Take Inventory and Clean House! part 2

Photo by Roadside Guitars

A few months ago, I wrote about an experience I had while cleaning house in which I came across an old Bad Horsie Wah pedal that needed some tending to. After attempting to repair that pedal (which I thought was going into the recycling bin) it ended up working like a charm. From this experience, I was inspired to again “clean house” in my practice and start implementing techniques and phrases that I had long forgotten about into new fresh ideas.

I recently had a similar experience fixing (well, trying to fix that is) an Electro-Harmonix Small Stone pedal. This is a cool phase shifter that incorporates both a color switch and a rate dial so that you can go from a wet drippy sound to a crazy insane vibrato that sounds out of this world. Then there’s the rate knob, which speeds up, or slows down the speed of the wave effect. After a few rough tosses by airport luggage folk, the rate knob cracked off at the pot and the color switch got smashed to the point that it no longer worked, so it went in a closet.

The other day, I dug the Small Stone pedal out of hiding and decided I was gonna see if I could fix it like I did with the Bad Horse Wah. Well the replacement switch did the trick, but the rate knob, or potentiometer, was not doing anything to change the rate. After several attempts at re-wiring and switching to a volume knob with an off position, I did something cool to my Small Stone! While I cannot seem to get the rate sweep to work, the off position of the new knob turns on the “wiggly” effect that accompanies the phase shift and you get two variations with the color switch (one makes a wet drowning sound and the other sounds like aliens). Then turning the rate knob on cuts the wiggle effect and just gives you a tonal shift that has two phases as well (one sounding like a hot-rodded Marshall, and the other like a muddy Lo-Fi effect. So… I aptly re-dubbed this little monster the Scottstone and labeled it accordingly.

Newly repaired “ScottStone – SVH Shifter” Effects Pedal!

I have been inspired yet again, to think further about how to “shift phases” with some of my technique. For example, I do allot of shred picking and utilize hammer-ons and pull-offs often to further add to the illusion of speed. Now, I’m shifting my approach to that of picking each note and developing even more precision in my pick attack. Much like this new pedal that will open a few more channels of creative expression, shifting your approach to any aspect of music, even the slightest bit, can create an all new amazing sound.

So go ahead and drag that pedal (and yourself) out of the garage by taking inventory of your creative arsenal and turning old stuff into tomorrows genius!

Scott “SVH” Von Heldt is a staff writer for SMG. Scott is currently the lead guitarist for Brian “Head” Welch (ex-Korn) and has worked with members of White Zombie, Cirque Du Soliel and many others. In late 2008 he released the first book of his Mystic Art of Self-Discovery series entitled Mind Over Metal: The Musician’s Guide to Mental Mastery.

Email: SVH@sharemyguitar.com

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