Did you ever get to a point where your pedalboard has grown so crowded that you look like your doing the Mexican hat dance all night trying to execute pedal moves? Sometimes we get caught up with G.A.S. (gear acquisition syndrome) and try so many flavor of the month pedals, gizmos and gadgets we end up playing the gear instead of the music. I have been guilty of this on occasion.
Every so often I pretty much wipe my pedalboard clean and start over. I go through my pedals and put the ones I need for the gig back on the board. I also purposely limit myself to the bare bones of what I need so it forces me to be more creative on the gig.
Don’t get me wrong…pedals can be wonderful to change up your sound and add some neat effects to songs. I am totally not against them. But I often think about some of the greatest players with their sparse rigs and how incredibly expressive their playing is. A few for example, Danny Gatton, Jimmy Vaughan, Kenny Burrell…heck even Jimi Hendrix only had a half-a-handful of gadgets and no pedealboard..!! What’s up with that..?? Anyway, I have just wiped my board again and have re-loaded it with fewer pedals which will limit my “distractions”.This will keep me focused on my playing and force me to be more creative. Here is a clip of the late, great Roy Buchanan playing Jimi’s classic Hey Joe. Roy’s rig is a Telecaster and a Vibrolux Reverb…can’t get too much simpler. Check out how expressive he is, his phrasing and the loads of tones he gets from a really simple, straightforward rig. All I can say is awesome…!!!