When I spoke with music writer, guitar teacher and session guitarist Natalie Wilson about doing a guest blog, I asked her to write about the strangest guitar modifications she’d run across. What she came up with was amazing; it always pays to ask an expert. So please, if you like it, leave Natalie a note in the comments.
If you like abstract music, you’re probably looking for ways to create the strangest guitar modifications out there. You’ve also probably realized that it could be difficult to find unique modifications that haven’t already been played countless times by other musicians. This can be discouraging, but thanks to technology, there are always new devices coming out that you can use to create the music that’s more bizarre than you could have ever imagined.
Let’s take a look at some of the strangest guitar modifications I’ve ever come across:
The Red Panda Raster Pedal
This pedal will create eerie, abstract, and just plain weird sounds through delay and pitch-shifting settings. Not only will this pedal delay your audio like other delay pedals, but you can also adjust the settings to alter your pitch and essentially remove the tonality from your music. Additionally, this pedal has a Reverse Delay mode, which will play your audio back to you in reverse. For example, if you strum a chord, the weakest part of your chord will be played back first, and then the audio will progressively get stronger until you reach the initial strum. This will create a really interesting clipped sound.
You can hear the effects of this pedal by following this link.
The Red Panda Particle
This pedal is a granular delay pedal, meaning the device will take your audio signal, cut it into small pieces, and then delay those pieces by different amounts of time depending on your setting. This pedal has a really blizzard setting called Freeze Mode. In this mode, the pedal will recycle the delay input instead of continuing to take in the live input. When your input drops below your threshold, your pedal will begin to read audio signals from your delay buffer. This will create a stutter effect which sounds really bizarre when you pair it with the pitch-shift setting. Your chop knob on your Particle pedal will set the threshold of when the pedal will start repeating itself rather than taking in new audio.
If you want to hear this setting in action, follow this link for a demo video.
Death by Audio Octave Clang
This is another pedal that will give you the ability to create drone and fuzz sounds, making it a great fit for you if you’re interested in taking a traditional octave pedal to the next level. Octave pedals do what their name implies: they take your audio signal and produce octave accompaniment. This pedal will allow you to jump from effects that still maintain harmonic texture, all the way to a chaotic fuzz effect that dominates the natural tones of your instrument. The word “clang” should be taken literally since this pedal will create a lot of metallic and chaotic sound.
If you think this pedal might be what you’re looking for, give it a listen by following this link.
Roland Funny Cat
It’s kind of a given that a pedal called “Funny Cat” is going to have a bizarre sound. This is a vintage pedal from the 1970s and trust me, this pedal screams 1970s. This is a great pedal if you’re searching for the strangest guitar modifications with a vintage twist. The Funny Cat is a harmonic mover and a soft distortion tool that resembles a funky meowing cat (hence the name). The soft distortion setting will give you a regular distortion sound, but don’t be discouraged. Once you turn on the Harmonic Mover setting, you’ll hear what I’m talking about.
If you’d like to hear a demo of this pedal, follow this link.
Hopefully this article gave you some ideas about how to create the strangest guitar modifications possible. These devices will get you started, but remember: the strangest effects are the ones we haven’t even heard yet. So keep on experimenting and maybe you’ll be the next trendsetter in the world of obscure music.
Natalie Wilson works as a professional musician, session guitarist, and guitar teacher. You can read more at her blog.