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Effective FX

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Wishbone Ash, Shriekback, Friends Again, Nazareth, Level 42, The Cars... guitarists tell of FX set-ups the cars to shriekback, level 42 to wishbone ash - seven guitarists identify their effects: what's plugged where and why they like them

Seven guitarists pick their favourite effects



Boss Stereo Chorus CE3
Korg Stage Echo tape delay
Pete Holmes custom rack: distortion, gain, stereo chorus, flanger, tremolo

"The Stereo Chorus is a good facility for linking two amps and gives you a better chorus as a result. I sometimes use the old Boss chorus too, the 'cast iron box' one, which is good because it has an input gain and you don't get such a bad line loss as you do with most pedals.

"The Korg's a good unit too, it's quiet, it has pushbuttons for preset delays, and it has sound-on-sound for building up effects. A good thing about it is the tone control for the echo quality, so you can make it a bit spikier.

"The rack was a bit costly, and since I had it made there's been a complete revolution in pedal effects. Pete Holmes now runs Quark, who specialise in electronic effects, but he was working at Martin when he built this. It's a bulky item so I tend to use it on major tours — for one-offs and things I tend to use just the chorus and the tape delay.

"There's a footswitch board with a multicore to connect it to the rack itself, which takes plug-in cards. And there's a matrix on the back so you can preselect the order of effects on one of two footswitches. I mainly use chorus and echo, but also flanger or fuzz in combination with the echo."



Boss Octaver OC2
Boss Compression/Sustainer CS2
Roland Chorus Echo 501
In studio uses AMS
On-stage two Marshall 100 or 50 tops, depending on size of venue, one for direct, one for effected signal

"I don't really mind in which order they're connected. Using two amps gives a broader sound and it's better to have just one of them on the effects side, otherwise you hear too much 'effect' and not enough 'guitar'. I try to plug in straight as much as possible these days, but effects are a help at home when you're playing around with a Portastudio.

"If you've been playing for years then different pedals make you play in different ways and break you out of habits. I use the Octaver to get sequencer-type sounds out of a guitar, usually using just the one octave below. On our new album there's a track called 'Don't Cry' that uses that sound. You need very precise fingering to play the Octaver otherwise it sounds dreadful. Handy to have at home it you haven't got a bass guitar around.

"I've got an active splitter box that someone at John Henry's (north London rehearsal complex) built for me which sends the guitar to the amps and effects without losing any signal. Sometimes if we tour somewhere ridiculous like India and it's too expensive to take all our equipment. I'll just use a Boss CE3 Stereo Chorus — it's a bit noisy but also doubles as a splitter."



Boss Compression/Sustainer CS2
Boss Octaver OC2
Boss Heavy Metal HM1
Boss Flanger BF2
Boss Delay Line DM2
Boss Volume Pedal
Boss PSM5 Power Supply and a
BCB6 Carrying Box

"The Volume Pedal is actually for keyboards, I use it between the Flanger and the Delay which is the last effect in the rack, that's so when you turn the volume down with the pedal, the Delay doesn't get cut out.

"The Chorus is usually quite slow and I save the Flanger for those metally, steel-drum sounds — keep the Manual and Depth down low and the Rate about half way, and the Regeneration as high as it will go.

"You can't really use the Octaver for sustained notes but it does beef up short, single-note lines. It goes one and two octaves below the note, but the two-octave is too low, it rumbles and I don't use it. The Heavy Metal pedal does get a bit out of order, you have to be ready with the Volume Pedal. It works better with chunky pickups and is useful for getting a thin sound. I like it to sound thin and sort of sharp.

"My Carlsbro Stingray has a built-in Chorus and 'suzz' fuzz section: I use the Chorus a lot of the time, suzz occasionaly for less penetrating sounds and washes. I tend to swap between the clean and dirty channels on the Carlsbro."



Washburn Stack-in-a-Box
Boss Chorus CE2
Custom-built voice bag

"I endorse Washburn and they gave me the Stack-in-a-Box, but I like it. It's not like a fuzz or distortion, more of a pre-amp or booster type. And it's good to have a tone control on it — I feed it into my stack anyway — I have one clean stack and one with effects, so the guy out front can get a blend. And it sounds even bigger!

"The Boss Chorus is the best, I find it the cleanest and it's noise-free. What I tend to do is leave it on one Depth setting and then vary the Speed for the requirements of the particular song. I've had the Echoplex since the year dot, and I've tried all kinds of DDLs and rack-mounted jobs, but none of them is as simple or as quick as the Echoplex. It's dead simple, you just move a sliding bar to change the echo speed which I can practically do in the middle of a solo. You see, I don't want too much of a hi-fi sound, that would be unnatural to me. The Echoplex response is not quite so bright, but I find that more realistic. For me it's the easiest to use and has the best sound.

"We had the voice bag made up ourselves to use on 'Hair Of The Dog'. I play the guitar and feed it to a JBL driver fitted to bag-pipes, which Dan the vocalist uses. So that makes it look a bit better, as opposed to the guitarist standing there doing it all alone and looking like a fish."



Boss Delay DM3
Boss Distortion DS1

"Generally I tend to go for quite clean guitar sounds. The delay can be good, though, for pulling a solo forward out of the clean guitar sound, it gives it some sort of emphasis. I usually have the Echo Knob about 9 o'clock. Intensity about 12 o'clock, and Level at about 10 o'clock. So it's not a megadelay, it would be about half a second I suppose.

"The distortion sometimes gets out of control, but then my Pro Reverb's a bit dodgy at the moment. So I have to play around with it to get a decent overdriven sound.

"One effect I used on 'Swallows In The Rain' which we recorded with Tom Verlaine was a constant ringing sound coming from an AMS when I plucked both E strings together. They were still ringing about 15 minutes later. And on the next single, 'South Of Love', I did a small solo with additional sounds one octave up and one octave down by using two AMSs — that was set up through my Play Bus by the engineer, John Turner, at Palladium."



Roland SDE2000 and SDE3000 delays
Boss pre-amp FA1
Ernie Ball volume pedal
DOD Envelope Filter
Boss Overdrive OD1

"I'm still experimenting with the two Roland echoes for a cross-rhythm effect, playing in time with about a 300mS delay on one, against say a 450mS on the other. The difficulty is keeping in time. The little pre-amp makes the guitar almost like an active, gives it a sparkly sound.

"I had a Boss volume pedal but after about three months it started crackling, and you can't get at the pot. So I got the Ernie Ball, which I've had no problems with. The problem with Level 42 is that each song has about three or four different guitar sounds, so the volume pedal helps to minimise the changes between the sounds.

"The Envelope Filter is like a triggered wah, the harder you pluck the fiercer the wah. I use that when I feel like it, for example on 'Sun Goes Down'. The Overdrive's a bit raspy, but I've just got a Heavy Metal pedal which I hope will get me a cleaner distortion.

"Lastly I use a PA:CE ADT, linking two amps in stereo from it. It's a great ADT when it's working, but I'm having some trouble with it, and they don't make them any more so it's difficult to get it fixed. I may try to find something else for that. So I'm trying to develop my use of effects — but it takes time and money."



Vox Repeat Percussion
Pedalboard with:
Ernie Ball volume pedal
Boss wah-wah PW1
Three Boss DD2 delays
Boss Flanger BF2
Boss Chorus CE3
Boss Heavy Metal HM1
Eventide Harmonizer

"I've just bought the Vox Repeat Percussion, a shop in New York found an old box of them. The effect was taken from those old Vox guitars that had everything built in — so you plug your guitar into this box, set the rate speed, and it repeats whatever you play into it all day. And I picked up the new E-Bow, which should fit into some of the things I'm doing.

"The wah-wah is quite sophisticated, with three notches for low, high and mid-range for the 'scope' of the wah. And our technician has put in a throw-switch where you get either normal wah-wah function, or you step on it and get a preset 'wah-tone' level.

"Two of the delays I have set on a quick slap and a spacious repeat for straight guitar, and the third for getting a bit of air at the end of the note on my Hamer/GR700 guitar synth.

"The Heavy Metal pedal is for that extra bit of insanity at the end of the set, and the Hamonizer I have set at 100 just to fatten out the sound on the second of my Marshall half-stacks. The first stack is overdriven for normal guitar and the third is clean for the synth.

"The Boss stuff is all pretty reliable, but I would mention that the DD2s do suck up the batteries, so I'd recommend the power supply. We didn't use one — not because we're extravagant, but because the battery keeps it off the electrical mains line, and I try to keep any source of hum out of the line that I can. So we change batteries every day — I guess they last maybe two hours maximum."

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