My years of making music in New York City coincided at various times with Elliot Sharp’s. Our musical worlds, however, rarely overlapped. I was playing blues and country music; accompanying singer-songwriters, both struggling and famous; and playing in pop bands that were trying to get record deals (my more avant-garde efforts would come later). Elliot, on the other hand, was at the nexus of all the art that was pushing the envelope during that period, and is still to this day. I never saw him perform live or met him until shortly before I left New York to move to Nashville in 2012, and then it was in a wonderful duo performance with Mary Halvorson.
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.
I know that the above sounds like the department of redundancy department, but the new EarthQuaker Swiss Things is, in fact, a pedal that solves problems with your pedals. Here is a great explanation of what it does and a video showing that the EarthQuaker folks have more fun than should be allowed in a multimillion dollar company.
If there is a young guitarist you captures the Guitar Moderne ethos perfectly it is Nick Reinhart. In his work with Tera Melos and with Nels Cline in Big Walnuts Yonder he exhibits a spirit of musical experimentation and pushes the guitar’s sonic potential as far as it will go, with virtuosic technique and wry humor. Premier Guitar caught up with him when he came through Nashville and did an extensive rig rundown, revealing his fan bestowed nickname (no pun intended). Reinhart also reveals one of his sonic secrets. Spoiler alert: Superglue.