Since I’ve had the Strat set up properly I’ve been playing it more and more and neglecting my Gibson somewhat. I’ve also changed my pedal board a bit. So when I recently plugged in the Les Paul for a bit of a twiddle I noticed how dull and muddy it sounded (it’s got fairly new strings so it won’t be that). This can be remedied by tweaking settings and pushing the treble side of things a bit more but if I then switch back to the strat with its very different clean cutting single coils I have to change everything again.
I had this problem and around the same time watched a video by “The Pedal Show” (I can’t find the video otherwise I would put a link here) where they were fiddling around with an EQ pedal. When using an overdrive and pushing the Mids with an EQ this gave a rounded less muddy sound. So I decided an EQ pedal would solve my problems with switching guitars and also improve the sound of my entire rig.
There are a few pedals out now that I could have chosen from. MXR make a few, there’s the Boss GE-7, cheaper Joyo or Biyang offerings and Source Audio’s programmable EQ. I didn’t want to spend any more than £100 as I wasn’t fully convinced at that point that I needed one.
For sub £100 it would have to be second-hand. I’d already had a few boss pedals by this point and they are bomb proof. I don’t think I was swayed all that much by this but I guess it will have been a factor.
To cut a long story short, apart from a cheaper Joyo pedal, the Boss GE-7 was the cheapest EQ I could find second-hand and it was the one that I purchased.
Now how is the GE-7, its fine. It does what it should, it is extremely well-built and doesn’t take up very much space on my board. It has a volume slider, and can be set to boost the overall volume. I have had it set as a mid boost, to reduce the high and bass notes, which I have found works very well with my Les Paul, but not so much with the Strat. I can’t say that I’ve used the EQ pedal all that much, but what I have used of it I have liked. I’m not in love with it, but I am going to persevere. I need to try the GE-7 out in different locations on my board.
If you believe that you have a need for an EQ then I would say go and try one.
- Cheap – especially second hand (I paid £45)
- Small, well built
- Does the job it is supposed to do
- Can be a harsh sterile sound
- I’m not enamoured by it
- Seems to be more useful with higher output pickups, not neccesarily as good on my board with the single coils
I had been using the GE-7 in completely the wrong way. I was using it to push mids, which in certain cases can sound good. If you’re playing with a band you may need to push those frequencies most common with guitar in order to be heard within the mix. I am only using it at home so by pushing the mids at bedroom levels it was giving me a harsh too bright tone. Now ive done the opposite and scooped the mids, ie gone from a frowny face to a happy face it has made a world of difference. Now the P90’s in my Gibson don’t sound too muddy, they sound brighter and clearer. I can appreciate the pedal now for what it is supposed to do, I was just too daft to mess around with it until now.
To show the benefit of using an EQ pedal to scoop the mids when using lower volumes I have recorded this short extract on my loop pedal.
First off is my clean tone, Mexican Fender Stratocastor volume and tone on 10, pickup in the 4th position, bridge and middle, with hall reverb coming from a Zoom CDR-70 going into a fairly clean Laney Cub 12.
Then I turn the Boss GE-7 on, after this is a Hudson Broadcast on its own, then the EQ pedal. Last off is the Raygun FX Super Fuzz Bender MkIII and again with the EQ pedal. This shows how dropping or boosting frequencies can often be necessary to get the best out of your pedals. This is especially the case if your amp doesn’t have a good EQ stage.