I Don’t Have the Tools

I had a bad morning.  I was all emotional and messed up and stuff.  Two really awful night’s sleep in a row put me in a pretty screwy state of mind.  Before I fell into my personal little black hole I was talking to Jen about things we can do to keep our heads.  Seems ironic now.  I said that I need to try and give myself the illusion of control over our crummy situation and one of the ways I can do that is to try and be creative.  I’m going to keep trying to write and record terrible songs until it’s all over.  Of course I had the opportunity to work on music this morning but did I?  No.  Bad day.

March is almost over.  I want to do another 10 songs in April.  My tiny little brain wants to change the March process up (guitar straight into an amp, like some kind of neanderthal) by allowing one pedal.  My little Fuzz Face mini.  I have heard that a Fuzz Face circuit is really simple.  What, thought me, if I gave myself another project and finally built a pedal of my own?  There are companies that will sell you kits with all the parts you need and you just have to assemble it all.  I was so going to do it.  Then I realized I don’t own a soldering iron.  Or solder.  Or literally any tool required to build a circuit board.  Damn it.  I guess we’ll punt on this until after the COVID-19 gives us our lives back.

I did go looking for youtube videos showing people building fuzz pedals.  There are a couple, but nothing really like what I want to see.  Instead I found an episode of That Pedal Show from 2015.  I’ve never watched this one, but they compare a few different Fuzz Face pedals.

Let this video kill off 11-12 minutes worth of your coronavirus exile.

Gear Inspiration

Man, youtube… every once in a while you’ll see something and it will just click for you.

I just watched an episode of That Pedal Show where they talk about delay pedals.  I have a really nice digital delay on my pedal board right now, a Wampler Faux Tape Echo, and I have been using the crap out of it.  I use it’s tap tempo switch and it’s subdivision switch and I get dotted eighth note delays and I make all sorts of groovy The Edge style rhythmic patters and it’s just so much damn fun.

It’s a great delay pedal but it doesn’t really do oscillation.  Oscillation is when the pedal feeds back on itself and makes all sorts of glorious noise.  If you mess with the delay time control it changes the pitch of the noise and makes it even gloriouser.  I have a really cheap analog delay that I am not currently using.  It’s from one of those generic, low cost, Chinese companies.  Donner, I think?  A Donner Yellow Fall?  I think that’s what it’s called.  After watching this video I am going to put it on the board too so that I can have noisy fun and still have the digital tap tempo and subdivision stuff.

In all my years of playing electric guitar I’ve almost always had a delay pedal, but I’ve never been a delay pedal guy.  Now I have all this youtube silliness to inspire me to do new and different (and yes, goofy and noisy) things.

Thanks, That Pedal Show!

 

What’s in the Bag?

Hey Robbie, what’s in that big bag?

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I’ll tell you in a second…

Last night’s band practice wasn’t very good, but it was okay.  We hadn’t played together in about a month and it showed.  I half expected that I would have forgotten how to play every song.  That wasn’t the case, but it didn’t mean I didn’t screw up left and right and get lost now and then.

I had a disconcerting technical issue.  I think I know what it was though.  After 2-3 songs my volume level dropped to almost nothing.  It was weird.  One minute I was roaring like a tornado of Big Muff Fuzz, and the next I was a whisper.  I thought it was my uni-vibe pedal as a light that usually doesn’t light was lit from the minute I plugged in.  I figured the battery was dead.  I bypassed it on the board but it didn’t solve the problem.  Screw this, thinks I.  I pulled my tuner off the board and bypassed everything else.  The signal path was guitar->wah->fuzz->tuner->amp.  The problem persisted.  So I bypassed everything and plugged straight into the amp.  It worked.  So I have it narrowed down to those three pedals.  I am acting under the assumption that the amazing Big Muff pedal has a dead battery.

So what’s in the bag then?  Speak of the devil, it’s my pedal board and all of my pedals from Mike the bass player’s house.  Now I can add all the new pedals to the board, replace all of the 9-volt batteries with the new DC Brick power supply, and rearrange the whole thing to get the most noisy fuzz boxy mess imaginable!  I’ll let you know when it’s up and running again.  There will be an I-am-so-cool-check-out-my-pedal-board picture, I’m sure of it.