I have officially driven my spouse crazy. She already complains that my practices are ineffective and annoying because I just play the same stuff over and over, but this time I did it on purpose! I played the same riff through every configuration multiple times. I was listening for any nuances and differences. So here were the myriad of options I had available to me:
- Fender style pre-amp with independent gain control
- Marshall style pre-amp with independent gain control
- F and M style pre-amps used at the same time
- Frenzel Champ Super Sportster 3 band EQ, Master volume, and Presence control
- Electro-Harmonix Russian Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal with volume, sustain, and tone controls
- Electro-Harmonix American Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal with volume, sustain, and tone controls
- Marshall Guv’Nor Plus GV-2 with gain, bass, mid, treble, depth, and volume controls
- Boss Dual Overdrive SD-2 with Crunch and Lead channels, each with independent volume, tone, and drive controls
- Vox Valve-Tone V810 with level, gain, tone controls
- Warmoth strat with chambered mahogany body, maple cap, mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, bridge and neck P-Rails with triple shot pick up rings (P-90, single coil, humbucker in series, humbucker in parallel) with a volume and tone control for each pick up
- Wolverine strat with neck, middle, and bridge single coils
- Epiphone Crestwood ET-275 with neck and bridge humbuckers and volume and tone controls for each pick up
I’ve lost count of how many variables that is, but it becomes very difficult to keep track of everything and to switch back and forth between them all. I spent most of my time using my Warmoth project strat because of the multiple pick up configurations available. However, I did notice a real difference between the Warmoth guitar single coil settings on the P-rails and the single coils on the Wolverine with the classic strat set up.
You will all be relieved that I did not record my testing. I did make notes about my favorite sounds, but really just tried to use my ears. I spent a few days coming back, listening to tones I liked and then exploring other tones in comparison. I mentioned in Drive Quest pt 4 that I have not been happy with fuzz effects. This process of testing different pedals helped me figure out what I have not been happy with lately. It is hard to put into words, but I think I’m most dissatisfied with the low fi synthesizer sound. It doesn’t sing to me, it is like a bad 8-bit video game sound.
Overall, I really liked the Vox, but was surprised how noisy it was when I wasn’t playing and it was turned on. However, all the other pedals were noisy too. Admittedly I had them all chained in a row, so I wasn’t as concerned about isolating each one entirely. But when I just sat there not playing anything, the Vox was loud. Almost as loud as the two Big Muff Pi’s.
So I took the loaned Vox Valve-tone V810 back to my local guitar shop.