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Thread: Reverb pedal for emando

  1. #1
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Having seen Tenorbanjoguy's demonstration of his Kentucky 300e, I think I should look into adding a reverb pedal to my electric setup. My background is with acoustic mandos. I don't play electric guitar, and am really only dabbling in emando, so I'm not too sure what's good and what isn't (or, for that matter, what's overkill for noodling away at home rather than gigging).

    My current setup is a custom-modded Epiphone Valve Jr combo, plus a Boss compression/sustain pedal, which I use mainly with my Amazing 8-string solid e-mando (Guitarfetish Lil' Wonder mini-humbucker rails pickup) and occasionally with a Strat-based 8-string electro-OM. That gives me a really nice clean tone, but it strikes me that adding reverb would make it a lot more versatile. I've also got a Line 6 Pocket-POD, but have to say that I'm somewhat underwhelmed: as a pedal in the signal path to the amp, it adds vast amounts of noise, and used through headphones, the tones all sound rather synthetic and also very rock/indie-orientated, not to mention rather unsuited for the mando range. I'd really be more keen on jazzy, country, alt-country and folk/rock type tones.

    So, what's out there in terms of reverb pedals that works well with e-mandos? Should I go for a digital or an analog effect? I'd really want it to be pretty noise free -- I have effectively no hum or noise at all in my current setup (the Amazing is fully shielded and star-grounded, and the amp is modded to eliminate the hum the stock Epi has), and really want to keep it that way. I'd also be looking for something that sounds pretty naturalistic rather than heavily processed.

    I saw tenorbanjoguy uses the Line-6 Verbzilla, and that looks a good option from the online reviews. Quite expensive in the UK, though, and I'm a little worried it may share the drawbacks of the Pocket-POD. Another one I've seen around is the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail pedal. That one is clearly much simpler it its controls than the Verbzilla, and offers less flexibility. Online reviews (at Harmony Central) flatly contradict each other, as normal for that site, with some saying it's wonderful and other it's a complete waste of money. Some are saying stay away from digital effects altogether and go for an analog one.

    Any advice on what's good and what's a waste of money much appreciated!

    Martin

  2. #2
    Registered User Ken Olmstead's Avatar
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    In my search, the Boss RV-5, the Holy Grail, and the Verbzilla were the list toppers.

    I saw the same things you did regarding the Grail, very contradictary reviews. I believe Ted from JazzMando uses a Grail and likes it quite a bit. I seem to remember reading that somewhere. There were too many break down type reviews that led me to believe that the quality control may be suspect. Seems if you get a good one then its a great sounding, reliable "bit of kit" as you guys say "over the pond."

    The RV-5 had better reviews with the standard exceptions and I know several people who use this pedal and I have heard it myself. It is a solid option with good sound and noted Boss duarability.

    The ToneCore Verbzilla had no bad reviews. It cost $110 here in the US. It sounds amazinging! None of the issues you mentioned about the Pocket-Pod. Every setting is usable and although it has alot of knobs, you do not have to read the manual to use it. Very simple. The spring reverb setting was not a disappointment as it is on most units. It sounds like the real deal. The echo setting is very useful in getting the short slapback delay used in rockabilly. It eliminated my delay pedal from my signal chain! The knobs are small and plastic and though no one has mentioned them braking anywhere in a review they seem to be the weakest point of the pedal. The ToneCore series, if you are not aware, allows you to remove the reverb "module" and buy a "tremolo" module (or many others) at a greatly reduced price. So effectively you could use the pedal for other sounds and not have to buy a whole pedal each time. I think this is kind of gimmicky more than useful but it is an option. Anyway the pedal is only a week old for me but I am really enjoying the sound. The Champ's sound is not altered with the pedal in the chain and when turned on it is transparent so that the Champ's character comes roaring through! In short, I REALLY LIKE IT!!

    Feel free to ask me any questions about the Verbzilla you like. I know what it is like trying to buy these kinds of things and everyone has a different expectation of what it should do.

    Analog vs Digital is kind of like Gibson purists in mandolins. I believe you should evaluate how a piece of gear sounds to you and not so much how it produces that sound. Old digital processing (and cheap stuff now) can make your sound synthetic as you noticed with the Pocket Pod but a lot of it is great stuff. The Verbzilla is the reverb from Line 6s high end amplifiers. I believe most studios now use digital reverb and delays for their quality sound and versitility. Trust your ear!



    http://www.youtube.com/user/tenorbanjoguy

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  3. #3
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Thanks -- that's really helpful. I'm inclined to go for the Verbzilla, it's just that the cheapest I can find it here in the UK is GBP 85 ($170), which is pretty much the normal markup in the UK compared to US, but a bit galling nevertheless. However, I currently have a 15 Pounds Ebay voucher that I can use for it, so I'm inclined to do that.

    Martin

  4. #4
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    I think the issue with the Holy Grail is a factory quality control problem. I've got one of these pedals, and I *really* like the reverb sound, but it does raise the noise floor overall when I flip it on. I've heard other HG's that do not have this problem at all, so I conclude that I got unlucky when I bought mine. I think they're really worth playing to see if you like it, just check for noise by turning on the effect and not playing anything. If it's silent, mess around and see how you like it, just don't let them sell you one other than the one you play.
    And on the digital vs. analog debate: play the one you like the sound of more, or the one you can afford. The HG is digital, and it sounds better than the much lauded Fender Reverb in their low-end amps (Hot Rod family,) in my opinion.
    Christian McKee

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    Musical Director, The Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

  5. #5
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    I guess having one in the amp, and another one in each of 2 multiple efx pedals , I stopped noticing the stomp boxes, something like the acoustic guitar boxes that fill out the sound of under bridge piezos offers a couple different ways to color the reverb the yamaha one (AG) has a top and body replication blend and tries to make a microphone model too.

    DFX pedal #2 [DG} has compressor and delay and reverb and a bunch of guitarish effects.



    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  6. #6
    Registered User jmkatcher's Avatar
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    Another suggestion is a cheap high-quality multi-effect. A Zoom G1 or its more elaborate sibling, G2 sound really good for reverb and delay and are not in the least tone-suckers.

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