Pedal Review: A Post-Rocker’s Guitar Rig

Shankar Laxminarayan, guitarist of Damn Dirty Apes and Coma, shares with us his standard guitar rig – a Pedaltrain Pro fitted with 11 Pedals.

The sci-fi-esque nature of tones used in post/psychedelic rock requires a specific foundation:
Distortion – Delay – Phaser

The genre becomes relatively monotonous due to the standard tones delivered by most bands within the aforementioned genres. A subtle introduction delivered by clean guitar with a hint of slapback delay, a gradual build accompanied by another overdriven guitar, deep bass and heavy drums into a wall of sound which to the uninitiated can be described as noise.

The two distortion pedals I use have completely different dynamics and are used independently, never triggered at the same time. The Distortion+ works very well with the delays on this rig, whereas the MT-2 is used on its own as it delivers that crunchy high-end metal sound and will not work well with a slap-back echo on it. The Distortion+ however is a very easy to use pedal and works well with almost every other pedal on this rig or any rig – it has a great bottom-end, allowing me to trill across the fretboard and still have a pleasant delay tail without it sounding too messy.

Pedal Review by Shankar Laxminarayan. Photo: MXR Phase 90

Pedal Review by Shankar Laxminarayan. Photo: MXR Phase 90

Three delay pedals (the BBE Two-Timer is added on the rig at times) are used, mostly independently but there are times where all three are triggered at once.

The Line 6 Space Echo is an extremely easy delay pedal to use, with a dual tap pedal, one to set the tempo and a heavier tap to turn on the pedal – giving you the option to turn the trails on and off and set it to a Tape, Analog or Digital delay all with the flick of a switch. Paired with 11 different settings, it has a delay tone for any situation. My personal favourites are the Reverse, Swell and Slapback delay functions on a Tape Delay setting, it does not sound digital, it has a warm analog tone that complements a clean or driven guitar.

The Boss DD-6, another post-rock staple is a gem of a pedal to have on your rig. Yet another easy pedal to use, its charm is in its preset, allowing you to get from a nice tap-delay to a trailing delay quite easily. It has a very short loop-rate giving you the chance to riff over it and have it repeat itself until you stop it. My biggest issue with the pedal is that it sounds a bit too harsh at times, I rarely use it on its own, it is always paired with another delay pedal or at least a distortion.

The creme-de-la-creme – The RE-20 Space Echo. This is the reason I love playing this genre of music. Firstly, it is modelled after one of the best echo racks ever built. Secondly, it has a built-in EQ – the overall tone of your guitar can be “overridden” and tweaked without having to have an EQ pedal alongside. The echo delay delivered by this pedal is superb, a mixture of reverb and delay, its a pedal that should be on anyone’s rig – giving you a beautiful chorus tone to that crazy slapback twang you get on a country tune. The overlap over delay tones is what sets this apart from any other delay pedal I’ve used. From a post-rock perspective, the “trill tone” is very important, meaning that it needs to work well with a distortion pedal; this pedal does that almost perfectly.

About Shankar Laxminarayan

Shankar Laxminarayan

Shankar Laxminarayan

A Malaysian with a knack of making noise. Shankar has been playing music since he was young, starting with piano from the age of 7, moving onto drums then eventually guitar and bass shortly after. Playing Post Rock/Doom for just over 10 years, with Damn Dirty Apes and Coma, his interest in music lies in churning out sounds through a myriad of pedals that make a guitar or bass sound like something out of space.

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