…too many FX pedals…or just enough?

Sometimes on a Comfortably Numb tour during load-in/setup, I’ll get a question from the stage hands at a venue saying, “do you really need all those pedals and effects?” or a statement like, “that’s a lot of pedals” So, the question is,”..too many FX pedals…or just enough?”.

I am personally always looking/striving for the best and most authentic tones and I’ll switch out one pedal for another whenever the need arises to reach that goal. In fact I have some of the very same pedals as David Gilmour himself, but I use them in conjunction with other different pedals than Gilmour to achieve the best tones within the context of Comfortably Numb. It’s great to have similar gear, but by no means does this equate the same results automatically as one has to keep in mind configurations of guitars, pickups, pedals, amps, cables, true bypass vs buffered and touch which will all come into play to achieve the sound needed – so I use what works for ME to get the tone as close and as authentically as possible.

Most of the time, each section of a song (intro, verse, chorus, solo) only feature 2 or 3 effects, but the main goal is to capture the classic tones for the different eras of the songs, and for that I need different distortions, modulation and delays for authenticity and as a fan of the music myself, and for those listening, I/We expect no less!‎ Also keep in mind, they (the pedals) are NOT on all at once obviously!

I have tried to use multi-fx processors and they do serve to keep everything compact and simple, but they can sound a bit too digital and harsh in some cases – so I only use those types of boards more as midi controller, or to send various delay tempo, or simply as a backup or practice board for Comfortably Numb.  I much prefer stomp boxes to capture the organic warm tones. On some longer tours in the past I have used certain rack mounts for delays etc. and pedal drawers which have been nice. Having said that, I must admit I do like the Fractal Audio II system that Alex Lifeson (RUSH) uses – he’s a hero of mine and I love his guitar tone.

My pedals are are well mounted on a great board and in a flight case that weighs a ton – there is a backup system and fail-safe all round – it’s solid and works great. At some point, depending on the length of the tour, I am considering moving to a CAE (Custom Audio Electronics) unit, or possibly a Fractal Audio System rig (see above).

I guess you have to keep keep in mind that the band is covering well over 40 years worth of material (on this tour from ‘A Piper at The Gates Of Dawn’ to ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’) and to achieve a certain authenticity in the soundscape, you need a few extra bits and bobs, guitars and pedals.

Next chat…which pedals, amps and guitars!


~ by Solveig Keshavjee: In loving memory on March 16, 2016.

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