Design And Guitar Pedals

It's a lot of fun when something you're just playing with ends up being an integral part of another project. And you know what videos sometimes need? Magic sauce! Enter the BigSky from Strymon:

Backstory – two years ago, my wife and I got some money for our wedding, and decided to let each of us have $500 to spend on something extravagant that we would typically avoid. For her it was an expensive purse. For me it was an expensive reverb pedal :)

Reverb is short for reverberation and refers to the bouncing around of a sound in a space. And reverb pedals add that space to the sound. It can be small or very large. Imagine a piano in a small practice room vs a giant church. That difference is the amount of reverberation.

Now there are a million ways of doing this, including many free audio plugins. But what makes this particular thing by Strymon special is it sounds painterly. Besides the traditional Room and Hall spaces, it includes some magical sounding settings named things like Swell, Bloom, and Shimmer. 

Those are the very settings I used on a Rhodes piano for this video:

How perfect! This surreal video was for a friend's Kickstarter, and the human star of it played the Rhodes on the set between takes. I ran it through the BigSky while we were shooting and recorded the room. The resulting audio is two layers of Hannah playing with blooms and shimmers all over!

If you're curious about the project, you can read more about it here.

Here the meat of this post – I want to encourage anyone reading this to think about the toys they may be playing with, or their "side" ideas, and consider whether it is possible to apply them in a professional project. If something has caught your whimsy, it may very well inform something else if you let the line between work and play get blurry.

I'll end this with another use of the BigSky, this time for my own product, which is a bent version of the zappy 80s keychain. You can read the story of Patient Alpha here. It makes all sorts of fun abrasive laser noises, but with this pedal it sounds like monks.  Oooohhhoo aahhhAAHHHH!

If you're into what you're seeing, I send out stories like this via email occasionally, feel free to sign up below! (no spam)