Tone chasing

I’m always interested in finding new sounds, new pedals, whatnot. Experimenting with stacking pedals and effects and the different sounds you can get from them. One day I plan to get a Tascam and start recording some of these experiments. Right now they sound like shit, to be honest, but someday I might get something worth recording.

One problem with YouTube videos dealing with echo, delay and reverb pedals is the style of music featured. You rarely, if ever, see ambient, space rock or drone music featured. It’s always some guy with a douchey sense of humor, playing the same boring blues and rockabilly riffs to the same slapback reverb setting. It almost seems like there is a factory producing SRV clones with the same playing style.

Don’t get me wrong, there a couple of channels dedicated to ambient music (a lot of electronic, which is cool, too), but they get lost in the avalanche of bad blues impersonators.

Of course, the same problem applies to your average guitar teacher, or music store personnel.  If you’re gonna go pedal shopping, they’ll always tell you the pedals and settings that Page or Clapton or Hendrix used on whatever song. Again, I don’t really fault them, as the great majority of buyers are going for that sound. I’m an oddball, and that’s fine with me.

There used to be an online community, but I never joined because of busy life stuff, but it’s now defunct. Which is just me always be late to the party.

But at the same time I plan to do more experiments and get my own sound. For one thing, most ambient guitar guys use insanely expensive pedals. Stuff that costs $500 a pedal. The four pedals I will use cost about that much combined. Yes, I use stuff by MXR, TC Electronics and Line 6. That’s just what I can afford. Or justify paying. Maybe if I made thousands of dollars a month at Bandcamp I would put the money towards a Strymon, or a Death by Audio pedal. Some of those Death by Audio pedals are tempting. And they’re made by Oliver Ackermann of A Place To Bury Strangers (one of my favorite bands), but I still can’t really justify or afford the cost at the moment.

Also, when people use the same boutique pedals, often times their sound is too similar. I won’t fool myself into thinking I’m getting a revolutionary sound out of my four, moderately priced pedals. But I like to try. And I like to go for something different.

I’ll be honest for a second and say that if I had a pedal that gave me an instant Windy & Carl sound, I’d be happy. At least for a few minutes, until I realized I was simply poorly replicating music that came about 15 years ago.

For now, I’ll simply experiment and go from there. Most of the fun of ambient music is finding new sounds, and ways of making sounds in different ways. And sometimes that kind of thing is best done alone.