There's an industry built around...

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ewalewal Frets: 663
in FX
...the nuances of distortion, OD and fuzz. But if truth be told there really is a limit to the number of clipping/EQ flavours that can be produced, especially from the listening audience point of view. As such the industry is all a bit of a snake oil sale, designed to part players with their money.

Discuss.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9040
    Maybe, but there are a lot of different ways of adding flexibility to those basic RW & clipping otptions, and pretty shiny boxes are fun :)
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 17544
    I like shiny things.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5728
    I'm not even sure how much it's about nuance either. People seem fairly happy to buy almost exact clones shoved in new boxes. A huge amount of all this is one big con.
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 540
    edited July 10
    Agreed. I'm always impressed by how reviewers manage to describe yet another drive pedal's nuances.

    Doesn't stop me constantly trying different ones though... I love the taste of snake oil!
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 2904
    Most industries are the same, that's why they are businesses. Just look how many different types of rice you can buy in the supermarket

    And if there's anything good about me, I'm the only one who knows

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  • Do your mids even haunt bro?
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 5728
    Most industries are the same, that's why they are businesses. Just look how many different types of rice you can buy in the supermarket
    there is a certain amount of choice that is discernible (pudding rice is very different to long grain whole grain rice etc) and then there are competing companies offering those choices in different packets. I think that's pretty normal business. 

    Where FX pedal builders have really turned up the stupidity is in pretending that the subtle nuance between two circuits with slight component changes offer HUGE improvements in clarity, drive, feel, tone etc, etc and will change your playing life. There is so much bullshit floating around the marketing. It's a saturated market with more companies than really required. It's fairly easy to claim being a designer / builder when you are not (couple of high profile cases over the years) and the whole industry needs guitarists to believe that buying new gear will bring the missing "x" factor to their playing or increased enjoyment.

    most people could get buy with 1 or two guitars, 1 amp and a couple of FX - but that's no good to the industry, it requires us to constantly search for something more, to spend more money, to invest. 

    The sad fact is that almost everyone would be much better off diverting their time into learning who to play better, rehearsing more often, doing more writing, recording and gigs vs trying to buy the difference.

    That said, there are companies who make outstanding gear and are redefining what we can do with FX and long may they continue.
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  • joetelejoetele Frets: 17
    I'm a big pedal nut - but mainly for pedals that greatly expand the sound or make it sound almost non-guitary - yer reverbs, delays, octaves, synth pedals etc. I'm sure that there is a discernible difference between a lot of drive pedals, but I think personally there's only so much difference I can hear. I've tried quite a few different ones over the years but just tended to stick with a Blues Driver, DS-1 and a Big Muff Pi Nano. They're all your average / predictable / standard drive pedals, but they work for me, and the controls can be tweaked to get the sounds I need.  I'm sure the BD Waza, the Keeley DS-1 and some grand EQD Fuzz pedal would sound even better, but as they're not huge parts of my sound I don't really need them. As @Teetonetal says above, it's about actually playing above anything else (despite the fact I have 15 pedals across two small boards and wouldn't be without them). 
    Fender Standard Tele, Vintage V72, Peavey Valveking II 50w, LOTS of pedals
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  • impmannimpmann Frets: 7116
    Tbh, there *are* different flavours of fuzz - and some more "different" than others... but genuinely, the BS that rains down about Big Muffs could fertilise Africa.

    However, I agree about overdrives. Very few genuine variations.

    Distortions to a point.
    Never Ever Bloody Anything Ever.

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  • sgosdensgosden Frets: 592
    yeah but I can't play guitar at work to procrastinate ... I can plan pedal boards to hide my lack of talent  and lust after amps I'll never be able to afford. :)
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  • BluesyDaveBluesyDave Frets: 293
    ewal said:
     As such the industry is all a bit of a snake oil sale, designed to part players with their money.


    A pretty good summary.
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
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  • BBBluesBBBlues Frets: 251
    edited July 10
    Low start up costs and few barriers into the industry means loads of pedal companies. Its called monopolistic competition. Differentiation between products is mainly branding.
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  • It's interesting that most replies so far are people agreeing that it's largely just snake oil, yet we all seem to willingly admit to being unable to resist that tasty, tasty snake oil!

    I have to say I've watched a few of those That Pedal Show vids on YouTube, and you see them doing their 'cum faces' over the latest £300 OD pedal and I just don't get it. Half the time I don't think they sound any better than a £30 Joyo tubescreamer clone.
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  • bbill335bbill335 Frets: 610
    impmann said:
    Tbh, there *are* different flavours of fuzz - and some more "different" than others...
    It's amazing how many variations of fuzz you can get from a pair of transistors and a few component swaps.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31118
    ewal said:
    ...the nuances of distortion, OD and fuzz. But if truth be told there really is a limit to the number of clipping/EQ flavours that can be produced, especially from the listening audience point of view. As such the industry is all a bit of a snake oil sale, designed to part players with their money.

    Discuss.
    I think there are actually only about four overdrive sounds the average non-musician can recognise or differentiate...

    Light break-up
    Smooth midrange overdrive
    Heavy scooped distortion
    Fuzz

    Beyond that, how it's EQ'd, fits into the mix, and what the player does with it are the main factors in 'different' sounds.

    That doesn't mean there are only four types of pedals of course, but you can probably get by with only one each of those and cover nearly any sound if you know how to use them effectively.

    bbill335 said:

    It's amazing how many variations of fuzz you can get from a pair of transistors and a few component swaps.
    Yes, but it's also amazing how much variation you can get with just one fuzz and an EQ pedal.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6899
    There's a lot of MeToo pedals  - you get to sell on the basis of best distribution, internet presence, marketing, price,etc, what it sounds like is reasonably secondary. But, as has been said, you could apply that to rice or super minis or PP3 batteries or jelly babies.
    As a market one of our main sources of information now is via YouTube - infomercials that are compressed to buggery ( and often watched/ listened on things like ipad speakers) extolling sonic virtues  of expensive little boxes. I really, really like youtube demos as I like pedals but they only really show me what a pedal does and how it is operated, it's extremely ballpark in terms of the actual sound ( let alone how that little box would work with my particular gear).
    I don't doubt ( okay, I slightly doubt) that if given the opportunity to A-B a bunch of overdrives and fuzzes I could hear differences, even quite subtle differences between ostensibly different pedals. But the difference between one reasonably built TS type pedal and another reasonably built TS type pedal by the time it is in a band context I'm really, really uncertain of. 
    I'm sure there are parallel markets with their own forms of mojo and it's not just guitarists who suffer a lack of almost any kind of objective critical review of products. I guess that's a gap that social media attempts to fill. If you ask what is the Ibanez mini TS like and 20 people tell you it's exactly like every other TS then it probably is. Although  how many of those people are just passing on internet wisdom and how many have actual hands on experience of both would be another matter.   

    So, err, in conclusion be careful out there and buy some old Boss pedals.

    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • Dave_VaderDave_Vader Frets: 202
     But the difference between one reasonably built TS type pedal and another reasonably built TS type pedal by the time it is in a band context I'm really, really uncertain of. 

    I would doubt all of it if it weren't for the fact I have not played any reasonably built TS type pedal that sounds half as good as the Harley Benton Vintage Overdrive clone that I am now on my third (and at £20 a pop i'm okay with that) replacement of.

    Long live the unreasonably built TS clones.
    :)

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  • schrodinger1612schrodinger1612 Frets: 33
    edited July 10
    Personally I base all purchase decisions on marketing and the appeal of shiny metal boxes. What I look for is not just sound, but snazzy designs and slogans which offer transcendence from the sense of being an ordinary guitar player, into the realms of sonic greatness. With an OD, I want to feel like Prometheus, reaching for the fires of heaven. 
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  • bbill335bbill335 Frets: 610
    ICBM said:
     but it's also amazing how much variation you can get with just one fuzz and an EQ pedal.
    That's no fun!
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  • shaunmshaunm Frets: 859
    Most industries are the same, that's why they are businesses. Just look how many different types of rice you can buy in the supermarket
    there is a certain amount of choice that is discernible (pudding rice is very different to long grain whole grain rice etc) and then there are competing companies offering those choices in different packets. I think that's pretty normal business. 

    Where FX pedal builders have really turned up the stupidity is in pretending that the subtle nuance between two circuits with slight component changes offer HUGE improvements in clarity, drive, feel, tone etc, etc and will change your playing life. There is so much bullshit floating around the marketing. It's a saturated market with more companies than really required. It's fairly easy to claim being a designer / builder when you are not (couple of high profile cases over the years) and the whole industry needs guitarists to believe that buying new gear will bring the missing "x" factor to their playing or increased enjoyment.

    most people could get buy with 1 or two guitars, 1 amp and a couple of FX - but that's no good to the industry, it requires us to constantly search for something more, to spend more money, to invest. 

    The sad fact is that almost everyone would be much better off diverting their time into learning who to play better, rehearsing more often, doing more writing, recording and gigs vs trying to buy the difference.

    That said, there are companies who make outstanding gear and are redefining what we can do with FX and long may they continue.
    Get out

    nobody needs to start their potential buying days with this sort of negativity.  

    Robben Ford would sound like me if he played though a Laney, that’s why I need his gear to sound like him now.
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  • Grocer_JackGrocer_Jack Frets: 56
    ICBM said:
    ewal said:
    ...the nuances of distortion, OD and fuzz. But if truth be told there really is a limit to the number of clipping/EQ flavours that can be produced, especially from the listening audience point of view. As such the industry is all a bit of a snake oil sale, designed to part players with their money.

    Discuss.
    I think there are actually only about four overdrive sounds the average non-musician can recognise or differentiate...

    Light break-up
    Smooth midrange overdrive
    Heavy scooped distortion
    Fuzz

    Beyond that, how it's EQ'd, fits into the mix, and what the player does with it are the main factors in 'different' sounds.

    That doesn't mean there are only four types of pedals of course, but you can probably get by with only one each of those and cover nearly any sound if you know how to use them effectively.

    bbill335 said:

    It's amazing how many variations of fuzz you can get from a pair of transistors and a few component swaps.
    Yes, but it's also amazing how much variation you can get with just one fuzz and an EQ pedal.
    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 31118
    most people could get buy with 1 or two guitars, 1 amp and a couple of FX - but that's no good to the industry, it requires us to constantly search for something more, to spend more money, to invest.
    The problem for the industry is that it’s painted itself into a corner. The growth - or even sustainability - of the market requires levels of ownership which would have been unthinkable not that long ago. Many bedroom guitarists now own more gear than most rock stars did in the 1970s, and manufacturers rely on it. If the number of players starts to fall, or if - unlikely as it seems - they start to decide that actually they don’t need half a dozen guitars, three amps and a multitude of pedals, they’re in real trouble.

    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • RiftAmpsRiftAmps Frets: 1158
    I think it's fair to say that whilst we have many pedal companies simply churning out clones, there's also a few guys who have the balls to say...

    "I don't think the (insert famous pedal name here) is the best sounding it can be, here are my reasons why and what I would like it to do instead"

    Then they go off, design a new circuit from scratch, prototype, test, tweak, test, tweak, test, scrap it, start again from scratch, test, tweak, test, tweak, blind test, tweak, blind test, tweak, test etc etc etc

    They keep going until they have a pedal that achieves the brief they set out and is a genuinely better pedal. A win for us all.

    Those guys should be applauded.
    Rift Amplification
    Handwired Guitar Amplifiers
    Brackley, Northamptonshire
    www.riftamps.co.uk
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  • ChuckManualChuckManual Frets: 401
    RiftAmps said:
    I think it's fair to say that whilst we have many pedal companies simply churning out clones, there's also a few guys who have the balls to say...

    "I don't think the (insert famous pedal name here) is the best sounding it can be, here are my reasons why and what I would like it to do instead"

    Then they go off, design a new circuit from scratch, prototype, test, tweak, test, tweak, test, scrap it, start again from scratch, test, tweak, test, tweak, blind test, tweak, blind test, tweak, test etc etc etc

    They keep going until they have a pedal that achieves the brief they set out and is a genuinely better pedal. A win for us all.

    Those guys should be applauded.

    Yes - Stand up @ThorpyFX and take a bow!
    Not much of the gear, even less idea.
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  • Grocer_JackGrocer_Jack Frets: 56
    ICBM said:
    most people could get buy with 1 or two guitars, 1 amp and a couple of FX - but that's no good to the industry, it requires us to constantly search for something more, to spend more money, to invest.
    The problem for the industry is that it’s painted itself into a corner. The growth - or even sustainability - of the market requires levels of ownership which would have been unthinkable not that long ago. Many bedroom guitarists now own more gear than most rock stars did in the 1970s, and manufacturers rely on it. If the number of players starts to fall, or if - unlikely as it seems - they start to decide that actually they don’t need half a dozen guitars, three amps and a multitude of pedals, they’re in real trouble.

    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    Ok point taken re: amp in a box. But the average listener is irrelevant here, as they are not being marketed to. 
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2302
    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    Ok point taken re: amp in a box. But the average listener is irrelevant here, as they are not being marketed to. 

    Yes they are.

    What you're being sold is the idea that you aren't the average listener. You my friend have golden ears and highly refined exquisite taste, and can discern the sound of true quality and awsum toan, unlike all those other cloth-eared twats.

    That's why you bought the new Emperor Drive (New Clothes edition).



    To be fair, I don't think it's done quite that cynically, or that deliberately, but it's being done.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6899
    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    Ok point taken re: amp in a box. But the average listener is irrelevant here, as they are not being marketed to. 

    Yes they are.

    What you're being sold is the idea that you aren't the average listener. You my friend have golden ears and highly refined exquisite taste, and can discern the sound of true quality and awsum toan, unlike all those other cloth-eared twats.

    That's why you bought the new Emperor Drive (New Clothes edition).



    To be fair, I don't think it's done quite that cynically, or that deliberately, but it's being done.

    Vertex. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • This is one of the hardest things for me to understand about pedals and demos - quite why someone can't just say what something is without 25 minutes of fluff is ridicolours.

    This is a modification of a TS, this is a modification of a Big Muff, etc. etc.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 2302
    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    Ok point taken re: amp in a box. But the average listener is irrelevant here, as they are not being marketed to. 

    Yes they are.

    What you're being sold is the idea that you aren't the average listener. You my friend have golden ears and highly refined exquisite taste, and can discern the sound of true quality and awsum toan, unlike all those other cloth-eared twats.

    That's why you bought the new Emperor Drive (New Clothes edition).



    To be fair, I don't think it's done quite that cynically, or that deliberately, but it's being done.

    Vertex. 

    Okay, he did it that cynically and deliberately. 

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • Grocer_JackGrocer_Jack Frets: 56
    To these 4 types I'd add - 'amp simulator' drives. I don't mean straight into the PA pedals (although some can be used like this), I'm thinking of pedals that give an overdriven sound like a Tweed/AC-30/Plexi etc. 
    Those are covered, mostly in the first category - it's just the basic character of the sound, not whether it sounds like an amp.

    The average listener can’t tell the difference between amp overdrive and a pedal anyway.
    Ok point taken re: amp in a box. But the average listener is irrelevant here, as they are not being marketed to. 

    Yes they are.

    What you're being sold is the idea that you aren't the average listener. You my friend have golden ears and highly refined exquisite taste, and can discern the sound of true quality and awsum toan, unlike all those other cloth-eared twats.

    That's why you bought the new Emperor Drive (New Clothes edition).



    To be fair, I don't think it's done quite that cynically, or that deliberately, but it's being done.

    I am under no illusions that I have exquisite taste. I do think I am pretty good at getting a variety of drive sounds that *I* like, although I'm quite prepared to believe that many others wouldn't like them! 
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