Thursday May 9, 1996
1st show 7:00pm (aka 1st of 4 shows)
Subject: Re: As we know, you know
Ok here's the official KB Tech and Gear Report.
The Issue Is : All we did is hold the speaker of a cheap mini cassette player up to the pickups of my guitar. The pickups are essentially microphones. They "pick up" the vibrating strings, which is where we get the electric guitar from.
A lot of what I play are loops. These are sounds and or melodies which are recorded into a device called a Jam Man, and repeated at predetermined intervals. Like an echo, but with 32 seconds of recording memory. I can start and stop this process with an array of foot pedals, and even play recorded loops backwards, thanks to the wonders of digital technology.
In The Issue Is, I looped whatever Happy recorded in the audience and then made sounds and effects over that, to create the bed under the song. Make sense ??
Here's the gear thing for the gear-heads:
I play a Parker Fly guitar with piezo pickups under the bridge. These pickups produce an acoustic sound as opposed to the visable pickups which do the electric thing. The guitar is stereo and there is a pedal that allows me to switch back and forth between the two approaches. The guitar signal is sent to a tuner (the light that arcs back and forth) everyone always asks, then sent to a Digitech 2101 effects processor. (Reverbs, Echoes, Flangers, Choruses, Distortions, Pitch shifters, Noise Gates, EQ's, Compressors,etc.). That stuff (which is the basic sound)is then sent to a Vortex for additional weirdness. The Vortex has the ability to Morph one sound effect into another. This then can be sent to the Jam Man for recording or bypassed straight to the mixer, which sends the signal to the amplifier and your ears. Should it go to the Jam Man,(as a recording) there is a seperate pedal that allows me to control the loop's volume and to blend it or fade it with what I'm currently playing live. Cool huh ?
The pedal board I'm always staring down at controls all this shit. There are 3 volume pedals. One for guitar signal strength into all the devices, one for loop volumes and one for the acoustic/electric switching. It's a volume pedal that also allows me to pan between stereo outputs. It can be changed to a straight volume pedal with the flick of a switch. There is a shut off switch that mutes the tuner output so I can tune (not that I do) without subjecting the whole room to it.
There is a pedalboard that selects all the patches or presets on the 2101. This is the basic palette that contains some 200 plus variations and effects. There are 4 pedals that control the Jam Man. Recording start stop, Reset for new recording, echo/delay times/ backwards playback, etc. Depending on what function the Jam Man is set on these pedals do different things. The Vortex has similar pedals for effect selection, bypassing, and tempo-tap.
There is a continuous controller pedal that lets me control the morph speed and depth. Oh yeah .... there is an additional digital reveb at the end of the Jam Man chain to assist in the seamlessness of loops as they repeat. without it you can sometimes hear the starting point, and that drives me nuts. There ya go, all the secrets.
Basically it's all about making the right sounds in the 2101 for the correct colors for the song I'm playing. More so (for me) than the actual notes and riffs. I approach the keyboards the same way. At least with Happy's stuff I think less is more and sometimes just one note with the right sound is all that's needed. It's a great gig to subtly accent her songs with atmosphere. She gives me lots of room in the live show to take care of the atmosphere for each piece.
For those who care, I rarely use a pick.