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GETTING THAT PETER STEELE BASS TONE

...or a close approximation.

(written Jan 2020; latest update Feb 2020)

My younger brother and I attended our first show in 1995. At nineteen years old, Pantera was the band that impressed me the most. I loved GN’R, Motley Crue, and Metallica, but Pantera was something completely different. Cowboys From Hell was unlike anything I had ever imagined possible. Nothing was more impressive or unique to me than Pantera. Well, until I saw their opener at the Erie Civic Center on March 8, 1995.

Those who knew Peter Steele (born Peter Ratajczyk January 4, 1962; death April 14, 2010) said he was a tone chaser and a gear tinkerer, so nailing down his rig is especially difficult since he was constantly customizing it. Through my research, I think "gear tinkerer" is a bit of an exaggeration. He certainly modified his tweeter-less cabinets, but Peter seemed to be a fairly practical guy - he used the more common pedals designed for guitar rather than the bass versions. Personally, he seemed more into experimenting than modifying, trying out and changing equipment often over the years.

Sources: The information here greatly relies on interviews, live footage, and accounts from personal friends, former techs, and actual witnesses. I did my best to sort out the speculative garbage ...and I found a lot of it out there. There are two particular members on talkbass.com that, over the period of at least ten years, regularly posted what they believed to be unequivocal fact. However, if you read enough posts it becomes clear they were guessing (or regurgitating guesses) because answers changed over time. One was not aware that The Sustainiac existed until 2014, which tells me he wasn't doing much research. "I think he used a thick pick, but it could've been thin." No shit? The other hadn't tried a DS-1 until 2015 (apparently with little success), yet implied it was the sole contributor to Pete's distortion during the ten years he posted prior, and simply switching it off was his clean tone. I invested a lot of time to only experience frustration with their suggestions. Keep in mind that my discoveries may not be definitive - for example, I read a post from a bassist that opened for him in 1990 that swears Pete was using a Tube Screamer at the time.

Instruments
Studio: Pete’s most-beloved bass was his 1983 Alembic Spoiler with a burl finish that he acquired long before forming Repulsion (renamed Subzero; re-renamed Type O Negative). It’s been said that he tended to use this bass when recording every album and I’ve seen early photos of it being played live. The Spoilers were 32” scale with 24-fret ebony fingerboards on a maple neck that extended through the body. I found no information claiming whether it eventually had a sustainer installed. He's also acknowledged Zon basses within album sleeves.

Live: Pictured above, one of the earliest TON basses was a fretless Warlock that didn’t last very long, splitting in half during a set. There was a Thunberbird that was mercilessly hole sawed which made a few appearances. I believe he bought three Alembics* for himself before promoting Bloody Kisses, then the very iconic Esh Stingers (which had bolt-on necks, per a tech that worked on one of Pete's) were used into the October Rust tour. There are two stories as to why Pete ended his relationship with Esh circa 1996: 1) he switched to Fernandes because of their sustainer; 2) he mainly left Esh because their US salesperson broke the tail of Peter’s cat while playing roughly with it. However, I’ve seen it mentioned by a former tech in a 1999 conversation that he had an Esh with a sustainer pickup, but that could have been added after 1996 or merely referring to the piezo bridge it had. Also, Kenny started using Fernandes at the same time, so maybe it was a double endorsement deal, rather than a case of feline abuse?

* Peter originally began to play guitar left-handed at 12yo, then switched to bass shortly after. Later, one of his bands [requested] that he play right-handed ...so, he retaught himself. Note the lefty Alembic Epic above.

After Esh, came the Fernandes Rickenbacker 4000-series clone (my favorite; latter part of October Rust & World Coming Down tours), the all-green Fernandes Tremor (Life Is Killing Me tour), and the made-to-order Washburn M10 (Dead Again tour & Carnivore shows; note the Ampeg cab behind him in the one photo). These basses were 34” scale with ebony or rosewood fingerboards (hard to tell with the paint; the Tremors do look to be rosewood) topping a maple bolt-on neck, though the Ricklone might’ve been neck-through or a set neck (there is a "ridge" below the 24th fret that is causing me doubts that it was a bolt-on). He always insisted on 24-fret models when entertaining endorsements and sprayed most of them himself with Krylon flat black and emerald green gloss. The body of these basses were alder to help define the distortion. Apparently, only three of the pickguard-less Ric basses were ever made, specifically for Peter and designed by him to be 110% scale so they didn’t look so small compared to his stature. Three Tremors were custom-made and exclusively painted at the factory with the “wrong shade” of green, but he only received two of them because one got scratched badly. A friend of Pete's, who is a talkbass forum member, became the eventual owner of that blemished bass.

Pickups & Electronics
His Esh Stinger had a piezo bridge pickup. From footage, this rarity appears to have given Peter more sustain than he got from just the standard pickup alone. The Esh was his only bass that employed such a system and it came after the release of Bloody Kisses. To add confusion when this subject is discussed on forums, Peter custom-wired piezos into his older cabinets to add, what he called, “sizzle.” I’d wager the word “piezo” has more to do with his speaker cabinets than just one bass that he endorsed for a couple of years. The Esh I’ve seen in footage had a single jazz pickup that looked like a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound (marketed as a Bassline back then), though he may have had humbuckers installed in others (Esh's tribute Stingers, which came after his death, have humbuckers). There were two regular knobs and a toggle below them, which appeared to function as the piezo killswitch (up was on).

His Fernandes Rickenfaker supposedly had a single Fernandes FGI humbucker and I’ve noted that some of his Tremors appear to have one EMG MMCS in them. From what I can tell, Peter preferred ceramic humbuckers, which makes sense as ceramic magnets arguably deliver smoother distortion. In pictures, you will see that his M10 pickup looks like a MusicMan and I believe it is a Seymour Duncan SMB-4D. Those full-custom M10 basses seem to be the simplest, containing only a humbucker with a killswitch and a volume knob. His other basses with sustainers obviously required additional controls to manage their options.

Peter used a sustainer pickup at the neck, although you may not see anything mounted here on some of his basses - odd since he had claimed this was integral to his tone.* Kenny also used sustainers and there are two options for bass: The Sustainiac, which can be used for bass with a different circuit board (after leaving Fernandes in 2007, Kenny’s Schecters were loaded with Sustainiacs); the more-powerful Fernandes bass driver, which is no longer in production, but was standard on their ABS-100 models. Peter’s Fernandes Ric-clone, as seen in the 1999 Bizarre Festival footage, had a Fernades sustainer with a toggle killswitch (up was on), two knobs, and two small sustainer toggles. The first knob was definitely his volume, while the second knob and the two sustainer toggles went untouched in that footage. His Tremors were loaded with what appears to be the exact same controls as the Ric. Though I’ve not found proof, a close friend of Peter stated that Washburn graciously installed a Fernandes driver on one of Peter’s USA-made custom M10s.

* I later found that he was specifically referring to the Fernandes Sustainer when he made this claim. Obviously, not having one certianly didn't mean achieving his tone was impossible.

Passive or Active: Per a close friend, his Fernandes Tremors were wired active and this is the only information I could find regarding any of Peter's instruments on this. The design of an active pickup provides better noise reduction and improved sustain. The actives also don't bleed-off the treble as you roll back the volume like passives do. At the time of this endeavor, I could discern little difference between the stock humbucker on my active 2017 ESP LTD F-4E and the original passive jazz pickup in my late-1990s Fernandes Vertigo in regard to quietness and sustain. However, the Vertigo's generic pickup's passive signal became a terrible mess once it passed through the distortion effect. So I'm not convinced this is as important as other pieces of his gear ...a quality pickup is what is important.

Strings & Tuning
Type O was tuning down to BEAD long before it became as popular as it is today and prior to string companies marketing to BEAD players. A 1990-era tech stated that Peter used Dean Markleys, so stainless steel was his choice. Peter was stringing his M10 with what appear to be DR Black Beauties (also stainless), with the largest available 4-string sets for the Black Beauties and the Markelys being 50-70-90-110. I later confirmed from an interview with Peter that these were the exact gauges that he used. His B was likely floppy, but he coped with it by picking near the bridge, when needed. Some have speculated he used 5-string sets, but I could find nothing from reliable sources to back this up.

Picks & Technique
During the October Rust era, Peter was definitely using Dunlop Tortex .50mm. I know because I still have the black one with green print that I was able to nab after he threw several into the crowd of a Cleveland show at The Odeon (September 1996). I’ve seen people on the internet claim he used a Tortex .88mm, which just happens to be TON green, but I believe this is the pick that Kenny uses. The standard color of the Tortex .50mm is red, which I’ve noted on Peter's mic stand from a 2003 photo. In one of the M10 pictures above, there are green picks with black TON logos on his mic stand. In another, they appear to be black with printing that was standard grey/silver ...which makes me wonder if he just used whatever .50mm were available, if he ran out of his logo picks. To add to the confusion, there is a photo with several red and one green pick on his mic stand while he plays the M10, but that could be one of Kenny's. Apparently, there were also white ones made, and they were thin enough to see the Hammer Gear logo from the signature side.

Watch the 1999 Bizarre Festival (Symphony for the Devil DVD) footage to see his picking technique, which employed a lot of up strumming. He will sometimes strum on the neck for chords in fast sections, then go back near the bridge area for single notes to reduce string flop. You can imagine Peter preferring a thinner, more forgiving pick to easily strum his bass’s large gauge strings like a guitar. I have personally gone from using an .88mm for guitar (Dimebag and Hetfield fanboy) to preferring the .50mm, and I buy the black .50mm because they are way easier to lose with my older eyes. So maybe Peter eventually had his .50mm picks made in brighter colors just so he could see them?

Amplifiers
It appears that during the Bloody Kisses tour, Pete and Kenny both used TubeWorks MosValve power amps (noting that era’s Alembic in the photo below), and Peter was using what look like two Peavey Bassist Preamps. Examining the 1999 Bizarre Festival footage, the Bassist Preamps were still being utilized during the World Coming Down tour. It’s been said that Peter had employed maybe a half dozen Peavey MAX 800 Amplification Systems (according to a 1995 interview) to operate a wall of cabinets. In the early 2000s, I believe he updated his gear to Peavey MAX Bass Preamps into stereo-capable Peavey GPS power amps. I could verify the Peavey MAX Bass Preamps were still being used in 2007 and will assume they were the mainstays for the three following years. His wattage was eventually provided by Peavey Tour 700 power amps which appear to have been made available around 2006. Peter ran two signal chains to ensure there was still some definition under all of that distortion he added. One Peavey Preamp was used for an always-on clean tone, then he would engage the second Peavey Preamp for the overlapping distortion signal. It then seems both signals would combine into a single signal to run into a few power amps.* One person that I found who manages to mimic Peter Steele’s tone perfectly has a video where you can see that he employs dual Peavey MAX Bass Preamps. Acquiring these rare pieces is obviously not cheap or easy (nor does it guarantee anything), so I experimented with different pedals into a clean power amp.

* It’s possible that Peter could have been running the signals in stereo, each into separate power amps. Judging by the photo of the Peavey Tour 700 power amps (green tape), I am confident that he wasn’t doing this, at least not in the later tours. Also, I tried to run my signals into separate amps and cabs, but did not like the results compared to combining them. The clean signal adds a perfect amount of definition when combined with the distortion signal, but the clean's highs can seem overpowering when the signals are separated.

Cabinets
Peter may have also been using TubeWorks cabinets with those early MosValves power amps. My understanding is that when he was running Peavey MAX 800 amplifiers, Peter usually hooked them to Peavey 3620 cabinets. These cabs were loaded with two 18” and two 10” speakers, then Peter would personally add a piezo tweeter to each one to get that sizzle he liked.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Peter relied on several Peavey 2x10” cabs and an 1x18” cab loaded with a custom 18" JBL footing each stack because they could handle his bottom end. From a 1996 interview, he was blowing those 10” speakers while on tour due to the extreme punishment he dealt them and Peavey was constantly shipping him replacements (he assured this was no fault of Peavey's, but due to his abusive sound). I read that he eventually began endorsing Peavey’s TVX 410 EX and TVX 115 EX cabs running on 8 ohms, noting the stock TVX 410 cabs have piezo tweeters already built-in. I believe those are TVX cabs in the above black and white photo with the Rickenbacker clone. He’s also been seen with multiple Peavey 810 refrigerators or Peavey Tour 410s. Aside from them always containing 10” speakers, the cabinet configurations were not as important to the sound as the rest of the rig. They changed often throughout his career and I read a statement from someone in Peter’s neighborhood that he could essentially plug his roadcase into a basic cab at a backyard party to get the same sound.

Effects
This portion of the breakdown gets a bit long because I explain my way through it in an attempt to keep track of what worked for me and what did not. Researching Peter’s gear, the picture of the four Boss pedals next to his stage monitor always pops up: TU-3; DS-1; CH-1; DD-3. Though several interviews and friends confirm this chain (during some particular era, at least), there are people who obviously have never tried to line these up and yet still misguide others into thinking this is how anyone can quickly achieve Peter’s incredible sound. There is no amount of knob tweaking that will get you the Peter Steele sound you are looking for from the DS-1 into a low gain bass head. The Peavey preamps were an essential component of that thick distortion tone, so you can not simply stomp on a DS-1 to go from clean to massive distortion. By many accounts, Peter used a ton of equalization along with pre and post compression, but I wasn’t able to get the DS-1 to sound close, even with multiple configurations using an MXR M108S and MarkBass Compressore.

Input or Loop: I personally started with, and still use, a 1991 Gallien-Krueger 800RB head into 1991 Hartke 410 and 118 cabinets (no piezo tweeter). I saw that he was using Hartke 410 cabs in a 1995 performance on French television, but that was probably the house equipment. I realized very late in this quest that the best option was to bypass the 800RB preamp, skipping the front panel’s input jack, and run everything into the effects return on the back so I was only using the head’s power amp. This kind of tightened everything up by preventing the tone controls of my 800RB’s preamp from coloring the signal. For my setup, I begin by plugging my BEAD-tuned bass (ESP LTD F-4E with EXL160BT strings) into a Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner.

Clean Chain: Remember from the amp section that Peter’s sound was achieved with two signals, which he combined at a Marshall ABY box. With live footage from the Bloody Kisses tour seeming to have heavier effecting on the clean signal than later tours, Peter stated he added ambiance with a tremolo (probably the Boss TR-2) and a reverb. The reverb pedal was certainly a Boss (which he preferred due to the brand's ruggedness), but the specific RV model is unknown to me and probably irrelevant. However, I read that the basis of his clean signal can be closely mimicked utilizing only a Boss BF-2 Flanger, so I bought one to minimize the number of pedals.* I patched the bypass jack of a TU-3 to the BF-2 input and then into the A-jack side of my Saturnworks ABY passive splitter/summer. This produced a fairly thin tone since I was omitting the head’s preamp, so I threw another pedal between my TU-3 and BF-2 to give it some body. The Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff with the sustain all the way down does a really nice job at this. Actually, some of my other distortion pedals that were lying around (not the DS-1) seemed to also work, with the gain at minimum. However, messing with the combination of the two signals later on, I found that I didn’t absolutely need this extra "preamp" pedal if the signals shared a quality equalization pedal after the summer box.

* Why does a single BF-2 work as a poor man's solution for the TR-2 and RV combo? Per the Boss website, the BF-2 "produces extreme jet-airplane sounds to mild delay and chorus sounds." I loved this pedal so much, that I immediately bought a second BF-2 along with a DOD FX72 for my guitar rigs. The Boss BF-2B should also work here, but it is said to produce a slightly more subtle effect (it only effects the higher frequencies to maintain low end definition) that sounds a little less metallic. Less metallic is generally more natural, and therefore more desirable ...but then again, Peter liked that sizzle. Keep in mind that all of the BF-2B pedals had circuits that stepped-down the input voltage by 3volts because they were designed for 12volt ACA adapters. However, there are several easy workarounds that don't require the Boss ACA-120 adapter: 12volt output from a pedal board supply brick; using a 9v battery; daisy chaining from a PSA-powered pedal; circuit bypassing by removing a diode and a resistor.

Core of the Distortion Chain: My distortion signal begins at the output jack of my TU-3 - this way the clean signal (from the bypass jack) is always on and the distortion will combine with it when the tuner is engaged. Again, both signals running simultaneously allows the clean signal to help define the distorted low end. In the photo of Pete’s pedal chain, note that the distortion signal passes out through the output jack of the TU-3, rather than the bypass jack. The bypass jack allows the signal to be heard even while tuning, whereas the output jack is muted during tuning. This would have allowed Peter to engage the tuner to mute his distortion signal, essentially making it his channel switcher.*

* I later opted to maintain the set-up, but instead use the distortion pedal as my channel switcher. See Additional Thoughts at the very bottom for quick details on that.

After the DS-1 failed to deliver, I attempted to find something that could mimic Peter’s Peavey MAX Bass Preamp. I had already tried a Tube Screamer and an SD-1W, but neither did the job. I even stacked the DS-1 into the chain on either side of them with no luck. I have a long, loving history with Ampeg’s VH-140C guitar amplifiers, so I hoped a PLX FX Spirytus might give me the smooth, searing, sustain-laden bass distortion I was looking for. The pedal is awesome, but not what I was looking for here. However, placing the DS-1 before the Spirytus did kick it in the right direction a notch. Then I saw a Reddit post where someone claimed to have “accidentally gotten a Peter Steele sound” with a DOD Carcosa Fuzz. I ran it with his same settings and also tried tweaking it, but this pedal just wasn’t right as it seemed a bit too aggressive. However, something was telling me to keep trying fuzz, so I ordered an Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff. This was finally getting me where I was wanting to go, especially with the slight sustain the circuit added.

I eventually ran across a bassist on YouTube going by thegreenbandits and read in a comment reply that he was simply using the direct output jack (cabinet emulator) of a DigiTech Metal Master into a mixer and then into his computer to get a decent approximation. Seriously?! The out-of-production Metal Master was a rival of the infamous Boss MT-2 Metal Zone, marketed to hair metal guitarists. I had read a few posts mentioning the MT-2, but had written them off. The more I was thinking about it, the more the “it sounds like a can of bees” effect made sense: searing fuzziness without the compression of a typical fuzz circuit. I ordered one of each. The Digi arrived first and I couldn’t believe it - it wasn’t exactly Peter Steele, but it was pretty damn close. The MT-2 has a more tweakable design with additional tone knobs and an adjustable gain. Placing the Bass Muff in front of either is interesting since the compression seems to smooth out the waveform a little and add some sustain. However, the trade-off is the Muff also makes the lower notes and palm mutes a bit muddy. For other cheap options, some seem to have had luck using a Boss HM-3 Hyper Metal, Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal, or a Biyang Metal End to get something similar to Peter's distortion. I imagine the Boss ML-2 might be a viable option, and for something for nearly nothing, there's the Behringer HD300. So, if you happen to have one of those lying around already, give it a try and please send me your opnion or a sound clip.

I couldn't verify this, but I believe Peter was running his bass into the Peavey preamps, then placing the Boss pedal chains between the preamps and the power amps, like an effects loop. I recalled how terrible a lone DS-1 had done in the loop, but how well it performed feeding the Spirytus. So, I wondered if the DS-1 may have been used to push the Peavey preamp instead? Placing the MT-2 at the end of the chain definitely smoothed out the harshness of the DS-1, getting me a more aggressive sound I associate with footage from the Bloody Kisses tour. I then played with the settings and found that if I had a lone MT-2 with the gain maxed, I could get a similar (though slightly more aggressive) tone with the MT-2 set at half the gain and the DS-1 at Peter’s settings. Engaging the DS-1 in this configuration added that sizzle and pushed the harmonics better, but at the expense of tightness. The DS-1 in front of the Metal Master (it has an internally set gain) produces a truckload of sustain, which can turn into feedback ...this could be a plus to some. Using the MT-2 or Metal Master on their own is a perfectly fine option when trying to minimize pedal usage, and I eventually chose to omit the DS-1 altogether for a smoother tone.

Remainder of the Distortion Chain: Referencing the above pedal board photo,* I added a CH-1 and then a DD-3 to the distortion signal. With Pete’s settings, the CH-1 actually changes the tone a little, adding a subtle metallic sound that he seemed to have favored. There is a bit of confusion surrounding the DD-3, especially since the photo shows two different settings. I do recall a quote from Peter saying that reverb is great for hiding mistakes, so I wasn’t sure if this was done in addition to the clean signal with an always-on DD-3. I set the DD-3 with the marker-on-tape settings, messed around, and decided that Peter was likely using the DD-3's Hold mode for infinite sustain rather than ambience. The Hold mode also allows you to play over the held note(s). After deciding that the DD-3 was used in this fashion, I found a forum post claiming that "for certain, the chorus was always on with distortion...the delay was occasional."

* There is a live video (Wacken 2007) where Peter appears to step on a pedal near the end of “Love You To Death” - he may have been engaging a reverse reverb for the song outro. Also note that the pedal board layout above appears to have been altered (empty velcro and wire anchors), so different pedals were likely incorporated for different tours. I haven't been able to place a date on the above layout, but keep in mind that this photo is in no way definitive.

Pedal Order of the Distortion Chain: Out of curiosity, I tried moving the dirt pedal around to hear the differences and make sure I wasn't overlooking anything. With the MT-2 last in the chain, it produces a "harrier" tone, but doesn't allow the chorus effect to play as much of a role. Placing the MT-2 first with the always-on CH-1 behind it, delivers a tighter sound with more of the chorus ringing through. The DD-3 in Hold mode also responds differently depending on location, with it allowing the clean signal to be more prominent when the DD-3 is placed before the MT-2. The distortion pedal options for this tone can produce a lot of hiss with higher gain and volume levels, which will bleed over into the lone clean signal since they're being combined. However, I found the MT-2 allowed for a very good Steele-esque tone using more conservative settings. A noise reduction pedal can be added at the end of the chain to clean it up if the Boss MT-2 levels are set beyond the midway points or if using the much-gainier DigiTech Metal Master.* With the distortion signal's order sorted out, I patched the end of this chain (example: MT-2 -> CH-1 -> DD-3 -> NS-2) into the B-jack of my Saturnworks ABY.

* The MT-2 has a very smooth drive, but the Metal Master sounds monstrous with no tweaking. Dime the low and high knobs, set the Morph midway and it's like the Digi was designed specifically with Peter in mind. I really like the Metal Master, but the MT-2 allows me to dial the gain back to get a little more definition and not rely so heavily on the NS-2. Black No 1 is a good referrence: live, Peter will palm mute the ending of the main riff under distortion, and it sounds more like the MT-2 with the gain set at the halfway point. The Boss MT-2 also has the mid control and can move the curve, though some settings sound kind of one-dimensional when compared to the DigiTech Metal Master. Which one sounds more like Peter? Hell, they both kind of do, maybe depending on the era? AB-ing them, I can get the MT-2 to sound a lot like the Metal Master, but I can't get the Metal Master to sound like all of the tones the MT-2 can produce ...especially since the gain can't be backed off on the Metal Master. I eventaully grew to prefer the MT-2 here, but refused to sell my Metal Master because it is a neat discontinued pedal. I even bought a second Metal Master a few months later because of how much I like it for guitar - these things even make my little Fender Vibro Champ XD chug!!!

Equalization & Compression
A graphic equalizer is essential to Peter's distortion tone. I found that both signals did sound pretty good with the same EQ settings, so this helped to further minimize the amount of pedals I needed to get in the ballpark. With the clean and distorted chains now leaving the Saturnworks ABY together at the Y-jack, I patched this into my MXR M108S, which I started out smiling. Pictures of Peter’s rigs show different EQ patterns on each MAX and Tour, though they could be set venue-specific and/or gradually changed over time.

I read a post written by Peter’s 1990-era tech where he recommended following everything in the distortion chain (including the equalizer) with a BBE Sonic Maximizer to help clean up the bottom end, before it hits the power amp. Though some consider these exciter or enhancer effects snake oil, I saw another YouTuber employing one for this same purpose with some success. I bought a used Sonic Stomp and it does seem to help define the bass and punch everything up better than my MXR M108S does alone, on both signals. So I added the Sonic Stomp after the MXR M108S, and then ran the culmination of everything into the effects return on my 800RB head. Peter’s rig certainly had additional equalizing (the Peavey Preamps and Tours each had their own built-in graphic equalizers) with rumors of extensive compressing (pre and post), but I’ve not been able to find anything specific on that yet.

My Pedal Chain (TL;DR)
Here is the exact pedal configuration that I dialed-in when I wrote this. The whole ensemble routes into an MXR M108S (smiling, 13 and 16k bands at 0) and then a BBE Sonic Stomp (Lo 7; Process 3) before plugging into the effects return. Remember that the Boss NS-2 (or ISP Decimator; or any other brand of gate) is not absolutely necessary when the Boss MT-2's volume and gain are around what I have shown here. I am using a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power ISO 5 to feed the pedals. Click the next photo to see the exact knob settings in hi-res.

Additional Thoughts
Alternate Channel Switching: This did not initially occur to me, but instead of using the TU-3 as the channel switcher, I started stomping the MT-2 on and off. This way there are technically two clean signals running simultaneous, with the always-on CH-1 providing an additional layer without being affected by the BF-2 (and vice versa). The cleans sound fuller while still maintaining that separate signal for defining the distortion chain ...plus, the DD-3 becomes available to engage at all times.

Octave Effects: I read somewhere that one person found that an octave pedal helped achieve Steele’s thick distortion sound. I have a DigiTech Drop from when I tried to cheat my way to BEAD, but it doesn’t track well on the heavier strings. It does add a cool synth-type sound to my guitar in the octave+dry mode, so I initially imagined it being an interesting fit since Josh Silver would sometimes double what Peter was playing on keyboards. However, I was reminded how dreadful the tracking was on lower frequencies when I tried it at the beginning and end of the distortion chain. I own a Dean Rhapsody 12-string (purely for novelty) and it produces a similar effect to an octave+dry pedal, but it did not make for a pleasing tone with the set up I had already settled on.

 

 

If you have any interesting details, discoveries, or corrections, please email me. Thanks.

 

None More Negative
1962 - 2010

 

CrankyGypsy (established 2001)