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I have a Digitech Bad Monkey, which in my experience, is a very transparent pedal. I use it to mainly to boost my volumes during solos etc.

But I've spoken to a few people, read at a few places that an EQ pedal is very handy and should be a part of one's rig. What are your thoughts on this?

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7 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

There are a lot of opportunities for EQ in the long signal chain between your pickups and the house sound: Your guitar's tone knobs, the tone knobs on your effects pedals (when engaged), the EQ on your amp, the choice and placement of the mic on your amp, the EQ in the channel strip on the house board, the main house EQs, and maybe some others I'm not thinking of at the moment.

You have control over some of these, and some of these you don't control at all. If I think I need a touch more, say, bass in my sound, I could try to EQ it myself, but if the house engineer disagrees, s/he'll just turn it down on my channel strip. I generally assume that I have little control over nuances in my final tone, because the house engineer is going to tweak it however s/he needs to anyway. So I'll use my guitar and amp controls to get as good a tone as I can get, and then I don't worry about it much after that.

With that in mind, I think your use case for EQ pedals---as a boost and perhaps a slight tone shift for solos---is perhaps the best and only practical use case I can imagine for an EQ pedal.

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You're right. The sound engineer will anyway EQ my sound as deemed fit. In my case, I was just talking about getting a boost. But that is being done by my Bad Monkey anyway. –  Anonymous May 25 '11 at 12:25
It's really a matter of preference, but I agree with Alex. I use my amplifiers EQ, but higher quality pedals can be used to get more extreme, parametric control over your input frequencies. –  Jduv May 25 '11 at 15:06
Note that – especially when there is a lot of distortion – using an EQ in the output signal / mix (which both you and the engineer can do) can have an effect that is completely different from using the same EQ as a pre-amp-FX (which only you can do, the engineer has no influence on this – at least not from the console). So even a statically-set EQ pedal can be of practical use. –  leftaroundabout Jul 16 '11 at 20:58
This is one of the reasons why I like giving the house engy a pre-EQ DI feed. My amp allows pre/post EQ switching on its built-in DI; for those who aren't so lucky, just slip one in between your pedal board (every bassist should have at least a good chorus and a gain boost) and your amp input. Now, turn your cab towards yourself and kick it back at an angle; presto, instant monitor feed, with the sound you want, independent of what the engy wants for the house mix. Like you, I've come to the realization that I have very little control over the house mix, but I can still control my stage sound. –  KeithS Nov 5 '13 at 3:20
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Another time to use an EQ pedal, is with an acoustic guitar that is plugged into am amp. The acoustic should run to a pre-amp first and then into an EQ pedal. The EQ can be dialed in, to help prevent unwanted feedback or bass rumble from the acoustic guitar. A sound engineer told me about that and it works perfect. ( I have a compression knob too on my pre-amp pedal for the acoustic)

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I rather doubt this works perfectly: guitar amps just don't have a sufficiently straight frequency response to get a good acoustic sound, regardless of what effects you use. But this is still a good point: EQ pedals can be used to literally equalise the sound of different guitars, if only approximately. –  leftaroundabout Nov 4 '13 at 13:57
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I have a Boss equalizer and it seems to be the only good pedal they make. its a 7 band EQ and i find it extremely useful for, thats right, EQing.

From removing mids for that nice clean almost single pick up sound, to using it as a plain volume boost, to using it to turn your guitar into a semi bass for writing, it does the job. It's also helpful if you're playing in multiple bands that have different sounds.

I think my favorite thing about it is that you can take out/lower all the tones that make a guitar sound too muddy or too trebly and then raise the volume to where when you stomp it, theres no volume change; just a tone change.

$20-$50 used off of ebay and a spot on the board? silly not to. especially if you hate tweaking your amp settings. Instead of going to the amp over and over i can just reach for it and control my whole sound from mids and highs to cut through the venues shitty PA sound or for a volume boost playing house parties.

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In a general rig you will have basic EQ on the guitar in the form of tone pots and pickup selector, on the amp (usually) as low, mid and high pots, and many effects also have EQ built in.

If you have one, it can definitely be used to boost or cut those specific areas you find you need. I have even used a very narrow Q parametric EQ to minimise some feedback issues in one venue. As @elbicho says, it won't fix a bad sound but can help with elements.

Whether I would recommend buying one for general gigging though... probably not, as good ones are pricey.

Oh- and because the sound engineer should be able to do all this anyway.

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When I would buy eq pedal:

  • built-in tone knob is not enough
  • want to have equalizer before or between effects
  • wanna change frequency characteristics with foot

In all other cases I am not able to see use for that.

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Some people use them as clean boosts and a buffer, with the added advantage that you can do some tone tweaking if you want. It can add a little sparkle to your tone.

For a lot of players, though, the holy grail is guitar-->cable-->amp. Find an amp and guitar that sound awesome together and leave the stompboxes in your closet.

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I don't use any EQ in my pedal chain, though I see it as a tool to shape sounds. On the other side, using an EQ to correct a bad sound I think is a mistake.

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