The Best Gear Demos on the Internet

Learn from the masters.

If you've watched any of my tone videos, you'll probably notice I tend to keep it pretty simple.

Over Christmas I found myself itching for a change and it sent me on a days long YouTube trip into some really informative guitar gear shows. These guys are both educational and entertaining so I thought I'd share my favorites.

That Pedal Show

Mick and Dan are knowledgeable, have great camera presence and clearly enjoy what they do. They mix conversation and playing seemlessly. This particular episode was of interest as our web developer and gear afficianado Matt Bergsma gave me so much flack about using a tube screamer style pedal through my Vox and I was curious what the experts had to say. I also love how the guys aren't selling anything but T-shirts so their opinions are their own.

The JHS Show

Josh is the owner of JHS Pedals and a total music nerd in the best ways. He really strikes me as a guy who loves music as much as he loves tech and he's great at explaining both in unpretentious language. Even though he's a pedal maker, he showcases and fawns over his competitors more than his own company which I appreciate. He's like a coach who's tougher on his own kid than the rest of the team. I also love how he shares one of his favorite records at the end of every show. So good.

Andertons Music Co.

Chappers and the Captain have a blast doing all kinds of quirky demos. This particular episode has them comparing cheap vs. expensive pedals blindfolded, but it's just one of the many episodes you start watching and wonder where the last hour went. It must be so fun to work at Andertons.


This is by no means an exhaustive list but it's enough to keep you busy. What are your favorite places to go to listen to great gear?

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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Requesting follow-up

I too started watching these same channels this holiday season, probably around late November. I would love to hear about what things you have taken away from them and if it will lead to any changes in what or how you approach things. I ask this mostly because this is a fun topic, but also because your pedal board fits all the stereotypes of a worship guitarist's board and it would be interesting to hear how these same videos I have been watching influences someone's opinion who plays similar music to myself. Even if we play the same songs and watch the same youtube videos I bet we take vastly different things from the information thrown at us.

I am making some changes

Well I am needing to recreate modern worship guitar songs so the board fits the stereotype for a reason. :)


For me the changes are about getting my amp to shine. For a long time, I didn't use overdrive pedals but simply used a clean boost to drive my amp. It was my favorite overdrive ever. The problem is that it bumps the volume as well (even with a master volume) so it's not great for my current application. I need volume levels to stay pretty even. For awhile I was using the EQD Palisades which is an incredibly versatile tube screamer type pedal. Cody Fields introduced me to the E89 which is a combo of a tube screamer and blues breaker type overdrive. I found it very inspiring and loved the versatility. Still, it intentionally colors the tone. I'm now experimenting with a Mini Timmy for transparent drive (I can't believe how much it sounds like my amp's tube drive) and a Hotcake for the second stage. The Hotcake is built for the AC-30 and it shows. It can also push to fuzz territory with some knob tweaks. 


I'm going to use them on the next lesson to see how it all fits into the mix. One thing about tone is it can sound amazing on it's own but get totally lost in a mix. Stay tuned!

So now I wanna see your Thrash Metal Board . . .

Yeah, boost into an AC30 is gonna be LOUD. Even the guys on TPS acknowledge, much to their dismay, that even rock shows have a hard dB limit nowadays—watch their shows with Rabea where they learn what loud means.

I think of my board as General Purpose, not really having the budget, as some do, to say, "This is my Shoe Gaze/Math board", "This is my Worship Board", "This is my Speed Metal board . . . "

Once you have a couple of levels of drive and dirt, and for worship, some sort of delay w/ tap tempo and reverb, focus on what inspires you, not so much on what StuG (or John Mayer, or Brad Paisley, or .. .) used on the top 4 of the third bridge on the ultra-rare live version of the "High-Speed Dirt/Oceans" mashup from '72 . . .

Don't be afraid of the NUX, Joyo, or Behringer stuff, especially with analog pedals. If you aren't sure you're gonna LOVE a Tube Screamer or a K-type, paying $20 to figure out whether you'll like it is a solid plan before you drop $400 on a Red Ox or a Clarkesdale.



Board? 99% of the time, I'm running direct into my audio interface, either using a Radial Direct Drive and the onboard amp sims, but I use the Timmy for "Always On" character.

JHS 3-series fuzz
Boss CS-3
Wampler Terraform (Pre)
Tumnus Deluxe (K-type)
Wampler Clarkesdale (TS-type)
Morning Glory (BB-type)
Rat (JHS "you dirty rat" mod)
MXR Timmy (Always On for "I don't have an amp" character)
Peterson Strobotune
Terraform (Post)
JHS Panther Cub
Boss RV-6
Radial Direct Drive

That's a rad setup

I have struggled with making the K-type work on my own board. I tried a J Rockett Archer and just found it made everything sound like classic rock. Not a bad thing when that's what I want to play but it's not my usual. It's super funny how your ears get tuned to a certain kind of sound. I tend to like brighter stuff - Top Boost channel, Timmy with the bass dropped just a bit. It just fits my playing style. Different tones played by different guys get such a different effect. It's crazy and one of the things I love about guitar.

Pretty much, yeah . .

Yeah, it's definitely its own thing, and the gain includes a blend, so it's a Huge change across the control range, which I think surprises people.

On my team, the guys who are actually, ya know, good . . play OCD, Tumnus, SD-1, even some Joyo stuff . . . It's almost as if the gear doesn't make the player. REAL hard to remember sometimes..

If I just had the Germanium OCD like He has . . . .

TPS, Anderton's and pedalboards

Jason, really appreciate your work here on the site! I don't think your current board is "typical" of worship gear, but it certainly works! For instance, no midi programmer, like an RJM PBC? I use one on both my boards and love them - but I do get that they have limitations as far as creativity and spontaneous tone crafting. But most of my playing is in bands and I know what I need/want for every song, so the preset world is perfect for me and what I always wanted - less pedal dancing, so I can just DANCE! :+) I spend time at home working the presets, so I don't have to mess with the board at church or gigs.
As far as transparent boosts, I use an Xotic RC Boost on my big board, and a Suhr Koko boost on my smaller board. Both are great and I find them both pretty transparent, clean or dirty channel. I run into 2-channel "Plexi" style amps (one is a Fargen DBC-25, the other my newer Friedman WW-20 (a special version of the JJ Jr.), so I have a clean channel available as clean or with light dirt from a Sick As, or Keeley Oxblood, and other OD's for MORE dirt, usually on top of the gain channel (don't use that at church...!). I use the boosts primarily for soloing. Playing in both rock and praise bands, I find that the volume needs to be LOUDER with more gain/crunch to compensate and stay in the mix, so I disagree with your comment about keeping the volume "similar".
Regarding TPS and the Anderton's videos, they are good, but I don't like them because they jack around too much instead of spending the (less!!!) time on the subject. I'd rather be here working on new songs we play at church, or practicing guitar skills, than listening to them banter back and forth. That's why I prefer Pete Thorn and some others for actual product demos. But I get that TPS and the Anderton's guys can be entertaining!
All the best, and thanks again for your work here! It's the first place I go to learn new songs, and I can tell the band folks are impressed when I come in playing the "real" parts!!! :+)


That Pedal Show is a lot of fun and really informative, Brian Wampler from Wampler pedals does some great work as well.