Today’s pedal line is from Michael Stettes. 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 email@example.com. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
I play bass (and do some light synth work) in Sam Cooper & The Sleepwalkers, a Wilco-ish, Sun Kil Moon-y sort of band that I love dearly. We just did a winter EP called “Snow” and you can download the three songs off it for FREE at http://samcoopersolo.bandcamp.com/releases. It includes an original as well as two covers. So if you wanna hear some slackers put their own spin on “Kiss From a Rose” as well as the Christmas classic, “Walking in the Air,” boom, do it. I mean, it’s friggin’ Seal, man. Get some.
The Bass: I’m only using one bass guitar right now–a MIM Fender P-bass that’s been completely gutted, sanded down, and rebuilt to emulate a 60’s P-bass in every way. Electronics have been replaced, frets have been sanded, and it’s been repainted with a nitrocellulose laquer (ReRanch Sonic Blue) with the headstock matched. The coat has started to become a little seafoamy with time, but that’s just fine. Here are a few pics, one with me in it from a gig a little while ago. The pic with the driftwood came from the luthier who sold it to me, and he didn’t include the tugbar, but I wouldn’t have used it anyway. I also put a sizable nick in the headstock that I’m irked about, but like the luthier told me to do when I bought it from him, I’ve been “playing the hell out of it.”
The Board: I use a modified Pedal Pad AXSII. It’s really heavy but it’s super durable. I loved the board but since I bought it used, the carpet wasn’t in the best condition. I ripped it off, painted the bare wood black, and drilled some 12″x12″ aluminum sheets into it. They’re lightweight, and good for adhesive strips of velcro. I’m thinking of modding it further by drilling a handle between the wooden flaps so I can lift both up at once.
The Power: I use a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 and have a Visual Sound 1-Spot plugged into the PP2’s outlet. The only thing I don’t like about the PP2 is the fact that because the barrel connectors are straight, it’s hard to fit them in tight spaces, like on pedals with 9v jacks on the side right next to the jacks. That’s where the 1-spot’s angled connectors come in. I have the PP2 attached with velcro to the underside of one of the flaps, reinforced by super glue. Super-glue is awesome. I’ve noticed some minor noise that I think is likely ground-loop related and cuased by the daisy chain, so I’ll likely get a Voodoo Lab ISO-5 at some point to supplement MAH POWAH.
The Cables: Most of the connections on the board are made using Planet Waves Solderless Pedal Board Cables. I strongly recommend them. Easy to make and use. I have a couple of DiMarzio Patch Cables, an Armor Gold one, and a few cheapies of origins unknown. I use a Monster Rock cable from the guitar to the board. People say Monster is overrated, and that’s probably true, but their Rock cables coil extremely well, look good, and have never given me an issue. From the board to the amp, I use an Armor Gold cable.
Korg Pitchblack Tuner: Nice and bright. Does its job and does it well. The footswitch has gotten a little glitchy over the years and I might repair it soon. I’d prolly get another if I had to replace it.
Boss DF-2 Super Feedbacker & Distortion: Many reviews knock the dirt of this pedal, but I actually dig it. However, I don’t use this as a dirt pedal live. I solely use it for its feedback function in combination with my other pedals to create cool, droney soundscapin’, which is why I don’t mind it being in front of the compressor. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting the new Boss FB-2 Feedbacker/Booster as a replacement, and storing the SF-2 for safekeeping since it’s discontinued. Oh, and I had a guy put a purple LED in mine, because fuck red.
Ashdown Dual Band Compressor: A buddy of mine had this sitting around his house and just gave it to me. I had never messed with a bass compressor pedal before. I was definitely missing out. I almost always leave it on now. It’s got a pretty big footprint, but I love the sound it gives me. Plus, the EQ on it is really powerful.
Fender Sub-Lime Bass Fuzz: What a cool pedal in both looks and sounds. Rockin’ ballsy vintage bass fuzz. Comes with a price though: learning curve, weighs a bit, and some of the controls are under the pedal. I’ve thought about having it rehoused by Walrus Audio and renaming it the “Sub-lemon-al Bass Fuzz” (see what I did there?). Still, I love it. This is my go-to pedal for dirt live. I stack it with the El Oso if I need even more.
Devi Ever U.S. Fuzz: Gated, sputtery doom. Lacks a little low end, but I can adjust the amp for that and it’s good for smooth, synthy, saw-like fuzz. It’s actually off my board now (I had stolen it from my guitarist and he wanted it back, d’oh!) I now have a clone of the U.S. Fuzz that Noisekick FX did for me called the “DEUS,” which means “GOD” in Latin, but also pays tribute to the original: Devi Ever US. The clone has an an additional toggle switch for more low end. I combine it with the Hummingbird for cool pulse sounds.
Heavy Electronics El Oso Bass Distortion: Use this when I want a mostly clean tone with a background of sizzle. Thank you Blend knob! Sayer, the proprietor of Heavy Electronics, is an awesome chappie, and you really can’t go wrong with his pedals. Ever.
Earthquaker Devices Hummingbird: This is essentially a tremolo, but Earthquaker refers to it as a repeat percussion pedal, which is probably more accurate. It’s all chop, can get really fast, and its depth goes all the way to silence. Exceptional pedal.
Danelectro Cool Cat Chorus: While this can definitely add some thickness to the dirt and the drones, this is strictly a placeholder pedal. I will soon be replacing this with the Source Audio Soundblox Bass Envelope Filter. And yes, I’m getting the Hot Hands to go with it. I’m torn on whether or not I should get the “Pro” version of it. If I get a bigger board though, I’ll keep the Cool Cat because I like the spund of chorus on bass, but in that instance, I may replace it with the Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus.
MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay: You see this bad boy everywhere for a reason. Solid, dark, analog delay. I’ve tweaked the internal controls for more modulation.
Line 6 Verbzilla: There are two main things I use this reverb for. The first is the Octo setting for thickening the feedbacker drones and for other shimmery things. The second is the Ducking verb, which is really ideal for bass guitar. It responds to your playing dynamics. The louder you play, the less reverb you hear, so your signal isn’t muddied, and when a note rings out, the verb fades back in. Plus, the Verbzilla has a trails switch that I think is ideal for delay/reverb pedals.
The Amp: Nothing fancy. Just a little Ampeg BA115 Combo.
Thanks for reading! i know I probably included a lot of details you don’t care about, but I personally like reading that kind of stuff, and thought others might as well! Again! Free songs! Seal! http://samcoopersolo.bandcamp.com/releases