photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
ever since returning stateside around the summer of 2017 i basically have jumped right back into GUITAR playing in earnest. not to say i ever stopped since brought and/or collected them during my time overseas, but being home with my family's extensive collection of INSTRUMENTS made me dive right in again.
ive always had a few PEDALS laying around, an old trapezoidal ELECTRO-HARMONIX MEMORY MAN and FREQUENCY ANALYZER from the early 2000s and several BOSS PEDALS from time immemorial. but ive come to collect used PEDALS and love the sonic FREEDOM and EXPRESSION they afford me, if only in my apartment. for me it is less about learning songs, scales and technical aspects of the INSTRUMENT and more about unabashed and uninformed experimenting with sound. i find it THERAPEUTIC, FUN and TRANSFORMATIVE. often times i look at the time and find that an hour has come and gone and i am still entranced on first position cowboy chords ringing out. no idea how my neighbors feel.
whats cool about the WHAT'S ON YOUR PEDALBOARD? series on internet music equipment retailer SWEETWATER's online YOUTUBE channel is how it showcases the thought process behind a signal chain. unfortunately most of the guests are PROMINENT GUITAR YOUTUBERS and influencers of varying TALENT and/or TASTE, but i found particularly COMPELLING are the episodes where actual MODERN PEDALS MAKERS are interviewed. past participants include JAMIE STILLMAN (EARTHQUAKER DEVICES), JOSH SCOTT (JHS PEDALS), COLT WESTBROOK (WALRUS AUDIO) and FILIPE PAMPURI (BEETRONICS FX). i continue to find it beyond interesting that so many of these innovative companies come from places off the beaten path like AKRON, OH (EARTHQUAKER DEVICES), JACKSON, MS (JHS PEDALS) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (WALRUS AUDIO) and BRASIL (BEETRONICS FX). not to mention other modern companies like CHASE BLISS (ANOKA, MN), OLD BLOOD NOISE ENDEAVORS (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK), STONE DEAF FX (MANCHESTER, UK), CATALINBREAD PEDALS (PORTLAND, OR), DEATH BY AUDIO (QUEENS, NY), KEELEY ELECTRONICS (OKLAHOMA CITY, OK), HUDSON ELECTRONICS (HUTTON, EAST YORKSHIRE, UK) and historic firms like PRO CO (KALAMAZOO, MI), MXR (ROCHESTER, NY) and DOD ELECTRONICS (SALT LAKE CITY, UT). it just goes to show that like ROCK N ROLL, the PEDAL game is very much a DIY effort straight from people's garages, which is beyond cool in my opinion..
these participating BOUTIQUE manufacturers professionally think specifically about PEDALBOARDS in depth and its INTRIGUING to see how they go about utilizing their own product, as well as those of others. with someone like STILLMAN, his company is renowned for the manufacturing of sonic vehicles for an ever-expanding tone palette that covers both BRUTAL sonic AGGRESSION and PLACID zen AMBIENCE, so it comes as no surprise that his PEDALBOARD walks that divide. plus in a former life he was a touring POST-HARDCORE musician in bands from the same scene as THE BLACK KEYS (whom he has made PEDALS for), so it all kinda makes sense. SCOTT on the other hand is an avowed first-order GUITAR PEDAL nerd with MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD, INOFFENSIVE musical tastes (think PEARL JAM, DAVE MATHEWS BAND and SPOON), so it makes sense that his product line as well as his board contains faithful, HIGH QUALITY reproductions of much sought-after PEDALS. those of which that are prohibitively overpriced on the secondary market and or incredibly scarce. so it makes sense that his PEDALBOARD has a more CONVENTIONAL appeal to traditionally CELEBRATED tones that most GUITAR players enjoy. aint nothing wrong with that. i feel like the other two participants fall somewhere in-between STILLMAN and SCOTT.
anyway, i love GUITAR PEDALS and could watch stuff like this all day, every day. definitely worth checking out if you are into that sorta thing.