Earthquaker Devices is one of most successful pedal manufacturers to emerge from the boutique effect world. By offering solidly constructed, great looking and sounding pedals at an affordable price point, they have shaken up the market like a 5.0 trembler. Though they offer standard effects like overdrive, fuzz, distortion, and compression, Earthquaker also occasionally pushes the pedal envelope with something like the Arpanoid ($225 list).
This attractively designed, compact, true bypass pedal takes single and multiple guitar notes and arpeggiates them in an adjustable ascending or descending scale; 8 expandable modes work in any key. The dry signal is all analog; the wet signal is exclusively digital.
The Wet control adjusts the amount of effect signal, while Dry does likewise for the dry signal. Unity gain is around noon with the Arpanoid offering considerable boost in level from there on up, so be careful or some of those low octaves might stress your amp. Rate adjusts the speed of the arpeggiated sequence.
Step selects how many notes are in the sequence. This allowed me to create a wider range of effects than simply arpeggios. The toggle Switch controls the direction of the sequence: Up (the sequence continually repeats going up) Up/Down (continually repeating up then back down), and Down (continually repeating going down).
The 8 position Mode selector switch chooses the octave and key:
1: Major: -1 octave to root.
2: Major: root to +1 octave.
3: Major: -1 octave through +1
4: Major: Random pattern
5: Minor: -1 octave to root.
6: Minor: root to +1 octave.
7: Minor: -1 octave through +1
8: Minor: Random pattern
Earthquaker suggests you treat the Arpanoid like a new instrument, taking the time to learn how it works—this is good advice. There is no tap tempo so working with a drummer live it would be best for you to start the sequence and have the percussionist follow. With a little tweaking I (in the audio clip) and the folks in the videos above were able to match up a variety of sequences with a drum pattern. It may not be exactly locked but I found it nevertheless creates a very musical effect.
Check out these clips and let’s hear what you think.
It is only a matter of time before some creative guitarist figures out a way to use this as an integral part of a distinctively modern sound—maybe it will be you.