Pedal Boards Exposed! Part 2 – Eric Mardis

Ready to ROCK

Ready to ROCK

This is my “rock” pedal board.  I only use this one with tube amps that have high gain distortion channels and effects loops. I use a 100-watt Marshall JCM 900 or my 120-watt Peavey JSX head.   I hate distortion pedals (save for one which will remain un-named until next time) so there is no better way to go for me than to set it up like this:

First, for those who don’t know, an “effects loop” allows you to place your modulation and time based effects (chorus/flange/phase/delay/pitch shift) AFTER your distortion. Basically, the signal jumps out of the amp after your preamp section, hits whatever pedals that need to be in the loop, then back into the amp before heading to the power section…  makes for much “cleaner” tones.

In my case, this board is split in two:Â Pedals that hit the front of the amp, and pedals in the loop.

Cables: I use George L cables and ends cut to length… I recently added a Pedalsnake which stows nicely below, has lines for the front of the amp, effects loop send/return, and even a power line for juice.  This snake eliminated (4) 18-foot cables and the extension cord that provided front stage power. Now I have one cable that runs from board to amp! Much cleaner and faster to setup/tear down.

Front end:  It starts of with the good ol’ BOSS TU-2 stage tuner. This guy powers everything on the board as well thanks to a ROLAND PCS-20A multicord.  From there the signal heads to a Morely “Bad Horse” Wah.  Yes, this pedal was designed in conjuction with Steve Vai, but the reason I bought it was the lack of a toe-switch.  It’s always in the “up” position, so when you step on it it engages. When you release, it has a 1 second buffer and you’re back to your sound.  I always hated switches on wahs… so here it is. Dunlop makes a nice CryBaby now with this feature.   From the wah we head straight to the input of the amp.  (Sometimes I’ll pop a Keeley Comp or MXR Dyna Comp into the spot before the wah… comps sound best in front too.)

Loop: First, a BOSS CE-5 Chrous Ensemble.  Don’t use it much, but it’s there. Then we go to a Morley “Little Alligator” Volume pedal. Yes, another Steve Vai-ism. I got this because it works great, has a min volume control, and matches my Wah. One note here: Vol pedals can go either in front or in the loop.  I chose “in the loop” because I wanted a master volume. If you go in front of the loop, it acts more like the volume knob on the guitar… it cleans up your distortion. Both methods have their uses. From here we go to a BOSS HR-2 Harmonist. This takes the note you play and adds 2 voices of intelligent harmony over it. Just set the Key and what intervals you want. (A little basic music theory helps here) – Basically a pitch shifter, this things sounds like Iron Maiden in a box when distorted single note lines a played. You can only use this pedal once or twice a night – but when you do, it’s like showing a card trick to a dog! Hilarious.  From here the signal heads to a BOSS DD-6 Delay, then back to the effects return on the loop.

The board itself is made by Pedal Pad.

I generally use my Music Man JP6 or my 1981 Gibson Les Paul Custom with this rig.

This board has been in use for about 6 years – it has served me well.  Next: my “jazz” pedal board! – Eric Mardis

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