Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guitar effect pedal testing

Warning! This is a rant!

YouTube provides a wonderful medium for hearing and seeing products that are available. This is very cool as people want to see this type of advertising and they seek the vendor out rather than the vendor bombarding the consumer with commercials. Therefore YouTube has become a excellent marketing tool for people hawking tone enhancements. Everything is available to sample; Amplifiers, instruments, speakers, effects. This rant is about EFFECTS. I don't want to discourage YouTube testing of effect pedals but I would like to offer some suggestions to help the consumer.

As a consumer of electronic products you must realize that not all of these tests are objective but rather they are subjective. I often see tests where the amplifier alone will make the tone you seek if only you could play at full volume. Hint # 1 - The test might have been recorded at full volume and thus make the pedal sound better! So I decided to make a list of a practical test format for testing pedals.

  • List the guitar used for testing.
  • List the volume setting on the guitar.
  • List the tone setting on the guitar.
  • Indicate the pickups used (people often make changes while recording and fail to mention the adjustment).
  • All of the amplifier parameters should be noted, i.e., type, brand, Eq settings, speaker type etc.
  • When doing the pedal "A" vs "B" test - don't use other flipping pedals at all!
  • Play the same damn riff and chord set on each device so we all can hear the difference - Sheesh!
At this point in time we have a truly power means of testing and marketing these tools but without containment of the basic parameters, the testing is flawed and pointless. Or the testing isn't pointless - it's deception. Therein lies my rant as I get tired of seeing this post or that post only find I have more questions after viewing than I had before I wasted 5 minutes of hearing someone pull off their best chops. I have always been a KIS fan - Keep it simple! Do you think race car drivers drive about the street at full speed while weaving about the traffic just to show you how great the new fancy car works? Nope. So save your Van Halen promo wannabe licks for your girlfriend and just play a few simple lines and basic chords. Audition the product not your skills. Maybe you will sell more pedals in this manner?

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