Pedal board Tetris Fail

Last night I mentioned that I was going to add another overdrive pedal to my big pedal board. Well, not today.

I took it out of the case and looked it over to see if I could fit that extra pedal. It’s a mini pedal, so yay? I can’t fit it into the spot it will go in the signal chain. If I am going to use it I will have to put it somewhere else and then wire it in the proper order with some longer patch cables.

There is a spot where it should fit easily. Unfortunately, the only cables I have that will reach from where it should be to where it is and back are not right angle connections and with those plugged in on each side it won’t fit. Not even close.

So the moral of the story is, don’t forget the importance of having the right kind of cables. Now I want to rewire the whole kit and caboodle (did I spell that right?) with the thinnest pancake connections I can get my mitts on. Oh well.

Fuzz

I accomplished two things tonight with a little guitar playing. First, I made myself a tiny bit less sad over Bellana going away, even if it was for only a few minutes. Second, I think I may have convinced myself to not use retail therapy to make myself feel better even if only for a few minutes. Well… I avoided retail therapy again. I went to the Rush website earlier and bought a couple of t-shirts. As stated in a previous post today, I am in a rare period of my existence where I feel the need to resupply the wardrobe as it were. Whatever, I almost bought a new Fuzz Face pedal (the Joe Bonamassa signature. It’s supposed to be geared toward humbuckers where Fuzz Faces are more traditionally geared toward single coils even though I am pretty sure that is just bullshit based on Jimi Hendrix, but I digress) but instead I took the little mini Fuzz Face I already had and put it into the signal chain and used the shit out of it.

The only things I had ready for recording were leads on the two January Record Every Month songs, and on one re-recording. I decided that all tracks recorded this evening would be with great big gooey gobs of fuzz. The Fuzz Face on the two January songs and a Big Muff clone on the re-recording. I always always always have a Big Muff on every board at all times. I love fuzz pedals, and Muffs (despite their awful, terrible, horribly sexist name) are my favorites. They are the smoothest and the filthiest, both at the same time. Fuzz Faces have that spitty quality that really bugs me when I am playing chords (usually) but is okay when I am playing leads. Big Muffs are awesome for rhythm too, but only if there’s an overdrive pedal in the chain after them that boosts the mid range frequencies. Something like a Tube Screamer or (preferably) a Klon. So I don’t keep the little Fuzz Face on the board and only pull it out when I am in the mood. Today I was very much in the mood. Actually, I have been since before Christmas, which is when I started jonzing for a new one, but today was the day I decided to act on it.

So when the time came to play tonight, I gave in to the urge to go ape shit on the fuzz. While my playing was particularly shitty, the tones were pretty effin’ gnarly and they made me happy.

Here is a shitty little blurry (why?) pick of the Fuzz Face pedal. It’s a Dunlop Band of Gypsies Fuzz Face Mini that is supposed to be modeled after the pedal Jimi Hendrix used on the live album Band of Gypsies, which may actually not have been a Fuzz Face at all but instead a custom octave fuzz with the octave circuit removed that was just stuck inside Fuzz Face enclosure. If’n you believe the stories and all.

And here we have a picture of my very dusty Wren and Cuff Super Russian. It’s been sitting on that spot on my bedroom floor since February and I really should dust all this stuff before the knobs get all noisy and scratchy. This is my second favorite Big Muff clone. My favorite is on the big pedal board in the cellar. It’s a Wren and Cuff Tri Pi ’70 and it’s probably pretty dusty too. It’s based on the original Big Muff Pi pedals that Electro Harmonix made in the early 70’s. The Super Russian is based on a Russian made Sovtek model from the early 90’s. They are both viscous little bastards and I love playing them.

The Bruins are spanking the Washington Capitals tonight and it’s glorious. I started watching season two of The Witcher, even though I am kinda over the whole fantasy sword and sorcery thing. This show’s not bad though.

None of this is making me miss Bellana less, even though she hasn’t even left the state yet, never mind the continent. It’s going to be a long six months.

And that, boys and girls, is what you call a long and rambling blog post that uses a lot of words to say very little. Enjoy.

Tuesday Lunch Post

I don’t have anything to talk about. How is that possible?

Right, so here’s a question. Who should I believe? I ordered a couple of pedals last week. Amazon tells me that the estimated delivery is either January 3rd or 4th. That was the estimate when I placed the order, so that is fine with me. When I track directly from UPS though it tells me the delivery will be two days from now on December 30th before 9:00pm. Well that sounds sweet!

So which estimate is correct? It has to be UPS, right? I mean let’s just go to the source. Unfortunately I signed up for text message alerts for status changes and I have not received a single message. That implies that the package hasn’t even been picked up yet. So who do I trust? As The Joker said in Batman the Movie back in 1989, “money money money, who do you trust?”

How’s this. I will trust Amazon’s 1/3-4 estimate while keeping my fingers crossed for UPS’s 12/30. That works, right? Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

I have a new uni-vibe pedal coming. I’m finally upgrading from MXR to something boutique. I also have a new wah pedal coming. I had gone from Dunlop to boutique a few years ago, then the whole bullshit thing happened with the racist frat boy pedal builder and I went back to Dunlop. Now, a year and a half later, I am going boutique again. Duck and cover and wish me luck, brothers and sisters in music nerd.

Wah Pedals

I search for boutique wah pedals and get link after link telling me I have to get my hands on the wah pedal I dumped into my closet when that frat boy fucker in California went on his idiotic racist rant following the George Floyd protests and implied that people who put more value on a human being’s life than on their neighbor’s windows are both unworthy of his products and incapable of pissing while standing up. Fuck that guy. I’m never using his pedals again, I don’t care how amazing his fucking deluxe wah pedal is.

End rant.

So where do I go? There is Xotic and Jam Pedals. They are both supposed to have excellent wahs. One company that I know nothing about keeps popping up too. Real McCoy Custom, or RMC. they seem to have a ton of models, all with stellar reviews, but only a few are in production. Is that info correct? They are pretty expensive and there aren’t a whole lot of dealers (just one in Massachusetts).

I’m thinking when the time comes, this is probably where I want to go. The RMC10 reviews are all stellar, but I’m only seeing RMC11’s for sale around here.

One of these days.

Pedal Board Change is Coming

This week’s episode of That Pedal Show is once again forcing* me to change things in the bedroom recording nook. They keep doing this to me!

The topic is using overdrive pedals in a band setting and it didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t already know. The what not to do examples were things that I used to do all the time, and the what you should do examples were things that I have decided were good ideas over the last 6-7 years or so. I guess I’m like Fredo Corleone. I’m smart.

Nope, what got into my head was just one of the pedals they used for the demonstration. They were using a Rat. Last year I bought a decent Rat clone. It’s on the table next to my desk but tomorrow it’s totally going on the board and getting used on some November Music stuff.

Inspiration, babie!


*Ain’t nobody forcing me to do jack. It’s just inspiration. Oodles of inspiration.

Too Small to Read

This week’s That Pedal show covered Octave-Fuzz pedals. Those are fuzz pedals that split the signal in two and double the frequency of one. That way you hear the note you played along with a second note one octave higher. It’s cool, but it was never my thing.

I always preferred the opposite. Split the signal an cut the frequency of one in half. That gives you the note you played plus a note one octave down. You knew that though because math, right?

Back in high school I had a pedal that did the octave down thing without adding in the fuzz. It was a DOD Octapluss. I was never a pedal guy, at least not until five or six years ago. I used to be set with an amp overdrive channel and a wah wah pedal. That’s all I needed. More often than not though I’d have the Octopluss too.

When I joined Lizardfish I wanted to use it but it had died on me somewhere along the way. I was sad, but somehow I’ve survived. I picked up a pitch shift pedal a while ago for times when we cover a song that has guitarmonies. I barely ever use it, but today I switched it on. It can do the same pitch shift my Octopluss did. It’s not the same though. It’s digital and it actually works too well. It’s not ratty and random like the old pedal. It actually makes me sad.

The new pedal is a super cheap knock off of a popular Electro Harmonix pedal (at least I think it is). Someday I’ll probably upgrade to the real thing. Why? The printing on the pedal is too small to read. Even with my glasses on. I just can’t see it. I have to take a picture with my phone and zoom in in order to know how to set it up. Crazy.

New Pedal Day

All the tone of a fulltone ocd with none of the racist bullshit.

This is the boutiquiest thing I’ve ever been a part of. Malaise Forever is a guy in Columbus (go Blue Jackets) who builds pedals. In this case, the order was placed before the pedal was built. Does that mean it was made to order? Probably not, but let’s pretend, yeah?

A piece of the profit from the sale of this pedal was given to organizations fighting for racial justice and to protect civil liberties.

Go buy something from this guy. If there ever was a pedal builder deserving support it’s Malaise Forever.

Three Leads

After recording vocals on five songs this morning, I put leads on three of them tonight. I could have done more, but I decided to quit while I was ahead.

So my thumb… I hurt it weeks ago. I don’t remember how, I just woke up one day and ouch. It wasn’t bad. It was annoying, but nothing to worry about. I figured in a day or two it would be history.

Instead, it’s gotten steadily worse over time. The last couple of days it’s been really bad. Like, bad enough that I’m thinking of breaking lock down to go get an x-ray or something. Clearly there’s a bigger issue than just a boo boo.

Tonight was the first time since it started being a major problem that I tried to play the guitar. How’d it go? Okay. There was some pain, but the motions my left hand needs to do to play are not those that really kick my ass. I feel like I’m lucky, but will it get worse? Who knows.

I used my full pedal board tonight so I’ve been getting goofy with all of the toys. I used a fuzz pedal tonight, and the uni-vibe pedal and a flanger and lots of wah wah. Goofy, but fun. Just feeling good about my hand not sabotaging me. Like, whew, am I right?