Pedals by Carl Verheyen

 Once you’ve been playing guitar for over 20 years professionally you begin to . . . accumulate!
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 Once you’ve been playing guitar for over 20 years professionally you begin to . . . accumulate! You wake up one day and realize that over the years you’ve amassed a very large amount of guitar related gear. Especially if you’ve had multiple careers in music such as I have. Being a studio guitarist required one set of guitars, amps, and effects, and playing live in a trio required different gear. Even playing in arenas requires different gear than playing small theaters and clubs. You only realize the amount of gear you have once a year when its time to renew your musical instrument insurance!
So I have around 165 loose pedals plus five pedalboards with yet even more pedals. There is a large board for doing studio work like films, TV, records, and jingles. There is a medium-sized board that runs my four-amp live rig. I have another studio board that gets one “secret weapon” sound when I turn everything on, and I have a small board to run my acoustic rack, too.
But a few years ago I put together a 10" X 10" pedalboard with three pedals, a tuner, and a power supply that seems to get more action than any of the others. I wired together an old, heavily modified Rat pedal from the ‘70s, followed by a small delay pedal and a reverb pedal. A little tuner sits on top of the power supply and gets its feed from the stereo B side of the reverb. I've found that reverb, delay, and distortion is all I need.
I’ve been doing a series of solo concerts in England this week and relying on various amps at the venues. To my ears, nothing sounds more uninspiring than totally dry solo electric guitar—hence the reverb and delay. And having a warm sounding distortion pedal with plenty of saturation really helps, too. I can plug into a Marshall half stack, an AC30, the normal channel of a Fender Twin, even an amp I’ve never heard of, and be confident that I can get a pleasing clean sound, at least.
The whole board fits into a computer bag with a few cables and the power cord. And that fits into my suitcase when I fly. I ran into Joe Bonamassa a few days before I left and he said, “Wow! Perfect for fly dates—I gotta get a board like that!” We all hate to do fly dates because it means you don’t have your real gear. But sometimes that’s what touring requires, so a mini board is the best solution. Tonight I play a concert with a bass player, a drummer, and my old buddy and fellow guitarist Guthrie Govan. Will the wee Rat cut it? I’ll let you know . . .