Todayâ€™s Pedal Line Friday submission is from Michael Senchuk (aka newmusicmichael). If you have a pedal line (doesnâ€™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 Iâ€™ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.
My boardâ€™s been a work in progress over the last few years since I finally got around to starting to play the bass and electric in my early 40â€™s. Iâ€™m actually without an official project right now, though I keep looking for something in the indie/psych/folk/gaze realms that could use a bassist, and maybe the odd extra electric from time to time. No luck so far this year, though. I was in a cover band last year for a while, and at some point just decided I wasnâ€™t into it anymore. Iâ€™ve been writing a blog on new music at http://www.newmusicmichael.com/ for the last five years, so the idea of learning and playing songs from the 1970â€™s eventually just lost its appeal. In the meantime, I have been penning some originals for myself down a couple of paths. The first in sort of a noisefolk sort of vein on the electric; the other more of a DFA1979 bass/drums concept.
As far as guitars, my two primary instruments are an Ibanez SR300 bass; and a Squier Jaguar electric. I have a couple of backups, of course (and a couple of acoustics as well), but the tone of these fit perfectly within the sound Iâ€™m going for in each of the two projects. Especially the Jaguar. Itâ€™s one of those instruments, and Iâ€™m sure many of you have had the same feeling, that, from the moment you made the first strum, youâ€™re like, â€œthis is the guitar for meâ€. Bought it used off a guy in a math rock project, he hadnâ€™t even removed the plastic off the pickguard yet.
The chain through the pedalboard (which I built myself out of 1X4â€™s) includes:
- TC Electronic Polytune â€“ we start with, what else, a tuner. I have found, though, that for the Jaguar, a Snark I keep nearby seems to work better, especially for quick downtuning.
- OVNIFX Smoothie â€“ a bass compressor, which I leave on pretty much 100% whenever playing the bass. I find it keeps things in the pocket exceptionally well.
- VFE Triumvirate (Bass Version). This pedal starts off the overdrive/distortion segment of the board. Acquired it as part of a kickstarter funding project for some other pedal of theirs. I wasnâ€™t interested in the project pedal, so much as the opportunity to get this pedal in a custom color for the same price as their standard offering. Itâ€™s quickly become one of my go-to pedals for both the electric and the bass, I just love how you can dial in the gain and level for the three different EQ levels. Keeps in the clarity, adds in the dirt.
- Walrus Voyager. Definitely my favorite overdrive/distortion pedal for the electric, my most-used pedal amongst all the material Iâ€™m working on. Great overdrive pedal, with brilliant crispness throughout its sweeping vistas of possible ranges. I sometimes move pedals in and out of the board setup just for kicks. This has been in the same exact spot since I built the board.
- Boss Overdrive ODB-3. I use this solely for the bass. Sometimes I really like what itâ€™s doing to the tone; and sometimes I donâ€™t. Really depends on the song. Kind of a standard for bass overdrives, though, which is why I bought it, and it remains on the board. Maybe Iâ€™ll replace it with a Dwarfcraft Hair Of the Dog unit I have in reserve, which also works nicely for bass and electric. It takes up considerably more space, though.
- EHX Micro-POG. Up one octave, down one octave. Nice little octave pedal from EHX. I like to use it to add considerable depth to tracks. Typically Iâ€™ll add an â€˜up octaveâ€™ if Iâ€™m playing bass, and a â€˜down octaveâ€™ if Iâ€™m playing guitar. It sounds really good doing DFA1979-type material to get that fuller, â€œlead bassâ€ sound.
- Earthquaker Afterneath. I was attending a local workshop hosted by Juan Aldrete for a demo of all the Earthquaker pedals a couple of months ago, and his one statement that struck a chord with me was â€œsometimes a pedal just speaks to youâ€. This is the one he kicked on that did it for me. Bought it that night. Earthquaker calls it an â€œotherworldly reverberation machineâ€, and thatâ€™s pretty accurate. But itâ€™s got this growl that you can add that sort of makes it a fuzz pedal, too, and the things you can do with this pedal will completely blow your mind. From subtle harmonics all the way through absolute corruption. The longer I have it, the more it gets used. Truly one of my best purchases, maybe even more so than the Jaguar.
- EHX Electro-Mistress. Initially purchased this pedal for its flanger effect that was required for a cover band I was working with as bassist. I still like the concept, though it doesnâ€™t get used as much anymore. But I still feel like I absolutely want it on the board, too. Iâ€™m sure many of you have pedals like that.
- Earthquaker Dispatch Master. A combination reverb-delay pedal that can again be used for its tame subtlety, or used to create a complete wall of sound. I use it quite a bit on a variety of tracks, especially, Iâ€™ve found, ones that donâ€™t need a lot of noise, just a little something extra.
- TC Ditto Looper. I keep meaning to use this more to practice, but it gets used more to just create crazy loops of sound that I just keep playing overtop of, adding more and more sounds until you can hardly discern anything. Câ€™mon, tell me you donâ€™t like to do that occasionally too.
Could the POG be better used later in the chain? Maybe. Sequencing is one of those things I feel like I should always play with more, but then when it comes down to it Iâ€™d rather just pick up the guitar or bass and play some music.
Finally, on the other end, of course, is the amp. For gigs, I have a 250W Hartke 115C for bass sessions. Otherwise, I use a peavey VYPYR VIP2, which you can plug a bass, electric, or acoustic into. Itâ€™s got all sorts of cool features, and modeled amps galore. Not sure it wouldnâ€™t get lost if I was playing a larger venue without mics, but honestly, all the local clubs mic all the amps anyways. So itâ€™s totally fine for now, even if I got a gig as a rhythm or lead guitarist.
You can always find me on twitter, by the way – @newmusicmichael. I mostly talk about new music Iâ€™m listening to (and posting about on my blog), and, of course, guitars, pedals, and the like.
Leave a Reply