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Tracing the 50-year trail from Van Halen and Zappa to the DSP chip and firmware.

By most accounts, the digital effects revolution began almost 50 years ago, when Eventide created the H910 Harmonizer. Early digital denizens included guitar players Eddie Van Halen and Frank Zappa, who used the harmonizer’s continuously variable pitch shifting to great effect in their recorded and live work. While extraordinarily clever, the earliest digital effects were absolutely primitive compared to the types of digital signal processors on the market today. That H910 harmonizer cost the equivalent of $7,500 when released, and equally capable effects can currently be had at about a twentieth of the cost, bringing digital effects to the feet of the masses, and their processing superpowers to our pedalboards.

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Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

Plus, 'Me/And/Dad,' the first album Billy Strings has recorded with his dad, Terry Barber is out now.

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Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!

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