Sometimes it takes great modern players to demonstrate new ways in which the electric guitar can be used to creatively enhance the song form: Belew/Fripp in King Crimson, David Torn with David Bowie, Stian Westerhus with his band Pale Horses, and now Markus Schneider on his new record Widerspruch, where he intones evocative vocals over glitchy guitar. This Viennese guitarist contacted me and I checked out some live videos, where his cool Hofner immediately caught my eye. I decided an interview was in order.
I am aware that “ultimate” is like “unique.” Something either is or it isn’t in both cases, making “third ultimate” ridiculous. I just like having fun with the click bait concept. Also apologies to the manufacturers of the pedals for taking so long—life intervenes.
This roundup leans heavily on classic, less extreme fuzz, though with three octave fuzz boxes in the mix there are plenty of strange sounds available. This time we tackle two multi-sound EarthQuaker units, two Electro-Harmonix pedals, and one each from Crazy Tube Circuits, Keeley, Joe Gore, JHS, MXR, and Fender.
When I first got my Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster, I was enamored with the power and midrange of its P-90 sounding pickups. They were warm, fat and drove amps and pedals beautifully. The bloom went off the rose, however, after one gig where I was unable to get the kind of clean country twang I sought, and another where the noisiness of these high-powered single-coils became problematic. Investigating the noiseless options I came across a Brett Kingman video where he demoed some Kinman pickups. I thought I would give them a go.
When I started employing a laptop with my guitar, it was restricted to just those two items: guitar into the laptop into a PA. Not long after, I struggled with using the advantages of the laptop—plug-ins, looping—in conjunction with my pedalboard and a guitar amp. The results were spotty, and required bringing and setting up bulky interfaces and multiple cables. The new OMEC Teleport from Orange Amplification promises a more elegant solution.