Alright, that’s it. I’m gonna get one of these pedals and turn myself into instant Alice In Chains. Never mind that I can’t write songs as good as them and I don’t look as cool in vintage thrift-store leather jackets. I’m gonna do it.
Check out this YouTube video of the Vocalist Live 3 in action.
VOCALIST® ANNOUNCES THE NEW LIVE 3, A 3-PART VOCAL HARMONIZER AND PITCH CORRECTION PEDAL FOR GUITARISTS
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, DigiTech, a leading manufacturer of vocal processors, and a Harman International company (NYSE-HAR), has announced the newest addition to the Vocalist product line, the Live 3. The Live 3 provides guitarists a 3-part vocal harmony, pitch correction, and vocal pre-effects in a single pedal.
The new Vocalist Live 3 is a powerful yet easy-to-use intelligent vocal harmony processor that automatically generates live multi-part vocal harmony by analyzing guitar chord progressions and the lead voice. The Live 3 gives virtually all artists, soloists and groups alike the ability to perform more songs that in the past had been considered too difficult without professionally trained backup vocalists.
The Live 3 combines studio-quality audio performance, state-of-the-art vocal processing, and an easy-to-use control interface to add up to two separate voices of harmony to a lead vocal to create a full 3-part, natural-sounding vocal performance. The Live 3 has Gender Control that gives each harmonizing voice a masculine or feminine sound. Users can customize the natural sound of the harmonizing voices from loose to tight by adjusting the Humanize setting.
Using patented musIQ® technology, the Live 3 continually follows the notes being played on the guitar and the lead voice to generate accurate and musically correct vocal harmonies. musIQ eliminates the need to pre-program the songs’ key or key changes to create get accurate harmonies, making the Live 3 much easier to use.
“The Live 3 is the tool performers are searching for to capture the audiences’ attention and take their performance to the next level.” stated Scott Klimt, Marketing Manager for Vocalist.
The Live 3 is designed to enhance and improve virtually every vocal performance using pitch-correction with Humanize Control and vocal pre-effects. The pitch correction in the Live 3 has the most natural sound available on the market. There are also five different vocal pre-effects available in the Live 3 to help give the vocals a high quality, professional-grade studio sound. These effects include warmth (tube preamp), compression, EQ, and Noise Gate. There are three different room settings for reverb and five separate delay settings for vocals. The Live 3 also has guitar effects, reverb and chorus along with a guitar tuner.
The Vocalist Live 3 is now shipping with a MSRP of $429.95 in the US.
Guitarists are forever locked in an epic battle between functionality and flexibility. We dig effects, but we prefer if they’re in the form of little boxes with easy-to-use controls. We love combining different sounds to create something new, but loathe doing the little tapdance required to turn them all on (or off) at the right time. Floor-based multi effect units are great, but most are designed to be the entire source of your sound, so you’re stuck, for better or worse, with whatever amp models are built in.
The new Digitech RP1000 takes a lot of the features that have made the RP series so popular, and integrates with your amp by allowing you to place the unit’s effects either before or after your preamp – kinda like having a pile of stompboxes on the floor and an effects rack plugged into the amp’s effects loop. There’s a roundabout way to do this with the Boss GT-8, which I used on stage for a while, but it was an unintended side effect of the design, and required all sorts of special cables and hum eliminators to work. The RP1000 is specifically designed to do it, so that’s one big advantage right there.
The RP1000 has over 160 internal stompboxes, effects, amps and cabinets, as well as an additional stompbox loop. Say you have a particular pedal you just can’t live without, but you want to use the RP1000 too: just place that pedal in the loop and you can turn it on and off within your patches. Neat. Oh and as an added bonus, you get Cubase LE4 recording software too!
Features include 14 very chunky, confidence-giving metal switches that control program changes, effects on/off, stompbox loop in/out, bank up/down, and the built-in 20-second looper (on the day I received the RP1000 to review, I’d been listening to a lot of David Torn, so I was in loop heaven). There are two different control modes: Preset and Pedalboard. In Preset mode you can switch up to 10 different presets on a single bank, while in Pedalboard mode there are 5 presets and 5 effect on/off switches. Think of Pedalboard mode as 5 different amp and pedal rigs, with the ability to turn on or off any pedal for that setup. Additionally, if you want to use your amp’s natural sound as the basis for your tone (instead of the RP1000’s amp models), there’s an internal Amp/Cabinet Bypass switch which removes the RP1000′s internal amplifiers and cabinet effects from the signal chain, leaving only stompboxes and effects.
One particular benefit of the RP1000 compared to most other multi effect floor units is that it includes dual stereo XLR outputs for going straight into a mixing desk. I plugged it into my DigiDesign Mbox 2 for some very accurate and clear reproduction of the sounds, and was particularly impressed by the edgy clean sounds and the Lexicon-licensed reverb effects.
I was able to compare some of the models to examples of the actual gear I had laying around, including the Marshall JCM2000, and the MXR Phase 90, and while the modelled sounds aren’t 100% spot on (with the exception of the extremely accurate DOD FX25 envelope filter, another unit I have kicking around the house), they sound close enough to give you most of the same vibe. I found that the stomp box models worked especially well with my amp instead of the inbuilt amp models. My favourites were the trigger flanger (very Frank Zappa); the DOD FX13 Gonkulator Modulator, which is great for Nine Inch Nails-style processed guitar sounds, and the harmonizer, which includes major and minor scales in all keys, as well as settings for some of the modes, for those who aren’t totally into their music theory. I especially liked the harmonic minor scale setting for instant Yngwie. You can set most effects to be either pre or post amp (or amp model), which is a huge benefit for those who need their phaser to sound spacey (after the amp) in one song, and syrupy (before the amp) in another, for example.
I found that the Carvin Legacy model didn’t sound like the actual amp, but if you’re after Vai tone you can get quite close by combining the JCM900 and Tube Screamer models with some digital delay and reverb. On the other hand, the acoustic guitar models sound surprisingly accurate and are very useful, and the various Mesa Boogie models are also pretty close to the real thing. I slung my Ibanez UV777BK seven string with DiMarzio Blaze pickups and dialled in a Petrucci-like Awake-era tone, kicking in the wah wah to get in the ‘Caught In A Web’ zone. Cool!
My only beef with the RP1000 is that there is no way to switch amp channels, which slightly limits the practicality of the unit – you may have to get used to having all your settings and effects stored on individual buttons for your clean, rhythm and lead sounds, but needing to step on a separate amp channel switch as well. One way around this would be to use varying levels of distortion pedal on top of your clean sound. Another would be to set up your amp with your medium-level distortion sound, then create a patch that drops out some frequencies and reduces the input (similar to lowering your guitar’s volume control) for a clean sound, and adding a boost or overdrive to kick it up to high gain territory. This is what Paul Gilbert does with a bunch of pedals and a single-channel amp, so an argument could be made that the RP1000 makes this method much easier.
I just got this press release from ProGuitarShop about their new series of product microsites. This one is based on the Digitech Whammy Pedal, but there will be many others.
For my own thoughts on the venerable Whammy Pedal, check out my review here and my ’8 Whammy Pedal Moments You Totally Have To Hear’ here.
Now we’ve all heard of the Digitech Whammy pedal, right? Have you ever tried to find any information on it? All retailers have the same info as the manufacturer on their website. This is great if you need to find out what voltage power supply to use or if the Whammy is true bypass, but what if you need to know if the Digitech Whammy is up to the task of imitating pedal steel licks. Does the pitch shift function shift smoothly or does it sound like the pitch is walking up or down the stairs? Can I get the rich doubled sound like the solo of “Money”? You just cannot find this information on any retailer’s site or even Wikipedia. That’s why we are proud to announce the launch of http://www.digitechwhammy.com/. This informational site is dedicated exclusively to the Digitech Whammy pedal. Features, tones, artists, even videos and nicely shot photographs will tell you more about this legendary pedal than anywhere else. How many salesmen have you grilled before you buy a product? How many of them answered your questions satisfactorily? No matter how knowledgeable they are, there is always opinion and bias in any information you’re given. That’s because they are there to make the sale. Now you can find all the information you need on the Digitech Whammy, including some awesome video demonstrations, without the hassle of calling a retailer or walking into a store and wondering if they really know the gear, or just need the commission. This site is for you, the working guitarist. Check out http://www.digitechwhammy.com/ and find out if the Digitech Whammy is the right pedal for you.
There are heaps of photos with the listing. Very cool.
CAE Bob Bradshaw Switching System (Dig the modified Rocktron logo…)
DigiTech has a long history of innovative pedals (in the mid 90s they released various stompers which added compression or delay to distortion, and let’s not forget how the Whammy Pedal revolutionised lead guitar). The TimeBender seeks to combine traditional delay effects with some completely out-there ones, with a control interface that practically demands creative experimentation. Now, I love a good delay pedal (my current favourite is the MXR Carbon Copy, a very different beast to the TimeBender), so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the TimeBender for a few weeks of testing.
Features include controls for Tone, Repeats, Modulation and Pattern. A Voicing knob cycles through 100 different pitch shift intervals so instead of simply repeating your notes the TimeBender can play them back at different pitches altogether. You can set delay times with a knob or with the footswitch on the right, and you can alter the delay intervals further with a Multiplier button so once you have the tempo, you can start messing around with the rhythm too. You get 5 seconds of delay time, and modes include Digital, Analog Variable Speed Tape, Moving Head Tape Dynamic (ducking) Digital, Dynamic (ducking) Analog, Dynamic (ducking) Tape, Time Warp (wide delay time modulation) Reverse, Envelope (chopping delay), 20 Second looper and Strum modes.
Around the back are stereo inputs (!!!), stereo outputs (the left inputs and output jacks double as the mono versions), a jack for the optional 3-button FS3X footswitch and an expression pedal jack for any mono (tip/sleeve) passive expression pedal. (DigiTech says any volume pedal in the 100 kOhm – 500 kOhm range with log taper will work as well.) An expression pedal lets you morph between different settings for a given delay type, voicing, and time pattern, giving you control over parameters such as delay time, tone, repeats, and modulation.
You’re definitely going to have to read the manual if you want to get the most out of the TimeBender. For instance, the pitch shift parameters are listed in a combination of numbers and letters: 2O means the input is shifted down 2 octaves; 7L means the input is shifted 7 tones down the scale (I guess the L means ‘lower’), U means unison, and 3H means the input is shifted three tones up the scale (so H probably means ‘higher’). You can use your ears to find your way around to a certain extend but it certainly helps to at least know how a 4th sounds different from a 5th, for example.
As someone who uses an analog delay pedal quite a bit, I was eager to compare the TimeBender’s Analog mode to my MXR. The TimeBender’s simulated version of analog delay is very authentic, with the right level of frequency roll-off and subtle mush, while the tone isn’t quite as excitingly unpredictable and ratty sounding as my analog pedal. It’s a kind of ‘neat’ version of the analog delay sound, and I’m sure that players who like the warmth of an old school bucket-brigade pedal but aren’t into the noise and chaos lurking beneath the surface will be way into the TimeBender’s take on the effect.
The Moving Head tape delay will give you Jimmy Page Echoplex sounds, with lots of vintage vibe but with modern touches such as the option of adding modulation and greater tone control. Lots of fun using an expression pedal with this one! The Ducking modes (when the delay effect fades up to its full preset volume when you stop playing, and fades down again while you’re actually playing) are perhaps the smoothest I’ve ever heard. In the past I’ve sort of shied away from using this effect because the fade-in is usually too abrupt and jarring, but the TimeBender’s Ducking settings are not just usable, they’re downright stunning, working especially well if you’re using a mono rig where you don’t have the luxury of diverting repeats to different speakers to maintain the clarity of each voice.
The TimeBender’s Strum mode is probably my favourite setting. Hold down the pedal, strum or pick a rhythm, and release the pedal, then when you play a note the repeats will follow the rhythm you just strummed, (up to six notes worth). If you combine it with the pitch shifting this becomes much more than just an extremely useful ambient effect – it becomes an entire essential songwriting tool. If The Edge can do what he does with regular, fixed-time, non-pitch-shifted delays, imagine what he could do with rhythmic repeats which play back different notes.
Envelope mode chops up the input almost like an arpeggiator on a keyboard, and there are some genuinely freaky sounds attainable by the Reverse and TimeBender modes which remind me a little of some of Steve Vai’s more extravagant audio experiments such as ‘Alien Water Kiss’ from ‘Passion And Warfare.’ Come to think of it, the pitch shift delays also allow you to get those ‘Ballerina 12/24’ sounds without spending $4,000 on a rack processor.
Let’s not forget the Loop mode. Some folks will surely buy the TimeBender for this feature alone. You can record, play back, and overdub loops up to 20 seconds long (mono only). The manual points out that you can “record a bass line with the voicing set to an octave down (8L), and then set the voicing to unison and play over the looped bass line. Also, with an expression pedal, you can store a unison voicing in the toe position and an octave down in the heel position, and switch between your “bass” and guitar on the fly.” Craziness. I had a grand time using the TimeBender in conjunction with my guitar’s pickup selector and tone controls to create an ambient soundscape to jam over, but you can use it for a lot more than the kind of bad new age music that seems to come out of me whenever I mess around with loops.
My only beef with the TimeBender – and it’s not a very big one – is that it would be nice to have a dry output jack so you could send an un-delayed sound to your main amp while sending stereo repeats to left and right rigs. If such hi-tech wizardry is important to you though you can easily use a signal splitter – even a stereo chorus pedal with the effect turned off could do the trick – then just shut off the volume of the original note using the TimeBender’s Mix knob.
While it helps to know some music theory to get the most out of the TimeBender, even if theory’s not for you there’s still room to stumble upon interesting and exciting new sounds. Whether you want very high quality delays to set-and-forget or a hyper-intelligent, sophisticated delay, the TimeBender is well worth the money and time.
CLICK HERE to buy the DigiTech TimeBender Delay
Here’s a demo of the TimeBender by ProGuitarShop.
Digitech’s HardWire series incorporates rugged, stage-ready features so simple yet obvious that it’s kinda surprising that they’re not standard issue on every pedal everywhere. The main marketing point of these pedals is that they are true bypass, meaning the signal is completely diverted away from the effect circuit when the unit is in bypass mode, unlike a lot of pedals. The benefit of this is that if you switch the pedal off, it’s like it was never there, which is especially desirable if you use short cords and want to maintain the integrity of the signal.
But there’s much more to this series than a hardwire bypass. Each pedal in includes a stick-on hook and loop base pad, a glow in the dark sticker, and, with the exception of the tuner, each comes with a cover which slips down over the controls, preventing them from getting moved and messing up your settings. Battery access is underneath the stomp switch – press one of the two side pins in with the tip of a guitar cord and the pedal pops right off the base.
The pedals all also incorporate circuitry to increase the operating voltage headroom above that of typical pedals for clipping-free performance while also keeping a constant voltage through the life of the battery.
I got my hands on a batch of HardWire pedals to review for Mixdown Magazine, and here are my thoughts. Click on any of the titles to buy the pedal from Music123.
DigiTech HardWire Series HT-2 Chromatic Tuner Standard
Extremely visible on stage and very sturdy, the HT-2 has two outputs: Thru and Mute. If you use Thru, the signal passes to the amp while you’re tuning – especially handy for discovering new tunings or doing guitar setup work. The Mute output cuts off the signal to the amp for silent tuning, which is ideal for the stage. The tuner operates in Normal and Strobe modes.
DigiTech HardWire Series CM-2 Tube Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
The CM-2 seems to take inspiration from a certain popular green overdrive pedal. One of my favourite stompers is the Digitech Bad Monkey, which is also inspired by the little green wonder. The CM-2 takes the general sound of the Bad Monkey and beefs it up, then adds a mode switch for Classic or Modified operation. Classic mode is great for vintage textures or as a solo boost into an already overdriven amp. Modified mode excels at edgier, more hi-fi tones and works especially well through an amp’s clean channel as the main distortion tone. I would have no hesitation in adding this to my pedalboard if my Bad Monkey ever choked on a banana.
DigiTech HardWire Series TL-2 Metal Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
A very extreme pedal, whether you want chunky death metal rhythm tones or a lively shred lead voice. This one works best on a clean amp setting. Tone controls include high, low, plus a concentric midrange control with sweepable frequency for scooping out the mids, Dimebag style, or cranking them up for some Slayer grind. You can also dial in a great ‘notched wah wah’ sound which instantly invites controllable feedback. The mode switch toggles between Tight and Loose modes, which govern how much sag you’ll hear in the bass range.
DigiTech HardWire DL-8 Delay/Looper Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
A huge range of very usable delay and loop settings, plus true stereo operation with discreet inputs and outputs. Modes are Reverse, Modulated, Analog, Slapback, Lo Fi, Tape, and Loop, and there’s a whopping 8 seconds of delay time. I compared the Analog mode to my favourite true analog delay, and it stood up very favourably, although the quickest delay time is 180 milliseconds, which may be too slow for country players in need of a good slapback delay. The DL-8 can sound as hi fi or as garage as you need it to, and thrives on being placed in a valve amp’s effect loop.
DigiTech HardWire Series RV-7 Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal Standard
Another true stereo time-based pedal, and a great companion to the DL-8, this one uses Lexicon reverbs including Room, Plate, Reverse, Modulated, Gated, Hall, and Spring, and there are controls for Level, Decay and Livliness. The Modulated mode sounds great but the real star is the Reverse selection. It’s worth buying the pedal for this setting alone – don’t worry, you can write a song around it later. You can also choose to have the reverbs tail off naturally when you switch the effect into bypass mode – the switch for this mode is accessible within the battery compartment.
The DigiTech Whammy Pedal first arrived on the scene in the early 1990s (I remember first seeing it in an ad in the British magazine Guitar way back then), and was quickly adopted by the big wigs of the shred movement, such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, for high pitched sonic freakout squeals and other tricks. The pedal was originally designed and marketed as a way of copying whammy bar effects on fixed bridge guitars such as Les Pauls and Telecasters, right around the time that dive bombs and racing car effects started to go out of fashion. However, players soon realised that the ‘pitch up’ settings were of more musical use than ‘pitch down,’ and a sonic revolution ensued.
Steve Vai – Touching Tongues (Sex & Religion)
Vai combines a whammy pedal and delay to create complex harmonies and countermelodies in the chorus of this track from 1993’s Sex & Religion album. Very musical, very creative and very cool.
Living Colour – Wall (Stain)
With a delay effect keeping the groove going, bass player Doug Wimbish picks out certain notes to emphasise with the Whammy pedal before shifting the whole friggin’ riff up an octave over the course of the final bar of the intro. Awesome.
Pantera – Becoming (Far Beyond Driven)
Dimebag stomps on the Whammy pedal on the second beat of each bar of this killer riff. Live he liked to rock out without having to worry about pedals, so his tech did all Dime’s Whammy squealing for him.
Audioslave – Like A Stone (Audioslave)
Tom Morello uses the Whammy Pedal almost like Eddie Van Halen sometimes does with the whammy bar, using it to slide into each note from below. Awesome.
Pink Floyd – Marooned (The Division Bell)
The Whammy Pedal usage in this song is pretty subtle on first listen. David Gilmour uses it to stretch bends out over an octave, but he blends it in with his regular playing style so seamlessly that you can be forgiven for not even noticing.
Joe Satriani – Cool #9 (Joe Satriani)
The Whammy Pedal had been available for a while when Satch released this track on his low key, live-vibed self-titled album, and he’s used the pedal a lot since, but the open space provided by the vamp of this track leaves plenty of room to hear Joe’s intuitive Whammy Pedal technique in detail.
Coverdale/Page – Over Now (Coverdale/Page)
Jimmy Page uses the original WH1Whammy Pedal’s ‘Down 2nd’ mode to slide an A5 chord down to a D5. This setting is still present in the WH1, but these days they call it ‘Drop Tune.’
The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (Elephant)
What sounds like a bass on this track is actually a Digitech Whammy Pedal with the pitch dropped way down below the basement. While Jack White loves his vintage analog gear, he’s obviously not shy about the occasional digital chip either.
Whoa, check out the new DigiTech RP1000, which was announced in November and has just started shipping. It’s designed to do what a bunch of Boss GT-8 users stumbled upon a while ago, which is to integrate a floor effects processor within an amp rig so you can use the amp’s own preamp sounds, and colour them with the effects unit, so you’re not chained to the pedal’s preamp. A similar feature is included in the smokin’ hot TC Electronics G System, but that’s mega expensive while the new RP1000 is a lot lighter on the wallet – with a street price of about five hundred bucks ($US).
In the case of the Boss GT-8, which I used for a while, you had to use all sorts of special cables and hum filters to get the amp’s preamp into the effects loop of the GT-8 so it could be moved within patches. The GT-8 was never designed to be used this way, it was just a happy accident. But it seems that since the RP1000 is designed specifically to do this sort of stuff, they’ve tackled all the impedance mismatches and ground hum problems. It also takes things further by including separate loops for your amp’s preamp and a stomp box.
My only beef is that there doesn’t appear to be a way to switch amp channels, which would somewhat limit the usefulness of this unit – it would be a shame to have all your settings and effects stored on individual buttons for your clean, rhythm and lead sounds, but have to step on a separate amp channel switch as well. I could be wrong, perhaps the Looper Switch jack can be used for this purpose, but if so it’s not very clearly spelled out on the website.
Here’s the press release. DigiTech, a leading manufacturer of guitar, bass, and vocal processors, and a Harman International company (NYSE-HAR), is shipping it’s newest, highly anticipated RP1000 Integrated Effects Switching System.
The RP1000 sets itself apart from traditional multi-effects products featuring switchable stompbox and external amplifier loops that allow the RP1000 to easily integrate with external gear. “Guitar players use different brands and pieces of gear to create their personal tone, the RP1000′s loops and transparency is the only piece of gear of its type and allows them to do just that. I personally use an assortment of external pedals and an amp that defines my tone. Everybody I know has a different taste in amps and pedals, the RP1000 allows them to use their current setup while offering them more tonal choices” says Jason Lamb, DigiTech Marketing Manager.
The RP1000 targets live guitar players with 14 metal switches that controls both program changes, effects on/off, stompbox loop in/out, bank up/down, and the built in 20 second looper. The RP1000 can be used in two different control modes to switch up to 10 presets (preset mode) or 5 presets and 5 effects on/off (pedalboard mode).
For the tone purists, the RP1000′s internal Amp/Cabinet Bypass switch removes the RP1000′s internal amplifiers and cabinet effects from the signal chain leaving only stompboxes and effects.
The RP1000 has over 160 internal stompboxes, effects, amps and cabinets for nearly unlimited tonal options, USB 2×2 audio streaming along with Cubase LE4 all at the US MSRP of $699.95
For more information, visit their web site athttp://www.digitech.com/.
This is another in my series of ‘How To Sound Like…’ columns from Mixdown Magazine. These columns are fairly general, to give tips on how to get a particular sound without necessarily buying the same gear as a particular player or band.
Muse’s Matt Bellamy is a renowned gadget tweaker, and his custom Manson guitars are filled with all sorts of goodies, including Z Vex Fuzz Factory pedals, MIDI controllers for Digitech Whammy Pedals, Ibanez Edge Pro floating bridges, and all sorts of other mischievous machines of mayhem. Yet despite all the exclusive gadgetry, there are ways of copping the essence of Bellamy’s tone without buying up a whole guitar store effects department and shoehorning it into a boutique custom made axe.
One way of getting Matt’s sound is to use several cascading medium gain stages, rather than one ultra-distorted sound from just an amp or just a pedal. Try plugging an overdrive or distortion pedal into a valve amp, and set the gain or drive controls on each to around halfway. If your pedal has a single tone control, see what happens when you sweep it from minimum to maximum setting. You may hear a sound which is almost like a phaser, as the pedal’s tone clashes with that of the amp, especially towards the higher end of the tone control’s travel. Sometimes this can yield some really cool new sounds, but they may be a bit too grating for a full song, and are best used for effect. Back down around 9 o’clock or so on the pedal’s tone control, there often lurks a sweep spot which enhances midrange while taming treble ever so slightly, and makes the overall sound more complex, thick and reactive. You might even like to try adding a compressor or using several distortion or overdrive pedals at once, all at lower gain settings.
Bellamy is not shy about cranking the midrange to emphasise a solo or melodic section, such as that snaking melody in “Plug In Baby.” One way of doing this is to use a graphic or parametric equalizer. Another, far cheaper way is to simply turn your guitar’s tone knob all the way down. With a clean sound, this will usually just muffle the tone. With a distorted one, you’ll get a round ‘honk’ which almost sounds like a wah wah pedal left in a stationary position. The effect is even more powerful if you’re using a Strat-style guitar with a separate tone control for the middle pickup. Combining the wide open bridge pickup with a tone-tweaked middle pickup retains the high end and pick attack while still giving you that bold, vocal midrange quality, and can make it sound like the guitar is feeding back, but completely controllable.
As for the whammy pedal freakouts, you can either fork out for a Whammy pedal, or you can simulate the effect by wearing a ring or one of those tiny half-sized slides on one of your picking hand fingers, and whizzing it up and down the strings. With a little patience you’ll be able to play melodies and accurately drop down on pitches which would be otherwise out of the range of a regular guitar.