Break’s Over, Part 8: Happy Accidents

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: Clearly, this has become a series documenting my return to music and the project I ultimately plan to record. The writing has taken on a life of its own, and I see no reason to get in the way. If you’re just joining in, feel free to go back and check the older posts. The world won’t end if you don’t, but some of the things I say will make a LOT more sense.)

A few months ago, I wrote a piece around being inspired to play my guitar to the point where I reorganized my effects pedalboard with the hope it would spur me into action.

It didn’t.

But I’m finally back in now. Full speed ahead! Playing guitar can easily eat up a couple of hours of my day for the past month. Ironically, it took the purchase of an acoustic guitar to re-ignite my musical pilot light and push me back toward the electric. This was followed quickly by the inspiration my Number One Strat offered after her makeover. I was off and running.

But there was still something that needed changing. That pedalboard was no longer getting it done for a couple of reasons.

For one, there were effects I wasn’t using. The blue Modulator was serving no purpose. I could get what I needed elsewhere on the board. The ZVexx Fuzz Factory is a great pedal, but it’s so damned noisy! I do want it in the chain, but I’m gonna have to get a noise gate before I put it back.

The second problem concerned the sequencing of the pedals. I put the Electo-Harmonix guitar synthesizer near the end of my signal chain. It should’ve been first, right after the tuner. I could also stand to flip the Buddha wah-wah and Digitech Whammy pedals around. (These revelations came on the heels of reading several articles surrounding getting the most out of one’s guitar rig.) And then there was the issue of cables and wires going everywhere. My military (or OCD, depending on who you ask) sensibilities couldn’t take it anymore!

I needed to do an overhaul. So, I took a deep breath, bought some Velcro and flexible tubing, and took to the task.

What I thought would take an hour or so ate up my Sunday afternoon and early evening. But it was worth it! The new boards are streamlined and make more sense. I have something I can work with enthusiastically. I bought the flexible tubes to run all the chords through. Things look a lot more orderly now.

Once everything was assembled, it was time for a soundcheck. I started with the synth pedal and worked my way back, playing around with the settings for each one until I heard something I liked. This included resetting my amplifiers to make each more distinguishable. More time eaten, but time well spent.

The last thing I planned to do that day was learn how to create a loop with my Boss LoopStation. They say the best things sometimes happen by accident. I messed around and created a ca

I haven’t nailed down the ability to make the most of the pedal yet. It’s a learning curve. I fumbled about and just made noises to experiment with the pedal. Completely by accident, I created a really interesting loop. I sat and listened to my mistake and knew I was on to something. I saved it within the pedal’s memory successfully.

Now … what to do with it?

Just like that, i heard the guitar synth calling out to me. So I recalled the loop and came up with something simple that belongs in a horror movie.

I can already hear what I want to add to it. And now the Beeak’s Over EPs has its first original piece. I have no idea what I’m gonna call it. That will reveal itself in time.

This is a good start. I’m excited to do more.


Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers. I’m currently working on my next book, The Wizard of WOO: The Life and Music of Bernie Worrell.

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