I vividly remember the show I finally found my signature sound, because it was the first time anyone pulled me aside afterwards to find out what pedals I was using. It began when a coworker asked me to help her sort some music equipment she found in her attic. She had no idea what anything was and wanted me to price things for her. That's when destiny took ahold of the situation and brought me a pair of Ibanez UE-300 80's multi effects pedals. I had been looking at them online for several months, dreaming I could afford a $300 piece of equipment with my modest dishwasher take home. Pulling out boxes of odds and ends - nothing of substantial value - they peaked out from underneath the clutter and changed my life. YES! This is my hammer. Any viking worth it's sea salt needs a mighty hammer to smack down. Mine had finally dropped at my feet, ready to take on the darkest caverns and the angry slobbering beast within.
I should explain that I had always had a love/hate relationship with guitar solos. I loved Joe Perry, Jimmy Page, and Tony Iommi, but when I tried, I couldn't put the pieces together in a way that represented what I was trying to say. Because more than a display of technicality, I think guitar solos should say something. They should be the point in the song where she grabs your hand after 10 minutes of bad pick-up lines and walks you to the bathroom to fool around. I knew being the only guitar in a three piece band that cutting through would be very important - not being overbearing 'til it was time to take control. To that effect, also not losing the driving bottom end of my sound when doing so was important. That's where the Ibanez and extra 4x12 cabinet on stage came into play. When the occasion presented itself, punch in the Tube Screamer and chorus soaring above but still maintaining the front lines, making us impenetrable.
Otherwise, my set up is modest a Boss DS-1 I acquired in 9th grade, and for added texture, an Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer.
Fast forward to becoming acquainted with EarthQuaker Devices and adding a boutique element to my pawn shop sound. While recording Thelma and The Sleaze's latest effort in Joshua Tree with David Catching, I was privileged to rummage through his vast pedal collection. I spent a lot of time one particular day trying a bunch out with his vintage Silvertone amp and really enjoyed the Hummingbird initially because it was the first time I used a tremolo pedal that maintained volume and tone after being engaged. Usually this is only the case with an amp that has a designated tremolo knob. Unfortunately this isn't a option for the touring musician who doesn't want to bring a $600 shoe box amp in a van that feast on everything spitting it out after tour broken and battered . . .
Stay tuned for the epic conclusion of "Pedal City" . . .