The new Tonal Recall delay features a pair of reissued MN3005 bucket-brigade analog ICs, the same type used in
the classic Electro-Harmonix Memory Man.
Chase Bliss AudioBased just north of Minneapolis in Anoka, Minnesota, Chase Bliss Audio is the brainchild of pedal builder Joel Korte. His pedals are notable for their kitchen-sink approach—analog guts, digital brains, multiple knobs and toggles, and a bevy of DIP switches—with no parameter left untweakable. “I’m really trying to exist in a space where others do not,” Korte says. “A lot of guitar pedals want to control the user experience—you can only turn the knobs so far so it sounds a certain way. But mine are the exact opposite of that. I don’t want to control the user experience at all. I want to give users a canvas to do whatever they want.”
Korte’s first pedal was the innovative Warped Vinyl. “I had this idea to digitally create an LFO [low frequency oscillator] that provides a ton of control,” he says. “It’s called ModuShape and it lets you make any kind of shape you want. I wanted to hear that kind of LFO control applied to pitch vibrato.”
Chase Bliss chief Joel Korte at work.
It’s a concept he’s transferred to his other pedals as well. “You can control every parameter with an expression pedal individually or simultaneously, and also ramp any parameter individually or simultaneously. It’s like you have a little robot that can turn your knobs in a rhythmic way without you having to bend over. Some of that stuff sounds really interesting and musical, and some of it sounds insane. It’s up to the users to do what they want with it.”
Zack Warpinski sketches plans for world domination. Or perhaps a new circuit.
Korte’s newest offering, Tonal Recall, is a delay based on that same analog/digital concept, and it’s shaping up to be his biggest seller. “Ever since I started the company,” he says, “I’d hear, ‘Hey bro, you gotta make a delay.’” But Korte held off because the chip he wanted to use—the MN3005 bucket-brigade delay analog IC used in the old Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and Boss DM-2—had been discontinued. “It was hard for me to get excited about delay, because that particular chip wasn’t around. But last year the chip was reissued, so I decided to do it.”
Warped Vinyl—Korte's first pedal—uses a digital LFO to control pitch vibrato.
Korte’s pedals are making the rounds, but don’t expect him to name-drop. “I’d rather just not have an artist roster,” he says. “Obviously, I love it. I’m a music fan and if someone notable is using the pedals, I think that’s amazing. But at the same time, there are a lot of really talented people using our products who are undiscovered.”
Chase Bliss be chillin’: Holly Hansen, Zack Warpinski, and Joel Korte. “I’m really trying to exist in a space where others do not,” says Korte of his sonic vision.
The company’s backstory is inspiring, too. “It’s named in honor of my brother, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2007. I was going down the path of normal life—I was just going to exist and not do anything that was interesting for me. He was out in L.A. trying to be an actor, and his death really shook me. I realized I needed to pursue something I was passionate about. It really felt right to name the company after him and his approach to life.”