To pedal or not to pedal

I am peering over the abyss of pedal acquisition mania and could use a sanity check. I have a couple amps, one a PositiveGrid Spark 40 that I really like but also an Orange Micro Terror Dark (with FX loop). I also have a Boss ME-70 effects board that I purchased a long time ago.

Sidebar: I have tried several times over the years to learn guitar and have wandered off for one reason or another. Since discovering JustinGuitar, I am having a blast and finally learning to play. I am so excited and happy to be here. The ME-70 is the only relic from past attempts. Anyway back to our story.

My goals are to play blues, 70’s rock and a good bit of folk and then to be able to improvise at will. I like power chords, but prefer strumming and melodies. I love all kinds of music and I just want to be able to play and sound good with ease. I have an acoustic as well but it doesn’t have any pickups.

I have been using the ME-70 with the Micro Terror and feel that it’s got a ton of stuff I don’t and will never use and it doesn’t feel well suited with the amp or with the way I want to use it. Additionally, the Micro Terror can do clean through metal with only 3 knobs which is really nice. What I am thinking is that I replace the ME-70 with a few pedals, most importantly reverb and a tuner. But what else? I am thinking about a looper, a fuzz or Tube Screamer but not sure I really need them. Is anyone here using a Micro Terror and pedals? Should I be looking at a newer multi-effects board instead of pedals? Any thoughts or advise would be appreciated.

I am dead positive that once I start buying pedals, I will fall into the abyss. Lol.

I’m an acoustic player but I just purchased a looper and I freaking love it!! Check out some of my loop covers in the avoyp section to get an idea of what you can do with it it’s so fun!! It’s a boss rc 30

I’m confused.

The Spark can have reverb and has a built in tuner no? And a massive range of pedals it can sim

The ME-70 has reverb and an additional tuner is like almost free ( plenty of free phone apps too )

And you have the Orange head (speaker too?)

not sure what you are trying to achieve?

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Sounds to me that you already have everything in house to reate any sound you like but you want to keep it simple without complex menu’s and stting up via pc/apps or whatever?

If I ignore the Spark and Boss ME for a minute, you might want to check some overdrive pedals.
I know what you’re gonna say: “But the amp does the whole range form clean to dirt?!”
You want to play blues, classic rock etc. check some video’s on good overdrive pedals that give that “on the edge of distortion” edge and compare it to “moderate” gain levels on your amp.
A good overdrive pedal will give a whole different flavour AND it can stack with the gain of your amp; giving you several combo’s of clean/dirt on pedal + clean/dirt on amp.

Now back to that ME70
Put it in your effects chain so you can use it for reverb only.
Yurn of cab simps, amp sims etc. (in other words; ignore all those presents and start from scratch).
That should work fine, no?
Now turn down the gain on the amp and add an overdrive pedal or an amp sim with medium gain settings in that patch you were creating with the ME70.
play with the combination of the gain of your amp+the gain on the overdrive or amp on the ME70 to achieve different “colors”.

Then there is the Spark.
I have a Positive Grid programmable distortion pedal and it does everything from clean to dirt. The Spark amp does even more. But once again; throw out the preset mentalitiy and start tinkering from scratch. If that’s not for you, then you are an “analog” guy after all.

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Thanks Rob and Lieven. I think Lieven hit pretty close to center. I’m sure I am being confusing so let me add a little detail. I got the Spark to use as a learning tool - especially the chord generator (pick a song and it comes up with the chords) and drum kit. It sounds good, but can be heavy on the bass. I may put that amp on my boat and keep the MT for the house.

The MT on the other hand is insanely simple, and it sounds really good. When I add the ME-70 (to me) it destroys the simplicity of the unit. Trust me, I know this is all in my head but Im an engineer so I’m strange. As such, to maintain the simplicity of the system I want to add only a few pedals (for now) that will maintain the simplicity, and enhance sound.

Hope this makes sense, although while I am typing this, I completely understand why y’all are scratching your heads. lol


So the ME-70 is extremely old (came out in 2009) and definitely uses last gen effects engine. A more modern multifx will sound infinitely better and you can get some pure FX only solution (like the Line 6 multifx) that don’t include amp/cab setups.

If you want to stick to pedals then the main “blocks” would normally be overdrive/distortion (so your TS, Fuzz etc), modulation (chorus, phaser, flanger, lots of others), Reverb and Delay. There are loads of other things that fit somewhere in the mix as well but those were the basics. If I was buying pedals (I have some but I wont buy more as my Line 6 PodGo is infinitely better than most physical pedals) then I’d get an overdrive of some sort and reverb as a minimum. I like modulation as well so a chorus would be on my list (it’s very nice for clean sounds). I use a Boss Tuner just because it’s solid bullet proof solution.

Why don’t you just start by buying one of the very good budget Tubescreamer and/or Reverbs and see what you think. Brands like Joyo, Donner etc. do plenty of good ones. You are probably looking at less than £80 for both. For two pedals you could power them with batteries for now to keep it even cheaper. For me the cost and space taken by physical pedals scales quite quickly compared to an equivalent sounding modern multifx.

A looper is more an additional tool. It doesn’t change your tone.

A completely different route then:
You could consider something like this:

Put it in the FX chain of your amp
one unit that literally offers several effects as blocks with simple controls at your fingertips.
The most used effects are in this thing; nothing hidden, everything right there on a knob for you to see and control.

Check the Tech21 Flyrig series if you seek a higher tier of brand that does practically the same

There are older and simpler version out there as well; I was merely showing this as a concept!


That looks cool Lieven. Can you switch the order in which the Fx are applied?

Not sure, haven’t been following these products but in most cases the order remains the same as there is a sensible way to order them (going from right to left)

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That makes sense, thanks Lieven. I always forget to look right to left :grin:

I bought a looper beginning of this year - NUX. It is useful and I think an essential tool but haven’t used it as much as I thought. I just like to practice with guitar and amp, as simple as possible. I went down that road of buying pedals and have since sold most of them.

I’m starting to build my collection again, but this time with more sense of what I’m going to use.

I recently got an equalizer pedal and that has been glued to my amp, always on.

If you can have discipline I would wait until you get better at guitar, when you have a song and really need to match the sound. If not then buy used, you can always sell them back on eBay.

To pedal or not to pedal …that’s not a question

That Mooer Red truck is ace, all of the right start off pedals on a no wiring ready made pedal board :+1:
There’s enough there to keep you happy for quite some time; that’s more or less what I’ve got on my board using Donner mini pedals, it cost me about £150 all together including wires and power supply.

I like having pedals, pedals are fun. You don’t have to break the bank on them. I’ve got a bunch that I picked up for around $20 US a pop on Amazon. Some were a bit more. Which pedals you get are a matter of choice. A looper and a tuner pedal should be a given. From there I would suggest an analog delay, a reverb and a tubescreamer clone. Then there are dirt pedals, fuzz, auto-wah, etc. You don’t have to get everything all at once.

Since the spark uses pedal modeling, wouldn’t it make sense to play with that for a while and get an idea what pedals you want before starting the actually acquisition process?

You can add quite specific pedals and make quite realistic adjustments too them. Seems like a good place to start.


Resist the urge. Guitar. Amp. That’s the blues.

We’re so fixated on gear. Get an espresso maker or classic car, better yet help out your favorite charity :smiley:


Apparently pull the grill (its meant to come off) off and stuff a sock into the bass port

considering one myself

Wow! Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. The Red Truck looks particularly interesting. I am still getting used to the Spark which has a ton to play with so I have more than enough to keep me occupied - along with my lessons and practice. Eyyeeaaa, the Red Truck seems like just the thing. lol.

I’m going to go against the grain and say that you don’t need any pedals, certainly not for what you’re doing.

You want to play blues? You already have everything you need.
You want to try out and mess around with effects? The Spark has them.
The Spark is bass heavy? I’m sure you can correct that with its tone controls or EQ.

Some people swear by a tuner pedal. I’m cheap, and a $20 Snark does everything I need just as well as a $90+ pedal and doesn’t require that turn on my pedals and plug my guitar in.

Play with what you’ve got, give it a year, then see if you feel like there’s a pedal that you’re missing.


Quote of the year. My man :grin: This is getting fun