There is a wonderful world of effects out there, but maximizing their usefulness often requires modifying parameters on the fly—think Whammy pedal, or runaway delay feedback. Unfortunately, modifying parameters, and even engaging or switching off effects, tethers you to the pedal in a way that can hamper your visual performance.
There have been solutions: In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which I covered in Guitar Moderne. It allows control of MIDI effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. Source Audio’s Hot Hand, covered here, also permits free-ranging parameter control, either through MIDI (using the Neuro Hub), or through an expression input on the pedal or switching device. The folks at GTC Sound Innovations have come up with yet another solution that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago and I recently got to put it through its paces. First watch the GTC folks demo some classic effects.
Thanks to a Facebook post by Naia Azumi, I discovered Elta Music devices . One of a growing number of pedal manufacturers who seem to be springing from the burgeoning modular market, Elta offers four effects in footswitchable packages that are bound to be of interest to the modern guitarist. First up is their String Ringer:
Wednesday was modern guitar pioneer Terje Rypdal’s 70th birthday. To celebrate, Henry Kaiser assembled a who’s who of modern guitarists: David Torn, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Hedvig Mollestad, Jim O’Rourke, Hans Magnus Ryan, Raoul Björkenheim, Even H. Hermansen, Reine Fiske, along with long time Rypdal keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and drummer Gard Nilssen (Dungen). There is a Volume 2 that is a vinyl only release of side-long outtakes that were too good to leave on the shelf.
Kaiser also played and his production is more than up to the task of presenting multiple distorted guitars with clarity and cohesion. This tribute is a must-own for anyone interested in modern guitar playing at its best.
The EarthQuaker Devices Data Corrupter Modulated Monophonic PLL Harmonizer launches today. This mouthful of a pedal is a monophonic analog PLL harmonizer with modulation. It takes your input signal and amplifies it into a square wave fuzz tone that is then multiplied, divided and modulated to create a wild, yet repeatable, three-voice guitar synthesizer.
The Master Oscillator is the central nervous system at the heart of the Data Corrupter’s cyberpunk hive mind. It feeds your input to the Data Corrupter’s signal harvester in its original octave (Unison), one octave down (-1) or two octaves down (-2) for maximum compatibility with your preferred instrument and frequency register. Once you’ve chosen your input octave, then the Data Corrupter will perform its calculations and spit out an analog synthesized frequency, which can be pitch-bent for portamento or vibrato sounds by the Frequency Modulator. From there, you can blend in one of eight Subharmonic intervals up to three octaves below the input and mix in a square wave fuzz tone for maximum data corruption. Full review to come soon.
Once upon a time, a couple of former Strymon and Line 6 folks got together and started making 500 Series rack modules under the name Meris. Eventually they started producing pedal versions of two of the modules. I saw one of those pedals, the Ottobit Jr., demonstrated back in January by Nick Reinhart and Juan Alderete on the great YouTube channel Pedals And Effects. It immediately struck me as potentially a perfect multi-effects pedal for Guitar Moderne readers. As luck would have it, in February, Nick introduced me by email to the Meris people who were kind enough to send one when the review models became available. I dove in and here are the results.