“For live stuff, I stick with pedals that are going to be the most useful,” says Pallbearer’s Brett Campbell. As frontman for the Arkansas sludgelords, Campbell’s ideal tone is much like his powerful vocal delivery, “heavy…warm, and clear.”
To achieve his signature sound, Campbell needs gear that can keep up with his low A-E-A-D-F#-B tuning. “[The Hoof] is very controllable for a fuzz,” he says. Using the Hoof’s “Shift” knob to adjust the “Tone” control’s center frequency allows Brett to dial in the perfect amount of low-end heft for the band’s downtuned arrangements, which often forego power chords in favor of more harmonically complex voicings requiring enhanced string-to-string clarity. “There’s a really wide range of tones you can get out of it. It’s almost like an overdrive on steroids,” he says.
With so many modern metal bands still using the “California Smile” mid-scooped guitar tone, it’s refreshing to hear Campbell and company embracing the midrange, cutting through the mix with the upper-mid clarity and presence provided by the Arrows preamp boost. To further refine his sound, Campbell uses the Tone Job’s active cut/boost EQ to carve out a space for himself in the mix, while the Avalanche Run and Levitation lend sinister atmospherics to the band’s somber clean-toned passages.
Guitarist Devin Holt’s pedalboard is heavier on modulation effects, but when playing clean, he steps on the Warden compressor to smooth things out a little bit. “I’ve never had a compressor before,” he says. “Especially for clean stuff I really love the Warden. It’s wonderful.”