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Re: distortion, overdrive,fuzz,crunch,special sauce, secret goo

I think Rainer brings a new perspective into this discussion (quote
below). It's about morphing the guitar into the domain traditionally
dominated by synths (ADSR envelope, touch control, velocity etc).
Applying an Envelope Follow is quite new, but applying a volume pedal
may equally bring it home, if played accurately. Terje Rypdal comes to
mind here, using a volume pedal to make a wildly ripping distortion
sound gain a singing melodic character. Jerry Garcia developed a
custom solution by omitting the guitar's volume knob and feed his
guitar pickup output directly into the fuzzbox pedal on the floor.
Then he brought back the fuzzbox output into the guitar on a second
cable loop to run it through his guitar's volume knob before going to
the amp/speaker. This was a way of "applying volume pedal
functionality to his guitar knob". I know I would love that in a Strat
because I play a lot with the guitar's volume knob and am also a bit
sad that this leaves out those overly distorted NiN sounds, unless you
customize you guitar according to the Jerry Garcia trick. Haven't done
that yet though.

This leads to another technical aspect of guitar tone (not to be
confused with opinion on artistic output, referring to Kris post)
which is the guitar being a plucked string instrument - like the
piano, the harp etc. This mean that once you have plucked a string the
note will keep on vibrating according to the envelope implied by the
instrument's phsycial/mechanical resonance characteristics. There's
not much you can to to add expression to the tone once the string is
plucked (at least not compared to singing or playing wind
instruments). Gadgets to give the guitar more of this continuous tone
expression are the wha pedal, talkbox, sustainer and distortion (even
though distortion doesn't give much more control, it just messes with
the natural envelope of the instrument). Oh, I almost forgot
acoustic/mechanic feedback through the air, pioneered by Jimi Hendrix.
Then we should of course also mention legato style distortion players
like Alan Holdsworth.

I took to yet another method in order to gain a continuous control of
tone expression by multi sampling my favorite strat plying it through
my Sovtek/Marshall setup and building a dynamically morphing sample
patch to blow with an EWI. You loose some dimensions of physical
guitar playing but you win a lot of in terms of tone expression. If
anyone is curious what that sounds like, listen for the floating twang
bar strat sound at www.ubetoo.com/Artist.taf?_ArtistId=6550 in "The
Yogi and the Commissar".

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen

On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 3:56 PM, Rainer Straschill
<moinsound@googlemail.com> wrote:
> One thing I found to work rather
> nicely when playing those hugely overloaded fuzz/crunch sounds is to
> use an envelope follower on your input signal and use that to modulate
> the output level of the distortion effect. With that, you get a "goes
> to eleven" sound all the time, which still reacts in volume to your
> playing.