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What pedals do bands use for post-rock music?

Tons of bands have simillar sound of guitar I want to know how this sound is produced (pedal configuration) and which pedals are used.

I know some basic background like: Boss Digital reverb, Boss Digital Delay, Electro Harmonix Memory Man...what else? what's most common configuration of them?

Example bands: Caspian, Mono, Godspeed, Russian Circles.

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Can you think of a better way of expressing yourself than that comment? Also, your question remains subjective unless there are documented examples of pedal use for your songs in question. Without those the questions get answered with opinions and guesses. – Anonymous Jan 24 '11 at 2:53
We never claimed that subjective questions were horrible abominations that should never be asked. – Anonymous Jan 24 '11 at 8:30
Don't assume that great guitar sound is a result of a particular combination of pedals, amps, guitars, strings, picks, because what we see repeatedly is that a guitarist's sound comes from their fingers and attitude. They can pick up to a guitar, plug it in, and within seconds sound the same as they would with their regular equipment. People have said that about Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Clapton, and Beck. Even as they've transitioned from one style of amp to another, across guitar brands, etc, they are still recognizable. The effects make a lot less difference than you'd expect. – Anonymous Jan 25 '11 at 0:35
this genre doesn't require any technic at all =) just to pick some chord with arpeggio rhythm in random manner. post-rock is all about effects and progressions. – Anonymous Jan 25 '11 at 14:16

10 Answers 10

You're going to want:

  • Delay
  • Compressor
  • Distortion
  • Reverb

These four are pretty basic Post-Rock staples.

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Woudln't you say that those are basic staples of any genre? – Jduv Jan 24 '11 at 14:42
Infact yes, this is basics, but without pedal models, it's a little bit useless. Anyway thnx for "compressor", haven't even thought about this. – Anonymous Jan 24 '11 at 15:03
basic staples of any genre... No. – Anonymous Jan 25 '11 at 12:38
@Jduv - no I wouldn't. For example, 'acoustic rock' is a genre. @holms - Compressors are often overlooked but they do such a great job of modifying the sound. – Anonymous Jan 25 '11 at 14:56
@divided point taken. – Jduv Jan 29 '11 at 15:47

Pedals won't get you 100% there. Lots of people obsess over gear thinking that "this badass Zvex pedal will make me sound like Matt Bellamy." While artists tend to have a standard arsenal for particular genre's of music, your technique is really what makes your music shine. I spent years trying to nail down "my sound" and I ended up disappointed with nearly every pedal I purchased in an effort to get there. But enough banter, I can give you some basic ideas.

Most Post-Rock sounds have lots of gain. A pedal won't get you lots, and lots, of gain in the context that you want it to without sounding artificial or blatty. You need a badass amp (triple Rec or better), active pickups, a compressor, and mad power chord chugging skills. That's about it. Sick post-rock rigs are relatively easy to build with a couple thousand dollars. If you want an econo-rig, well you can get there too. Visit your local guitar center and go find the Blackstar section and grab a Schecter or something comparable. DISCLAIMER: Blackstar fans don't hate. I know they have some higher end stuff too.

As for delays, you listed basic industry standards that work across genres. For post-rock you probably don't want anything too analog (although you did list a Memory Man), so you could go with the Replica (T-Rex), DD-7 (Boss), or any decent digital delay.

Modulation is a great way to add a little colour to your tone. Stone Temple Pilots used this religiously and pulled it off pretty well. Jerry Cantrell snuck a pre-gain phaser into some of his guitar work to fatten up the tone--and that worked really well too. I know these bands aren't really post rock, but I don't think anyone can argue that they don't have influence--and these are all industry strategies that tend to span genres.

Compression is nice, but not entirely needed. Most heavy gain amps will compress themselves when dimed, and it's highly likely that any serious compression occurs post-production. Still might be a good thing to consider, but make sure you know how to use one. Lots of people get frustrated with compressors because they don't entirely understand what they do and consequently how to use them.

In closing I'd suspect that a Post-Rock band's trademark sound is achieved via a standard pattern of pedals, their guitar/amplifier combination, and however the production house EQ's them--which honestly tends to be true for most genres these days.

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Thnx for sharing great your knowledge. That's what I wanted. Would be great to have similar comment about my mentioned bands. – Anonymous Jan 24 '11 at 13:23
I'm concerned about this answer because it is misleading. I think the answerer mistook post rock for some other "normal" rock genre. – Tyler Bailey Mar 14 '13 at 18:37
I agree with @TylerBailey. Active pickups and "mad power chord chugging skills" isn't what comes to my mind as related to post rock... – Meaningful Username Mar 30 '14 at 16:15

Not sure about the above answers...

What you need is not an amp with huge gain, but instead an amp with lovely cleans. Most post rock bands use heavy reverb and delay, anything from the Boss RV3 (two in one used by Explosions in the Sky at some point) to Eventide's Space/Timefactor or Strymon's seriously high end boxes which can give you an infinite abyss of ambient sound. Modulation effects such as reverb and delay should always be used at the end of a signal chain though, if not through the effects loop, or even in stereo into a separate amp if you're that way inclined to give your sound room to breath.

As has been mentioned, compression is good and should go in your chain where you wish; if you'd like the signal from the guitar to be compressed before it reaches any modulation effects then put it first, or if you want the whole sound compressed, put it at the end.

In response to the comments above about gain, most post rock bands actually rely on fuzz pedals for the huge sounds. Look at This Will Destroy You pedalboard - they use Proco Rats, also Zvex Fuzz Factory. You'll find that a lot fuzz sounds, when put through reverb and delay can become absolutely huge. Where you put it is up to you but I normally put fuzz/drive etc. before the modulation.

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A good clean amp is essential, although I haven't seemed to have much luck with my Roland JC-120 (the king of super clean amps) vs my Rivera (with it's pseudo Fender clean channel). I would say that I much prefer a clean tube amp, since it tends to have more dynamic flexibility. – Dan Gayle Dec 25 '13 at 0:54

You can find online a lot of peoples rig's... youtube, guitargeek, guitar-rigs, etc.. A lot of the heavy sound is due to amps that have several high gain stages with a lot of effects(verb, compression, delay, etc..). Not too much and not too little. Getting good guitar sounds takes just as much work as learning the guitar... specially with tube amps. Not so much with digital but digital generally doesn't have the feel but it can be easier to get very cool modern sounds with them in some cases(the line 6 HD 147 has some awesome high gain presets).

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As far as pedals go: Line 6 DL4, Loop stations such as BOSS RC-30 or RC-50 (russian circles use this a lot as they're a trio), Boss digital Delay (DD3 or DD6), and shit tones of reverb.

I hear lots of guys using expression pedals, like digitech whammy, and on the guitar side of things there are a lot of tele's out there; my Thinline Deluxe has a pretty amazing clean tone, and the partial hollow body definitely gives it a warmer more expansive sound.

Yes, peoples playing styles shine through whatever gear they're using but for genres like post-rock where many times the instruments are creating soundscapes rather than steely-dan licks, pedals and effects are going to help produce the types of sounds that are going to expand the sonic possibilities of the instrument beyond just a guitar and amp set up.

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Pedal placement really comes into play, if you run a fuzz put that first then wah (if you use that) then a reverb. I get some awesome tone from running a big muff->holy grail->dano flange->daddy o-> ibanez de7->boss dd7. Different dirt pedals, multiple delays. if you can find the ibanez de7 grab one put it on a low delay on the longest setting and crank repeats on echo mode. really lush sounds for cheap money. also tube amp or a tube preamp.

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You're looking for an answer that doesn't exist. Post-rock guitarists typically try every pedal and pick the twelve that most help them craft their tone :)

As someone who plays this style, I would mention that having an amp with a high dynamic range is incredibly important. Specifically, when you're hitting the front end of your amp with a wall of smash-mouth, distorted delays and reverbs (that is, if you're not running your modulations/delays through your fx loop), you will quickly be able to tell if your amp is up to the task.

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This is my set-up when I go live with my post rock band. Since I don't have the money to get the all exclusive strymon pedals, I try creating sounds similar to hammock or Caspian with the pedals I have and it has been helping so far. The chain in which my pedals are, are as follows,

  1. TC Electronic Polytune 2 ( tuner )
  2. Xotic Effects SP Compressor
  3. ISP Decimator 2 ( using this in front of the chain helps me eradicate the noise from the guitar and the compressor, but I rarely use it. )
  4. Fulltone Full drive MOSFET 2 ( Overdrive )
  5. TC Electronic Nova Drive ( distortion & overdrive. I used the fulltime before to get the best overdrive before and after distortion. Distortion after overdrive gives a raw tone. Distortion before overdrive, naturally compresses the tone to give you a less raw tone. I use both now and then )
  6. Visual Sound Visual Volume Pedal ( this is a really really good volume pedal. You also get to know what level your volume is in. Great for live settings )
  7. TC Electronic Dreamscape ( yes, the John petrucci signature one. It is cheap and has 6 different types of variations. Two of each chorus, flanger and vibrato respectively. Only disadvantage, you don't get to use them together at the same Time. But that's not a big thing. )
  8. Vox Delaylab ( delay pedal which is cheaper than the strymons but still half as good. You get good shimmer tones in the ambient mode if you tweak a little and great reverse delay and a 28 second looper and tons of other effects like tape delay, echo, dual delay, phaser delay if you're into that. Soo much to work with )
  9. Joyo Vintage Tremolo ( Joyo is a Chinese company that makes clone pedals. If you want cheap pedals, this is where you go. The best clones possible with true bypass at quarter or even lesser the price of the original it was designed on. I run the tremolo after the delay to get better cleaner tones. )
  10. TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb ( another tc pedal which is brilliant for the genre. But I'm pretty much stuck on the cathedral reverb section because it gives me the best tones. )
  11. TC Electronic Ditto Looper X2 ( its a cheap must have looper. Helps me create loads. It has added effects like reverse delay, 1/2 speed and it let's you store a maximum of one loop that you want to save for later use. It is a 5 minute looper with unlimited overdubs. Best you can get for the price )
  12. I'm building a pedal with a custom stompbox builder here to get separate effects that I need. It has three different circuits. Similar to my dreamscape, but instead of chorus, flanger and vibrato, I have 100% wet reverse delay, organ tones and an octave option with a knob to interchange, a switch to connect effects or select separate effects and three different knobs for rate, fx level ( which would be feedback for delay and fx level for others ) and a mix knob.
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This is kind of hard to read;can you split it into paragraphs? – Shevliaskovic Oct 18 '14 at 8:44

I A/B between 2 amps, a Vintage Ampeg 2R12 loaded with Vintage 30s, and a Blackstar HT Club 50 with an Emperor 212 Creamback/Vintage 30 speaker unison cab. My compression comes off of my Rat distortion pedal, and my Zvex fuzz factory. I hate compression pedals. I run an EHX Memory Man with Hazarai into an EHX Analogizer trailed by an MXR Carbon Copy, that feeds into a Fulltone Supatrem for lush tones, and the ridiculously beautiful Eventide Space for wall of sound sickness. The chain is complete with an MXR noise clamp (signal open on the end) which I only use if my signal is threatening to blow out a channel.

Guitars are Gibson LP Studio Deluxe, ESP Viper, and Schecter Hellraiser (factory baked). High output 496 on the Gibson, with a Bill Lawrence at the bridge. EMG actives (81/85) on the Schecter - EMG passives on the ESP. I've had hipsters make fun of my "Metal" guitars until i melted their faces off live.

The 2R12 has the sickest beautiful wet reverb I've ever heard, and the Blackstar has a good Digital Verb function, but i don't like it too much after about 2 o'clock on the dial. My leads, cables and cords are all Mogami... and the pedal boards are powered by VooDoo Lab Pedal Power Plus 2. It's fed into a HumX Eliminator on the surge protector. I stereo my signal off of the pedal board into a second A/b pedal to split between the two amps... that took an engineer to help me figure it out. I used a Mid Fi Glitch pedal for a long time before it was stolen after a gig. Brutally hard to replace, but I use the dying signal mode off of one of the VooDoo outlets to bring in the glitch with the Eventide.

Post rock is a stupid phrase. Nobody on earth likes it but fanboys and hipsters.

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So this is coming from a post-rock bassist:

  • A volume pedal is pretty awesome for swells
  • Delay
  • Delay (Yes, that's twice)
  • Reverb
  • Fuzz
  • OD
  • Phaser
  • Looper

I use each of these in moderation at times, heavily at times. I run a MXR Carbon Copy for straight delay as it has beautifully dark trails.

For reverb, I use a Nuenabar WET that can be subtle or can create whale songs

For Reverb/Delay I use and Earthquake Devices Dispatch Master. This type of pedal is killer if you want to achieve a post-rock sound. It is very similar to a Boss RV-3. These types of pedals should just be called post-rock-in-a-box.

I run an MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe for static walls

A Catlainbread SFT Overdrive is great for digging and works really well with the Carbon Copy.

A ditto Looper makes it easier to work as a trio.

I use a script MXR Phase 90 to create breathing swells with my Fuzz pedal

And yes, Post-Rock may be an awful name, but what an amazing genre!

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