Hi, you're in the studio with Luke from GuitarIQ.com. Welcome to Guitar iQ&A, where you send in your burning guitar questions and I do my best to answer them! Usually, in these videos I focus on one question at a time. However, I've had a bunch of questions about guitar pedals. So I'm hoping to address a few of these at once. In the last video, I looked at the 3 best practices for putting together a pedalboard with better tone and less noise. In this video, we'll talk about individual pedals vs multi-effects units and I'll also show you my latest pedalboard build for 2018!
One of the big questions people ask is about stompboxes vs multi effects. Which is better and what do I recommend? Well, honestly, I like both for different reasons! If you're the type of player who wants to keep things simple (and realistically doesn't need all of the bells and whistles) then don't bother with multi effects. Get yourself a handful of nice pedals: a good compressor, a quality drive pedal, a clean or coloured boost, and a good delay unit; couple that with a great guitar and a nice tube amp with spring reverb. And you can get some fantastic tones! On the other hand, if you're looking for a more versatile rig with access to a lot more options, than a high quality multi-effects unit makes a lot of sense. Yes, you could build something similar using individual effects with an elaborate switching unit to control banks of pedals and such. Just keep in mind, your board will be a lot bigger, a lot heavier, and a lot more expensive to put together! So if you've got your own home studio space and you've got the cash, go for your life. Create the biggest, baddest thing you can afford and then send me a picture! However, if you mainly play live—depending on the room you're in, the other instruments in the band, and the person mixing FOH sound—those beautiful tones you've spent so much time and money crafting in the confines of your bedroom won't always translate the same on stage. Just having a bigger more expensive board, doesn't necessarily mean you'll get significantly better results.
I must admit, given the variables we’ve just talked about, personally I've really come around to the idea of using multi effects—especially live. Now, I'm speaking as one of those guys that used to have a MASSIVE pedalboard! Yes, it sounded good and it looked kick-ass on stage. However, it weighed over 20kg’s and it wasn't really all that practical as a touring musician. And most importantly, compared to some smaller multi-effects units, a big board like this doesn't provide as much control or versatility as you might think! In light of this, another popular question I've had is from people wondering about combining multi effects with individual pedals? Can you get the best of both worlds? And the answer is of course yes. This provides a good segway to introduce my latest pedalboard build for 2018. So let's check it out and I'll give you a quick walkthrough!
Here's the pedalboard I've just finished putting together. I wanted a simple setup for practicing and writing but also something that was portable and didn't take up a lot of space. As you can see, I've downsized dramatically from my previous pedalboard. I built this board completely around the TC Electronic Nova System. Now, this unit is a few years old. So I was faced with the question whether to upgrade or not. What I really liked about this unit is the sound (it sounds fantastic and has all analog overdrive/distortion). What I didn't like so much was the functionality. So the obvious compromise for me was to keep the same sound but upgrade the functionality. And that's what I did.
Over here, we start with the Empress Effects Buffer+. Not only is it a great buffer but it keeps my input and output together in one place. It has a few other handy features and it's also a dedicated boost pedal too—a great all round unit. I liked it so much I bought two! From there, one send goes to the Nova System and one goes out to the tuner. The Korg Pitchblack Mini is small, light, accurate, and has a big display. Everything you want in a tuner. Much better than the one inbuilt to the Nova System. I've set the Nova System to function much like a series of individual pedalboards. Because switching between banks with the Nova System is a bit clunky and annoying, I've added a MIDI switcher which makes this a breeze. For example, I can easily switch between Clean, Drive, and Distorted pedalboard presets while still maintaining the manual control of being able to switch individual effects on and off. I've also added an expression pedal. The Nova System doesn't come with one but there's an optional input. Expression pedals aren't expensive, so why wouldn't you! Next, the Nova System runs into this looper pedal. A great little unit for practice and writing—a bit of a no brainer. The final pedal is an EP booster from Xotic Effects. I'm using it as more of a tone conditioner instead of a boost. It just has a nice colour to it that works well with everything else here. From there we loop back into the buffer and it's happy days!
That’s my new pedalboard build for 2018. I hope that you found it interesting! Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed the video, please like, subscribe, share, and leave your comment below. What pedals do you use? Do you prefer stompboxes or multi effects? Why or why not? Also, if you want to get more from your guitar playing, I have a number if guitar books available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and a bunch of other places. To check them out, just head over to the website, GutarIQ.com. Last of all, if you have a question that you'd like answered just leave it in the comments or head over to the Q&A tab on our website. And you might find your question featured in a video. All the best in the practice room this week. And I hope to chat soon!