Pedal Projects

Modern stomps offer more sounds than ever before, but a laptop can help you delve into an even deeper world of live sonic manipulation. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

The beauty of a great guitar plugged straight into a great tube amp is undeniable. Still, some might say the full potential of an electric guitar is realized only when processing that signal. Of course, some of the most groundbreaking players of all time—from Jimi Hendrix to The Edge—have illustrated this point, and the current deluge of new pedals and thriving builders seems to bear this out.

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Try breaking the signal-chain rules to create new—and dazzlingly retro—sounds for your recordings.

Years ago, while on a meditation retreat in the mountains of Ojai, California, I was reflecting on one of my favorite sayings by Shunryu Suzuki (from his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind): “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” It was early in the morning, and as the soft blue light of dawn broke over the snow-dusted mountain tops, I had the profound realization of just how narrowly I was choosing to live my life because of my habits and how I was continually and slavishly refining them through my actions. I allowed myself to imagine and feel what life would be like if I let go of ingrained beliefs, and stood squarely in the warm, bright light of new possibilities.

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7 Must-Try Delay-Pedal Techniques | DIY

Stompbox-dialing tips perfect for everything from country twang to epic rock solos and experimental weirdness.

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In the pedal-building community—as in Alcatraz—sharing is caring.

When I have a conversation about business with someone outside of the music industry, I often find it leads to a discussion of competitors or competition. These terms tend to place a comedic smile upon my face. Both of those words are almost always used by the person not in the music industry. As natural as the concept of competition is, the response I give is often received as unnatural. This could solely be because folks are not used to hearing how our industry actually operates internally.

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