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Best Effects Pedals for Praise and Worship Guitarists 2019

Guitar Effects Pedals.jpg

   Are you looking for info on Guitar FX, Amp Modeling, and Pedalboards best suited for Worship Guitar?  Not too long ago, I too was looking into the subject and trying to narrow it all down into a list of gear that would suit my needs. So in this article that is what I'll give you.

 

   This is a roundup of the best Pedalboards for Praise and Worship Guitarists.  However, you don't have to be in the Worship Genre to benefit from this roundup. These Pedalboards suit a very wide range of needs far beyond this one genre. So stick around, I won't waste your time.    

   Finding the right guitar gear for your needs can get confusing right off the bat. There are endless Amp and Guitar Effects options in the guitar world. In the amplification market there are:

  • Real Tube Amps

  • Solid State Amps

  • Real Tube/Solid State Hybrid Amps

  • Analog Amp Modelers

  • Digital Amp Modelers (rack mounts, pedalboards, or software)

  • Etc.

We haven't even gotten to the Guitar Effects part yet. This is where things get kinda crazy.  In the interest of breaking it down, there are two main categories.

  • Analog FX

  • Digital FX 

   Analog FX pedals are typically stompboxes, specializing in one or two effects per pedal. They use analog (old) technology (resistors, capacitors, switches, diodes, voltage nodes, inputs, outputs, etc.) all connected within a metal housing.

 

  When you chain the RIGHT combination of these pedals together, they can produce STELLAR guitar tone. Thats one reason why many Professional guitarists (with disposable income) choose to go the analog route. They might even insist that Analog is the only way to go.  The down side is that they can be $100 on average and you often need between five to fifteen pedals connected together to create a decent analog pedalboard. 

Analog Pedal Pros:

  • Warmer, Cleaner Tone

  • Unlimited Customization Ability

  • Hundreds of Manufacturers

  • You get the EXACT Tone you want (eventually)

Analog Pedal Cons:

  • Price per pedal is HIGH (Pro Co Rat 2) + (Strymon Timeline Delay)

  • One short can disable your whole board.

  • They take a long time to build and get right

  • Heavy and hard to transport

  • Limited Lifespan, Need to be Replaced

  • For best tone requires a Real Tube Amp

  • Each Pedal Requires Power (Except for Passive Pedals)

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Ibanez Tube Screamer is a prime example of an Analog FX Pedal.

Digital FX Pedals utilize microchips and processors (like a computer) to modify your guitar tone. Digital Effects are typically found in Multi-FX Processors. You get hundreds of effects and even amp modeling in one large pedalboard.

 

This is a very cost effective means to build a rig. With one board you can get dozens of Amp Models and hundreds of Guitar FX. The down side to these is tone quality. They tend to sound a bit harsher than analog technology, and can sound fake if not setup properly.  Fans of Tubes and Analog Pedals claim to have a warmer richer tone. 

For Praise & Worship guitarists, its even harder. Most times we are expected to amplify our guitars without an amplifier on stage. The church scene prefers what they call a "quiet stage". For us, that means no guitar amps. Its a strange predicament for any guitarist to have to play without an amp. Luckily you aren't the first to encounter this problem. 

The solution for many of us Worship guitarists has been Digital Amp Modeling Pedals. They can be run in stereo directly to the Church's PA system. The guitarist then either uses a powered stage monitor or in ear monitors. This eliminates the need for an physical guitar amp on stage. 

Digital FX and Amp Modeler Pros:

  • Affordable compared to Analog (Firehawk FX + Line 6 Helix)

  • Doesn't require an amp, but can be used with one

  • All-In-One Unit for Effects and Amplification

  • Multiple Amp Models to choose from and Customize (Dual Amplifiers + Cabinets)

  • Hundreds of FX(Comp, Mod, Pre-EQ, Distortion, Delay, Reverb all customizable)

  • MIDI Mappable Footswitching (Put any effect parameter on any switch)

  • Built in Headphone Jack, Stereo XLR, TRS, 1/4", FX Loop Inputs and Outputs

  • Silent Practicing

  • Silent Stage Capable (Direct Out to PA System or Powered Monitors)

  • Easy to Transport and Set Up

  • Versatility (Amps and FX for every style of music)

  • Hundreds of Patches available in a split second

Digital FX and Amp Modeler Cons:

  • Tone is not as "Authentic" as a real tube amp or pedal

  • Steep Learning Curve

  • Some amps and effects sound digital, can be shrill or flat sounding

Line 6 was one of the first brands to introduce an easy to use and affordable option with their line of POD products. For this reason, many within the genre rely on the Line 6 products available today like the Helix, HelixLT, HX FX, POD HD500x, and the Firehawk HD. All of these (except the HX FX) include Amp Modeling and HD Effects in one unit. They are a very good all in one option for guitarists.

   The biggest factor for guitar players in the worship genre is GUITAR TONE. I cannot overstate the importance of guitar tone. If you don't really know what I mean by guitar tone, don't worry. You will learn what it means as you progress in this genre. But for now, here is a simple definition.

Guitar Tone:  The quality and richness of the sound a guitar makes.

Digital Amps and Effects

Digitech RP1000 Multi FX board is an example of Digital Guitar Effects.

   When I started in the Worship genre, I had very little idea about guitar tone or how to even get a decent guitar tone. I just had to learn through experience. I can help you however, by giving you a list of gear options that are capable of great tone. Any one of these rigs can be the foundation for your guitar tone. This list is a culmination of my own experiences and those of well known guitarists in the praise and worship genre.

Best Pedalboards for Worship Guitarists

Digitech RP1000 Multi FX board is an example of Digital Guitar Effects.

When I was eleven years old I got my first electric guitar; It was a royal blue Peavey Predator Plus. I had a tiny little practice amp for it. I had no clue what guitar effects were. During that summer, I got lucky and found a Digitech RP5 guitar processor. I got it for like five dollars. That is how I got my first taste of multi-fx pedals.

I have been a fan of Digitech ever since. I used that RP5 for years and years and the only time it ever let me down was due to the power cord shorting out. I had it fixed and kept using it. Digitech makes multi-fx affordable for guitarists. They consistently put out very solid products. If your budget is tight but you still want the capability to make great tone, then this could be your best bet.

Your sound is king. The control of your sound is imperative. The RP1000 gives you added control to express yourself the way you want –The RP1000 integrates into your amp and with your stompboxes, not the other way around. Featuring exclusive Stompbox and Amp loops, the RP1000 doesn’t get in the way of your tone and switches external stompboxes in and out of the signal path like large pro rigs.

You get instant access to both preset changes and stompbox on/off control, truly the best of both worlds. Phrase Looper. The RP1000’s built-in Phrase Looper lets you create on the fly performance loops for practicing, composing, and performing. 

 

The RP1000 is built like a tank from a cast metal chassis to the 14 heavy-duty switches. A large 10 character LED display makes for easy stage use topped by an built-in expression pedal to control wahs, volume, Whammy™ and other parameters. No matter how you get your tone, the RP1000 works with your gear and gives you the control you need when playing live.

The way I understand it, The Firehawk FX is a simpler, easier to use board than the HD500x. It has less editable parameters and tweakability, but for some players that is a positive thing. I can tell you from experience that the HD500x does require a great deal of time and effort to dial in perfectly. So if you are the type of guitarist that likes to plug in and play rather than adjusting parameters, this could be the better option for you. 

The thing that makes this board stand out from the others is the IOS capability. You can edit your patches and tones from the convenient App. No need to spend your practice time crouched down, twisting knobs and pressing buttons.

Firehawk FX combines world-class tone with intuitive wireless editing, so you can get the perfect sound faster than ever before. The Firehawk Remote app for iOS[R] and Android gives you the power to sculpt great tone, right in the palm of your hand. Choose from over 300 legendary amps and effects—including 48 HD models—and wirelessly control every detail of your sound.

 

You get access to 128 internal presets plus a massive online tone library, making it easy to find the right sound for any recording session, rehearsal or gig.The Firehawk Remote app is compatible on both qualified iOS and Android devices and gives guitarists deep control of their tone right in the palm of their hand.

  • 300+ world-class amps and effects, including 48 HD models

  • 5 FX on/off, channel and bank footswitches with colored LED rings

  • Onboard tone control, plus detailed editing via Bluetooth[R] Remote app for Android and iOS

  • Looper Block (Including support for pre/post positioning and footswitch assignments)

  • 128 onboard presets

  • Low-latency DSP and USB recording

  • Search a cloud-based library of thousands of tones

   The POD HD500X is the Multi-FX Amp Modeler that I own and use on a weekly basis. When I bought it, it was the go to, all in one pedalboard for Worship Guitarists. It truly is an amazing unit. It is your Amplifier, Guitar Effects Board, MIDI Controller, and Recording Station. One of the best things about this unit is its Flexibility. It can cover your needs whether you play rock, punk, grunge, metal, blues, jazz, country, praise & worship, ambient tones, elevator music.....you name it, it can do it. 

    Its not an incredibly easy unit to dial in. There is a steep learning curve to fully utilize its capability. But, once you finally dial in your perfect patch, its all worth it. I am complimented every week on the clean, crisp, bright tones I make with it. I have never had tones out of real tube amp like I do with this digital amp modeler. The funny thing is, even though I have gotten that perfectly dialed patch, I still keep finding ways to improve the tone. 

   When I load a patch I saved last year, I laugh at my lack of tone. Since I saved that preset last year, I have found a dozen more tweaks that squeeze even better tone out of the POD HD500x. There are a few resources online for really learning this pedalboard. If you don't want to put in that much effort, no problem. I have my patches for sale right here. You will get what you pay for. My patches have hundreds of hours of development behind them. Check them out at The Axe Dr. Store.

FEATURES

  • Extensive collection of award-winning HD amps for authentic tone and feel

  • 100+ studio and stomp effects—use up to eight simultaneously

  • Selectable speaker cabinets and mics

  • Unparalleled flexibility to craft your tones:
    - Dual signal paths
    - Multiple routing options
    - Dynamic DSP with more power for amps and effects

  • Stereo FX loop can be inserted anywhere in the signal chain

  • Professional-grade footswitches with bright LED rings for at-a-glance operation

  • Comprehensive I/O includes USB 2.0, MIDI, S/PDIF, balanced XLR outputs, integrated mic preamp and more

  • Guitar input with variable impedance

  • Fully assignable MIDI controller—control external hardware and software via footswitches and expression pedal

  • Variable input impedance

  • L6 LINK™ connection for integration and control of DT-series amplifiers and StageSource® series loudspeakers

  • VDI connection for integration and control of James Tyler® Variax® guitars

  • 8 set lists containing 64 presets

  • 512 user-writable preset locations

  • Eight set list banks

  • Assignable expression pedal controls amp and effect parameters

  • Integrated 48-second looper with dedicated footswitch

  • Built-in chromatic tuner

  • Tap-tempo footswitch

  • Professional-grade construction with bent metal chassis, chrome roll bar and die-cast expression pedal

  • Downloadable POD® HD500X software editor/patch librarian

If I could afford it, I would either own this Kemper Profiler or the Line 6 Helix. Both have excellent reputations for creating absolutely brilliant digital guitar tone. As I understand it, the Kemper is used more widely by professionals than the Helix. I could be wrong, but that is the impression I get from the Internet.

What makes the Kemper Profiler so special? Thats easy to answer. The Kemper Profiler records and replicates the ACTUAL TUBE AMPLIFIERS TONE. The Kemper's software and hardware enables it to replicate almost exactly whatever tone you put in front of it.

 

For instance: You have a buddy with a MESA BOOGIE TRIPLE RECTIFIER. You rig up the Rectifer with a mic and get it your tone dialed in. Then you hook the Kemper up to it. The Kemper then sends and receives a series of sound waves to the Rectifier. It stores the results as a copy of that completely unique tone profile.

You now have a super-accurate profile of the amp’s unique dynamics and response to different frequencies and signals. You basically have a digital copy of an analog tube amp. Its CRAZY!

 

The KEMPER PROFILER™ is the leading-edge digital guitar amplifier and all-in-one effects processor.

Hailed as a game-changer by guitarists the world over, the PROFILER™ is the first digital guitar amp to really nail the full and dynamic sound of a guitar or bass amp. This is made possible by a radical, patented technology and concept which we call "PROFILING™".

For decades, the electric guitarist has been shackled to the tube amplifier as the only means of achieving "that sound". This magical combination is by no means ideal - the challenge to achieve a consistent sound from the practice room to the studio, and especially to the stage, continues to frustrate guitarists, just as it has since the early 1940s.

Feel like you don't have any tube amps worth PROFILING? No problem!

The PROFILER ships with hundreds of amps and Rigs pre-installed, created by professional musicians and engineers from some of the world’s top studios. In addition, you can access and explore another couple hundred Rigs that come bundled in our free Rig Manager software. This premier selection of factory Rigs grants you access to the rarest and finest amps on the planet.
We are constantly refining, updating and extending our free-to-use libraries by fine-tuning the existing catalog and by adding brand new, licensed content. Our goal is to allow our users to explore the full spectrum of guitar culture and heritage, which is why we have strived to create the widest range of PROFILEs in every possible genre.

  • Offers the same award-winning HX Modeling as Helix Floor, Helix Rack and Helix Native Uncompromised Helix sound quality with 123 dB of dynamic range Greater DSP power than any other multi-effects processor in its class Robust I/O complement for easy integration and advanced flexibility Preset compatibility with existing Helix products User-friendly Mac/PC editor enables remote editing and IR management

  • The Line 6 Helix LT guitar processor features the same advanced HX Modeling technology found in the Helix Floor and Helix Rack processors

  • With a streamlined I/O complement and hardware configuration, the Helix LT guitar processor delivers the highest levels of performance, flexibility and control in its class

  • The award-winning HX Modeling engine leverages powerful dual-DSP performance to capture and recreate amps, cabs, mics and effects with authenticity and responsiveness

  • A large LCD and touch-sensitive footswitches with color LED rings enable easy usage and fast, smart control

It almost doesn't matter what gear you're looking for. Since the Line 6 Helix Multi-effects floorboard processer can be used as a standard amp modeler, a streamlined controller for your rig, your new incredible-sounding guitar interface for recording, or even replace your entire rig, it's pretty much going to have what you need. Line 6's new HX modeling engine gives you all the sounds they're known for, completely redesigned to be the best in the modeling industry. And your rig-integration options are limitless with astoundingly comprehensive I/O. The Line 6 Helix is the professional guitar processor Line 6 was destined to make.

  • Dual DSP-powered HX modeling engine with four discrete stereo signal paths

  • 45 amps

  • 30 cabs

  • 16 mics

  • 70 effects

  • Imports 3rd party 1024/2048 cab IR' (impulse responses)

  • 12 capacitive-sensing footswitches and customizable scribble strips - touch to edit, hold to assign, press to engage

  • Hands-free Pedal Edit mode lays out effect parameters across switches and expression pedal

  • Near-instant footswitch and controller assignment

  • Up to three expression pedals, CV/Expression

It almost doesn't matter what gear you're looking for. Since the Line 6 Helix Multi-effects floorboard processer can be used as a standard amp modeler, a streamlined controller for your rig, your new incredible-sounding guitar interface for recording, or even replace your entire rig, it's pretty much going to have what you need. Line 6's new HX modeling engine gives you all the sounds they're known for, completely redesigned to be the best in the modeling industry. And your rig-integration options are limitless with astoundingly comprehensive I/O. The Line 6 Helix is the professional guitar processor Line 6 was destined to make.

  • Dual DSP-powered HX modeling engine with four discrete stereo signal paths

  • 45 amps

  • 30 cabs

  • 16 mics

  • 70 effects

  • Imports 3rd party 1024/2048 cab IR' (impulse responses)

  • 12 capacitive-sensing footswitches and customizable scribble strips - touch to edit, hold to assign, press to engage

  • Hands-free Pedal Edit mode lays out effect parameters across switches and expression pedal

  • Near-instant footswitch and controller assignment

  • Up to three expression pedals, CV/Expression