A double-headed filter pedal full of compelling tones.
Google “Lida Machine” and you’ll find info on Yellowcake’s new filter stompbox—and the supposed Soviet-era gizmo that inspired its name. I say “supposed” because this information appears chiefly on sketchy conspiracy theory sites. They tell of a sound-generation machine used for psychological manipulation. One source says it emitted ultra-low frequencies that lulled the unwitting listener into a relaxed, pliable state. Another says it dispensed ultra-high frequencies that so agitated victims that they’d promptly spill their guts to the KGB. Maybe it performed both functions!
Its namesake pedal certainly does. The latter-day Lida Machine can produce slow, dreamy sweeps or nasty, distorted oscillation. Sometimes it sounds harsh, and sometimes it’s drop-dead beautiful.
Simpler Than It Seems
The Lida Machine has all the hallmarks of a mad scientist pedal: An oversized enclosure (approximately 5.5" x 4.5" x 1.5"). An imposing assortment of knobs and switches (eight and four each, respectively). Obscure graphics with small, hard-to-read labels. Cryptic extra input jacks. You get the idea.
But if a mad scientist created this dual-LFO filter pedal, it was a benevolent mad scientist—more like Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future than Dr. Moreau. Once you find your bearings, Lida Machine is reasonably user-friendly, and far simpler than it seems at first glance. At heart, it’s a simple LFO filter, with the usual rate, depth, frequency, and feedback controls. But it’s not a MuTron-style envelope follower.
It doesn’t react to your playing dynamics. The filter frequency simply sweeps back and forth according to the LFO rate setting. Nor are there multiple filter types: just your basic resonant low-pass filter with smooth, triangle-wave modulation. There’s also a master volume control, a wet/dry mix knob, and a switch that toggles between slow and fast rate ranges.
But this simple filter sounds terrific. The op amp’s sound quality is excellent. The ranges and tapers of the pots are wisely chosen. The sweet spots are never clumped together at one end of the knobs’ ranges, and every possible setting is usable. The sweeps teeter into self-oscillation with the feedback knob above 4 o’clock or so. Lida will shriek on command, but there are plenty of subtle sounds, too.
And that’s just the foundation.
The Lida Machine incorporates a second LFO with its own rate and depth controls. Mind you, it’s not a separate filter—just an extra LFO that modulates the single filter independently from LFO 1. Additionally, this second LFO has a 3-position waveform switch offering smooth triangle-wave modulation, like the first LFO, or choppier ramp and sawtooth options. Since LFO 2 has its own footswitch, you can potentially toggle between two high-contrast tones without readjusting the knobs.
When you activate LFO2, things get very interesting—very fast. The two oscillators play against each other in complex and fascinating ways. You’re not hearing two independent filters, nor two oscillators dedicated to differing frequencies—but at times you’d swear you are. At slow modulation rates, you get narcotic, gradually shifting sweeps. Fast rates and high resonance yield watery burbles and splashes and whooping wobble board effects. The rhythms get complex and compelling and make conventional parts much more interesting. It’s difficult to not come up with cool new sounds after a few minutes of experimentation.
The Lida Machine wrings an impressive number of tones from this seemingly straightforward circuit. You can push the filter into distortion (as heard art 1:42 in the audio clip), or create near-subliminal animation by favoring the dry signal via the wet/dry blend knob. An expression input jack lets you control the frequency cutoff via expression pedal (not included). Another jack lets you drive the effect using controller voltage—a potentially powerful function for modular synth mavens. (Insane modular synth system also not included.)
While Lida Machine’s enclosure graphics are chaotic, the interior work is clean as can be. It’s a tidy, through-hole build, neatly organized and securely soldered. A second board in a contrasting color connects all the switches and jacks. It’s cut into a complex shape and connected to the primary board via ribbon cable. It’s a beautiful build that looks like … art.
Lida Machine runs on standard 9-volt power supplies, but can accept up to 12 volts. There’s no battery option.
Glance at the Lida Machine, and it seems complicated. Play with it for a few minutes, and it seems simple. Explore some more, and it gets complicated again—but in fun and musically useful ways. Depending on your perspective, the obscure graphics are a vibrant depiction of musical anarchy, or a bloody mess. (Both, I’d say.) On the inside, the pedal is superbly made, and it’s more than reasonably priced for a large-format, handmade pedal. Most important, it’s a fun and (eventually) fast way to conjure a vast number of unconventional but musically meaningful tones.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.