What are the most important pedals to include on a pedal board?

Well it depends on your needs and preferences…

for me this is what I have and the order I have it

Guitar ->

Tuner pedal – I use the Boss TU3 for its great buffer which is important to preserve your tone when you have a bunch of pedals with true bypass. True Bypass is nice and all but if you have ALL true bypass it will suck your tone out so make sure you have a pedal with a buffer at the beginning and end of your chain.

Wah pedal -> I use the BBE Wah, although any number of options is great here. Teese, Fulltone, Budda, Vox, Dunlop, Xotic all make great wahs

Booster/Preamp pedal -> I use the Dunlop EP101 for this. There’s some great pedals for this. The Keeley Katana and Xotic EP Booster are also some nice alternatives. There’s also Treble Boosters like the Dallas Rangemaster and its clones (Brian May pedals has a few of these).

Overdrive pedal -> there’s SO many overdrive pedals. I personally use the Wampler Euphoria due to its versatility but there’s so many great OD pedals. There’s the Ibanez/Maxon Tubescreamer and Tubescreamer clones like the Seymour Duncan 805 and Wampler Clarksdale, there’s Klon Centaur and Klon clones like the Wampler Tumnus and MXR Sugar Drive, there’s Dumble type overdrives like the Fulltone OCD, Hermida Zendrive and MXR Shinjuku Drive, there’s Chandler Tube Driver types like the MXR FET Driver and Lovepedals Dover Drive etc I can go on and on here

Distortion/Fuzz pedal -> Again, so many choices here. There’s the ‘classic’ hard clip distortions like the Pro Co Rat, Boss SD-1 etc but these days there’s a bunch of ‘amp in a box’ pedals here as well which attempt to duplicate the sounds of the Marshall Plexi (Xotic SL Drive, Lovepedals Purple Plexi, RambleFX Marvel Drive, JHS Charlie Brown etc), Bluesbreaker, Fender Bassman, Fender Deluxe etc Supro even makes a pedal that duplicates their small amp! For Fuzzes there’s generally Fuzz Faces (now made by Dunlop) and Fuzz Face clones (either silicon or germanium), Electro-harmonix Big Muff Pi and Big Muff Pi clones, and Maestro Tone Bender (not made anymore) and Tone Bender clones. I personally use the BBE Windowpane because its a cheap and an effective silicon fuzz clone.

Delay/Flanger/Phaser/other modulation etc -> I put my delay near the end of my chain here though depending on your amp you may choose to run it through the effects loop instead. I found Delay to be the most useful out of the modulation effects. There’s generally three types here, analog delay like the Boss DM-2W I use (Way Huge Aqua Puss, Electro-harmonix Memory man, Maxon AD9 and MXR Carbon Copy are a few other popular analog delays), tape delay like the Maestro Echoplex and its clones (Strymon El Capistan, Keeley Magnetic Echo, Catalinbread Belle Epoch etc), digital delay like the Boss DD-7 etc although some specialists like Catalinbread even try to copy obscure delays like the oil drum and echorec delays

Compressor -> I put my compressor after my delay, some people may put it before. I personally use the Xotic SP Compressor which is a copy of the Ross compressor which is a popular compressor, but the Keeley Compressor, MXR Custom Comp, etc are also popular

Reverb -> This is my second to last effect in my chain and its because I like reverb to apply to everything. Again there’s many reverb types but the most popular reverbs are the Spring Reverbs (Catalinbread Topanga, Hermida Reverb etc), Plate Reverbs (Catalinbread Talisman), Hall/Room Reverbs (Keeley Abbey Chamber) or some combination of those (Keeley Omni Reverb which I use, Keeley Hooke, Digitech Supernatural, TC Electronic Hall of Fame, Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail, Strymon Flint etc)

Looper -> Since I’m a solo guitarists this is pretty necessary for me. If you’re in a band, you might or might not need it. I use the Boss RC-3 looper. The Digitech Jam-man is also pretty popular. In addition, this is the second buffered pedal I use and put it at the end of my chain in order to preserve my highs.

-> Amp


Let’s talk about guitar pedals

I’m a gadget freak, everyone knows that. And my love of gadgets extends to guitar pedals.

I go over my setup here, although now my rig has changed slightly. To the non-guitar person, a pedalboard probably looks pretty alien to them: a bunch of contraptions made to set off bombs maybe? All those switches and dials and knobs. But every pedal has a function. Here’s my current setup.

The Boss TU3W tuner is the first pedal in my chain, because 1) I need a good stable tuner and 2) I need a buffered pedal as the first pedal, because if you have a long pedal chain, having ALL true bypass will suck out some of the highs. That’s why the first pedal needs to be buffered. The rest of my pedalboard is true bypass to retain the signal clarity.

My Wah pedal is the BBE Wah. It is a nice simple vintage style wah with a simple Q control, that is it. I didn’t need anything too fancy. I also considered the Vox V847 and the Dunlop Crybaby Clyde McCoy and the Teese Picture Wah.

The Dunlop Echoplex EP101 is my main preamp/booster pedal. I previously had an Xotic EP Booster here, but I stuck with the EP101 because the coloring was not as strong.

I love overdrives. There’s so many overdrives types out there. The Ibanez Tubescreamer style, the Klon Centaur style, the Chandler Tube Driver style, the Fulltone OCD Style, the “Dumble” / Hermida Zendrive style, the Boss Blues Driver style, the Marshall Bluesbreaker style, the Boss SD-1 style, the Marshall Plexi style etc the list goes on and on.

I needed a versatile OD pedal that can do many of these styles. I chose the Keeley Oxblood Germanium for getting the TubeScreamer / Klon Centaur type tones. I also considered the Seymour Duncan 805, Wampler Clarksdale, MXR Sugar Drive, the Fender Santa Ana Overdrive and the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe as they all had 3 band EQ shaping but found that I was keen on just using the pedal’s built in EQ anyways and chose the Keeley.

The second OD pedal I have is the Wampler Euphoria for getting the Dumble / OCD / Tube Driver type of tones. I also considered the Maxon TBO9, MXR Shin-juku Drive, MXR IL Diavolo Drive, MXR FET Driver, Hermida Zendrive, Fulltone Fulldrive 2, Analogman King of Tone and LovePedals Dover Drive but the Euphoria proved the most versatile for my setup.

I have a distortion / OD pedal as well, the RambleFX Marvel Drive which serves me my Marshall Plexi Tones. I also considered the Wampler Plexi Drive, Keeley El Ray Dorado, LovePedals Purple Plexi and Xotic SL Drive but liked the RambleFX the best.

I don’t use any Fuzz (Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi, Sola Tone Bender are the main fuzz types) as my OD/Dist can often hit Fuzz territory.

I use an analog delay as my main modulation effect. I don’t use any phasers, flangers or chorus effects. The Boss DM2W serves me well here. I also considered the Keeley Magnetic Echo, Maxon AD9, Way Huge Aqua Puss, Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail, Fender Mirror Image Delay, MXR Carbon Copy Bright, Dunlop Echoplex EP103 and Catalinbread BelleEpoch but the Boss won here.

For compressors, I have the nice and compact Xotic SP Compressor. I also considered the Keeley Compressor but I found the Xotic doing just fine.

For reverbs, I have the Keeley Omni Reverb. I like Spring Reverbs the most and I tried the Hermida Reverb and the Catalinbread Topanga before, which are much better spring reverbs, but stuck with the Omni because of the additional versatility, great room + plate settings.

The Boss RC30 rounds out my pedals as a dual track looper pedal. I also considered the Electro Harmonix Memory Man and Digitech Jamman but stuck with the Boss.

And that’s all my pedals I’m using now! I’m running them all into this amp:

The Milkman Amps 1W+. Previously I used a Swart Atomic Jr. I also looked into the Dr Z Mini, Tone King Falcon, VVT Amps Night Owl, Matchless SC Mini, Fender Eric Clapton Signature Vibro Champ, Vox AC4 Handwired and Victoria Amps 518 but I like the Milkman just fine.

Music Programming

jQuery plugin for smooth back to top and follow me navigation, disabling Bootstrap popover caching, Modernizr IE detection extension

I wrote some jQuery plugins for this site – to get smooth scrolling back to top and navigation that follows you down the page. Here’s the code. The usage is in the comments.

/* jquery plugin to scroll window to the top */
$(function() {
    var up_timer = 0;
    var viewportLeft;
    var viewportTop;

    $.getPosition = function() {
        viewportLeft = document.body.scrollLeft || document.documentElement.scrollLeft;
        viewportTop = document.body.scrollTop || document.documentElement.scrollTop;

    $.pageup = function(x, y) {
        if (up_timer) {
        if (y >= 1) {
            var divisionY = (viewportTop - (viewportTop / 5));
            var Y = Math.floor(divisionY);
            window.scrollTo(viewportLeft, Y);
            up_timer = setTimeout("$.pageup(" + viewportLeft + "," + Y + ")", 2);
        } else {
            window.scrollTo(viewportLeft, 0);

    $.scrollup = function() {
        $.pageup(viewportLeft, viewportTop);

/* Usage: call $.scrollup(); to scroll to the top smoothly */
/* To enable an element to follow you down the page smoothly */
function enableFollowNav(navElement,padding) {
            var $sidebar = navElement,
                $window = $(window),
                offset = $sidebar.offset(),
                topPadding = padding;

            $window.scroll(function() {
                if ($window.scrollTop() > {
                        marginTop: $window.scrollTop() - + topPadding
                } else {
                        marginTop: 0
/* Usage: call enableFollowNav([jquery element],[amount of topPadding]) to make the element follow you down the page when you scroll. */

Bootstrap popover caching
Bootstrap popovers are very nifty and neat, and I love using them. So, Bootstrap popovers rely on the data-title and data-content attributes of the HTML5 elements its called upon. However, in one of my applications, I noticed that my popover content was not changing, despite the fact that I had changed the data-title and data-content of the element. Why am I changing the data-content of my element? well in my EmberJS view code, I have a computed property that is dynamically updating.

popoverContent: function() {
            var quantity = this.get('controller.model.quantity');
            return "You have added " + quantity + " cases of beer to your basket."
                + "
Go to shopping basket"; }.property('controller.model.quantity'),

And in my handlebars template, I have the data binding to that computed property defined:

So in this case, I need the bootstrap popover to not cache my content. The solution to this is to just disable this feature of the plugin like so:

    $.fn.popoverNoCache = function(option) {
        return this.each(function() {
            var $this = $(this)
                , data = $'popover')
                , options = typeof option == 'object' && option
            if (!data) {
                $'popover', (data = new Popover(this, options)))
            } else {
                data.options.content = $(this).attr('data-content');
                data.options.title = $(this).attr('data-title');
            if (typeof option == 'string') {

This way, this caching feature of the bootstrap popover is disabled, and it will update with fresh content every time your data attributes change. Of course this is not for everyone, which is why I’m not going to submit a pull request to the github or anything, but its useful if other people are using data bindings for their popovers (a similar solution exists for bootstrap tooltips as well).

Modernizr IE detection
Modernizr is a really good feature detection library, and for the most part you should use its built in detection for properties.
But there might be a time where you just need to detect IE in general. So Here’s an extension for Modernizr to detect that. It works up to IE10. Usage is in the comments.

/** IE detection **/
// ----------------------------------------------------------
// If you're not in IE (or IE version is less than 5) then:
// === undefined
// If you're in IE (>=5) then you can determine which version:
// === 7; // IE7
// Thus, to detect IE:
// if ( {}
// And to detect the version:
// === 6 // IE6
// > 7 // IE8, IE9, IE10 ...
// < 9 // Anything less than IE9
// ---------------------------------------------------------- = (function(){
    var undef,rv = -1; // Return value assumes failure.
    if (navigator.appName == 'Microsoft Internet Explorer')
        var ua = navigator.userAgent;
        var re  = new RegExp("MSIE ([0-9]{1,}[\.0-9]{0,})");
        if (re.exec(ua) != null)
            rv = parseFloat( RegExp.$1 );

    return ((rv > -1) ? rv : undef);

I made some miscellaneous videos I forgot to post last month. Here is one on imitating a northeastern accent, a review of my pedalboard, and a music video I did for a one direction song.


My wrist also healed (yay!) so now I can go back to jamming… here’s a nice little funky blues jam with my wah pedal.

And here’s a nice piano cover of Coldplay as well 🙂