In the later part of the 1980s, rack mount effect companies took advantage of the advancement in microprocessors and were able to produce glitch-free pitch shifting.
For the guitar player this was groundbreaking as it allowed the instrument to at last produce a pristine signal one octave and two octaves above.
Adding modulation and other effects such as reverse delay to the octaves created new guitar sounds never thought possible.
These sounds became known as Crystal and Shimmer effects. You can hear some great examples on the 1987 U2 album “The Joshua Tree.”
Now with even greater advancements in microprocessors and programming technology, these glitch-free pitch shifting effects are available in small, compact, foot controlled pedals like the POG and HOG.
To create the first two clips seen in the video I wired the effect pedals in parallel.
Normally we hook our effect pedals together in a series chain. This means one pedal is plugged into the next pedal all the way to the amplifier.
You can also place the effects in a parallel chain. This opens up new and beautiful sounds not possible when using a standard series connection.
When hooking up pedals in parallel, the effect chain is split into different paths and then mixed together at the end of both chains.
Splitting and mixing the chains in parallel would normally require a mixing unit or mixing board.
I found it could be done simply and inexpensively using just two Radio Shack Y-adaptors.
Parallel effects can create very complex sounds by allowing you to alter only certain effects within the chain.
In the examples below I was able to apply delay, chorus and tremolo to just the pitch-shifted signal without affecting the straight dry guitar. This would not be possible in a normal series connection.
Below is the chain and settings used in the video clip.
I let the notes ring out long so you can hear how the sound blooms as it fades away.
You will also notice how clean and noise free these effects really are.
The Pulsar pedal is add to the Crystal-Shimmer chain.
The third example “Symphonic” places the effects back in a series connection.
A volume pedal is used to swell the chords in and remove the attack of the guitar, producing a string section type sound.
It’s a beautiful sound from just one guitar!
The clip is an improvisation on the song “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber. This music has been used in many great movies you may have seen.
I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.
I would also like to thank everyone for watching and listening to the Effectology shows this past year.
It has been a fun series to produce.
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!