My Boss ME-50 Multieffects Unit

Boss ME-50

How I Use It

    I play mainly church music, and I needed a variety of effects for doing covers of many different songs and sounds.  The first pedal that I had ever seen used, and fell in love with, was in high school: a Boss Super Chorus.  Around 2005, I was headed back to Korea and needed tremolo, blues distortion, metal distortion, chorus, and delay.  Buying all these effects in separate pedals would be too expensive.  Boss was the #1 brand on my mind due to previous experience with their products.  After reading their online magazine and seeing how much good information they had about how to use their products, I was impressed.  I also read reviews and was further impressed with this pedal.  I had used other multi-effects before but I was very unhappy with them, mainly due to amp modeling on most, or buttons on others.  This one was an excellent choice because it had absolutely no amp modeling except for LINE-OUT.  I use this pedal with my ESP guitar.

Features

    While in Korea, the only "amp" they had was a Roland Keyboard amp.  Running this pedal into this amp with the amp out lines sounded horrible, so I ran the Line Out into this amp, and it sounded much better.  Line Out on this pedal simulates a guitar amp.  This is how you should use this pedal with keyboard amps and PA systems, and for running into a sound mixer.
    Then I figured out how to use the AUX IN on the pedal for practicing with music.  This is nice because you can also use your headphones in LINE OUT to practice without an amp.
    Last, when I bought my Twin Reverb, I found that the two amp lines sound great in the amp.  However, mainly I use it with my Fender Pro Junior, and it sounds great.

Effects Values That I Use

    After using effects for a while, and trying to discover how to sound exactly like other artists, I figured out that I was spending more time trying to sound like other people rather than learning how to play.  My philosophy now is to use the same effects as others, but not in the same way.  If a song uses tremolo and distortion, rather than spending an hour trying to sound exactly identical by playing around with the effect settings, I just find settings I can be happy with.  With the ME-50, the "mod" distortions (i.e. the distortion types named after a style rather than a pedal) honestly sound almost perfect with all the knobs at 50%.  Usually that's how my settings are, unless I need to play with the tone of the effect.  To me, effects are like colors.  Usually it's best to use small amounts of these colors as you design your song.  Too much too quickly can ruin the song.
    However, I'll list some of the songs I've played in the past and present, and what type of effects I think they are using.

"Holy Is The Lord"

    This song honestly sounds like it is nothing more than a guitar and a Fender Twin Reverb.  In fact, that's all I need to play this song.  Nevertheless, I'll detail my settings.  Aside from setting the amp EQ, the reverb and tremolo banks on the amp are set to 5 for all knobs.  Just turn the amp up, and turn on tremolo ("vibrato") and reverb.
    But to make this song sound good on the ME-50 alone, you should set some compression (to simulate a tube amp, sort of), spring reverb, tremolo, and then some optional blues distortion (to make it sound like an overdriven tube amp).  With this and the other effects, noise suppression and tone modify are optional based on taste.  With this song, it is nice to sound like you're using single coil pickups, so you can use H > S to simulate this on a humbucker pickup equipped guitar.

Metal

    The factory patch 1 in bank 8 already sounds great for metal.  However, here are some general tips.  Distortions sound best for metal.  You can use Metal, Loud, Stack, Modern Distortion, etc.  Those mostly already sound metallic enough.  If not, you can use OD-2, Natural, etc other distortions, but with the amount of distortion turned up past 50%.  You can also turn up the Bottom knob past 50%, etc, color for taste.  To me, Stack sounds like Guns'n'Roses, Bank 8 preset 3 sounds more bassy like Metallica, and Metal sounds like hair/glam metal bands.  Natural with the distortion level up high tends to sound like AC/DC to me, or some hard blues.

Shell Bands

    There are other things you can do with effects.  One thing I did was using chorus and a heavy, timed short delay, is you can make the guitar sound like a shell band.  Make sure the level of the delay is up, the time is tapped in or dialed in to tempo, and chorus (optional).

Whale Sounds

    Another trick to sound like a whale singing is to switch your guitar to the neck pickup and turn the tone knob all the way down.  You can use delay, chorus, or blues distortion with this if you would like.  Another wonderful thing to add to this sound is to do very slow string bends (slow bend, slow release).  A friend from the Seymour Duncan Forum taught me this.

Sound Clips

    Here are some sound clips of this effects pedal being used with my guitars and amplifier.  Thanks to my friend and his Boss Micro BR!
   

Repair - 18 January 2009

    Boss ME-50 Inside

    At practice tonight, I noticed that my Boss ME-50 would not run with battery power.  I disassembled it and found the culprit: the red wire was crimed almost completely in half.  In fact, while I was putting it back together, the wire broke.  Not to worry: I will fix it later.  I just need my friend to come back so I can borrow his electrical repair kit.
    After taking this unit apart, I have a greater respect for Boss's manufacturing quality.  All nuts holding various knobs and jacks to the chassis had washers underneath them.  All screws holding the chassis together had washers.  All in all, this unit is well manufactured, and Boss has my respect.
    By looking at this picture, you would be able to figure out what screw(s) one would want to install a hoop and wire underneath in order to ground the chassis to an earth ground.  I don't know if this would be good, or if it would work, however.

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Credits

Seymour Duncan, Basslines, and the stylized "S" logo are all registered trademarks of Seymour Duncan Pickups, with which I am not affiliated.

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