So the question you may be asking (and that I ask myself) is: why am I putting this much time into an effects website? I am a bit of a gear junkie; I have more effects pedals than anyone I know (internet not withstanding) and I gig with a more elaborate pedalboard than anyone in town (as far as I know). Though I may not be an "expert"as I don't have an electrical engineering degree, and I haven't been playing since the mid 1960's, I know and love effects: I use them rather than collect them, and am always questing to improve and develop my sounds and discover new ones. Similarly, I am unlike a lot of effects pedal coinsures, in that I am not searching for the perfect blues tone, and have no wish to emulate any 60's or 70's blues-rock gods.
HistoryI've been playing bass since I was fifteen years old, and upon starting with the instrument, my father lent me his Yamaha digital multi-effects unit so I could practice the instrument with headphones... Late 80's digital is nothing to jump up and down about, but I would start surfing presets when I got bored with practicing. I knew very little about effects, and would continue to stumble around in the dark with them for years to come.
Eventually, I came to purchase a 4-track tape recorder, and, because I played a bass, was forced to come up with a method where I wasn't laying channel after channel of the same bass guitar sound. I started finding creative ways to apply my then-limited effects (at first, a Digitech Whammy and a cheap Zoom multi-effects box) to create dense soundscapes that often didn't sound like a bass at all, and this led me to form Negative Entropy Squared. Once that project was underway, the desire to make sounds stretch further took over, and I began to widen my sonic palette.
As someone who grew up pre-internet, I had spent a lot of time looking over Musician's Friend catalogs... I distinctly remember thumbing through one, a few years back, and deciding there were no more pedals to buy-- I had a phaser, a delay, a chorus, etc. What more was there? Then I read that Bela Fleck and Victor Wooten were using something called MoogerFoogers. What the hell was a MoogerFooger? And what does it do?
The Moog stuff was the jumping off point, a realization that there was more in the world than the Boss and DOD stompboxes in the Musician's Friend ads. All of the sudden, the gloves were off: people were making effects that could do anything. If the boutique explosion has mushroomed into every yahoo with a soldering iron making a clean boost and a Tubescreamer clone, it was introduced to me by way of lunatic creations of Lovetone, Frostwave, Bob Moog, 3MS, and Zachary Vex. It seemed to me that the gloves had come off, and anything was possible.