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Creativity Through Limitation

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, Jul 31, 2007.


  1. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Now I will never say to much gear is a bad thing but to much gear plugged in at the same time can be I was thinking back to when I had 17-19 pedals on a PT Pro and could pretty much make any sound I wanted but how I never made anything good IMHO of course and I find if I sit down with a flanger and a 2 second delay I can do much better things, this is nothing to do with tone loss or anything like that its just about having to many flavours that spoil the ice cream so to speak.

    So yeah I've got loads of pedals sat around that I don't gig with and I use them for recording and jamming and my band board stays a pretty much constant and I don't really use it at home as I don't NEED to be creative with the usage of effects I just try to cover as much ground as possible with the least amount of effects.

    Like I say it's just something I've been thinking about recently like how easy it is to have 5 delays a feedback looper a couple of E13 style fuzz pedals and create massive noise but trim it down try sitting there with your fav and best soundign dealy and a fuzz or modulation effect and making a huge soundscape I'm sure you will come up with something as good yet vastly different and most likely more musical.

    I think Tecx is a great example of this he use to have 3-4 dod pedals cranked in loops for feedback and things and this filter doing this and that on this etc etc and he now has quite a minimal pedalboard for him at least but the tones available to him and the music he create are better than ever and simply shocking when you see all he is working with.

    I guess alot of this stems from having more than enough pedals to have a second pedalboard but not wanting to do so as it will be a set order then I won't have the freedom to move effects around and mess with orders and just use 2 effects or plug in 5 or whatever. If I have 7 effects in front of me I use 7 effects if I have 2 effects infront of me I'll use 2 of them. Even though it is a total ballache to setup pedals at jams without a board

    So thoughts and opinions on this.
     
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I like to have all my toys available.
    It doesn't mean I will use them all. I rarely use more than 2-3 units at the same time.
    I know each of them in details and I know what I can expect to get.
    If I feel the need for a specific tone I can dial it in no time.
     
  3. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    One can be creative in many ways


    Another way is to do away with effects & traditional playing to open new techniques. I was inspired by Fred Frith. He uses very little effects, but very creative technique.

    Here is a song experiment I did using technique with no/little effects. It's called Crazy Kats and is kind of a jug band/ hill billy song.

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/songInfo.cfm?bandID=578947&songID=5614830
    The regular bass parts are my Tbird and the cat & jug sounds are my RD
     
  4. speak_onion

    speak_onion

    Jun 22, 2007
    Queens, NY
    I totally see what you mean. I think it has a lot to do with the context in which you're using effects. If you're at a noise jam, or really any jam where "anything goes" so to speak, you're likely to use all of the effects in front of you and use them a lot, eventually leading to overblown wankery if you're not careful. But in the context of a band, say, that's writing songs and rehearsing for regular gigs, I find that there's not that much time to get into that. When a song is developing and it needs something, it's nice to have it there ready to go. This is my experience, and it may or may not be applicable to anyone else's. I have 8 pedals on my board and a rack delay/looper, but I realize that 85% of the time, I'm using only my OD pedal (which is always on). I have a hard enough time keeping up with my guitarist and drummer already, so I only have time to use effects when they are needed, as much as I do love them!
     
  5. speak_onion

    speak_onion

    Jun 22, 2007
    Queens, NY
    You know, as I'm thinking about this more, I think this explains better than I ever could, why I can't get behind multi-effects.

    I mean, the convenience of a multi-effect is amazing, and I'll never be a "digital sucks" guy, and It's such a money-saver, but for some reason, I never wanted a multi-effect. I guess I see the guitar player in the band I'm in (he uses a Boss GT-3), and he rarely uses effects (other than searing distortion, that is) without me specifically directing him to do so and even then he seems overwhelmed by the whole thing. I think the whole task of going through a whole mess of models with more controls than necessary and layers upon layers of EQ, just sours the whole experience. It's easier to focus on what you want when you have a finite number of units that you know very well and you can combine in different ways to achieve a goal. Then you're not sitting there wondering what tool to use, you're using the tools that are familiar to you to start getting the tone you want.

    I never was able to articulate it before, but I think that's it. It's obviously a personal preference thing, though. And I can see contradictions, too. For instance, who here who touts pedals over multi-FX doesn't change their setup constantly and drool over new pedals? So maybe it's not all about getting to know what you have. Meh. I'm sure I'm still somehow right.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I haven't used an effects pedal on bass since the 1980s and I am absolutely sure my playing has been much more creative because of this "limitation" ! :)
     
  7. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    I've found that not having to think about which pedals I'm going to step on as much frees up my mind to concentrate on what I can do with just what I've got, which is usually a lot more than what you think you can when you're thinking you need different pedals for all kinds of different sounds. There's a lot of good pedals out there but the ones that I'm taking to the gig are the ones that are ME.
     
  8. It's a valid viewpoint, and it's true that some people do a lot of things, and great ones, with just a few effects, or no effects for that matter. But, as JazzAd said, I like having all my toys at hand; it's not that I use'em all the time in all my songs (some people think I do), sometimes I only have one on during a whole song (Note: the NS-2 and Compressor are always on, so they don't count); I turn'em all on only in the closing noise section(where I turn the NS-2 off :D ).
    Regarding creativity; some of my songs have started because I liked certain sound I got with one or more FX; so I think that it isn't that creativity is limited to more/less gear, creativity has no limits IMHO. Maybe it's just that too much can be overwhelming and/or some people just settle with the first result and don't want to explore a little more.

    EXPERIMENTATION IS POWER!!!!
     
  9. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    You're in the wrong forum again Bruce ;)
     
  10. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I agree with this. I often play with no effects at all, but there are times when an FX-fueled sound inspires a line, a lick, a way of phrasing, or a whole song. I find this to be especially true when using tempo-synced FX in electronic(a) contexts.

    I've boiled my essential FX setup down to 3 pedals: DigiTech BassSynthWah, Boss BF-2 Flanger, and SansAmp ParaDriver DI. These 3 have a certain synergy; I can get a wide range of octave, synth, filter, modulation, distortion, and EQ FX to both 1/4" and XLR outputs. They work well together through an amp, live PA or recording setup without the need for clean blend or compressor/limiter, and are easily powered with a Visual Sound One Spot adapter. All three pedals and necessary cables fit in my gig bag pocket with room to spare.

    That's not to say I don't use my other pedals (about 15). For some trippy techno gigs I'll plug 'em all in. It's a lot of fun, but I have to start worrying about tone suck, which ones go in the clean blend loop, checking all the cables when there's no sound, etc.

    I think Brian Eno is a perfect example of using limitations to enhance creativity and viewing pure sound as the basic unit of musical composition.
     
  11. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    When I started, I used to get every BOSS effect i could get my hands on.. I had dreams of a pedal board with nothing bot BOSS lovelyness from sea to shining sea..

    I used effects to make noise.. not to do anything musically, even WHILE playing.

    I've matured as a player, and a couple things happened.. I discovered EHX *L*, and I really think about what I want to do with a song before I start letting my feet do the walking.

    While Chorus and Reverb are almost always on, I'm really careful about what's on and what's not on. I rarely run more than one or 2 effects on top of those, and only if its doing something in the music.
     
  12. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Tayste, I like the paragraphs but the lack of punctuation killed me.
     
  13. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Who let the DBers out of the dungeon again?
     
  14. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    sorry... I wanted to see what would happen if I posted a new thread in the DB section... I didn't know...
     
  15. I usually write and practice with no effects. It makes me concentrate on technique, timing, structure etc. with effects I can drift into noise and fooling around to no end.
    What I do really love though is when you plug a new untried pedal in for the first time and it inspires a new song.

    Ok, B movies, commercials and all round bad TV some times do that too.

    I never have any one pedal on all the time. I like each song to have it’s own texture and tone (color). Using one all the time starts to make every thing feel exactly the same.

    I have a Digitech BP200 I bought because it has a Whammy, tuner, drum machine and all sorts of modeling. I now pretty much just use it as a head phone amp and DI for putting those late night ideas on tape. The modeling gives me an idea what it will sound like through my amp. It is much better than looking at 2 or 3 lines of scribbled lyrics the next day and trying to figure out what I was thinking or waking every body up.



    MM
     
  16. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Can't help it I'm only 11
     
  17. SpankyPants

    SpankyPants That's Mr. SpankyPants to you.

    Aug 24, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    Oooh! A new pre-pubescent to make fun of!

    Bet your dad buys all your gear. Fanboi.
     
  18. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I have no dad can I borrow your mum to make up for it?
     
  19. SpankyPants

    SpankyPants That's Mr. SpankyPants to you.

    Aug 24, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I was born without a mom, so I can't help ya there. I'll trade ya my older brother, though. He's kinda smelly, but he's got a good heart. Maybe I'll throw in his apartment, too.
     
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I wasn't in any forum - I hit the 'New Posts' button and saw a title about Creativity through Limitation, which interests me as a concept..and replied!

    I played some funky bass guitar at a Jazz Club, last Friday! :p
     

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