After a decade apart, Sepultura founding brothers Max and Igor Cavalera have reunited in The Cavalera Conspiracy, reviving the intricate thrash and crushing rhythms of Arise-era Sepultura with a modern brutality and ten years of growth on their debut album, Inflikted (Roadrunner). Peter: This band seemed to come out of nowhere. When did it start? Cavalera: I’ve been on this project now for the last two years, since I started talking to Igor again. I’ve been submerged with this thing from morning to night, 24 hours. I’m just very happy with it, man, I’m very proud of it. I like the attitude, the music, the visuals – It doesn’t look like all the shit that’s out there, y’know? I’m excited as hell to go on tour, and we’re really thrilled about the record. Peter: Did you get back into contact with the idea of playing together again, or was it about reestablishing the brotherhood first? Cavalera: My first approach with him was just to get back together as brothers, family, y’know, but once that was done my thing was, ‘Now that we’re brothers again, now that we’re family again, guess what: We need to play again.’ So that was the next move, and it was cool. We have a really cool chemistry together. It was perfect, really. It’s wild. It’s kind of surreal sometimes. Because it was so long ago and so much has happened in these 10 years, I’m glad we’ve restored our brother relationship. We grew up together in music. The first 20 years of my life playing music was with Igor, then there was a 10 year space where I continued making music but it was not the same. Peter: The drums are mixed very in-your-face. Was that to say ‘Here’s Igor back’ or was it just the way it turned out? Cavalera: I was more in charge of the direction of songs, sonic ideas, themes and this and that. But Logan (Mader) as an engineer really knew the drums would be a huge thing on this project, and I think in his own way Logan made sure to record the drums the right way and mix it the right way, so when you listen to it the drums really jump out at you. It’s also a lot to do with the way Igor plays. He has this presence. I’ve toured with a lot of people, and the only other person with that kind of presence was Bill Ward when I did the Sabbath tour. One thing about Igor that a lot of people don’t know is that most of the time, the right stick is upside down, so he’s using the end of the stick, and that started in the Sepultura days. He said he wasn’t punishing the drums enough. It’s a very metal thing to do. The first day in the studio I was like, ‘Yeah, the upside down stick, crank it!’ Peter: Are you still playing your ESP signatures?
Peter: How have you changed musically in the time apart?
Cavalera: Not a lot. I still play just 4 strings. I still don’t know the name of all the strings, and I still don’t tune my guitars. Igor noticed that right away: ‘Your shit’s still out of tune man! I can’t believe 10 years have gone by and your guitars are dirty still, you don’t clean them, they’re out of tune.’ And I say, ‘Well …(Woody Allen-style cough) I’m the same.’ And Igor’s pretty much the same. I noticed how much he’s matured as a drummer though. I always knew the double bass Igor, the crazy fills, but this was something else, kind of a Bill Ward, Bonham feel to it, where he can keep the shit as simple as possible but with a lot of power. It’s completely relentless, you can feel that drum beating you, punishing you.
Peter: So I guess that’s the secret to getting your sound is a guitar with 4 strings that’s out of tune, and an upside down drum stick.
Cavalera: I was waiting for him to draw people he didn’t like on the toms, because he used to do that too. Bands that be ****ing with us on tour. Ministry was an example, they had a real asshole tour manager, he hated everybody, a miserable guy, and always talking shit about everyone. So Igor drew him on every drum skin, in many different ways – had him naked in one, had him dressed like a girl, and eventually he saw the drum kit and wanted to kill all of us. We didn’t give a shit, that’s the way we roll.
Cavalera: Yep, the 4 string, out of tune. On the Conspiracy I’ve been using the AX shape signature model. It reminds me of my old BC Rich I used back in the Sepultura days, and we’re in the process of maybe making a new model, a 4 string model. I don’t know why I never thought of that before, actually made a 4 string guitar. It’s a big riff guitar. I love ESP, I love the guitars.
After a decade apart, Sepultura founding brothers Max and Igor Cavalera have reunited in The Cavalera Conspiracy, reviving the intricate thrash and crushing rhythms of Arise-era Sepultura with a modern brutality and ten years of growth on their debut album, Inflikted (Roadrunner).
Peter: This band seemed to come out of nowhere. When did it start?
Cavalera: I’ve been on this project now for the last two years, since I started talking to Igor again. I’ve been submerged with this thing from morning to night, 24 hours. I’m just very happy with it, man, I’m very proud of it. I like the attitude, the music, the visuals – It doesn’t look like all the shit that’s out there, y’know? I’m excited as hell to go on tour, and we’re really thrilled about the record.
Peter: Did you get back into contact with the idea of playing together again, or was it about reestablishing the brotherhood first?
Cavalera: My first approach with him was just to get back together as brothers, family, y’know, but once that was done my thing was, ‘Now that we’re brothers again, now that we’re family again, guess what: We need to play again.’ So that was the next move, and it was cool. We have a really cool chemistry together. It was perfect, really. It’s wild. It’s kind of surreal sometimes. Because it was so long ago and so much has happened in these 10 years, I’m glad we’ve restored our brother relationship. We grew up together in music. The first 20 years of my life playing music was with Igor, then there was a 10 year space where I continued making music but it was not the same.
Peter: The drums are mixed very in-your-face. Was that to say ‘Here’s Igor back’ or was it just the way it turned out?
Cavalera: I was more in charge of the direction of songs, sonic ideas, themes and this and that. But Logan (Mader) as an engineer really knew the drums would be a huge thing on this project, and I think in his own way Logan made sure to record the drums the right way and mix it the right way, so when you listen to it the drums really jump out at you. It’s also a lot to do with the way Igor plays. He has this presence. I’ve toured with a lot of people, and the only other person with that kind of presence was Bill Ward when I did the Sabbath tour. One thing about Igor that a lot of people don’t know is that most of the time, the right stick is upside down, so he’s using the end of the stick, and that started in the Sepultura days. He said he wasn’t punishing the drums enough. It’s a very metal thing to do. The first day in the studio I was like, ‘Yeah, the upside down stick, crank it!’
Peter: Are you still playing your ESP signatures?
Extreme may always be best known to the world at large for the acoustic hit ‘More Than Words,’ but rock fans know the band’s real bread and butter was a funky, harmony-driven rock sound which was equal parts Van Halen, Aerosmith and Queen, capped off with the tasteful shred of guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. Nuno was one of the best of the post Van Halen guitarists, and what made him stand out most was his sense of groove and rhythm. Nuno was never content to phone it in until it was time to solo, and as a result his rhythm guitar parts were always a finely balanced concoction of technicality and danceability.
Thirteen years have passed since Extreme’s last album, the raw and underrated ‘Waiting For The Punchline.’ Since then, singer Gary Cherone fronted Van Halen (he put in a valiant effort, but it was just not to be); drummer Paul Geary, who split halfway through the ‘Punchline’ sessions, managed Godsmack; bass player Pat Badger raised alpacas; and Nuno released a whole bunch of albums, mostly under various band names but still all amounting to “Nuno + backing band.” Now the band feels the time is right to return, and although Geary is assisting with band management matters, the drum stool is now occupied by Kevin Figueiredo from Nuno’s last band, Dramagods.
Saudades de Rock (the name loosely translates as ‘nostalgic homesickness for rock’) has a lot in common with ‘Punchline’ – raw production, ambient drum sounds, a minimum of overdubs – but it sounds tighter, sharper, and altogether more powerful than that album’s dark, muffled tone. The album opens with Star, draped in Queen-inspired harmonies over a rhythm section slightly reminiscent of the big Van Halen shuffles like ‘Hot For Teacher.’ Lyrically, the song is similar to ‘Hip Today’ from ‘Punchline,’ but while that song offered an ominous warning to the here today, gone tomorrow grunge bands of the day, ‘Star’ expands the scope to the world of instant stardom through reality TV and paparazzi frenzy.
‘Comfortably Dumb’ has a killer groove and tight vocal harmonies, while the lyrics flow on from Frank Zappa’s famous comment that the most plentiful element in the universe is stupidity. The protagonist of the song has become jaded and desensitised due to multimedia oversaturation. A parallel can again be drawn to a ‘Punchline’ track, ‘Cynical,’ but in that song the subject was left negative and pessimistic by the state of the world, in ‘Comfortably Dumb’ they’ve shut down completely.
‘Take Us Alive’ has a rockabilly-influenced, country edge complete with some twangy guitar noodling. ‘King of the Ladies’ is reminiscent of Nuno’s solo work, and is one of several moments on the album where Nuno lets his Octave pedal do the talking, to great effect. ‘Last Hour on Earth’ picks up where Van Halen’s ‘A Year To The Day’ left off, in both structure and feel, and ‘Flower Man’ picks up the pace with more clever harmony colouring. ‘Ghost’ has drawn many comparisons to Coldplay, and if radio was to find this song it would be a certain hit. And while the album concludes with ‘Peace (Saudade),’ it feels more like a low-key encore because it’s the second last track, ‘Sunrise,’ that really feels like the closer to the album proper.
Some fans are calling Saudades de Rock the best album of Extreme’s career. Others aren’t quite won over by the continued use of the live-sounding recording techniques of the ‘Punchline’ album, hoping instead for a return to the more produced sounds of ‘Pornograffiti’ and ‘III Sides to Every Story.’ Personally I freaking love this album and, after living with it for about a month, I still find myself drawn to it several times a week, when usually I’ve moved on from an album by that time. It’s for that reason that I’m naming Saudades de Rock my favourite album of the year so far.
Open E Records
Lindsay Buckingham – Gift of Screws
New solo album from the Fleetwood Macdaddy, with appearances by FleeMac cohorts Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. The word is that there is some pretty scorching guitar playing on this one, along with an altogether darker blues rock edge compared to his previous release, Under The Skin. Buckingham has always been hugely underrated but his tone and note choice are, to quote Cookie Monster, nomnomnomnom.
Buckcherry – Black Butterfly
Personally I was never really sold on Buckcherry. However, they do have some nice guitar tones and a cool sleaze-rock vibe, and early reviews proclaim this the best album of their career, so it may be worth a listen for those of us who never really gave them enough of a chance.
The Cure – Hypnagogic States
This EP consists of a few songs from the forthcoming full length album by the gloomy heroes of yesteryear, all remixed by the gloomy heroes of today, including members of My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, AFI, 30 Seconds to Mars, and 65 Days of Static. All royalties from the EP will be donated to the International Red Cross.
David Gilmour – Live in Gdansk
2 CD/2 DVD set by former Pink Floyd guitarist, playing solo tracks as well as Pink Floyd classics. Not a lot of surprises in the setlist, but any chance to watch Gilmour’s tastefully restrained playing close-up should be seized upon and ravaged like a zebra with a trick knee.
Marc Ford & The Neptune Blues Club – self titled
Former Black Crowes guitarist Ford stakes out his claim to the same guitar hero territory prowled by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck, with an album of original blues rock.
Here’s my work-in-progress custom Ibanez RG. The body was an eBay find, and a Christmas present from Mrs Iheartguitar: it’s an Ibanez RG570 with a custom swirl paint job by Herc Fede. For a while, Herc was selling painted bodies on eBay, as well as doing custom work, but as of July 1, 2008 he stopped taking orders for custom finishes. He plans to still occasionally offer painted bodies for sale, so check his webside periodically to see if you can snag one. What I particularly like about this body is the abstract duck figure in the top left corner of the image.
The neck was another eBay discovery, and was hand made by Herc himself. The colours are based on the Ibanez Jem 77PMC purple multicolour model from the early 90s. The neck is in great condition and feels very smooth and comfortable.
The electronics will consist of a pair of Dimarzio EJ Custom humbuckers, which are designed to sound like old Gretsch FilterTrons, and a Dimarzio Vintage Solo single coil in the middle, which is voiced to sound like a P90. I already have so many shred-style guitars that I thought it would be cool to have something that sounds a little more traditional, yet looks completely over the top.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to record something at home, chances are that you had to do it with a clunky four or eight track portable studio set up. My first was a Yamaha unit from the mid 80s, which I bought second hand out of the local paper when I was 14. I logged hours and hours of time on that thing, bouncing down tracks, faking a bass by manipulating the tape speed, recording backwards solos, and generally making a whole lot of noise. One time I created a Ministry-esque rhythm track and recorded Simpsons quotes directly off the VCR, relying on my mad pause button skills to ensure the ‘samples’ were recorded at the right point in the song. Today even the simplest computer can be an entire recording studio, and the rules have changed. You no longer have to worry about losing a little bit of treble every time you play your track, like you would with a cassette. And if you flub a part, it’s really easy to fix a note or two. Try that on a tape deck.
For the last year or so, my recording system of choice has been Pro Tools LE. I’ve stumbled upon a few cool tricks which apply to pretty much any digital work station, so feel free to try these at home. Just don’t hurt yourselves.
TWINKLE PANS: Record a stereo track of a single chord with a panning effect moving from left to right, timed to sweep the sound from one side to the other over the length of each bar. Then chop each bar up into 8th notes, and juggle them around randomly, so you get the chord sort of ‘twinkling’ across the stereo spectrum. You might hear a slight clicking sound at the start or end of each 8th note. If that’s the case, just draw in the tiniest of fade-ins and fade-outs at the start and end of the note, and you’ll be fine. You can also try using a tremolo effect, which you can lock to the tempo of the track, and set to fade in and out of the note naturally.
RHYTHMIC TREMOLO: Similar to twinkle pans, chop a bar into 8th or 16th note segments, but this time, instead of moving them around, delete some of them, to create interesting rhythms. Be a little bit lateral and see if you can find interesting polyrhythms or syncopations you might not have come up with any other way. Even if you’re not sold on the tremolo sound, you can still use it as a songwriting tool to write new riffs, which you can then play ‘manually.’
INSTANT KEYBOARD, JUST ADD REVERB: For fake keyboard sounds, use a reverb effect with the mix turned to 100% effected sound and a second or so of reverb time, then tremolo-pick single notes or octaves as fast as you can. With the un-reverbed note and any sense of definite rhythm removed from the signal, you’re just left with the general harmonic information. If you bring down the bass and treble frequencies and notch up the upper mids a bit, you can create a very interesting texture underneath extreme metal riffing.
DELAYED EFFECT: For a unique delay sound, copy the guitar track to a second track, move it back by 1 or 2 beats compared to the original track, then apply effects only to the shifted track, so you can have, say, flanger or pitch shifter happening only on the delays. Imagine your original melody line being repeated as a diatonic harmony, or drenched in deep vibrato.
THE MULTI AMP VIRTUAL RIG OF DOOM: Many amp modelling programs feature the ability to use two virtual amp rigs at once, but if that’s just not enough, or if your modeler only offers one sound at a time, copy and paste the same guitar part onto multiple tracks, and process each one differently to achieve otherwise unattainable sounds. This is especially fun for getting vaguely Frank Zappa-ish sounds: Try separate tracks of a completely uneffected guitar, a distorted guitar with a very short delay, a distorted guitar with a stationary wah effect, and a distorted guitar with an envelope filter, all at once, panned to various points in the stereo spectrum.
LOOK MA, I’M A SYNTH: Lock a modulation effect’s tempo to the speed of the song and feed it into an envelope filter for crazy synth-like swells. Try it on two tracks, panned hard left and hard right, with the modulation tempo set to quarter notes on one side and whole or 8th notes on the other; set each envelope filter to emphasise a different frequency; and compress the hell out of each side. You should get a phat, rhythmic ‘wub’ sound with a million and one uses, from Tea Party-style post rock apocalyptica to rave freakout.
I hope you have fun with these, and are inspired to come up with new editing tricks of your own.
Check out this wacky little innovation. Ever busted a string on a guitar with a Floyd Rose trem, and been unable to locate an allen wrench to fix it? A company called Strociek has designed the TurboTrem series of replacement whammy bars based on several popular models, with a hidden feature: a 3mm allen wrench built into the base of the bar. Now if you pop a string, just remove the whammy bar and use the screw/push-in end as an allen wrench. Genius!
Strociek currently offers 3 models of TurboTrem: threaded, collared, and pop-in. The company says the TurboTrem is compatible with any Kahler tremolo system and all original and licensed Floyd Rose single and double locking tremolo systems, such as the Ibanez Edge series, Schaller, Gotoh, ESP, Peavey, Jackson and Charvel and more.
Bassist Bryan Beller’s second album goes a little deeper than its predecessor, ‘View,’ both conceptually and musically. Always a great all-round bass player (he’s been former Zappa guitarist Mike Keneally’s right hand man since the mid 90s, and is a member of Steve Vai’s String Theories band), Beller now seems even more comfortable as a solo artist, whether he’s grooving in the rhythm section, throwing out a Zappaesque flurry, or blazing a solo.
Styles on ‘Thanks In Advance’ range from fusion to rock to electronica, to the almost vintage R&B feel of the title track. Sonically, the production is a little more open and bright than ‘View,’ and the compositions appear to breathe a little more. The bass playing is as tasty as ever, and as you might expect, the bass is presented on a silver platter, front and centre when it’s called for or carefully mixed to support the song when needed.
‘Casual Lie Day’ is a cruisy, jazzy track with a groovy, deep bass tone and some very tasteful guitar playing, topped off with a clever horn arrangement which gathers strength as the song progresses. ‘Play Hard’ is an upbeat vocal song with definite rock radio appeal and a bright guitar pop kind of vibe. It sounds a little bit like something by the band Freak Kitchen, but more substance, less gimmicky flash.
Mike Keneally makes a powerful appearance on ‘Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through,’ moving smoothly from sparse single note lines to complex melodies, to huge, bristling chords, to an almost vocal and deep solo, to all out freak out, then into epic harmonies. Those who haven’t witnessed Keneally’s particular splendour before will be bowled over by his ability to play very fast, very difficult pieces without sounding like a ‘shred guy.’
‘From Nothing’ caps off the album, featuring Zappa Plays Zappa saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez jamming over a high energy rhythm section. By the time the song winds down, the album is wrapped up with a sense of catharsis and optimism.
Onion Boy Records
Thanks In Advance pre-orders begin on Monday September 15 at www.bryanbeller.com, and the album will be available from the end of September.
Those of us with a fondness for the, let’s just say, larger-haired corners of the rock guitar world will be excited to know that the long missing-in-action company ADA (Analog/Digital Associates) is on the way back after about a decade or so of inactivity.
ADA’s famous midi-controllable tube preamp, the MP-1, was used on a lot of recordings around the late 80s/early 90s, especially paired with the power section of a Marshall JCM800 or JCM 900 head. Notable MP-1 users included Steve Vai, Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt, White Lion’s Vito Bratta, and Paul Gilbert. On the bass side, Primus’s Les Claypool used a modified MP-1, while Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey used the dedicated bass version, the MB-1. To this day, Gilbert uses a modified ADA flanger tweaked to create a whammy-like divebomb effect, and other notable flanger users include Pat Travers and Testament’s Alex Skolnick.
We’re in the storming and forming phase and usually send out a canned response, but your questions are intriguing and deserve an answer.
David Tarnowski, head engineer and inventor of all things A/DA, continues to be majority owner of A/DA and chief engineer of the new A/DA. He still owns all rights to the A/DA electronic designs and trademark. A group of us have convinced him that the time is right to come out of retirement and resurrect the A/DA legacy. We’re starting with stomp boxes, most notably the Flanger and Final Phase, which will be re-released in late 2008/2009. We’ll continue soon thereafter with other legacy effects such as Battman and the Seamoon line, as well as the Rocket Amp series. We’re currently working with suppliers to source original parts so that these releases can be as “original” as possible – we’ve gone over the designs and have decided that the original designs were best. We’re in the early stages, but are confident that we’ll have a full line of products to present at NAMM 2009.
Of particular interest to the ADAForum board would be our introduction of the all new MP3. Still on the drawing board, the digital potential is enormous and we’re still hashing out potential functionality prior to full design. As you well know, the fight starts trying to decide what goes into a future MPx and doesn’t stop until the prototype has been demo’d and agreed upon by all. As of now, there is no release date for the MP3.
We appreciate your interest and would ask that you help pass the word that the original A/DA is back!!
Cheers – the A/DA staff”
In the world of guitar heroes, Paul Gilbert is the everyman’s shred god. Vai has the alien freak thing down, Satch is the shiny Silver Surfer, and Yngwie is the neoclassical reincarnation of the roadrunner. Gilbert just comes across as a cool guy who loves to rock. With a career spanning classic shred band Racer X, through to Mr Big (admit it, you’ve strummed “To Be With You” on an acoustic guitar around the campfire at least once), covers projects with Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and a solo career that’s seen him play everything from jangly guitar pop to all-out metal, with a few classical detours along the way, it’s surprising to note that 2006’s, “Get Out Of My Yard,” was his first all-instrumental album. In October of that year, Gilbert took some time out from defending his yard to tell me all about it.
PETER: Why did you wait until now to release an all-instrumental CD, and what inspired you to do it?
GILBERT: When I was a kid, all the coolest guitar players were in big rock bands, playing arenas, and being played on the radio. And all these bands had SINGERS. Eddie Van Halen with David Lee Roth, Jimmy Page with Robert Plant, Randy Rhoads with Ozzy, Alex Lifeson with Geddy Lee, Michael Schenker with Phil Mogg… and even Allan Holdsworth had John Wetton. I loved these guitarists, but I also loved their BANDS. So when flashy guitar playing started to become a niche that was aimed solely at an audience of guitar players, I wanted to stay away from it. From the beginning, my band RACER X had singing and songs. MR. BIG, of course, went even further in that direction. And as a solo artist I surprised everyone and went in a pop/punk direction rather than make the shred album that most people were expecting. But as much as I love rock and pop songs, I AM a guitar player. And after playing for 30 years, my guitar had some things to say. So I thought I would quit complaining about the guitar niche and heartily join in by making the coolest CD of pure guitar music I could dream up.
PETER: Did you stumble across any cool new techniques during the recording of the album?
GILBERT: The first song I recorded was the Haydn symphony. I used my guitar to replicate every instrument in the orchestra. I learned bassoon parts, oboe parts, cello, clarinet, flute, bass, viola, and of course, the main violin parts. The arpeggios and scale sequences in classical music are always a challenge to play on guitar, so I have no choice but to invent some unusual fingerings to make the notes happen. After recording the whole piece, I was definitely warmed up to do the rest of the record!
PETER: What happened to the song titles for the album that you originally posted on your website, that when strung together formed a paragraph about pesky kids in the yard?
GILBERT: Ahh! You saw that! I thought that would really cool at first, but I couldn’t remember which song was which, so I went back to my original titles.
PETER: What guitars did you play on the album?
GILBERT: I used an Ibanez PGM300 with a Kahler tremolo on it. I haven’t used a whammy in a long time and it was fun to try it again. You can hear that guitar on the solo in “The Curse of Castle Dragon”. I also used it on the main parts of the Haydn symphony. I have a custom Ibanez doubleneck that I used for the opening “Get Out of My Yard” solo. One of the necks is strung with just 3 strings, all tuned to “E” in octaves, low, middle, and high. This is really good for playing arpeggios with hammer-ons and pull-offs. I used this tuning with a capo in a bunch of different positions to make the intro happen. I also have some vintage Ibanezes that I really like: a ’79 hollowbody Artist, a ’77 Deluxe 59′er Les Paul copy, and a ’77 SG Custom copy. I bought these all on ebay. They are killer!
PETER: Will there be any new PGM Ibanez models in the near future?
GILBERT: I just got a new prototype with a narrower fingerboard and three gold covered humbuckers. It’s really cool! For something to become a production model, I would really have to become my main guitar. And the current PGM301 is still hard to beat.
PETER: How did you get to be so damn good on the guitar? Do you practice a lot these days, or do you not need to any more?
GILBERT: Thank you the compliment. I don’t practice ALL the time, but often enough. I definitely had to practice for the Haydn symphony!
PETER: What’s the strangest place you’ve heard one of your songs played?
GILBERT: The first thing I can think of is… a few years ago I was doing a guitar clinic… I think it was in Kansas. A kid who worked at the music store picked me up from the airport, and as soon as we got in his car he turned on his stereo and starting listening to “The Jam”. This the last song on my first solo album “King of Clubs”. It’s a 20 minute long guitar battle where the rhythm section basically never changes, and Bruce Bouillet and I just solo and solo and solo and solo. So, back the story… the song was about 17 minutes into it when he turned it on. That meant he had already made it that far. And then, 3 minutes later, the songs ended… and STARTED AGAIN. He had the thing in “loop” mode. 20 minutes of non-stop soloing was NOT ENOUGH for this kid. He needed it AGAIN. Insane.
PETER: Godzilla is tearing apart the city. You have time to save one guitar before he eats the rest. What guitar will it be?
GILBERT: At the moment, I really love my ’79 Artist hollowbody. I haven’t played hollowbodies much before but the thing just resonates so beautifully. Even at a low volume I get great feedback and sustain. Plus it’s BIG and since I’m very tall it’s nice to have a guitar that’s more my size. Maybe, armed with this guitar, I could fight off Godzilla and preserve the rest of my guitar collection. I would certainly try.
GET OUT OF MY YARD is on Mascot Records
Click here to buy ‘Get Out of My Yard’ on CD.
Click here to buy the ‘Get Out of My Yard’ instructional DVD.
Click here to buy ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar’ on CD.
Click here to buy the ‘Silence Followed by a Deafening Roar Guitar Instructional DVD & Shred Annex.’
I just dug out my old Ibanez Soundtank DL5 digital delay pedal. These came out some time in the 90s, and I remember a Guitar World review referring to them as “fat little potato bugs.” The advertising campaign showed the pedals kitted out with tank tracks, charging over a hill, while such hardasses as Ministry’s Mike Scaccia posed in full military regalia. Because nothing says ‘trained for lethal combat’ like plugging into a little plastic potato.
Anyway, my DL5 was a birthday present when I was about 15, which would mean that as of this past July I’ve had it for, gulp, half my life. Yipes. The pedal wasn’t working any more (after it gave up the ghost I gave it to my baby son to bash around – knobs and footswitches aplenty for tiny hands and feet to learn coordination). I’ve been on a bit of a pedal spree lately – buying new ones, firing up old ones – so I took it apart to look for any loose solder joints to see what I could to do make it live again. I couldn’t find anything, but I gave it a general clean-out, and now it miraculously works fine, though the switch requires a good hearty stomp to activate.
Now that I’ve played about a million delay units, I appreciate this one a lot more. It doesn’t sound as warm as my MXR Carbon Copy, but it’s a little soft around the edges compared to a Boss digital delay. The repeats sound slightly smoothed over, and when used with a good power supply it’s very quiet. When used with a bad one, it sounds like the background noise on the Death Star.
Delay time is only 400ms, but that can be doubled with a simple mod if you care to get tweaky. Construction feels a little flimsy, and battery life is remarkably low, but despite these little niggles, I still really like it, and I’ve made a permanent place for it on my pedal board. I might put it in a true bypass loop just in case the switch gives me any further trouble, but as it is, it’s a fun little pedal with great slap-back sounds. It’s also really good for that Van Halen ‘Cathedral’ trick, where you hammer on notes while working the guitar’s volume knob, and let the delay fill in notes in between the ones you’re playing.
I’ve found a few helpful links to getting the most out of the DL5.
Here’s the schematic at
Meanwhile at the fantastic DiscoFreq site there’s a great article containing the mods for doubling the delay time, increasing the feedback level for near-infinite repeats, and fixing the intermittent switch.