What are the essentials?
More info needed. Do you want to buy or build some effect pedals? Been working on some on & off for a few weeks & it ain't easy. All depends on the quality of your PC boards or kits. ( I recommend kits to start) I have some extra alumn. boxes for most effects if you need one. Beware of some of the Chineese PC boards. E-mail me & I'll turn you on to some sites to get kits & stuff.
If you just want to buy some cheap pedals try Rouge. I have a comp & a chorus that are good as any. Find them on sale. Some Danelectro are good but watch out for the plastic cases. MXR & Boss are great but not real cheap.
Good luck, hope that helped.
Used, in working or fixable shape. I've built from schematics, but I usually spend 2 weeks obsessing over how to cram everything into the least amount of space. That's in addition to time spent chasing after parts. Kits would be ideal. I still get the chance to do a pretty soldering job.
For ready to go, Danelectro looks hard to beat for variety and price. Plastic case? It breaks, it's easy to fix, and battle scars add mojo.
What are the most useful effects for a cigar box played Delta blues style, i.e. Jimmy Page / When the Levee Breaks? Something that gives a healthy bit of extra presence to an otherwise thin-sounding piezo disc. Distortion? Bass boost? Reverb?
I think that sharing some experience on what works (or doesnt) with piezos could be a useful side discussion.
Which is, of course, the first consideration. I assume whatever acoustic guitar effects are available would work best?
I've fooled a bit with software effects on a "raw" piezo signal for slide blues: I find that compressing the signal a bit before adding drive / overdrive seems to make for a "warmer" / "thicker" sound (more like a straight mag pup).
YMMV, of course. A lot depends on the rest of the chain (i.e., getting the "high-Z" tolerance needed to get the clearest signal from the piezo).
I was messing around with a straight piezo set up yesterday, found that going into my interface the signal was slightly on the weak side, proving the theory that a little preamp is a good idea, but it works.
I went with a chain that was:
Sounded pretty good, acceptable and fun! But I can see where a real preamp might really be a good idea as I had to turn up the interface input higher than ideal, and was getting some funny noises as a result.
That said, I really was asking for the benefit of those who use standard stomp box effects. I have heard and imagine that some of them just dont work well at all with piezos.
I would love to experiment with some acoustic guitar outboard gear though, there is some interesting stuff. One I was particularly intrigued by is a Korg box designed for piezos that was not only a pre, but had some simulation settings, stuff like clean acoustic, chorus, and so on would be easy enough, but then I saw stuff like resonator guitar and similar variations and became very interested. Wouldnt that be cool?
If you don't know -- take a multieffect box (Behringer FX600 for "cheap", Korg Toneworks AX3G for own effect combinations) and explore the possibilities...
Cheap pedals are used pedals. I just got a used Dano BLT (echo) for $10, I think thats cheap. I'll let you know how it does with the piezo later.