pedal experiment

This is the pedalboard that I ended up using this weekend. It belongs to a student of mine named Jakeb – thanks a lot, man. It’s a nice board and it covers a lot of bases.

 

I had forgotten how good the Echo Park sounds. Our drummer commented about something sounding cool, and it was all the delay. I was just playing artificial harmonics using the tape echo setting with the modulation at 12:00 and it sounded so spacey and warm. It’s a really good delay, and I would probable still have it if it had multiple presets. When/if Line 6 finally updates the DL4 I will probably buy one, but it’s kind of useless to me without dotted eighth tap tempo.

The wah sounds like every other stock Crybaby on the market. They sound pretty good as long as you don’t play with too much of the “toe down”/icepick treble stuff. I need to get Jakeb to do the trick where you slip the wah pot back a notch so that you don’t get quite so much of the trebly part of the sweep.

I was having a harder time bonding with the overdrives. Part of the issue is that I really like the way my amp sounds, and whenever I stepped on either pedal they added too much of their own character for my liking. This is why I like my PURE boost so much – it just gives me more of my amp. Anyway, I ended up using the Bad Monkey as my clean-ish boost and the SD-1 was my dirty boost. I was able to get a pretty nice lead tone when they were stacked. Our worship leader told me that my solo on “Your Grace is Enough” sounded like Lincoln Brewster, which I will take as a compliment. Just don’t tell me that I look like him. In between services, I turned up the gain a little on my Stulce so that I wouldn’t have to rely so much on the drive pedals. I still used them, just not as much.

The biggest challenge of the day (that I hadn’t really thought about) is that my in-ears are in my pedal board case. I had to use a floor wedge that was slaved off of our worship leader’s monitor mix. Obviously, he has a lot more vocals in his monitor than I am used to, so it was an adjustment to play when I couldn’t hear myself very well. We got it balanced somewhat, but I’m sure that he was probably getting more of me than he was comfortable with.

All in all, this was a cool experiment. It’s likely that no one noticed anything other than me, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’ll be glad to have my own pedals in front of me, but it’s nice to know that you can get useable tones out of $50 distortion pedals in a pinch.

the power is on

Well, our side of the street now has power. We stopped by the house about an hour ago, not really expecting anything different. However, our next-door neighbor happened to be outside and told us that the power is back on. We’re not going back yet, since the sheets need to be washed, we don’t have any food, etc., but we’ll be back tomorrow.

It’ll be nice to under my own roof for a change. I don’t think that Jack is too excited to “move out” of Nana and Granddad’s house, but he’ll get over it.

my pedals

I’m going to have an interesting challenge this weekend. I left my pedals at school before the hurricane hit, and I haven’t been able to get them yet (I think they’re okay since the school didn’t flood). I have two options – play without pedals or borrow a couple.

I would rather not play without any pedals at all. I don’t have a ton of pedals, but I use everything on my board. I don’t have a current pic, but here’s what I use:

Guitar – homebrew wah – tuner – RHFX io (the “Brown Sound in a Box” was Maury’s starting point for this pedal design) – RHFX PURE (clean boost) – DD-20 delay – dirty amp

I use the boost to slam my amp, making it a little more saturated. It acts like a distortion pedal, except that it doesn’t color the overall tone of the amp. A lot of people use an overdrive (like a tube screamer) as a boost. Just lower the gain and raise the level and it will boost your signal without adding too much gain. It’s not a clean boost per se, but a lot of people like the tone that it gives you.

If I needed to, I could survive with three pedals: a good tuner, a boost or od, and delay. Extras (like wah, tremolo, chorus, extra overdrives, etc) are nice in that they give you more tonal options, but they’re not entirely necessary.

I think I’m going to try to borrow a few pedals to get through the weekend. I’ll post a report on how it goes.

Back in town

We made it back today. There are still a lot of homes, including ours, that don’t have power yet. For the time being, we’re staying with my parents.

Our house is fine. There was a close call with a huge tree limb that fell short of hitting our house by a couple of feet. It would have been pretty bad if it had hit. No broken windows or water – everything is cool. It smells kinda funky, but I guess that’s to be expected when the power has been off for several days.

We drove around for a while tonight just looking at things. It’s pretty eerie driving through town when the power is out. Normally there are lights everywhere, even at 2 in the morning, but in parts of town there was nothing except for headlights.

Houston got hit pretty hard, and I’m not sure what the situation is like at school. I know for sure that schools are closed until Wednesday at the earliest, but I have my doubts that we’ll be back by then. We’ll see…

Ike

As you may know, I live in Lake Jackson, which is only a few minutes away from Freeport – the current projected location of Ike’s imminent arrival. The last time I checked, it’s supposed to hit sometime Friday night or Saturday morning as a strong category 3 or weak 4.

A couple of weeks ago, when Gustav was threatening to destroy us all, my family was planning to evacuate to Belton. My mom and dad were going to pull their big travel trailer and we were going to ride it out there. Well, my dad left to go to Bulgaria on a mission trip last week, so he’s not here to pull the trailer. 

I have never pulled a trailer before and more importantly, I have never backed a trailer up. I don’t even like driving a truck. Fortunately, a good friend of ours volunteered to pull the trailer and set it up and then come back to take care of his family. It’s a good four hour drive from Lake Jackson to Belton, so that wasn’t a small favor. Thanks Roger!

We drove up yesterday without incident. I was hoping to avoid the evacuation traffic, and we did. We passed a police escort of charter buses going in the other direction. There were probably 40 of them.

I did as much preparation at the house as I could. I picked up some plywood at Lowe’s before it got too busy and boarded up the bigger windows at my house. We packed up our valuable stuff (my electric guitars, my laptop, Jenny’s iMac, Jenny’s camera stuff, clothes, etc) and left. We got here at about 7:00 last night. My brother and sister-in-law live in Belton, so they came over last night with some food.

Like I said, I brought my electric guitars, but I left my amp at church and I left my pedals at school. I was using my pedals at school to demonstrate some different effects to my guitar classes, and I was planning to bring them home yesterday, but I didn’t go to school yesterday. The pedalboard is in the case sitting upright on the floor. I doubt that the case is watertight, so if it floods I’ll probably lose a couple of pedals – the Voodoo Lab Pedal Power II, my tuner, and maybe my wah. The amp is covered by the church’s insurance, and since we didn’t have any room left in the vehicles, I decided to leave it.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post, so this may be the last one for a while. Please pray for people who are going to be affected by this storm. It could be a bad one.

Stupid solid-core wire…

A few months ago when I was building all those effects, I decided to use solid core wire for all the internal wiring. I made that decision because it was easy to solder and it stayed in place very nicely. However, the wire that I chose has the unfortunate tendency to break at the solder point.

All the effects that I built with that wire (overdrive, wah, and tremolo) have stopped working because of that problem. I’m currently waiting for my soldering iron to heat up so that I can fix my wah. I’ll probably end up rewiring it with something else, but not right now.

Line 6 M13

This is the latest toy that I’ve had my eye on. It’s the M13 from Line 6 – the same people behind the POD amp simulator things. Well, this thing is designed to go in front of your amp, so it doesn’t have any amp simulation, but it does have a ton of effects built in. Delays, Modulations, Reverbs, Distortions, etc.

I’ve always been interested in the big Line 6 pedals like the DL4 delay modeler and the MM4 modulation modeler, but I always heard iffy things about the build quality. Of course, the fact that you couldn’t tap dotted eighth notes in the delay kind of killed that idea.

However, the M13 looks like a beast. It’s a little too big, and it has a lot of stuff in it (like the overdrives) that I probably wouldn’t use, but it has a lot of really cool-sounding delay, reverb, and modulation effects. One cool thing about this is that it has an effects loop that you can put your drives in and put them anywhere in the chain.