Old-world piano design drives a forward-looking sustain pedal that opens up unexpected sonic possibilities.
You need only look at the piano-style pedal and sleek gloss paint on Gamechanger Audio’s PLUS for reminders that sustain pedals are far from a new idea. They’ve colored the tones of keyboard instruments for centuries. Manipulating guitar sustain is a newer pursuit. Inventions like the EBow and Electro-Harmonix’ Freeze have been around for mere decades and years. The PLUS’ design is more akin to EHX’s approach, but features interesting twists.
The PLUS effectively samples and holds a guitar tone for durations determined by the blend, sustain, rise, and tail controls—and how far you press the pedal. Like a piano, you can get dampened or total sustain. If you have little experience with loopers, sustainers, or pianos, the PLUS can feel tricky to master. The best results tend to come with a pause after you pick or strum. But once you get a feel for the pedal and how the highly interactive controls work with each other, the PLUS invites interesting approaches and stylistic shifts. The obvious application is dreamy, swelling ambient parts in the Eno/Fripp vein. But more active, non-linear, and deconstructed phrases are also possible, and are definitely one of the most tantalizing possible products of this very musical pedal.
Test gear: Fender Electric XII, Fender Vibro Champ