“Too many effects”

The other day, when the guys were round at my house, one thing I noticed about Daniel was this: despite him being an excellent player for someone of the age of 15 (and having been playing for only a couple of years), he fell in to that age old trap of using way too many effects. He brought a Boss GT-6 or GT-8 – I forget which model, but he used it with nearly all the effects on *all the time*.

The end result, after the addition of a metal type distortion, his chorus, some other modulation effect (perhaps a phaser) his reverb and his delay, was a mushy indistinct white noise that struggled to cut through when competing against Min, who was playing with a simple dirty tone with a touch of delay.

I remember making the same mistake when I was starting out – just because I had a bunch of pedals, I thought that I needed to turn them on all the time. At least Daniel had the saving grace of actually being a good player – I’m sure when I was 16, the end audible result was a mushy indistinct white noise that barely masking some hopeless non-technique and lack of musicality.

Don’t turn all your effects on all at once just because you have them. Find a core sweet tone that you like and embellish it as little as possible electronically. When I am looking for a good tone I start with the basic sound of the amp first and try as hard as possible to tidy up my note articulation as much as possible so I don’t need to mask any screw ups with layers of added noise that just ends up sounding like barf.

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