I discovered Benn Jordan’s YouTube channel, Benn and Gear through the usual side panel recommendations on the platform. I quickly realized that he is one of the most interesting musicians around. A guitarist who plays upside down and makes extensive use of the Roland VG-99, he is into boxing and MMA, has toured for years as The Flashbulb, combining metal and jazz guitar stylings, electronics, and beats, done extensive music for advertising and museum installations, and has a wicked sense of humor.
Benn Jordan doesn’t actually tell you everything you need to know about MIDI guitar, though he gives you a fair introduction. But he pulls no punches in his review of the Boss SY-1000. His dismay at the presets is more understandable when, later in the review, you get to hear his own presets, which, unlike he Boss ones, sound more like something you might have heard in the last 20 years, and harness the emotive potential of synthesis in a way that the Boss presets fail to do.
The rollout of the Poly Effects pedals has been one of the slowest in memory. It was at least three years ago that Loki Davison unveiled his concept for a modular, programable, touchscreen, pedal. Now that his concept seems to be finally hitting the street, we see that like some Source Audio pedals, the basic housing allows either pedal to perform the functions of the other. Here are a couple of demos outside the noisy NAMM environment that show some of the fascinating possibilities.
Aldo is a French musician based in London. He gets some unique sounds by processing his guitar through a Make Noise 0-Coast semi-modular synth. At $499, it is not cheap, but it is no more than many multi effects pedals and way cooler. Check out his video channel for interesting guitar tones in an electronic context.
NAMM 2020 is next week. I will try and get my report up sooner this year. If you are looking for a distillation of some of the most interesting gear for the modern guitarist to come out of 2019, this is a good place to start. Nick Reinhart, and Juan Alderete always have their fingers on the pulse of what is forward thinking and cool.