Non-Tonal Considerations When Buying Effects.

When a Dino guitarist shops for pedal effects their primary focus is Tonal. When time based effects, (delay, chorus, etc.), are the target then the quality of the pedals effect sound is also of primary consideration. The phrase It's all about the tone, while expressing the optimal quality of tone every Dino searches for, is not really 100% accurate. There are other considerations a pedal buyer should be aware of before they make a purchase. Some of the other aspects of the product should be known before your order goes in or your cash hits the counter. I've listed a few below that could make or break your usage of a new pedal.

Power Supply

Before purchasing a pedal know it's power suppy requirements. The small 9V power supply has become so common place that some consider it a given. Not always so. Some pedals require 12V or 15V or 18V power supplys. Even within the external 9V suppy type you have to check to see whether the pedal will work with one that produces 100mv or 200mv or whatever. Center pin negative or center pin positive. In other words, just because you've got a Boss 9V power supply at the house doesn't mean you won't need to purchase a new power supply of a different type for the new pedal your purchasing. Some of the older pedals only run through an AC power cord.

While some pedals provide the option of being powered by external 9V or internal 9V battery there are many that will only run on an internal battery. If you use a certain effect during a large portion of your performance you may want to avoid the battery only type. Not only can batteries run dry at an inopportune time, they can also require the removal of screws to open the casing and replace them. Not a good thing for on the fly battery changes when your on stage. Also, a few of the battery only pedals that are based on germanium or silicon often don't work well with alkaline batteries. Many fuzz and vintage gain units display a noticeable improvement in tone when older type non-akaline batteries are used. Better tone but even less time between battery changes.


How much space do you have on your board for the new pedal? Are you replacing an old chorus with a new chorus? Will the new one fit within the space requirement you've allotted for this effect? How many pedals do you want on your board? I use large pedal boards, yet, depending on which pedals I select to use it can hold as many as eleven or as few as four.


Is it road worthy? Does it need to be for your intended use? The footswitch. Does it switch silently or create an audible click when you step on it? Is the box made from steel or diecast metal or plastic or some composite? Quality jacks? Side or rear jacks? Metal or plastic knobs? Placement of the knobs and switches in relation to the pedal switch(s). On/Off LEDs. If it's going to run on a battery do you have easy access to the compartment? Does the compartment have a plastic cover that can break or fall off? Is the pedal true bypass or buffered?


Do you plan on babying the pedal or making it work hard? Is it for short term use while you save for something better or do you plan on keeping it for a long time? Warranties vary greatly between manufacturers. I've seen warranties listed as 30 days, 3 mo., 6 mo., 1, 2, 3, or 5 year(s), and lifetime to original purchaser. Do they cover just workmanship or include construction materials?


While a lot can be said for the old adage You get what you pay for I think a Dino should also remember some of the newer adages such as Man. Did they see me coming or I was royally screwed or What the F**K was I thinking? Pricing varies for different types of effects. A decent example of one type of effect might be had for $70 while a decent example of another type of effect might require $200 or $300. Pedals that are well constructed or use higher end components will require a higher price. Very high quality units can easily top $400, yet, just because a pedal lists for $439.99 doesn't mean your going to get a pedal of that value. Doing your research, getting recommendations from someone(s) you trust, trying out pedals at a comparable level, (comparing many examples in a particular price range / not comparing apples to oranges), and buying from a reputable dealer are all good ways to insure that the pedal you purchase is worth the price you pay.



No matter how many times we say it, the truth is, it's not all about the tone. Should the tone or voicing be the primary factor in your selection of an effect pedal? Yes. Should it be the only consideration? No.