This Week’s Preset: Joe King Breaks Down Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien”

This Week’s Preset is a preset bonanza, combining settings on TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius to create the signature sounds of Radiohead’s “Subterranean Homesick Alien.” Guitarist Joe King crafted this custom combination from scratch and altered the arrangement so it could be played on one guitar instead of two.

“This is for the main special effects sound in the song used in conjunction with the Whammy effect,” King told us, “A person can easily create all the sounds needed for the song by just using different combinations of these effects.” King shares the preset details and his preferred guitar setup below.

Watch and listen to King’s presets in action:

Guitar setup
I like to play these sounds on a neck humbucker or on the bridge and neck humbuckers with the clean channel of a Fender amp. The first pedal in the signal chain would be a Boost to fatten up the clean sound and then some form of expression controlled Whammy effect.

Mobius
Placed before the amp. I went back and forth trying to decide if a Phaser or a HiPass Filter was more accurate to the recorded material. I ended up with the Phaser because I liked the way I can limit the headroom of the effect to add some grit. I chose the 2-stage mode in keeping with the more vintage and subtle effect I was after.

TimeLine
Placed first in the amp’s effects loop. Used dTape with a moderate amount of Tape Age (Filter) and a lot of Tape Crinkle (Speed) for a darker wash of sound following the first repeat with very audible artifacts.

BigSky
Place after the TimeLine in the amp’s effects loop. The Hall algorithm was chosen for its cavernous sound and the ability to put more emphasis on the mid frequencies.

Want to see more of Joe’s preset combinations? Check out his take on Muse’s “Starlight,” one of the first presets we shared on the Strymon blog!

You’ll find more of King’s music and videos on his YouTube channel.

About October
October October Crifasi is musician and writer based in Los Angeles where she lives with two cats, five guitars, and a pet dragon named Scorch. She has written for Acoustic Guitar and Classical Guitar magazines and also runs a guitar program for girls in Los Angeles called Girls Guitar School. When not making or writing about music, October leads a parallel life as a comic book writer and overall nerd.

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