Category Archives: Pedalboards

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.

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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…

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…

 

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.

Effect Pedal Consulting

Fat Tone Guitars is tweaking its focus. From here on out, we’ll now be known as the authority on guitar effect pedals. This is what we are about:

Fat Tone’s Goal:

  • To provide musicians with the best possible solution for their tone oriented wants and needs.

Step One — Knowing Our Philosophy:

  • Between the endless amount of information available online (via forums, videos, and reviews) and good old fashioned word of mouth, there’s bound to be a little confusion when it comes to effect pedals and what they do. Since effect pedals are so unique by design, categorizing them is not an exact science. Many pedals fall into more than one category, which makes finding the right effect a difficult process.
  • We understand that classifying effects by type helps narrow the search, but by using simplified labels like “dirt” pedals (rather than “overdrive”, “distortion”, or “fuzz”) we can keep our recommendations open to solutions outside the norm. By getting too specific too fast, the perfect pedal can often be overlooked.
  • The end result of finding your ideal tone/sound is more important to us than just finding you the latest version of an overdrive or chorus pedal.

Step Two — Getting Acquainted:

  • We’re here to help you find your ideal tone and voice for your instrument. In order to achieve that, we have to know a few things about you and your setup.
  • What kind of sounds are you looking to create or modify? Are you on the hunt for a new lead guitar sound with smooth violin-like sustain and a hint of echo? Or are you looking to fortify your clean and tight chicken pickin’ tone with a touch of silky reverb? Is there a current artist or band that has a tone similar to what you’re seeking? The more specific examples you can provide, the better the result will be. It may sound elementary, but this is often an overlooked step in the everyday process of choosing new effect pedals.
  • We’d also like to know about your current setup. What does your go-to rig typically look like from your pickups all the way to the speaker in your amp? Do you like the clean tone you have, but can’t quite dial in the right dirty sound? Again–the more we know, the better we can help.

Step Three — Plug In and Play:

  • Once we’ve had a chance to get to know your personal style and preferences, we can recommend the most accurate solution. Not only do we stock an incredible variety of effect pedals, but we have strong knowledge and hands on experience with every item found in our inventory. And thanks to our ever changing stock of used gear, our knowledge base stretches far beyond our current selection of pedals. If we’ve seen it, we’ve played it.

All Playing, No Talking

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog entry–have you missed me? Anyways, I’m working to get back in the habit and today I’ve got guitar gear demos on my mind.

If you are a guitar player and have access to a computer or a smartphone, you no doubt have watched guitar gear demos. They are ubiquitous online–with every guitarist and their brother now producing demos. Needless to say, some are fantastic and some are less than fantastic.

If you’re like me, you suffer from Short Attention Span Disorder. My limit on guitar demo’s is about 2 minutes. Once I hit that threshold, I’ve heard all I care to hear and have formed an opinion.

Fat Tone Guitars has been quietly building our video library with short, to-the-point effect pedal video demos. We’ve passed the 100 video count and will continue to add more.

All playing, no talking. Just saying…

Introducing EffectsLounge

We at Fat Tone Guitars are proud to introduce our newest project, EffectsLounge.  EffectsLounge is a community website, targeted at guitar players and features the Build Your Board (BYB) app.  With BYB, guitarists can design, edit, comment on, and share virtual pedalboards.  Its fun, fast, free and easy.

There are a number of features that makes EffectsLounge different than other online guitar forums.  First is the BYB app.

Second is the complete emphasis on guitar effects and pedalboards.  Users can interact with each other sharing opinions, information and best practices on what makes a great pedalboard. Currently, users can comment on their own pedalboards as well as other’s boards.

In order to make BYB as useful as can be, we’re building a large database of guitar effect pedals. Our pedal database currently stands at over 1200 pedals and can be sorted by name, brand, and type of pedal. We are also capturing all usage data from BYB. What that means is we can show the top pedals–again by name, brand and type. We think it will be super useful information.

To celebrate the launch of EffectsLounge, we’ll be announcing a fantastic promotion–Win The Ultimate Pedalboard. That’s right, we’ll be giving away a pedalboard packed with 7 of the hottest new effects to a lucky EffectsLounge registered user. Just check EffectsLounge for details.

We’d like to thank the participating pedalmakers in our giveaway — EWS, MXR, Wampler, TC Electronic, Tech 21, Earthquaker Devices, Mad Professor and Jack Deville Electronics.