Get Yer Pedals Out: Starring The Cherry Wave

I couldn't quite tell you why, but for the longest time I've been somewhat moderately obsessed with pedals. Since I'm no guitarist I don't really have a valid reason for this, other than the fact that they both make pretty noises and are rather nice to look at. Much, really, like the folks who use them. I've decided to turn my inexplicable pedal fancy into Fuzzy Logic fodder, and I do hope you'll enjoy my foray into the ins and outs of pedal worship.

Listening to The Cherry Wave, it's not much of a stretch to imagine these gents have quite the pedal collection. Which of course makes them ideal subjects for this flight of pedal fancy. Not one but two of my new favorite Glaswegian shoegazers (Paul, guitar/vox, and Bill, bass), sat down to talk some saucy pedal talk, and they had quite a bit to say on the subject. Read on, fellow pedal lovers.  

Fuzzy Logic: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?
Bill: [intro to current lineup] My current pedalboard setup consists of a Boss TU-3 Tuner, a Zvex Octane 3, a TC Shaker Vibrato and a Tronographic Rusty Box, connected up in that order. This is a completely revamped setup that I've only started using this year, essentially because I want to try and replicate the recorded sound of my bass on our Blush EP live. When we recorded Blush the crux of my bass sound was my Rusty Box running into Paul's Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz.

Prior to the Blush
recording, I was using a much simpler setup that was only comprised of the Boss TU-3 Tuner and a Shin-ei Companion Fuzz FY-2 clone called The Unpleasant Companion by Fredric Effects. This setup was decent enough but I realised that not only did I want a sound similar to that of the EP, but I also wanted to play about with dynamics more live than previously, without messing about with volume knobs all the time.

I find I can get similar tones to those recorded on Blush by running the Octane 3 into the Rusty Box with the right EQ settings. Using the Rusty Box last in my pedal chain seems to be very beneficial live too as it allows me to keep my clean tone as loud as my fuzz tone which means less messing with amp volumes in between songs. Furthermore, the Rusty Box's boost switch has allowed me to ramp up the level of my bass for choruses and the like, which is great for making things sound a bit heavier. The TC Shaker vibrato is something that is even newer to my setup than the Rusty Box or Octane 3, I use it as a slight chorus effect on some of our less fuzz driven tunes and for some end of the world style feedback at the end of our set!

My favourite pedal that I use currently in my setup would have to be the Zvex Octane 3. It's a crazy (Univox) Super-Fuzz-esque fuzz that emits octave up sounds on certain settings, I usually dial those out but it has an insane amount of low end which is ideal for trying to be heard in a band with three fuzz-mongering guitarists.

Paul: I pretty much couldn't do anything I do without using the Eventide Space, it's a stupidly vast reverb with a ton of sounds based on 12 algorithms. I use the reverse reverb algorithm a lot and I use one called Mangledverb loads too. You take one of the algorithms as a starting point then there's a ton of tweakability to each one, then you save and name that tweaked algorithm as a preset that you can easily recall instantly when you want it. I have a particular preset I've created called 'Washhaze' that is based on the Mangledverb preset, which is a huge reverb with a fuzz after it, which creates a particularly massive sound as the fuzz is after the reverb as opposed to what you're supposed to do which is place fuzz before reverb. If fuzz is before, you get the sound of a fuzzy guitar in a reverberated space (a church for example) whereas if you place the fuzz after the reverb you get the sound of a church being distorted. It's a pretty awesome sound. It's all over our second EP.

I'm also pretty ridiculously obsessed with fuzz and right now I have 4 on my pedalboard, a Blackout Effectors Musket, which is a highly tweakable Russian Big Muff clone, a Blackart's Tonework's Pharaoh, which is a fuzz that holds low-end really well. I particularly like using the germanium diode clipping options on it. The other two are a ZVEX Fuzz Factory, which is a pretty famous pedal, but for anyone who doesn't know it's a Fuzz Face based circuit but with a few added options, like a voltage starve control. Great for glitchy, noisy tones, and last but definitely not least I have a Smallsound/Bigsound Fuck Overdrive, it's probably my second favourite pedal behind the Space, I never turn it off. It's technically an Overdrive, but it does great fuzz sounds and it has a momentary footswitch that makes your amp sound like the speaker's blown. Aside from those I have a tuner (Korg Pitchblack) and an EHX Freeze which 'freezes' whatever you played when you step on it. Great for washes of noise.

FL: Favorite chord?
Paul: I don't know any haha. There's a shape I like, and I use it a lot, but I've no idea what it is. It makes a pretty sound.

Bill: I'll go with G Major as my favourite chord, I write a lot of songs in G Major.

FL: Who's your guitarist icon?
Paul: I have to mention a few! Firstly and probably most obvious is Kevin Shields, the man is just a complete genius and his music and guitar playing is a constant source of inspiration. Gregg Ginn from Black Flag was the first guitarist I became obsessed with, you can tell it's him playing, he has 'his' sound, and that sound is just so, so good. Dylan Carlson from drone pioneers Earth is just an astoundingly inventive and natural musician, I could listen to him play for months on end and just get lost in his droning guitar sound. The Gibbons brothers in Bardo Pond are like my fuzz gods, they create such a huge wall of psychedelic, beautiful fuzz. Lastly I'd have to say Scott Cortez from Astrobrite and Lovesliescrushing, he's probably the biggest influence on my sound. He just creates such pretty sounds in amongst waves and waves of fuzz drones and noise.

Bill: I don't really have an icon as such but bassists like David Wm. Sims of The Jesus Lizard, Bob Weston of Shellac and Blacky of Voivod are probably my favourites. They all have similar bass sounds, I must have a type!

FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?
Paul: I'm on lots of gear forums and in particular I spend lots of time on, if folks on there think it's a good pedal, I tend to agree. I'm also a stickler for a pretty looking pedal, if someone has made something that I think looks sweet, they've probably made something I'll think sounds equally sweet. Fuzzhugger and Smallsound/Bigsound make some particularly astounding looking pieces of art, and yeah I spend a ton of time watching pedal videos online. A stupid amount of time actually haha.

Bill: Once I find out about a pedal that I'd like to try out, I usually search for demo videos of it on YouTube. This normally gives me a general idea of what the pedal sounds like, which is great. However, I am sick of hearing people demo pedals with the same riffs and blues solos all the time!

FL: What's your dream pedal?
Paul: I'd die of ecstatic dream fuzz death if I ever got my hands on a Smallsound/Bigsound Poly-Grace. It's a pretty astonishing fuzz/amp pedal. Probably best I just cut and paste what Brian from SS/BS says about it rather than have me trying to explain it's mind altering amazingness:

mystery fuzz and mini-amp.
The smallsound/bigsound Poly-Grace is a mystery fuzz pedal with highly interactive controls that can create a variety of damaged sounds. Easily achievable “tame” fuzz tones give way to unpredictable sonic behaivior with the flick of a switch or the twist of a knob: heavy psych bass fuzz tones, shoegaze textures, volume swells, octave jumping, weird gurgles and buzzsaw sustain…
For the technically-minded, the Poly-Grace is an interesting pedal; it contains a bypass-able transistor fuzz section, a unique IC fuzz section as the heart of the circuit and a push-pull output stage with selectable voltage – making it a mini-amplifier in itself that will power a speaker! Plug it into a 4 or 8 ohm speaker cab for amplification from speaking to shouting volume suitable for studio recording or just playing at home. The circuit reacts slightly differently whether being used as a speaker driver or as a pedal… so experiment!
The original idea behind the Poly-Grace was to build a small run of pedals which could be used by anyone – non-musicians alike. I looked in the direction of the super fun Cracklebox (designed by Michael Waisvisz and built by Steim) for inspiration and though the end result will have little value to the non-musician… this is the result of those explorations.
This is a very limited run of 20.

Bill: I'd quite like an original Univox Super-Fuzz!

[photo courtesy The Cherry Wave]


  1. The particular outlet replies a little in different ways no matter if being utilized as being a audio new driver or perhaps as being a pedal… and so research.The main idea behind the Poly-Grace was to develop a small run of pedals that may be used by anyone - non-musicians the same click here more related idea.


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