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!
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.
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!
Jon Graboff has been very busy over the years, recording with artists across genres and across the planet. Possibly best known for his work with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, he has also recorded and/or toured with the likes of: Willie Nelson, Norah Jones, David Byrne, Carrie Underwood, Joan Osborn, Yo La Tengo, Ben E. King, Harper Simon, Phil Lesh and others. Recently we had a chance to chat with Jon and talk pedal steel, effects pedals, his musical experiences, and all sorts of other fun.
Can you tell us a bit about your formative musical experiences?
Well… when you’re from New York City, and there’s everything around you from jazz to hardcore, from afro-Cuban to Bollywood… it all gets inside you one way or another and informs your musical outlook. My mother was a very talented classical violinist and my dad was an artist and illustrator who played a pretty wicked clarinet. There was music of all kinds going on around me pretty much all my life.
What drew you to pedal steel guitar?
I’m not sure what attracted me to the pedal steel guitar but I remember the first time I heard one… even though I had no idea what it was at the time. I heard the first few notes on the Byrd’s album “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” and I clearly recall being captivated by the sound of it. A few months later, I was in a roadside diner with my family. We were going somewhere and someone played “If Teardrops Were Pennies and Heartaches Were Gold” by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner on the jukebox. There is a pedal steel intro on that too and I thought, hey, that’s the same instrument! Interestingly, they were both played by steel guitar great Lloyd Green.
Congratulations to Jonathan Larsen of Pittsburg, CA! You’re the new owner of a Brigadier dBucket Delay.
Now’s your chance to win a brand new Strymon Brigadier dBucket Delay effects pedal. No purchase necessary to enter or win. The winner will be chosen randomly from the list of qualified entrants. The contest ends February 7, 2011. Ok, go!
Tsuyoshi Kon, one of Japan’s best studio and live guitarists, just sent us a photo of him and his Brigadier! If you’re not familiar with Kon, you should definitely check him out. He’s appeared on well over 50 albums and can be found tearing it up on stages across the world.
On Brigadier: “Sounds like studio rack processors! All [Strymon] pedals sound so good. Very good signal to noise ratio, and I can plug in any position, instrument and line level.”
On OB.1: “Sounds just like a studio limiter. I use this a lot. I use the boost function like an EQ. Depending on the song, I’ll use all three boost functions, adjusting tone character.”
We’re very excited that Kon is loving our pedal lineup! Here’s a quick vid highlighting some of his skills:
Recently, I ended up with a broken crybaby wah. I was already lucky enough to own a 70’s thomas organ crybaby which I love, so sacrificing this second newer crybaby for a project seemed like a fun idea. Since the crybaby chassis is extremely rugged and I like the action of the pedal, I set out to turn it into an expression pedal for my El Capistan. This article assumes that you have experience soldering and using basic tools like wire strippers, etc. Of course, always observe proper safety precautions and wear safety goggles while working on any type of electronics.
Here’s my wah on the workbench.
First, opening up this box couldn’t be easier. Just remove the 4 thumb screws from the back plate and remove the plate.
Then, unscrew the two jack nuts from the input and output jacks and also remove the single screw holding the PCB (printed circuit board) to the chassis. Unplug the cable connector, remove the PCB and set aside.
Connect your treadle pot to a standard 1/4″ TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) jack according to the schematic in tech corner #1. Desolder all wires from the pot and switch and set aside.
The “sleeve” of the jack is ground, so first connect that to the pin of the post closest to the footswitch. Then, connect a 1k resistor to the wiper (center pin) of the pot. Connect the resistor to the “tip” of the jack. Lastly, connect the pin of the pot closest to the jack to the “ring.” You’ve got an expression pedal!
Watch the youtube video for a walkthrough of the build process and an El Capistan demonstration with our completed diy project:
*All product names used in this article are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Strymon or Damage Control, LLC.
Welcome to the first post of our new Strymon Tech Corner series! I will be posting technical articles on music electronics as part of our blog at least once a month. Pete, Dave and Gregg from our team may also write an article here and there when they can get time away from their PCB layout programs and DSP emulators. Hopefully you’ll find these posts helpful and informative.
In this first edition I’ll be going through the inner workings of the common expression pedal. Once we know how one works, then comes the fun stuff … tearing them apart, modding, etc, etc. But that will be left to next month’s article :)
We knew from day 1 that we wanted some of our pedals to feature expression pedal inputs. So, the question was “what’s the standard?” That is, do all manufacturers make their expression pedals the same way? Luckily the answer is yes … mostly.
Expression pedals work by feeding a control voltage to a device, such as a guitar pedal or synthesizer. The voltage is read by the device and then used to change some type of parameter. The voltage range depends on the design of the pedal or synth. Our Strymon pedals, for example, read control voltages from 0 to 5 volts DC. Turns out that this is a fairly common voltage range, especially in music electronics where MIDI (a 5V system) is still popular and widely used after over 25 years. The expression pedal itself, however has nothing to do with the voltage range. It’s only function is to manipulate that range and control the control voltage. The way almost every expression pedal out there works is that it takes a reference voltage from the device it’s connected to, divides that voltage down by a certain amount and then feeds it back to the device. In electronic terms, this is most commonly accomplished with a TRS (tip / ring / sleeve) 1/4″ cable where the reference voltage is on the “ring,” the control voltage is fed back to the device on the “tip” and the “sleeve” is ground.
Here is what a standard 1/4″ TRS plug looks like:
As you can see from this 1907 diagram, TRS has been around for a long long time ;)
Here is the schematic for a typical expression pedal:
As you can see, the simplest and most common method is to use a passive potentiometer. A reference voltage from the device would enter the expression pedal jack on the ring. Then that voltage gets connected across a 10k load which is the resistive element of the potentiometer. When you move the expression treadle up and down there is a mechanical mechanism that physically turns the treadle potentiometer or “pot” as it’s commonly known. You can visualize the arrow at pin 1 of the treadle pot moving from pin 3 to pin 2 as one moves his/her foot back and forth on the pedal. This is what varies the voltage at pin 1. This is the control voltage which then travels out of the pedal on the tip of the jack. R2 is only present as a current limiter and not applicable to this discussion.
The Moog EP-2, Roland EV-5, and M-Audio EX-P all work in this manner, and therefore, work with our pedals. The nice thing about this standard design is that the control voltage is very stable and the value of the potentiometer in the expression pedal doesn’t matter so much. The Line6 EX1 is the only one we’ve see that works differently, with only a simple resistor divider and a mono cable. The nice thing about their solution is that it uses a mono cable. Two disadvantages are: 1. The expression pedal input circuit is highly dependent on the value of the potentiometer in the expression pedal. 2. Their products won’t work with other manufacturer’s expression pedals and vice versa.
Watch our video for more info and audio demos with our Brigadier delay and Orbit flanger.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first edition of the Strymon Tech Corner. Tune in next time where we’ll make our own D.I.Y. expression pedal from a broken crybaby wah!
*All product names used in this article are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Strymon.
Have a Brigadier delay? Want to be able to store a preset of your favorite settings? The Favorite switch connects to your Brigadier with an included 1/4″ TRS cable, no additional power supply required. Press and hold bypass to save your Favorite. Engage to recall your Favorite. Turn off to revert to the current knob states of your Brigadier.
We’re building them soon and expect to have them available for purchase on our site in mid-July.
Here’s a quick workbench photo I took in the lab:
And here’s a Favorite switch sitting next to a Brigadier:
Questions? Let us know!
Want to be notified the minute the Favorite switch is available? Please sign up for our Favorite switch notify list. Thanks!
A customer thankful for a good customer service experience with his Brigadier recently sent us some stickers as little tokens of appreciation. What makes this extra special is that he happens to be serving our country, specifically as part of the NATO AWACS E3-A component. Needless to say, this sticker went straight on the guitar case for my SG!
Ethan and I met up with Phil Jamison at the Matchless HQ in Los Angeles recently to let him play through our Brigadier delay and blueSky reverberator. He dug the pedals! Phil is the amp designer over at Matchless. He’s a very genuine, good guy and it was a treat to see the Matchless facility and production line.
Below: camera phone shot of Phil rocking a Brigadier in front of one of his C-30 heads.
I just put together a quick demo of our Brigadier dBucket Delay and blueSky Reverberator together. We start off with a medium vintage-style delay with mod. Then we increase the repeats and add the blueSky plate reverb to build a dreamy sonic landscape.
In case you didn’t get the memo, we now have more Brigadier dBucket delay pedals in stock. For those of you that have been waiting, thanks very much for your patience. We’re doing everything we can to keep up with demand!
And, below is a quick workshop photo of our Strymon Favorite switch prototype, a neat little pedal that adds Favorite functionality to your Brigadier. No power supply required, connects to your Brigadier with a 1/4″ TRS cable. Please note: the photo below shows an unfinished prototype unit, subject to change. The actual chassis will be dark gray anodized aluminum.
The Favorite switch is not yet available. Stay tuned for more information.