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Category Archives: Technology

I bought this pedal in October having spent the whole summer holidays attempting to save and until recently I’ve been very disappointed.

I’ve never been quite happy with guitar equipment I’ve bought, I always seem to go for something that is good but isn’t quite what I was looking for, from my first chorus pedal, to a £160 echo pedal I bought and have only recently found a real use for. The Vox Tonelab LE is one of these. I saved up a good £350 over the holidays and began looking for multieffects pedals to spend it on, finding two contenders, The Boss GT-10 for £350, the other being the Vox for £250. Here is where I made a big mistake, I had recently started learning to write electronica, but it had been a slow process due to the fact that I had to manually click and drag notes to where I wanted them, allowing for no real experimentation, so I wanted to buy a midi keyboard. I found what I thought was a reasonably good one for £90, but it turned out to be shoddy, incompatible with any presets in any of the programs I used, and had a significant delay between playing the keys and hearing the notes. But because of buying this I went for the cheaper of the two pedals.

I scratched my guitar taking this picture 😦

When I first got it, I spent about an hour going through the instruction manual to get a quick insight into its workings, and then started pressing buttons. I was initially impressed with the variation in sound, the ability to emulate different amps and cabs, and the large number of effects. However I quickly began to realise that the preset effects were pretty much the limit of what was available. By this time I had programmed in a metal channel, a noise reduction channel, a clean reverbed channel, and a harmonised channel using pitch shift but none of these really felt right when playing. The metal channel fed back massively during any silence and any attempt to reduce this resulted in a change in the sound and a reduction in it’s… well… awesomeness. The noise reduction channel helped but often cut out sounds when palm muting or hammer ons when soloing. The clean channel constantly felt lacking in depth and warmth, and though the pitch shifted channel (which I titled ‘hum’) was cool, I had no real use for it.

Being predominantly a metal guitarist this, combined with the fact that the pedal seemed incompatible with the rest of my pedals (it cut out the lower range of my wah, fed back when run through my echo pedal, and any interaction with the effects built into my amp resulted in just a destruction of any resemblance of music), meant that I quickly came down with a serious case of buyers remorse.

I spent maybe a couple of months experimenting with different sounds and attempting to sell the pedal (only to people in person though, not on ebay, I didn’t want to go that far yet), when finally I had a revelation. I had recently been part of the formation of a classic rock and metal covers band, which gave me the opportunity to use my pedal at its full volume, an this changed everything. The pathetic metal crunch turned into a crushingly heavy tone, the noise reduced channel no longer sounded as if it was cutting out notes, and a ‘clean’ channel I had made using an amp and cab that gave this beautiful slightly distorted tone really came into its own.

I’m not saying it was perfect, but it had gone from something I despised to something I could work with and enjoyed hearing. It was still ‘the next best thing’ but it did its job. Now if I found someone I could sell it to, I still would, and would buy the Boss GT-10, a pedal designed for metal.

The Boss GT-10 looks cooler for a start!

All that said though, if it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted to use this pedal for metal I could see it being quite good. The effects and amps have sounded really good when I’ve used them to play blues and rock and I have even managed to get some good pink floyd esque sounds out of it. If you want a decent enough pedal for rock and blues, give it a go. If you want to play metal, don’t.

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