This was the first session I took, and while a lot of what was discussed was the concept of ‘less is more’, there was also a good deal of energy directed towards gear, and how to use it well without over-using it or using it improperly. Here were a few bits of information that I gleaned. Some I ‘knew’ but didn’t KNOW, and others were completely new to me:

1. Putting your volume control ahead of your effects (which are also ahead of the amplifier) can actually determine the amount of effect or overdrive that comes out. The same is true of the volume knob on the guitar. If you weaken the signal, your effects will have less to work with, and will hence weaken those effects. This means you can always have crazy distortion on, but roll off the volume in order to roll off the distortion. The obvious application is a calmer verse and a jumped up chorus. This is also handy if you use a solid state amp or pedal where patch switching actually takes an appreciable amount of time.

2. Placing that same control behind your effects will retain the level of drive/modulation, etc, regardless of the volume level you set. Handy if you want some heavy crunch, only quieter.

3. ALWAYS place your tuner first in the loop! If you’ve got a chorus effect (discussed here), you’ll end up ruining your tuning on your guitar. And that’s just one reason.

4. All-in-one floorboards do give you a lot of options to mess with as far as effects and sounds go for a good price. Your own customized rack will likely get to be more expensive, and powering them all can be tricky. But when you are done, you get sounds that are far more tailored to what you want.

5. Radial ToneBone pedals are, as I expected, amazing.