New Stage Rig

New HD500X Pedal BoardGig Command Center

Played a Christmas party on Friday night with the Drop Daddies and it was a blast!

My new stage setup worked out great. All that hard work paid off! The Blackstar Stage 60 sounded righteous, and the HD500X pedal board was perfect.

New Pedal Board – HD500X on Risers

New Pedalboard HD500XI’m massively downsizing my stage footprint! This new pedal board will be much simpler- focused around my new Line 6 HD500X, and the footswitch controller for my Blackstar Stage 60.

The only pedals left on the board are my Planet Waves Tru-Strobe tuner and DIY clean boost.

I’ve got the Stage 60’s 4-footswitch controller up front, along with an additional switch for the lead boost on channel 3 (repurposed from my VOX AC15, with a red LED added).

Height Issue with FootswitchesThe problem as you can see here is that the Stage 60 footswitch is taller than the HD500X.  If I just sit them on the board next to each other, the Stage 60 switches are uncomfortably high relative to the front row of switches on the HD500X, making them hard to reach.

So I decided to put the whole HD500X on risers.  Here’s how:

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Enter The HD500X

Line 6 HD500X TopLine 6 HD500X Rear

I’m a couple weeks in with my new Line 6 HD500X, and I’m loving it. My band The Drop Daddies has a gig on Friday, and it’ll be the first with the new Blackstar Stage 60 and new pedal board.  So I’m getting up to speed building new presets for songs, and getting used to a whole new world at my feet.

I’ve retired the old pedal board, along with the Zoom G3X, the loop switcher and a bunch of pedals I won’t be needing anymore! And I’ve built a much simpler new pedal board, which I’ll describe in the next post.

But first, here are a few critical decisions and discoveries that I’ve made along the way with the HD500X:

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Pedal Board Update– Line 6 HD500X

Pedal board with Zoom G3X -- too big!In my last pedal board update back in May, I talked about having added a Zoom G3X and loop switcher to my pedal board. I was frustrated that I still need a giant pedal board to accommodate my preferred  overdrive, distortion and wah pedals, and the   switcher to switch amp channels on my AC15 and to work around the noisy G3X’s lack of true bypass.

Well, with the arrival of my new Black Stage 60, I’m rethinking my whole pedal board approach.  I won’t need my overdrive and distortion pedals anymore, nor the A/B switch for channel switching my AC15.  I’d love to downsize my stage footprint.  So, it’s time to reconsider the modeler.

Line 6 HD500X TopEnter the Line 6 HD500X. I had a chance to test one out and found that its effects sound great! The effects loop will be much more flexible working in front of an amp.  And importantly, it sounds totally clean when everything is bypassed.

As with the Zoom G3X, I don’t really plan to use the amp/cab modeling.  I will just use the HD500X as a super-flexible effects unit along with my amp.

I should be able to have a much smaller pedal board with just the HD500X and the 4-button footswitch for the Blackstar Stage 60, and one more switch for the channel 3 high gain boost. I just ordered one—more news when I get it!

Enter The HD500X
New Pedal Board with the HD500X


The Talk Box and the Gong

Rocktron Banshee 2 TalkboxAt a recent rehearsal with The Drop Daddies, my buddy Ian made an amusing and insightful comment…

Last year, I added a Rocktron Banshee talkbox to my pedal board, so that I could nail the intro to Sweet Emotion, and the solo in Weezer’s Beverly Hills.  Yes, it does that sound, and it does it well.

But over the last year, the guys have heard me increasingly frustrated at what a pain in the ass it is to set the thing up (thread the plastic tube up the mic stand, plug in the giant AC adapter), and clean out the spit after the gig.

All that hassle, just for a couple novelty moments during the set.  At rehearsal the other day, our drummer Ian came out with this gem:

I see. So, the talk box is the guitarist’s equivalent of the gong.  Except you can’t even light it on fire…

Ba dum bum. 🙂 Exactly!  I think it’s time to get this thing off my pedal board!

Led Zep's Flaming Gong

When is 9V not 9V?

Measuring Korg 9V power supplyAnswer:  when it’s 13V! 

As I mentioned previously, my pedal board’s power supply died, so I’ve been temporarily using an old Korg 9V power supply.

I’ve been getting some hum from Ryan’s Fulltone Fat-Boost, and finally decided to do some sleuthing to figure out why.

Fortunately, before I even cracked open the Fat-Boost, I hooked up a multimeter to measure the voltage output of the Korg supply, and it turns out that this little guy is really putting out 13V, not 9V.    Well, that’s annoying.   Is it mislabeled, or just over-compensating for something?

Measuring 1 Spot 9V power supplySo, I decided to pick up the relatively inexpensive and well-reviewed Visual Sound 1 Spot.    Quoting from the FAQ:   “The voltage output is fully regulated.  It’s at least as quiet as the PedalPower, maybe even quieter.”

Measuring the 1 Spot with the multimeter, I see this one is putting out 9.5V.  I’m guessing 5.7% over is within normal tolerance for a 9V supply.

Better yet, no more hum on that Fat-Boost.

Note to future self, don’t trust power supply labels!

Update: Several people asked how the power supplies behaved under load, so…

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Pedal Power Fiasco

Drop Daddies Rehearsal at Annex 2013-03-15 The night before my St Patrick’s Day gig with the Drop Daddies, we were setting up at a rehearsal space for a last minute practice.  I powered up my gear, and none of my pedals were working!

After a bit of trial and error, it was clear that my ancient SKB PS-25 pedalboard power supply had finally keeled over.  I never use batteries, but fortunately a couple of the pedals had old 9V batteries still in them, so it was enough to scrape by for the rehearsal.

Pedals want DC negative-polarityThe following morning, just a few hours before the gig, I went through my box of old guitar gear to try to find a replacement 9V DC negative-tip power supply.  

Hey, here’s the power supply for my Digitech Jamman Delay which I’m not currently using in my live rig.   It says 9V, 1.3A.  Strange, it doesn’t show a polarity, but it’s a power supply for a guitar pedal, and the plug barrel fits, so it must be good, right?  What could possibly go wrong?

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Current Pedalboard Rig

Setting up for the gig

My pedalboard for the recent Summer Music Project gig was a a bit of a compromise.  I couldn’t fit the JamMan Delay on the pedal board so it was hanging off to one side, and I had no space for my fuzz and chorus.

I’ve been planning to build a new larger PedalTrain-inspired pedalboard, and make some new correct-length cables.

Meanwhile, some of this pedal order is dependent on the short cables I had on hand. I would prefer to wire the tuner before the volume pedal, and the compressor before the wah, but that will have to wait for the redo.

The pedal chain I settled on for the gig was:

I received the VOX Ice 9 just before the gig, so I haven’t fully explored its voicing yet, but it sounds really nice.  It has an overall darker sound that my Speed Racer, so I’m initially using it as a very mellow overdrive/boost, and using my Speed Racer for more bright aggressive drive.   I wasn’t doing any live looping with the JamMan Delay- I was just using the delays, and loving that tap tempo switch.

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