Guitar synth pedal for pads?

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by BJG145 »

I was flipping through this list of guitar synth pedals...

https://guitar.com/guides/buyers-guide/ ... th-pedals/

Some of them I recognise from reviews I've flipped through in the past, though there's a few I hadn't clocked like the Mooer E7.

I've never really been in the market for this kind of thing before, but the band I play with who don't mind me trying out some guitar are stealthily adding some pop/ballad style songs to the setlist and I'm thinking that some soft synth strings might be the most useful thing I could do.

I'm not bothered about the synth lead sounds, but I'd be interested to know if any of these, or something else, might fit the bill, preferably towards the cheaper end of the scale. The YT demos tend to focus on leads and weird sounds, but I just want some unobtrusive live beds (probably accompanied by piano and acoustic guitar).

I'm also curious; do modern pedals tend to work via pitch-tracking or by processing the guitar signal, or do they vary? (I don't have a hex output, it's just a standard Strat, and it'll be chords.)
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5422 Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by Music Wolf »

I have the Boss SY-300 (big brother of the SY-100 which allows me to store patches and recall them using MIDI Prog Change messages).

I use it in a couple of covers bands and its ok for pads, synth strings, brass, organ and synth lead. I have it in the effects loop of my Helix which means that it's going straight into the PA rather than into a guitar amp.

There's no issue with tracking as it is essentially an analogue filter, there's no pitch tracking as such.

I bought mine during lockdown, so I'm yet to gig it, but I've been happy enough with it at rehearsals.
User avatar
Music Wolf
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2476 Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:00 am Location: Exiled to St Helens

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by Wonks »

That Mooer E7 looks interesting for what it is, but you basically get seven waveforms with no real variations. You can alter the filter attack, adjust the LFO, you have two band EQ and a synth/guitar mix control, but you are still reliant on those seven basic sounds. You also have to press the mode control to step through the seven sounds, so not at all friendly for live use, and as you cant adjust the order of the sounds , if you want the mode 3 sound and then the mode 2 sound, you've got to press the mode button six times to get there.

I've got the Mooer R7 reverb pedal which uses the same general hardware package. They've tried to expand the x7 range with this E7 unit, when it really needs its own, more suitable, enclosure with a few more controls and better programmability.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12006 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by wdsteele »

Check out the ZCat Hold Reverb , verging more on a sustained drone maybe , but , will allow you to play chords and "pad" out a sparse arrangenent very nicely .
One on ebay UK just now.
wdsteele
Regular
Posts: 195 Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:00 am

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by arkieboy »

All of those pedals in the article rely on wave shaping so you will be able to just plug your guitar into them. And getting something synth string like isn't desperately difficult to achieve. But you'll need more than just the pedal.

The main issue you might have - which Music Wolf pointed out - is in the amplification of the sounds. A guitar combo is pretty bandwidth limited beast so if you want it to sound nice, you're going to want to put the synth out into the PA or a full range monitor speaker of some sort. To get pads you're also going to want a bit of reverb and - depending on the device - a chorus pedal of some kind to give the sound motion. Basic will do fine here. With some of the cheaper pedals it might also be worthwhile playing around with a Game Changer Plus Pedal or the like to help you sustain the pad.

If you're doing FRFR with something like a Helix, then you can probably just put it in the send-return loop, assign it a dedicated audio path, add a low dsp-cost chorus and reverb to that path and output the sound into your current monitoring.

Something like the SY300 has effects and hold built in already, so while it might seem on the face of it a little expensive, it is a one-box solution so you'll just need that powered speaker or a monitor mix to make it work. There built like a tank so you can probably find one second hand. But its certainly a bit bigger than the Mooer!
User avatar
arkieboy
Regular
Posts: 444 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:00 am Location: Oxfordish

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by BJG145 »

...very helpful, thanks for the replies. :thumbup:
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5422 Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Guitar synth pedal for pads?

Post by Wonks »

You’ll still get a much wider range of sounds from a guitar with a hex pickup and MIDI conversion as units like the SY-1000 use both MIDI and sound conversion for their output. With the hex pickup, each string’s sound is converted separately, so there’s no need for polyphonic conversion, which will make the conversion more reliable for big chords. Plus you can add in MiIDI sounds, a lot of which aren’t capable of being created from the guitar sound alone.

But you pay more and you need a guitar with a hex pickup, so using a more limited sonic palate can be beneficial on a smaller budget.

There are the Electro-Harmonix x9 range of keyboard pedals for the guitar to consider. Synth9, Keys9, B9, C9 and Mel9. Between £160 and £200. Paul White has reviewed some in SOS.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/el ... ix-synth-9

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/el ... monix-key9

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/el ... an-machine

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/el ... an-machine

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/el ... monix-mel9
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12006 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.
Post Reply