If you learn anything from this episode of Board to Death, don’t make the same mistake Nels Cline made. Never, ever, let anyone borrow your Arpanoid. You won’t get it back.
We met up with guitarist, bandleader, and composer Nels Cline (Wilco, the Nels Cline Quartet, Big Walnuts Yonder, Mike Watt) in Brooklyn at Carbonetti Guitars / the Guitar Shop NYC to hear the stunning palette of sounds at his feet (and hands).
Nels has multiple pedalboards, but today we’re looking at “the big one,” which is actually two small pedalboards stacked neatly inside a Pelican case to save space, because this is New York City, folks. The hardcase also functions as a tabletop to keep Nels’ Electro-Harmonix 16-Second Digital Delay, Montreal Assembly Count To Five, and Korg Kaoss Pad within arms’ reach for easy tweaking.
On the floor, Nels’ signal chain begins with the Arpanoid arpeggiator which is used as an improvisational tool on his collaboration with prolific free-jazz and modern classical composer Anthony Braxton. During these sessions, the Arpaniod was used in a patch alongside the ZVex Fuzz Factory, Digitech Whammy I, which is then reversed and time-stretched by the 16-Second Delay and Kaoss Pad.
Rounding out the rig is a mix of standard and spacey stompboxes: Boss CS-3, Boss FV-500, Seymour Duncan 805, Boss VB-2, Red Panda Context, Devi Ever Soda Meiser, Crazy Tube Circuits Vyagra Boost, custom JamPedal Waterfall with the “Nels Cline switch,” Electro-Harmonix Stereo Pulsar, Montreal Assembly Count To Five, and Boss DD-3.