take days for us to fully explain. RevivalDrive brings the best of two worlds in one pedal.

Visit the Origin Effects website here


EarthQuaker Devices Westwood

eqd-westwood-rhp

Although the controls look like on any other overdrive pedal, EarthQuaker’s Westwood hides a few tricks up its sleeve. What’s special about it is that it has a so-called “active” 2-band EQ.

This means that, when shifted to left and right, the frequency band changes drastically, cutting or boosting up to 20 dB. Also, the drive control is voiced in a special way, providing much more response than standard controls on other pedals.

This compact piece comes in handy both as a booster and an overdrive. It’s a very crunchy pedal, to an extent where it might lack some smoothness to it.

It doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just different and very useful for those who love these types of overdriven tones.

Visit the Earthquaker website here


Fender Santa Ana

Fender Santa Ana

While we mostly remember Fender for their guitars and great tube amps, it’s a shame that people sometimes overlook their extremely versatile and abundant arsenal of effects pedals.

Up next, we have the company’s impeccable Santa Ana overdrive. This is a classic two-stage pedal with very sensitive and responsive controls.

There are six basic controls for a 3-band EQ, presence, volume, and drive. It also comes with a voicing switch that picks between the classic American and British types of amps.

There are two switches on it, one to turn it off and the other one to add the boost. What’s interesting is that you can choose whether the boost option will add more drive or volume to the equation.

Another great feature comes with the addition of true and buffered bypass switching.

Overall, this is a fairly flexible pedal that manages to create a wide array of different overdriven tones.

Visit the Fender website here


Analogman King of Tone

analogman-king-of-tone-overdrive-guitar-effect-pedal-xl

King of Tone is a very special pedal. So special that you need to get your name on the waiting list, and wait for who knows how many months until you finally get it.

These boutique overdrives made by Analogman are in such demand that people started reselling them for higher prices. In fact, there’s a limited number of these pedals an individual can order in their lifetime.

And it’s no wonder that it achieved such a legendary status since it sounds so damn great. Sure, it comes with some customizable features, but the circuitry is almost the same with every one of these.

It’s a two-stage distortion that gives anything from smooth creamy drives up to sizzling heavy distortions. If you want the ultimate blues tone, then get on the King Of Tone waiting list.

Visit the Analogman website here


Thanks for reading!  Have you purchased any of these overdrive pedals?  What did you think?

Musician’s Guide to Booking a Show at a Bar or Club

Hi, my name is Melissa Koehler, and I’m a country musician from Ontario, Canada.

I use this outline for booking shows at clubs, bars and coffee shops across Southern Ontario. This outline has helped me get gigs at notable venues like Maxwell’s in Waterloo, The Boathouse in Kitchener, The Casbah in Hamilton, The Commercial Tavern in Maryhill and the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.

Melissa Koehler

So, if you are a musician looking to book a gig at a bar or a club but you’re not sure where to start, then check out my musician’s guide to booking a show at a bar or club below and follow along with how I go about it!


Research Venues

First, you need to research where you want to play. Decide what bars and clubs you want to play at and in what cities. Make sure you pick a venue that matches your music.

For example, if you play country music, then find a country bar or club where your music fits and makes sense. Keep a list of these venues and then see if you can find out who is in charge of booking the music.

Here’s a short list of the venues I’ve performed at that I had to do a bit of research in order to find.  It’s good to be systematic about these things.

list of southwestern ontario venues

Try to find the manager’s name on the venue’s website, or give the venue a call and ask for the manager’s name. When you’ve done all your research, you should have a solid list of venues and people to contact at those venues.


Create an EPK (Electronic Press Kit)

Next, you need to create an EPK (Electronic Press Kit). An EPK is like your band’s resume. It gives a band that no one has ever heard of some credibility and it gives venues an idea of who you are and what you play.

In your EPK, you should include pictures, a biography of your band, any notable past performances or achievements, a list of covers your band can play, and links to your social media, iTunes/Spotify and live videos.

Here’s a screenshot of what my EPK looks like.

melissa koehler epk

As you can see, I even added my logo for credibility!


Create a Cover Letter

Once you’ve created your EPK, you need to create your cover letter. The easiest way to do this is to create a generic cover letter template that you can use over and over again.

Here’s a screenshot of what my cover letter looks like.

melissa koehler cover letter

Simply highlight the places where you need to switch out the names of the venue and the manager.

Your cover letter should address the bar or club manager by name and then outline your band’s name, how many members are in your band, the genre you play, where you’re from, the name of the venue you want to play at and a few dates you’re interested in playing there.

melissa koehler and will bender live

You should also mention that they can find your EPK attached and include a few social media links at the end of the email.

Also, if you happen to have a video that could act as a musical sample of your work, perhaps at a venue similar to the one you’re applying to, you may wish to highlight this as well.

For example, here’s a video of my band playing at The Commercial Tavern from where I’m from and a very popular venue for country music!  It’s something you may want to include in the EPK, if you think the venue owner would appreciate it.


Have Someone Proofread Your EPK and Cover Letter

Once you’ve written your EPK and cover letter, have the band review it to make sure you haven’t left out anything important.

proofreader

If they give it a thumbs up, then ask a friend or family member to look over it. Make sure it makes sense to them and have them look for grammatical errors that you may have missed.


Send EPK and Cover Letter to Venues

Once you’re done your research and you’ve written your EPK and cover letter, you’re all set to start contacting venues.

Make sure to include the correct names of the venue and manager in your cover letter and then doublecheck that you’ve attached your EPK to the email.

Once you’re confident that everything looks good, hit send!


Follow Up with Venue Managers

Hopefully, you hear back from everyone you contacted, but if it’s been a week or two and you haven’t heard back, be sure to send a follow-up email.

Ask politely if they’ve had a chance to review your EPK and let them know that you can be contacted at anytime if they have any concerns or questions.


Create and Send Invoice

Once you’ve head back from venues and have decided on a date, it’s time to figure out your pay and get it in writing.

Send them a digital invoice with a clear description of what you’ll be providing musically, as well as the terms and conditions for paying you.

Music-performance-invoice-1

Make sure you bring a printed copy of this invoice to the night of your gig to avoid any confusion or miscommunications.

It might be a good idea to have the band, a friend or a family member look over the invoice too.


Send a Thank You to Venue Managers

A few days after your band has played, send the venue a thank you email for having your band play at their venue.

Let them know that your band had a blast and that you’re interested in playing there again. This will help you stand out from other bands and give you a chance to set up your next gig there.

Here’s an example of a thank you email that I use.

venue follow up template


Update Your EPK

As you get more and more gigs, update your EPK with all the new and impressive venues your band has played at!

Did we miss anything? Let us know your tips and tricks for booking shows in the comments below!  

Oh, almost forgot.  Here are some links to some of my personal music stuff in case you’re interested!


Melissa Koehler Links

My Youtube Channel

My Facebook Page

Here are the Best Traditional Scottish Kids Songs

fiona reid

Hi, my name is Fiona Reid and I’m a singer-songwriter from Scotland! I’m here to talk about some of my favourite traditional Scottish songs for kids.  

Scottish kids’ songs often go back generations, songs such as “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns are old classics loved by many.

This list will look into each songs’ unique story, as well as why I love them, and also an example of myself playing these songs on my acoustic guitar – Hope you like them!


Ally Bally Bee (Coulter’s Candy)

ally bally bee's coulters candy

The first song I want to tell you about is Ally Bally Bee, also known as Coulter’s Candy. The song was written in the 19th century by a weaver who lived in a city called Galashiels on the Borders of Scotland, Robert Coltart.

Originally it was a song written to be a jingle for an aniseed-flavoured candy that Coltart manufactured in Melrose and would then sell on to nearby towns in the Borders.

Though the recipe for the sweets is no longer known the song lives on as a popular children’s song in the country.

Within the lyrics, Ally Bally is described as sitting on their mothers’ knee is “greetin’ for a wee bawbee”. A bawbee is an old slang term which refers to a halfpenny coin.

The child was crying for a little “bawbee” so that it would also be able to buy some Coulter’s Candy.

The lyrics go on to describe various kids and adults who all want and love Coulter’s Candy, so it makes sense that it was used as an advertisement, it’s also very catchy!

This song brings back memories for me of when I was only young and in primary school (elementary school), it has a catchy little tune and is easy to remember, definitely a favourite!

Ally Bally Bee (Coulter’s Candy) Song Lyrics

Ally bally bally bally be
Sittin’ on yer mamy’s knee
Greetin’ for a wee baw bee
Tae buy some COULTER’S CANDY
Poor wee baim yer lookin’ awfull thin,
A’ yer jaw is aw drawn in
Could it be wi sookin’
Wi sooking the COULTER’S CANDY
I had a little nut tree
Nothing would it bear
But a silver nut meg
And a golden pear.
The Queen of Spain’s daughter
Came to visit me
And all on account
Of my little nut tree
Ally bally bally bally be
Sittin’ on yer mamy’s knee
Greetin’ for a wee baw bee
Tae buy some COULTER’S CANDY


The Three Craws

three craws

The next song making it into the best Scottish kid’s songs, is The Three Craws.

The concept is simple, it follows 3 crows that are sitting on a wall on a cold and frosty morning and what they get up to.

The first crow was crying for his mother (greetin’ for his maw), the second fell and broke his jaw (poor crow!) and the third crow wasn’t able to caw at all.

It sounds kind of morbid when you begin to analyze the lyrics but is loved by kids young and old in Scotland.

I personally like is because of the way that it is very simple to sing not only through the lyrics all rhyming in some sort of way and being repetitive but also due to the melody being the same for each chorus and verse, making it easy for kids to keep up and get into it!

The Three Craws Song Lyrics

Three craws sat upon a wa’,
Sat upon a wa’, sat upon a wa’,
Three craws sat upon a wa’,
On a cauld and frosty mornin’.

The first craw was greetin’ for his maw,
Greetin’ for his maw, greetin’ for his maw,
The first craw was greetin’ for his maw,
On a cauld and frosty mornin’.

The second craw fell and broke his jaw,
Fell and broke his jaw, fell and broke his jaw,
The second craw fell and broke his jaw,
On a cauld and frosty mornin’.

The third craw, couldnae caw at a’,
Couldnae caw at a’, couldnae caw at a’,
The third craw, couldnae caw at a’,
On a cauld and frosty mornin’.

An that’s a’, absolutely a’,
Absolutely a’, absolutely a’,
An that’s a’, absolutely a’,
On a cauld and frosty mornin’.

Meaning of unusual words:
craws=crows
wa’=wall
cauld=cold
maw=mother


Skinny Malinky Long Legs

Skinny Malinky Long Legs is another classic that can’t go without a mention!

This song has not really got a big story like the other two I mentioned so far, it only has one short verse which goes “Skinny Malinky Long Legs, big banana feet, went to the pictures and couldnae find a seat, when the pictures started, Skinny Malinky farted, Skinny Malinky Long Legs big banana feet”.

This basically follows the story of a guy Skinny Malinky who has long legs and big feet, he goes to the cinema, which is often referred to as the “pictures” in Scotland, can’t find a seat and when the film starts, he farts. Not very deep as you can tell.

But from this song a popular euphemism emerged, now Scottish people will often refer to someone, usually male, who is tall and thin (especially if they also have big feet) as a “Skinny Malinky Long Legs. The song itself is a popular playground song that kids love to sing!

I like this song because it is funny, easy and just a simple little song that anyone can learn and sing along to in minutes. It is silly and makes kids giggle every time you sing it!

Skinny Malinky Long Legs Lyrics

Skinny Malinky
Long legs
On banana feet
Went to the pictures
And fell through the seat.
When the picture started
Skinny Malinky farted
Skinny Malinky
Long legs
On banana feet.


The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

loch lomond

Finally I wanted to dive a bit deeper into history, with a song called Loch Lomond, or “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

While not exclusively a children’s song, it is one that is sung in schools and choirs all over Scotland, and it has been around for many years.

It was originally published in the year 1841, though the composer is unknown. Loch Lomond is a freshwater lake near the Highlands of Scotland, “the bonnie banks” meaning the lovely lands near the Loch.

It is unclear exactly what the song is about, but some interpretations suggest that it is about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s retreat from England back to Scotland.

Allegedly one of his followers told his lover that “ye’ll tak the high road and I’ll tak the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye”. He was about to be executed, saying that she would take the high road on earth, while he took the low road in the grave, and that he would be in Scotland before her.

The song has been rerecorded many times now by everyone from traditional Scottish bands to AC/DC!

I love this song because of the traditional feel, I used to sing this one in my old school choir and on Robert Burns day (a day to celebrate the famous songwriter and poet Robert Burns) for years to come, it holds many fond memories and has a lovely traditional Scottish tune to it as well.

The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond Lyrics

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonny braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

For ye’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep side o’ Ben Lomon’
Where in purple hue the Hieland hills we view
An’ the moon comin’ out in the gloaming

The wee birdies sing and the wild flow’rs spring
And in sunshine the waters are sleepin’;
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring
Tho’ the waefu’ may cease frae their greetin’
(x2)

For ye’ll take the high road
And I’ll take the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye
For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond

For me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond


And there we have it, some of the best Scottish children’s songs, hopefully you’ll give them a listen and like them as much as I do!  Let me know what you think in the comments as well!

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We Review The Best Compressor Pedals Today

best compressor pedals

Let’s face it – any of us would just love to spend our whole lives just jamming out and looking for those perfect guitar tones. With this said, it seems like creating the perfect rig is an impossible task.

Yeah, you’ll buy something new, whether it’s a pedal or a rack-mounted effect or a new amp, but you’ll always manage to stumble upon something new and fresh that grabs your attention.

And there’ll be all sorts of stuff that you’ll want to buy, all those flashy and exciting effects that turn your tone into a strangely pleasant mush of harmonically rich content.

However, it seems that we often tend to forget about some of those less exciting but essential pieces of gear.

At the end of the day, it’s not all about the crazy stuff, there’s supposed to be something in your signal chain that controls your tone.

Strangely enough, compressor pedals often tend to get overlooked. Yeah, they might be a bit dull, but when applied properly, they do wonders for your tone.

johnmayer3

Whether it’s the rhythm or lead parts, or whether we’re talking about distorted or clean tones, dynamic compression always serves its purpose.

By making quiet parts louder and louder parts quieter, these pedals practically “squash” your tone, bringing much-needed dynamical control and sometimes even additional thickness to it.

In most of the band settings – especially if we’re talking about larger groups of musicians – you just cannot go without a compressor pedal.

No matter if you need those tasty funky rhythm tones, chugging riffs, or excessively loud screaming leads, we decided to bring you the list of the best compressor pedals for guitar that you can find these days.

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Xotic SP Compressor

xotic sp compressor effect pedal

The first one we’re going to mention is fairly simple and compact. Nonetheless, this small pedal can do wonders for your tone.

What’s more, the operation is extremely simple, which makes it a perfect choice for those who don’t feel like bothering with parameters too much.

Xotic’s SP features two knobs, one for volume and the other that blends processed and unprocessed signals. But there’s more to this simple pedal, as it features a 3-way switch for low, mid, and high compression.

More tone shaping is available through four internal dip switches for attack, release, high cut filtering, and input pad. There aren’t many options for tweaking mid-session, but simplicity is the main idea behind such a pedal.


MXR M228 Dyna Comp Deluxe

DynaCompDlx-xlarge

There’s a lot of great stuff in MXR’s arsenal, and they’re pretty well-known for their quality compact guitar pedals.

Talking of compressors, they have a fairly simple and popular M102 Dyna Comp. However, we would like to include an upgraded version, the MXR M228 Dyna Comp Deluxe, on this list.

As opposed to the M102 that has only two controls, the M228 features four knobs. There’s the output volume and “sensitivity,” which determines the strength of compression and the overall sustain.

The clean blend control does the classic mix between the processed and unprocessed signals, and there’s also a regular tone knob on it. An additional switch in between the knobs switches between faster and slower attack time modes.


TC Electronic HyperGravity

TC Electronic HyperGravity

Among a variety of their pedals, TC Electronic’s HyperGravity has earned quite a reputation among tone lovers. And it definitely lives up to its name, as the pedal adds some quite tight and “squeezed” tones for any possible occasion.

First off, the pedal offers four basic controls for volume, blend, sustain, and attack. We can also find a switch for three modes of operation – Vintage, TonePrint, and Spectra.

Vintage mode, as the name suggests, offers the old school kind of tones. Spectra brings some very bright and clear compressed tones, very useful for clean settings.

And there’s the TonePrint feature, that allows you to either download presets from the company’s website, or create your own that you can upload to TC Electronic’s library.

But that’s not all. The pedal also has an internal switch for true bypass and buffered bypass modes. This feature comes in rather handy for different signal chain preferences.


Boss CS-3

boss-cs-3-compression-sustainer-pedal-review

And it’s the good old Boss up next, with their CS-3 Compressor. This pedal is the continuation of the company’s old CS-1 and the very well-known CS-2, both of which are still highly valued among vintage pedal fans.

The CS-3 brings a bit more functionality, while it still retains that bottom-end-heavy squashed, yet really defined tone and low-noise operation.

You can sculpt your tone through four basic controls for volume, tone, attack, and sustain.

The sustain knob determines the intensity of compression, while it adds actual sustain as a “side effect” of compression. It’s not expensive, it does the job well, and fits perfectly for any musical style.


Behringer CS400

Behringer CS400

Okay, some might give us weird looks for deciding to include an actual Behringer pedal on this list. But there’s a good reason for it – the CS400 actually works rather well and is extremely cheap.

It’s usually somewhere below $30, which is ridiculous for a guitar pedal. The only downside is the plastic casing, and possibly the overall design and choice of LED color. Other than that, the pedal works like many other compressors out there.

As for the controls and the tone, the CS400 is pretty similar to Boss’ CS-3 we discussed above. There are Level, Attack, Tone, and Sustain knobs on it.


Foxgear Squeeze

Foxgear Squeeze

Appropriately named Squeeze by Foxgear will thoroughly squeeze your tone. And this one is as simple as it gets. There’s the input, the output, and two knobs for output volume and ratio.

While it’s not very versatile, the pedal does bring some amazing compressed tones. The thing is, this is an optical compressor pedal, meaning that the input signal is converted into light and processed as such.

As a result, you get a very peculiar tone that no other conventional compression pedal can replicate. The response and the whole feel are a bit different.

Also, the signal is pretty clear and you can add strong compression with a vintage vibe without any interference or noises whatsoever. Plus, it looks very cool.


Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone

Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone

There’s a lot of unusual yet very useful stuff made by Pigtronix over the years. But aside from those wacky synth pedals, they also have a fairly simple and compact compressor called Philosopher’s Tone.

And its main philosophy is to bring regular compressor pedal functionality within a smaller sized unit that fits today’s trendy standard of crowded pedalboards.

So aside from the output volume, blend, and sustain/intensity knob, there’s also a treble control. In some way, it operates like the tone knob, with just a little accent on the high-ends.

The tones can get bright, especially because this is a true bypass pedal. We’d argue that it does a great job for those funky single-coil rhythm tones that you can get from Strats and Teles.


Origin Effects Cali76

Origin Effects Cali76

Now, Cali76 by Origin Effects is a high-end piece, something that gets pretty obvious with the first glance at this pedal. The interesting thing that makes stand out from most of the pedals out there is that it’s only powered by an adapter.

The main idea behind this approach is that the higher current always provides a clearer tone. But at the same time, you can run it either on 9 volts or 18 volts, which brings a significant difference in tone and overall output.

We have six control knobs on it. Interestingly enough, there are separate controls for input and output signal, while you can also adjust the ratio, attack, and release.

All this provides some very detailed tone shaping, and you can achieve some great compressed tones for literally any type of music and combination of pedals. Yeah, it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s quite worth it.


JHS Pulp ‘N’ Peel V4

PulpNPeelV4-large

You know how you can use compressor pedals as boosters and push vintage tube amps over their limits, while also shaping their tone? Well, JHS has a great pedal for this occasion, called Pulp ‘N’ Peel Version 4.

There are those basic four controls that we can find on most of the compressors, like blend, compression intensity, volume, and tone that’s labeled as “EQ.”

But there are a couple of additional goodies here that make it stand out. With just one switch, labeled as “dirt,” you can tighten up the tone further and add some bottom-end to it.

The second feature is the XLR output that lets you plug it directly into a mixer. This comes in handy when you want to make a practical gig setup without amps. What’s more, there’s an internal switch for true bypass and buffered mode.


Keeley Compressor Pro

Keeley Compressor Pro

Here’s another high-end compressor pedal that comes in handy for all those who want to make fully professional signal chains and guitar rigs.

Robert Keeley is a famous pedal builder who created and modded effects units for many famous guitar heroes.

Since the early 2000s, he’s been making some of the best boutique-tier pedals on the market under the Keeley Electronics brand. For this list, we’re including the company’s Compressor Pro.

At the first glance, we can see that the controls are very detailed, offering precise attack and release times, threshold settings, gain, as well as ratios that go well into the maximum limiter territory.

Then comes even more exciting part with the hard and soft knee switch that switches between the harder and softer attack modes. The soft mode offers more control over tone and can be useful for solos and other lead sections.

There’s also the Auto mode switch that dynamically changes attack and release times according to your playing. Now, that’s an advanced feature.


Walrus Audio Deep Six V3

DeepSixV3-large

Continuing the streak of high-end compressors, we have Walrus Audio with the third version of their Deep Six compressor.

The interesting part about its circuit is that it internally doubles the voltage, bringing more headroom to the tone. The effect is adjusted through the 5 basic controls for volume, intensity, tone, blend, and attack.

We could say that the pedal’s build lives up to its tone and name, as it is one of the most robust pieces out there. Obviously, this makes it a valuable addition to live pedalboards.


Carl Martin Andy Timmons Signature Compressor/Limiter

carl-martin-andy-timmons-compressor-main-3694487c.jpg.991a468ae9ae10a139c4c7c428d4b1e9

Andy Timmons is one of the unrightfully underrated maestros of the guitar world. Carl Martin has designed and built Andy his very own signature compressor pedal.

It’s not a complicated piece at all, but it has some interesting additions to it and makes some pretty unique compressed tones.

However, the pedal offers a 2-in-1 deal with two separate compressors in it. That’s a pretty useful option for those who don’t feel like tweaking a lot of knobs and switches but need two modes of compression during the same gig or a session.

While there are separate controls for compression intensity and output volume, threshold and response are shared and operated only through two simple switches.


Wampler Ego

Wampler-Ego-Full-PI

We can talk for days about different compressor and limiter pedals that the market has to offer these days, but a lot of people are singling out Wampler’s Ego as the best possible choice.

This pedal, that’s become so popular among guitar players of all genres, adds significant versatility to the effect. It’s especially popular among the fans of true bypass.

The controls are fairly simple and are the standard ones that you can find on most of the higher-end compressor pedals – sustain/intensity, tone, attack, blend, and output volume.

However, the tone-shaping is different and allows more flexibility compared to average compressors out there.

If you want a universal and fairly flexible piece without any complicated features, you should definitely check out Wampler’s Ego.

Looking through their list of products and seeing how great their pedals are, it’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed with the Ego.


And that about wraps it up for now!  Have you used any of these?  What are your thoughts?  Comment below!

A Beginners’ Guide to Guitar Pedals

beginners guide to guitar pedals

The world of electric guitars opens up new horizons of expression in music. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it’s one of the most popular instruments out there. After all, there are so many different things that you can do with an electric guitar, making it a very potent musical tool for almost all of the genres that we can think of today.

The fact that it’s an electric instrument that sends a signal to an amplifier opens up new ways for further altering and improving its tone. With the development of guitar effects, guitarists worldwide were given a new tool that would help them to more easily convey their artistic message.

So it’s not unusual to know that many guitar players have dedicated their time and effort in building elaborate pedalboards. Some of them even feature very complex loops and even external controllers to create different combinations of sounds.

huge guitar pedal board

If you’re new to guitar pedals, some things might get a bit confusing. Well, you’re definitely not alone in this, and even the most experienced guitar players have been there. After all, with so many different pedals and effects, it does get difficult to keep up with how things work.

With all this said, we figured we could help clear things up for beginners and do a detailed guide on guitar pedals. We sorted them out by categories, explaining what these effects do, and how adjusting their parameters affects your tone. At the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of guitar pedals and enough knowledge to start building your pedalboard.


Tuners

Peterson Stomp Classic Strobe Tuner

Tuner pedals are not effects, but we still need to include them in this guide. Essentially, they are like regular guitar tuners, only in the form of guitar pedals that you can put in your signal chain.

What’s important to note here is that they have a display or an array of LED lights along with a display so that you can easily see when the open string hits the desired note.

They’re nothing fancy, but they serve their purpose for live settings. You just hit the footswitch, mute the tone, and tune your guitar. That’s it!

However, tuner pedals usually have buffered bypass, which can serve its purpose in the signal chain. Essentially, they can balance the signal and sort things out, but that’s a whole other discussion that we’ll touch upon some other time.

Read a review of one of our favorite tuning pedals here


Filters

DigiTech X-Series Synth Wah Envelope Filter review

Up next, we have filter pedals that serve the purpose of filtering out certain frequencies in your tone. This means they can also pronounce certain frequency ranges of the audible spectrum by filtering out everything else. One of the examples of filter pedals is the wah-wah.

Wahs can change the peak frequency, pronounce it, while everything else stays the same or gets filtered out. By moving its rocking part, wah pedal sweeps over the spectrum. We also have automatic wah pedals that change these frequencies according to the input signal, or the dynamics of your playing.

Other types of filter pedals are “static” and keep the tone according to your parameters. As a result, they can emulate some quirky synth tones. An example would be Line 6 FM4. However, these are usually more advanced “toys” that you don’t exactly need as a beginner.

Check out our review of the DigiTech Synth Wah Envelope Filter Pedal here


Equalizers

eq700

Just like your guitar amp has a 3-band equalizer with bass, middle, and treble controls, there are standalone pedals that can further shape your tone.

The simplest form of an EQ is a tone control on your guitar, and the most complex examples would be things like 30-band EQs or parametric EQs.

EQ pedals for guitar usually have anywhere between 5 and 10 frequency ranges that you can control using sliders. By turning the pedal on, you change the tone according to the set parameters, and then go back to the original tone when it’s turned off.

This is pretty useful if you need to change the tone for a certain section of a song, like pronouncing mids for a solo. MXR’s M108S is a good example of a 10-band EQ pedal.


Boosters

Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost review

We could say that these are the simplest types of pedals out there. All they do is boosting the guitar signal without creating distortion in their circuit. If you need a slight volume boost without changing your tone, they come in handy.

However, they are also very useful with tube amplifiers or other tube pedals and devices in your signal chain. Tube amps tend to “break” their tone and cause that “natural” or “organic” distortion when reaching their limits.

A simple booster can help you achieve that vintage-sounding distortion with a tube amp or another tube-driven pedal.

Check out our review of the MRX MC401 Boost Pedal here


Compressors

boss-cs-3-compression-sustainer-pedal-review

Compressors often get overlooked, which is quite a shame as they are pretty useful. The proper name for them would be dynamic range compressors as they turn up the volume of quiet parts and keep the louder parts quieter.

Of course, you’re able to set parameters and intensity of this compression. They can also boost the signal when needed, but the main purpose is to keep everything in check and prevent anything from popping up in the mix.

This is why they’re very useful for bassists and rhythm guitarists.

Read our review of the BOSS CS-3, one of our favorite compressors


Expanders, aka noise gates

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal review

An expander is the opposite of a compressor – quiet parts get quieter, and louder parts get louder or just stay at the same volume.

This effect is perfect for dealing with high gain distortions that tend to add that hissing sound when you’re not playing. While it can’t filter out the hissing during your playing, it does keep things quiet in between the notes.

They usually have just one control that sets the threshold at which the effect is activated. They’re simple to use but still require some experience to implement properly without soaking up your tone.

Check out our review of the Boss NS-2


Pitch-altering pedals

digitech-whammy-pedal-re-issue-with-midi-control

This is where the fun stuff begins. Pitch shifters can alter the pitch of your whole output or add one or more intervals to what you’re playing.

For instance, the famous example here is the Digitech Whammy that can alter the pitch of your tone as you rock the moving part of the pedal back and forth.

Kind of like a wah pedal, but it changes the pitch. You can hear this one in Rage Against the Machine’s famous song “Killing in the Name.”

Octaver pedals are also pretty common on pedalboards, and they usually have settings to add two additional tones to what you’re playing, one and two octaves below.

They can find uses in lead sections or anything that doesn’t involve playing more than one note at a time. Boss has some great Octaver pedals, like the OC-3.

We also have harmonizers that add the desired interval above or below notes that you’re playing. These can either work chromatically by adding a fixed interval (i.e. major third) or diatonically where they work “smart” and accommodate the intervals according to the scale that you’re playing.

To use these “smart” versions of harmonizers, you need some basic music theory knowledge. Examples of harmonizer pedals include Boss VE-2, Boss VE-8, TC Helicon Harmony, and many others.

Read our review of the Digitech Whammy 5


Distortion

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion review

Now we get to the most important part of every pedalboard – distortion pedals. In the world of guitar, the distortion effect is divided into three categories, which are overdrive, classic distortion, and fuzz.

They create this effect by intentional boosting and clipping of the signal. Different types of clipping create different types of distortion.

There’s something for everyone’s taste these days, and the most attention is usually dedicated to finding proper distortion pedals for certain styles of music and playing.

Some of the famous examples include Ibanez Tube Screamer with all of its variants, Boss DS-1, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, MXR M75, the legendary Klon Centaur, Pro Co Rat, and many others.

Read our review of the Pro Co Turbo Rat distortion pedal


Modulation

mxr-m134-stereo-chorus-273109

Modulation effects include everything that adds the copy of your signal, alters it a little, and blends it in with the unprocessed signal.

The most famous modulation effect is the chorus that adds a very short delay and alters the pitch up and down according to the set amplitude and speed.

We also have flanging and phasing, which are in some technical ways similar, but in practice produce completely different effects.

Most of the modulation pedals have a “mix” or “blend” control that determines the ratio between unprocessed and processed signals.

There are also depth and speed controls, along with a few other things. Strymon has a great chorus pedal called Ola. MXR has the M134 stereo chorus that’s pretty great too.

Check out our review of the MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal


Atmospheric effects: delays and reverbs

electro harmonix holy grail reverb

To keep your tone more interesting, you should think of different “atmospheric” effects. After all, you can’t keep it “dry” all the time. For this purpose, we have delay and reverb pedals. Both of these add repeated copies of your tone to create an illusion of a bigger or smaller room.

Delays add simple repeats according to set parameters. You can control the time distance between these repeats, the number of repeats, and the mix between the original and repeated signal.

It’s the classic echo effect. In some cases, pedals also have separate EQ controls for shaping the tone of the repeated signal. There’s anything from the simple stuff like the MXR carbon copy, up to very complex pieces like the Empress Echosystem.

Reverbs also repeat the signal, but in a more “shimmering” manner, giving the impression of one prolonged atmospheric continued repeat. It’s as if you’re playing in a large hall or a cathedral.

They also include blend or mix controls, just like delays. Strymon’s Big Sky is a great example of a very spacious-sounding reverb.

Read our review of the TC Electronic M3000


Volume pedals

morley-volume-pedal

While they could be the most boring part of one pedalboard, volume pedals should be an essential part of every signal chain, especially if you’re playing in a bigger band or an orchestra.

They’re pretty simple – you use them to control your output volume. They have a rocking part that you use to turn the volume up or down. There’s usually the “minimum volume” switch that sets the volume when the pedal is at its minimum position.

There’s a common misconception with beginners thinking that the volume pedal can do the same thing as the booster pedal. The thing with volume pedals is that you’re reducing the volume to the desired level. You use it when you’re supposed to keep quiet in the mix.

There are high impedance and low impedance volume pedals, but we’re not going to get too much into technical details about this. Low impedance pedals are more common and they go at the very end or near the end of the signal chain. Ernie Ball has its MVP volume pedal that’s very reliable.


Expression pedals, tap pedals, and sequencers

8StepProg-large

Some of the effects we mentioned usually support connectivity with external control sources. For this, we have expression pedals, which are just multi-purpose potentiometers in the form of a pedal.

Automatic wah-wah, certain modulation pedals, or even delays can work with an expression pedal, but only if they have a separate input jack for it.

On their own, expression pedals do nothing, although many volume pedals also have the expression pedal functionality.

Tap switches work the same way, it’s just that they have one control switch that sets the tempo of the effect. For instance, you connect it to a delay, and when your delay pedal is turned on, tap the switch pedal twice and the tempo of your repeated tones will be set according to the tempo that you tapped.

Sequencer pedals are a bit more complicated, and they’re definitely not something that a beginner would use. It’s a complex controller that has a sequence of adjustable steps.

It controls any effect with the expression pedal connectivity feature, but it does nothing on its own. An example here would be the well-known Electro-Harmonix 8-Step Program Analog Expression Sequencer.


What’s the correct order of pedals in the signal chain?

First off, there’s no such thing as the “correct” order of pedals. There are, however, some standards in arranging your pedalboard that may help you get the clearest tone without any unwanted noises or hisses.

This is the usual order, but you’re free to experiment. The whole thing is open for discussion.

From guitar to the amp, it goes like this: tuner – filter – EQ – compressor – boost – pitch altering – distortion – modulation – volume pedals – delay – reverb. Volume pedal can also come after the delay and reverb.

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