Buffers and Your Signal Path

I’m not an engineer. But I have ears and in my day to day duties running a guitar and effect pedal shop, I listen to a lot of effects and pedalboards. I also talk to and listen to a lot of customers. Want to know the #1 question posed by a customer when contemplating a new guitar effect?

Is this pedal true-bypass?

It’s a great question but only a small portion of the people asking this question really understand what it is that they are asking. To properly rephrase the question, they should ask:

Will this pedal, when added to my pedalboard, degrade my tone? And if so, what can I do about it?

The good news is if you really like the sound of a pedal, but it seems to be sucking some tone, you most likely can fix the problem. True-bypass pedals are usually great at not sucking tone, but too many of them (usually after 3 or so) in your signal chain can start draining your highs. It’s a simple matter of physics as to why this happens.  In this instance, a buffer will help. Without being techy, a buffer added to the beginning of your chain can enhance the lost highs brought on by numerous true-bypass pedals.

SolidGold FX Buffer

This buffer from SolidGold FX is quite small and can work its wonders either at the beginning or end of your signal chain. Play around with it to see what sounds best.

Dwarfcraft Devices and Pedalboards

We were fortunate enough to have a great guest at Fat Tone Guitars recently. Benjamin Hinz (known to the pedal crowd as Aen) of Dwarfcraft Devices ventured below the cheddar curtain to wow us with an array of fantastic Dwarfcraft pedals. We got to hear the maker talk about his work and demo some great sounds.

If you weren’t in attendance, you can view it below…

Beyond The Bench with VFE Pedals

Meet Peter Rutter from VFE Pedals. VFE is one of the finest of the up and coming boutique pedal makers. Learn what makes him tick…

Beyond The Bench With Caroline Guitar Company

Meet Philippe Herndon with Caroline Guitar Company


Using A Pedalboard Switcher

Almost every electric guitar player uses effect pedals. And it seems that everyone wants a pedal that is “true-bypass”. True-bypass refers to an effect pedal that passes your guitar signal untouched through the pedal when it is turned off. Your signal remains untouched and “bypasses” the pedals circuits.

Many pedals that are not true-bypass may color your tone or otherwise affect it somehow. Older pedals, especially wah-wah pedals are notorious for altering tone when switched off. Guitar players love the sound they get from a vintage wah but hate what it does to their overall signal chain.

Enter the true-bypass pedalboard switcher. These switchers allow the user to convert their pedals to true-bypass, and/or to completely remove the pedal from the signal chain.

G Boards Uno Pedalboard Switcher

The G Boards Uno switcher is designed for a single non true-bypass pedal to be engaged or removed from your signal chain by stomping. Any tone sucking pedal would be perfect for this.

G Boards Hat Trick Loop Switcher

This G Boards Hat Trick switcher has 3 true-bypass loops. If you have a small pedalboard, you can put a single pedal into each of the loops and then engage or remove the pedals from your signal chain simply by stomping. It’s great for eliminating noise, and tone suckage. It also shortens your signal when pedals are not engaged and this is always good for your tone.

More later…


Beyond The Bench with Caroline Guitar Company

Today, Chase Paul grills Caroline Guitar Company’s Chief Pedal Officer Philippe Herndon on all things effects pedals. Philippe is kind enough to answer. And, we have a special participant who’ll be our guest of honor in 2 weeks. Enjoy…

Beyond The Bench

Watch our first Beyond The Bench hosted by Chase Paul.

Shameless Promotion

Today will be our first edition of Fat Tone Guitars’ Beyond The Bench interview series. In this new video chat series, our Service Manager Chase Paul will talk with the who’s who of guitar effect pedal gear and find out what’s what. Beyond The Bench will attempt to do exactly what that title implies–uncover all kinds of fun and exciting facts from top effect pedal makers and find out what makes them do what they do.

Our series will also offer fan involvement. For those of you on Google+, you can actually participate in the interview by logging onto Google+ and joining our Hangout.

For those not on Google+ or otherwise indisposed at 1pm central time, you can submit a question which we’ll then ask our esteemed guest. Twitter us at #beyondthebench or email it to us at info@fattoneguitars.com.

Today’s guest is Henretta Engineering’s Kevin Henretta.

Henretta Engineering Crimson Tremolo

First Hangouts Session

Below is our first attempt at a Hangout. Overall, not bad. We’ve been troubleshooting and we’ve learned some things. The only way to go is up from here.

Our next Hangout is Thursday, September 6th at 1pm central time.  Check us out on Google+ and you can participate, or just watch from our website.

Pedalboard Demo On The Air

Please join us on Wednesday at 1pm central time as we demo our “Average Joe” pedalboard. This pedalboard isn’t average in tone, it’s stocked with some fantastic stompboxes. We’re calling it average in that it addresses the most common sounds, and with some popular effect pedals.

How are we going to demo this?  We’ll be using Google Hangouts On Air which is part of Google+. Not on Google+ yet? Well you should consider it, if only for the ability to join a Hangout.

On Wednesday, we’ll launch our Hangout at 1pm central. It’s easy to join in if you are on Google + and part of Fat Tone Guitars’ circles.

Here is our Google+ Page.

The pedals we’ll be featuring in our demo are:  Vox V847 Wah, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, Fulltone OCD, MXR Analog Chorus and MXR Carbon Copy Delay.

We hope you can tune in.