My philosophy on effects is that if you spend a lot of time working on effects, that's exactly what you'll be doing with all your time. I want through a period where I was heavy into effects, and my musical ideas were suffering because I was spending so much time finding the right patch. You have these multi-effect units now that have 300 patches; you could spend your whole day A/B'ing between patch 102 and 105. It's good to learn your way around those things, but at some point you've got to turn the thing off and work on coming up with a good melody and cool-sounding chords with good voicings. Then later, throw some simple effects on it, or just really tweak your amp right. That's where I'm leaning now. I feel like I was going overboard, pulling my hair out because I had too many choices. That's why I switched to the RV-3 pedal reverb, because I only had a set amount of choices. I didn't want all those programming choices of a more "sophisticated" unit. Just give me something that sounds good and I'll work with that. In the end, you need to decide how much you want to be an engineer and how much you want to be a musician.
(c) Guitar Player, February '98