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Dave Catching Toneprint. Rise, Speed and Tone at Noon. Tone at 1 o'clock
|Clips recorded with a Fender Telecaster and Vox Pathfinder|
Dressed up like a can of Orange Crush, the Shaker tends to be about as subtle as it looks. Timid settings on the pedal, which includes controls for Rise Time, Speed, Depth, and Tone, tend to be relatively ineffective unless you’re looking for the most subtle vibrato wash for chords. Once everything is set to about noon, however, the Shaker comes alive.
Even at these settings, the Shaker imparts a queasy kind of modulation that’s actually quite lovely on suspended chords and open tunings with droning doubles, which take on a kind of waterfall shimmer. The Shaker works best with chords, and it really becomes most effective for lead work when you crank the speed a little bit. There’s no real way to dial in choppier, tremolo channel-type vibrato with this pedal, if that’s what you’re looking for. Nearly every setting has a distinct tape-warble quality that’s generally musical, but a little confining.
The Shaker has a cool Latch feature that enables you to hold the footswitch for momentary applications of your vibrato setting—great for short bridge sections and accents in the context of a song. It’s also a function that’s integral to the Bumblefoot Latch Vibrato TonePrint, which features a very aggressive, but unique vibrato that’s colored with feedback-laden, peak filter-style spikes at the top of each modulation wave. It’s hard to imagine using this particular TonePrint for the duration of most songs, but it works great as a texture you can insert into a song or lead for a moment of intensity or drama.
The Petrucci Clean Vibrato was a more subtle variation on the standard vibrato voice, with a more intense modulation somewhere between tape flutter and a rotary speaker—a great addition to dreamy chord passages. This also served to illustrate how TC’s TonePrints can very subtly, but effectively (and if need be, temporarily) change the basic color of the pedal with very little effort.
Certain old-school guitarists will always want to keep their stompboxes as far away from a computer as possible. Others won’t find the current selection of TonePrint artists very appealing (though TC says more than 30 TonePrints— including from Audley Freed, Jerry McPherson, and Brian Nutter—will soon be available). But as we discovered, you can do very interesting and un- Bumblefoot-like things with a Bumblefoot TonePrint. And really, you shouldn’t necessarily look to the TonePrints as tools for emulation as much as for inspiration.
Guitar players who don’t view the web as an anathema to creative playing will really dig having the ability to search for new sounds online and quickly switch between them—all for only the initial cost of the pedal itself. And every TonePrints page links to your Facebook page, so you can share comments, tips, and settings with your friends.
The key to the success of TonePrint pedals over the long haul may be how effectively TC Electronic expands the TonePrints library and how varied the added voices are. At the very least, TonePrint pedals give players the ability to explore sonic modifications on a whim and get a quick dose of inspiration. These pedals may not turn you into the next Orianthi, but they can be avenues to some cool and unexpected surprises at a very reasonable price. That’s why most folks look to stompboxes anyway, and why TonePrint pedals are a very promising evolution of the form.
you’re intrigued by the notion of regularly adding new voices to your pedals.
you like to go with what you know on your pedalboard.
Street $170 (Flashback Delay and Looper) and $130 (Corona Chorus, Vortex Flanger, Shaker Vibrato) -
TC Electronic - tcelectronic.com