home who&what shows links sounds contact
I get enough questions about what I use when performing, I thought I'd write up a short description of what I typically bring with me to do a show with.
First, the weird thing with strings isn't a sitar, it's a Chapman Stick.
The Stick is an electrically amplified instrument loosely related to electric guitars and basses. To generate sound, the strings are tapped with the fingers, not plucked or strummed. Because only one finger is required to generate a note, unlike typical guitar playing where you must select a note at a fret and trigger the string with the other hand, all your fingers are free to tap. Its range is close to that of a piano (a standard 10-string Stick has a range of 5 1/4 octaves).
The other weird thing I use is a theremin. Invented in the 1920s, the theremin is played by moving your body into the electromagnetic field of the instrument, which senses your presence and creates a pitch. You control the volume by waving your hand close to or away from a second antenna.
Finally, I sometimes use a Zeta Crossover electric upright bass.
So, here's the sequence:
- The Chapman Stick signal goes to a Z-Vex SHO boost pedal, and into channel A of a Whirlwind Selector ABY switchbox.
- The Moog Music Etherwave theremin signal feeds into a volume pedal (currently using a Korg XVP-10) and then into channel B of the Whirlwind Selector ABY switchbox.
- From the Whirlwind Selector, the combined output goes into an Akai E-1 Headrush real-time looper.
- The Akai feeds into a Z-Vex Woolly Mammoth bass fuzz pedal, then to a
- Z-Vex Seek Wah linear sequencing wah effect, then to a
- Z-Vex Ooh Wah linearly and random sequential wah effect.
- From there, the signal goes to a Moog Music Moogerfooger MF-101 lowpass filter, then a
- Moog Music Moogerfooger MF-102 ring modulator, followed by a
- Moog Music Moogerfooger MF-103 12 stage phaser, and then a
- Moog Music Moogerfooger MF-104 analog delay.
- After the Moog set, the signal goes to a Danelectro Sitar Swami sitar simulator - voted worst new stompbox of 2001, it was a victim of poor marketing and mismanaged expectations. It's not really a sitar simulator, but it's cool.
- From the Sitar Swami, the signal goes into the Danelectro Back Talk reverse delay.
- From there, the signal goes to a Boss RC-20 LoopStation looper.
- I have a Z-Vex Low-Fi Loop Junky for filthy overcompressed capture of the previous sound mods.
- After all that, the signal feeds into a 1970's vintage Morley EVO-1 echo/volume oilcan
delay pedal (Aug 03). Here's a picture.
- From the EVO-1, the signal goes into a Hughes & Kettner Replex.
- Next, into a Way Huge BH-3 Blue Hippo analog chorus pedal.
- Finally, we get to the signal that goes into the cabinet or soundboard.
For use with the Chapman Stick, I will use my hands, a straight razor (the rounded back of the blade is a great bar steel), or wrench, or E-Bow. With the theremin, I will often use a cable whipped into and out of the field.
I don't always bring everything on the above list: for the trimmed-down gearlist I tend to leave the Moog ringmod or phaser (sometimes both), the two Danelectros, and the Z-Vex Loop Junky at home. For a minimal rig, I'll leave the theremin, the Korg volume pedal, and the Whirlwind ABY switchbox, and the Akai Headrush at home.
I hope this helps to answer any questions. Write if you want to know anything else.