Monday, May 20, 2013

Filter Frenzy - Six Strings Strange

Six Strings Strange

When I finally got my hands on the Line 6 Filter Modeler 4, I planned to make a ton of weird and wacky music with it.  Well, better late than never.  While messing about with the pedal last week, I really got into the various synth models, particularly the "SYNTH-O-MATIC" and "SYNTHSTRING".  One thing led to another, and soon I was recording again.  BFDEco provided the drums, and I ran my Ibanez bass through a Line 6 POD Farm preset.  Everything else is my Strat through the FM-4.

The one drawback to this pedal is that some of the controls are just too fussy.  I got a really nice pseudo-Mellotron sound with the "SYNTHSTRING", and after adjusting one control, I could not get that sound back.  Instead, I got some kind of freaked out squeal.

I'm pretty sure I used the "OCTISYNTH" for the opening weirdness.  Glub, glub!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Homegrown Sounds, Beta Monkey, and the Seeker!

I'm back with a new tune I put together to try out a few new things, plus a setting on a favorite pedal.

The impetus for this tune came when I purchased "Vintage Synths for Sampletank" from Homegrown Sounds (  This is a large collection of samples created from the Akai SG01 Vintage Sound Module, and I really like the diversity of sounds available.  Every sound that is neither guitar or drums came from this collection, including the bass.

A few days later, I found a really good deal on Magix Music Maker 12.  Yes, it's old but I've been using Magix Music Maker 2005 for years now.  So it feels new to me!  This is the first song I've put together with this program.  It works very well with Sampletank.

The drums come courtesy of Drum Werks XIII.  It was really easy to cut up the loops, and I love the feel of the fills (try saying that three time fast).

All my guitar line were played through Line 6 FM-4 on the "Seeker" setting.  Why?  I was watching the "Who: Texas '75" DVD and during their performance of "Tommy", I'm sure I heard a Seeker Wah being used by Pete Townsend.

Finally, I learned that Picasa 3 has the ability to quickly put together video from photographs.  Since I was putting so many other new acquisitions to the test, why not one more?  Rock on! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Monkey Or Your Wife (Electric Mistress)

My previous post got me thinking about my old Electric Mistress pedal.  When I say "old", I'm serious - I probably bought it in the early 1980s.  Yes, I was buying pedals from the womb!  Back then, I only bought Electro-Harmonix pedals.  Too bad my Big Muff and Doctor Q gave up the ghost many years ago.

Happily, the Mistress still works.  I have to twist around the adapter, twiddle knobs, and say a prayer to the Guitar Gods (maybe two or three) before the effect finally kicks in, but the whoosh is still there.

That's the Mistress pictured above, in all its shiny aluminum exterior glory.  I took that photo a few days ago.  About a week earlier, I used the pedal in a song I wrote for Beta Monkey Music's Hard Rock Funk III Songwriting Challenge.  Much to my surprise, the song ended up tied for third.  Sometimes, the Guitar Gods smile down upon the less fortunate six stringers.

Here's the song, "Your Monkey Or Your Wife" (the link takes you to Beta Monkey's SoundCloud account)".  I used the Mistress for most of the guitar bits, changing settings each time out.  The "Color" control seems to really dish out the swoosh.  The Mistress can be noisy, but it's a lot of swirly fun.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

World Changing Pedals

Premier Guitar magazine has published an article which lists ten pedals that made a difference in rock history. It's an interesting list, containing some of the usual suspects, of course: has there ever been such an article that didn't mention a certain song by the Rolling Stones? I only own one of the pedals mentioned, the Electric Mistress - I wonder if mine still works? Click this to read "Ten Stompboxes That Changed The World"

Thursday, August 23, 2012


 Cheese please!  This is the Danelectro Grilled Cheese pedal, and I bought it off eBay some years ago.  In fact, I bought TWO!   To this day, I have no idea how I wound up bidding on two auctions for the same pedal. The only upside is that I think the combined cost was under ten dollars.  I probably paid more in shipping.

This pedal is basically a one trick pony.  It provides a nasal fuzz tone, which you control with the Resonance control (that's the knob on the right).  I find that cranking the knob fully clockwise produces a somewhat mellow distortion.  Going the opposite direction gives you the nasty.  The other control is Level, so it's a pretty basic pedal.  If you want a Dano fuzz packed with features, order up some French Toast.

Listen for yourself on this little tune I recorded.  I'm using the Cheese (cranked fully counter clockwise) on my Stratocaster (fourth position) and I used no other effects on the guitar except for a bit of post-mix reverb.  There's no compression, no EQ, or anything - this is the Cheese in all its obnoxious glory.   I think I put the Resonance control in the center for the solo.  The amp provided no coloration either as I went through Pod Farm's basic Fender amp model.

The rhythm guitar went through the same guitar set up, minus the Cheese and with the Pod Farm Phase model.  The Danelectro bass went through my Alesis Smashup compressor.  Oh, the strings and choir sounds came courtesy of a VST instrument plugin called Mellowsound (available at this link) - yeah, I wish someone sold a pedal that made your guitar sound like a budget Mellotron. I would be all over that!

If the Soundcloud widget doesn't appear, please click on this link: Cheezy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tasty Pedal!

You can never have enough fuzz pedals, especially when they're bargain priced!  The Danelectro French Toast was a cheap and cheerful pedal that hit the markets a few years back.  I bought one because it was based on the 1970s classic Foxx Tone Machine, including an octave up feature.  The only drawback to this pedal is the lack of a LED to indicate when the pedal is on.  There probably wasn't room to squeeze in the circuit. 

I recorded "Toaster" to show off the French Toast with the octave up feature engaged (I'm pretty sure the photograph above shows the settings I used for the recording). I find that the pedal sounds more lively that way.  I was using my Stratocaster and no other effects were used, so you're hearing the pedal in all its raw glory.  The echo was added later.  The spooky sounds in the background beginning with the second verse were created with a Minimoog V Original VST instrument.  The bass was my Danelectro (hmm ... is there a pattern here?), while the drums came courtesy of BFD Eco.

If the Soundcloud widget isn't visible, please click here:"Toaster"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Let's Swirl!

So here's a pedal I don't use often enough - the Ibanez Bi-Mode Chorus.  The premise is somewhat unique - this is a single pedal which contains two separate chorus pedals, each with their own SPEED and WIDTH controls (see the above photograph).  Playing around with each pair leads to some intriguing sounds.  I recorded "Swirly" with the controls set above.  The pedal can be heard best in the main guitar line, while the guitar solo is he same setting only with some distortion added.  The more outrageous sounds and stereo effects were made with plug-ins.

If the Soundcloud widget isn't visible, here's the link to the tune:

Swirly .