Eric Moyer’s OpenStomp effects module allows users to write and edit their sounds on a level never before granted by the guitar industry, but will people actually do it?
In the guitar world, analog purists typically look at digital proponents with a wary, disdainful eye—these are the people, after all, that believe technology can trump tradition, a touchy subject in the guitar world. Eric Moyer, the California-based creator of the open source OpenStomp—a device so unabashedly digital and computerized that many of its deepest functions require a technical degree— shrugs it off with in Huntington Beach surfer style.
“I love digital effects pedals. The sound quality of analog stuff is great, but there’s a versatility with digital stuff that I just adore,” said Moyer from his office, located a stone’s throw from the ocean. “I’m a huge fan of the Line 6 stuff—I love being able to get in there and tweak things, and there are some things that you just can’t do in analog.”
Simply put, any user can use Moyer’s homegrown software, called OpenStomp Workbench, to build patches and assign functions to the unit’s four top-mounted knobs and two sturdy footswitches; more intrepid users—likely those with computer science degrees and an affinity for assembly programming language—can use the software to design their own effect “modules,” such as echo, delay and distortion. Those modules can then be used by anyone and strung together, virtual wire by virtual wire, into the aforementioned patches and loaded onto the unit.
If the Coyote-1 sounds like a truly boutique, niche product, aimed at techhead guitarists who would rather spend their time compiling code than evaluating boutique ODs, you’re partly right. Moyer sunk 16 months of his time into the development of the Open Stomp, and bypassed the use of a typical DSP chip for the Propellor, a multicore processor similar to the one found in a Playstation 3 (the standard DSP route, “just wasn’t interesting enough to get me out of bed in the morning and make me do it.”). That’s not to mention that the process of creating new modules for the OpenStomp requires some savvy programming skills, enough so that Moyer has been solely responsible for most of the existing modules, mostly utility modules such as choruses, tremolos and distortions, and currently numbering 15 in all.
But the brilliance and greater appeal of the Coyote-1 reveals itself in its ability to redefine how guitarists interact with the effects. While the OpenStomp system is certainly capable of standard digital tasks like aping classic overdrives and crisp delays, its greater strength lies in its ability to allow users with average computer skills to create previously unheard effects in OpenStomp Workbench, by stringing together pre-programmed modules, all in a graphical interface that resembles a paint program.
“A very simple example would be to take a chorus effect and an echo effect and just chain them together, so now you get chorus and echo at the same time. But a more complex example would be if you took an LFO module and chained [its output] to the on-off function of a distortion effect. Now you get a distortion effect that cuts in and out rhythmically. And if you get enough weird low-level modules like this—LFOs, pitch detectors, volume gates—you can start to create these unique, creative things by simply chaining them together.”
“I don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to be a ‘me too’ pedal,” Moyer added. “I want to take things in different directions and try to do things that haven’t been done before. There’s merit to having chorus and distortion and delay, because people can relate to them, but it’s time to take a hard left and create some weird effects.”
In fact, it’s such a revolutionary concept that Moyer has had a hard time communicating the possibilities to guitarists, who are used to connecting effect pedals with a few inches of cabling and turning them on and off. It can take a while to mentally click, and Moyer has accepted that as his efforts have turned from design to marketing and community building.
“It’s a different paradigm than people are used to. It’s something that they haven’t been able to build before. It takes some vision to get there on your own. I don’t kid myself—if you talk about something like an effect where your distortion cuts in and out rhythmically, it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to bust out on every song. I don’t by any stretch expect to replace something like a [Line 6] POD XT Live, but there are workhorse effects in there that you could run all day onstage, and there are some bizarre things you can do with the OpenStomp that you just can’t get anywhere else. It falls into that boutique digital pedal niche.”
But for guitarists who buy into the paradigm and have some spare time and a digital aptitude, the OpenStomp platform could provide them with a new set of tools for self-expression. The Coyote-1’s open source nature gives it a wide range of capabilities, and while Moyer guessed that some more advanced features like amp modeling may be beyond the horsepower of the Propellor processor, he noted that “people keep finding new ways to pull new tricks with it, so it’s hard to say what’s truly capable in the end.”
For now, Moyer is hard at work on Mac and Linux versions of the OpenStomp Workbench—two major constituents of the open source movement—and is continuing to sell the Coyote-1, one by one through his website, to any musician curious enough to plunk down the $349 entry fee.
It seems to be spreading, slowly but steadily. The OpenStomp forum continues to attract new members, and the discussions are getting more robust, more technical. There are more ideas tossed around and more options pondered—how can I do this? Is this possible? You can literally see people beginning to engage with the technology to create brand new sounds, which was Moyer’s goal when he first came up with the project on a caffeine-drenched evening in June of 2007.
“This is kind of a jump to the left, in a fun way. I don’t expect the POD XTs of the world to disappear one day in favor of open source effects, and there’s good reason for those guys to keep their intellectual property internal. But there’s a big space in here that nobody is playing in, and there’s a lot of fun to be had,” said Moyer. “I’m not surprised the big guys haven’t gone and done it, because it’s a boutique product, but I don’t eat my dinner at night based on how these things sell, so I’m free to just try and make something cool.”
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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.
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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.
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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
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.