Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I've been recording an amazing banjo player named Andrew Vladeck. One part of our mission has been to further refine his signature amplified banjo sound. To this end I built a terrific fuzz pedal based on the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face made famous by Jimi Hendrix. The Fuzz Face was a two-knob design (fuzz and output volume). Mine has four--those two and add'l knobs for "subtle" and "battery." The first allows you to indicate the degree of mellowness vs. harshness in the fuzz tone, the second allows you to make the battery starve or force feed the transistors in the pedal in order to further tweak the sound. It fairly versatile and definitely musical and lovely-sounding.

I boxed it in an enclosure I bought in Akihabara, in Tokyo, when Rainer Maria was touring in Japan. The red knobs you see were purchased there as well. The gold one is from my Waterstone tele-style guitar, I pulled them off and replaced them with gold Gibson knobs that had numbers on them bc that's my preference, damn you! Lastly the text is applied with stick-on letters from the art store over on Court Street. I love those things. Long live Helvetica, I guess . . .

Naming a pedal is always the best part of building. This one I named "The Kingdom" because my roommate Pascal and I just finished watching Lars von Trier's Twin Peaks-like TV miniseries of the same name. It's really good, y'all should check it out. Not for the easy-queasy though. At one point you see a woman give birth to creepy German actor Udo Kier (you may remember him as the creepy German trick who dances with a lamp in My Own Private Idaho. Then again that scene may not have resonated with all of you the way it did for me). Anyway it was super grody. But nonetheless a really interesting piece of television, filmed in accordance with those Dogma guidelines as far as I can tell.

Soon as I get something recorded with this thing I'll see if I can't post a clip.
cheers y'all -k