In the past when I’ve played ambient guitar, I’ve usually felt the need to do so with a long chain of effects. After first trying the Cloud reverb machine on BigSky, I realized I could get lost for hours with just that single effect.
When mixed with a prevalent dry signal, Cloud can create a rich, ethereal wall of sound behind your guitar, allowing you to play articulate parts as you normally would while an automatically generated accompaniment fills the space behind your lead. However, my favorite way to use the Cloud reverb is with zero dry signal. The resulting sound may not be immediately recognizable as a guitar, but that’s fine with me, and I feel it sounds more organic than a synth pad (even though I love synths, too). Playing guitar through BigSky’s Cloud reverb machine can be an incredibly satisfying way to create ambient pads.
In the example audio clip, I am playing a Les Paul (bridge pickup), plugged directly into BigSky, and direct out from BigSky into my soundcard. I am playing with a pick (nothing faster than half-notes), and please note that I am not doing any kind of volume fade. I’m just picking the notes wide open, and letting BigSky do the rest.
The image below shows the knob settings and parameters that I used in the audio clip. For me, this patch really digs into the uniquely beautiful extremes that BigSky is capable of.
With the Mod set for 2 o’clock, I get the maximum modulation depth but at the slowest speed possible. (Once you turn the modulation up past 2 o’clock, the modulation rate begins increasing.)
Often I like to play through the bridge pickup for mid and high notes, and then switch to the neck pickup (maybe even with the guitar’s tone knob turned down) to play the occasional bass note, and in fact I did just that when playing the low A at 00:11 in the audio clip. For some hands-free control, I also like to assign the expression pedal to control the Tone parameter for some gentle filtering. Near the end of the audio clip, starting at about the 34 second mark, I turned the Tone parameter all the way down and then I turned down the Decay knob to the minimum setting for a faster fade out.
If you have access to a BigSky pedal, block off some me-time for yourself and give this patch a try! I hope you will enjoy the sounds you find, and that you’ll become pleasantly lost in time and space while you’re at it.
Download the preset:
What do you think?
Made your own tweaks to this preset? Post them below or tag them #StrymonPreset online. Are there other preset types that you’d like to see in upcoming blog posts? Let us know what you think. Thanks!