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Jay Bennett's Pedalboard - Name that pedal!


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Allright guys, it's my first post in a while. I've been searching the net for years to no avail. I finally got this screen capture of Jay Bennett's board from an ACL episode they taped in 99. I see an Ernie ball volume pedal, boss tuner, what looks like an MXR Blue Box and a Micro Amp (which I'm positive he used.) The pedal to the far right looks like an Arion type pedal, and I'm not sure what the two on the top are. Any guesses?

jay pedalboard.jpeg

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You got me. The light color on the battery compartment of the Arion pedal makes me think either a compressor, tuner, or equalizer, maybe a stereo delay or phaser. You know, assuming that it's an Arion pedal and that they have never changed their color scheme in 20 years.

 

The Memory Man theory is a good guess, but yeah, not enough knobs and I actually think that it's not wide enough. It may be a pedal turned on its side?

 

I thought briefly that the two switch pedal was a bicomprossor, but not also enough knobs. I'm stumped.

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I'm pretty sure he had some sort of slapback delay, and a compressor for those country moments (Forget the Flowers.) The boss could be a delay, and the Arion looking pedal could be a tuner.

 

It's tough to say. This is the only decent picture of his pedalboard I've ever seen.

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It IS the only decent picture of his pedalboard from that era, so thanks for posting it! I'm pretty sure about the Boss Tuner and MXR Micro Amp and Blue Box. When I saw him on his last (RIP) solo tour those were the only pedals he used, so it makes sense that they were always with him.

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You got me. The light color on the battery compartment of the Arion pedal makes me think either a compressor, tuner, or equalizer, maybe a stereo delay or phaser.

The Memory Man theory is a good guess, but yeah, not enough knobs and I actually think that it's not wide enough. It may be a pedal turned on its side?

 

 

 

I'll have a watch/listen to that ACL again when i get a chance and see if my ears can help me determine if there's any obvious candidates (like phaser). I din't know he'd used a blue box. that things are quite often maligned in the gear-snob world.

 

Some slapback delay makes sense, and so does some compression before it, for those country moments like Forget the Flowers.

 

If the Boss is a tuner, the "Arion" probably isn't. And the Boss definitely looks like a tuner (white, no knobs)

 

if anyone starts a thread on a gear forum could you post a link here please?

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if anyone starts a thread on a gear forum could you post a link here please?

 

Of course. I think the Arion box is either a compressor or EQ. Since those pedals are stereo mostly, it makes sense it would be first in the chain, so he can run signals to both amps.

 

Guitargeek thinks the blue box on the top left is a Diaz Tremodillo. They also theorized that the Arion is a tuner, and the Boss is a delay. However, it wouldnt make sense with the placement in his signal chain. Time based effects like the trem go last usually, which leads me to believe the top middle pedal is a delay of some kind.

 

http://www.guitargee...42/#post1140113

 

Oh, and the pedalboard money shot happens during Misunderstood. Here's a link to the video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqYlM6N7rZ8

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if you pause the video at 40:12 you get a different angle of Jay's board which shows in profile the shape of some of those pedals.

 

at 42:03 or so he hits the white boss pedal three or four times in rapid succession- my guess is that he's using the tuner bypass as a kill switch in the noisy bit- can't really hear it though.

 

He definitely makes extensive use of tremolo in the song, i don't think it's amp trem, so that points toward the tremodillo (or at least a different trem unit)

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I think we can confirm the MXR pedals and the Tremodillo. The only mystery here is the Arion and what might be a delay on the top. That gearpage post reminded me, Jay definitely used a Distortion Plus at some point. However, there's no way it was on his board in that video. The Boss could be a delay... I remember seeing one in the Steve Pride videos (highly recommended.) If the Boss was a delay and the Arion is a tuner, that leaves out a compressor, which he definitely used.

 

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I'm not sure he DEFINITELY used a compressor (he didn't have one on his solo tour and he rocked it pretty hard) and putting a compressor after the boost pedal kind of defeats the purpose, no? I kinda suspect that the Boss is a tuner and the Arion is a delay, also. Any more help from the message boards?

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He had to have one for 'Forget the Flowers' type stuff. He also could have used the Micro Amp at a low setting, who knows. Nothing from the other boards yet. We're closer than anyone else has been before. Thanks for helping everyone.

 

I'm also glad we haven't gotten any "you guys are wasting your time because tone is in the hands" type comments. Haha.

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well, we ARE wasting our time and tone IS in the hands, but i happen to be pretty good at wasting time. Wish I were better about getting great tone out of my hands:)

 

Anyway, I don't think a compressor is necessary for the country style stuff, i just think a lot of chicken pickin' players use it to even things out. Bands I've been in have dabbled in it, noone's ever had a compressor. The guy who was best at it went completely pedal-less, actually.

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well, we ARE wasting our time and tone IS in the hands, but i happen to be pretty good at wasting time. Wish I were better about getting great tone out of my hands:)

 

Haha. Yeah, wasting time is pretty much the only thing I'm really good at. I use a compressor for country-type stuff, but I use a compressor for everything because it's just kind of a talent-maker. I sound soooo much more like a competent guitarist when I have a compressor on -- I'm just addicted to the sound and what it does for my perceived level of skill.

 

I'm sure Jay has used compressors at some point but he doesn't need anything to make him seem like a good guitarist; he just is one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jay sure was a great player. Listen to the 5-23-95 show from the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colo. Probably one of my top-five shows from his tenure in the group. His guitar playing was absolutely spot-on at this show.

 

I thought I was the only one! This show was great, I have it on DVD. 'No Sense In Lovin' from this show is probably my favorite guitar moment.

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I thought I was the only one! This show was great, I have it on DVD. 'No Sense In Lovin' from this show is probably my favorite guitar moment.

 

I love what Brian Henneman played on record on A.M. And I love what Jay did with those leads in a live setting. He'd sample some of the licks off the record and throw in classic Jay licks.

 

Anyone have an mp3 of that?

 

The entire show is on Owl & Bear here: http://wilcoarchive.com/wilco%2019950523/. If you can't handle the .SHN files, I think I've got this ripped to MP3 and can Dropbox it to ya...

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 8 months later...

Just saw and responded to this post over at GuitarGeek (http://www.guitargeek.com/chat/complete-rig-27/jay-bennett-wilco-1999-a-108442/#post1142154)

 

Here's what I got:

 

Arion MEQ-1 Equalizer (this makes the most sense to me regarding color, shape, and placement in chain)
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
Musitronics Mu-Tron Micro V Envelope Filter
Diaz Tremodillo
MXR Blue Box (initially I thought this might be a Dunlop JH-2S Fuzz Unit, but those and the Dunlop Octave Fuzz are both too dark when you compare with knob color to be this. Believe this is the MXR Blue Box and will do a test after I get one)
MXR Micro Amp

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