Effects (Part 2)

43 minutes
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Now the modulator effects are based on some part of the tone changing over time. Probably the simplest example would be a volume swell with your little finger on the volume knob of a strat, you're bringing the volume up and down with a movement of your finger. The volume is the parameter being modulated and the modulator is your finger right here. Now awawa pill could be argued that it's a modulator effect. I know it's a filter effect as well. But basically awawa boosts a narrow band of frequencies and sweeps that up and down the frequency spectrum.

The boosted frequencies are being modulated, and your foot sweep that up and down and soon you're seeing the theme from shaft and I won't do that. That was probably one of the you know, probably the first time overheard a while was was probably White Room by Kramer great, great song. So the main modulation effects of chorus flange phases, remember vibrato ring modulator, Leslie effects like rotating speaker effects and wow, we'll hear them but here's how they kind of work one by one. A Chorus plays a very short delay around 20 or 16 between 20 and 60 milliseconds, and sweeps that delay time back and forth. A flanger does the same thing but with a very short delay, usually under 10 milliseconds and then add feedback to add a kind of a tail that sounds sometimes called jet planting a phaser split the signal and sweeps the phase of that resulting signal resulting in natural comb filtering to give you a very, very unique sound tremolo modulates the volume by modulating the pitch though, in truth there are very few true vibrato units out there they're normally really tremolo.

A ring modulator modulates the carrier signal that's your guitar with a modulation signal and then outputs the sum difference. We'll hear examples of these. But then allegedly effect basically models what happens when you run your guitar through a rotating speaker cabinet and play off what happens when you hear kind of an ambulance siren moving towards you, and away from you in net Doppler effect, you get cyclic changes in pitch and Wawa sweeps through a narrow boost of frequency, a narrow band of boost a boost of frequency up and down this frequency spectrum with the rock of your foot net enough theory. Let's see all these guys in action. Okay, so we're going to start with our modulation stuff. We're going to start with a flanger and modulation and a very artistic tool.

Indeed, Eddie Van Halen really really used his lander to the nth and use it in you know, for a two note phrase on a signature or to just completely you know, overtake a section of a song or If you know what flashing sounds like, you can pick it out on many, many different records. It can be used in a lot of cases away from just a guitar, you know, they use it in big mixes and things like that. But anyway, I will start with my guitar clean again. So you can have an acclamation of it unaffected, and then we'll put in a real mild effective planning first. So here you go. This is just guitar.

I know Robin Trower used a real mild flange or like what we're doing there and in-city dreams record. And I'll give you a sample of that just to show you that it can be used. There's, there's a speed so it's going to tell you how fast that the it's going to sweep through the parameters that you've set. Then it has a depth. So it has a high to the peak and it has a low to the peak and then your speed is what tells it to reach the high in the low faster or slower, then then the regeneration kind of works is how much of that effect that you want to dramatize. So, in this scenario, I have the regeneration turned down.

And this is from a somewhat of a setting like he would have used Robin Trower use electric mistress as a matter of fact back in the day, and this is kind of a close example of that. That would have been his signature phrase that he started out with and then he changed his slander or he likely used a couple I'm pretty sure and then the regeneration was set quite higher. So the next example Out of that song, that same song is him just playing an E chord. So this is what it sounds like when you have regeneration and your depth you know or width can also be called the width of how far that the logos and how high that the the peak goes. So here's just a strum chord so you can kind of hear how that would react. So I'm going to decrease the regeneration on this manually so you can see what that effect actually does.

Here's the regeneration set at this level, which is a very, very minimum level. And now I'm going to strum a chord and then we're going to go ahead and turn the regeneration up and you can kind of see that it's one of the key parameters that you would want to mess with and how thick that you want that in your mix. So here we go. So there was some flanges out there that referred to that as a jet flange in the Pat travers band made great use of ada flandre at hf lander back in the day, which was one of the real cutting edge thing which had had its own expression pedal that you could talk to it and change its its parameters on it to some degree at the time when Way back in maybe 70s or 80s or so. But when you hear that, the real sharp, you know the the sound that that was making once again, I'll give you another sample of that.

This is kind of reminiscent to some of that I actually have this one set to the M xR flange around here the gray old xR planter that we use, but it's a super, super thick planter. And anyway, so that's all too creative taste but that's just a quick rundown of planning. Okay, so we're gonna move over to phasers and phasers can be more in depth or they can be really super simple like if you took a phase 90 and you go to the store and buy a phase 90. It just has one knob on it, you know they have all their parameters already set on that and then they released a phase one 100 and then you could change your sine wave within that phase so they can be involved. But really, most of the time that I've heard them used on hit records and stuff, it's just as just the phasing sound, the speed set to how to taste basically.

So here's the dry guitar once again, and then I will add the effect. So you've had to have heard that before. And that was a classic use of that. Another cool use of the of the phaser that was used that I know a lot of people didn't pick out for many, many years after even after the song, or the guitar solo had gotten famous. This space settings a little bit is not exactly perfect but he didn't use anything special he used a phase nine year phase 100 but when you play eruption that's what he actually what he has turned on on that thing you know. So if you were playing that you had your phaser turned on you can hear when he's making his his two hand and stuff this you can actually hear the the sweep working through it.

And that's what kind of what gave it an odd sound in its day because nobody was doing two handed stuff, let alone were they doing real busy stuff with a phaser sweeping throughout the whole thing you know. So here's a little sample of how that phaser was used in that era. So I'm sure you've heard that 9000 times but anyway, that was the effect that was used to do that. So once again, modulation is very artistic. So use it to taste in your own recordings and you'll find it to be once again a great writers tool. Okay, moving on to chorus.

I'll give you an example real quick of the of the dry guitar. And then we have this hooked up as stereo chorus. And I have both of these amps still turned on. And so we are getting a full stereo spread here. Chorus has been used on gazillions and stuff, it's kind of tying data itself into the 80s a little bit. People use it on their heavy guitar tracks, and it kind of got a different sound there and then people use it on their clean tracks, you know, the police people like that used a lot of that stuff.

So anyway, I'll give you a quick example. So you understand when you can hear it in your speakers, what stereo chorus kind of sounds like it's a little bit different than mono choruses, mono you can feel like you have a static note that's just getting jiggled, you know, and that sometimes can sound a little bit out of tune with the band, depending on the chorus and how much jiggle that there's actually happening in there. But when you have a stereo chorus, a lot of times, courses that you would buy out on the market, one side is just dry and the other side chorusing and it kind of gives you a phasing effect and that's why it appears to grow in width to you. And while other courses actually really truly do don't have, they do have a stereo imaging instead of just a wet dry kind of a field, so it depends on which course that you have.

This is a pretty nice course that's inside the Mobius here. And so I have this guide, dialed up here as stereo so I'll give you a sample of a dual mono signal and then I'll engage it and then you can hear the difference between dual mono and when it actually does widen to stereo Alright, moving to the next phase, we're going to move into the tremolo department here. For anybody that doesn't know the difference between tremolo and vibrato tremolo is the wavering of volume. So like, if I was just turned my guitar, I was just to turn my guitar up and then just use my volume knob I could emulate it okay, because that's all the function is doing. as it were by Bravo is actually a little change in pitch. So those are the two differences, which makes it very confusing when you own Fender amplifiers that are called a vibro locks and then they made a tremolo tremolo locks.

The Bible locks did not have by Bravo in it really it had. It had tremolo in it because it was not varying your pitch it was varying your volume, so kind of a stretch back there, but but indeed, that's what a tremolo does. So once again, I will give you my dry guitar effect and then I will give you a sample of a thick tremolo to acclimate your ears on to what the effect does. So that's set to a real you know, there's different waves that they write these in. So you can have a, like a triangle wave, or a square wave, or, you know, whatever all of the difference waves are, I've got another trend that we're going to listen to and it has a, it's very in depth on what it does as far as waves are involved. And then it also has patterns in it and stuff like that.

But so, what we first listened to on that sample was more of a square wave, a very, very thick, huge tram, very buttery to. So this, this pedal here happens to have what's called Hard and Soft had it on the hard setting walk, walk, walk, walk. And now we're going to put it on soft, because the soft will be a lot less. And they'll put that in context with the song that you've probably heard before. And then you can you can understand what the how the effect is using context of a song. I think everybody recognizes that.

So what we'll do now is we'll jump over to the pattern trim and show you what some of the newer makers have done with the same effective tremolo. Okay, so we're all set up to give a demo on this, this tremolo here, I've got it set to a pattern, an algorithm that's actually written in it. So it's one of the options that you can choose, and it gives you a rhythmic tempo, you know, so, a lot of people might look at a tremolo and go How would that be used in, in music, okay, so I'll give you the, the, the the rhythm of it. So here you go. So there's a myriad of things that you could do with that you could write within the rhythm. You could use it against an already existing rhythm of four and then you could apply a poly rhythm over the top of it.

So there's these these things get really, really crazy but I, the best application that I found that it works for for my use, is just simply, you've heard a lot of people use helicopter trends and stuff so a pattern helicopter trend to me is pretty doggone fun. So here's what that would sound like. Okay, we're moving on to Speaker rotation, which is basically just emulating the old Leslie cabinets that were out um Stevie Ray Vaughn use that effect. A lot of people use that effect in very, very small doses here and there or for big thick effects. The it has some functions that are worth discussing. You have to remember that Leslie had an amplifier in it and I believe the old ones were actually tubes so they could distort you know so this has a drive amount and it allows you to add your own distortion right to the pedal without having to add another pedal to cause the distortion within it which would have been accurate to an actual Leslie cabinet.

And it also has ramped up and down so if you can imagine you got the horn spinning in there and it's at its slowest speed right now and that enabled you to engage that and make it go faster. And that was kind of the sound of it that you heard you know. So I can demonstrate in a couple different ways. If you think back to like the the ice skating and roller skating rink days when you heard the the big, swirling v3 Oregon those were pretty much I was played clean you know and had that big, beautiful swirling Leslie clean kind of sound That to me is kind of identified from that era in those kind of skating rinks. And then it On the contrast side of that, you had people like john Lord on records with deep purple where it's just rage and distortion on there and that v3 to swirling away.

So those are the two contrasts of using drive level or not using drive level. So what I'm first going to do is I'm going to strum a chord on my guitar clean, I'm going to turn the pedal on with the ramp at its slowest speed, then I'm going to engage the ramp and then we can take it up to that spot. So here's the guitar clean and then I'll start engaging buttons on the pedal itself. I'm gonna slow down the highest peak of the ramp because it's really fluttering real fast right now. So the horn is spinning as fast as it can. So this pedal allows you to slow that down.

At its highest peak, so I'm going to slow it down. This is what it sounds like when you engage the drive. So once again, here's clean and this is with the drive engage and then I'll fiddle with buttons here and you can see how much drive this is pretty intuitive as it gives you drive level and drive amount so you can add as much you know, distortion you want. Like I want to have your drive boxes on your pedal board, and then you can blend that sound up against this clean sound. So drive level drive a mount okay. can hear it gets really really gnarly it starts really whipping in the you got all that, you know, just distortion, just nailing the crap out of it.

So it also has what's called mic placement on it, and then that's what soundman did on these things to kind of to figure out how they want that to sound in the mix. Maybe you want more of the horn mixture maybe you don't want it to be so harsh on the horn so it gives you more bass or more treble depending on how close to that the mic is to the horn. So some of these pedals have mic placement on them and I've talked to sound men that that might be threes all the time and and obviously that's that's a big thing for them on placement of Mike on how to Michael Leslie cabinet because it's not anything that's traditional, that's for sure. So I'll turn the drive amount off. And then I'm going to engage a little bit of drive on my pedal board because and Stevie Ray Vaughan's application He would have been drive and his vendors you know they're going to be up there turned up to like maybe nine or 10 or whatever, turn them up to me adding some drive on my pedal board a little bit of overdrive to it and and then this would have been the application on how he would have used that and in some sort I'm not quite exactly sure on his speed but it sounded something like this.

Okay, we're gonna take a quick look at ring modulator, ring modulator is a can be a quirky little effect. Definitely used for a special and maybe raises eyebrows and a little bit of a chuckle on the side because it's a very off the wall kind of sounding effect. But anyway This is what a ring modulator sounds like when it's pure in your sync in your signal before we start dividing it out, so we have this. Alright, so we're able to take the original note and then put the affected note against it and causing disturbance. So I'm going to show you how you can dial our frequency kind of into more of a unison, and it starts cleaning it up a little bit, but I haven't really heard it used in that context. But that's what you're really doing as part of one of the parameter adjustments in a ring modulator.

So here's what that sounds like when I start matching frequency back up to original signal. Very odd indeed. So anyway, so we're going to use an example on way back a gazillion years ago with Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi actually used a non affected amplifier and then ran a modulators through another amplifier. So you'll be able to split these in stereo and hear one blended to the other. So I'll turn my other amp back up and then I'll give you an example of just a little piece in the spirit of the solo that he played on paranoid just a pentatonic little easy run that'll kind of emulate what he did and on the record from the Paranoid record, I believe in 68 Very odd very odd indeed. Okay, so he so here's a in the spirit of something that Tony might have played.

All right, we'll take a quick look at some wall pedals here to some things have grown since the 60s that crybaby wall design is lasted the test of time, no doubt about it. I'm the same cast box that they used to even make a lot of the new laws are still built from that same cast mold, basically. And so the design still holds up. Some of the things that that have they tried to improve on a little bit is maybe you don't want for your wall to see the highest peak, you know. So, to back up, let's talk about like, LFO. So as we were Using flanges and phasers and things like that we had an automatic LFO sweeping through to cause our sweep, right.

So basically a wah pedal is in a very general way of thinking, if you were to take, let's say, like a 31 band EQ, and have the ability to highlight those things as you sweep through manually, that's kind of what that is. This is a very vocal wall. So if I strum a chord on here, this is an open chord, you kind of can hear how it goes through all of the points of the cue within the in the wall. So this is that starting from heel position and then just slowly working through toe So you can kind of hear that it can be harsh in certain areas. So what some of the companies have done to try to improve on that is, is say that you did have a 31 band EQ and you were sweeping from low up to high. They put a cue factor in there, you know, so so you can kind of limit your bandwidth, you know, so maybe you want it to start low, but you want it to end before it gets in this or it gets up into that area.

You know, personally, I really, really liked those areas because they really screen live when you got some distortion on it. But as a funk skank player, somebody that's playing kind of that stuff. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

You might have that limited, get a little bit maybe Maybe the horn players are whining because they don't like that top thing there. But anyway, so they've tailored these things a little bit so you can kind of mess with the cue and whatnot. And then a lot of these effects that have been on the market including the wall, when you engage them a lot of times you might have been losing some volume in there. So you have gained control over a lot of these newer walls and things like that, that if they've been proved, but to be quite honest with you the original crybaby wall that was released, you know, it stood the test of time, I think that it's important to, to actually look at the, the actual backbone of the wall to it. It was derived from, I believe, Clyde McCoy. And he was a trombone player.

And he had the, you know, the, the plunger that he put on the end of a trombone, and that gave that Wow, wow sound and that the wah pedal was actually modeled after him. I believe that that's why you see walls out there now called like the Clyde wall, you know, or the real McCoy is a name of other walls out there. And because it all derives from that original trombone player that was using to get that kind of sound. So that's how people started emulating that. Walk on letting that plunger off that bell of that trombone, you know. So that's your traditional style wall.

And then obviously, if it didn't still sound like a wall wouldn't be a wall sees. If you make a new design, you still kind of have to follow the same pattern of a manual LFO sweeping through an EQ band, you know, but there's a in the newer market of today. They have what's called auto engage, which is really super cool. So this wall here happens to be the same function so he'll just like that. This is heel down, toe goes to the highs. I start here.

My, there's my lows starting to come in, and then it'll sweep to the highs if you listen. These new auto engage style pedals that are out in the market can be really handy. You can be playing and only phrase a couple notes. So think about you have to click the switch on on that one. You have to rock it back. And now hit your phrase if you wanted to only have two notes.

So the way that I've seen it used in play if you just make like a riff, I will go You can see I can catch just one or two notes of my phrase. And as soon as I let my foot off the pedal, it automatically shuts itself off and it automatically engages it as soon as I step on the thing. So basically the same thing as any other wah pedal but has auto engage involved. There's another really cool thing in Wall plane throughout the years that people have used, and it's called cocked wah. So if we turn this guy on, and then we sweep back until we find where in the queue that we want to highlight, then we're going to leave the wall right in that position, and that's the sound of the guitar solo or maybe even the whole song. Michael Shanker was he's one of the biggest names that I know that used cocked Wah On a lot of stuff that he did.

So Here's an example of what that might sound like. Let's say that our was going to stay right there now. That would be our solo tone. The whole idea behind it is is to try to find a spot where it stays. I've seen as being a pedal board builder for a long time, I had a lot of walls come in that did this. You see when I step on this, it automatically won't actually stay in one spot like that.

And if you look in there, and a lot of these walls, you can find an adjustment that will actually tighten that's called the trundle. So you can actually tighten the trundle. So now you can actually keep it pinned in that one spot. You know One of the workarounds that people have done to try to emulate the Brian May tone is by using cocked Wah sound. So if you can imagine that we'll go back into a sound here we'll find we'll find wherever the Q factor is that that meets kind of that, that profile of that sound. So I'll slowly sweep until I find it and then I'll play the lick.

So that's pretty close there. That's a pretty close cue for that thing. So this is what this would sound like. You can hear that he has that he has that kind of a sound kind of built in his is done through the pickups in a phasing thing. But people use the caulk wall sound to try to emulate that because none of us own a guitar like Brian May does but it So those are some of the quick overview of Wah pedals and whatnot. The filter and EQ effects bleed over from the regular tone stacks in your app and also new guitar, a graphic EQ can be a great standalone effect that can completely shape that your tone in a very dramatic way, was simply a great way to kind of stabilize or normalize your time across a number of disparate guitars.

All right, we'll speak about EQs here real quick. For a guitar player, analog EQ, in my opinion is a little bit different than say if you opened up a plugin in Pro Tools and you are going to EQ your snare drum, you know, you're looking for pristine clean, killer EQ or something that's analog and grainy, you know, in analog grainy world for electric guitar player playing in these genres of music that we've been talking about here. It's, you know, it's very subjective on how you want to actually EQ your own rig so can't really Get into that I've seen session player friends of mine that are pretty far up the totem pole really use radical sloping and things like that in there they're queuing to go for a specific thing that they're looking for, you know a real scoop low end thing that's going to marry up to like an acoustic guitar and give this odd out of phase sound or something.

Radical movements let me put it that way. All I can do is really base it on my personal experience without being subjective with your tone. So when we talked earlier about boost pedals and boosting into an amplifier and causing it to sag a little bit and giving some goodies to that first tube slot there this is what I use this pedal for four years. You know, any I could only afford 30 and $50 pedals you know, and not, you know, more boutique pedals that are designed to do that exact job of today. So, one thing that led me to doing it was, I have a maple neck guitar here and then my primary channel Telecaster is a Brazilian rosewood well for 20 years I played a maple neck Telecaster in a rosewood Stratocaster or a rosewood, Paul Reed Smith was another one of my primary guitars.

And so I take my maple neck Telly out and I would use the EQ to bump you know, I bumped like 200 I bumped 800 fatten my Telly up a little bit, but then he used the level knob on it to add x amount of dB to the front end of my amplifier to act like it's an EP Booster or act like an AMP 11 or act like a sparkle driver, whatever we're using to boost our brand underbar amplifier. So this is kind of what that sounds like. And in this application, what I'll show you is is the 3.2 that's on the on the EQ is something that I always kept flat from my maple neck guitar. And then when I put on my rosewood guitar, it would be a little bit dark, you know, or it maybe it had a humbucker in the back so it was a little bit darker and I needed To add a little bit more presence back to it, so I was constantly sliding my 3.2 back and forth based on my maple neck versus my rosewood neck.

So anyway, so this is with 200 bumped, 800 bumped, and then my level has been bumped up as well. So here I am with guitar only. And I'm going to turn it on. And I'm going to get this kind of boost out of this thing. Ah, you can automatically hear the amps start coming to life and it's not just because it got louder really, it's because of the push to the front end. I could easily balance the the volume of the AMP Maxim but it's still going to have that little hairiness on top.

That's pretty cool for a $50 pedal. That's almost doing the same job. So If you have a buffer in your rig that you want to push more cable length with, well, by turning that pedal on, you just added a buffered signal to your rig. So now you can push high Z cable a little bit further. Now you can EQ your rig. And now you can actually gain your rig up out of one little $50 pedal and that that's a huge help.

So, I'm going to give you the representation of what the maple neck sounds like. And then I'm going to quickly strap on my Telly that's got Brazilian rosewood, which is the darkest sounding of the rosewood to get a great contrast and you can hear that by balancing it back out with 3.2 then I end up with kind of unity tone or a unity gain or however you want to look at that which is something that you need, which we'll address right after we get undoing the tele comparison. So once again, here's the strat Here's the telly to me that's a little bit I don't know I was coming across from the miking but it's it's, it's darker especially if I put it on the front pickup. So increased a couple of dB of 3.2 k on the pedal. Now this is the Brazilian rosewood. See how it's almost unity back to the strat there.

Obviously you don't want your whole entire guitar collection sound the same, but you're taking high end spikes and you're taking muddiness out and you're trying to find common ground. And another use for these pedals that I've seen and then I use with my pedal board company with some of the more high profile people I built pedal boards for is we would use them to balance out guitars say let's say that you had a Gretsch with filter drones. You had a Telecaster and then you had, say a strat with a humbucker in the back and those were your three primary show guitars and the whole band you're standing up there you have eight people on stage that have already soundcheck all with their own in ear mix. Alright, so you pick up a guitar that your Telecaster that made it had a lower gain to it. And everybody soundcheck with that and everybody was happy, they heard their guitar, they asked for your guitar in their mix and they got it where they liked it in the mix.

Now you pick up your Stratocaster in the middle of the show. That has a humbucker in it, it's obviously going to be louder than a Telecaster with a with a just a regular standard single coil in it. Typically they're louder, because it's a higher output pickup, and now you bumped your whole overall rig up by maybe two dB. Well, what that does to the whole band on stage is it bumps up their volume, you have your guitar in their in ear mix, and it changes their mix and it can be not cool is in a lot of situations. So we use these EQs to balance guitars out one of the high profile people that I built pedal board for, he had three old vintage s 125. Well, none of those guitars sound the same yesterday, the same model, maybe they're made all in the same year or within two or three years from each other.

But one might be darker because the pickup has more wines. one's more trebly because of the pickup has less wines. Maybe it didn't have as good as would made and guitar number three, so it doesn't have as much overall volume. And projectionist guitar number one did. Alright, so we took three graphic EQs labeled them number one, two and number three. And then on the back of the headstock of all of the guitars, they're labeled number one, two and three.

That way when he the tech comes out with guitar number one and hands it to the star, then the star just has to turn on the EQ that applies to guitar number one. In this case, the tech did all of the switching of the pedals as well. So before he even brought that guitar out, he would just pop it with his hand, hit EQ, number one. And now all of the guitars all pretty much were had unity gain, and none of them were too bright. None of them were too dark compared to the other ones because they're all essentially the same guitar. Maybe they have.

One has a little bit different tuning than the other or something like that. But essentially all being running through old p90x, and everybody knows that old vintage guitars are they're not very consistent in tone, you know, you get a good one you get a bad one or whatnot. But we have used these graph cues and many times scenarios like that with building pedal boards for people to help balance their rack of guitars out for in ear mixes, or just for front of house or just for the artists themselves, so that they can feel like they're still playing the same guitar, albeit they just changed to a different guitar, you know, totally speaking. So anyway, that's a some of the tips on that. As time went on, I kept telling people, why doesn't somebody make a programmable EQ so we don't have to put three cues on there.

And so thus that did happen. This guy came out on the market and it's an excellent unit, you know, you can do the exact same thing. I play a lot of lap steel while I play guitar at the same time, you know, up on a table so I can EQ this to my lap steel and I can EQ it to my Telecaster, and then when I make my change, you know, I can actually go in here and talk to it MIDI, you know, so if I have a MIDI switcher in front of me, bam, I just change my cue setting to my new instrument on the fly. And then there's quite a few presets that you can write inside these things. So this is a great unit for doing that somebody finally did make a programmable EQ And so anyway, that's the the rundown and EQ stuff.

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