Life and website issues got in the way of doing timely NAMM reports this year. In my defense many of these products just started shipping a couple of months ago. As has become habit, there were hundreds of cool pedals on offer, mostly variations on pedals you have seen and heard.
With NAMM 2020 coming up, I thought I would do a listing of the things I saw last year that might be different and of more interest to the modern guitarist. The theme in January seemed to be the return of modulation (flange, chorus, and phase), fuzz/harmonizer combos, and guitar synth pedals. I am featuring only what I consider to be the most interesting takes on each. Please check company websites for details.
The guys from Sweetwater demo a bunch of pedals that will help you create synthesizer sounds without having to learn to play keyboards. As comprehensive as this is, it just scratches the surface. Look for more pedals that create synth-like sounds soon a Guitar Moderne.
Sarah Lipstate has been a unique voice in modern guitar ever since she went solo as Noveller and began her distinctive looping performances. You can get the back story in my first Guitar Moderne interview, as well as in the one I did for Guitar Player . Much has happened in Noveller-land since then, so on the occasion of the release, A Pink Sunset for No One, it seemed time to sit down with her and find out how she has taken the one-time niche of guitar looping to the big stage with the likes of St. Vincent and Iggy Pop. An admitted gear-junkie, we delve into the goodies she is using, (spoiler alert: like Eno she eschews the comfort of the familiar for the excitement of experimentation.) But Sarah was also candid about her artist’s journey: how she came to these extraordinary opportunities, and why she decided to forsake Brooklyn for Los Angeles.
Things have been so busy I just got around to checking out the SpaceTime algorithm that showed up in my February H9 Max app update. In addition, since my H9 Max review I have had my main pedalboard rewired, replacing the Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing with the Maxed out H9. The H9 covers all the sounds the Ring Thing provided—octaves, “baritone,” “Leslie,” “12-string,” ring modulation, and, of course, the H9 does so much more. Consequently, now seemed like a good time for an update on this amazing pedal. Since Brett Kingman did such a good job of demoing the various SpaceTime presets, I offer his video, and then will discuss my experience with the new algorithm, as well as how the H9’s pre and post routing feature came in handy on my board.