Unconventional Use for the Voyager

Overdrives have typically been reserved for adding a little bit of grit to your signal. Since it is what they were designed for, you really can’t argue against that. They were made to literally drive a stronger signal and put your amp into a warm, smooth, buttery drive that makes you a just a little happier than you were before you had that nice overdrive pedal. However, I have noticed that there may be more uses for overdrive pedals than just a little bit of dirt on your overall tone.   A couple of years ago I noticed this trend growing in the heavy metal crowd, especially in the progressive metal crowd (think Periphery, Meshuggah, Animals As Leaders, Tesseract) where these guitar players were using overdrives as a sort of clean boost and not to add any more gain to their signal, but instead to tighten up the lows, boost some upper mids, and smooth out a little of that ice-picky treble that can come with some high-gain amps and high-output pickups. To achieve this they would max out the volume/level knob while keeping the gain knob at, or very close to zero. The tone was set to taste depending on the type of guitar and amp they were using. Taking this idea, I decided to see what other types of situations I could apply this to. I used to play heavy metal a lot and still do from time to time.  However, I’ve been expanding my style and technique and have been playing other stuff lately. I have found that this works extremely well even on clean amps (or clean channels if you have a multi-channel amp). It works to boost the volume without adding any dirt to your signal. Personally I like the Voyager for this technique as it is already a low gain pedal and isn’t quite as transparent as the Mayflower so it will add a little bit of a color to your tone and add a really interesting harmonic overtone that I personally find pleasant. This works well with things like a clean delay sounds and can even thicken up some swells if you are into that sort of thing.   As I said, this isn’t something that I discovered so I can’t take credit for it and I’m sure this may even be common knowledge to a lot of you.  I think it is an interesting idea that could have so many more applications than heavy metal and can be a new idea to put in your arsenal of sounds. After playing around with these settings on my Voyager and running it through a silverface Princeton reissue, I definitely think the Voyager will be an always on type of pedal for my rig.   Anyway, there is my late night/early morning, coffee fueled mess of an idea for an alternative use for an overdrive pedal that some of you may be aware of, and some of you may have learned something new. Give it a try!   Chase Evans - Operations Administrator