Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Toys

I finally got my taxes done last week and with a little bit of my tax return money I bought a few new toys for the OilCan Drive project.

I first used the Tech 21 SansAmp pedals years ago when I first started mucking around with music. When I got my first Fender Amp I turned around and sold those pedals on EBay. You have an inkling you've made a mistake when the winning bidder on EBay asks you why the hell you're selling such great pedals?!

A few years later I realized my mistake (sometimes I'm not so quick) and searched out those pedals I had foolishly sold. What I came across were some new pedals Tech 21 had developed called the "Character Series". Instead of a "one pedal does it all" stomp box each of these little beauties mimics a specific amp throughout it's many years of production. Meaning, with the "character" knob on each of these you're pretty much taken on a trip through time and the different amps a certain company made. As the Tech 21 website puts it, "then there’s the Character knob, which is something quite unique. This continuously-variable control moves seamlessly between different model voicings, covering vintage, high-gain and face-melting lead tones."

I've had the California pedal (recreating the Mesa Boogie amps) and the British pedal (recreating the English Marshall amps) for over a year now. I've been using them both to give the characters of OilCan Drive their own "voice" when playing guitar. Ryan plays his Fender guitar through the British while Vince plays his semi hollow Gibson guitar through the California. These pedals are absolutely great sounding and, while they give you great tones, they don't cover up the actual guitar playing coming through them. Some modeling gadgets I've used in the past tend to muddy up the sound and you lose the actual person playing the instrument. Which is never a good thing.

So, with the little extra money I got back I decided it was time to give Henry, the bass playing ape of OilCan Drive, his own pedal. I picked up a VT Bass rig for Henry after hearing such great things about it. And, boy, were the reviews not wrong. Just plugging this thing into my clean keyboard amp to test it out made the walls of my condo shake. I loved it even if my neighbors may have been wondering why we were getting a small earthquake in central Colorado.

I also picked up a Liverpool pedal (which mimics a Vox amp, think of the early Beatles sound) and a Boost RVB reverb pedal. Both of them sound great and new songs are already spilling out of my head while I play them. I always figure if any new piece of gear I've bought ends up inspiring a new song it was well worth it.

But, one thing I did find when looking for these new pedals to buy is that Tech 21 isn't done yet. Not only have they come out with the guitar pedals already on the market but they have a bunch of new ones on the way.

As Monika tells me, when I am really struggling with music there are two bands and artists I always go back to as my source to kind of get me grounded again. As much as I love Blink 182, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, and Bob Dylan the two people I tend to look to for inspiration are Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Pete Townshend of The Who.

So, when I saw this was one of the new pedals coming out I just had to have it. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait another month or two.

And, to give you a better idea of what the pedals do all around check out the new ones being featured at the latest NAMM show.

Now they just need to come out with a Kurt Cobain grunge sounding Character Pedal and I'd be all set.


Jeff Lafferty said...

Cool! I still don't really understand exactly what the heck they are, but the stuff you played for me sounded really good.

Sean Tiffany said...

Well, they are working like a charm. Aside from drums and vocals I got a whole new OilCan Drive song recorded's moving along now...

rob! said...

tax return money

What is this magical process where you get money back from the IRS?

Sean Tiffany said...

Robbo, it's the process where, four times a year, I give them 25% of my money. Then, if I'm lucky and the stars align, come April 15th, I get some of that money back.

Quarterly taxes, baby, quarterly taxes. And, it's something I found out last night is not only an option but actually mandatory for freelancers like us.


rob! said...

I pay every quarter too, but somehow I always end up owing more... *sniff*