Welcome to the first installment of our new Strymon Gear Guide series! I will be providing tips and tricks on using and understanding the various features of our Strymon pedals on a monthly basis. Hopefully I can help shed some light on any questions you may have about using our gear and harness the full potential from our pedals. Feel free to let me know what else you might want to learn about our pedals in future posts in the comments or by emailing [email protected].
For my first article, I’m going to cover the usage of El Capistan‘s Sound on Sound feature.
El Capistan’s Sound on Sound mode can be used to create loops of up to 20 seconds in length using a recreation of a sliding head style mechanical tape loop system.
Entering Sound on Sound Mode
To set El Capistan to Sound on Sound mode, set the TAPE HEAD switch to Single and the MODE switch to C. Whatever you have recorded in modes A or B will still exist in mode C.
When El Capistan is set to Sound on Sound mode, recording is ALWAYS active when the pedal is engaged (BYPASS light is on).
There are 2 tape speeds available when adjusting the TIME knob:
Double Speed (10 sec. recording time) with the knob left of 12 o’clock
Normal Speed (20 sec. recording time) with the TIME knob to the right of 12 o’clock.
Recording and Playback
Once you engage the pedal by hitting the BYPASS switch while in Sound on Sound mode, press the TAP switch at the same time you start playing to set the ‘In’ splice, then, press the TAP switch again at the end of playing your loop to set the ‘out’ splice and immediately start playing back from the IN splice.
At this point, El Capistan will be looping everything you played between the IN and OUT splice points. Keep in mind that it will still be recording, so anything you play will also be recorded an layered on top of the original loop. The Repeats knob controls how many times the loop will play back. Turn up the Repeats knob to 100% for the loop to play continuously with the fidelity of the recording diminishing over time.
Hitting the BYPASS button will cut the audio of the recorded loop, but it will continue to play as if the tape is still rolling with a mute button pressed. Hitting the BYPASS button again will return the audio from recorded loop.
If you want the recorded loop to continue playing back without adding any additional layers of recording, you would need to hit the BYPASS button to stop recording as the loop is playing back. Please note that the bypass mode of El Capistan would need to be in Trails mode. To change between True Bypass and Trails modes, you just need to press down and hold the BYPASS button as you plug in the power supply to power up El Capistan. Check out the following video showing you how to change the Bypass mode of the El Capistan:
Finally, to clear the splice points and recordings, a third press of the TAP footswitch while the BYPASS light is on will perform a bulk erase of the tape so you can record a new loop.
Want to learn more?
Check out the blog post below.