Mayos Music
Guitar Lessons and Instrument Repair

Will A New Stomp Box (Pedal) Fix My Sound?


Here at MayosMusic, in addition to offering great guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo and autoharp lessons, plus complete luthier services that include guitar, string instrument and amplifier repair/restorations, we are also a great resource service. Below is a discussion on the question: "Will a new stomp box (effect pedal) fix my sound?"

The answer is usually no.  However, there is in my opinion an exception.  Almost any guitar and amp combination when using an extreme distortion box (like the Boss Metal Zone) or POD set to extreme distortion and compression tend to all sound pretty much the same.

 Stomp boxes of all types add new dimensions of sound, and are fun to use.  But before you get caught up in distortion or effects, it is best to start with just your guitar and amp by themselves.  Plug your guitar straight into your amp, adjust your tones, and play... and listen.  Do you love your sound?  If yes, then you have the right guitar and amp for you.  If not, you don't have the right guitar and amp combination for you, or they are not dialed in with the right pickups, or speakers.  Period.  We have never found a pedal that changed a no to a yes.  Pedals are the paint, rims and upholstery of your musical vehicle... if you need a van or a truck, no paint or flashy rims on a sports car are going to help haul your musical load.

Guitars and amps will combine to create different tonal ranges and sounds.  Here is a basic reference of combinations:

Guitar + Amp = Overall sound
Single coil (Fender) Glassy (Vox) Very bright, twangy (Country, Rock)
Single coil (Fender) Bright/Clean (Fender) Bright, clean (Rock, Country, Classic Rock)
Single coil (Fender) Midrange, Gritty (Marshall) Cutting and aggressive (Punk, Rock)
Single coil (Fender) Mellow (Polytone) Clean (Brighter Jazz, easy listening, etc.)
Humbuckers (Gibson) Glassy (Vox) Even cut, and full (rock, classic rock)
Humbuckers (Gibson) Bright/Clean (Fender) Smooth, soft, mellow (Jazz)
Humbuckers (Gibson) Midrnage, Gritty (Marshall) Distortion, warm, full (Classic/Hard/Metal)
Humbuckers (Gibson) Mellow (Polytone) Smooth, soft, mellow (Jazz)
Others (DeArmond) Bright/Clean (Fender) Well balanced, unique tone (All)
Others (Gretch) Bright/Clean (Fender) Clean, jangly, bright (Classic Rock)
Active (EMGs) Midrange (Marshall, Mesa Boogie) Compressed, Hard, Thick (Metal, Industrial)

Instructor's Final Note: There are many factors that affect the final sound of your gear (amps, power, speakers, guitar, woods, bolt-on vs. set neck, scale length, pickups, strings, just to name a few).  However, the two most important factors are (1) where the sound starts (Pickups) and (2) where the sound ends (speakers).  Changing one or both of these will have the greatest effect on your overall tone and sound.  So start with these.  Finding the right combination of amp/speaker, and guitar/pickups is the key to achieving your ideal sound.  Once this is achieved, have fun adding new sounds and effects with pedals, pods, and stomp boxes.

Experience since 1968
Providing Guitar Lessons and Guitar/Amp Repairs in Southern California, South Bay Cities and Greater Los Angeles Area,
Located in Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 and Torrance, CA 90503

(310) 955 - 0246