Ok, so I’ll do this in reverse order of the title. Progress and gear rolls clunky. Gear and progress flows. Onward.
For those of you who might be interested, here’s my fx chain (and the best pictures I could find of each):
Yes, I’m a little old-school. I don’t care that much for digital fx, though I have some on my Line 6.
The Auto-Wah has a nice midrange snarl to it. Good contrast to the Behringer, especially when set at the same speed. Plus it has that great feature of Boss gear-the casing is metal. Go ahead and step on it! It’s an early 80s unit. I bought it new from a little guitar shop in Downers Grove, near the tracks on Fairview. Don’t remember the name of the place. I bought my Ibanez Destroyer there, too.
I use the Hellbabe more as a volume pedal than a wah. I also use this in my bass chain. I have a Dunlop as well, but it creates a little hum, so I don’t use it as often. The Hellbabe has a unique sound. It’s kind of an acquired taste. Behringer equipment is cheap, and is not highly regarded, and there’s a reason for that. It is wonky, breaks easily…but the stuff sounds fantastic.
The Rocktek is an under-rated pedal, with a sustain and distortion not dissimilar to a Big Muff at a fraction of the price. I got this one at a guitar store a couple of doors away from where the Wal-Mart is in Darien, Il. Doubt that store exists any more, but it was one of my haunts back in the day. Rocktek has almost a “woman tone”, a lush sort of distortion without too much high end, unless you really kick up the gain. I like to kick it on just for solos, letting it interact with the Boss wah and generate microtones by the bundle. You could (and I have) use(d) just the feedback from that combo for soundscapes.
You’ll note that the phasor and flanger are both stereo units. Often I’ll run the end of the chain through the Line 6 and run a line from the phasor or flanger to the Bad Dog, jack both into my Alesis Multimix 8 and pan them hard left and right on a recording for that “dueling guitar” sound.
The Behringer Ultra Wah has a unique high-pitched squeal that sounds great when doubled with the Autowah, slightly out of phase.
I also have on hand an old Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Boss Tube Compressor. The last is more used in my bass chain, along with a Behringer Bass Synth pedal for more modern thumpity-thump.
My rig is very small, put together for an apartment. I have a Line 6 Spider 3, 15-watt version, a Washburn Bad Dog 8-watt guitar amp, an AXL 60-watt bass/keyboard amp, and an ancient National acoustic guitar amp.
I’m not absolutely crazy about Line 6’s sound. I’d prefer and will eventually obtain a small Marshall, a 15 or 30 CDFX unit, if I can’t swing a tube version. The amp sounds good with the SG and Strat, less good with the hollowbody.
The Washburn “breaks up” at very low levels and is extremely useful for more metallic tone. It is also surprisingly good for clean tones from the hollowbody. Quite a versatile little beast that I bought for five bucks at a Goodwill in Greece, Ny. I’d like another, or even a bigger relative. Certainly they make them-I just haven’t investigated.
The AXL is a workhorse. Doesn’t really have a sound of its own-rather, it enhances the sounds of the instruments played through it. Very good for vocals also. Combined with a vocal pre-amp, it can also generate “warm” tube-y sound. This was a Musician’s Friend find-less than a hundred bucks, and I’ve been using it for ten years now.
Blues tones par excellence. Ringing acoustic guitar. Most of my recorded acoustic playing features this National amp. At sixty years of age, it has a line out. Doesn’t break up easily, even at high volume.
Makes a very decent metal amp when coupled with the fx chain.
I imagine by this point that you can understand how this equipment allows for a variety of sounds, both live and recorded, along with the instruments I have on hand, which will be the subject of another post. And the collection has the advantage of portability. The AXL weighs about seventy-five pounds and is by far the heaviest piece of gear. The rest can be safely put in boxes without worrying about the cardboard giving way.
The Alesis is a USB-powered model, which allows me to reduce hum and get a “pruned” sound, with a minimum of screeching.
All of this gear can be heard on my latest track at moderan@reverbnation.
The other side, the writing world, is progressing slowly, but it’s progressing. I’ve set myself a daily goal of 2500 words, and have easily reached that every (work)day but one in the last two months. I do take periodic “weekends” (about every fortnight-I’m a little bit workaholic).
Things are starting to appear here and there. There’ll be more, I think. I have several short stories on their rounds and completed the first draft of a short and a novelette today. Those are two KIY stories (“Sunshine and Scarlet” and “Sunrise on Carcosa”). I’m also finishing up on a small revision of “Bone Sequence”, which I’ll place at shoggoth.net to drum up some eyes for the Crazytown book. And the “Forgotten God” story is in second draft. It’s just about ready for submission. Some sf stuff aimed at the slicks is in the queue, too. I’ll share some of that in the reasonably near future.
It also seems like I’ll have a website again, in the near future. One hackers can’t get at, or shouldn’t be able to. More on that when it’s up. Letters from Outside will likely get the same treatment, and since that’s a static archive, it only needs to get done once. Once. Happy Happy Cthulhu!
I’m trying to blog more frequently. Trying.