Moved: On being an ambient guitarist. Effects related!


I got together with three old friends yesterday. Two of them were bandmates when we did some work with this female vocalist, well, nevermind.

So my friend gets a hold of me and tells me that he had met this drummer named Nicholai. I say, "hey, I played with a Prog drummer named Nicholai, back in '98!". Well, this is the same guy. Really passionate drummer and percussionist. The band feels really good and there are good vibes floating all about!

Well, my quandry.........
This band is mostly about space and atmosphere. There is plenty of room for me to be satisfied as a traditional guitarist playing non-tradtional music.
The amplification part of my rig is quite satisfactory and I am really happy with the tones that I am getting.

Here is the path:
Guitar~Volume pedal [I think I am going to get a Goodrich]~Board with tradtional toneshapers and a couple of fuzzes [I am going to be on the hunt for a sweet sounding, violin'y type-ishy pedal that does not make me "sound like every other violin'y lead player out there" for lead tones. Suggestions?]~Tophat Club Royale with BlueDogs~Line out via 50 watt Weber Mass~EH 16 Second Digital Delay~TC Electronics D2~Savage Blitz 50 head~Bogner 1-12 Shiva cab. The tone is really, really sweet and I am really happy with that. I use the Savage side mostly for effects.
I have one rack space that I was planning on filling with a Reverb unit.
I do not use the TC delay anywhere near it's capabilities, if i did try, I would need to get a Midi foot controller for the patches. Trouble is, I generally keep it on one setting all the time for my delay. I use the EH for looping tones/sound shapes and the like.
Should I sell the D2 and keep 2 available rack spaces for something? What? Should I keep the D2 and utilize the patches more, then get something else to cover my Reverb/Delay desires? Trouble seems, I don't know what I could do with the other patches of the D2, methinks I like to keep things more simple in the way I can use my Ibanez AD100 delay. So if I am going to be this big soundscape supastar, what would you think are the most effective units that I could have in 1 or 2 rackspaces, at least to get me started, and keep within the current "guitar-pedalboard-dry amp-effects-wet'ish amp" setup? Because, really, I have no idea what I am doing! But, so far, my bandmates liked what I did with the songs that the bass player/leader wrote, we shall see. My intention is to fill the air with very toneful odd sounds, clicks, hiccups, swooshes and warbles, all in the right key of course!

Thanks for any help! M.E.



Multi-efx units give you a lot of options but sound too processed for ambient type music (my opinion)

All you need is a few good stompboxes with some simple tweakability

ambience = zvex pedals

zvex probe pedals combined with a long delay give the most spacious effects I've ever heard.

The wah probe can be coaxed into flanger and chorus terrirory. The tremolo probe gives huge volume swells along with slow organic tremolo. The johnny octave gives a cool octave up and a trippy ring modulation type effect... The loop junky can take you into outer space if you want to mess with layering multiple guitar parts. THe oohwah2 is just plain bad ass

check out the videos at the zvex website for some ideas, if you haven't already seen them


The D2 is a pretty powerful delay unit from what I've heard. But I am sure it suffers from the big downside of glitchy/ long patch changes. Does it have any kind of external control- CV pedals or footswitches? That might make it more useable with out buying a midi controller.

Being able to tap in rhythm patterns and control the feedback and level of the delays will be really useful live I bet- if there isn't a CV pedal into the D2 you would be better of buying a midi footcontroller to really utilize it's power. Between the D2 for clean washes and the EH for lofi delays, you'll have a ton of options.

For non-delay options you might try something like a rocktron xpression for stutter delays and pitch shifting things that you kick on and off- again you'll need a footcontroller to access that in the xpression- I'm waiting on an xpression for that right now. A warning though, the rocktron does have very limited reverb settings- I'm not expecting much.

I'm curious- is your 2nd amp purely wet, and you use the 16 second as a delay and looper? wet delays and loops coming through the wet amp- but then do you set the D2 to have the dry sound as well? It is complicated having more than 1 unit in a wet sound because they can't both be set to be wet only. I am thinking you might use the d2 for delays for the loop more than anything else.


Thanks very much for the replies!

So I have a bit of dry, line level, Tophat coming through the delay unit into the Savage. I have put the EH in front of the D2 in order to take advantage of the "tail-off" when I click off the EH. So far, so good. I use the EH in a very short delay setting that so I can build these sonic washes, click off the record, and let them loop.

I am selling the Savage in order to attain a more useful amp in a small setting. I realize that I am not always going to be able to lug aound 2 amps to gigs. I am going to be getting a channel switcher with a loop.

I am hoping that I will be getting an Orange AD or an Elmwood Modena in the near future, It will be something of that quality. Would I still be best off getting a separate amp for my effects? I dunno..... I need versatility and a high quality channel switcher may just be the ticket. Basically, I would love to be able to have 2 very powerful rack mount units for this sonic mayem, I just do not know what. Thanks again. M.E.


I have found that most "odd sounds" come from playing dynamics - muting, plucking, brushing, popping, etc. and strange collisions with fx combinations.

Swooshes and warbles - modulation city. Work modulation into your delay lines. Add a phaser (ideally one with positive and negative resonance) and something that throbs (vibrato, univibe, tremolo). Look for fx with LFO's that go really slooooooowwww.

Then there's filters ...

Stuff to look at -

Vermona PH16 dual LFO analog phaser
Electrix Filter Factory, Mo Fx, Repeater - if they ever release the new versions.
Sherman Filterbank 2
anything by Moog


Originally posted by michael.e
I am selling the Savage in order to attain a more useful amp in a small setting. I realize that I am not always going to be able to lug aound 2 amps to gigs. I am going to be getting a channel switcher with a loop.

Would I still be best off getting a separate amp for my effects? I dunno.....

Well- if you are planning on doing a lot of ambient stuff, you will be best off with a wet'dry rig to maintain clarity- especially if you are going to use a lot of distortion/ fuzz. But the 2nd amp can be something really simple, like a small fender deluxe style amp, or a small powered monitor.

Rack units are only useful if you can control them- look at what you are doing with your D2- you could use a Boss DD3 or something to do the same thing. So a good midi footpedal is neccessary if you go that route. (The Rcoktron midimate seems to be a good choice for that- better than the behringer)

BUT most rack units will glitch when you change programs- that is why the rocktron units are cool, because they change presets really smoothly. Anything else will be best controlled by using midi CC's on a few programs you change between songs.


personally, i think you should keep the D2 and get a small midi footcontroller to select patches and also use a latching pedal to open and close the input. a continuous controller pedal can be used to control the feedback level and another can be used to control the level. these can be connected to your midi footswitch so you can control these parameters via midi

it's well worth experimenting with the D2, it's a great unit imo

use a 10 second delay on 60% feedback and max level for soundscaping

use one of the ping pong settings on max feedback for pads (swell in a few notes)

loads of crunchy lo-fi stuff is available using the filters

gorgeous TC 2290 type stuff is available using the chorus

being able to open and close the input with a latching pedal is great, cos you can set up stuff and then play over the top

if you wanna go ambient, i think it's a great tool that you should definitely keep...i use two!

oh, and patch changes are fast and non-glitchy

fill that other space with a PCM80, like splatt suggested



Gentle Posters,

Thanks very much for the replies and advice! It has helped me to gain some direction here. I am going to be replacing my main amp. I am selling/trading my Blitz 50 and picking up a channel switcher of some sort. I find that I want/need a variety of tonal options, not just clean and dirty of the same tone.
I am also going to be picking up an amp dedicated just to the wet side of the rig. I have a line on a Groove Tubes Soul-O-150 for under $650.00. I think I am insured of plenty of headroom there. I was thinking of getting a full range amp such as a Californy Blonde, but, I dunno... when I do a full range setup, I love the clarity, but, I just dont like the way my in between/overdriven tones are replicated. Is there any other way to get around this?

Hey DT, I am thinking of picking up a cab with a pair of Blues in it [Edit-Just picked up the Red Avatar Premier W/Blues in the Emporium]. On using an attenuator with your Deliverance, do you find that you can get the same kind of dynamic response that you would get if you were to run the amp flat out [un-attenuated]? Or, have you even needed to try? I love what Blues do with overdriven tones. That said, I am not into the way that amps typically overdrive anyway, well, at least most of them. Moreover, I LOVE what Blues do with subtle, clean-ish tones, as I play there mostly. I tend to like using a cleanish tone that I can morph into this screaming, sonic, goo-ey mess type thingy......
Well, thanks again for the replies. M.E.

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