Monday, March 29

Bits and Pieces

I'm watching some Cardinals spring training (no idea how incredibly excited I am for baseball season!), and decided that I have some spare time, so time to give my neglected blog some love!

In my last post, I put up a new 'board picture, which hasn't changed just to change; I'll be playing a lot of electric actually out of my house in a Mass-type environment, so booyah. The actual chain is: Guitar -> Vox Wah (modded for True Bypass) -> Digitech Hardwire Chromatic Tuner -> Strymon OB. 1 Compressor -> Fulltone Fulldrive 2 MOSFET -> Keeley DS-1 Distortion -> Boss GE-7 EQ-> Voodoo Labs Tremolo -> Ernie Ball Volume pedal -> Boss DD-7 Digital Delay (with Boss FS-5U for tap tempo) -> Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler -> Fender Blues Jr.

New additions include: Line 6 DL4 and Strymon OB.1. I got the DL4 in a trade; I got rid of my Epiphone Valve Jr. which has been seeing virtually no playing time for about 6 months now, and picked up a pedal that, while likely not the end-all, be-all delay pedal, is really quite good, really versatile, and has been used by a lot of the artists that I'll be emulating in playing worship guitar. The new compressor is, in a word, great. I don't have a lot of compressor experience, but I do like how it can go from subtle to apparent (but not super squished), and putting it before my 'drives gives me options in terms of shades of dirtiness with the three differently voiced clean boosts. At extreme settings, it makes a nice way to turn a dirty rhythm part (via the Fulldrive) into a great lead boost with just a stomp or two.

I've also been using my G&L ASAT a lot more exclusively, and I've really grown to love the tone. I'll always be on the lookout for a great Tele, (in addition to a great Les Paul, a great ES-335, a great Les Paul Jr...), but I like this one's sound. It's definitely not a Tele, despite all appearances, but rather, it's warmer. The middle setting is great and complex (and lets me get away with not having a chorus on my board), and the bridge can get a lot of the Telecaster twang, but without ice-picking it. The tone pot is also great, giving me usable tones on pretty much the entire spectrum. My Strat will always have a place, and will never leave me, but I think my G&L is going to be my No. 1, at least for the time being.

One other notable sweet-McAwesome things I've been playing with; I love my EQ pedal. It's just a stock Boss GE-7, but I love the versatility you get from having a stompable EQ. Right now, it's being used to give me that sweet "suck" tone that's semi-popular in indie and emo music nowadays. I'm just going to call it my "telephone" pedal, because that's what it sounds like on this setting (boost the 1.6KHz, cut everything else) is like a really lo-fi, far away sort of sound, and it's just fun. But I mean, think about the versatility; I've used the GE-7 as a clean boost, in this setting, or it can be used to fix any problem frequencies or sweeten your tone, give you sparkle, give you clarity, fix your boost, whatever you want to do. It is a pretty crappy buffer, and this being literally every pedal I own that I'd use for electric, I'm starting to perceive a bad sort of tone sucking, but there are some potential solutions on the horizon.

Probably the coolest solution, at least as far as I've seen, is the Carl Martin Octaswitch. I like the idea of being able to take the pedals I already own and like, and programming them to be able to turn one stomp into a sound. It's not as versatile in terms of on-the-fly changes as having a bypass strip, but enough preparation would make that mostly obsolete, or at least, a lot less common than having a good preset. And it's true bypass (or has a buffer if you'd like), so it will give me the least number of pedals and cable for each situation. I do think that some tone-sucking is actually a positive thing; Jimi Hendrix did some things with effects that should have just killed his tone, but only the insane would say that his tone was bad. But I'm also running like three times as many pedals as Jimi Hendrix ever did, so there's a lot more stuff to get in the way of tone.

So basically, if I had a grand lying around, I could get a great pedalboard (I love the PedalTrain boards, so I'm looking at the Pro, which would neatly fit everything I've got now and an Octaswitch, and also have a rolling hard-case), a new power supply to power my DL4 (I'm using batteries right now, and it makes me nervous), a switcher, and maybe even upgrade my patch cables, but that one's less important since, like I said, I actually like a little bit of suck. Anyone want to make donations? Tax refund is on the way...but I should probably pay down some debt first...

1 comment:

  1. +1 on the Octaswitch!! I've been wanting to get that as well... and since one click can activate multiple pedals, then you are all set to go! No tap dancing.