Oct 30 2014

Talking with Jon Carolino about.. you know.. pedals

The other day I was wasting time on Facebook, and came across an interesting post on the Gear Talk group. It was a small clip of Jon Carolino performing some ambient work with a Telecaster. It reminded me of one of my favorite ambient guitar players Andy Othling, and then I started exploring a little more. First off, his board is pretty great, is perfect for what he’s trying to pull off. Second, his YouTube channel has some absolutely great stuff from technique to amazing ambient songs. Here is an example:

I reached out to Jon to see if he would be interested in answering a few questions about his set up, and he was into it. First off, let’s see this board!

Jon Carolino Pedalboard

Here is a breakdown of pedals:

Ernie Ball Jr. Volume
5 channel True Bypass Looper
Disaster Area DMC-6L Midi Controller
Strymon Timeline Delay
Strymon Tap/Favorite
Strymon Timeline Delay
Strymon BigSky Reverb
Neunaber Wet Stereo Reverb
Neunaber Slate V2
Visual Sound Route 66 Overdrive/Compression
Korg Pitchblack Tuner
JHS Morning Glory Overdrive
JHS Moonshine Overdrive
Strymon El Capistan Tape Echo
Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator

Like I mentioned, I wanted to talk some pedals with Jon.. so here we go!

- What is the Disaster Area switch? Midi controller? Couldn’t find that model on their site.

The Midi controller is a Disaster Area DMC-6L. Its the early version of the ones they first made. Looking forward to upgrading some day. Matthew over at Disaster area makes some incredible equipment. This controls both of my Timelines and the Bigsky. REALLY helps for the live stuff.

- What is the pedal right of the Route 66? In other vids.. I saw a Freeze there at one point.

Right now I’m auditioning the Neunaber Slate V2 using their Hold with Reverb algorithm in place of the Freeze. Works the same as the freeze just with the stereo wet included too.

- What true bypass loop strip are you using?

Honestly I don’t know. I bought it off ebay back in like 2007 before True bypass loopers got cool ;) I saw the Hillsong guys use them and it really made sense to start using one with so many pedals, not just for a cleaner tone but for was of use. I’m really looking forward to getting a Disaster Area DPC 5 or 8 in the future so I can have all my pedals set to be turned on or off via midi.

- I see you’re using 2 Strymon Timelines.. what’s the reasoning there?

Ah! The golden question. Cuz I can ;) No, really though, I LOVE layering delays. Its been a favorite thing of mine for a years. So I used to have a to of other delays on my board but the Strymon Timeline IS my favorite. It can do anything so many other pedals are trying to do an more so it made sense to just get rid of all the other pedals and get another one. So now I can layer different delay tones mixing the two timelines together. The first timeline gets more of the analog and auto swell action to where the second timeline gets more of the different spacious delay tones and stuff. It really just gives me an infinite way to mix and play. I love Strymon’s stuff. So awesome.

- Were you using a BlueSky before the BigSky or did you just jump right into the BigSky?

Yup. I was using the Bluesky before. I actually sold half of my pedalboard to be able to fund buying a Strymon Timeline and Bluesky several years ago. It was SOOOO worth it. From that point I always said to myself, “If Strymon ever comes out  with a multi reverb pedal like the Timeline, I’m jumping on it” and they did. So I sold my Neunaber Stereo Wet and my Bluesky to get one. Its probably my most favorite and used pedal on my board.

- Based on other shots, looks like the JHS Morning Glory and Moonshine are recent additions. What made you go in this direction?

Well for a LONG time I was using a Visual Sound Open Road. Its a FANTASTIC overdrive. But I always heard really good things about the JHS Morning Glory. So when I got a chance and the funds, I decided I was going to invest in some new drives so the Morning Glory and a Timmy were purchased. I instantly fell in love with the Morning Glory. It just had some kind of magic in there that really speaks to me. So yes, it has become my favorite drive.

So I was trying to find a nice thicker drive with a bit more gain and my friend Brian Howerin had a moonshie he let me test out one day. It sounded amazing. So I went on a quest to find one in trade of the timmy and a boost. Once I got it it was like “man this is what Ive been missing”. Its a great OD. Since I like a brighter more chimey-er clean tone, it really helps thicken up my tone when I need it.

- Do you find yourself swapping out pedals often? If so, why?

Eh…it just depends. As far as new pedals, I really try to make sure that I acquire a pedal for a purpose. I don’t want to just have a bunch of pedals just because I can. But as for swapping out pedals on my shelf, it just depends on the application. If I’m going to be playing a worship set at a church, then ill make sure to have overdrives and stuff on there. If I’m just doing an ambient solo act or something, Ill have more modulation and reverbs and delays since, as of right now, I don’t use much overdrive in those applications.

- Do you do any looping with your ambient soundscape (similar to Andy Othling), if so.. is the primary looper a Strymon Timeline?

Oh yeah! Make sure you check out my Youtube (youtube.com/nightbulb42) Andy Othling is and was a HUGE inspiration in me getting into ambient music as well as Youtubing.

As for the looper, I use a Boomerang III

- Do you play in any bands or other projects? If so, does this board seem versatile to handle those projects, or do you need to swap pedals out?

Mainly solo right now. I have been thinking about taking this full band live more as a collective rather than a set group of people. And as I said in the earlier question, I just switch out gear all according to the application.

- If you had to keep one pedal on the board.. only one.. what would it be and why?

Strymon Bigsky. I think I could still get any kind of ambient thing done with just that one pedal ;)

You can learn more about Jon Carolino by checking out the links below:

Twitter: joncarolino
instagram: joncarolino

Let me know what you think by commenting below!


Oct 29 2014

Sweet Deal on a MXR Phase 90!

Sweet Deal on a MXR Phase 90!I like to bring these up when I can. The MXR Phase 90 is an insanely solid pedal.. and seen on countless boards. Great, classic phase effect, with a single knob to control speed. I’ve personally played with various phasers over the years, but I always seem to come back to the Phase 90, mainly because of the size. Something simple, something small, and something that gets the job done… every time.

Today, I found a nice little deal on the MXR Phase 90. Currentky, the MXR Phase 90 is available for only $67.99 at Amazon.com and this price includes free shipping. Not too shabby at all.

If you’re not too familiar with the MXR Phase 90, check out this video by jimdunlopusa:

Do you own a MXR Phase 90 yourself?? Let us know what you think of that pedal by commenting below!

Oct 27 2014

Noveller’s Mini-PedalBoard

Sarah Lipstate of Noveller is a fantastic guitar player. One of my favs for sure. She utilizes loopers and pile of pedals to create pure mesmerizing sonic art. Like I mentioned, to create the sound-scape, she needs a variety of pedals from drives to modulation to delays to reverbs and controlling it all with her Boomerang Phrase Sampler. When these stack up, real estate on the pedalboard gets limited. Normally, when she’s on tour, it’s not a big deal, but currently she’s on tour in Europe (check out the dates).

Here is an example of her board during her 2014 dates.

Noveller Big BoardFor this tour, she thought she’d be creative and downsize the board – without compromising her tools too much. That is a tall order, so I was very curious what came out of it. Sarah sent over the following photo and I think she did an amazing job pulling off the shrinking pedalboard!

Noveller Mini BoardFor this tour, her board consists of the following pedals:

Henretta Engineering Mr. White boost
Henretta Engineering Bluebird fuzz
Zvex Fuzzolo
Ernie Ball Volume Jr.
Boss PS-5 Supershifter
Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master delay/reverb
Eventide H9
Boomerang III Phrase Sampler looper

Henretta is an interesting change. Very, very small footprint. Smart. Eventide H9.. very smart.

For those of you not familiar with Noveller, she was on tour with St. Vincent this year (awesome gig). Here is a great video called “Almost Alright”

Let me know what you think by commenting below!

Oct 24 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 10/24 – Mike McQuain

Today’s pedal line is from Mike McQuain. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 10/24 - Mike McQuainGuitar > Line 6 X2 Wireless Receiver > TC Electronic Polytune > Boss NS-2 (input / send) > 10 Channel Looper in > Dano CoolCat Transparent Overdrive (dirt) > DeltaLab Phase Shifter > Dano CoolCat Overdrive (crunch) > Dano CoolCat Distortion (distortion) > Mad Professor Golden Cello (lead) > ModTone AquaChorus II > Dano CoolCat Tremolo > Boss DD-3 Delay (delay 1) > TC Electronics Alter Ego (delay 2) > TC Electronics HOF Mini Reverb > Looper Out > Boss NS-2 (return / output) > DeArmond Volume Pedal > xotic EP Booster (always on buffer) > Amp (Egnater Tweaker 15 watt combo set on USA clean, vintage, bright and deep) mid’d for FOH and monitor mixer inputs. Pedals and wireless receiver all powered by OneSpot. Note: the space to the right of the phaser reserved for an EHX B9 Organ pedal that I hope to add soon!

I primarily play guitar at my church’s modern worship service on Sundays and need a board that can cover a lot of ground.  Some songs call for a very wet/ambient sound (reverb, delay, maybe chorus), some just need a subtle phase shift, others are rockers that need various levels of dirt and distortion, and tremolo is a must-have on a few songs.  After years of trying different pedals, multi-effects unit, and more pedals, I’ve finally found a great mix of budget-friendly pedals that sound great and give me the tones I need.  Some are rarely used (but when you need it, you need it) and others, like my EP Booster, are always on.

In the past I have played professionally for some local theater productions like Little Shop of Horrors or Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  This board, or a smaller mix of pedals from the board, have allowed me to cover a wide-range of musical styles while playing “in the pit”.

I also teach private guitar lessons and have several young players who come to me asking about “what does that effect sound like?” or “how should I connect my pedals?”  This board has been a valuable teaching and demo tool to introduce them to a wide-range of guitar effects.

My signal path is pretty typical for many players and generally follows the dirt before modulation before time/delay effects.  However, after much experimentation, I have found certain things that I really prefer that may break with that model.  For example, I’ve finally realized that I just do not like the Phase 90 (after owning 4 of time over the years) and I really prefer my phaser before my overdrive/distortion.  Two key elements of my setup are a Boss NS2 to keep any noise at bay and the true-bypass looper to avoid tap dancing all over the place.  I wear size 15 shoes and it is nice to keep everything in line under my big feet (LOL).

I run a clean (USA/vintage) Egnater Tweaker and typically leave all the pedals in front of the amp.  However, putting the time/delay effects in the amp’s FX loop can sound really nice too.  My current main axe is a Gibson Les Paul 60s Tribute with P90 pickups.  But I have played humbuckers (Les Paul Custom/CS-356) and other single coil pickup (Strat/Tele) guitars through this setup with great results.

About the only 2 things you don’t see on this board are my new BeatBuddy drum pedal, which I just got, and an Electro-Harmonix B9 organ pedal that I hope to get soon.  Otherwise, I’m really happy with what I have and (knock on wood) don’t really have strong GAS pains for different pedals right now.  And THAT is something I haven’t been able to say for years!
-Mike McQuain
Tampa Bay area

Oct 22 2014

VFE Effects Focus Pedal Give Away.. and the winner is….

VFE Pedals - FocusMan of man.. I wanted this pedal for myself. I’m talking about the VFE Effects Focus Pedal. I have to say this is one of the best mid-boost, tone shaping pedals I’ve played. This is a must have if you’re having some trouble getting your leads or melody lines to cut through the mix. The pedal has very nice options for dialing in the perfect amount of mids to be heard. Thumbs WAY up to Peter at VFE Effects for this pedal… well done!

I also wanted to talk about VFE Effects a little more. This is a great company that really pushes the envelop when it comes to services they provide. They’re all about customizations along with their standard lines. Please give these guys a like on Facebook and check out their website. Awesome stuff!!! I would also like to send out a special “thank you” to Peter for giving an Effects Bay reader an opportunity to walk away with this great pedal. THANK YOU!

So, I finally have a winner for the VFE Effects Focus Pedal. Without further ado, the winner is Dan W. of Webster, New York! Congrats Dan, the pedal will be shipped out today! Please send us a photo of you with your pedal if you can!!

As usual, I have some more great pedals on deck to give away, so keep your eyes peeled. I should be announcing something pretty soon.


Oct 21 2014

A Great J. Mascis Interview

J. MascisJ. Mascis interviews are generally really awkward. At first, I hated them, but then I oddly became fascinated with them. Interviews slightly remind of Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Fern interviews. If you don’t know what I’m talking about.. check it out. Mascis is very monotone. Very short answers, and acts very bored, annoyed – but I believe that is just the way he is. A guy with little words.

With all that said, Mascis is one of those great alt-guitar heroes for sure. Dinosaur Jr. is a fantastic band and has been amazing from the beginning. Mascis also has a very distinct style of playing that can be recognized immediately that goes beyond his Jazzmasters and *stacks* of Marshall amps.

This morning, I discovered something new.. and I’m a new fan for sure. Little Punk People / Party Smasher is a YouTube channel featuring Elliot (who is probably 11 or 12) who gets to interview some great musicians. So when I saw this *kid* have a chance to interview J. Mascis.. well, that’s something I had to see.. and it was pretty great.

Let me know what you think of this video.. and/or J. Mascis by commenting below!!! And be sure to subscribe to Party Smasher on YouTube!


Oct 20 2014

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Chicago

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: ChicagoThere has been a lot of buzz, talk and anticipation for Foo Fighter’s new series – Sonic Highways on HBO. Friday night was episode one that featured Chicago as the first stop. For those of you that don’t know about this series, the concept is pretty cool. Basically, the Foo Fighters recorded their album in multiple cities, while in those cities they’ve created an exercise to really understand AND appreciate the history and develop the lyrics based on those experiences. On top of that they’ve invited a figurehead musician from that area to record on the track.

This concept is cool, but I really like Dave Grohl‘s honest appreciation to his own musical crossroads and how those have shaped his career. As I mentioned, the first episode was Chicago. To me, I have a great appreciation of Chicago. By far.. my favorite *music* city. Many of the bands I like hail from there (Shellac/Big Black, Silkworm/Bottomless Pit, Russian Circles, Seam, The Jesus Lizard, etc, etc), so I was really excited about it. Why Dave chose Chicago.. because he visited a cousin as a child, and that cousin was a punker and took Dave to a Naked Raygun show at the Cubbie Bear bar. At that moment, his mind was blown. Taking the experience back to Washington DC and began to explore the world of DIY punk shows, which obviously led him to where he is at today. Additionally, he wanted to record with Steve Albini (owner of Electrical Audio) who happened to be the engineer of Nirvana’s In Utero.

Here is the preview of the Chicago episode:

I can relate with these crossroads in my personal experience. Maybe you too? I can think of being in high school and handed a tape or disc of a band I never heard of.. and from that point on, changed the direction of my musical tastes. I can remember those milestones quite clearly. Or maybe the moment where you first held a guitar, etc.

Did you catch this episode? What did you think? Let me know by commenting below!


Oct 17 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 10/17 – Mike Gavrailoff

Today’s pedal line is from Mike Gavrailoff. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Also, remember to enter for a chance to win a VFE Effects Focus Pedal. I’ll stop taking submissions on Oct 20! Don’t miss out!

Pedal Line Friday - 10/17 - Mike GavrailoffMy name is Mike Gavrailoff and I’m a freelance musician out of Montreal. Mostly country, folk and rock. Check out my sites at www.mikegavrailoff.com and www.soundcloud.com/texas-dirty

my chain is this…

Boss A/B (for lap steel and guitar)
Dunlop Volume Pedal
Boss Chromatic Tuner
Boss Noise Suppressor
– small loop of Boss Blues Driver
Boss Tremelo
Electro Harmonix Clone Theory
Boss Digital Delay
Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeler
Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano

not on the board Boss Acoustic Simulator, MXR Phase 90, Fender Footswitch, Guyatone Vibrato, EHX Nano Clone, Fulltone Fulldrive 2


Oct 15 2014

T-Rex Karma Boost

T-Rex Karma BoostToday I wanted to talk about another great T-rex pedal off of their ‘slim’ line as I like to call it. Normally T-Rex pedals are housed in a double sized enclosure, but are now offering classic single unit enclosures. This is especially great if things are getting tight on your board. Space can be hard to come by!

The fine folks at T-Rex (Musiquip) were great to send me a few pedals to check out, and today I wanted to talk about the T-Rex Karma Boost. As I have mentioned in pasts before, I do like a great clean boost. If you’re running tube amps or like to overdrive pedals, clean boosts are fantastic. Basically, the concept is to increase your signal while preserving the original signal’s tone! They’re extremely simple to use, usually one knob and one footswitch, and just dial it to taste.

The T-Rex Karma Boost is a great sounding clean boost. The first prerequisite for a good clean boost.. is the transparency of the signal, and the Karma Boost checked out with flying colors. Lowering the boost signal fully counter-clockwise gave you unity gain. While turning the pedal on and off you should not hear a difference in tone or volume, and the Karma acted perfectly on this initial test. Raising the boost, the signal got louder and louder. My preamp tubes started to saturate, but the original tone was the same. Using this in conjunction with a dirt pedal of some sort also reacted excellent.

With the T-Rex Karma Boost, you can gain 16dB of signal.. which is a ton! The Karma uses a non-linear boost circuit, and incorporates a great buffer (I’m a big fan of buffers too – should read about buffers here).

Here is the official description of the T-Rex Karma Boost:

One simple pedal, so many uses. Rely on your KARMA to make sure your solos cut through—even if your soundman isn’t quite on top of it. Use it to compensate for power lost across long cables and lots of pedals. Let it accentuate the gain and sustain your overdrive and distortion pedals are giving you. Or use for no other reason that it’s one damned great sounding effect.

Also, check out this simple demo on the T-Rex Karma Boost sounds:

If you’re looking for a high quality clean boost, definitely check out the T-Rex Karma Boost. The T-Rex Karma Boost is currently available via Amazon for $199 and includes free shipping. Please let me know what you think of clean boosts in general or the Karma Boost by commenting below!

Also.. you see that t-shirt with the pedal? I’ll give that shirt away to a random commenter below! Let’s do it! Sorry.. I only have one size… still.. free shirt! THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONFUSION. I’M ONLY GIVING AWAY A SINGLE SHIRT. THE PEDAL IS NOT UP FOR GRABS. SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION.

T-Rex Karma Boost Shirt

Oct 13 2014

VFE Pedals Focus Give Away Reminder

VFE Pedals - FocusLast week I announced the VFE Pedals Focus Give Away.  This is definitely a give away you don’t want to miss out on. Some of you might have just stumbled upon this site recently.. and didn’t know it was happening, so I thought I would give a reminder of it.

Peter at VFE Pedals was kind enough to send the Focus over to give away to a lucky EffectsBay reader. Thank you Peter. For those of you not familiar with VFE Pedals, this is a growing and great pedal company out of Washington. Definitely worth checking out for their pedals, but also, Peter has been incredibly innovated with the ability to create extremely custom pedals to custom graphics and now offering custom circuits! Check out this Custom page for details. Not many other pedal builders offer this.

Now, let’s talk quickly about the VFE Focus pedal. If you’re having trouble cutting through the mix for leads or certain guitar parts, that’s often related to your mids being lost. Guitarists have had low end boosters, Treble boosters, but it’s difficult to get a good mid-boost.  The VFE Focus pedal is like a swiss-army knife for dialing in the perfect shape of mids for your instrument. I did a little review on this pedal, which you can read here – “VFE Focus Pedal“. Personally, I would be able to drop this on my board immediately.. I gave it thumbs up.. way up.

Okay.. what about the give away?!?! Well, sitting here on my desk, I have a VFE Focus ready to ship out. On October 20th (Mon) 2PM MST I’ll pick a random entry. To enter, please go here – “VFE Pedals Focus Give Away“. Also, if you could please share, re-tweet and let others know about the give away. On this blog, I love to give away gear, and getting the word out about these pedals and builders is incredibly important for me. We like gear right???

Good luck everyone!