What You Should Know About Using Guitar Pedals With Other Instruments

Ted’s favorite gear guru, Dolly, has a nose finding the worthwhile.

How many guitars, pedals, and amps do you need? Enough to make you happy. But window shopping alone has its own benefits.

I just got back from the NAMM show, and I am suppressing the nervous twitch of desire. My eyes and ears were flooded with all kinds of great gear, from cutting edge software plugins to microphones to—my favorites—pedals, amps, and guitars. With so much new gear around, G.A.S. was so abundant you could almost smell it hanging over the show floor. (Sorry, I could not resist.)

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Our columnist considers why we love to accumulate so much gear.

I’ve got stuff. Lots of stuff. It fills up my home and my shop. One of the many things that I’ve collected over the years are backstage passes. My occupation has taken me to a lot of shows—sometimes two or three a night. I’d come home and throw the evening’s pass into a box on a shelf in my coat closet. When the box got full, instead of tossing it, I’d put it away and start another one. This went on for decades. I probably just saved those passes for the same reason I’ve wound up with a lot of things—I like stuff. But not just any stuff. I like good stuff, quality stuff, interesting stuff. As a consequence, I have a lot of it. I’m betting a lot of you do too. Maybe you started young, by collecting trading cards. Maybe you came to it later in life. Maybe you’re thinking of tossing off the anchor and sailing away free.

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Manzanera onstage with his longtime collaborator Andy Mackay, who is also his creative partner on their new album, AM.PM.

Photo by Matthew Weber

With fellow Roxy Music cofounder Andy Mackay, the solo artist and sideman for David Gilmour and other notables chases musical liberty on a new album that pushes the boundaries of 6-string.

AM.PM, the intriguing all-instrumental release from legendary guitarist/producer Phil Manzanera and equally legendary saxophonist Andy Mackay, is full of unexpected twists and turns. “Somebody said to me recently, ‘I can tell you what it’s not. But I cannot tell you what the hell it is,’” says Manzanera. “And I quite agree. I listened to it and I’ve got no idea what’s coming next. I played the backing tracks once and I could never play it again. I’ve got the chord progressions…. Where did they come from? Instrumental music is a different kind of experience. When you listen to it, you tend to float off into your mind and just drift. There’s a visual aspect to it, to where you’re listening to it. It’s a wonderful, very different experience.”

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Your favorite stomps are real-time, tactile sound processors. Plug them in and expand your DAW’s options.

Welcome to another Dojo. This time I want to help supercharge your creative process by advocating for a hybrid approach to effects processing. Specifically, I want you to embrace using stomp pedals as real-time, tactile effects processors and combine them with your favorite DAW effects and plugins.

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