When I was younger, I absolutely refused to play with pedals: stompboxes, distortions, overdrives, boosters: anything that would make your amp go to ’11.’ I simply didn’t want to understand why you should or would use them. “I always chose my amps based on their ability to crunch and the voice of the overdrive, so why bother,” I thought. “Wanna have more distortion? Crank up the gain pot of your amp. Not enough gain? Wrong amp!” It was that simple for me. My turn-around point came somewhere last year. I saw more players use the backline of a venue or the house PA with a bunch of pedals in front of them, and sometimes with a tiny 15 watt tube amp with a nice clean sound. I couldn’t see why that approach had benefits until I borrowed a few pedals to see how that worked. So, let’s take a look at how stompboxes worked for me.
I’m a huge fan of the Quarter Pound P Bass pickup. Ever since I got one for Christmas from my folks (along with a Hot Jazz bridge pickup; can we say “Coolest Parents EVER?”), the larger-than-life tone was part of my sound and what I equated as the pinnacle of bass tone. That is, until the SPB-4 Steve Harris signature pickup was unveiled over the summer.