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Steely Dan's Walter Becker
Signal Chain: Sonic Research ST-200 Turbo Tuner > Barber Electronics Tone Press > Eventide PitchFactor > Eventide Space > Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor > Lehle 1@3 Switcher. Photo by Joe Coffey
Walter Becker is a bonafide pedal freak. “We have every pedal ever made by every manufacturer,” boasts guitar tech Bob “Nitebob” Czaykowski. Because of this, Becker’s board is constantly changing—even which pedals are being used on a given board. Case in point, not everything was plugged in on this board when we caught up with Steely Dan in summer 2011. “We had everything plugged in at one time and realized he was losing a little bit of signal,” explains Becker’s other tech, David Rule.
Photo by Cees van de Ven
One of the pedals that never changes, however is the Sonic Research ST-200 Turbo Tuner. A stickler for intonation, Becker settled on the Sonic Research because of its clarity and speed. The Eventide PitchFactor is set with two presets, while the Eventide Space is used only on the Spring Reverb setting. The Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor is on the board to combat building-specific noise. From there, the signal heads into a Lehle switcher that splits out to Becker’s multiple-amp setup. At the time we saw the board, the Moog MF-105 Moogerfooger MuRF, Pigtronix Envelope Phaser, and MXR Carbon Copy Delay weren’t connected. Many of Becker’s pedals are connected and disconnected for soundcheck, and he has additional pedalboards in his dressing room and hotel room with completely different effects. “We have a big box [motions with his hands at about 5-feet high] with five drawers full of pedals that we didn’t even bring,” says Rule.
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