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.
Some of the coolest looking effects out there come from the British company Rainger FX. Their latest, a sidechaining pedal, is more typically-shaped than their usual fare but still reflects their creative graphics and off-center sensibility.
Sidechaining is a popular effect in modern recording. It can be used subtly, as in sidechaining a rhythm guitar with the kick drum, so that each time the kick drum hits the guitar volume dips slightly, or more intensely in dance music, to make the signal completely disappear with each kick drum beat. The Rainger FX Deep Space Pulsar ducks your instrument’s volume in this manner, creating a choppy effect similar to a slicer like the Boss SL-20.
I feel like it was nearly five years ago that I first saw Mod Devices Mod Duo (€649.00) at a NAMM show. It seemed like a great idea at the time: a hardware pedal that could host plug-ins. I had just begun exploring the unique sounds I could get using plug-ins on the computer in Ableton Live. These were sounds unavailable in stomp boxes at the time, but since then, more and more boutique pedal manufacturers have released the kind of granular, filtering, and ambient effects that were until now only available in the computer. Still, the Mod Duo offers both freedom from a laptop on stage, and a plethora of pedal style and plug-in style effects in a small footprint. Its open source nature also bodes well for modern sounds not yet available from stomps. What do you think?
Once upon a time, a couple of former Strymon and Line 6 folks got together and started making 500 Series rack modules under the name Meris. Eventually they started producing pedal versions of two of the modules. I saw one of those pedals, the Ottobit Jr., demonstrated back in January by Nick Reinhart and Juan Alderete on the great YouTube channel Pedals And Effects. It immediately struck me as potentially a perfect multi-effects pedal for Guitar Moderne readers. As luck would have it, in February, Nick introduced me by email to the Meris people who were kind enough to send one when the review models became available. I dove in and here are the results.
If you have witnessed the growing modular synth craze and wondered how guitar might fit in, Emiliano Bagnato shows one way here. For any who have difficulty understanding his video narration, his written explanation below should help.