Should I Use Guitar Foot Pedals or Digital Effect Modellers?
Guitar pedals have come a long way in recent decades. In the 60s and
70s, you got your sound from an amplifier and in some cases a pedal or
two. Many classic sounds were made with just a guitar, tube amplifier,
and a few stomp box pedals. Today, there are tons of stomp boxes
available as well as newer digital effects which began to appear more
often in the 1980s.
Digital effects when they first came out were quite poor. They suffered from an overly processed sound and it was tough to get any real good tone out of the first effects pedals based solely on digital effects. Today, digital effects are a lot better and in some cases you can’t even distinguish between a regular analog stomp box and a digital effect pedal.
Why Use a regular Stomp Box?
The man reason you want to use a normal stomp box is that they sound great. You can get great sound out of a normal stomp box because that’s what they are designed to do. For example, if you use a stomp box that produces distortion, you’re going to get a wide range of distorted tones you can actually use. You may even have a poor amplifier, but you can still produce tones that you can actually use when playing. If you’re looking to recreate those classic sounds then several good stomp boxes and an amplifier is going to be all you need. You can depend on classic stomp boxes like a Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah Wah, for example, to deliver those classic sounds time and time again. Those sounds are tried and true and the guitarists bread and butter.
A downside to stomp boxes is that you often have to have a lot of them to create certain sounds. For example, you may need a delay, an overdrive, several distortion pedals, a noise gate, a reverb pedal and so on. This creates a lot of cables and a lot of mess and it takes time to setup before you go on stage. You have to constantly test things out to ensure you’re getting the sounds that you want. If you’re not using adapters you have to ensure that all your pedals have batteries installed.
Why Use Digital Effects?
You want to use digital effects when you want to create multiple tones quickly. You may need these as samples for example, for a music project or you have sounds that are always changing when you play live. Fore example, you might be a cover band and need a whole bunch of classic tones right at your fingertips. When you use digital effects, you also spend less money because you can get everything in one digital processor such as a Zoom processor. You don’t have a lot of cables of fuss with and most processors have tons of tones you can work with. Many processors also allow you to create your own tones and save them in banks or share and download tones with other people.
Digital pedals and effects still don’t quite sound like a real amplifier and a good stomp box. Distortions for example, can be quite disappointing with digital effects and you often have to search a long time for a good tone. The processing can also be extreme at the pure tone can be quite muddy. Another drawback is that software goes out of date quite quickly and you have to update programs or buy new processors to work with newer computer systems. One good analog pedal for example, will last you forever with no updates required unless you decide to MOD it.
Both digital and regular analog pedals have pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide which ones you want to work with. Happy jamming.