During my first foray into the world of guitar playing, I collected an absurd number of effects pedals. There they sat in a seemingly endless chain, waiting for my foot to bring them to life.
They looked plenty cool. Trouble is, I barely knew how they worked.
My desire to emulate Adrian Belew lacked a key factor: my hero could tell you how every effect in his signal chain worked. AND he could make them do things they weren’t designed to do! Adrian is a meticulous student.
Me? Not so much.
Now that I’m eager to play again, I wanted to put together another modest pedalboard. That was simple enough. Then things got … well … a little out of hand.
I was getting offers to buy pedals for a fraction of their list prices. I couldn’t resist. Before I knew it, the pedalboard had become somewhat absurd again.
Oh, dear …
But who am I kidding? The board (actually boards, plural) looked plenty cool! And even if I’m never going on tour (or near a live stage, for that matter), I am determined to make the most of these effects.
Each board serves a distinct purpose. I’m even goofy enough to have given them names. The side that’s boosts and distorts my guitar’s sound is now known as the Rabble Rouser.
While the side that colors, delays, and loops my sound is called the Time Machine.
It won’t be enough to simply color the sounds this time. I want to know what happens with every turn of a knob. This will require me to sit on the floor with a guitar and a small notebook. From there I’ll turn the pedal on and get to twiddling.
Needless to say, this will be an arduous task. But it’s one I look forward to and actually have the time to accomplish. Patience will be the key.
Perhaps I’ll find my way to some interesting fuzzes and loops worthy of a Sunday jam. Time will tell.
For now, I’m just a mad scientist looking to bring his creature to life.
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Wow, you got an impressive setup! I never got much into pedals, fooling around with a Tube Screamer distortion and an old used wah-wah pedal that made crackling noises when engaging it. Of course, I have to add the electric guitar and I never became close friends. I was much more comfortable on the acoustic.
In any case, happy pedal pushing! 🙂
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It must be hard to sound like Adrian. First, which Adrian? It’s like a trip to the zoo. Of the zoo series my favorite is KC’s “Dinosaur” which is stellar songwriting. The song-y part is unlike any other piece of song writing I’ve heard, yet it sounds so natural and familiar.
When I think of guitarists I revere, most have very effected sound (they work so hard to get it just right, then set it and forget it). I wouldn’t say “cool effect!”, or really notice much at all. Examples, Kurt Rosenwinkel or Allan Holdsworth. I admire the discipline to stay focused on the neck instead of the floor.
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Trying to sound like Adrian is insane. There’s only one person who can do that, and he’s already got the job!
My thought process is to emulate the carefree and open-ended approach to the guitar Adrian has. This is done both on the fretboard and on the floor. That symbiotic approach is what excites me. Even in an attempt to cover some of his songs, I’d have to bring a sense of “self” to them in some places. It’s a daunting challenge. But a fun one!
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