David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
LCW on Bandcamp
location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: effects, preferences, technique, @musings info

Pedal hangover

I have to wonder why I bother buying pedals...

A couple nights agoe I was playing through two amps at once (without hum, thanks to Ebtech Audio's nifty little Hum-X gadget) and decided that I should try all the tricks I've been wanting to try with my pan pedal and Morley ECV (echo/chorus/vibrato). I had fun for about 20 minutes, then got a bad case of "FX hangover." That's where you realize you're listening to the electronics and not the guitar. Not only that, but you realize that you're playing differently to try (unsuccessfully) to compensate for the effects. Then I unplug all the pedals and everything sounds so much better.

Keeping lists is a dangerous pastime. I just discovered that over the past six years I've owned approximately thirty assorted pedals and rack FX. That's not a lot by some some standards; I know at one local guitarist who has had almost that many pedals in his stage rig. But I only own three of the thirty pedals today, and two of those are on the endangered list... Also, I've noticed I keep making the same mistakes over and over. Apparently I have a weak spot for volume pedals, wahs and echo units.

I seem to have reached a point where I resent any effect that reduces dynamics, rolls off the high-end, messes with timing, introduces a dramatic discontinguous change of tone, or does something that's independent of what I play. (That last bit is basically an indictment of all modulation effects.) And no, that doesn't leave much that I do like, as far as pedals go. Give me a tube amp, some reverb, maybe tremolo for special occasions, and I'm good to go.

The only pedal I've been consistently able to stand for more than 20 minutes at a time is the Boss EH-2 Enhancer. That works with my playing, responds to dynamics and doesn't alter the tone in a bad way. It's subtle. I've been hyping this thing every chance I get, and most players give me that "you've really lost it this time" look. The EH-2 is closer to a pickup-change-in-a-stompbox than it is to an effect. Ironically, I'm not the least bit interested in pickup swapping...

November 19 2005 04:40:16 GMT