Stuff You Can’t Do With an M13

You can’t take this…

…and make this:

And how can the afore-mentioned ‘this’ in the second picture, not be fun. For me, that’s half the reason for pedalboards. Sure, some of it is to sound good, but mostly it’s just legos for adults. And Line 6 says that their M13 is a complete replacement for pedalboards. Psssh. (I need to learn to not type that sound.) I defy anyone to make their M13 do that. Can you make a physical pile of sweet tone (pedals) with the M13? Can you vacuum the M13? Can you spend hours untangling rat’s nests in the M13? Can you saw the M13 in half? Such is the glory of real pedalboards. 😉

So to recap what I’ve been talking about for months now, my pedalboard was too big. And too small. I couldn’t fit everything I wanted onto it, but at the same time, I kept running into things. And, at 48″ long, it was starting to extend my arms to the breaking point. And, it just looks awkward and unprofessional to be carrying anything 48″ long to a gig. And then all people see is the pedalboard. Which is an unfortunate side effect of being a tone junkie. See, I can’t bring myself to compromise on tone, but yet I am not The Edge. I still play places with audiences of like, 4 people, on stages in what appears to used to have been a walk-in freezer. So, everybody notices the huge rig and comments on it, when that’s not the point at all. So I thought that I would try to make the board easier to carry, give it more space for pedals, and make it a lower profile. And…well…it does have space for more pedals. Behold, the awful price of being a tone junkie:

Ya…not exactly low profile. Well, it looks low profile to me. But I couldn’t find any better place for the volume pedal up there on the left, so when I use it, there is a bit of a quite unfortunate Yngwie-cheeseball (can you say one of those words without the other?) power stance going on; and hence, low profile is lost. But I’m working on ways to do it gracefully. And I did build a carpeted 48×12″ facade that sits behind the board and hides the lights and wires from the seats. I don’t use it all the time, but at certain churches where I know I’ll be out front and I want to take care not to distract too badly from worship.

So here’s what I did. In order to save my arms, I sawed off the 12×16″ rectangle on the right side of the board. And then in order to keep the Furman Power Factor Pro power conditioner on the board, I carpeted another board, and put it underneath the current board, about 3″ below. But I also made sure that new board was 36×20″, so as to have an extra 4 inches for the Loop-Master bypass boxes, and hence more room on the original part of the board for pedals. There’s the power conditioner:

And then I took the piece of the board I cut off, and made it into a second board of all the things that run off of their own power and that I don’t use at every single place I play (and not without some ghettifying on the stapling of extra carpet to mask my less-than-stellar sawing skills):

That’s the click track that is only used at my home church and that prefers to run on battery, my Loop-Master input switcher that I rarely use but it looks rad, that runs off of an internal watch or G.I. Joe sound effects backpack battery (oh ya!), and the passive volume pedal for my pad rig that I don’t use when I play with places with two keyboardists, or one who does a ton of pads and ambient stuff. So that works out. And it fits perfectly in the bottom of my rack, so I just bring it wherever I go and only pull it out if I need one of those pedals. Although I do use the pads almost everywhere (why are ambient keyboardists so hard to find?), so this board does come out quite often. Together:

Signal chain:

Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups)–>

Hartman Germanium Fuzz–>
VHT Valvulator Buffer (with JJ gold pin 12AX7)–>
Loop-Master bypass box–>
(Loop 2: ZVex Ooh Wah–>
(Loop 3: Hermida Mosferatu (at 12 volts)–>
(Loop 5: Paul Cochrane Tim (at 12 volts)–>
(Loop 6: Fulltone Fatboost first version (at 12 volts)–>
Loop-Master bypass box–>
(Loop 1: Subdecay Quasar phaser–>
(Loop 2: Dr. Scientist Tremolessence–>
(Loop 4: George Dennis active volume pedal–>
(Loop 5: Damage Control Timeline–>
(Loop 6: Diamond Memory Lane–>
(Loop 8: Damage Control Timeline–>
(Loop 9: Arion SAD-1 delay (black box version)–>
Dan Burgess parallel looper–>
(Loop: Boss RV3–>
Electro Harmonix POG–>

Matchless HC30–>

65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue & G12H-30)

Comments about the chain:

The whole thing, including the amp, is powered by the Furman Power Factor Pro, with a Voodoo Labs PP2+ coming out of the Power Factor to power most of the individual pedals with isolated outputs. Then there’s also a tuner out on the first Loop-Master box that mutes my signal and goes to the Peterson Strobostomp. The loops not mentioned on the Loop-Masters are currently empty. The Hartman has to be taken out of the bypass boxes because it revolted (a lot) when I put the buffer in front of it. And unfortunately, the buffer sounds blasted good. But the bonus round about having the VHT on the board, is that it also powers four pedals in isolation, so I was able to sell my second PP2+. The parallel looper runs the pedals for my ‘shimmer’ sounds, and that large knob on it is to blend the dry signal with the effected signal. The trick is to run the reverb at full mix, and before the POG, so that there’s almost a slow gear effect on the shimmer. And then Strymon came out with the Blue Sky reverb. Blast. 😉 But if it sounds good, it’ll definitely free up some space on my board. For more delay. Oh, most definitely. Oh, and in order to plug in the Rocktron Midi Mate’s (one for each Timeline), I had to reverse the positioning of the two Loop-Master’s on the board, because one was smaller than the other. So the chain there is flipped. Caused some major dyslexia issues the first couple times playing out, but I think I’ve got it figured now. And then there’s an M-Audio expression pedal plugged into one of the Midi Mate’s to control certain parameters on the second Timeline. Oh, and the Midi Mate board disconnects for easier transportation of the board. I also sawed off about six inches from one end of that board to make it less awkward that it’s a little longer than the rest of my board now. (It’s still me, and I’m still not very good at building things, hehe).

And the PP2+:

Along with the back of the Furman:

And the back of the whole board:

And I was stoked to be able to have my inputs and outputs connect easily to the guitar and amp:

And lastly, I’ve also been working on professionalizing and transportationalizing (yep) my pad rig. And I actually bought an actual board for it. Very unlike me:

But this company, Rondo Music, is selling these CNB cases online for really, really cheap. And they’re good quality, look like Jason Statham should be carrying one, and the velcro could probably hold 6 Pete Cornish pedals stacked on top of each other. (Had to throw Cornish in there somewhere. What’s a blog post without a little controversy? Oh ya. I already mentioned Yngwie Malmsteen.) Here’s it open:

The nice thing about having an old G3 Mac? It still runs iTunes and you don’t feel bad about putting velcro on it. :) The other piece there is a cheapo little PreSonus tube preamp that does so little that it actually effects your signal quite naturally and unobtrusively. I use it to run the pads direct (*gasp*) for those rare times when I need to throw in the bargaining chip of removing one amp from my rig in order to get the sound guy to agree to having the other amp on stage. hehehe Shhh. That one’s a secret. And then there’s a re-housed and modded old Bogen Challenger amp into a RaWoods pine cab with Weber 12A150b speaker, out of which I usually run the pads.

So, forgive the self-indulgent nature of this post, but I get asked quite often about my rig and signal chain, and I figured I’d finally give a full post on it. But don’t worry. I’m a guitarist. That means it’ll all be changed by next week. I’ll probably get on a bohemian kick and sell everything and buy a fiddle. Hmm…maybe a fiddle and delay… So, for the record, here’s my rig. As of today, and if you’re reading this any time after today, then probably not as of when you’re reading this (hehe):

And…since it is possible that this post may seem like a, ‘My tone is better because my board is bigger’ post, just to show you how rockstar I really am…I had to take this chair out of the closet to put the guitars there for the picture. And when I did, I saw this:

That says ‘Karl V’ and ‘The Porch’. In reference to the worship band that I played two gigs with and was paid enough money to go out to Denny’s (that’s making it) afterwards, named The Porch. Why did I write that on a chair? Oh, because the chair, in cooperation with the car bungee, held up my Crate 2×12. Yes, I considered the chair enough of a part of my rig to write my band name on it. I still remember how proud I was when I wrote that. Folks, if you have a special chair on which you like to set your amp, and you are so proud of that chair that you now believe the aluminum to be made of some little known tone-metal, don’t broadcast it. Don’t write your band name on the chair as if someone is going to steal and use it’s magical tonal properties for their own purposes. Just keep it to yourself.

There. All sense of rockstar…gone. Now I can say things like, ‘The M13 sucks’, and when you become angered about me saying that, you can just remember that photo above, and then you will no longer care about anything I say. And I shall now refer to this post, every time someone disagrees with me. Win, win.

So that’s the new board. I failed a little bit at making it lower profile, but it is a lot less awkward to carry, and much more functional. That means, ‘can fit more pedals.’ And I was going to try to say something funny, or purposeful, or even remotely related to the post here. But it has been the longest weekend on universe and I am tired. So instead, I will borrow from one of the greatest movies ever: ‘Hey, Big Gulps, huh? Alright! Well, see ya later!’


102 thoughts on “Stuff You Can’t Do With an M13

  1. BEAUTIFUL! I don’t know where you find the moolah for this stuff brother. Although I gotta be honest, that board still looks really reeeally heavy… And yet I am fantasmatically (yep) jealous. Keep on rockin for our Lord and Savior bud! God is GREAT. Nuff said. 😉

  2. Ha loved how detailed this is! dude thanks for taking so much time and putting in the effort. i really learn alot from this, and it does translate into being more effective during worship. how do you like the fulltone fatboost? also, does the tremolessence bother you that its not tap tempo? (i know the name bothers you) ha, thanks again, -spencer

  3. Gotta say that I’m not even one bit jealous of that setup. Does it come with a roadie? Must weigh almost 100 lbs! I use an M9 in combination with a few select boutique ODs and I kind of have a one trip policy. If I can’t make it one trip, then it’s time to downsize. Even working on a M9 solo approach. Regardless, I’m happy and you’re happy and that’s about all that matters right? 😉

    I’ll be hanging out at home this week if you wanna demo the Eternity and/or the M9. Just shoot me an email.

  4. Dude. That is the most awesome thing ever. You probably do more tap dancing than the guys in riverdance but that is one of the coolest things that I’ve seen in a long time. I have tone envy. I’d love to hear it in action someday.

  5. Simply (well not really) brilliant! Inspired me to make my own pedal board except mine will be smaller and my own design. With the BOSS on your board you can defend yourself against any insult about being a “boutique snob”.

  6. nice, nice, very nice! :)

    btw, how do you transport your “new” board? and how in the world do you keep track of which pedal is in which loop? i don’t see any labels/stickies on the looper … i guess you are one with your gear 😆

  7. Massive, just Massive, and I thought my pedal board was going to make my arms fall off. I am fixing to start a new board, I just purchased an M13 to run with my X3 Live… hehehe awesome! but I need to make a new board to carry both of them, and take some weight off.

    You must have some serious arm strength carrying that around. Is your name really Samson?

  8. I thought I had seen it all, then…a velcro’d MacBook! Truly awesome :) If you’re just using iTunes, wouldn’t an iPod be a little easier to carry? Oh wait…HE-MAN doesn’t worry about weight 😉

  9. Woah! Wonderful post. Some serious gear envy going on right now. So do you have to disconnect and reconnect the midi controllers every time you move it? How are you enjoying the click tracks?
    Sort of on-topic question, is anyone running the ambient pad setup off an ipod/ iphone? I am thinking of loading all the pads on my iphone, and then running that into a Ernie Ball VP Jr and then direct into the snake… Do y’all see any problem with this?

  10. lol Wow, you can tell the guys who are currently rocking an M13. 😉 Please, please, please…I hope everyone noticed that most of my M13 comments were really making fun of myself. 😀

    Andrew–absolutely. God is great, and after that…what else needs to be said. :) And the money for this, lol, actually comes from constantly selling off the loads of junkie gear that I bought when I was 18, had no girlfriend, and worked two jobs to distract myself from the fact that I had no girlfriend. hehe Well, that and the fact that I drive a 15-year-old Toyota and live in an apartment. :)

    Spencer–my pleasure, bro. And I love the Fatboost…but this first version only. Very warm boost that maintains your tone. And I’ve owned a couple trems before with tap tempo, and it ended up that I usually don’t particularly care for trem sound when it’s timed to the song. I found that I like more ambient tremolo sounds. Well, at least for this week. hehehe :) Yes, and the ‘Tremolessence’ is a terrible name. Sounds great, though! haha

    Brian–I’d love to come by! Let me check my schedule as thus far, 2010 has been the busiest I have ever been. I need a Hollywood gear binge trip bad! hehe

    As for the M9 and one trip, that’s awesome. I may get there one day, but right now I’m just stoked when I play with a band that has two keyboardists, and then I don’t have to bring my pad rig and can cut my trips down from 7 to 5. 😉 But I’m glad you’re stoked on the M9.

    Mark Colvin–haha Actually, one of the reasons for the huge board is to cut down on tap dancing and on reaching down and turning knobs. But ya…there’s still some lord of the dance going on. hehehe

    Sam–yes!! You got it! That’s exactly why I’m so stoked on that Boss. Whenever I get those looks, I just point to it, and then all is forgiven! 😉 hehehe

    Rhoy–lol I just clean and jerk it. Small price to pay. 😉 Well, kinda. And the weird thing is, somehow I do keep track of which loop is going where and all that. I can’t remember to pay my health insurance bill, but I can remember which of the 16 loops will induce subtle feedback. Very odd. haha Although, having to switch up the two bypass boxes did throw me for the first couple times. I’d hit the phaser loop and then wonder why my guitar wouldn’t show up on the tuner. hehehe

    Phillip–lol Me too! Remember, this board has nothing to do with tone. It’s just my grown-up legos and lincoln logs. 😀

    Matt–score!! Such a killer movie. ‘Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of capistrano!’ hehehe

    Anyonymous–haha It’s lighter than it looks. The M13 with the X3…that’s a fairly heavy rig, too! How are you liking it? Cheers!

    Sal–haha Not yet. It was 78 pounds without the Midi Mate board before. After…well, I can tell it’s heavier. But it’s a lot less awkward to carry. So, it’s technically heavier, but practically lighter. hehe

    Nater2–hehe Thanks, bro.

    Steven–lol Well, I’d have to buy an ipod, and this old G3 was just on hand. Plus, eventually I’ll run some loops off of the computer…well, not the G3. haha

    Nick–I do have to disconnect the midi controllers, but it goes quick. And I absolutely adore playing to click tracks. Just frees everything up, and lets the space breathe. And the way you described running the pads should work perfectly. :)

  11. I am pretty sure turning on the pedals on the very top is akin to the long jump in the Olympics (topical humor at its best). That is an insane board. The funniest part to me is that you blame this whole small country of a board on being a “tone junkie.” That this huge burden, that you woefully take up, is laid solely at the feet of you undying quest of perfect tone. I love how we justify what we do. Fantastic. Like some others, I would love to see what this thing looks like in its case.

  12. I like that you don’t use any of the same pedals that you see on most worship pedalboards (Timefactor, DL4, DD20, FD2, etc.). 78 lbs! You have my respect for your dedication to tone!
    I drink Coke Zero and use a M13 at church because I’m old. :)
    But I’m going to use the Lovetone pedals, Supa-Trem, Skreddy Echo, Lunar Module Deluxe, and Zvex Fuzz Factory this weekend for recording.

  13. Can’t wait to see you do the Twisted Sister/Spinal Tap Big Hair Step to your volume in couple weeks. Make sure you have your spandex pants on. For detailed info consult the “Airport Security” scene in Spinal Tap.


  14. Hey Karl – thanks for all this info. It really is a valuable resource and I always learn alot when I come to this site. I’m an M13 user but will admit that I’m jealous of your rig. I am patiently waiting for my Tim pedal to be made (should be finished in late March) but had a question about how you use the Boost part of that pedal. You have it running into the Loop-Master. Do you activate it on the Loop-Master and then hit the Boost button on the Tim when you want more volume? As far as I can tell, that’s the only way to use the Boost and run it through a Loop-Master at the same time. Do you use the Boost feature much? Thanks again for taking the time to freely share your knowledge and experience with all of us. Bud

  15. First, that’s one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I don’t think I could bring myself to use something that big, but this will give me encouragement every time I think about adding another pedal.

    Second, I’m taking you at your word when you say it’s better on the arms. It’s hard to see how on these pics. If you say so, I believe you.

    Third, for the record, you can saw a M13 in half. 😉

  16. Two weeks ago at church I used sixteen pedals. You know how many of em were true bypass? Yep. Two. The next weekend in a different venue I used only three. Two ODs and a delay. I felt naked. That is all.

  17. And Karl, bud, you’re a huge inspiration but honestly for the sake of your poor arms, just hook up two pedal train pros together and ditch the Timelines. I know they’re gorgeous sounding but in live worship I guarantee no one in the congregation is going to notice if you replaced em with something generic like a DD20 (I hate Boss too but you can’t deny it’s a decent pedal) and I promise God won’t get mad at you for it 😉 don’t get me wrong, I loves me some boutique pedals, but honestly this is unneccessary brother. Haha to each his own I suppose

    …yeeeeah I’m still jealous. Like, a lot. Haha

    For His glory,

  18. How durable are those Rondo Music pedalboards? Are they giggable. (And by giggable, I mean can they survive going to church, which to cool guys, is a gig)

  19. Nick – i run the pads through an MP3 player -> Boss volume pedal (FV-50L) ->DI ->PA. This works well and i get the soundie to EQ in some more low Fq to fatten the sounds a bit. Its nice and small and does the job (200 grams!). The next step is to possibly use a tube preamp/DI to warm the sound a bit before going to the PA.

  20. I remember the first small home-made pedalboard I came up with back in the 80s. My Pastor thought it was a bomb.

    On the bright side, when the wife decides it’s time for those 6 kids you’ve been talking about you can sell all that stuff and buy a big house !! :-)

  21. I was eating applesauce and reading through this post. And when I came across the line “Can you vacuum the M13″…Applesauce projected from my mouth because of sudden laughter.

  22. Jonathan–lol Is it my fault that every time I happen to like a pedal, it’s enormous? Just once, I want to do a shootout and have the smallest one win. hehe 😉 And there is no case for this board…that would make it impossible to carry. hehehe

    Mark Holstein–haha Nice.

    Dan–thanks, bro. And iI hear ya with the M13…maybe not the same as pedals so you use them in the studio, but perhaps good enough for live use…when my back goes out, I’ll probably give in. haha

    Mark Holstein–lol I’m trying to un-Spinal-Tap-ify things as we speak. haha

    Don–oh, good form! That literally made me laugh out loud. :) haha

    Bud–my pleasure! And yes, I run the boost side of the Tim exactly as you described. So, unlike some of the other pedals on my board, I have to have the Tim somewhere where I can reach that boost switch. So ya, ‘on’ with the Loop-Master, and then boost it with the switch itself. :)

    Jed–haha Hey, if anything I do can be an encouragement to spend more money on gear, then I’ve done my job. 😉 hehe And it’s definitely not lighter, but it does center the weight a lot more so that my whole body is lifting it instead of just my wrists and what felt like my spinal cord. haha And as for sawing the M13 in half…are you speaking from experience here? hehe I am intrigued! :)

    Andrew–first comment: hilarious. Props. :)

    Second comment: unfortunately, the Timeline’s do more for me than just sound good. With their 128 presets, I literally program my whole setlist, tempo’s and all, into them. This way, I can just cycle through all the presets without having to turn knobs or tap tempos. They’ve been absolutely invaluable to helping my concentrate more on singing and leading people in worship, and less on my guitar. So…there is a method to the madness. hehe

    But as far as people not noticing, I always like to say that no one will notice if it’s wrong, but they will notice when it’s right. Meaning, if you’re playing a Mexican Fender, no one comes up and says, ‘You know, worship would be a lot better with a D’Pergo.’ They won’t notice that it’s wrong. But if you get a D’Pergo, still no one will come up to you and go, ‘Wow, your tone was so much better than with the other guitar’, but they will notice that it’s right. They will come up and say, ‘Man, worship sounded great today. I don’t know why, but everything sounded smooth and full, and I was really able to let go.’ So they notice, even though they don’t know they notice. That’s something Mozart said 400 years ago, and it doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but I have witnessed it many times throughout my limited and very humble musical endeavors. :) And I could be wrong…just my opinion.

    Although, you’re right…were I to get rid of the Timeline’s, the DD20 is what I’d go for, as it is one of the few multi-setting delays (along with the Timeline), that does not digitize the dry signal. Great call on that, brother!

    Nate–surprisingly, very durable! Especially for the price. And ya, giggable…churchable…hehe…whatever sounds cooler. Awesome, comment, bro.

    Cam–awesome, brother. If you do go to tube DI route, may I suggest the PreSonus? Not very useable as an eq, but really warm! And they can be had for like, $50 on ebay. :)

    Randy–lol Ah, pastors. :) And yes…I think you’ve hit it. Kids might be what stops me from this gear madness. Well, at least for a few years. Once they get old enough, built-in roadies!! 😉

    Gary Sexton–haha Sorry about that, bro! But seriously…I defy anyone to vacuum their M13. 😉

  23. I nothing but the utmost respect for you Karl, but that bored is ridonkulous.

    -LY FANTASMIC (Yeah that’s an inappropriate portmanteau)!!

    Plus a POG?!?! I concede sir.

  24. soooo…. how many songs do you typically play in a set?

    Nick- you were asking about playing pads from an ipod. We have used Karl’s pads a couple of times at our church. we ran them from an ipod through my worship leader’s boss me-70, then direct to the board. worked great, but if we continue to need them (no keyboard player right now) we will most likely hook up a volume pedal like you said. no problems whatsoever with the pads off the ipod though.

  25. Wow, I honestly thought the board wasn’t that huge; but judging from the response here, I am quite wrong. Maybe it’s time to extend the project a little more…no tonal sacrifice, still able to sing while playing without bending down or tap-dancing, still able to have the pedals in front of me for the fun that that brings, but also lower profile. Just another excuse to play with my legos, I suppose. :)

    Bernard–haha You can put U2-related comments anywhere you like! They are never random here. hehe And ya, I have heard that album. I must admit that I didn’t dig all of it, but I thought some were pretty cool…i.e. the female vocal version of ‘Grace’, for example. Can’t remember who did that one, though. And I think Michael Tait had just enough soul for Mysterious Ways. :)

    Seth J–haha Man, I guess it is big. I really was trying to make it smaller. Blasted gear. haha The POG though…I’m using it for one thing only. lol That one can be downsized for sure with the new Strymon reverb or a POG2 whenever I can find a good used price. And your word choices in that comment deserve serious props. 😀

    Keith–between 5-10, depending on the church. And I use a lot of delay. 😉 Especially at my home church, we don’t have a ton of musicians, so I need to fill up a lot of space. And after having that many presets at my disposal, I’ve gotten spoiled and used to it. hehe

  26. People, don’t laugh at the magic of vacuuming a pedal board :-)

    I vacuumed my board when I re-cabled it a few weeks ago, and even my girlfriend was like “wow dude, that’s neat” when she saw the before and after cleanliness.

    Karl, the only thing I don’t understand about your rig are the loopers when all but 3 or 4 pedals on your board are true bypass. I’m sure you’ve answered this in increments, but like, why? Is it just something you’ve grown accustomed to?

  27. Gtr1ab–thanks, bro. Don’t look too closely…it’s not nearly the craftsmanship of some of your stuff, but it gets the job done. :)

    Hippie Killer–lol That’s awesome!

    And I use the bypass loopers for a lot of reasons. For one, you’re right, I am accustomed to it now. hehe But the main reason, is that with that many pedals, there would still be a ton of tone loss if my signal had to travel through all the cable to and from every pedal all the time. The loopers shorten my cable length considerably to pedals I’m not using. It also allows me to very easily troubleshoot if a cable or a pedal goes out, because I can simply start taking things out of the circuit. Especially if that happens on stage. Rather than my whole board going down, I can then just shut off that loop, and I still have signal. It also cuts down on my tap dancing to be able to turn most of my pedals on and off with two convenient control boards located very close to my feet. And lastly, both of those have master bypass switches. So, on the overdrive one, I can have a crazy amount of stacked overdrives going nuts, and then jump to completely clean with just one switch. And the same for the effects one. I can have 4 delays on for a huge swell, and then with one step go to a bone dry drive sound. So, those are the reasons for those! :) Sorry I’m so long-winded!

  28. Wow! I never even thought of it that way. 128 is a very large number! Haha. Suddenly my DD-7 feels like garbage… Maybe I would feel better if I could do something awesome, like try to use a Staples Easy Button as a tap tempo somehow… This goes far beyond my electronic skills BUT SOMEHOW IT MUST BE DONE! Haha sorry, umm what were we talking about?

    OH RIGHT timelines. They are the bomb dot com it would seem. Alright well anything that can bring people further in intimate worship with our awesome God is a good thing in my book. Keep it up 8)

  29. Karl, you certainly don’t need to apologize to anybody here about your board. :-) That’s between you and the Lord. And for us married guys, what spousal approval will allow. You single guys can tune out now, but I’m a firm believer in the old saying ” if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

    And even if your wife’s disapproval doesn’t immediately make you unhappy, she will find a way ! The silent treatment kills me — I cave in about 5 minutes LOL

    I see a new Dodge commercial ( Charger?) where the married guy in the commercial is agreeing to everything marriage entails ( be nice to the mother-in-law, etc etc etc etc ) and then they use psychology to try to get you to “man up” and stick to your guns on one thing ( buy a hot car ).

    Anyway, the price tag on the M13 rules it out for me — I could afford it, but the dog house out back is uncomfortable.

    My PS-45 pedal board must be light compared to yours ( the handle did break one day though so I had to replace it and beef it up. )

    Boss CS-2>RCBooster>ABY pedal>
    Signal chain A: an old Korg AX1500x multi effect running
    chorus and hall reverb>Aphex Acoustic Exciter DI>PA channel
    Signal Chain B: OD-3>Tech21 Liverpool>DD7>PA channel

    I have a Boss RC-2 looper I’m thinking of taking to church occasionally so I can record some stuff, then walk around the sanctuary to see how it sounds ( saves me buying a wireless outfit )

    • haha! yes, it’s the silent treatment, that is the real killer :)

      i probably won’t have as much pedals as Karl’s but, you know, if I need to have that for me to give my best, I will definitely do it without hesitation. I’m sure my wife will take some time to convince but if it’s for God’s glory … I don’t think she got much to say!

  30. Hey guys, why don’t those of us who live in SoCal take shifts and volunteer to help Karl ‘move in’ every Sunday at church? In this world of M9’s and M13’s, we need guys like Karl to keep reviewing pedals and telling us whats new/good/bad and its fun to see him try to fit new stuff on his stadium-seating style pedal board. :) If we all rotated through we would only have to volunteer one week a year (there have to be at least 52 of us socal guys right?) and then we would also have the privilege of worshiping with him and seeing all these pedals in use. I mean, don’t you want to see how he uses two timelines and all of the other 16+ pedals he has on this board? :)

  31. Rhoy ” she hasn’t got much to say ” How long you been married? Just kidding. My wife would probably say I can lead worship on a pawn shop ukelele so there goes my argument for more gear. :-)

  32. It’s ok Karl. I’ll be your enabler. Your whole pad setup is pretty sweet and although my plans are to do it a little differently with a looper; it’s important to be comfortable with what you got.

    At one point in time, I was hauling around two full Pedaltrain Pro’s. I was and still do utililize a PedalSnake to move all my power requirements to the back line. People thought I was nuts (And looking back, I probably was.) but is sounded great and….ok….it looked pretty sweet. My guitar command center.

    Over the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve kind of re-evaluated my pedal usage and one of the Pedaltrains has gone by the way side. I still occasionally bring additional pedals to church and hook them up off board (POG, additional delays and overdrive pedals.) if the need arises (Which it often does.).

    What you are capable of doing with that whole looping thing is an amazing thing. You are an artist. Sometimes it takes a big board to be an artist.

  33. so i’m not quite ready for the responsibility of a tube amp yet(and neither is my bank) but you were talking about the presonus tubepre. would that warm up my sound a lot since i’m running direct? and also it looks like it would work as a direct box but is also looks like it was really meant for mics but it still has a 1/4 in put? thanks in advance.

  34. i left the top off my roadcase this week, so i could tweak the digital toanz on my m13. and it got dusty. now you have me wanting to vacuum it. i am determined to find a way.

    seriously though, if you are preprogramming and midi controlling delay settings anyway, have you considered putting all this stuff in a moderately sized rack unit and controlling via a conveniently smaller board? at least for the pedals you don’t tweak live? it would clean up the stage, make transport easier and make you feel like john mayer/the edge, which is the goal anyway. but it would not look as rad…ok i take it all back

  35. Andrew–lol That would be cool! And the DD7 is a great pedal, in my humble opinion. If I didn’t have to sing or lead the band at the same time, I definitely might think about something like that. All for God’s glory is right…thanks, brother!

    Randy–your board just keeps looking better and better! Bet that sounds awesome. And my wife is actually pretty awesome about this stuff. Even opens the door for me when I’m carrying the board to my car. 😉 The only time I get a look is if I get something that adds treble. (She hates high pitches.) So she’s my ‘ice pick’ gauge. If I get that look, it goes on Gear Page. haha

    Rhoy–I must admit, I’m jealous sometimes of your pedalboard. Compact, but yet seems like every base is covered. Well, I haven’t seen it with the Strymon yet. 😉 Is that still on its way?

    Randy–haha Uke worship! That’d be sweet!

    Mark–thanks, bro! I need some enablers. It’s nice to hear from the guys who rock the big rigs, too. hehe :) I love your gear, man, and I appreciate the kind words.

    Jonathan–I only mention this to show the extent of my depravity, but last weekend I played at four churches, and brought this in and out of all 4, and then home again Sunday night. I completely understand that that is certifiable, but it is so odd…I absolutely love it. But then again, I’ve always been just slightly off normal. 😉 haha

    Ben–alright, bro, that is an awesome board. We’re definitely going to need a signal chain listing here. 😀 And thanks for the kind words, brother.

    Nater2–it’s almost like that one, but with a tube and less knobs. Actually running what you just posted into it, might sound really, really good. The link is here:

    And that’s a special they’re running right now where it comes with a mic. Can’t speak for the quality of the mic, but hey…same price without the mic. :) Like I said, the eq knobs do almost nothing on this thing, so you’d need a separate eq box to, if you wanted to run guitar through it. But personally, I like the eq doing nothing because when I record or run the pads through it, I get just an warm amplified sound…nothing added or lost. And when I run pads into it, ya, I use it as my direct box.

    Paul–lol That was awesome. I run the midi thing through my mind once every couple months. What it always comes down to though is that I need this board, unfortunately, for two different applications. One, to be extremely functional for when I’m singing and leading and can’t bend down to turn knobs, and two, to have all the pedals in front of me for a couple other places I play which are more improvisational in nature and need knob twisting. So, then there’s this giant board, because I don’t have the money for two separate boards with duplicate pedals, one for singing, and one for playing. Hence, the behemoth. haha But…were I to get paid to just play guitar…ya, a midi board/rackmounted pedals would need to be almost a foregone conclusion. Because I’m not sure what I have right now would make it through baggage check. hehe

  36. I’m curious how all of you determine if you’re rig is sounding good or not. Generally, I find that what I hear at home is misleading. Whether I listen to the pedal board output into a guitar amp, a stereo system or high-end headphones it doesn’t mimic very closely what I ultimately hear through the church’s PA system.

    This is especially true with any kind of OD/dirt effects. I do realize that what may seem like substandard OD/distortion is often acceptable with the whole band playing.

    Having said that, and even tho I get to use OD rarely now, it’s time to upgrade the Boss OD-3. It isn’t working for me in my current signal chain. Asking for OD recommendations can lead to enough input to stall the WordPress server, so let’s just say overdrive ( not metal ), smooth as in not harsh or over-the-top, and $150 or less new or used. I see Fulltone Fulldrive is $152 so make it $152 or less. :-)

  37. Randy,

    I’ve been really satisfied with my Visual Sound Double Trouble. It is essentially 2 Tube Screamer clones in the same housing. They work well individually and stack well also. Having said that, I am going to send it out for modifications if my Satchurator comes back sounding good from it’s trip to mod land. A pro guitar player friend of mine pointed me to these guys, and I thought it would be good to try. I’ll give you a report.

    Karl, check out the tap tempo delay.

  38. @Karl – i am honored that my board takes notice from you :) … and yes, I am still waiting for the Strymon. I can’t wait to get it so I don’t have to explain to my worship leader that I cannot exactly comp those blasted Hillsong/Baloche/ rhythm parts because I don’t have a dotted-8th delay on my board! hehe

    @Randy – oh man, I can’t believe you asked that question here! 😆

  39. Randy–that’s a great point, especially for those of you running direct. The PA will sound way different than an amp. The only thing to do is to treat the PA like your amp. Get a long cable, get to church early, and listen to yourself through the PA while you play. It’ll take work, because then you’ll have to walk back to your pedalboard to make changes, and then back out in front of the PA to listen. But it’s the only way to make sure you now how you sound in the house. Actually, even with an amp, I do the same thing at my home church…and if we have extra time, at other churches I play at.

    As for od’s, lol, your comment was classic! But for you, running direct, I’d seriously consider the Damage Control Liquid Blues. It has a big, round, warm overdrive sound with real tubes, and could be just the thing for getting a nice overdrive sound direct, that’s not harsh. I think Damage Control is running a special on them right now, too. It’s more money but both the Zendrive 2 and the Ethos might work very well for that, too. On a cheaper note, I still love the MI Audio Blue Boy Deluxe. :) But I think the Liquid Blues might be the ticket.

    Craig–modded Satchurator? Let us know how it sounds! And is that JHS one the little pink delay? I’ve been hearing some good things about it, but haven’t checked it out yet. Thanks, bro!

    Rhoy–lol at the overdrive question response.

    And I hear ya on the dotted 8th’s thing. I mean, it’s so Edge, so I love it; but it is overused a tad. But ya…you really can’t do much Hillsong at all without it! haha

  40. Rhoy, was that the question about how long you’ve been married or about overdrives? Must be overdrives. That’s just Karl’s writing style rubbing off on me. Kind of free form brain to keyboard. Karl, said with love :-)

  41. Karl,

    Yes it’s the pink one. The demos sound pretty good, but you’d expect that. The Satch mod is my first foray into the world of custom/modified pedals so I’m pretty excited. I have to admit I bought the Satch less for how it sounded at the store, and more for the hot red paint job. After living with it for a while I’ve been pretty happy with it, but the mod sounds interesting and I’ll take a shot. If I like it I’ll probably have the VS done, it sounds like they will do a different TS mod to each side. I’ll give you the report when I get it back (3 weeks).

  42. Randy–haha No worries!

    Craig–right on! And good to know I’m not the only one who buys pedals on looks along. 😉

    Randy–it’s pretty big. Think the size of an older Electro Harmonix pedal, and then a little taller. Sounds killer, though! :)

    Joseph–haha I don’t know about 7! Well…I used to run 7, but it didn’t sound very good. The most I’ll do now is 4. And you can do a lot of stuff with them. One at 1/4’s, one at d8’s, one at low mix multitap, and then the other at a fast time for quick builds or fadeouts when needed. Or one for swells, the other for modulation, the other for some backdrop reverse sounds, and then the last at a chorusy setting to meld everything together. There’s a lot of options. :) hehe Mmm…delay. I did a post with videos on using delay a while back, and some of the later videos have me stacking delays.

  43. Arg, decisions, decisions. At 3.5 inches tall, the liquid blues may or may not fit under the case of my pedalboard. So if I call Paul Cochrane it’s a 9 month wait and $170 ?

  44. Randy – the Barber Small Fry / Burn Unit is worth checking out. I like the voicing and use a 4 knob BU with the house amp (Fender HRD) at practice when I don’t want to lug an amp to work before practice.

  45. Karl, speaking of delay. . . I do a lot of looping in my music, which I currently use my Timefactor for. One thing I don’t like (or maybe I haven’t figured it out?) is that once I do an overdub, it can’t be erased. I have to start over. Is this the case with the timeline? Demos for the loop function of delay pedals are usually like, “Here’s a loop. Now here it is backwards. Cool, huh?” and that’s it. So it’s hard to find information on the intricacies of loop functions.

    Oh, and, whatever, cool pedal board I guess. haha.

  46. Dan, I’ll check out the Barber Small Fry also. I’ve learned not to rush into these things. :-) Back to the topic ( this is Karl’s blog, after all).

    I think we’re comparing apples and oranges. Even if Karl gave me his board, I wouldn’t want it, wouldn’t know how to use it and it doesn’t fit what I do. If anybody wants to give me an M13 or XT Live 3 I promise I’ll learn to use it :-) Giving my chain saw to a potter would only help him when he had a migraine.

    Five years from now Karl will probably have a completely different setup and most of us may also. But it’s a ball talking about it and we can all learn a ton from this blog. Thanks Karl for all you’re doing here.

  47. Randy, you also might want to check out the Pork Loin by Way Huge. It may not be as “cool” as some of the other pedals but it is not huge, it’s cheaper, and extremely versatile. It has 5 knobs on top and 3 more on the inside to adjust the parameters of the external knobs. It will not do heavy distortion but it will get pretty thick and can also be used as a booster with minimal dirt. I love mine and do not see many people using them. Plus it is volume knob sensitive so it is easy to clean up. True bypass, blue LED, lots of stuff going for it.

  48. Sorry Karl for starting a tangent thread here. Thanks Jonathan I will check that out. But you know the more I think about it, I’ve read so many reviews of the Tech 21 Liverpool and OD-3 by Boss where people raved over both of them. So I’m beginning to think something else is not quite right with my direct setup when I can’t get an OD sound I like with either one or both together. Need to spend more time working on it at church rather than in a bedroom.

    I think I’ll see if the church will hang four or five of these rigs from the ceiling and route my direct signals to them:

    Matchless HC30–>
    65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue & G12H-30)

  49. Hey Everyone,

    I’ve just recently stumbled on this blog from your youtube page and It has a wealth of knowledge! I’m a brand new guitar player filling a void that I have noticed in NorCal worship! I took the plunge and decided to learn guitar about 2 years ago and then took another plunge and decided to volunteer when we needed a lead guitarist. I play a Gretsch 5120 electromatic, Vox AC15 with an M13 (Don’t hate me… it was the cheapest way to get the most sounds quickly). However, I’ve been completely unsatisfied with the OD’s and Compressors on the M13 and I also feel like I have ZERO volume control! I can’t ask for better delays though :) The tap tempo delays on this board are astounding! Anyways, does anyone have any suggestions on a volume pedal or good sounding overdrive? I don’t want anything really hard just a warm slightly dirty sound. For reference I’ve been using the Vetta Comp for my very light distorted sound, the tube drive for my heavier sound and tube screamer for my lead lines and hooks… Also if anyone here has any advice on how to supplement the M13 or do something crazy like use it as a midi controller or something :) I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOU IT! Thanks!

  50. Karl,

    It also helped that the Satch pedal was about half price used, otherwise I wouldn’t have paid the much for looks. After living with it, it is more versatile than I thought and was getting more use.

    It looks like the mod includes white led’s are they going to suck my tone, or should I get the blue.

  51. First sorry about the anonymous… forgot to put my name. :)

    I am really liking the X3 and M13, having to get the setup tweeked to my likings, but hey thats a majority of the fun, but since I got the M13, I have started getting some serious complients on my sound, which is cool.

    Yea, I am fixing to get one of those Rondo cases, for the rig, since the M13 doesn’t fit on my old board, and I am just not in the mood to build another one. hehehe My board right now, with board, X3, and wireless transmitter is 40lbs, and I estimate with the new case it will be around that. I made the mistake of building my old board with 1/2″ particle board, which wasn’t the lightest of materials. so its an arm builder. I have to switch arms carrying it so I get an even workout. 😀

  52. Ben – I use an M9 with offboard OD pedals so very similar to your setup. For your guitar there are a LOT of pedals you could use off board in the OD slot. Here are a few to consider: Fulldrive 2, Fulltone OCD, Visual Sound Route 66, Digitech Bad Monkey. You’ll likely just have to try a few and see what you like.

    Secondly, try this on the M13 first. Try using the Tube Drive, Overdrive or Colordrive patch and turn the drive knob almost all the way down. Maybe 1 or 2 pixels. Then adjust the other knobs from there. I know it seems counter intuitive but it makes them much more use able. Here’s an example from one user:

    Be sure your signal order is correct too. By default its left to right which is not the order you’d expect as most physical pedal boards are setup right to left. Just be sure your ODs are before your delays.

    • Brian – Thanks man! Yea luckily my room mate from college is a guitar player and explained the signal chain thing to me. Since I didn’t have regular pedals before the M13 the left to right doesn’t bug me :) I will definitely give your second suggestion a go before I look for other pedals… Thanks for the suggestions though. Can you find those at guitar center or should I look somewhere else?

  53. Yup, guitar center carries all of those but no guarantee on whether they’ll have it or not. Do you have any local guitarists you could borrow from to demo?

    • Nah, all of the guitarists here aren’t really into sounding good… the guitarist before me had a HORRIBLE digitech pedal with the worst sounding OD ever… the other guitarist has a zen drive which is nice but it’s the only pedal he has and he won’t part with it :)

  54. Randy–ya, just about. But the Tim is designed to push an amp into overdrive. So, I’m not sure how it’ll work going direct.

    Dan–good call. :)

    Mark Colvin–don’t really have the money right now, but yikes, Melancon’s are beautiful!

    CC–haha I’m so bad at construction, it’d take me a month per board! lol

    Slater–ya, I think that’s par for the course as far as loopers within delay pedals. The Timeline is a little better in that you can erase subsequent loops without erasing the original loop. But still…if you’re doing a ton of looping, it’s probably best to go with a dedicated one like the RC50 or Boomerang. In my humble opinion. :)

    Randy–thanks for the kind words, and no worries! My posts are pretty scitzo anyways…I think topics just stunt the creative process. haha So, carry on in whatever way seems rock ‘n roll! :)

    Jonathan–blue led…hard to beat that. 😉

    Randy–I don’t put much stock into reviews anymore. (haha Said by the guy who does reviews on his site.) I’ve trusted enough of them, and then bought pedals and gone, ‘Huh?’ haha But Matchless from the ceiling? How can that be a bad thing? haha

    Ben G–welcome! Great to have you here, brother. And ya, a lot of guitarists I know are running M13’s with separate boxes for compression and dirt. Just my personal opinions, but I’d check out Strymon’s OB.1 compressor, Mad Professor’s Little Green Wonder, Hermida Zendrive, Paul Cochrane Tim, Sobbatt Drivebreaker, and SIB Varidrive. :)

    Craig–see if you can white and blue!! :) Together!

    Shane–very cool! And ya, the Rondo Music cases are great quality for the money! :) Glad you’re stoked with your tone!

    Brian–good choices. :)

    Brian and Ben G–you don’t need me for this. lol Carry on, my friends!

  55. Ben, that looks awesome! I think I commented on it, but I’m not even a little bit good at knowing German, so I can’t tell what it’s saying to me when I comment. haha I’m hoping the words in red meant, ‘Comment awaiting approval’, and not, ‘Fatal Error.’ lol

  56. One more question about all of this: the Furman Power Factor you’re using — that thing is wicked pricey for a power conditioner. Is there a reason why you’re using that particular model?

  57. Ya, I actually tried the lower model ones from Furman first…the PL8’s, I believe, despite reading reviews that they were basically Home Depot power strips with lights. And, alas, they sounded basically Home Depot power strips with lights to my very humble and untrained ears. There was no cleaning of the power to my ears, and in fact, they seemed to induce more noise into my rig than the Home Depot power strips I was previously running. hehe

    So, the current Power Factor Pro is a little more expensive, but it is actually conditioning the power, rather than just giving me 8 outlets and rack lights. And used, I think I got it for $200, which isn’t too bad. They even have a pedal version with less outlets that’s even cheaper. But even the Pro is not doing exactly what I’d like it to do. Eventually, I’d like to upgrade to the IT-20, which provides 20 amps and isolated power outputs. But it’s upwards of $1,000 and something like 80 pounds. So…I’m good until Coldplay calls. haha

  58. Ah. I believe you are correct. Although it’s still decidedly huge. I think I’m just going to velcro the G.I. Joe Hovercraft (complete with Cutter action figure) to my board just to see what people say.

  59. So is there a post here where the rest of us can show & tell about our pedalboards? If not, maybe there should be. It’s always fun to see how other players approach things. Things like whether or not it sounds “more tube like” if you replace the Cutter action figure with Roadblock in the aforementioned Hovercraft…

  60. haha You know, there isn’t one right now, but please feel free to use this thread as one! I’d love to see your board, and this thread is getting a lot of hits right now, so I’m sure there’d be a ton of feedback both for yours and for other boards. :)

  61. This is actually a blog, not a forum, although Karl has allowed us to treat it like a forum. :-) Here’s another: Good guys over there — board isn’t visited heavily all the time, but the main guys will answer your questions fairly quickly. There are also forums at — downside to that one is no email notification.

  62. This is actually a blog, not a forum, although Karl has allowed us to treat it like a forum.

    Believe me, I know what you mean. There’s a year-and-a-half old post on my own blog where people keep commenting. I feel like I should get the 2000th poster a T-shirt or something.

  63. Well considering this is one of those blogs posts that everyone is posting random comments on… does anyone mind telling me where they get used gear? I was looking on craigslist and ebay for a zendrive 1 and 2 and the fulltone fulldrive and didn’t find much for the zendrives. Just curious :)

  64. Randy–thanks for the links, brother! And ya…I don’t really mind it being a message board. 😀 I’m stoked about the community we’ve all had a hand in creating here. :)

    Hippie Killer–I’ve ventured over to your world a couple times, and ya! I don’t know how you keep up with it all, bro! haha

    Ben G–absolutely! haha Most of us get our gear from The Gear Page. It’s a strange and wondrous world over there, but it’ll suck you in and before you know it, you’ll be buying gear just to stockpile it in your closet for when the Malaysian output chips are no longer made. hehe :)

    I do craigslist and ebay also. But mostly, it’s Gear Page:

    You need to register, but it’s free to buy things, and just a nominal yearly fee to sell things. Scroll down to the emporiums to see all the tonal wonders. hehehe

  65. My Barber Small Fry Burn Unit is on it’s way. Larry tells me it should be lighter than the Boss OD3 it’s replacing. It’s getting to be like a space mission, where every ounce is scrutinized. I probably should have looked on Gear Page for a used one, but the wife was in an agreeable mood — you know you have to take advantage of that pronto !!

  66. GREAT post! I wish I were handy enough to build my own pedalboard. Instead, I just have my pedals (and a couple of rack units) spread out across the floor, and when I travel with them, I invariably confront a colony of octopi to unravel at some point).

    Because I do gigs where I’m flying there and back, to save my poor abused back from even more heavy lifting, to streamline things, and so I can change all settings of everything with a single tap, I often use the much-maligned Guitar Rig from Native Instruments. I’d actually like an M13, though, at least as a fallback plan if my laptop melts on the road (which happened twice — fortunately, each time it was just after I played rather than before).

    It’s true, though, that no emulation is quite as good (let alone Even Better Than) the real thing. OTOH, the Edge uses emulation rather than bring his Hiwatt on the road for “Elevation,” and I can’t be snobbish about anything good enough for Edge!

    Thanks again for such great commentary.

  67. Ya!! U2 references!! 😀

    I’m sure if I actually had to fly places for gigs, I would definitely need to do some restructuring, and maybe even do some emulation. That’s a great point.

    Oh, and I also choose to believe that Edge keeps a HiWatt underneath the stage for Elevation and Beautiful Day. Even though his interviews say he just models it through the Vox. 😉 Hey, it makes me happy. hehe

  68. Have you played with programing one midimate to control both timelines? Seems like that would clear up a good bit of space for you…

  69. I did look into that, but in the end I liked the ability to choose from 20 presets at any given time. I’m crazy. hehe Although, one of those Timeline’s is gone now, so it’s academic. hehe

  70. Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i
    was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you
    can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  71. I am not sure the place you’re getting your info, however good topic. I must spend a while finding out much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

  72. Hey, Karl. I was wondering, so if the pads are coming through an active source like an ipod, should the volume pedal be the volume pedal by ernie ball best suited for active sources? or is mono ok?
    And I play through a Sterling Ray35 5-string ACTIVE bass. Should I use the passive ernie ball volume pedal? or active?

  73. a real cutie with hot bare feet and YES I like the polish a must for those who like hard dinrvig barefoot. I think this must be the hardest the bug has ever been driven at PTP she kept the engine near or at redline many-a-time and had a great time doing that

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