I have been involved in the music industry for over 20 years now, and I have seen a lot of changes and trends. However, one thing that never changes is that every year tons of new people decide to tackle playing live as a musician.
When you are starting out, the range of options are overwhelming, no matter what your instrument. For many years now, I have been the go-to person for many of my friends and family when questions about gear come up, and I thought it might be able to put a couple of the basics out there and hopefully help some other folks as well.
There are a couple of things that I use to guide me when choosing new gear, especially if I am not sure of what I am doing yet.
1. Is it quality? If so, it’s going to either (a) last me a long time, or (b) be easy to re-sell since it has actual value.
2. Are other professional musicians using it? This sounds so ridiculously uncool, but it’s the honest truth. Professional musicians need gear that sounds good, is reasonably priced, can easily be replaced (it’s available in most music stores in the case of loss, damage or theft), and is reliable. If you are starting out, start here – you can always get snobby later!
With that in mind, this is my list of the top five guitar pedals I see in the majority of touring player’s rigs.
1. Hands down, the pedal I have seen in more guitarists rigs than any other: Line 6 DL-4.
2. The Boss TU-2, because everyone needs a good tuner!
3. The Fulltone Fulldrive 2!
4. The Ibanez Tube Screamer.
5. The Dunlop Cry-Baby.
I hope that helps you get started!