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  1. #1

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    Hi there,

    From what I could find in this section of the forum, there doesn't seem to be much discussion in relation to the use of effects with jazz guitar...

    Like most aspiring players, I am on a pilgrimage to find my own voice et al. I think as guitarists we have it a lot easier than other instrumentalists such as acoustic pianists or horn players as we can control the vast majority of our sound by fiddling with amps and effects (obviously there is plenty that can be done with strings, picks and technique etc).

    Basically I thought I'd ask if any of you are using pedals, if you know of anything on the market that is worth checking out etc...

    My favourite guitar sound and maybe playing is Frisell's on Kenny Wheeler's album Angel Song, I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes improvisation!


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    love love that album, desert island for me.

    Lots of that comes from Bill and the Klein guitra, which are hard to come by but I've played a half dozen of them and they're all excellent instruments.

    I use effects in my every day sound, reverb and delay mostly. Investing in a new volume pedal and might look into another delay based on some looking around although I do love my current delay and reverb.

  4. #3

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    One pedal I found very useful was a graphic equalizer pedal. Because of a bad back and hips, I had a lot of trouble carrying my amps around. I had to get some smaller and really light amps but as we all know, the tone is not the best. Unfortunately, when you find an advantage, sometimes it comes with a few disadvantages as well. After I've dialed in the tone on the amp for best results, I further shaped the sound with the equalizer and it made a significant difference in the sound.

  5. #4

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    i get my sound without any pedals, but i don't object to using them. i've never been abe to really bond with anything "chorused" or overdriven in the setting i usually play--and my amp has decent enough reverb if the room is dead acoustically. ihave played in some more modern settings in which i've experimented with two amps and some slight delay, and enjoyed that sound, but for everyday playing for me, it's guitar--> cable--> amp.

    overall, i'll think you'll find a couple of schools of thought here, including the players who would never put anything between their guitar and amp but a cord, and those who say it's time to get jazz out of the 50's! whatever helps you find your voice is cool.

  6. #5

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    You might want to send a PM to frisellfan.

    Personally I like reverb, chorus, a touch of echo, and occasionally some *very* light distortion (to thicken the sound of single-note lines).

    My pedals:

    - Digitech DigiVerb
    - Rocktron Deep Blue Chorus
    - Boss RE-20
    - Boss RT-20
    - Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai
    - Tech21 Character Series Blonde

  7. #6

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    He used a Klein for a long time and popularized them for a lot of more modern guys looking for something new. Great sound, great feel. Worth the money. The other guy who I teach with has 2 of them and a 3rd on the way. He used them a lot in the 90;s.

    Each time I've seen him he used Telecasters but neither time were they actual fenders... guys build him guitars man, he's bill frissel.

    I don't think anyone is saying that Effects "make or break" anyone. I tell my students they have to get a good clean sound without any dressings before they can really get anything with stuff you step on. At that point it comes to personal preference. Some guys have an effects chain that makes me dizzy to get a sound that I don't find all that dis-similar then what I get out of my much more simple rig. I played straight through to an amp for about 7 years before I just was feeling I needed more.

    Glad I found something more . I have what works for me, I'm always interested to see what people are coming up with these days. I love Metheny's more acoustic sound on his last few sides, but still love that 80's group sound.

  8. #7

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    Hey Jake, I think it's great that you teach your students to do it clean first. I'm of the opinion that many players especially beginners in order to sound like their heros or to impress other customers in the music stores, use effects to actually cover up their sloppy playing. During the early 90's, I would go into a guitar store and ask to try a particular instrument. The first thing the sales person did was turn the amp up, crank the reverb, chorus and distortion up and then hand me the guitar. They looked at me like I had three heads when I cleaned up the sound and played guitar to amp. The same thing used to happen when I tried a bass. The sales guy would turn off the bass and crank up the treble and then whack away on the bass with his thumb. Geez, I hate that sound.

  9. #8

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    Yes, I think it's super important to get the clean sound/tone you want first. I know I spent about six months just experimenting with getting the clean tone I wanted when I first started playing jazz. So now it's easy to go with any guitar and any amp and it's a matter of minutes to get the tone that's in my head. I always set the guitar tone rolled off quite a bit and leave a little headroom on the volume just for fine tweaking. Then alter the amp settings to complete the task.

    Also you have to examine each device you add to the chain because each one could be altering your optimum 'clean tone' even without stomping on the box. I've used a lot of separate boxes and also have the Vox Valvetronic Tonelab(all in one). I like it too because it has 2 pedals and can be used to control volume and the effects chain without touching the guitar or reaching down to fiddle with an effects box. If has left and right OUTs in case you want to use 2 amps. Effects should be used sparingly of course but it's great to experiment and see it the dogs will hum along.

  10. #9

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    When I was younger I felt I always needed overdrive, reverb and big expensive amps to play well... but now I just tend to play my Tele into a small Fender Pro Junior, set and forget and let the "tone" come out of my fingers. It's amazing how many sounds you can get from a dual pickup guitar a with volume and tone knob...
    Last edited by whippersnapper; 01-04-2009 at 08:40 PM.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by whippersnapper
    When I was younger I felt I always needed overdrive, reverb and big expensive amps to play well... but now I just tend to play my Tele into a small Fender Pro Junior, set and forget and let the "tone" come out of my fingers. It's amazing how many sounds you can get from a dual pickup guitar a with volume and tone knob...
    Absolutely. Eight or nine years ago I used big, heavy, multi-channel tube amps with a pedalboard that weighed almost as much as the amp and guitars that had more controls than strings. "My sound" has evolved to be cleaner, simpler and far more dependent upon my technique.

    I'm at a point now where I'll play through any clean amp and be happy. A lot of times I'll skip the amp altogether and run the guitar through a DI straight to the PA.

    Any guitar... Yah, I suppose I *could* play any guitar, but I like mine too much to play anything else. It's a matter of comfort and familiarity.

  12. #11

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    When it comes to Amps and things like that it's vital to be able to get a good sound on any amp. Absolutely there will be preferences. Me, I like fender tube amps, but I've been out on the road or on residencies and what not and you just have to use what you have there at the gig.

    Most, if not %90 of all jazz guitarists out there (exception being like Metheny or Jim Hall) backline everything. Meaning they send their rider and get what they want or their 2nd or 3rd choice. So often you get to the gig and end up with an old JC-120 and just shrug. The good thing about a lot of those old amps are they can universally be tweeked to the point of sounding good.

    I know a lot of guys want certain things. Example, Rosenwinkel wants a fender twin on the gig, it's smart of him. They're everywhere, sound good with lots of head room and he's not carryin it around so there's no problem. Adam Rogers is a fender man also. Abercrombie runs stereo always and tends to go with one solid state and one tube (refers Polytones and Boogies). Jim Hall brings his own Polytone with him now, it fits as carry-on (although he's done touring for the most part). Martino back lines JC-120's a lot of the time now.

    The trick is to know your frequency range on yoru EQ for whatever kind of sound you want to have. Then understand the difference between EQ on Tube vs Solid State and handwired vs machine made. It's not all that difficult .

  13. #12

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    worked on my sound for years i use a es335 gibson 83 dot neck and a fender blues all tube amp added a compresson limiter pedal and a digital delay pedal finally got the sound you hear from a recording studio

  14. #13

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    I recently got a Lexicon MX200 and love it. The reverbs are far superior to those that are built into my amp. Also have a Visual sound H20 chorus/delay that I just got last winter but will now be selling due to the lexicon having chorus and delay as well. I like playing with my effects and at times without the effects.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmgnut
    I recently got a Lexicon MX200 and love it. The reverbs are far superior to those that are built into my amp. Also have a Visual sound H20 chorus/delay that I just got last winter but will now be selling due to the lexicon having chorus and delay as well. I like playing with my effects and at times without the effects.
    I love spring/amp reverb. The reverb in my Ampeg Jet is much better to my ears than anything digital. That said, Lexicon has some great sounding gear for not a lot of money!

    =-) PJ

  16. #15

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    I use an Electro Harmonix Tube EQ to thicken the sound of my Ibanez AK105 through my Fender Princeton Chorus solid state amp. I changed the tubes to JJs and needed quite a while to find the right settings that will not alter the sound of the guitar but just add some mid frequency tubey boost. Those settings are a little tricky to find but once you have them, the result is very satisfying. The difference with or without the pedal is not night and day but I have come to really love it and don't want to play without it anymore. It adds character and although the sound comes from the fingers, it seems easier to get a jazzy tone with the pedal.

    I plan to buy a Henriksen Jazzamp one day and I'm not sure whether I will need the Tube EQ then. Maybe it's more a usefull addition to not so jazzy sounding solid state amps.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Hanlon
    Martino back lines JC-120's a lot of the time now.
    I've seen him a lot of the past handful of years and he's been using a Acoustic Image Clarus head (simple to travel with obviously) and then gets a cabinet locally for the gig. I've seen him use 4x12 Mesa cabs with the Clarus when he hits Boston.

  18. #17
    I got me 3 Alesis Nanoverbs because they have a bypass jack on them, I use one as a chorus one as a delay and one a reverb. These are all half racks are 1/4 rack maybe but any way I built a little rack and stack them angle up toward me. I took an old peavey 3 button channel switcher pedal and made in to a pedal to turn on and off each nano verb like a pedal works great and only 99 bucks a pop new better sound cheaper then most pedals. I use a marshall bluesbreakerII for blues and to thicken the sound.

  19. #18

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    I'm a guitar-cord-amp kinda guy at this point, though I've owned pedals and even floor multi-processors here and there in the past. I like a touch of amp reverb; if it's digital I like the 'Plate' model (I used to love the real thing). I do like compression plus delay in a country or rockabilly context. The only 'pedal' that intrigues me right now is the Carl Martin Quattro, but it's very expensive. Does anybody have experience with it? Oh, and I used to have a ShoBud volume pedal - that's one that I should have kept!
    Last edited by Tom Karol; 09-06-2009 at 05:07 PM.

  20. #19

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    I like Scofield's modulator effects. Not sure what he uses. Maybe he has used different things at different times. For a while I used one of those purple pedals from Line 6 to get a similar sound. It also had an auto-wah that put a nice edge on comping funkier tunes.

  21. #20

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    One of Jim halls videos he explains how he uses a harmonizer instead of hurting his hands by doing odd intervals.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo Flight
    It's not a stupid question but it sounds like you're asking for a ruling from the Jazz Guitar Police. Like anything else, pedals are up to you and what kind of sound you're striving for. Listen to lots of other jazz guitarists and decide what sounds good to you.
    Ya...I never really listened to Jazz much before now so Im sort of working my way through the classic stuff and pedals weren't around then. I guess I might notice more use of modern methods when I listen to more modern guitarists .

  23. #22

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  24. #23

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    I use a compressor pedal to even out the sound jump between plain and wound strings, bit of reverb, occaisional chourus and tremelo, Nice.......

  25. #24

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  26. #25

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    Have a bit of a problem with this at the moment. The saxophonist in my quartet doesn't think that if you have a good basic sound, you need to use pedals. Maybe being a bit of a purist. or neglecting the fact that this isn't 1953.

    He's also ignoring the fact that unlike him, I play an electric instrument.

    I use reverb almost always, depending upon the band and the room.
    Sometimes I have a separate loop with an Electro-Harmonix POG and a chorus to generate a "faux Hammond" sound.
    Always TC Electronics Polytune.
    Plus I have delay, chorus and vaious modelled pedal fx from the amp (Vox valvertronix).

    However, if it's a Big band gig, then I use the Polytune and my Henriksen jazzamp no, that's it.

  27. #26

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    As I play traditional, old style jazz tunes I tend to go without pedals for rehearsals. For gigs, I bring utility pedals like a tuner and equalizer.
    Here is where a Roland cube / Fender Mustang amp comes handy, if the odd song in your gig requires a special sound or ambiance effect, you can rely on an amp with (good) built-in effects capabilities

  28. #27

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    i have tons of pedals, love 'em.

  29. #28

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    I used to use a compression pedal. I don't know why so I gave that to my son. A also used an equalizer pedal and that was very useful when I couldn't get a particular sound with the amp I was using. It didn't really change the sound itself that much but I used the amp controls as a coarse adjustment and the eq as the fine tuning to get rid of harshness, smooth the sound out, and clear up certain notes. With respect to clearing up the notes, what I mean is I was able to get the top 3 strings nice and clear while at the same time make the bottom 3 smoother like my electric bass was. Don't forget, I play solo and that filled out what I was doing.

  30. #29

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    Jim Hall played here a few weeks ago. He had a couple of pedals on a chair next to him and kept fiddling with them. He had a ring modulator, an octave double, and maybe a volume pedal.

    After the gig I was talking with the drummer. He said he tried to dissuade Jim from using pedals, but Jim felt he had to keep current! This from a grand master of jazz guitar who will be eighty years old this year and (with or without pedals) plays as progressive and contemporary as anyone around.

    Don't ask me the point of this story. It just seems kind of funny.

    Personally, I don't use pedals, but I realize that a volume pedal would probaby be helpful as opposed to fiddling with the knob on my guitar.

  31. #30

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    I use a tuner (i like playing in tune) a bad monkey OD(not as an overdrive but as a boost AND as an EQ pedal, it has high and low controls that are VERY responsive), and sometime when its called upon the good ole wah. Also like some verb from the amp

  32. #31

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    Bill Frisell obviously uses pedals.

    Scofield does, too.

    Sheryl Bailey uses a harmonizer pedal (I think) set to a really small value for a chorus-like effect without the warble.

    Do you like pedals? Play with some. Are you wondering if you'd like pedals? No way to tell without trying.

    I have a box full of pedals, and routinely pull them out for fun.

    Also, a looper is a must-have for students, IMO.

  33. #32

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    listening to george b the other day, noticed that a pedal was being used, not 100% sure so drama queens please excuse me if i happen to be wrong.

    being a hobbyist, sofa player, i'm leaning towards jazz guitar for the cleanliness. love listening to overdriven effects found in modern rock, alternative, but simply have no need for all that stuff, prefer to try and emulate that stuff via my acoustic flat top

  34. #33

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    The Effects world has changed rapidly in the last 5 years. The latest trend uses a computer plug-in adpator (iRig, Apogee JAM),a mechanical pedal to control the effects with your foot, and virtual pedals downloaded via software selections (e.g. AmpKit on Ipad). Digitech has just released an interesting iSTOMP pedal that "morphs" into one of a variety of traditional pedals using an Ipad interface.

    I play Big Band Jazz and have tinkered with most of the above with little success. They are biased to sell guitars to young players for heavy rock, blues, heavy metal guitar - that does not interest me.

    At present, I use an old Digitech RP80 Pedal with its cleanest programmed options (for me # 1, # 5, #15) and feed the stereo output into a pair of small easy-to-carry ZT amplifiers. It does the job for rhythm guitar and my rare solo - even in a large auditorium.

    Hope this helps...


  35. #34

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    Always wanted a Yamaha UD Stomp to get that Alan Holdsworth, mid eighties chorused effect. The problem is, Yamaha discontinued the UD. You can find them on ebay, but the price is high ($500.00?). So, I picked up a used Yamaha Magic Stomp for $100.00 from GC. It has 3 very good UD presets on..the beauty of it is, you can dump presets 101+, hook the thing up to a computer, and download practically all of the UD presets. As everyone likes the "clean" sound these days, I really like the multiple delay chorused sound the Metheny and Holdsworth were using 20 years ago. Unfortunately, for a poor man like me, I cannot afford a Lexicon PCM series unit so the UD fits in very well with what I'm doing. Other key pedals I am using...a Hermida Zendrive ("Dumble in a box") ,and a BK Butler Tube driver. Just my two cents...

  36. #35

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    One of the pedals I recently bought that really allowed me to get my sound was a Monte Allums Boss GE-7 - it's an graphic eq and a clean boost. The graphic eq allows me to dial back boominess and / or ice pick and the clean boost allows me to run the amp louder at lower volumes which i seem to like more. I am also addicted to delay and reverb.

    On the non-essential side I like RATs and Tube Screamers and I am thinking about getting a Micro Pog.

  37. #36

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    If the early Jazz Guitarist mimiced sax leads, why don't more people use a wah petal to mimic muted trumpet leads. I like the treble boost I get esp when I use the varitone on my Gibson 137 Custom.

  38. #37

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    I am not a big effects guy, but especially when you have a cheesy Fender Champ, you need something occasionally. For about 19 years I had a Korg A4, but it broke last year so I picked up a Korg Pandora. Fits in the palm of your hand and does 30 times as much stuff as the old A4 did!

  39. #38

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    i primarily get my reverb and tremolo from Fender blackface style amps.

    for modulation, i lean heavily on a Subdecay Quasar DLX or a Foxrox Paradox TZF. the Subdecay is a phase pedal with lots of different options. it can even do weird stuff like Zappa's "Ship Ahoy" random filter tone, or be a ring modulator. the TZF is basically the world's greatest flanger.

    delay is handled by either a Jacques Prisoner or a BOSS DD7. that said, i'd may ditch both of them in favor of a Way Huge Super Puss when that pedal hits the stores. the Prisoner does a fantastic short modulated delay. think EHX DMM, but without the giant size or noise issues. the DD7 has a great tap tempo and longer delay times, but that's about all it's got going for it. hopefully the Super Puss combines the best of both worlds.

    for jazz, i'd probably use my MI Audio Tube Zone. i could use a RAT clone i have, or a Way Huge Red Llama clone, but i think they're a bit too fuzzy/gainy for what i want.

  40. #39

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    Hey guys, I have a question of similar plateau - I have a Laney amp that I'm very happy with, but the problem is it's size sometimes causes me problems when bringing it to gigging venues. I'm just wondering - since the sound master guy wants me to plug into his speakers most of the time anyways, is there an alternative, like a pedal to just plug my guitar and let it play through the speakers?

    Obviously, the most important thing is quality of sound - do you guys know any pedals that have that nice warm jazz tone? If it would have some kind of an overdrive that would be great, but for me the important thing is the tone of the clean channel and also light reverb.

    Thanks a lot for your help

  41. #40

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    I think the lack of discussion of effects pedals, at least in a jazz context, is probably as they seem to be rarely used, and when they are used, very sparingly. I know Jim Hall occasionally uses pedals, but I'm struggling to think of other bop/classic jazz guys that use pedals.
    My personal thoughts on pedals are, 'If it fits the context of the band or song then great, if not, leave it out'. When I'm playing in a trio I think a touch, just a touch mind, of delay and reverb, especially on ballads can give a nice slightly fuller sound.
    Of course when we get into the realms of Scofield and Stern and some of the more rock, funk and fusion-y players, a couple of overdrives and chorus pedals seems more normal.

  42. #41

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    So all the new guys (mostly post 1990) who play clean with effects - Rosenwinkel, Lund, Hekselman, Kreisberg, Monder, Rogers - don't play jazz?

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gediminas
    Hey guys, I have a question of similar plateau - I have a Laney amp that I'm very happy with, but the problem is it's size sometimes causes me problems when bringing it to gigging venues. I'm just wondering - since the sound master guy wants me to plug into his speakers most of the time anyways, is there an alternative, like a pedal to just plug my guitar and let it play through the speakers?

    Obviously, the most important thing is quality of sound - do you guys know any pedals that have that nice warm jazz tone? If it would have some kind of an overdrive that would be great, but for me the important thing is the tone of the clean channel and also light reverb.

    Thanks a lot for your help
    Do you want something with reverb to attach to speakers? You have some jazz solid state heads that would do the job - Henriksen, Evans, Polytone, Acoustic Image, Mambo, etc... A preamp is not enough to load a speaker you need an actual amp (pre plus power) to do that.

  44. #43

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    I've got a feeling I could have had a better choice of words. I certainly did not mean to suggest that jazz has to be clean with no effects. They are all great players and have great sound and tone. It's just, you don't often hear loads of overdrive the same way you would hear overdrive in say, blues or rock, although many jazz players do use overdrive. It's just, I can't imagine seeing a band where the guitarist uses anything more than a touch of overdrive, for more grit during a solo, delay and maybe some chorus. The use of effects is entirely subjective and of course down to the individual.

  45. #44

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    The Zoom G3 is a great unit to check out for those interested in pedals and/or digital modeling. The version 2.0 firmware just released makes it even better

  46. #45

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    earthquaker devices tone job (eq) Products > Boost & EQ > Tone Job

    digitech polara (reverb) Polara | DigiTech Guitar Effects

    buy them and stop sounding dumb. you owe it to yourself and your country.

    in all seriousness, they are fantastic, and perhaps even "jazz" appropriate. i was a little leery of the polara, given the aesthetics and features, but as a solid, meat and potatoes reverb, i'm finding it to be just great. small size, enough parameters and the algorithms are based on lexicon ones (also found in the discontinued hardwire rv-7, if you want to save a few bucks), which are some of the better spring and plate sounds i've come across, especially at the price point. it does a lot of the whiz/bang stuff if you are into that, but it does the basics well enough you won't need them. one downside is that due to the aesthetic, its sort of hard to read, but that isn't a big deal once you learn the pedal, or if you're a set and forget guy.

    as for the tone job, its a magic box. that's it, really. just magic in a box. you want to thicken your single coils? sure. thin out your humbuckers? fine. fill out your tiny cab? easy. have an instant "jazz" sound with the highs and mids rolled back a touch? no problem. need a tone stack for an overly simple amp? its right there. alternate sound/channel without messing with your base sound or having to fiddle with the amp? yup. reign in a problematic guitar, or simulate a pickup swap? that, too, and so on and so on. its just so many things, done simply and done very, very well. i'm still finding uses for it. already own two and am contemplating another.

    its great for the slightly skittish who don't want to pay a lot, don't want to mess with a bunch of sliders and knobs, and don't understand much about shelves and q and frequency bands and so on. its sort of hard to explain until its right in front of you and it all makes sense. i knew i wanted an eq but now i understand why. its somehow not the same as fiddling with your amp. its like you're shaping your guitar's sound, not your amp's, so you still get "your" tone. just different.

    these two pedals, plus a tuner would be enough for me as a grab and go for the clean, solo stuff. went a little nutty with the black friday/holiday sales, and i have a few winners to show for it. thought i'd share.

    Pedals for the Jazz Guitarist?-digitech-polara-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images Pedals for the Jazz Guitarist?-88009ae4757ff80589d4f5cdd4d75c36-jpg 

  47. #46

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    Thanks for the reviews!

    My Richter tube amp doesn't have reverb, and I like a little 'verb for certain things, so I recently grabbed a used "Topanga" spring reverb pedal by Catalinbread. Topanga - Catalinbread It's my second pedal from them, and I like their stuff.

  48. #47

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    wow, the topanga is awesome. its supposed to the tbe best as far as spring in a pedal goes. its a little much for me, but i did think about it. i really like their talisman, as i tend to be more of a plate guy, but i wanted something more... lunch pail, i guess. i didn't want to spend a lot and just wanted a solid, ham and egger type pedal, and the polara turned out to be more than that.

    what's your other catalinbread? i have a belle epoch which i just love, with one massive caveat, which i think most of their pedals suffer from- the preamp that you can't exactly turn off. is that a problem with the topanga? i also had a naga viper that was surprisingly useful in a jazz context, but pretty neat otherwise. wish i still had it so i could give it a better shot.

    i'm also excited about the new turbo tuner: Strobe Tuners by Sonic Research - Turbo Tuner Home Page i have two of the old larger ones, and i'd like to replace my tc electronics polytune mini, because that kind of sucks. expensive for a tuner, but you see where the money goes right away.

  49. #48

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    I have the Belle Epoch, too.
    There are some internal controls on the Belle -- have you played with those?

  50. #49

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    great pedal, right? yeah, i have mine set to unity. i used to run in in trails mode but the preamp was adding a little grit to my sound because its in front of a 15 watt amp. its a great sounding preamp, i just wish i had the ability to control it and turn it on/off as needed. if it was on a separate footswitch, it would be the best. alas, that's just how they make things- to replicate the experience of the older stuff. a little too accurately for my tastes, though.

    i haven't tried the super secret easter egg as that sound doesn't really appeal to me.

    its worth noting that i was having issues with the belle cutting in and out and taking my signal with it. i shot them an email, they had me send it in, and the replaced the switch and sent it back, free of charge. great service, great folks.

  51. #50

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    My fav. pedals these days: Tech 21 Paradriver DI, EarthQuaker Dispatch Master Reverb. With those 2 I can plug in in anything and find a sound I'm looking for!