Today’s pedal line is from Robert Abernathy. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include iany links to your band or music page.
Hey, my name is Robert Abernathy and I have been following Effects Bay for a long long while. I always enjoy reading how other people have chosen their gear, how they use it and why they chain it together as they do. I’m always searching for creative and unusual ways to create sound. I love reading Effects Bay to see how everyone from different genres sets up their gear. I love playing everything weird and experimental from doom to post rock, surf to noise wave and crusty punk to clean. My attempt at setting up my board is based on wanting a great sounding clean tone that can be quickly obliterated into the best sounding all-out noise you have ever heard.
I’ve been using Hank’s pedal labels for the past year on different gear and they are great for saving settings. My board is always evolving, but here is my current setup:
Stanley FX Bluesman – This overdrive is an original design using FET transistors in a Shunt, Resist, Push, Pull configuration. This pedal is very unique to my ears and I really like it (and no, I don’t think of myself as a blues musician). It can go from a light/medium overdrive to gritty fuzz, without losing clarity or the bottom end. I put this first in my chain so that it will impart its’ sound on other pedals that I stack it with further in the chain. The Bluesman stacks very nice with fuzz and other overdrives, adding nice lows that give an extra growl while boosting the signal as well if you need it to.
Moog MF Boost – This is a great boost that really helps enhance your tone. VCA mode is like a clean boost, while OTA Clipped mode is more of a dirty boost. Either mode will make your guitar sound better as it adds beautiful natural compression. I keep this on all of the time. You can even add an expression pedal which increases the signal boost available and can be used to either sweep the gain or act as a volume pedal (!). I think this is a great under-rated pedal and can’t wait to add the expression pedal.
Devi Ever Synth Mangler – 2 of Devi’s Soda Meisers in 1 pedal – but with 2 sets of glitch switches (Chaos and Noise). The Chaos switch seems to de-activate parts of the circuit, while the Noise switch seems to slowly choke out the circuit altogether until it gasps its’ last breath and then passes out in a puddle of its’ own urine. Dense muff tones, gated/ungated, velcro-fuzz, sputter/creamy zazz – the Synth Mangler is super versatile. The trick is adjusting the joystick and trying different switch combinations. And if you love noise, feed this into another fuzz pedal, turn the switches on and off, and you’ll get wild rising sirens. Feed this into long delays, use the switches on and off, and create electronic drum patterns. Convert your body into an A.M. radio antennae by just touching the switches with your fingers while it’s on. I keep finding new ways to use this thing that should not be even possible. Insane, but dependable every time.
Kinnetone Sagmaster – This is a dying battery effect made by Brian Kinnaman. The sounds it gives you when you add it to the pedal’s power supply will vary from pedal to pedal. I keep this hooked up to the Synth Mangler. When you dial it all the way down while the Noise and/or Chaos switches are engaged and toggle the joystick, you can get other-worldly octave ring modulator tones, destructive electrical flash grenade sounds, arpeggiator-like tones, and scrambled sirens chock full of upper octave artifacts. Sometimes, your waveform just wants you to destroy it, so that it can be reborn into something new. You can check out a video I made of the Sagmaster and the Devi Ever Synth Mangler+MXR Carbon Copy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_AG7o8P3Lk
Blakemore Effects Bi-Polar Octadrive – This pedal is a Blakemore Effects Mustang Overdrive along with an octave-up fuzz in a single pedal. The overdrive is based on a modded Way Huge Red Llama overdrive circuit (Tube Sound Fuzz) along with 3 separate tone controls added. This goes from a nice boost to a hot tweed tone before crossing over into fuzz territory. The Octave-up side is based on the Foxx Tone Machine’s Octave circuit and it has an amazing wild bloom – as if a ghostly electrical arc was creepy-crawling from your guitar cord to your amp. Both sides of this pedal sound incredible. The octave is very present and easily defined with either bridge or neck pickups and on both low and high notes all over the neck.
Devi Ever Aenima – Nasty high-gain Fuzz, instant thick angry feedback, super loud – Doom on command. This circuit is an evolutionary mutation from Devi’s Torn’s Peaker design and has a super aggressive and biting raw sound to it. This silicon fuzz is bright, in your face, down and dirty and sounds great stacked with overdrive. As nasty as this pedal is, it is easily tamed with a delay and is great for leads.
Übermut – This is the 1 pedal to rule them all. The Übermut pedal was designed so that you can change out the clipping components with a military spec. diode clip holder – so you can change out the diode in seconds without a sodering gun and without technical know-how. This is a great customizable pedal and what it does really depends on what diode you’ve selected. I am in love with their Vintage Germanium diodes, which at high settings is a great, burley, warm fuzz fountain. Mosfets sound awesome too. The left footswitch is a treble booster, which has an internal trim-pot to adjust the gain level. This is a great great sounding overdrive/fuzz pedal.
Celestial Effects Gemini VTR – Independent Vibrato, Tremolo and Reverb 3 in 1 pedal, with the circuit path in that order. The Vibrato sounds just like the sweet vibrato from a Magnatone amplifier with a toggle switch for Square and Triangle waveforms. The Tremolo is classic and easily controllable. Both the Vibrato and Tremolo are optically coupled LFO’s that have Rate, Depth and Duty Cycle controls on the front panel of the pedal. The Duty Cycle allows you to control the on/off ratio of each pulse of the waveform, allowing you to control the ratio of how long the pulse is on during the time base cycle. This means that you have incredible flexibility to manipulate the waveform to your liking. The Reverb section is based on the digital Belton medium spring reverb tank with an analog opamp signal path. I’m thinking of switching the tank out for the long reverb tank, but the medium tank sounds huge as it is. Each section of this pedal has its’ own Gain Adjust and Tone controls via internal trimpots. Everything on this pedal is of the highest professional grade and built like a tank. It sounds lush and can easily go from beautifully authentic retro sounds to nonstandard noise-athon pulse waves of desolation.
EHX Micro POG – Simple to use and tracks great on all notes and all strings with no lag. Great for bass sounds from the guitar and for guitar sounds from the bass. Cut down the dry signal to zero, crank the sub-octave and upper-octave and use this with fuzz and you’ll get a nice bit-crushing Atari effect. I like to add a little bit of the sub-octave to my dry signal when I’m playing clean – just enough to round out the sound and add fullness. A lot of people have this earlier in their signal chain, however, I like it right here after the reverb on the Gemini VTR to create a wash of ethereal octave waves.
MXR Carbon Copy – Great analog delay. This pedal makes everything single thing you play sound nice and worthy of listening to. I adjusted the internal trim pots to slow down the modulation so that it’s more subtle. Also super great for noise and oscillation effects. I love keeping this just on the verge of oscillation. Nice deep and warm repeats. Carbon Copy + any Fuzz = great for slow solos.
BOSS AW-2 Auto Wah – Great analog auto wah/envelope filter that has now been discontinued. Do I play Funk? – well, no…never -but this is great for slow, low-pass resonant filter-sweeping psychedelic drama (Rate 3, Depth 2, Manual 1 and Sens 0). At this setting, it’s slow and low and great for doomy sludgy Fuzz love. A lot of people put their wah very early in their chain, even before their dirt. I’ve always loved wah after dirt and putting this after dirt and modulation effects creates a very unusual sound that is not a typical wah or auto-wah sound. This unit can also act as an envelope filter (Rate 0, Depth 0, Manual 0, Sens 6). The BOSS AW-2 is a great example of why you should often disregard what the “experts” say about pedal chain order and why you should also try products and effects that other people tend to overlook.
TC Electronics Flashback Delay – Extremely versatile digital delay with a small footprint. The Flashback is like a Swiss pocket army knife of delay options and textures. The toneprint feature is what makes this pedal stand out from other similar delays and lets you customize it to your own personal taste. I am in love every single toneprint and I love being able to customize the toneprint to my exact liking. I switched the buffer on in this unit, which eliminates that audible click sound when you engage the pedal and also lets the delays spillover after you’ve turned off the delay.
I use the same set up for guitar and bass with zero problems. The pedalboard was made from re-purposed wood by Cory Scanlon of www.recycledpedalboards.com . He is a super-nice, super-skilled guy.
Effects Bay is a great platform for us to compare notes and inspire each other. I only wish we had something like this back in the 80’s and 90’s. I am currently involved in 2 different projects: My solo project is The Pipes of Drone https://soundcloud.com/the-pipes-of-drone/tracks and I collaborate with my good friend Jason Hagood (guitars, keys, samples) on his project called Everything We Hold Dear https://soundcloud.com/everthing-we-hold-dear .