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086 | BOSS GE-7: A Closer Look at this Graphic Equalizer Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 86 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have another pedal from Boss. Specifically, we're going to be talking about the GE-7 Equalizer Pedal. This thing is adored by many, and we're looking forward to unpacking it on the other side.

Hey Everybody Scott Schwertly and Andrew King of Siren Pedals with you guys today. Hope you are having a great one. Well, today we're excited because today we're going to be talking about another Boss pedal. We've actually covered quite a few here on the Sonic Renegades podcast. And we're excited to add another one into the mix. Today, we're going to be talking about the GE-7 Equalizer Pedal. I believe this is actually the first time we're covering an EQ pedal. So yeah, really glad to have this one as part of the conversation today.

Andrew King:
Yeah. It's really a Swiss army knife that allows you to kind of shape tone and also really also works as a great mid range boost.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, I know Andrew, I know I don't actually own this pedal, but I know you've had it for quite some time and I know you're a big fan. It seems like its kind of held its spot on your board for quite some time.

Andrew King:
Yeah, that's right. Just having the different... Obviously on your guitar and on your amp, there's a lot of flexibility to EQ the tone and kind of get it where you want. But if you're working on a for instance, a blackface fender and maybe it's a fender that only has a treble on the base option, or maybe it's one of the fenders that has a treble, a mid, and a base option, you're still only working with really three define EQ points. Whereas with the GE-7 pedal, I think you've got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven different EQ spots that you can kind of boost or cut. And then there's also, this pedal can also work as an output because it's got a master level to kind of control signals. So it's a really versatile pedal and it's found its way on the board of many of the top call session guys here in Nashville, Tom Bukovac, Rob McNelley, Derek Wells. A lot of the guys that are playing on the records coming out of Nashville have this on their board.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, even some of the big names even outside of Nashville. Obviously some of the big acts like even John Mayer, Slash, David Gilmore, The Edge, I mean, the list kind of goes on and on with a classic like this one. So yeah, definitely. It's a pedal that I've heard about for years now and I just never quite pulled the trigger on it. And after kind of researching it in more detail today, I'm like, oh man, I do need to add this one to the collection. So yeah, those that are not familiar with it, not sort of any sort of crazy history behind this thing, but for those that do want a little bit of the facts and the history here, this pedal was actually released originally in 1981. And it really hasn't been revamped or revised a whole lot really since then. It initially was produced in Japan.

They moved that to Taiwan in early 1992. And they've kind of just kind of kept it the same way ever since. Again, just some subtle things, but nothing really major. So in a pedal like this too, with kind of it being around for a long time and being used by a lot of great people, it's actually not going to cost you that much. Again, this is a Boss pedal, so it's fairly inexpensive. It's built like a tank and I mean, you can grab a brand new one today for about $124. I saw that on Sweetwater today and I think you can get them used for maybe 50, 60, 70 bucks so.

Andrew King:
Yeah, that's right. I mean, you hit on it, Scott, they really are built like tanks. They're super reliable and you also hit on affordability. For the versatility and the kind of overdrive tone that you can get from it, being able to find one between 50 and $70 used is really a steal. I bought mine used from a friend back in, I think 2016. And yeah, I think I paid him 50 bucks for it. He's a pedal steel player. So he wasn't using it quite as much. But I never leave home without it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's definitely a great buy and again, won't set you back. Well, let's go back. I mean, you're talking about the Nashville scene. Obviously we live here in Nashville and you've got folks like Tom Bukovac that are big fans of this. And in fact there's actually a great video of him on, I think it was a premier guitar video. Where he's actually talking about his love for the GE-7 and all the things he can get out of it.

And I know Andrew, you're personally a big fan of him and his work. But yeah, let's talk a little bit about sort of the details and the dynamics of this pedal. I know like Tom, for instance, was talking about how he thinks it's probably the best solo boost pedal you can get by simply, bumping up the mids and then also the gain a little bit. And he was even talking about in that same video about how you can take like a neck pickup of a Les Paul or a 335 and get it to have the clarity of a Gretsch, which was really interesting. So I mean, lots of versatility, but I know you've used this pedal a lot more than myself, so I'll let you kind of speak into some of that stuff.

Andrew King:
Yeah. It really gives the ability to shape tone on demand. Sometimes you might be at a gig and it might be a gig where the amp is, if it's a combo amp, it might be off stage because you're the artist's management, or front of house, or someone is wanting the stage volume to be down. So the amps are miked off stage and front of house might be saying, hey, can you send me a little less low end and he's not wanting to sculp it on his end, as opposed to you having to hop off and go off stage and find the amp and tweak it and come back, this kind of allows you to EQ right on the spot. It's right on your board. You can easily find 200 Hertz and cut it.

Or if like you're talking about the solo boost and like Buk has on so many times, just kind of creating that hump on the frequency board. So this thing has seven different frequencies. It's 100 Hertz, 200 Hertz, 400 Hertz, 800 Hertz, 1.6, 3.2, and 6.4. And when you kind of shape up that 800 and 1.6, kind of bring down 100 and 200, kind of bring down 6.4 and 3.2, and then just kind of boosts there in the middle. You can really cut through a mix on a solo and a lot of different players as you've hit on, use it for that very reason.

Scott Schwertly:
And I think it's, all the things that you just described there, it's like, you can see the value in it and you can hear the value in it, but it's not the go-to purchase, right, that people make. Right. So if they're obviously wanting to shape their tone, they're going to buy a fuzz, pedal or a distortion pedal, or a reverb pedal. And it's one of these ones that you really can easily say, it's just underappreciated and,

Andrew King:
Yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Not thought of, it's not top of mind, but then when you get it, it's kind of like, where has this been my entire life?

Andrew King:
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. I mean, I think a lot of people, there is some stigma around Boss pedals, which is really misplaced stigma, but I think in some circles there is stigma around Boss pedals, but when you factor in the affordability and just how great this thing sounds, it's per dollar, it's really hard to beat. It's super economical and value add to a pedal board.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it is. It's such a great purchase. And it was fun like today when I was just kind of looking into it more and reading up on reviews on multiple different sites, kind of the common thread that you'd always kind of see this or at least I saw this person every time I was just reading reviews, but there's always that one guy that has been playing for 30 years or 50 years and he's like,

Andrew King:
Yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
I wish I would've bought this years ago. What happened?

Andrew King:
Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's just, again, it's one of these must haves that you just, you didn't know that you need it, but you do need it. It's a great one to add to the mix. So, well, what we're going to do here again, pretty straightforward pedal. I mean, we're just talking about an Equalizer here. We're going to go ahead and kind of just sample it for you guys, give you a taste of what we mean by how you can kind of just change up your sound by my moving a few knobs and or levers or levels here. So what we're going get everything connected and give you guys a taste of what it's going to sound or what it can sound like. Andrew, what guitar are you going to go with for today's demo?

Andrew King:
Yeah, I'm going to be playing my fender John Mayer Stratocaster. It's the original one, the bursts from back in 2004, and I'll be playing that into my 64 fender deluxe reverb. And I'm going to be trying to, I'll play a little clean and then I'm going to kind of use this GE-7 as a boost pedal and kind of show you some of the drive tones that you can get using the GE-7.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, we're going to get this set up guys, and we will see you on the other side.

Andrew King:
Yeah. So that's the GE-7. It's a super, super versatile pedal. As we said before, I love the boost. One thing you probably noticed on the demo is when I engage the GE-7 a little bit of noise that was added to the signal chain, which for as great as these are, and for as affordable as these are the one common knock is that they're kind of a noisy pedal. There are some solutions to that. Analogman who of course, is known for the king of tone and several other pedals. He has a mod. I think you can go to their website and just buy a modded version. But the last time I checked, they were actually out of them. And so in order to get a modded one, if you have a stock GE-7, you can send it to Analogman, they'll get that all taken care of, send it back to you.

I think the mode, in addition to lowering the noise floor, it also adds a little bit of clarity, which I don't think clarity is an issue per se, with the stock version. I just think Analogman just kind of improves on what's already a great pedal. XTS, which is exact tone solutions. They're known for building pedal boards here in Nashville. They also have a mod where they change the frequencies that you're sculpting. And I think that was something Buk originally requested. So instead of going from 100, 200, 400, 800, 1.6, 3.2, and 6.4, the frequencies available to shape our 400, 800 1.2, 1.6, 2, 2.5, and 4K, which are really just frequencies that are, I think a little more tailored to guitar. And so that's the great XTS mod and I think they also kind of lower the noise floor a little bit. And then I think JHS may also have a mod out there. You can go to their website to check that out, but overall yeah, just a great pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. No, I appreciate you bringing that up, Andrew. That's a good point. Because those mods do exist. So definitely something to look into if you're obviously have sort of specific preferences there, so. But yeah, overall great pedal. Great one to have. Again, most people don't think about it, but if you can make this one of mind, it's a good one to add to any board. Well there you have it guys. That was the Boss GE-7 Equalizer. Thanks for joining us today and learning more about this pedal. Join us next time. We're going to get back into the world of Way Huge.

In fact, I think we've only covered one Way Huge pedal on this podcast and I believe that was the Aqua-Puss. This time we're going to actually talk about their take on the Tube Screamer, and we're going to be talking about the Green Rhino. So that should be a fun one. I know I've been a big fan of Pearl Jam and Mike McCready for quite some time. And I know he's a kind of an avid user of the Green Rhino, so it'd be fun to talk about that one and see what it's all about. So join us next time. And we've got that one on the agenda.

Andrew King:
Yeah. Looking forward to it.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Well, until then have a great day, have a great week and we'll catch you guys in the next one.

 

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