Strymon Artists - news from the lab

Artist Feature: Strymon + Keyboards = <3

Posted by Angela

What do you get when you combine Strymon gear, synths and some creative minds? Check out some artists we have enjoyed recently with their mad keyboard and synth skills.


Peter Dyer joined us here at the Strymon shop and brought with him a ridiculous arsenal of cool keyboards. When he arrived his car was loaded up with a Dave Smith Prophet 12, Nord Stage 2, Korg Volca Keys, Arturia Microbrute, and the Therevox ET 4.3. We had a ton of fun recording these sound clips with him, and enjoyed hearing the many unique sounds he put together with BigSky.


Seif Sherif – Musician and visual artist Seif Sherif shared this picture of his Korg MS-20 and El Capistan.


Dylan Thomas
Check out this great tour photo that Hillsong United’s Dylan Thomas sent us.


Jonì Velásquez
We came across this picture that Jonì Velásquez hash-tagged us on and enjoyed all the Strymon synth goodness going on.


Yasmin Hadisubrata
Yasmin Hadisubrata hash-tagged us for this one which was shot while he was getting ready for his tour with Ivy Quainoo.


Scott Brown
Scott Brown took this atmospheric picture while experimenting with some drone sounds, hope we get to hear some of it!


TimeLine, BigSky and 5 Novation Bass Stations, yep you heard us right, 5 Novation Bass Stations. Got to check this out.


Edwin Lucchesi
Well this might be cheating putting this in the Keyboard/Synth feature, but it is crazy cool and we live in the digital age now and this Virtual ANS is a software simulator of the Russian synthesizer ANS. So that’s fair! Enjoy :)


Tim Oliver
Tim Oliver’s Roland Paraphonic-505 is full of wonder and that just builds up with the addition of El Capistan. Get taken on a wonderous journey while you listen to this one.


Jon Carolino
Jon Carolino’s videos have a way of soothing you into a nice calm. This one especially can help bring your heart rate down and you can just sit back, close your eyes and relax.


We’d be pleased if most of our “just noodling” turned out this beautiful. Noodle away zibbybone, we could listen for hours.


Trygve Stakkeland
Simple, beautiful and can we say even a little haunting.

Every Instrument has a Story: David’s Rose

Posted by Angela

TMV Pic 1In this installment of Every Instrument has a Story, we talk to David Gerald Sutton, a violinist that manipulates his instrument to sound like a viola, cello, bass, drums, and synthesizers. He creates loops live onstage, developing intricate and beautiful soundscapes reminiscent of film composers like Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo, Saving Mr. Banks) mixed with a pop flair. David brings a knowledge of great production and clarity to classical instrumentalists crossing into the electric realm. His music gives a different perspective of the violin to the modern day listener, blending traditional pop structure and melody with classical undertones. His new EP, entitled Communion, will be released this spring.



Roze-VertDavid’s story of his violin:

My violin is a 2009 Acoustic Electric Strings (AES Violins) London5 Violin, nicknamed Rose. It has five strings: C, G, D, A, E. It’s essentially a violin/viola hybrid with a built-in pickup designed by the maker, Gary Bartig.

I met Gary at the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. I tried one of his instruments and was blown away by it’s tone and it’s ease of play. I found out he was in North East Minneapolis and we set up an appointment to meet after the convention. I brought my whole rig and tried three instruments. My instrument, Rose, was one that Gary could not sell. No one had liked it. After many adjustments and no takers, it was just sitting in his shop, collecting dust. However, when I played it, everything about it was just beautiful: the strings played evenly across the range of the instrument, almost with a natural compression to it. The pickup translated each note perfectly, sounding exactly as it did unplugged. Rose has been my violin ever since. I have two violins that just sit in their cases now because they can’t even compare.

I think my favorite piece of music I have recorded and my best story with Rose is a song I named after her.



I was writing, recording, and producing my first EP by myself and had set a hard deadline for September 1st. I was a week away, and the last song just wasn’t sounding like I wanted it to. I scrapped the idea and thought about just releasing the two songs recorded and leave it at that. Instead, I came up with a progression that night, recorded it the next day, and had my friend Matt Decker record drums on it the following Sunday. I met the deadline I’d set for myself, and it completely changed how I wanted to sound. All the songs on my next record, Communion, are some of my greatest works by far, but I would not have written them if I didn’t have Rose, the instrument, and written Rose, the song.

David Gerald Sutton pedalboard


Find out more about David:

Listen to more tracks:
David’s website:
On YouTube:


Does your instrument have a story to tell?

Let us know. Send an email to We can’t guarantee that all stories will be published, but we’d really like to hear about what your instrument has to say. Thanks :)


Hey Pedalboard… Shhh!

Posted by Angela

We recently heard from pedalboard builder Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada, and he gave us the story behind a challenging job to create a board for a Jazz & Chamber Orchestra guitarist, Rob Piltch. We thought the board turned out great and were intrigued by the nuances and wanted to learn more.


We asked Mike to elaborate a bit more on this unique board.

What needed to be considered when creating this board?

Guitarist Rob Piltch has long been one of Canada’s “A List” players with a decided lean towards very clean sounds that don’t have a lot of extra harmonic reach added through overdrives or distortions. The signal path had to be super transparent to allow the guitar to speak very dynamically with the amp while combining the “colour” of the effects. Due to the super quiet stage volume of the chamber orchestra environment, the signal path and “noise floor” of the system had to be as quiet as possible. Each effect pedal’s mechanical switches had to be quiet as possible as well. In respect to the producer and client relationship that a session player has to maintain we built a rig that has a set up and tear down time of less than 2 minutes.

What did you need to do to address the super quiet environment?

Strymon pedals are shipped from the factory with “soft touch” momentary switches that work very quietly, so we emulated that in each other effect pedal that previously had mechanical switches. We used these “soft touch” momentary switches engaging switching relays we installed in each pedal.

To accommodate producer / client effect requests that fall outside the scope of what the system contains, we built an “external” effects loop with clickless switching between the dynamics and post effects for easy insertion of extra effects into signal path. We also built a clickless clean boost circuit of variable gain from unity to +20db.

What is the signal path?

Guitar » DriveTrain OD » Sans Amp Classic » External Loop » Marshall ED1 Compressor » Nice Rack Canada Clean Boost with 3 outputs. #1 » Tuner #2 » dry feed to Sound Sculpture Volcano & line mixer. #3 » Strymon Mobius (mono in – stereo out) » Boss FV500L stereo volume & expression pedal » Strymon TimeLine » RJM Music Mini line mixer combining 100% wet effects with 100% dry signal to create a parallel “50/50″ blend of wet & dry signal into the left & right Fender Princeton Reverb amps. The expression pedal jack on the FV500L is connected to the Sound Sculpture Volcano which acts as volume pedal for the dry signal from the Clean Boost into the line mixer.

The Clean Boost’s buffered split to send signal to tuner constantly, provides a visual “cheat” for hitting certain intervals on a pitch bend, also allows for volume swelling a bent note while coming in on pitch with other players. We included switching circuit to sum stereo effects to mono for single amp gigs, no re-patching, no signal loss, no phase issues.

We also sync’d tap tempo from TimeLine to Mobius.


Why does set up and tear down need to be so fast?

For a session player to be able to walk into a studio and set up the rig in under 2 minutes says to the producer & client that not only does the player have chops but is also respectful of the “time is money” credo in relation to studio costs etc. This factor helps the player get repeated calls from producers.

And what did you do to make that happen?

We built latching in & out connection points for signal & power to & from the pedalboard. The amplifier I/O box features switchable ground isolation transformers for the left & right amp outputs and clickless relays for silent switching to mute. A multicore cable with custom cut lengths to reach input jacks etc helps streamline the set up time. In under 2 minutes Rob can uncase the board, plug in all cables in seconds, uncase amps, plug in multicore to amps, plug in to power point, tune guitar, start playing.

Although Rob is not using MIDI to control the system we included a MIDI Integration point for connecting the Strymon pedals to an external sequencer/recording suite for clock input and possible program changes & continuous control movements as necessitated by the session that Rob may be playing on.

Why the dollar coin?

We put one into every system build for good luck. It seems to work for Canadians!


MV-3.1Nice Rack Canada is passionate about building guitar rigs, bass rigs & keyboard rigs. Our mission is for musicians to get the absolute best tone and functionality from their equipment. We can build a rack or pedalboard system to suit your desire & budget. We offer a number of lightweight & easy to setup systems that maximize your tone and conform to your unique criteria. We are committed to building the best implements we can with the highest quality materials. We consciously source as much of our materials as possible from domestic sources. We seek to help build our community by creating value for musicians through our assemblies while creating jobs through our purchasing and the forward going opportunities that our assemblies create. We value the role that we play in a musician’s creative process and are honoured to have a hand in making many forms music to be enjoyed by everyone.

Rob Pitch is one of Canada’s best known sidemen and session players. Starting in the late 70′s with his brother David on bass, both Piltch brothers played with their saxophone & clarinet playing band leader / father Bernie Piltch. Rob moved on to playing with David Clayton-Thomas in Blood, Sweat & Tears during the Nuclear Blues period. Rob has recorded & toured his own solo works as well as works by Don Johnson, Hugh Marsh, Kim Mitchell, Shirley Eikhardt, Marc Jordan, Guido Basso, and Rob McConnell. Rob also works with his avant cabaret combo NickBuzz which itself is a “super group” of Canadian jazz musicians featuring Rob alongside Hugh Marsh, Jonathan Goldsmith & Martin Tielli. Rob is also a regular contributor to the Art of  Time Ensemble which is regarded as one of Canada’s most forward thinking and musically talented chamber orchestras.

Lex Rotary keyboard demo with Peter Dyer

Posted by Ethan

Lex Rotary effects pedalWe recently met up with Peter Dyer (keyboardist for Mariah Carey, Aloe Blacc, Van Hunt) and he graciously put together a few audio examples featuring our Lex Rotary.

Signal path: Nord Stage2 / Dave Smith Instruments Prophet ’08 » Lex Rotary. All rotary sounds are created by Lex.

Want to learn more about Lex? Check out the Lex website. Learn more about Peter Dyer at, and follow him on twitter at @peterkeys88.

Thanks again Peter for stopping by!


Pete Thorn’s Flint Tremolo & Reverb demo video

Posted by Ethan

If you haven’t seen and heard Pete Thorn’s amazing Flint Tremolo & Reverb video demo, you’re missing out. Take a listen!

Make sure to pick up a copy of Pete’s album, Guitar Nerd.

TimeLine, blueSky, and El Capistan – looping nerdery

Posted by Ethan

When I’m not busy making videos, audio demos, and doing all of my marketing stuff for Strymon, I spend lots of time in my home studio making my own videos and nerding out with music gear. Basically, I’m just always nerding out with gear. :)

This video started out as a way to test out some new looping software (Circular Labs Mobius), but I ended up getting carried away and wrote a new song. I’ve got El Capistan and blueSky on my guitar, as well as TimeLine and an old Boss DF-2 on my vocals. I’ve been using TimeLine quite a bit for vocals—for this video, I’m using primarily the TimeLine Ice and Lo-Fi machines. Hope you dig it :)

The Raconteurs and Strymon

Posted by Ethan

Brendan Benson from The Raconteurs recently sent us a few photos from their recent 2011 tour. He relies on the transparent compression and vintage squash of his OB.1 Optical Compressor & Clean Boost for his touring rig. Very cool! :)

Couple shots of his pedal board during soundcheck before the show:
brendan benson's pedalboard (the raconteurs)

The raconteurs

White Lies love their Strymons

Posted by Ethan

Rob Lee and Harry McVeigh from the English rock band White Lies have been extensively using TimeLine and blueSky on their recent tour. Rob just sent us this photo taken just before soundcheck at Wembley Arena in London. They’ll be out on tour again this summer, be sure to check them out when they come to your town!

White Lies - Rob Lee and Harry McVeigh with their Strymon TimeLine and blueSky

Below is a video of them performing “Bigger Than Us” on Letterman.

Here is the official music video for “Bigger Than Us”:

Ethan’s new State Shirt album

Posted by Terry

Hey there everyone. Just wanted to take a moment to share our very own Ethan Tufts’ new album release today. He’s a passionate musician who pours a lot of love and energy into music, which is why we’re grateful to have him as part of the Strymon team. The album is titled “Let’s get bloody” … check it out!

image of woman bleeding from the lip


Pete Thorn – killer TimeLine delay demo

Posted by Ethan

Pete Thorn (guitarist with Melissa Etheridge, Chris Cornell, Don Henley, and many others) just put together this killer TimeLine demo. Check it out! And be sure to show Pete some love by checking out his new album Guitar Nerd.

Brigadier delay with Prophet ’08 and MiniMoog

Posted by Ethan

Peter Dyer (keyboardist for Mariah Carey, Van Hunt, Aloe Blacc, and many others) recently put together this killer demo of his DSI Prophet ’08, MiniMoog Model D, and his Brigadier dBucket Delay. Watch the video below, and learn more about Peter at his website!

blueSky reverb with Wurlitzer/Rhodes [demo]

Posted by Ethan

Peter Dyer (keyboardist for Mariah Carey, Van Hunt, Aloe Blacc, and many others) put together this sweet demo of his Wurlitzer, Rhodes, and blueSky Reverberator. Check it out below! Learn more about Peter at his website.

Nerding out with TimeLine and Roland Juno-6

Posted by Ethan

Hey everyone… You may know me as the Strymon marketing guy, but i’m also a guy that spends way too much time writing songs, making videos, and nerding out with music gear. This weekend I was busy working on new song ideas, and decided to put together a quick demo of what I was working on. In this video I’m running my Roland Juno-6 into TimeLine. Hope you dig it.

Steve Lukather

Posted by Ethan

Steve Lukather, session and touring guitarist extraordinaire, is currently touring Europe and rocking our bluesky Reverberator and Lex Rotary on his touring pedalboard. He recently sent us a couple photos of his setup.

And here are a few photos taken last year, when Terry and I visited Steve while he tracked guitar for his latest album. He used Ola chorus & vibrato, Brigadier delay and blueSky reverberator.

Steve Lukather is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger, and record producer best known for his work with the rock band Toto. Lukather has played with many artists, released several solo albums, and worked as a composer, arranger, and session guitarist on more than 1,500 albums. And he totally shreds!

Hershel Yatovitz (Chris Isaak) loves his Strymon gear

Posted by Ethan

Hershel Yatovitz - Chris Issak's guitarist

Hershel Yatovitz is the lead guitarist for pop rock icon Chris Isaak. Since joining Isaak in 1995 he has recorded 7 albums, toured the world, and made over 100 TV appearances.

Recently he purchased an El Capistan to replace his old tube tape echos. He also added a Brigadier, blueSky, and TimeLine to his pedalboard. Here’s what he had to say:

“I am extremely pleased with the musicality, sound, design and build quality of Strymon pedals. Awesome! It’s been a long time since I’ve felt I’m making a large leap up in sound and features when making a new touring/recording pedalboard.”

“Timeline is FANTASTIC! It has the mojo, features and fidelity I have always wanted, finally in one box! It truly is the tool I have been wishing I could have for years.”

In addition to his time playing and recording with Chris Issak, Hershel has found time to perform and play with many other artists including Art Alexakis (Everclear), Junior Brown, James Burton (Elvis Presley), Glen Campbell, Mike Clark (Herbie Hancock), Shawn Colvin, Dick Dale, Bo Diddley, Gloria Estefan, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Emmylou Harris, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule, Allman Bros.), Lisa Loeb, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Joe Pass, Bonnie Raitt, Rufus Reid, Leann Rimes, Ritchie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Brian Setzer, Paul Stanley (Kiss), Waddy Wachtel, DB Walker, Joe Walsh (Eagles), Trisha Yearwood and Dweezil Zappa, among many others.

Hershel Yatovitz's pedal board
Stage photo credit: Dave Miller

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