5 pedals every guitarist should own
We asked Tom Jackson what 5 pedals he thinks guitarists should own.
1 // Tuner
I know this is a boring one, but every guitarist needs one of these. You could have the best guitars, amps and pedals in the world, but if your guitar isn’t in tune it’ll sound awful. Make sure you get one that mutes your signal while you’re tuning!
The Classic - Boss TU-3
The Space Saver - TC Electronic Polytune Mini
I Use - Korg Pitchblack
2 // Compressor
Some subtle compression can go a long way. It can give you more sustain and really fatten up your tone. Using too much can make your guitar sound weak and thin though, so use it sparingly! I like compressors that allow you to blend your dry and compressed signals.
The Classic - MXR Dyna Comp
One of the Best - Walrus Audio Deep Six
I Use - Barber Electronics Tone Press
3 // Overdrive
While a clean guitar signal can sound great, there’s nothing like a bit of overdrive to make things sound more interesting! The vast majority of worship music calls for pretty light overdrive - we’re not talking heavy metal here. I like having a few different overdrive pedals on my pedalboard to give me some different tonal options.
The Classic - Ibanez TS-9 Tubescreamer
The Worship Staple - Paul Cochrane Timmy
I Use - JHS Superbolt, JHS Morning Glory, Barber Effects Direct Drive
4 // Delay
Delay pedals - or mistake repeaters, as my worship team describes them! - are a staple effect for worship music. They add great ambience to your tone, and the rhythmic interaction of the delayed signal with your dry signal can make parts sound so much more interesting. I recommend getting one with tap tempo, so you can keep your delays in time with the rest of the band.
The Classic - Boss DD-7
The Benchmark - Boss DD-20
I Use - Strymon TimeLine
5 // Reverb
Reverb is like the glue that brings your tone together. I always have a little bit on to add some space to my sound, but I also love to use it as a special effect to create a really ambient sound. One trick I’ve been playing with recently is using a 100% wet mix reverb with a long decay to create a sound similar to the pads that keys players use.
The Classic - Boss RV-5
The ‘A Little Bit More’ - TC Electronic Hall of Fame
I Use - Strymon Big Sky
A Few Final Thoughts
There is a generally accepted order to put effects in your signal chain, but never be afraid to try something new. Some of the most interesting sounds have been discovered by guitarists who have ignored that order!
Pedals are great, and fun, but they cannot make you a better guitarist. Never let buying the next effects pedal get in the way of your practice!
If you’re looking for handmade pedals built right here in the UK from the best components, look no further than Neil Robert Grimes at NRG Effects, based in Eastbourne. He is my go-to for pedal repairs and modifications, and his NRG ROARER is the best fuzz pedal I’ve ever played or heard, hands down!
Tom is from Birmingham and now lives in Liverpool. He plays guitar for Ian Yates and has played at various Elim Sound events and conferences including Rivercamp.
Question: What pedals on this list would you like to own? What you pedal would you add and why? Leave a comment below.