Posts Tagged ‘strymon’

Best Show Ever! Submission – Eric Martin

Posted by Michael

We recently asked those of you who are passionate about live music to email us with stories of your favorite concert experiences.  To all of you who sent us your stories, we had a wonderful time reading your submissions.  Not only were they fun to read, but they were personal, insightful, and successful in translating what made these specific shows so important to each and every one of you.  Reading the submissions, it was clear how close these experiences are to your hearts and we thank you all for sharing them.  There were some stories, however, that really stood out to us.  Like this one, which comes from Eric Martin.

Lakewood Amphitheater

Atlanta, Georgia

7-4-1999

shutterstock_110814683

It was the 4th of July.  The party starts early at phish shows… you’d show up to the parking lot around 3:00 PM for a show that won’t start until 8:30 PM.  You’d have some beers, sit under a shade tent, you’d either be grilling, or you’d go in search of someone else grilling (“Get your sexy grilled cheese!  One for $2, two for $3!  Two slices of bread with the butter spread, sexy grilled cheese!”).  Jam sessions in the shade with friends, or you’d just go walking.  There’s some great people watching in the Phish lot.

Phish has no openers and plays two sets.  The first set was blistering with some amazing guitar work, but it was set two where the magic happened.  Ghost > Slave to the Traffic Light.  At this point, the sun has set and Chris Kuroda’s legendary light show is in full effect.  The Ghost went into some dark, spacey improvised jam that lasted about 13 minutes until it seamlessly blended into the intro the Slave.  The Slave was played very well.  It’s the Slave jam where the memories were made.  It starts very sparse.  Trey, Mike, and Page are dancing around the A, G, D, E chord progression, without actually  landing on it.  This beautiful soft melody grows and builds until Trey starts the meat of his solo, a simple repeating pattern with fills to break up the monotony.  Eventually, they are playing the most intense progression I’ve ever heard and the crowd, all 19,000 of us, are going absolutely nuts.  It was the only time music, not the words, but just the music has made me cry.  Tears of absolute joy.

Here’s the soundboard recording of the segment, if you’re curious… you don’t have to like Phish to appreciate it:

-Eric Martin

(Waiting on that 4th big box, y’all)




“Best Show Ever!”

Posted by Michael

Last week, we touched on live music’s inherent ability to bring people together.  This week, we’re taking a more in-depth and interactive look at what makes a concert unforgettable. But first, a brief history of live music.

Back in the mid-nineteenth century, composer Richard Wagner changed the opera scene by instituting what he called Gesamtkunstwerk or “total work of art.” His philosophy was that opera, rather than remain mostly a musical vehicle, should encompass every aspect of the creative arts – poetry, music, drama, and visual art all working in complete harmony. These operas were the Woodstocks of their time, and Wagner worked to take them to the next level.

Wagner's "Parsifal" performed in Berlin, 2005.

Wagner’s “Parsifal” performed in Berlin, 2005.

The better part of two centuries later, Wagner’s vision is still being realized at every great live concert. It is my firm opinion that the most memorable and significant live performances tap into this “total art” idea. Live music, above all, is about performance, and performance is dramatic. Performance takes place in a setting that enhances its story. Performance not only pleases the eye and ear, it creates a unique experience in which the show becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Not just songs, lights, and energy, but a fully realized, artistic vision.  The best live concerts are so enveloping that they can only be described as “mind-blowing,” “epic,” or “best show ever!”  Sometimes this entails an eight-piece band, elaborate stage design, and psychedelic lights; sometimes it only requires a solo performer on a bare stage.

Photo by Dylan Thomas of Hillsong United

Photo by Dylan Thomas of Hillsong United

As every concertgoer knows, this type of magic can’t be captured every time a band steps on stage. Even some of my favorite groups, which will remain nameless, have disappointed me live. This is simply the nature of the business. And this is what makes it so special when an artist you love blows you away in person.  My all-time favorite shows – from acoustic performances to hip hop concerts -  accomplished what Wagner envisioned back in 1860.  I could gush about these incredible memories in extreme detail, but I’d rather hear from you.

Send us your own stories of your favorite concert experiences, whether you were onstage or in the crowd, to concerts@strymon.net.  We’ll read them all, and, if it’s okay with you, we’ll even post some of them on our blog.  Contributors who have their stories featured will receive a free Strymon t-shirt!

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We look forward to hearing about your all-time favorite concerts!

 

 




Get to know us!

Posted by Ethan

Strymon teamThe November 2010 issue of Premier Guitar features Strymon as one of the “5 Boutique Stompbox Builders You Should Know”. They say we’re “among the most impressive pedal builders in the world today.” Aw, thanks! We’re just five guys trying to create the best and most innovative products that we can, and we’re very proud to have been given this great accolade.

Read the entire article here and find out more about what makes our slightly crazy brains tick. Also featured are Red Witch, Mad Professor, Crowther Audio and Empress Effects. Mad props to Empress for their awesome company photo!

Read the article




Strymon Tech Corner #2 – Build your own expression pedal

Posted by Terry

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.

crybaby wah sitting on green felt
Here’s my wah on the workbench.
crybaby wah pedal with back cover removed
First, opening up this box couldn’t be easier. Just remove the 4 thumb screws from the back plate and remove the plate.
crybaby wah pedal with electronics removed
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.
crybaby potentiometer and switch with wires desoldered
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.
crybaby wah pedal with original electronics removed and re-wired as an expression pedal
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:

Happy shredding,
-terry

*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.




Strymon and Damage Control

Posted by Ethan

Damage Control and StrymonAs some of you may already know, in 2009 we were very fortunate to be able to join forces with Damage Control Engineering, a formidable group of the best engineers in the music industry.

Since then, we’ve developed all of the new Strymon products together. We’re a tight knit team and both companies are stronger now as one.

It is our great honor and pleasure to announce that for the foreseeable future, all new Damage Control products will carry the Strymon name! This includes the new Damage Control products currently in development that you may have seen on the Damage Control blog. We’re extremely excited about these and working feverishly on them.

::: Read the Damage Control blog post for more info.

 
 




Strymon Tech Corner #1 – Anatomy of an expression pedal

Posted by Terry

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 :)

expression pedal from moog

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!

Happy shredding!

*All product names used in this article are trademarks of their respective owners, which are in no way associated or affiliated with Strymon.




Phil from Matchless rocking a Brigadier

Posted by Terry

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.

phil jamison matchless amplifiers






 
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