Tag Archive for: Strymon

Hybrid Pedalboard

If we go back long enough, like way, way back. The 70s. Long hair. Bell bottom jeans. Things were far out. And groovy.

I was touring as a guitar player and also freelancing as a studio musician and an audio engineer. My rig was pretty basic: a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Roland JC-120, a Strat and a Les Paul. Pedals? Yes. Four: an MXR Distortion+, an MXR Phaser, a Cry Baby wah and a tuner. That was it.

Fast forward forty years. Most of the stages I’m playing on these days are silent stages — no guitar amps. Thus began my journey with amp modellers and profilers.

I started with the Kemper. Didn’t work for me. Then the Fractal. Nope. Helix? Yes, I stuck with the Helix for a few years. But I missed the interactive nature of guitar pedals.

When I would set up for an event, I would spend way too much time using a computer editor to dial in tones. More time coding and configuring sounds than practicing the parts.

I decided to get out of that workflow and back into a simpler yet capable rig with pedals, an amp modeller and a looper/MIDI controller.

This is it:

The Strymon Iridium provides the foundational amp tone. I use the Vox amp model with a pair of David Hislop’s IRs. And from there the Mastermind PBC/6X provides the loop and MIDI control for the pedals.

Over the next few posts, I’ll document the process of building up this pedalboard. It took almost two months from concept to final build. We’ll start from the very beginning and I’ll include all the parts and costs so if you decide to do something similar you can learn from my experience.

You might just decide to stick with your Kemper or Helix!

Strymon Riverside


I know, I know. The last thing I need is another overdrive pedal.

I mean, look at this list:

  • Timmy
  • Tim
  • Fulldrive II
  • Fulldrive III
  • Fulldrive III Anniversary Edition (it was orange)
  • OCD
  • Rockett Archer
  • Kalamazoo
  • TS-9
  • Xotic BB Plus
  • Wave Cannon
  • PCE Aluminum Falcon 2 (very interesting experience with that pedal, I did finally get one and it did not work when I received it. Never sent it back for reasons in this thread)

I have some other boost pedals — they don’t count as overdrive pedals do they? — as well as a few distortion pedals.

But this obsession I have with overdrive pedals. What is up with that?

The good folks at Strymon let me know that their Riverside pedal was ready to ship. I am a big fan of their work. I run a Mobius, Timeline, Deco and El Capistan. I rarely play without the Timeline. And, if the pedalboard has space, I will always make room for the El Capistan.

They had to make an overdrive pedal. And I had to get it.

Maybe tomorrow? It is very close to home right now.




My friends at Strymon sent me a note to let me know about a new pedal that they are bringing to market: Zuma.

Zuma is a bit of a departure for Strymon in that it is a pedal power supply.

For longer than I can remember, I have been using Voodoo Labs pedal power products. Most recently the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 4×4. I have 5 of them. One to power the acoustic guitar pedalboard. One to power the small electric guitar pedalboard, one for the mid-sized board and two for the big board.

Zuma will provide nine high-current outputs, each output providing 500mA of current. Although I do not generally test power supplies for tone, I have certainly encountered noise issues with some power supplies and certain pedals. I have a very small pedalboard, a Pedaltrain Nano, and I use a 1 Spot to power that board. But not with my Strymon pedals. Lots of noise using Strymon pedals with a 1 Spot.

Isolated taps and a toroidal transformer help in reducing potential noise which is why the Voodoo Labs units have done so well. They make a quiet and reliable power supply.

Strymon claims that their ultra-low-noise design prevents power noise from bleeding into the audio signal, allowing pedals to deliver their highest possible dynamic range. They will also be selling rails for mounting on Pedaltrain pedalboards as an accessory item — sold separately I’m afraid.

The power supply is coming out in the summer of 2016. I hope to get my hands on one then and see how it compares to the Voodoo Labs products.