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The Evolution of Analog Guitar Effects

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1 The Evolution of Analog Guitar Effects
Audio Engineering Society (AES) Pacific Northwest Section March 2010

2 Meeting Agenda Intro to Analog Guitar Effects or “Pedals”
Main Types of Analog Effects Origin and Early Recordings Brief Technical Discussion Break – Refreshments, Drawing

3 Meeting Agenda (cont.) The Boutique Pedal Industry – Matt Johnson
Tortuga Effects Pedal Board Insanity Ian Moore Performance and Q & A

4 What is a Guitar Pedal? An sound modifying device placed in the signal path between a guitar and amplifier or in the effects loop of an amplifier. Several effects pedals are often used at once and can be configured in any number of series or parallel combinations.


6 Why? Because we like them. Musicians have always strived to
enhance the expressiveness with which they can play their instruments using whatever materials or technologies are available at the time.

7 Main Analog Guitar Effects
Tremolo and Reverb Echo and Delay Fuzz and Distortion Wah Wah Phasing, Flanging and Chorus

8 Tremolo and Reverb

9 Tremolo Cyclic Modulation of Signal Amplitude (Volume)
Inspired by the Vibraphone invented in 1924 and made popular by Lionel Hampton Actually the first bona fide stand alone effects pedal produced by De Armond around 1947.

10 Tremolo Cyclic Modulation of Signal Amplitude (Volume)
Inspired by the Vibraphone invented in 1924 and made popular by Lionel Hampton Actually the first bona fide stand alone effects pedal produced by De Armond around 1947. Used a motor to rock a unique liquid filled switch back and forth.

11 Tremolo By mid 1950s, tremolo was a standard feature on many guitar amps. Fender Tremolux was first Fender with Tremolo. Implemented electronically and had two controls: rate and depth.

12 Tremolo

13 Reverb An effect intended to emulate the complex interaction
of sound waves in a large space, adding ambience to the sound. Spring reverb is an electromechanical device originally developed by Bell Labs and incorporated into Hammond Organ to provide a more theater like experience in the home.

14 Reverb Consists of electromechanical transducers attached to either end of a set of springs. Waves originating at the drive transducer propagate through the springs and then are picked by the output transducer and mixed with the dry signal.

15 Reverb Dick Dale convinced Leo Fender to put a spring reverb in his amplifiers so he could get the same sound he did from his Hammond at home. Leo Fender cut a deal with Hammond in 1961 to use the Type 4 spring reverb tank and released a stand alone reverb unit in 1963. Dick Dale Fender 1963 Reverb

16 Fuzz and Distortion

17 Fuzz and Distortion Discovered accidentally by Nashville recording engineer Glen Snoddy in 1961. One of the channels on the board was “broken” and produced a distorted sound. He decided to use it to record Grady Martin’s guitar solo on the Marty Robbins’ tune “Don’t Worry”. Don’t Worry Marty Robbins Grady Martin

18 Fuzz and Distortion Musicians were demanding to get that sound so Snoddy reproduced the sound with a transistor circuit and showed someone at Gibson. Gibson released the Maestro Fuzz Tone FZ-1 in 1962 Keith Richards 1965 Tommy Tedesco 1965

19 Fuzz and Distortion Probably the most famous fuzz device used by Jimi Hendrix among others was the Fuzz Face introduced by Dallas-Arbiter in 1966.

20 Fuzz and Distortion

21 Fuzz and Distortion Fuzz Face originally used germanium transistors which suffered from relatively low gain and wide production tolerances so not all of them sounded the same. Germanium known for soft clipping and the Fuzz Face circuit specifically known for asymmetrical clipping which resembles tube breakup. Later models used more consistent and reliable silicon transistors which had a different sound.

22 Fuzz and Distortion Jimi Hendrix hooked up with British effects designer Roger Mayer who gave him a prototype of the Octavia. Special type of fuzz that produced an additional upper octave by using a full wave rectifier circuit. Purple Haze Octavia

23 Fuzz and Distortion What is the difference between Fuzz, Distortion, and Overdrive? All are produced by “clipping” of an audio signal in a circuit producing harmonics not originally present. Some harmonics are desirable and some sound like…

24 Fuzz and Distortion Overdrive refers to the asymmetrical clipping which occurs in an “overdriven” tube amp. Characterized by rich harmonic content and slight compression. There are many good overdrive pedals on the market which have successfully emulated this sound.

25 Fuzz and Distortion Ibanez Ts-808 Tube Screamer introduced in the late 70s. Usually referred to as a distortion box. A large number of distortions and overdrives on the market today are mutations or even exact copies of this device.

26 Tortuga Sasquatch

27 Tortuga Yeti

28 Echo and Delay

29 Echo and Delay Army Signal Corps Engineer, Jack Mullin, acquired the German Magnetophon during the Allied invasion of Europe. Bing Crosby invested in Mullin’s improved version and gave Les Paul the second Ampex Model 200 made around 1947. Magnetophon Crosby and Ampex 200

30 Echo and Delay Les Paul added more playback heads for echo, multi-tracking and other effects. Les Paul

31 Echo and Delay Echo-Sonic Amp created about 1953 by Ray Butts Cairo, IL to get that Les Paul sound outside of the studio. Used by Scotty Moore and Chet Atkins. Defined the “Rockabilly” slapback sound. Elvis Chet Echo-Sonic Amplifier Scotty Moore and Elvis

32 Echo and Delay Schematic of typical tape echo

33 Echo and Delay Echoplex Introduced in 1959
Featured a movable playback head to adjust delay and used a tape cassette. Early models valued as much for their tube preamp.

34 Echo and Delay Roland Space Echo introduced in 1973

35 Echo and Delay Reticon SAD-1024 “Bucket Brigade” chip was introduced in 1978 allowed for the first time small non-mechanical means of delay. Officially know as a discrete time analog delay line, it was originally developed in 1969 but the technology to implement it in chip form wasn’t available until the ‘70s

36 Echo and Delay First Analog Delay? Ibanez AD9

37 Tortuga Rain Delay

38 Wah Wah

39 Wah Wah As it’s name implies, it is a resonant circuit that imparts a vocal quality to a signal. Engineers at VOX noticed that a midrange boost amplifier circuit made a distinctive vocal sound when switching between two frequencies. Modified the circuit with higher Q and used a volume pedal pot to control the center or resonant frequency.

40 Wah Wah The first wah pedal is referred to as the “Clyde McCoy” because it was originally thought (by marketing) that it could replace a trumpet mute. Considered the ultimate wah pedal by many. Legends vary.

41 Wah Wah Cry Baby then released in 1968.
Eric Clapton generally credited with the first recording. Eric Clapton Jimi Hendrix

42 Wah Wah Simple two transistor circuit using an inductor, capacitor, and potentiometer to form resonant circuit.

43 Wah Wah Technically it is a band pass or high Q lowpass filter.

44 Phasing, Flanging and Chorus

45 Leslie The story of phasing starts with the Leslie Rotating Speaker cabinet designed by Don Leslie around 1940. Originally intended to produce a cathedral type effect for Hammond organs they were later used by rock guitar players for their distinctive sound. Clapton Leslie Model 16

46 Leslie

47 Phase Shifter Technically, the first phase shifter was called the Uni-Vibe and was intended to simulate the sound of the Leslie cabinet. Sounds different than other phase shifters because of the design and is referred to as a “Vibe”. Used a series of light bulbs and photo sensitive resistors (LDRs) to shift the phase. Robin Trower

48 Tortuga Neptune Vibe

49 Phase Shifter O Maestro Phase Shifter MXR Phase 90

50 Phase Shifter Uses an array of all pass filters to create its characteristic frequency notches. An all-pass filter passes all frequencies equally but alters their phase. When combined with the original input signal a single notch response pattern is produced for each pair of filters in series. The Uni-Vibe, MXR Phase 90 and Maestro are all 4 stage phase shifters. They differ in the means by which they alter the phase.

51 Phase Shifter

52 Tortuga Standard Issue Phaser

53 Flanger Discovered when two tape machines were playing in unison and the speed of one was modulated slightly by applying pressure to the reel or “flange” of one of the machines. Effect first used by Phil Spector in 1959 to record the hit song “The Big Hurt” by Toni Fisher. The Big Hurt

54 Flanger OK, but someone please tell me…. Phil Spector - Before

55 Flanger OK, but someone please tell me….what happened? After
Phil Spector - Before

56 Flanger Released in the late 70s, the A/DA Flanger was the first such device in pedal form made possible by the Reticon SAD-1024 Bucket Brigade Device.

57 Flanger A flanger is similar to a phase shifter in that it also produces a response pattern consisting of several notches but the spacing of them spectrally can be arbitrary. Flanging typically requires a delay of somewhere between 20 and 30 ms.

58 Flanger

59 Chorus First commercial chorus pedal was the coveted Boss CE-1 produced in the late 70s and also using a Reticon SAD-1024 device. Became a defining sound of the 80s. Used extensively by Andy Sommers of The Police and many others. The Police

60 Chorus From an effects standpoint the term goes back to the Hammond organ days when a second, slightly detuned voice was added to the original to make it sound fuller. Similar in design to a flanger but uses much shorter delay times - 1 to 10 ms. Provides a vibrato or pitch modulation effect.

61 Tortuga Martini Chorus

62 Acknowledgments R.G. Keen – Analog Mike -

63 Thank you !

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