Pedal for horn section sounds... (anything new?)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by ruger9, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    I know this is asked periodically, and I know the only real answer people seem to have is that fuzz pedal that sounds like a trombone (I can't think of it's name now). But the recent thread on the new Boss SY-1 had me thinking again "has anyone made a pedal to get simply horn section sounds out of"?

    Like, for playing Stevie Wonder horn stabs in "I wish", or the little melodic motif in "Soul Man". Nothing complicated, just a simple 3-piece horn section would be cool.

    So far, the only pedal that MIGHT come close (and I can't find a decent demo of the "brass" setting on it yet), it EHX's Mel9. So I might try that to see if it get close enough.

    But is there anything else, beyond an actual guitar synth? What do you guys do for horn sounds like I describe?
     
  2. FLYING V 83

    FLYING V 83 Gibson Geezer Silver Supporting Member

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    I use the cello setting on my Mel9 with a TS type drive after it to sustain the notes. Attack & Sustain knobs at zero, Dry on full, Mix halfway.
    I like the sound better than the brass setting.
     
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  3. Flogger59

    Flogger59 Member

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    One thing the old Roland GR300 was good for was brass stabs. Tune one oscillator up a fifth, leave the switch unlatched, hit the switch right after playing the cord. Touch the unlatched vibrato plate for the sustain. Quite convincing.
     
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  4. Vhailor

    Vhailor Supporting Member

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    I've heard the Mel9 demos and I thought that they sounded pretty good. But to me, Mellotron sounds are simply too distinctive, too distinctively Mellotron, for me to have even considered buying a Mel9.

    Basic Audio's Zippy Fuzz is meant to emulate a saxophone: it's an outstanding fuzz, but how close its sound resembles a saxophone is, uh, open to question (or not).

    If you want to play actual horn section samples, and sound authentic, then, as you seem to realize, you need a Roland GR-xx. The latest is the GR-55, but there's also the GR-33, the GR-30, and others. The obvious drawback for most people is that they require a Roland GK-2, -2a, or -3 hexaphonic pickup installed on your guitar.

    Depending of course on your financial situation this is not an inexpensive solution. But if you want to sound like real horns it's certainly the best-sounding solution out of the few solutions available.
     
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  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    Yes, I don't need horns often enough to by an actual synth... we aren't a soul band, we just play a few Stevie Wonder covers and a few other oddballs that have horns stabs that would be cool to duplicate. I was looking at the Mel9 as being "good enough" in this instance.
     
  6. jlinde

    jlinde Member

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    EH Satisfaction Fuzz neck pickup tone rolled of.
     
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  7. ruger9

    ruger9 Supporting Member

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    Fuzz doesn't sound like a horn section. I'm not looking to sound like a SINGLE horn, I'm looking for something to cop a 3-piece horn section with.

     
  8. Sam Xavier

    Sam Xavier Member

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    Tuba Screamer?

    I'll get me coat.
     
  9. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I guess you could use a harmonizer type pedal to get the 3 voices, then run it thru a fuzz to get the sustain or use an "attack/sustain" pedal like the Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone Gold. That said, I wonder if the SY-1 has a "horn" mode, because, with the polyphonic tracking, the only thing that would get you close to that level of compatibility would be a GK-2/3 enabled guitar.
     
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  10. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

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    Why not? ... since a wah was supposed to sound like a cornet with a hand-activated rubber toilet plunger....
     
  11. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  12. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

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    Brass like a cornet or trumpet have a moderate first and second harmonic, then huge harmonic contributions in the upper range... much of that energy gets reflected (conducted) back from the brass bell which poses a much lower impedance to the very high freqs, and their beat-freqs set up the resonances we associates with 'that sound'.
    Since trumpets are a closed-end resonator (like other wind instruments) they tend to have a strong representation in odd harmonics.

    One of my favorite reference sites for audio-freq spectrum analysis of various instruments seems to have vanished. (some U somewhere... I can't remember the name and I never made a perma-link) I am bummed because it was a great reference.
    Sorry I don't have more info.
    I'd look for a circuit topology that can generate lots of 3rd, 5th, 7th order harmonics, and have a very flexible mid/upper EQ section... maybe a variable Q on those filters.
    Getting the attack aspect of a trumpet note may be tricky... it CAN be a 'sputtery' thing of variable amplitude in the lower range, and is still present in the upper. might need a expression pedal to control that, as the cornet player will alter the sputter throughout a typical passage, and ex=specially for emphasis.
     
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  13. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Odd order harmonics with strong representation from the higher numbered ones? Sounds like a square wave fuzz! Which I guess makes sense since Trombetta advertises his fuzzes as sounding like horns.
     
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  14. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

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    I guess it's more complicated than I remembered.
    This article here gets into the different harmonic content depending the loudness of the notes being played... it appears to have a lot to do with the lip aperture and it's opening/closing... louder equals a more complete closure between vibrational cycles, and that yields more high harmonics = a 'harsher' sound. (Section "Playing Softly and Loudly".)
    So, I guess a brass emulation pedal should have a variable harmonic content on the output depending on incoming signal. (not just the attack, but the sustain of the individual note.)


    I'm listening to Miles Davis Miles In The Sky right now, and there's a significant dynamic range being shown.
    The Attack's BRRRaT can be pretty aggressive... much more than just about any guitar effect I've heard.
    That would have to be interpreted by some kind of attack-sensing comparator: if it sees an attack of X-amount over a set level, then open the BRRRat-gates and let some lip sputter into the signal. Maybe a momentary stompswitch for those emphasis-notes where the BRRRRaT doesn't seem to stop?

    Since the OP wanted to emulate a brass section, this kind of on the fly note-shaping may not be AS necessary, but you know folks are going to want to go all Dizzy Gillespie on this thing.
     
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  15. Auditory Driving

    Auditory Driving Member

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    Now, that was epic!
     
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  16. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

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    btw, I didn't even get into the assymetric nature of the brass waveform
    Here are some simple realtime (not spectrally dissected/FFT'd) waveforms
    (a) Glockenspiel
    (b) soft Piano
    (c) loud Piano
    (d) Trumpet
    [​IMG]

    This is one of the cases where you can REALLY see the harmonic content on that elevated 'flat-line' portion of waveform D. Kinda like a inverted heartbeat (classis QRS waveform we see on TV a lot... Lead 2 or 5, I think) with the T-waves leading the QRS.... that's messed up... but I digress.
    Also, there's sharper fall-time of the Trumpet waveform compared to the soft piano implying higher harmonic content right there.

    Sadly the FFT stuff averages the harmonic content over time (usually) and it doesn't give one the appreciation for the instantaneous content at any specific point in a single waveform/period. You gotta think the harmonic content is different during that 'flat space'. I realize our ears are CRUMMY at picking out static phase relationships, but the change in harmonics during the various portions of the waveform has got to be a part of what we hear.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
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  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    It's interesting seeing the pictures! If you've ever played with the WMD Geiger Counter, you know that the less symmetrical and the more "flat spots" or crossings of the 0 line in a single wave, the more fuzzy and less tonal the note sounds. So, yeah, makes total sense that a trumpet would have a large component of higher order, weird harmonics. Explains in part, why they're easier to model with FM synthesis than a piano.
     
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  18. thomas4th

    thomas4th Member

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    Might be worth looking at demos of the new Boss SY-1 and seeing if there are any sounds in it that would work for you - faking horn sections with synths used to be fairly common before sample memory became cheap.
     
  19. Tonefree

    Tonefree Silver Supporting Member

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    Paul Trombetta mini bone? :dunno
     
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  20. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Trumpets and Tants Silver Supporting Member

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    Short answer? No. Other than GR synth stuff. Mel9 tracks like a melotron , sounds sh!tty to me and only a few of the settings seemed to work beyond a 2 string, 3 fret section ime. Seriously disappointing pedal for me.

    The SY will do a baaaaaad Casio impersonation of a horn section. So if accuracy isn't a high priority; I'd say I'd go for it above all else.
     
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