Effects (Part 1)

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Transcript

Now a lot of folks love the simple combination of a guitar and an app. And you know what you can get a lot done. With just a nice guitar and app, you have things like tone controls, you have overdrive and distortion by cranking the front end of the app, even smoothing out the dynamics with the various gain stages all the way from the pickup to the parent and even the speaker. However, you're not going to have all the spices available, like things like flanges, choruses, polyphonic octave generators, let alone delays, reverbs, or even lupus. To get all these tasty additions to your sound, you get to empty your wallet once again. And these effects are addictive, believe me, it's hard to buy this one but before we look at all the effects, let's break them out into their broad categories.

First, we have ADD gain effects, which include overdrive. distortion fuzz volume and boosters, then onto our dynamics compressors sustain ism noise gates and then a modulators which include quite a variety of things choruses, flanges, phases tremeloes, vibrato rotating speakers, wow. I mean wow was kind of a hybrid between modulators and filters. I know it's a filter but you modulate it with your foot. And then in terms of EQ, we have active EQs. We have graphic EQs treble boosters as well.

Then we get into pitch affects things like octaves or polyphonic activists, and what are called dumb shifters which just transpose you by like a fifth or an optical or something like that, or maybe a third but wouldn't shift if you're in a minor key isn't like that. There are smart shifters that will know what kind of key you're in and what kind of chord shape you're in and harmonize kind of on the fly intelligently. Then they're a dot bomb as well and then we get into add delays or, or our time based effects things like echoes reverb, and and lupus. So let's begin with a game category as we've touched on before gain stages allows for clean signals to be transferred from stage to stage and for that same clean tone to be boosted in order to overdrive the next part of the signal chain. Early effect pedals allows you to boost your guitar signal to send the preamp section of your guitar amp into overdrive.

Earlier, you would have many guitars just cranking up the amps to obscene levels in order to get that great distortion and they got great tone but the AMP was so loud that the volume that obscene volume brought many problems. Early pedals were so great because they overdrive the preamps at more manageable volumes. Okay, so we're moving on To the game, part of our pedal board, overdrive pedals, distortion pedals, boosting pedals, and then how we compound those pedals together and meaning we don't necessarily use just one pedal to get our final solo sound or our final rhythm guitar sound, we actually start turning more than one pedal on stack games, if you will. So, first of all, I'm going to strum my guitar so that you can your ears can acclimate to No, no overdrive, no anything turned on this is just the 65 Pro, plus the 65 Deluxe Reverb and they're running dual mono Here you go.

Okay, so then this is my low drive pedal and then this is my mid gain pedal. And this is my high gain pedal and then when I turn both of these on now, so be my fourth level of gain that we're going to illustrate here. So here's the starting from low to high. Okay, so that's with no boost pedals at all that That's just pure one pedal at a time until I got to my, the last part of my orange pedal, and then that has a low gain and a high gain. And then you turn them both on and you get a whole bunch more. But anyway, so the reason to talk about boost pedals is I think it's the most common thing that you see and people that have great guitar tone.

I don't really know. I'm in a sense of speaking of that have gained applied towards it. You know, you might have guys that are really really famous guitar players that might not play the kind of style of music that I'm talking about, but people like Jimmy Page, and people like Eddie Van Halen, and people like David Gilmore, a lot of people Eric Johnson, the the the list goes on and on that you will find common to all of their sounds is is they have some sort of applied boost going on to the front end of their amplifier. A lot of the people that I named prior their their original No sounds like Van Halen one record, you know, the the original Plexi that that was record on that's not a master volume amplifier, you know those things are turned up until they become bone crushing loud and they get that incredibly great creamy tone.

But you know, like Eddie used an Echoplex, you know, a lot of those guys use echo plexes and and so there was a drive there's actual tube circuitry in an Echoplex, so they would drive those up and that would cause help cause sack saturation to the front end of their their marshals, you know, all those guys throughout all of those times and even in modern day times, everybody's kind of grabbed on to the concept of plugging it pickup straight into an amplifier. It usually isn't enough of a push to really cause some harmonic content to start coming alive. So I have an EP Booster on here which I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with that that's an Echoplex booster so it's a circuitry from an Echoplex. And then I also have an ample Evan on here. And I don't have the drive turned up much on my amp 11 I'm just purely using it to add a little bit of green to the front of the amp.

So I'm going to give you some examples of what the guitar sounds like with just each boost turned on independently before we start stacking gains up against that so here's what the AMP 11 sounds like the way that I have it set up. Once again, let me show you my guitar clean before I turn that on so that you guys have have an idea of how much upgrade that actually have on the sound. See not a whole bunch on there. But I have two illustrations here on this for you because some people always want that little bit of overdrive on their amp modern country players even I come from the generation where we like a real real Papi clean Telecaster that we can further add gain to it. So my all the time sound doesn't really have hair on it, you know, but in this scenario, a lot of players out there have always when they pick up whatever their primary guitar is they have just a tiny little bit.

So once again, this is how much green that I have on the AMP 11 Ah okay, so I'll pop that off and pop the EP Booster on. Presentation of it with nothing turned on So we have this and now I have the the knob on my EP Booster turned all the way off it still has a little bit of a bump i don't know if i think i have the knob setting in for Unity game but nonetheless there's a tiny little bit of a DB bump so this is with the EP Booster now turned on oh ah. So as you can hear it doesn't have any grain I don't have it, pushing hard enough to the front end to cause any grain for the illustration purpose of EP Booster, no green amp 11 a little bit of green that would be your full time and then once and then we'll start compounding low gain, medium gain high gain against where that boost pedal is at and you you can hear how much more saturation that the pedals actually have to the front end of the amplifier.

Now one The front end of the amplifier has kind of been what I like to call lubed up a little bit, it's already been kind of hit a little bit and caused a little bit of saturation, a little bit of harmonic content off that first tube in there. And so this is the EP Booster still on, and then I'm going to run through low, medium and high gain won that setting. Okay, so I'm going to back up for a second and I'm going to go back to my blue channel on The orange petal here because it's kind of more of the primary in between tone. Okay, so this is what the EP Booster turned on, and the mid gain channel on again. Ah okay, so now I'm going to take the EP Booster outline. Can I'll put it back in again real quick.

So that obviously there's a volume bump. And when you're a guy that uses a booster in the modern day world, a lot of times people will take boosters and put them if you're not running stereo, you know, and put them all the way at the end of your signal flow. Or if you're a guy that's that's like how I've got it set up, it's put right after the gain pedals and it's always going to be left on then that's a pretty cool case because if you're turning boosters in and out, it might change Like mix levels on your delays and things like that. So they're kind of funky on where you want to put them in your in your pedal board placement. I like to turn one on and leave it on all the time like an EP Booster like where it's at after my drive pedals.

So once again, here it is with no Eb EP Booster I'm gonna gauge GP just seems to be a quality of juiciness that happens there. So now I'm gonna graduate over it, get rid of the EP Booster, turn the AMP 11 on and then run through the low mid and high gain there with keeping in mind that I have some of the grain or some of the hair on the AMP 11 unlike the EP Booster was done more of as a clean boost. The amp 11 is thought about is a little bit of an overdrive boost. So let me get that set up. So here we are starting with nothing with amp 11. Now we'll go all the way through the gamut again low mid gain and high against 11.

Okay, so then here's the Other school of thought because in the last thing that we were doing with gain staging, we were we can use a pedal, that's where it won't work in one scenario. Let me give you an example here. Okay, so once again, we start with nothing. And then I'm going to turn on my love pedal, and you'll hear that it doesn't really work with my pedal board listen. And the reason why it's set up that way for me is because I only like the sound of that for my guitars in my hands in the way that I'm playing when one of my boost pedals is turned on. So I'm going to go back and turn my amp 11th on.

And then the reason why my love pedal was turned down so low is because it's going to get jacked by that amplifier. pedal so I'm only going to use in that setting. So here's what happens when I turn this this love pedal on against the AMP 11 Okay, so I'm gonna bust that little thing back down again free real quick. Nothing Ah, amp loves pedal only with no boost on. See it sets, the volume of it is quite a bit lower. It really wouldn't work.

As soon as you turn that on with the band plan you would be disappeared. But like I say only use it in the application of staff gain. So once again amp 11 turned back on and love pedals stacked against it. So having said that, it's very, very common to stack even more than that. So if I was to stack my mid gain here on leaving my amp 11 on so I'm starting here Ah, mid gain, ah maybe even gonna put more game against even the blue channel of the orange pedal now. Very super, super subtle and if you hear there's a tiny little bit of a bass boost on when I turn the Nobel's on listen very carefully that's probably comes across as Very, very minute to you in your listening source.

But as a guitar player, I can tell you that that's a huge little bump for a guitar player. When you're playing live that little bit of clumpiness, it actually just kind of plumps the sound a little bit. So, what we're doing is we're slowly compounding gain, like when you're putting plugins on in a session in your recording studio, you don't just take one plug in on and expect to get eight dB of gain out of it. It's the same kind of school of thought here we take just a little we take maybe open up five plugins and we slowly nudge half DBS here half the bees there until we finally do find that eight DB again, in mastering ers, whatever we're looking for. Same thing here. It works really, really good as a slow way to compound your gain.

And it'll change your coloration to based on what pedal is speeding which pedal you know. So here's that blue channel again. You can hear just that little story subtlety but here's the difference. It takes on a little bit more of a creamier, raw little thing that's going on there. But anyway, that's all subjective, all artistic on your part, but it's a fun spot to start with. Not just thinking that one pedal is going to do it all for you in gain land, go ahead and feel free to to step on buttons and stack stuff.

One of the first things that I do when I bring a new pedal in for me to audition is I turn all the pedals all the knobs on 10 everything that I got goes all the way to 10 because I want to find out exactly what the parameters are and what those pedals are doing. And from there, now you can go, I can see if I said that one pedal a very low amount of gain that it actually doesn't really even sound like gain. It just sounds like it kind of plump, the low end and the EQ wise so you'll find out how pedals react to each other by just being brave and just turning on everything all at one time and turning stuff on tan and figuring out what happens, you know? Okay, so we're going to talk real quick about putting pedals before your gain pedals because everything up to that point we had boost pedals on the backside of all of our gain pedals.

And there's a lot of different schools of thought on that, you know, you could take your EP Booster and bump it to the other side of your gain pedals. And now what it does is it causes saturation into those pedals, giving those pedals actually more overdrive or more distortion or whatever the colorful word is for getting more drive as to where running them further down in the signal flow. We're wanting them to push through the rest of the board and get to the front end of that amp to cause that sag on that tube there. But you can use a boost pedal in front of your gain pedals to cause your gain pedals to get more saturation. So a way that people have used it in the past with compressors is a lot of people Just play with a compressor on all the time. I know tons of Nashville guys that they just turn their compressor on.

And they go. So this is with the compressor turned on. I've got it on the raw side of the compressor, right? So if we were to get rid of that, and I'm gonna go over to my Nobel, which is the low drive about where we're at. So we'll go to this mid drive on this hot wired pedal here. So I'm in the blue channel.

And now I'm gonna turn the compressor on. So once again, kind of on the topic of compressors earlier, you can keep with the same amount of gain, but get a longer lasting sustain out of your note. And that's how a lot of people would you In that context with the compressor prior to the gain pedals, but with a boost pedal, it's just a little bit different in one way to illustrate that real quick is to use my Nobel's as my boost pedal. That's going to feed my blue channel on my hot wire. So once again, we start with nothing. I'm gonna turn on blue channel and I'm gonna stack this low gain against my mid game against just absolutely creamy and gorgeous.

So here it is. Once again, listen to the gain stage and real carefully Anyway, that's more of an in depth look at gain boost, pushing the front of the amp, everything that we try to find to find that creamy warm saturation that we're usually going for with our tube amp and our gain pedals. Okay, we're gonna talk real quickly our fuzz pedals buzzes they can be. They're just an artistic tool. Obviously they they find their place on recordings and you know, spots a lot of La guys will use Bose pedals as their predominant drive pedal. It's not something that I see in the country market a whole bunch.

Even I mean, you're like even the rock and pop country and things like that, but so is tonality. Wise clauses are clauses, you know, this is a, this is a sample of a MacPherson fuzz here, so I'll give you a clean dry and I'll add the pedal and so pauses are fuzzers you know you have a silicon based one you have a germanium based one. This is like a hybrid style one still has a great fuzz sound. So, to not get too long winded on fuzzers the the main thing that's worth mentioning with fuzzers and pedal boards and whatnot, if you're not just using them as standalone pedals to record with, they're great, you know, they're they're not going to get influenced by anything. They're just going to give you what you give them and, and the circuitry is going to speak for itself. However, there's a lot of fuzz pedals on the market that hate other pedals big time and so I'm going to give you an example of Adding a drive pedal after the circuitry of a fuzz pedal.

And you can see if we if we start with this real aggressive fuzz sound that we have that the pedal that's in question later on in the mix has a tendency to override the gnarliness of the fuzz and it actually kind of takes on more of that boxes color that doesn't hold true with all boxes, but I'll give you some example. An example here to show you how it can really destroy the dynamic quality of a fuzz. So here we go. You can hear how it just has taken on then it took all of that sizzle and all that craziness from that buzz away from it. It's also worth mentioning that they they actually make now today, certain makers out there, make what's called fuzz friendly wall circuitry because even a wah pedal won't agree with your fuzz pedal and you're like, Well what did Jimi Hendrix Do you know and so, I'll give you a sample of that.

This is with the wall going after the fuzz and once again, we start out with this really gnarly sounding fuzz and when I engage the wall, you'll hear how it kind of makes everything a little bit more polite and it has a tendency to rob the dynamic sizzle away from the fuzz here. I think that that can be kind of maddening to a lot of players because if You are a buzz player, you want that dynamic thing that that fuzz is doing, you can hear how much that it tends to just Rob that whole entire, you know, like I was saying before the sizzle from the top. So that's just something to watch when using fuzzers otherwise falls away because they're an amazing creative tool. The sub set of effects known as dynamic effects have a little overlap with a game group, but basically a form of three different categories.

You've got two compressors, limiters, AND gates. In terms of the compressors, basically what a compressor does is it sets the threshold so that anything that spikes over there is compressed it down to a ratio. So therefore, if six DB it was above this threshold, that was a two to one ratio, it would only allow that to be to go up about three dB. Basically, it turns out you've your spikes, and the nice thing if you set it fairly aggressively. It will give you a long sustain if you're driving into a an overdrive preamp, you're getting a lot of that compression happening there. But there's lots of other applications for compressors.

Gates will also allow you to set a threshold. But anything that falls below that, then will just be cut off. It's really great if you have noisy effects, and that way that anything that falls below a certain threshold, it will just see as noise. In other words, you set the noise floor and set the threshold just above that. So therefore, anything you play above that will get past the gate, but just your regular noise will fall underneath that gate and effectively be muted. Okay, so we're moving on to compressors here for a drive section.

The first thing I'm going to talk about is a boss CS two compressor. It's something that you know, as a guitar player, myself as a pro guitar player from you know, a long time ago I didn't really even know about compressors really and how they interact With your guitar playing as a rock and roll guitar player because I was I was using drive pedals or my drive in my amplifier, that was my compression. And until I started, I moved to Nashville and became a country player. What what that helped us guys making that transition from was we were playing through an amplifier with just a pickup and we give it a whole bunch out of our right hand and we'd really get nothing back out of it. And a compressor in that sense kind of takes the place of Wow, your drive pedal was treating you when you were a rock player, you know, so that's one way to view the angle on a compressor.

So the boss CS two was a compressor that Brent Mason had made famous and many other great players have used the same compressor it really has a it for me it kind of states the sound of 90s Telecaster, you would hear this sound all over once again, the Alan Jackson records that Brooks and Dunn records all of the things that were cut during that that timeframe by Brent Mason and others that were also using this as part of their sounds so I'm going to give you an example with nothing turned on once again just cable to the input I do have a Pro Reverb turned on and then I have my 65 Deluxe Reverb turned on as well so we got a couple amps going on here. We're just going to give you a simple sound so your ears acclimate to it non not being compressed.

So here's what that sounds like. Okay, and so I've got the compression levels turned up quite a bit on the boss CST right now just to illustrate a harder compression setting. So this is what that sounds like. Okay, so from my taste that's a little bit hard. So we'll dial them back a little bit and get something that's a little bit more closer to the compression settings that you heard with telecasters all over the radio for years. So you can hear it's not Platt telling the sound quite as much because that's what it does, you know your sound goes up it's going to make a sharp spike and it the compressor plateaus and stops that from being these sharp spikes flying out of these amplifiers and making it really uncontrollable for a sound man or, or for you in your recording studio and you're trying to last so your level so they're not spiking and you're not getting overs on your tracks and stuff.

They work really really good for that but they become a huge crutch for a whole army of guitar players that followed players like Brent Mason and and it became almost an overused thing that you hear on on records and in live shows for artists and predominantly you know, like a Nashville kind of vibe because you know, la pop is going to a lot of times and before the the newer national music came up, we were playing clean guitars and you know, la was playing guitars with distortion on them and that was their compression. And so this was our compression is guys that were playing chicken pickin guitar parts that are heard on really cool stuff like Vince Gill records and you know, all of the previous records that I had mentioned. So one thing that that a compressor does and things that had gotten improved on later was that a compressor has a tendency to lose some of the the high end it'll because we're playing with single coil pickups we want for our high end to be pretty Poppy and bright most of the time and that's because that's the sound of the single coil pickup.

So this next compressor that I have on my board, they went after some of that so the the sound of the plateaued hard plateau sound. I'll give you another example of that before I turn the car off. That's what this this is what that sounds like Hold on. So Ah, so again, kind of you can hear it plateau in that sound I got nails on and I'm biting into it real hard, and it's causing that plateau. Well As time went on and music started changing and people's record producers started saying I don't want to have that much compression on the guitar on this record. Some of the makers out there started going well maybe we should make it so you can Blend in that amount of compression into your guitar.

So the next compressor that I'm going to audition here for us actually has that function. So let me get my bosses to shut off. I'll get the other one turned on and we'll set a hard compression setting for it so that your ears acclimate to what that hard compression setting sounds like in that pedal. And then we'll pull it back and then we'll slowly blend in the compressor into the sound so that we don't hear as much of that hard flat towing sound. Okay, so here we go. Hold on.

Ah, you can hear all hard that that is right. Yeah, it's a very hard compressor compressor setting. I'll play it again so that your ears acclimate. Ah, okay, that's a wonderful sounding compressor and a great compressor setting, but maybe a little bit too much plateauing going on there. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to turn my blend knob now off so that we have none of that complete towing of that compressor blended into our original guitar signal. So hold on and we'll do that.

Okay, so you can hear that it's pretty much non affected at this point, we're really hearing pickup to vintage Fender amplifier. So one thing that's worth mentioning here is, is when you start using a compressor, even if it's in your recording studio, or it's a plugin that you have in your recording studio, albeit a plug in or hardware, there's always going to be makeup gain on there, because as you start grabbing a hold of The signal you know obviously it's going to kind of pull your volume back a little bit because that's what it's designed to do is designed to plateau that sound. So I have to pull my makeup volume back down now because now I'm going to start blending in my compressor. And and so we have to find a commonality between the two on where our makeup gain should sit. So I'm going to dial that in real quick.

Okay, so in blended in right now with my original, my compressor settings that I have to my original guitar signal, I'm blended in by about 40% which is a pretty good place to be for my style of playing anyway. As you can hear that the high end is still there. On now. overly compressing so that I'm chopping off and I have to use too much of the makeup high end. However, that's another thing that was adjust that was addressed on some of the newer compressors is this actually as a tone knob on it as well to compensate for single coil pickup guy that's once a real Papi bright sun and Telecaster that also wants a higher compression setting. And you end up with losing your high end not a bit.

So I have the tone knob turned up on this, you know to about 130 or so and it's at a good makeup spot for my tone at that point. So I'm going to further blend this up. Now the same compressor settings, the same tone settings, and then the volume will have to be brought down a little bit because I'm going to blend more in so we'll have to change our makeup gain a little bit. So I'm at about I suppose maybe 130 I'm sorry, I'm at about 11 o'clock 1230 on my blend and I'm going to go ahead and bring That all the way up to about two o'clock and blend even more of the signal in. So you can hear it starts robbing it from some of the dynamics of the guitar when you get it up to a higher compression setting, but that a lot of time is what people's goal is, is to rob it from some of that dynamic so that it sits more even in the track, you know, you don't have those sharp spikes like I had mentioned before.

Another thing mentioned worth mentioning, is uh, hold on a sec. This compressor got really popular on the market as well. It's just a two non compressor but this is based on the original Ross compressor which Trey Anastasia from fish made very, very popular and that's why makers like this started actually making them as they'd stop making Ross compressors There's a very, very long time ago, this has a very, very cool tone to it. And it's a lot different than telling on it is a lot different than like say a CES. You know, the, the other popular one in the market was the Dyna comp, you know. So when I was living in Nashville and playing in the 90s, and during that era and playing on a having to go out with artists and duplicate what was on records, I had a Dyna comp in my rig, because Dan huff was the number one session player at the time that was playing more of the rock style country and he used the Dinah calm, and then Brent Mason was playing all of the real chicken picking country on the records.

So I had a boss CS two and depending on what song I was going to use it on, then I would switch to the chicken picking compressor, or I would switch to the Dyna comm compressor, which catered more to maybe just helping to boost your drive pedal on your board, maybe giving you a little bit more sustained without having as much drive you know. So that is one of the tricks with compressors that I'll show you here in a second. And then this is another style compressor that got real popular in the market. So this has a Ross compressor on one side so it's a duplicate circuitry and they just go in and do their trim pots different and you know, make it so you could administrate your your, your attack and sustain differently and things like that, but but nonetheless going after the same circuitry, and then this also has the circuitry of an old vintage orange squeezer which is a really, really cool.

Back in the day, that's what people would have used for like playing like vinyl, next slide and stuff like that. It worked really, really good for that. And let me let me give you an illustration of how somebody might use that their compressor along with their drive pedal, because a lot of times you still don't want your guitar to have bone crushing distortion on it. You just want just a little bit of overdrive, but when you only have just a little bit of overdrive, you only have just a little bit of compression to see if you add a compressor to your little bit of overhead Drive. Now you don't change, let's say the amount of drive that you would have like on a Leonard Skinner song, you just have a longer lasting note with that same amount of drive on there. So I'll set up a compressor and I'll illustrate that for you real quick.

Okay, so I'm going to hit a note and I'm going to let you follow the sustain on that but I'm not going to get any more drive or any more overdrive because that's the amount that I'm looking for just a little bit slight, overdrive. Okay, so I'm going to add the compressor to it and it almost acts like a saturator in front of it, it's actually it's outputting a little bit of gain into my overdrive pedal. And this is a very, very common way to stack gain on your pedal board. So you can see I didn't change the amount of overdrive but now my notes are lasting longer and that's pretty cool thing because a lot of times that'll let your upper body relax as a player. So one more time to turn the compressor off so you have a, you can acclimate your ears to non compressed in front of my overdrive.

You can hear it dissipate a lot more rapidly. Okay, so I'll do the same lick the same attack, I'll turn my compressor on and show you the difference. So definitely gives it a little bit more brawn to because you're actually adding gain into your overdrive pedal. So we will talk about compounding gain as our segments continue on, but it was worthy talking about the compressor feeding into a drive pedal. And then there's another theory on how people like to use their compressors and people don't necessarily like to feed their compressor into their drive pedal. They'll compress after the drive because basically, if you are compressing your signal, and you're taking all the sharp spikes out of it and plateauing, it spreads Some people that would be counterproductive of how they want their drive pedal sound they want their drive pedal to be as dynamic as possible so when you're stabbing it and grabbing it, it's really being all it can be and then once it sees its dynamics then you can compress after that and help plateau that so there's a couple different schools of thinking on not what's right but what works for each artists situation.

But anyway, that's a general overview of compressors and many of the different makers on the market in the stars that basically use these you know, these compare these bosses to is Brent Mason is heavily known for that compressor. You know, the analog man stuff is super cool with the orange squeezer in it. I use the orange squeezer in conjunction with my foot pedal, because maybe I don't want my fuzz pedal to just, you know, be the most gnarly grind that I have. I just want for it to sustain a little bit longer in that short squeezes, size of that seems to agree with the circuitry in my brain. So it's a great application for that. And then once again, this is the Ross clone compressor that's out there.

And once again, they sound just absolutely there was a whole army of people including myself that were all Dyna comp users. And when we got ahold of this Ross clone compressor, we pretty much got rid of our Dyna comps I know I did. I had an old script logo Dinah calm 25 year old Dyna comp or something crazy like that and actually put it aside and started using that compressor over it. And I know a lot of people that are much higher profile players than myself in the session world. They did the same. But anyway, that's a that's a general overview of compression

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