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Am I silly for not using any pedals?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DTRN, Jan 12, 2021.

  1. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN
    Just curious. Aside from my tuner pedal I use no pedals. I play the 6 string as well and was once a pedal junky. I divorced myself of the pedals and learned to play a Telecaster straight up into a clean amp (Fender blackface). It was a huge learning opportunity and became more accurate by using only the volume and tone controls on the guitar and all that's available on the amp. I was actually quite surprised on what I was missing, both in my technique (or lack there of) and available tones with just my guitar and amp alone. So naturally moving on to playing bass I found no need for pedals. Am I right or just stubborn. Is there some pedals I should look into? Incidentally, my favorite pedal for guitar was a compressor of all things.
  2. Naigewron


    Jan 5, 2018
    If your setup covers what you need, it's all good.

    Don't just start buying pedals just for the sake of buying pedals. Look into specific pedals if there's a sound aspect that you're missing.

    Do you like the sound of octave pedals and would like to add that to your setup? Then get an octave pedal. Do you need a compressor? Get a compressor. Etc, etc.

    I really like pedals, but I've definitely been guilty of using them as a crutch and thinking that I need "X" pedal to sound good. As I'm progressing through my bass and guitar playing "career", I'm slowly learning to always start with the essentials, and only then add effects if and when they're needed.

    Effects are great fun, especially for playing alone, but they can so easily be overused in a band context if you're not careful and skilled at tweaking them to fit the music.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  3. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN

    You bring up one of the reasons I gave up pedals. I found myself dinking around with them instead of investing that time in actual practice. I could never own a Kemper profiler...I wouldn't get anything done.
  4. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Am I silly for not using any pedals?
    Makes life simpler, which I'd consider a good thing.
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    When you're hunting a certain tone and you can't do it with bass and amp, then pedals are the way to go.
    Also, when you're playing in a setup with IEM and don't use an amp, you might want to look into pedals.
  6. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN

    It has been years since I gigged outside of the home/practice/hobby. In the 80's it was amps all the way. I realize things are much different now and "no amp" is a very real thing. That's where I may enjoy a compressor pedal. Maybe more. Golly...I'm an analog guy in a digital world.
  7. Kamelion


    Jun 6, 2005
    Abu Dhabi
    I didn't use pedals for years. Nothing, not even a tuner. I just played it clean, used the bass, amp, and technique to get the tone I wanted. And that was fine.

    Recently, I've started to get into pedals, building a great little board with a nice array of pedals. And that is fine too.

    Do what works for you. This is the way.
  8. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    If it works for you and you are happy as it is then chances are high that all is fine and as it should be.

    I don't say you think so, but just let me get something out of the way, I don't use pedals to cover up my bad technique, I use pedals to enhance it and get sounds I couldn't possibly any other way, even if tone is in the fingers it's hard to make them do a swirling psychedlic or quacking funky phaser effect or a massive wall of distortion, so if you need that to make the music you play sound just right then going pedal-less would definitely be the completely wrong move.

    Don't get me wrong, I like my clean tone and use it quite a lot, but sometimes I just need the certain kind of ambience I get from pedals to make the music I create sound right, some of the stuff would not work without effects, even if Jaco had played it, the issue only comes if you think you can use effects to make you play better, but if effects is an integrated part of your compositions, you might say working kind of like individual additional instruments in their own right, then you will need them for it to work properly.

    Thinking that if you can't play it with your clean tone it's not worth it is like saying all synth players ought to sell their synths and start playing piano instead, but the fact is it just doesn't work optimally for all possible music.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  9. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN

    Long ago I used a stereo bass chorus which sounded awesome. I still own that pedal. I have thought about resurrecting it but was afraid to go down that rabbit hole and end up with a bunch of pedals. I know me.

    Great analogy with the synth vs piano. Point taken.
  10. Am I silly for not using any pedals?

  11. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Yeah, using effects just for the sake of using effects seldom works out well, as with all things related to playing music do what serves the music you play the best.

    Some really spicy food tastes amazing if cooked well, and just wouldn't taste (as) well without the spices, but if someone just loaded a random dish with all the random spices he could possibly get hands of without any consideration for how they harmonized with each other and the actual dish he was cooking it would be bound to end up tasting awful.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  12. so, not silly at all. Guitar wise, just reverb and eq pedal. Bass, besides a tuner, i don't use any pedals either. Never really have.
    Michael Bauer and groovepump like this.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Using pedals you don’t need makes no more sense than not using pedals you should be using. No one can tell you what YOU need.
  14. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN
    Ugh! What pedal would you suggest first? Just curious (I hope).
  15. Naigewron


    Jan 5, 2018
    This x 1000

    And where do you draw the line anyway? Amps have EQ sections... Is it ok to use the amp eq, but not an eq pedal? What about amp distortion or compression? Surely, if pedals are a crutch then so are amps, and we should all plug straight into the desk? And no active basses, of course. Actually, scratch that - Pickups also compress and amplify our sound, so we really have to go acoustic in order to *really* show that we have the required skills.

  16. You need a compressor, ie Keeley Compressor Pro

    DTRN likes this.
  17. Salty Rose

    Salty Rose Commercial User

    Sep 23, 2020
    Two Kinds Of Light
    When I started playing bass in the 70’s, bass players didn’t use pedals. It wasn’t even a thing. My preference today is still just bass and amp.

    On guitar, if I’m using a blackface fender, I’ll use a tubescreamer. With a Superlead I use an attenuator.

    I have a whole slough of pedals I can incorporate, if the gig calls for it. But I’m with you. I like to chase tone with just my axe and an amp.
  18. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Also might I add:


    Absolutely no...

    ...but you ARE kind of silly for asking that question. ;)
    FilterFunk, vvvmmm and DTRN like this.
  19. It's total personal preference.
    If you have the tone / range of sounds with your current bass to amp setup, then that's great.
    If, down the line, you feel you need a certain different sound for certain songs, then explore pedals.
    Each to their own.
    Bass Blender and DTRN like this.
  20. DTRN


    May 10, 2019
    Twin Cities, MN

    Indeed. I have always like tube amps over SS that is until I got the Mesa TT800. Kind of the reason I ditched the pedals with guitar. It forced me to understand what my amp could do all by it's lonesome. As I said, I ditched the humbuckers (compressed) for singles on the Tele (clean and twangy) and blackface amps (headroom galore). I'm just now understanding pups on basses. My tools of destruction are a Fender PJ and Fender SB300. But man, does the TT800 sounds fantabulous.
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