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My 4MS Pedals custom distortion (lots of knobs!)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Taylor Livingston, Jun 27, 2004.


  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I've actually had this for a few months now, but TB has just recently started working again on my computer, so I thought I'd make a post now.

    It's a custom distortion from 4MS Pedals. I'ts actually 2 in one box: the left is Noise Swash with all the mods, the right is Fuzz Jade with a clean blend mod. There are separate outs and ins for each, but I just run the signal through the fuzz and then the swash (the separate i/o was 4ms's idea, not mine).

    The Fuzz Jade is a really nice fuzz; it sounds great on bass with the clean blend - pretty traditional, can go from subtle grit to a kind of bluesy crunch.

    The Noise Swash is comepletely untraditional. I'm sorry to say that I haven't played a ton of distortions, so I can't compare it to anything. It's just really chaotic and weird sounding. The self-oscillation and LFO with variable speed can be used to make noise without even having an instrument plugged in. When one is, these generally tend to fade in as the input from the instrument decays, so you can strike a chord, and have it decay into some bizarre noise.

    When both are on, the Fuzz beefs up the overall sound, and the thing just wails.

    One thing I find a little worrisome is that there are, obviously, a lot of knobs, and therefore, a lot of options. This makes it really difficult to get something again after you've fiddled around with things. This, coupled with the fact that the knobs don't necessarily do the same thing all the time, and the fact that the LFO makes entirely different sounds each time you turn the unit off and on, makes this pedal really unpredictable. But I've come to accept this as part of its charm.
     
  2. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    Wow - awesome stuff - a long long time ago, when 4ms was called 3ms (before the c&d order by 3M), I had Dann Green build me a custom rack unit with a Noise Swash, Phaseur Fleur and Tremulus Lune all in one and separately controlled. It was fantastic for keyboards and sonic mayhem with guitar. Never tried it on bass, but I imagine it just as fun.

    Rock on!
     
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    It's about 7-1/2" by 7-1/2" by 2-1/2" deep. The 17 knobs, 5 flips and 2 stomps seemed overwhelming at first, but it's not too bad. There are some knobs I never touch. I'm not too knowledgable about electronics, so some of the stuff makes no sense to me (I have no idea what the pre- and post-clip switches do, but I do flip them on and off from time to time and they do change the sound). The noise gate rarely works the way you'd expect a gate to work. You can also adjust the LFO into working sort of like a theremin, at which point the knobs control the pitch and sound of the LFO, and pretty much stop doing whatever they're supposed to do. It's a strange box. But a lot of fun.

    Jammadave, that sounds really cool. I'd love a Phaseur and Tremulus (or a stereo Panneur). I can't imagine how ridiculous things would get with all that going on.
     
  4. mw

    mw

    Jul 24, 2000
    Cali
    jammadave- i bought that rack from you! i still have it!
    i have moved the phaseur fleur into my own custom pedal (i found a bunch of 3pdt stomp switches), and will be doing the same for the swash and tremulus as soon as i have time.

    phaser works great on bass btw. the noise swash is amazing for aural abuse, regardless of what instrument feeds it (using it with bass is just plain scary!). haven't tried the tremulus on bass- the tremulus needs some repair, so it hasn't gotten used recently

    conical johnson- that pedal looks great! i've been thinking doing something similar to that- housing my homemade big muff and the noise swash together in one pedal. kind of a on/off and a/b foot switch arrangement.
     
  5. jammadave

    jammadave Rudderless ship Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    LOL, what a small world - Man, is that one crappy paint job or what? Man, I think at the time he was just painting stuff with like food coloring or something, yeesh. But it sounded cool =0)

    Glad to hear it's worked out for ya, albeit "modularly."

    And conical - thats definitely a wicked cool pedal. ;)
     
  6. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    BASTARD!!! :p

    Alex

    ps. HOOOOOWWW MUCH???... :eyebrow:

     
  7. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    It ran me about $500. That seems like kind of a lot now that I write it - but it was totally worth it. I saved myself time and money by getting this - now I don't have to spend years looking for the "perfect" distortion. ;)