Written by PGS Staff Few things sound as gross and unmusical as a misused compressor. Bad compression can suck every bit of life out of an instrument or recorded track, transforming a natural, dynamic performance into a squashed, strangled, ear-fatiguing abomination. Unless it’s being used artistically for a specific effect, bad compression is usually the direct result of inexperience on the part of the user and abuser, as well as a lack of knowledge about what compression is and how it works. The basic concept behind an audio compressor is reducing
Written by PGS Staff I don't surf. Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, the opportunity to do so just never presented itself. Later I moved to Oregon, and although it certainly has a healthy surf scene, the ocean in these parts is usually frigid, steely gray in color, and full of sharp rocks and pointy-toothed great whites, among other life-threatening hazards. In short, surfing is done here, but it's strictly for the masochistic, suicidal, or both. I am neither. Despite my ignorance of surfing and surf culture, I have, like many guitarists, fallen under the influence of instrumental surf rock and the loud, clean, 'verb and vibrato-drenched guitar tones that are an essential part of it.
Written by PGS Staff Hello. My name is Nick and I am a pedal addict. Over the past few years I’ve bought, sold and traded my way through more than 200 different pedals. It’s been quite a journey, but regularly standing in line at the post office waiting to mail stuff out has given me time to reflect on my experiences and make a few key observations. Last time, I gave you five rules that every pedal addict should live by: 1. Do your research. 2. Prepare for disappointment. 3. Be patient. 4. Cut corners. 5. Don’t settle. Today I offer rules 6–10. Rule 6: Pace yourself. It
Written by PGS Staff Oftentimes, I'm asked the question of how to approximate certain non-guitar sounds with pedals. Most people ask about synthesizer, but over the years, I've been asked more and more esoteric questions and have amassed quite a knowledge base in trying to answer them to best my ability. Of course, working in a few guitar shops with access to a matrix of pedals helps, but for now, my knowledge is your knowledge. Old vinyl record: Hexe Melusine There's much to be said about the imagination of studio musicians and studio owners: Typically, they tend to be a more imaginative bunch. Some might say, "Hey, what if this guitar track sounded like
Written by PGS Staff Brian Eno may not be a name with which younger players resonate, but if you enjoy ambient licks, there’s little ground that he didn’t cover in his 44-year career. In fact, Eno’s name is so synonymous with ambient music that he literally invented the term. The genre takes its name from Eno’s series of works starting with Music for Airports and concluding with On Land; Eno christened this four-album set as the Ambient Series, and a genre was born. While Eno has scads of studio equipment and warehouses full of gear at his disposal, there are some tricks and techniques available that may appeal to more
All too often, traditionalists are extremely put off by all these “new-fangled” effects. “You’re wasting your time,” they might say. “Name me one song that uses that weird thing,” another might moan. As we all know, players have been using effects since The Ventures and fuzz, distortion, overdrive, modulation and delay pedals have become canonical in popular music. However, since Tom Oberheim built the first guitar-oriented ring modulator in the late ‘60s, traditionalists have been telling its users to get off their respective lawns. Yet here we are, 50 years later, and companies are still making them. Who uses these unusable things? Come with me as I take you on a
I love the dirt section of my pedalboard, which has been built with care, patience and love, and is informed by decades (well, at least two) of experience, but I still love checking out new stuff. So when I catch wind of new pedals that sound interesting, I race to check out whatever demos I can find. Unfortunately, I am forever left frustrated by said demos: Invariably, it seems, the player in question spends the whole time on the bridge pickup. Sometimes, the demo-er will noodle on the neck pickup, and then—right before activating the pedal—they will switch positions. Occasionally, there might be some bluesy lines played in the neck position, or some half-hearted strumming
The old maxim "less is more" has been lazily applied to just about every facet of life, and one often hears it in the music biz regarding everything from songwriting and performing to recording and marketing. As guitarists, we often hear it applied to accompaniment, soloing, and effects usage, among other things, and in many cases it is actually a good rule of thumb for musicians that have an inborn tendency to overplay or run amok with their pedalboard. One area where this decrepit old cliché absolutely fails, though, is in regard to amplifiers, specifically the number of amplifiers one plays through while on stage or in the studio. When plugging an electric guitar into an