I am going to be representing Source Audio in Nashville to try and expose all the dealers and great players here to these sweet sounding and versatile effects. I am putting together a pedalboard of exclusively Source Audio products save for some new 1Spot Pro power sources from Truetone (formerly Visual Sound), cables from Planet Waves, and a Pedaltrain pedalboard. Eventually I will be hooking up a Keith McMillen SoftStep or 12 Step to program multiple pedal scenarios through the Soundblox Neuro Hub. Keep reading for some initial impressions.
You may have noticed Stephan Meidell playing in the video of Thomas Dahl at Danmarksplass. Yes, Meidell is another Norwegian, this time based out of the beautiful city of Bergen. Whether it is the long nights, or the state financed schooling and music, Norway seems to turn out adventurous musicians like America turns out reality TV stars. In his wide variety of projects—Cakewalk, Velkro, The Sweetest Thrill, Krachmacher, et al—Meidell exhibits a personal approach to the instrument and a musicality that cuts through even his noisiest excursions. He is also a kindred spirit as, like me, he is a music critic and curator for new and experimental music.
The 2015 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California was more crowded than in years. The main trend, guitar-wise, seemed to be custom guitars that recalled old Harmonys, Silvertones, and oddball Italian or Japanese instruments; not forward thinking—but definitely cool. Also plentiful, as we shall see, were “freak-out fuzz pedals.”
The best in show from a modernist standpoint would have to be the GTC Sound Innovations Rev Pad. This Israeli offering may or may not see wide scale production and distribution, but this touchpad control of a dedicated multi-effect system—one that also offers expression outputs to control external effects—was the most interesting new concept on display.
The NAMM show offered a multitude of effects in a showroom-style vacuum. My compadres at Premier Guitar go out in the field to show you how they are actually employed. In this Premier Guitar Rig Rundown Vernon Reid and Doug Wimbish demo the gear they are currently using in Living Color, providing a compendium of effects available to the modern guitarist and bassist. Reid is running parallel signals through VG-99, Guitar Rig, iPad and Ableton Live effects, as well as a host of other processors, while Wimbish combines distortion, filtering, and looping in creative ways. These guys are on the gear cutting edge—check it out!
Tired of hauling around that clunky metal MIDI foot controller? If you haven’t checked out the Keith McMillen Instruments SoftStep yet you need to. It might just be the answer to your prayers. Here is a review I did of an early version in 2010. Most of the bugs have been worked out since, though you will want to baby the MIDI cable input, which could use a a stabilizing clip. [KMI reports that they have addressed this issue in later models].