I was chatting with a couple of friends on Twitter recently—let’s call these friends Peter and Brad*—about the concept of building a guitar pedalboard with pedals exclusive to one particular brand. It’s not something I’d considered before. I normally go looking for a specific pedal type I like and then see what is the best option for my style and budget. Mostly budget—I have an understanding wife who understands only to a point. But, if the single goal was to just have only one brand on the pedalboard, Peter and Brad both said one place they would start was with Strymon guitar pedals.
I trust Peter and Brad. So I did some research on the Strymon guitar pedal range and easily decided on the following pedals to build a very sexy and most-likely impressive sounding pedalboard.
The pedal I started with was the Sunset dual overdrive. I like overdrive—there are plenty of previous articles on this site to back that claim up—so a dual overdrive appeals me to two-fold. Not only is this a dual overdrive pedal, but it’s two customisable pedals in the one unit that delivers a total of six different circuits to choose from. Not only that, you can run the different circuits from the two overdrive channels. They can be run in-series, reverse-series or parallel. Of course, these are just words. It’s best to see and hear the pedal to fully understand it’s flexibility. Do that. You’ll be glad you did.
The pedal is red as well. I mention this because my pedalboard is currently red. It’s the perfect choice for me. Design is everything to me. That is what got me thinking about a pedalboard using one brand’s pedals in the first place. Aesthetics count!
One thing I like to do in a pedalboard is follow my overdrive or distortion pedal/s with a chorus pedal. Distortion plus chorus is a match made in heaven for my style of guitar playing—I may have mentioned that recently in a similar article. I could easily survive with these two pedals alone.
Of course the Strymon offering is as advanced as the overdrive offering is—two pedals in the one unit. The Ola dBucket Chorus and Vibrato guitar pedal contains chorus and vibrato effects in it. The setup of this pedal is different to the Sunset pedal though. The pedal does use two foot control switches, but instead of being two channel in approach, the pedal allows you to choose between the chorus or vibrato modulation types with the left control while allowing to choose the mode type with the right control.
There is of course a setting to combine the chorus and the vibrato with the effect settings switch. As above, this is best experienced using the aid of embedded video. Pictures are worth a thousand words after all.
That chorus effect is just beautiful. I don’t use vibrato a lot in my own guitar playing, but I would be tempted to use the combination setting. Subtle vibrato could work nicely with a perfect overdrive I believe.
Another pedal type I love is the flanger. Some of my favourite metal tracks of years gone by featured a perfect flanger setting. The Orbit dBucket Flanger guitar pedal would work nicely after an overdive—same theory I applied to the chorus pedal above. And just like the chorus pedal and overdrive pedal already mention, this Strymon guitar pedal features the two foot controls.
This pedal’s interface is somewhat trickier though. For a flanger pedal, the options in the Orbit are much more varied than most competitors. The feedback types can be positive, negative or +/-. The positive phase is your traditional jet-style flanger effect while the negative phase is a hollow or watery effect type. The +/- combines both effect types together. The switch on the right side of the pedal controls the LFO—which I believe is the Low-Frequency Oscillation—that controls the phase sweep.
For a flanger guitar pedal, there is way too much fun to be had here. That’s how it should be. If you’re going to spend your hard earned cash, you want bang-for-buck. This pedal gives you that.
Those are some beautiful sounds. The initial overdriven sounds are clearly my favourites. I can see myself having hours of experimental guitar playing fun with a pedal like this though.
By this stage, I feel like I know what you’re thinking. All Strymon pedals have two foot controls. Ha-ha! Wrong! I thought that too.
No, the Strymon BigSky guitar pedal has three foot controls. It looks complex, but the sounds are truly amazing in this guitar pedal. Not just for guitar too it seems. This video showcases exactly what the pedal can do when used in various ways for multiple instruments.
That. Is. Epic.
I love to use the basic reverb on my amplifier. But having a diverse reverb pedal like the BigSky at the end of my pedalboard would make all the previous epicness truly amazing. Even in a bedroom practicing I can imagine my amplifier sounding like I was in a concert hall or arena—with an audience of one. It doesn’t seem fair actually to have twelve reverb types in one pedal when you’re not playing in front of thousands of people. But why should only the big names experience that kind of music feel?!
I did mention the seemingly complex layout of the BigSky pedal just before, but I should follow that up with what appears to be relative ease of actual use. From what I can see, the three pedals can be used easily to either apply effects, set presets or switch through the banks of presets. Once you work out what each foot control does on its own or when combined with the control beside it—for the left and right controls at least—the fun should begin quickly.
This addition is what I’d call a worthy addition. The Ojai is not a guitar pedal, but a guitar pedal power unit by Strymon. If you’re going to have outstanding guitar pedals, you don’t to power them with rubbish power. So it makes sense to me that you’d use the Strymon Ojai to power this pedalboard.
Five 9v 500mA pedals can be powered by this unit and powered in style—the unit looks as cool as the guitar pedals do. Who knows … I would probably put this on the top of the pedalboard instead of under the pedalboard as I currently do with my cheap power supply unit. I mean, look at it! It’s sexy and useful!
There you have it. A one-brand guitar pedalboard can be done and done in style. Strymon proves it with the pedals I chose for this virtual pedalboard. I know if I had this setup I’d be set for life. One can only dream right?
Oh, if my wife ever meets Peter or Brad, she will have words to them for encouraging me.
* Names are usually protected to protect the identities of the innocent. In this case Peter and Brad are guilty for encouraging me. So their real names have been used. Seems fair to me.