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in praise of utility pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by superheavyfunk, Nov 3, 2019.

  1. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    Like many of us, I've gone thru thousands of dollars (or whatever your local equivalent is) in pedals over the years.Yes, there have been regrets... Some "regrets" were later revealed to not be such, after I had repurchased them and gave them another try.

    But all this having been said, one thing I rarely ever seem to regret - and in fact, most of the pedals that have stayed on my board for the longest period of time - are utility pedals. Things like compressors, EQs, LPFs, HPFs, cab sims, splitters and the like... These underrated boxes can make or break a rig, and they don't get nearly as much love as they should, if you ask me!

    My board contains an LS-2, a compressor (OptiFet which is sometimes swapped out for a FloorQ), a cab sim (OSCM), a tuner (TU-2), and an HPF (Broughton Always-On), and a Rolls PM350. I used to have an EQ (Whirlwind Bass10) but I've ditched it in favor of having an onboard EQ installed in all my basses.

    So I ask you, my friends: What are the utility pedals that you keep on your boards? What are the ones you love the most?
  2. Orion1985

    Orion1985 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2010
    Grass Valley, CA
    An H/LPF from Broughton is nice. I like how it seems to add energy and focus to my tone.
    loopee, gelinas666, sonofshel and 2 others like this.
  3. rohi

    rohi Lead Lined

    Mar 1, 2018
    +1 for the utility board. Tuner, HPF, Compressor and a Preamp is all you need IMHO

    Edit: and a cab sim for good measure!
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Bro-ton always on HPF. Cuts mud better than a bull dozer, tames room boom and protects your speakers. Win-win-win.
  5. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    LS-2 all the way
  6. Blu bro

    Blu bro

    Mar 1, 2012
    Yep my LS-2 has been one of the most handy purchases I have ever made.
    superheavyfunk and lowplaces like this.
  7. Ekajimmy

    Ekajimmy Inactive

    Nov 2, 2019
  8. lowplaces

    lowplaces Got Punch ?

    Dec 20, 2015
    Louisville Kentucky
    Hmm, never thought of it that way but I guess my entire board is utility pedals.

    Radial Dragster(load correction)>Broughton Always On HPF>Keeley Bassist>Radial BigShot ABY> amps

    No fave really. Just can't stand to be without any of them.
    pellomoco14 and superheavyfunk like this.
  9. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I got an LS-2 after purchasing about a dozen pedals that all made my bass signal sound some kind of different. After adding in the LS-2 it suddenly felt like my board had closer to 18 pedals :jawdrop: So many routing and mixing options!

    Parallel signaling is now how I roll, and I just stepped up with an EHX Switchblade Deluxe for a different board.

    Next step will probably be a Saturnworks Pedals - Shop
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I have a few but my usage of them has gotten a bit limited since playing with a couple bands where effects aren't as needed. So now the only one that I use with any regularity is my Line 6 G70. But I have a bunch that I like, and you can see them in my profile.
    lowplaces likes this.
  11. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic

    Most of pedals which I regularly use can be called utility pedals: Broughton HPF DI, EBS Microbass II preamp, EBS Multicomp, TC El tuner.

    I "love" them all...HPF DI is the latest addition.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    Stumbo, superheavyfunk and lowplaces like this.
  12. b_carville


    Jun 26, 2008
    Zoom MS60B for me.
    Use the tuner, exciter & the high pass filter on the AC BS PRE which I think is their version of a Fishman preamp.Use a compresser once in a while(usually the DBX clone but sometimes another).Sometimes I'll use the flanges for cheesy disco& 70's tunes.Once in a blue moon I'll use one of the envelope filters.
    i might spring for a Broughton in high pass filter though.
    OldFunBass, lowplaces and Zbysek like this.
  13. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    The LS-2 has been a key component to my board for years now. I use it for switching instantly between two tones, for switching on multiple pedals at once, and recently I've been experimenting with parallel processing.

    I bring a Radial Bassbone to some gigs, in order to facilitate switching to an 8-string on a few songs.
    superheavyfunk and Zbysek like this.
  14. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I only use Sonic Research Turbo Tuners. Recently added an sfx Thumpinator under my pedalboard.
    pellomoco14, Rayjay and Zbysek like this.
  15. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    I’m a big fan of utility pedals. Especially compressors, which is something I have a small shelf’s worth of - with more on the way. :thumbsup:

    I don’t have a fixed configuration for a pedalboard. I basically put a small one together for whatever thing I’m currently doing. But almost all will include a: tuner, compressor, baxandall type EQ/pre, HPF, and DI. I’ve also recently started experimenting with cab sims.

    Pedals I use most often include:
    • Tuner: Sonic Research ST-300, Peterson Strobostomp HD
    • Compressor: Keeley Bassist, Ovnifx Smoothie, MarkBass Compressore, BOSS CS-2
    • EQ: Broughton Alex-1, Barber Linden EQ, Broughton Parametric EQ, SA Programmable EQ
    • Broughton HPF
    • Countryman Type 85 DI
    I’ve been on a quest lately to drastically simplify what I bring to a live gig. So I recently picked up a Dry Bell Unit 67. And I think I may have found my answer.

    For those who don’t know, the Unit 67 is a combination boost/EQ/compressor pedal that just sounds good and makes whatever you plug into it sound better. I could see bringing it plus a tuner, HPF, and DI and calling it a day - although I still think I’d keep my parametric EQ in my gig bag just in case I found myself in a particularly problematic room.

    So…for a take everywhere board:
    • Peterson StroboStomp HD
    • Dry Bell Unit 67
    • Broughton Parametric EQ
    • Broughton HPF
    • Countryman Type 85
    …and that should do it (I hope.)
    superheavyfunk, Zbysek and lowplaces like this.
  16. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I guess if you can consider a chorus to be a "utility pedal" then my Ibanez CS-9 takes the prize: I've used that in every stompbox configuration/pedalboard I've had since ~1983.

    But I wouldn't say I love it. It just does it's job the way it's supposed to. It's a journeyman. I guess that's utilitarian.

    I've got two Loopmaster flip/flop pedals that are practically the definition of "utility" since A) they don't have any controls, just a footswitch & a status LED; and B) they don't do anything without other pedals in their loops...but it's safe to say I love the way they've opened up my effects palette.
  17. I go tuner-comp-hpf-preamp... but I added a chorus this week to see if I can get things to pop out a bit more. I've used a korg pb tuner forever, and my favourite comp is the tlc. The hpf is a broughton, and current preamp is the bddi though I used a scrdi for the last year. I do own an ls2, and used it to switch between two preamps so i could have two premade tones on tap, but i just twiddle knobs now.
    Zbysek likes this.
  18. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    My Broughton Always On HPF goes with me even if I'm just playing through a DI.

    My Boss TU-2 Tuner has served me well for over 1,000 gigs.
  19. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    chorus is an effect, so it doesn't count as a utility pedal.

    THIS is a utility pedal. :thumbsup:
  20. Oobly


    Jun 19, 2008
    I get by with just a tuner and HPF/compressor unit (DIY). HPF is the only one that's always on. I use my preamp EQ, sometimes the tone knob on the bass. DI out from preamp, after all tone shaping (amp and can are FRFR). I use a lot more pedals (and a lot more variety of "sounds") with my "treble" guitar.
    superheavyfunk and Zbysek like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 18, 2021

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