Electric Guitars/Stomp Boxes


QUESTION: We have a guitar player at our church.
He plays pretty good---but doesn't know a lot about the equipment.

He has a nice fender Strat and a fender Cmapion amp.

His sound is real "Thin".

What stomp box will give him a bigger and fuller sound?

What is the 1st stomp box that he should buy?

What should be the 2nd stomp box that he should add?

Thank you.

ANSWER: Well being a longtime Strat owner of models old and new, I can equate with this Q.

In short, you will never get the degree of 'thunder' from a Strats single coil pickups as you would from humbuckers or hot P90s. Strangely, even the Telecaster delivers more grit(!) and Jimmy Page's sound on Led Zep one album is testament to that! But you can still get some good tones for a fuller sound with some enhancements.

Of course some Strats are just thinner than others - there is no logic other than the the overall 'coming together' of fit and finish of a model in its construction - and of course your choice of amp and playing style will add to the mix significantly.

However pedals abound and often is not just "get this pedal and you're done" - that would be too easy and everyone would have the answer! So I am going to suggest some lower tier pedals in terms of budget but that, for me personally and in my use, work without a question.

Now if you have a big budget I would immediately say the Analogman 'King of Tone', but it is boutique and comes with a 18 month waiting list. Anyway, this pedal is reportedly only a copy of the now rare and highly sought after Marshall Guv'nor MkI - not to be confused with later versions which abound. The ZVex 'Box of Rock' also is a good Marshall type bluster box...

KOT chat and demo in here:


and Zvex here:


The Fulltone OCD is a take on the traditional mids-boosting Tube Screamer but I use a simple Danelectro 'Cool Cat Drive' (MkI model) which is a circuit clone of the OCD and is very good. Incidentally the Dano Cool Cat 'Transparent Drive' also offers good rocking tones akin to Tweed amp natural OD - I have both. YT vids from here:


But a short while ago I got a couple of budget pedals that I became aware of as being exceptional for their price: The excellent Tube Screamer clone 'East River Drive' from EHX which sounds great with my Strat through a 60watt Fender Supersonic tube amp on Burn, but moreso - a Joyo 'Deluxe Crunch', cascading distortion and a Caline Snakebite Reverb. I was rather blown away with the thunder these last 2 induce used together through a 30 watt solid state amp! I did a clip here:


Nearly all my pedals mentioned are actually visible in this clip but not all connected.

I hope this helps. Others would have different solutions and suggestions, but these are my current choices for my similar scenario!

Hope you find your tonal Nirvana!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply.

The volume at church is low, so he doesn't need a "screamer" pedal.

Just a pedal (or 2) that will make his sound "Fuller" and "Fatter"

His amp is a Fender Champion.

I think that it has a 10" speaker.

Ant ideas?

Yes, don't be fooled by the terms/names given to a lot of pedals as they are meant to evoke an association in the purchaser/player! The pedals I suggested will enhance the TONE - not unnecessarily increase volume. They do this by forcing the amplifier's drive circuit to work harder (morose in a tube amp) but even in a solid state amp the signal is altered through the amps drive stage.

All pedals earlier suggested give a fatter tone. Use them in conjunction with the guitar's volume knob, so dial a loudish setting on amp and employ your pedal and dial VOLUME BACK on the guitar. This allows you to call up that fatter tone/drive when need simply from the guitar itself. Dial back Down for the quieter moments in your songs.

TIP: Sometimes using more than one pedal 'stacked' ie in series, can offer even more tonal variation and 'fatness' - go and have an experiment!

Good luck - come back and let me know what you settle on ultimately.  

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Mark Gardiner


Guitars, Guitar Amps, Guitar FX, Playing Guitar, Guitar based Music


Musician for 40 years

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Making Music Sound on Sound Music Week Computer Music Music Industry News Guitarist

Worked for Peter Gabriel in late 80s

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