Confessions of a Pedal Addict
Hello. My name is Nick and today I’m here to talk to you about the effects of pedal addiction.
This is hard to admit, but it’s true — I’m on a first-name basis with everyone at my local post office. It’s that serious. And sure, I could purchase postage online, but sometimes I find it’s nice to have a little human contact after a Big Muff binge or an Octavia orgy.
Now, before we get too far into this, there are a couple things you should know about me.
First: I’m not on a journey. I know that some people are endlessly hunting for specific sounds or tonal varieties — but that’s not me. I just really enjoy trying out new pedals.
Second: I’m not a hoarder. I don’t have the money to sustain that kind of habit. Fact is, the largest pedalboard I’ve ever maintained had a dozen pedals on it and I can’t remember a time when I ever had more than 18 at once. Most things come in, get played for a while and then leave.
So week after week I’m there at the post office, standing in line with a delay headed for Denver or a tremolo going to Tuscaloosa and I’m trying to pretend like I don’t hear the names people whisper to describe me — stompbox junkie, gearaholic, pedalhead. But when you’ve gone through a couple hundred different pedals in just a few years, maybe it’s time to face facts.
Either way, here are five rules I think every pedal addict should live by…
Rule 1: Do your research.
This one seems obvious, but is still worth stating. I’ve found that you’re much less likely to be disappointed by a pedal if you know what you’re getting into first. So whether it’s reading reviews, watching YouTube demos, sifting through forum chatter or talking with experienced users to get their input, I suggest you start with research.
Rule 2: Prepare for disappointment.
There’s no substitute for firsthand experience. So even if you do the research, there’s a chance that, due to the subjective nature of your ears, you might not like the pedal you get. And that’s okay. Honest. Lots of places have great return policies and a few are even offering affordable rental programs so you can try before you buy.
Rule 3: Be patient.
If you’re someone who likes to buy pedals used, sometimes it’s best to wait out a deal. More than once I’ve been so excited to try out a new pedal that I jumped on the first one I could find — only to see a better price a few days later. Or a sale pop at one of my favorite retailers.
Rule 4: Cut corners.
This one is also for the used buying crowd. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a package from somebody who paid $15 when they could’ve sent it for less than half that. So if you’re into flipping pedals, make sure you’re not overpaying for shipping — because excessive mailing costs will eat up your bankroll. Fast.
Addict Tip: Many pedals will fit snugly inside the USPS “small box.” That box fits comfortably inside the “Priority Padded Flat Rate Envelope,“ which ships cheap and comes with free tracking and insurance. Best part — the shipping materials are free. Pick them up at your local post office or order online and have them sent your mailbox.
Rule 5: Don’t settle.
This goes for just about anything gear related, but if your overdrive cuts too much bass, your fuzz isn’t nasty enough, your delay doesn’t have enough knobs or your reverb just isn’t splashy enough — don’t be afraid to make a change. Learn to let go. There are far too many options out there to live with gear you don’t love, that doesn’t inspire you or that doesn’t work exactly the way you want it to. So if something isn’t cutting it — find something else that does.
*Note: This article was originally featured in Tone Report Weekly