Is there a more beautiful word than ‘pedal’? I don’t think so. Say it. Say it again. It feels good doesn’t it? Mmm, pedal.
I love pedals. I love experimenting with their sounds, tweaking their knobs, caressing their enclosures, rubbing my face against them, etc. I’m always on the lookout for pedals that are well built, entertaining, unique, strange, experimental, and/or inspiring. That’s why I’m here today to tell you about two cool pedals and how cool you are for reading this. No need to thank me, just doing my job.
Keeley Electronics Vibe-O-Verb
Lately Keeley has been pumpin’ it out like Bill Cosby in a coma ward. Seriously they’ve released like 25 pedals (give or take) in the last year. Keeley must have employed Underpants Gnomes or something to do all this work for them in such a short time. Pretty clever because they work for underpants, not money.
Anyway, I just caught a glimpse of the brand new Vibe-O-Verb and I was pretty impressed with Keeley’s most recent reverb rendition. It’s a modulated reverb (usually reverb with chorus on the reverb tail), the likes of which have been around for a while, but the Vibe-O-Verb takes this idea up a notch like it was bammed by that fat greaseball Emeril himself. With the Vibe-O-Verb you can achieve sounds that would only be possible with a reverb equipped with an effects loop, plus the other pedals for adding modulation to the wet signal; that could be a whole small pedalboard’s worth of space. The reverb is dense and moody, full of movement, sway, and atmosphere, especially when utilizing the modulation. You don’t want your reverb to be modulated all the time? No worries, just turn the depth knob down and all you’ve got is the nice simple reverb to play with. You Philistine.
Did I mention the delay space algorithms are based on the Fibonacci sequence? If nature follows this pattern, why wouldn’t it be a good idea to model reverb decay time after it?
Depth – this affects the amount of modulation on the reverb. Set it low for a little or high for a lot, or turn it all the way down to eliminate the modulation. I recommend leaving this up.
Rate – Also affects the modulation section. Set it low for a nice wash, or high for faster rotary or choppy tremolo type stuff.
Decay – Adjusts the length of the reverb. I’m not sure of the specifics, but based on the video it can be subtle or pretty cavernous.
Blend – blend in your clean signal. You get to choose how much effect you want. How liberating.
–harmonic reverb – imparts some choppy harmonic tremolo (basically like a vintage Brownface amp trem or Keeley’s DynaTrem) on the reverb tail. Some settings end up sounding like delay as the reverb reverberates and the tremolo chops.
–vibrato reverb – can do anything from subtle to extreme chorus/vibrato sounds on the reverb tail. I don’t get into vibrato too much, but I really like the way it sounds on this pedal mixed with the reverb. Of course the chorus sounds brilliant and seems perfect for getting all spacey and out there man.
–phaser reverb – the most subtle of all. Adds a notch filter to the tails. From what I can tell this makes the brightness/darkness of the reverb shift from one extreme to the other. Honestly it’s hard to detect in the video, but hopefully it’s more apparent when playing in person.
Check out the video from Pro Guitar Shop for a nice taste:
For more info: www.keeleyelectronics.com
Mr. Black Shepard’s End
Mr. Black is a small, but reputable company based out of Portland, Oregon. They specialize in two categories of effects: dirt and modulation. When I say specialize, I mean Jack Deville (the dude behind the mysterious company name) eats lesser dirt and modulation pedals for breakfast, which fuels his ability to produce effects that are perfect for getting all heavy and psychedelic like your momma on an acid trip. Snap!
Mr. Black is kind of a big deal when it comes to modulation. A lot of guitar players (and players of other things) swear by their Eterna reverb for it’s lush tone and I even once spotted a Black LTD Overdriver on the board of Jamie Stillman (owner of EQD). My point again is that this guy knows pedals and has designed a real paragon in the Shepard’s End Infinite Flanger.
Now y’all should know by now that I think flangers are the shit, and thanks to this golden age of gear we live in there are more and more flangers coming out all the time; I’m only interested in the ones that sound good and/or have something unique to offer, and that’s why I want you to want the Shepard’s End.
The Shepard’s End is unique because it’s an infinite flanger, meaning it’s capable of producing what is called ‘barberpole flange’. So what the hell is ‘barberpole flange’ you ask? Well you see kids, in normal flanger pedals, the filter will oscillate, or move up and down, to create that nice pleasant whoosh that is so thrilling to at least my ears. In contrast the Shepard’s End tricks are based on the Shepard tone or effect. The Shepard effect creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, but does not seem to get any higher or lower (if you want to learn more about it click here). Basically it means the flange wave has no beginning and no end (how zen), which means the filter can perpetually sweep up or down. Like forever, or at least your brain is tricked into perceiving that it does (damn naive brains). Hence the term ‘barberpole’ being applied here. It can also do continual ‘through-zero flange’ and also features positive and negative regeneration, so your flange can sound more chorusy-phaser-like or like an imploding metal tubular black hole respectively. This means that this is probably the weirdest flanger you’ll come across. In the video it sounds very synthy and at times almost laser-like.
Wave – adjusts the shape of the flange wave for upward, through-zero, or downward cycles. Either way it’s gonna get goopy and it’s gonna go on forever, like a signal sent out into space in search of extraterrestrial life.
Speed – Adjusts the rate of the filter sweep.
Regen – Adjusts the regeneration, or the amount of signal fed back into itself anywhere from none to negative and positive. Lots of tones reside here in this knob I’m sure.
You can find the Shepard’s End and the whole line of Mr. Black pedals at www.mrblackpedals.com
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading! As always feel free to leave me a comment about how your day is going. Or something about pedals is cool too.
The Pedal File