Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch reveals what’s on his pedalboard

Doug Martsch and his pedalboard
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images / Doug Martsch [inset])

“I go to a wah first [Vox V847], then to my [TC Electronic PolyTune 3] tuner. Then I go to three Xotic EP Booster pedals – and that’s it for my overdrive, fuzz or distortion. They have a softness that I like. It sounds more like rock than metal, even when I have all three of them on.

“I turn one on set kind of low. That one is just sort of a nice, fuller, tiny bit of grit guitar. The second one is turned up a little bit more. With the two together it becomes like a rhythm distortion. The third EP Booster is cranked all the way up. When I step on that with the other two, I have my fuzz for soloing.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Doug Martsch)

“The next thing is a phaser [EarthQuaker Devices Grand Orbiter]. I have it turned pretty mild. I was listening to some old live Clash song and the whole mix was out of phase, and it just sounded so great. I thought it would be nice to have a little bit of that every once in a while.

“The last thing is the tremolo [Suhr Jack Rabbit]. There’s maybe one song where I use it all the time, then I hit it every once in a while to change things up.

“And then I go to the echoplex. It’s not on my pedalboard; I have it on a stand next to me. That’s kind of my go-to for basic delay and also the crazy stuff and wild effects. I have mixed feelings about this piece of equipment.” [Note: While it seems Martsch is using “echoplex” as a generic term for tape echo, recent videos and photos – including the one above – show him playing through a Fulltone Custom Shop Tube Tape Echo.]

If I had to choose one pedal for a full show

“[An] Xotic EP Booster because I can’t play without some kind of overdrive.”

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