Adam Granduciel (War on Drugs) - leslie/chorus/flanger

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by dagjonas, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. dagjonas

    dagjonas Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    Late in 2014 I discovered The War on Drugs' album "Lost in the Dream". Lately I've been trying to figure out what effect that Adams uses on f.ex. the songs titled "Lost in the Dream" and "In Reverse".

    There are many layers of guitars, but I'm thinking of the pitch-effect. It sounds like a flanger with high speed, but it could also be a chorus or a leslie. Watching Premier Guitars rig rundown didn't make it any clearer.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  2. teleking36

    teleking36 Member

    Sep 1, 2005
    Huge fan of Adam and The War on Drugs. Watch this and you'll have all of your answers.

  3. Dougjh123

    Dougjh123 Member

    Jul 28, 2014
    I'm pretty sure most of the modulation in the song Lost in the Dream is a Fender Vibratone. I also know he uses a Roland re-101 a lot.
  4. Jet Age Eric

    Jet Age Eric Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Silver Spring, MD
    Yeah, per the video it's definitely an actual rotating speaker. I was bummed that Bolanger (sp?) didn't ask why Adam has adopted Pete Townshend's live '70s rig (and then some). :)

    Between the hype and semi-subdued nature of the record, I'd've never thought I'd enjoy it as much as I have (and do). -E
  5. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2009
    Chattanooga, TN
    Saw them last night here in Chattanooga. He is definitely a huge gear head. He was running at least six amps, and the roadie who was carrying his pedalboard out to the stage looked like he was struggling under the weight.

    The amps I spotted included one each: Matchless, Vox AC30, Princeton Reverb, Traynor, Hiwatt head, and something else I didn't get close enough to ID. It was very loud up front so we moved back to get a better mix.

    It's an interesting band to see live. The five supporting musicians seem like they've been assigned to play exactly what Adam has conceived for them. The poor drummer was practically playing simple loops all night long. The bass player was really good, he was the glue for sure.

    Lots of the material sounds similar after a while. They played at least a dozen songs at the same tempo. The encore set had some different sort of stuff in it, more laid-back, which fell flat in the encore. I'd have liked to have seen them mix that stuff in with the main set and rock out the encore.

    The guy can definitely play!
  6. habanaerosmith

    habanaerosmith Member

    Jan 31, 2015
    A Chair
    Thanks for posting that. Weird that he thinks the power cord on the MXR is what makes it noisy. I've owned the old chorus, and that circuit is just inherently noisy.
  7. Dubious

    Dubious Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
    really good album.. but indeed alot of the live stuff seems like they play IT WAY to close to the recorded template... would love to see this dude STRETCH it out some
  8. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2007
    I've been scrutinizing that record for months now, every song, track by track, over and over again, pulling apart every separate guitar that I can hear in each song and notating what effect(s) are on each one.
    I've watched the rig rundown, well, a lot, and took notes of small details.
    I've even modded my big board to mimic his to an extent.
    Not exact, but close.
    It's brilliant how he blended so many distinctly different effects' driven tones together into such perfect arrangements and did it time and time again on so many different tracks using so many different effects.

    He uses thick pillowy tones against sparkling clear tones or razor-sharp fuzz tones and blends them all together like a well seasoned stew.
    He uses delay as both part of the sparkly clean sauce and the soupy sauce.
    Also why he has his phaser after his dirt, to give it that 'zingy' razor sound instead of the softer tone if placed before. The clarity from each tone is amazing.
    If you listen, you can pick out every effected guitar track and zone in on it.
    He is a master of using modulation in perfect tasteful moderation.

    His talent, although superb in several areas, seems really to be in the studio production aspect.
    I think that's where it all starts and ends with him at the moment, and that wanting perfection in the tracks is why the live show seems as stiff as it does, because his cerebral home base is track perfection.
    He totally reminds me of Steely Dan but in his own way.
    As much solo time as he probably put into the production of that record, it's probably really tough for him to loosen up and let the band be more of an integral part of the sound.
    I think within a year or two he'll shake it out and find a clearer path for the live shows.
    I respect his band a lot for giving him the room to figure it out.
    I can't wait to hear what they come up with next.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015
  9. Fenderkid67

    Fenderkid67 Member

    Nov 24, 2009
    I can agree, the bass player ****ing kills it!

    I love this band! They've been good since the beggining.

    The Boss Ce-2 is important along with the vibratones.

    I think as far as them being stuff it's a lot to do with Adam being a perfectionist.

    The album sold a ton, which is why they are now signed to Atlantic!
  10. Exiled_On_Main_St

    Exiled_On_Main_St Member

    Feb 4, 2013
    Sometimes I find the reverb and delay on his voice makes it a little bit muddy in the mix. But all in all an amazing artist.

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