Always-on pedals?

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@menbah
I'm curious: Do you have one of those guitar pedals that's such a part of your sound that you never turn it off?

These past few months, after three decades of playing guitar, I finally put together my first board. I usually record DI, and when I plug into an amp it's a Fender Acoustic Junior - pretty much designed to be characterless. But then I got me a Wampler Tumnus overdrive pedal that, with the drive turned nearly all the way down, sweetens every single sound, to the point that it's basically my amp now. In fact, now I need another one to serve as my actual overdrive 😀

But if you clicked on this thread, I bet you're already familiar with the concept. So, whaddaya got?
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My LBP-1 boost is on most of the time. Adds a bit of extra juiciness.
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I've got one of those amazing, cheap American Sound pedals and I very rarely record without it, whether I'm going through a real or virtual amp. Just makes everything sound a bit better.
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I have a Lovepedal ‘Twin’ that has a clean side and a gritty side. I leave the clean side on just about all the time.
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I put everything through a GT1000 which is probably heresy but yeah
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@frenchcricket - there is no heresy in making music. You get the sound you like and it doesn't matter how you got there. :)
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@gubna
My pedal board splits into both bass and guitar amps, the bass side has the TC Electronic Sub N Up which is always on. there's also a compressor that's always on the board, but I think that only routes via the guitar side. And in general when I'm playing there's always at least one delay pedal on of the 5 on my board (hey, don't judge - I didn't have room for the others)
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This is totally my jam, I don't really like to hit pedals mid-song (other than distortion or boost for the solo), too much to think about, so I find many of my pedals are the "always on" type.

Exactly what I use depends on what amp I'm using and what type of music I'm playing. My quiver includes:

1) BuzzRoyale Dark Star - Jerry Garcia had a preamp or buffer wired directly into his guitars, this pedal combines both the Stratoblaster he used in the early 70s and the buffer he used after that. I use it first in line when playing through my Fender and Mesa Boogie tube amps.

2) Sarnos Steel Guitar Black Box - This is a tube buffer with a very "hi-fi"/audiophile quality to it. I particularly like to use it when I'm using amp modeling to add a real tube to the signal path but in the studio I like it on everything.

3) Blackstar Dept 10 Tube Boost - I just got this one for gigging with my Quilter Solid State Amp. It's smaller than 2 and runs off my pedal power supply.

4) IO Guitars Thick Air Pedal - This is another pedal inspired by Garcia. It's technically similar to the blaster but uses unique/exotic/NOS parts and as Brad Sarnos described it, is all about "euphonics." Like many, I prefer it last, right before the amp input. One side is always on "unity gain" and the other I use as a boost for solos.

5) JPTR Jive - This one replicates the pre-amp saturation of an old-school AKAI Reel-To-Reel. It's the opposite of 2 and 4, Lo-fi/vintage mojo.

I've also started playing around with different reverbs rather than just using a single setting from my amp. My current pedal board has a "Boing" spring reverb for my typical sound and a Keeley 30ms for the Abbey Road reverb & double track tone. Loving the latter.

BTW, you can't hear any of this on my recordings this year, I'm doing everything mostly acoustic through my iPhone and Spire Studio due to time constraints. Plan to re-record everything in the studio in March.
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Not strictly speaking a pedal, but I have a valve pre-amp that I use for all my basses when I'm recording. And I designed and built it myself, so I'm quite pleased with the way it sounds on my stuff. 😀
And it looks like a toybox!
[...]
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Lately I've been mostly DI'ing but when I'm playing through my pedal board I have the Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Spring Reverb pedal always on at quite subtle settings.
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I've got an old Nobels ODS-1 drive pedal that's always on, set just below the level of breakup; it fattens the sound of single-coil pickups and starts to growl when I pick harder. I also keep a Carbon Copy delay pedal on, set low. But I am undecided whether to use pedals and an amp this FAWM, or to get to know the plugins for Reaper.
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This is my new favourite thread... I LOVE pedals.
I confess, I don't have one that's always on, but one that comes very close is the Cornerstone Gladio SC. It adds the sort of boost that you just don't find anywhere else. And it works just as well on the bridge pickup of my Tele thru a Fender Bassman as it does on my Ibanez Prestige 7string thru a Peavey5150
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I pretty much always have a Keeley Compressor pedal on when I'm playing a tele.
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@gazebo
For demos I use a Zoom R8 8 track, and use a Joyo American Sound as my always on guitar amp pedal (does Fendery amp tones). This lets ideas come quickly without there being too much choice.

If the song comes out any good I re-record on a DAW, and mess around with BIAS Fx Plug-ins. The R8 tracks are sometimes superior.
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@menbah
@vomvorton and @gazebo I think that Joyo is the first thing with multiple votes here. Gotta love cheap and cheerful - I rock the Behringer tremolo and delay, and am not sure I’ll ever actually be compelled to upgrade them :)
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@menbah
(Btw I am finding YouTube videos of all these things, and you all have very good taste 🤩)
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My Pigtronix Philosopher Bass compressor is almost always on. I use it as both a boost and a compressor (so high volume on the compressed signal but low mix) to drive my bass amp a bit harder.
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I have a Roland MicroCube inline just before my soundcard. All instruments go through it, and I can adjust amp models and some effects to taste. I have a valve compressor/preamp on my vocal mic.
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@menbah hell yeah! I've got the behringer vibrato and it's great fun.
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At least one of the four pedals in my Sonicake Blues Bar is always on. Usually the blues drive.
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@oddbod
My always on pedal is a Fairfield Circuitry Barbershop. Love this pedal. I use it for bass too.
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@menbah I’ve sold several “name brand” pedals because I honestly believe the Joyo versions sound better. However you feel about Chinese knockoffs, everything I’ve tried from Joyo has been great.
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The only pedal that I always have on is a compresser (at least live, not necessarily when recording).

@menbah - for cheap and cheerful (and good build quality and sound too) I highly recommend Donner mini pedals. They are most of my pedalboard (which is a piece of corrugated cardboard covered in gaffer tape with my pedals stuck on with that weird squishy gooey tape)
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I have a Xotic Effects EP booster at the end of my pedalboard chain that is always on, and I usually have my Xotic Effects SP Compressor at the beginning of my pedalboard that’s always on when I play 12 string electric guitar.
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Love me some pedal chat! For live, I have a Voodoo Labs Giggity that’s always on because it makes my amp sound great and I’ll have one of a Boss Blues Driver, a Marshall Guv’nor clone or a Tonebender on to create three channels (amp only has one channel) so I get clean(ish), dirty and barely controllable fuzz/feedback.
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@kludge
Most of the time, I’ll have an HAO Rumble Mod in the chain, and if I do, it’s always on. It’s very dirty buffer, not clean at all, but not really overdrive. And it has controlled, constant impedance for both input and output, so it’s better at “buffer” than most buffers. But much of the time now, I’ll have a really vintage-style fuzz early in the chain, and roll off guitar volume to get this glassy, glowing “clean”. It’s the Hendrix clean… think “Little Wing”. I have a few fuzzes that work, but the one that wins most often is a Death By Audio Interstellar Overdriver, which cleans up beautifully, and is otherwise in the “fat and overdrivey” class of fuzzes. That, into the Rumble Mod, sounds HUGE.

I’ve owned a zillion clean buffers over the years. The ones I’ve really liked were all “colorful”… either added harmonics or powerful eq or both.
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i do a one man band thing where i split my guitar signal to get bass sounds at the same time. i use a submarine pickup to control which strings get sent to the bass set up.

i always have the electro harmonix micro pog turned on for the sub octave sound. i run that into a sonicake sonic boom, which is like a sans amp knockoff. i always leave the preamp on, and the compressor that it has.

for my guitar signal, i have a sans amp pedal called the fuzzy brit. i always have the preamp/eq portion turned on.

i also always have my delay/reverb pedals on. i’ve got a couple of cheap ones. the nux analaog delay and the mosky spring reverb. those are always on as well. although i’m thinking of pre ordering the new electro harmonix slapback echo and replacing the nux delay
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@menbah
@oddbod i was surprised as hell when that Tumnus made my bass sound great. Some pedals just do everything, and thank goodness for that 🤘🏼
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My Aphex Xciter and Aphex Punch Factory stay on pretty much all the time when I use my pedalboard, unless maybe if I'm piling on the distortion or something.
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Perhaps I shouldn’t even respond as I, like @frenchcricket , admit heresy by use of an amp simulation / Multifx, the Zoom G5. My fave amp sim is the Two Rock , but this unit also does Fender Twin Reverb and other Fender amps very well in addition to well emulated Marshall and Vox amps. My pedal chains always have EQ first, then compressor, then a tube screamer sim, then the amp sim, then a simple Boss chorus sim then a delay then a reverb. I have the two axis pedal set so that the delay feedback increases with turning the pedal left and reverb wet/dry mix goes more wet as I push the fore-aft axis more forward. Used on 90% of gig songs. For recording it’s more exploration of other stuff

On bass I use a Zoom B3 with the same preamp order, and usually a flip top amp sim or GK sim with no delay nor reverb.
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Lately, the Pigtronix Philospoher's Gold. It was on sale at Guitar Center and my Boss CS-3 was too noisy for the cleans I was going for so I took a chance.

Super glad I did. It's incredible. Since getting it, I've been focused on clean chika-chika all the live long dikka.
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@cblack
For both guitar and bass, I use the same board. Just change where the out-lead goes if I'm changing instruments. The board has 3 pedals that are always on for guitar, 2 for bass.

There's the MXR Studio Compressor, which was the first really great pedal I ever bought. It makes everything sound better!

Then there's the Tone City Sweet Cream, which is hands-down the best boost I've ever heard. I have the gain barely on, but the blend ramped up. Apart from a volume boost, it actually smooths everything out in a gorgeous creamy way.

The third is the Mooer Ocean Machine, which has 2 delays and 1 reverb. I keep the reverb on for guitar, but turn it off for bass as it wasn't playing nice with my bass amp (too muddy).

I'm also "set and forget", so I very rarely change any settings.
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For my bass guitar, spectra comp compressor. Always on.

For my guitars, boss blues driver. Almost always on unless I need a truly clean tone. My go-to drive pedal.
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Oddly enough, for my acoustic guitar I always have an acoustic simulator pedal. It’s a little micro pedal. I just like the sound it gives me.

And I can never peel myself away from having my delay pedal on, although I’ve tried.
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I have the left side (tape saturation) of a Strymon Deco on most all of the time. It fattens/warms/preamps any guitar I put through it to sound better.
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Ooh ooh pedal chat! @menbah I have the Tumnus Deluxe and use it in much the same way, just makes everything sound a bit better 😀
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I've been using the EHX Soul Food as a "warmer / sweetener" for my Tele: I tend to swap it out when playing humbuckers, or tweak the knobs.

For bass, I have a JHS MicroBomb(?) boost I leave on, turned low, just because.
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I tend to leave a Vemuran Shanks ODS-1 always on in my chain - just for a mild push.
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I always have my dream drive, and fairfield shallow water pedal as well as my analog delay.
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