21 February 2009

Making the Most Out of Simple Gear

After too long a respite, I’ve been playing music with people again lately. Last weekend I jammed with my co-worker Chris, and I brought almost all of my effects pedals. It was a mess! Too many wires, too much complexity, not enough reliability. Part of the problem was that I had them all loose, not mounted on a pedal board, but the rest of the problem was just the sheer number. Like Floyd Rose wang bars, that kind of setup is for people with roadies!

Then today I was jamming with a new group, and I brought only a fuzz box, my tuner, and the venerable Boss PS-2 Pitch Shifter/Delay. Three pedals feels about right. Then this evening I rolled them all up into a proper pedal board. I was thinking, “Perfect... But a chorus pedal would be nice.”

Then I realized that with the pitch shifter, I can get a chorus effect. I put it into manual pitch shift mode, then dial up the fine-tuner knob to unison harmony. Then, extremely carefully, I dial it ever so slightly flat. It’s easy to dial it a hair too far and get a deep warble swim effect (also cool).

For non-music-nerd readers, you’ll likely recognize the chorus effect as the sound Nirvana used in their song “Come As You Are”. I recorded a snippet of it without chorus, and then chorus kicks in halfway through.


Here is another, more complete example (an excerpt from the song “Nouvelle Chanson” by my old band Boshuda), again with chorus off at first and then on:


So now the Pitch Shifter/Delay is really three effects: echo, harmonizer, and a credible chorus. Three is a good number!

No comments:

Post a Comment