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Tips, Tricks and Road Stories


Creating a Weirdo Wall of Sound

September 14, 2012; Zeno Pittarelli

Bad Sound SOSOSO I play guitar in a band based out of Utica, NY. Normally we're a five piece; two guitars, bass, drums and synth. We had a short tour scheduled for June, but only two of the five were able to make the trip. We scrambled and found a good friend of ours to fill in on bass, making us a three piece: drums, bass and guitar. Still, we were concerned that we might have problems as a trio, as our songs take advantage of the five-person lineup with intricate arrangements.

After some deliberation, we decided that what would be lost in musicality could be made up for in volume. I ran my guitar through a chain of effects that split to two different amps: my own Peavy Classic 30 and another Peavy Classic 30 (borrowed from our tour buddies). My effect chain started at a Boss TU3 chromatic tuner to a Boss PS-5 Super Shifter. From there I used the stereo out to split to the two amps: one side had a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal to a Boss DD-20 digital delay, and on the other, a Fulltone OCD to a Carl Martin Red Repeat. When I wasn't singing, I was dancing around the pedals in a kind of crazed choreography. Not really sure if it sounded good, but it certainly sounded big, which was all we were after. We're easily intimidated.

The last night of tour we shared the bill with a bunch of post-hardcore bands. I borrowed a third amp and split the signal a second time from the DD-20. One guitar, three amps. I did it to be funny, mostly. But I think it sounded pretty cool. I suggest trying something like this. With the right amount of knob turning and patience, you can get your single guitar to sound like a monstrous, weirdo Wall of Sound (if that's what you're into).

Rock and roll.

Zeno Pittarelli is a songwriter from Utica, New York. He plays in the pop band Bad Sound. You can check out their tunes at Bandcamp. Zeno also performs independently as Bad Cello. Bad Cello's newest release "Takes" will be released in October 2012 on cassette via Double Double Whammy. You can listen to the record at Zeno's Bad Cello Bandcamp site.

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