Re: Gear setups - effects or no effects?
I think the underlying issue here is doing WHATEVER it takes to find the tone you're looking for. In my cover band, we play everything from Nickelback to SRV to Stevie Wonder. I use a Marshall JFX, JMP, and a Dual Monobloc 50/50 amp. I ALSO use the Boss Gigadelay (KILLER pedal), the DF-7 dist, Dunlop Wah, and a Roland Guitar Synth (midi rig). I think with all the options, my rig gives me a great array of different sounds. To make a long story even longer, I think if you're doing mostly covers, you're sort of forced into needing MANY different types of guitar tone.
NOW, when I'm writing/ recording, I go to the other extreme and keep it simple. I use a Vai/ Legacy head with the DF-7, Boss Gigadelay, Boss chorus, and the Dunlop Wah.
Obviously, the guitar and types of pickups used will also affect your sound and they should be considered.
I think the use of ANY effect should be done in moderation and the BEST tones you get will come from the refinement of your playng. IMHO
I know several of you old school guys/ purists like to keep it all to a minimum. GREAT concept in theory. However, not possible if you're doing mostly covers. (IMHO)