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.
Full disclosure: I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep. But Iam not posting this because I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep. I am the Nashville Source Audio Rep because ever since they introduced the Hot Hand over a decade ago, Source Audio has been among the most forward-thinking effects companies on the planet. Hell, this thing is so new and already selling so fast that I don’t even have one. I have checked it out a NAMM shows and can’t wait to get my hands on it. If reverb plays a major part in your music, you need a Ventris. And if it doesn’t, get one and it may start.
Bassist Jayme Lewis shows how to easily program Ableton MIDI clip control of Source Audio effects through direct USB connection. The possible applications for guitar are equally, if not more, mind-bending. Of course, creating these effects is possible with any MIDI controllable pedal, assuming you set up a full MIDI pedalboard. I believe the point here is you can control a single Source Audio pedal directly without a full MIDI system or even the Source Audio Hub.
This video is to accompany my Electronic Musician column “Electronic Guitar.” The July column is on Glitch Guitar and the video features the Red Panda Particle, the Electro-Harmonix Canyon, and Ableton Live’s Beat Repeat plug-in. The issue is on the stands now and the article should be available online next month.
This year’s winter NAMM was INSANE! Thursday was as crowded as a typical Saturday and it escalated from there. The noise floor was non-stop jet-engine level. I came home with ears ringing and NAMMthrax. Was it worth it? You bet. Three full days was barely enough to cover all the cool stuff. It opened with a terrific concert band doing a modern composition that incorporated either recorded or live recitations from young people (I couldn’t see from my vantage point) about the difficulties of growing up. This boded well for a forward-thinking show and, in fact, there were ample examples of manufacturers leaving the traditional behind to explore new territory.
Other than the upward trajectory of the business evidenced by the crowd, the only trend I noticed was the invasion of the pedal market by Greece and Brazil. As usual, NAMM often stands for “Not Available, Maybe May,” so stay tuned to the manufactures’ sites and guitarmoderne.com for updates, and, if you would like to hear me talk about this year’s winter NAMM, check out Matt Wakeling’s Guitar Speak podcast featuring yours truly.