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!