Never Meet Your Heroes, OR:

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by andvari7, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Why I, The Most Venerable andvari7, No Longer GAS For A Chicago Iron Parachute Wah.

    INTRO: I love the City of Chicago. If it weren't for the 12,000% sales tax, the recently-increased income taxes of both the city and the State of Illinois, or the fact that there are absolutely no hills of which to speak anywhere remotely close to it, I'd live there. But, I do enjoy going down to the city, and this weekend was no exception. The reason for the season was, as it typically happens to be, a concert. More specifically, I went to see Slim Cessna's Auto Club (Google them; they're worth it). But, I also had some proper work to do - reconnoiter the loading docks of several downtown facilities, and determine a way to get a 28' box truck onto Lower Wacker. Having accomplished my goals early, I proceeded down to N. Lincoln (admittedly, a bit of a drive, but I'm not going to bog you down with unnecessary details if I don't have to), and to Rock N' Roll Vintage. I went here, in the hopes of being able to try out the Chicago Iron Parachute Wah, a painstaking reproduction of the old Tycobrahe Parapedal. As other Chicago guitar shops failed to have them, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did, and was even more so when the shop attendants actually let me test it.

    TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS: And test it I did, using, initially, a 1974 Fender Strat, through some small Ampeg guitar amp. When I switched to bass, I went with a Steinberger XM-2, through a TC Electronic bass amp, although I'm not sure which.

    Now, here's the part where I should be careful with what I type, as I'm betting Kurt over at Chicago Iron is watching my every move.

    That said, I'll start with the actual pedal hardware. It's big - longer than any Morley I've ever used, and I've used a few of them - and it was built very well. I'd have no qualms stepping on one, despite my 250 lb. mass, my tendency to work the effects harder than absolutely necessary (except for the Tech 21 VT Bass, because I treat that like it's made of glass), and my general disregard for manufacturer's instructions on such matters. The switch feels sturdy, and operates like most other switches (except for, again, the Tech 21 VT Bass), in that there's a clicking, and a slight bit of resistance from it.

    I now bring up the issue of treadle sweep. All expression pedal-based effects, of which wah pedals are the most famous example, need to have the right amount of sweep for their assigned task. Chicago Iron claims that their pedal has the longest throw of any wah pedal ever made; we know this to be untrue - that would be either the old Colorsound wah, or the original Tel-Ray Morleys, of which there was an example at Rock N' Roll Vintage on Friday - but, all the same, it was much longer than a standard CryBaby-derived wah (which is most of them). Unfortunately, the rest of my comments aren't going to be as flattering, so it was nice knowing you here at TalkBass, and I am proud to have been a part of it lo these five years. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, the throw. I was underwhelmed by it. It should have been longer in the heel end, like the website says it is. I didn't get that distinct volume drop. But, I'll save that for the sound part...

    ...Which begins now. An inductor-less wah sounds like it would mean something radically different from the norm. But it just wasn't. I felt that it sounded a bit like the Fulltone Clyde Deluxe, in Wacked mode, with the frequency range expanded a bit on both ends. As for that volume drop, I quote the company's website (and this is taken directly from the website; I admit it, so DON'T ACCUSE ME OF PLAGIARISM, KURT): "At the end of the heel stroke, the pedal creates a loss in volume and brightness that has to be played to believe." It could have been me, or it could have been that particular unit, but I didn't notice a distinct loss in volume. Brightness, yes. Wah pedals with lengthy travels will do that. I kind of liked that, really. Before I conclude, I will say that I don't dislike the sound at all. It's not an unpleasant sound, this Parachute. But, there is something else that must be said about it: An effect has to do more than sound pleasant; it needs to move my heart a certain way, at a certain time, and for the right reasons. And, regrettably, this doesn't do it for me.

    CONCLUSION: The moral of the story is, as always: Never meet your heroes. Your memories will always be better.

    WILL THEY? I suspect that, had I purchased a Parachute when I bought my Clyde Deluxe, my opinion would be different. And, there's more to this story than just the Parachute. However, space constraints force me to save that until the next post.
  2. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    SECOND POST: As I said, there are other factors, if not inaccuracies, in the "never meet your heroes" mantra. After leaving Rock N' Roll Vintage, which, if I forgot to mention, was a cool store (a bit pricey, but it's all vintage gear, so that's to be expected), I went to the Chicago Music Exchange, further south on Lincoln. The shop with the couches, four Fender Starcasters, and an EHX Stereo Polyphase. Well, take away the couches, and that describes this most recent visit. Yup, I got to try a Fender Starcaster, which throws a wrench in the mantra. For those who haven't had the chance to do so, I will describe playing a Fender Starcaster. It's as if Fender hired God to make a guitar. It plays well with Orange, Fender, and Marshall amps (I can say from experience; I'm sure others work, too), and the EHX Stereo Polyphase is a natural fit. I don't know how I can ever afford a Starcaster, but I sure know why I want one.

    A NEW THEORY ABOUT THE PARACHUTE: "Jeez," you're probably asking yourself. "Will this man ever stop typing paragraphs that may not make sense?" No. I have a new idea about that Parachute. I've already explained that, while a technically brilliant pedal, it doesn't win my heart. But, that doesn't mean anything. At least, not in the sense of cool.

    WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COOL, MAN? So, I propose an effects pedal "Cool Wall." Yes, I did bite this from "Top Gear," but it applies here, too. In the "Seriously Uncool" section, we have every signature effect (things like the EVH Phase 90, the KFK Q-Zone, and so on), all Boss pedals, except for the OC-2, and every pedal I own. In the "Uncool" section, there are CryBabys, Fulltone products, and the Digitech Bass Whammy. In the "Cool" section, the Mu-Tron III, Devi Ever's range, and the Boss OC-2. Finally, the "Sub-Zero" section of the wall houses the Parachute, the Roland Space Echo, and the Moog MF-102 ring modulator. Until I buy one, which ruins its reputation, and it goes into "Seriously Uncool." So, while not my favorite wah, it is frozen cool, by virtue of the fact that nobody owns one, except for one guy, who just happened to have INVENTED HEAVY METAL (not the phrase, though; that was John Kay). That is all.

    As for the Polyphase, well, all I can ask is: Does anybody want to trade their Stereo Polyphase for my Morley Black Gold wah?
  3. This has to be one of the most epic posts the Effects subforum has ever seen.
  4. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I don't know about epic, but it was hella long.
  5. Indeed; perhaps I should have used the descriptor "verbose" in its stead.

    Either way, I was wondering when he was going to get around to explaining the thread title.
  6. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    Actually, "Gambling With Effects (Literally), OR:" was a lot longer, as was my prose dedicated to the Polychorus, which I am unable to name, and refuse to acknowledge by its altered title. It's become somewhat of a habit for me to write long, confusing threads about a pedal, and take hours (literally, in this case; I did some grilling, which takes priority over everything else in my life) to get to the point. But, sorry for the, uh, long-winded nature of my thread. I promise to do it again.
  7. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I like a man who knows what side his toast is buttered on. Do what you do baby.
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    This is one of the only TB threads I've ever tried to start reading and then gave up on :D Let me get some caffeine and try again....
  9. While there are probably a lot of people out there who would be quite content never to read another letter about Chicago Iron, it is an actuarial certainty that Chicago Iron will turn positions of leadership into positions of complacency by the next full moon. Some background is in order: Its lies come in many forms. Some of its lies are in the form of utterances. Others are in the form of goals. Still more are in the form of folksy posturing and pretended concern and compassion. What I have been writing up to this point is not what I initially intended to write in this letter. Instead, I decided it would be far more productive to tell you that once you understand Chicago Iron's grievances, you have a responsibility to do something about them. To know, to understand, and not to act, is an egregious sin of omission. It is the sin of silence. It is the sin of letting Chicago Iron perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

    Do you understand the implications of what I have been telling you? Are you awake? Then you probably realize that I want to see all of us working together to take up the mantle and challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. Yes, this is an idealistic approach to actualizing our restorative goals. Nevertheless, you should realize that if Chicago Iron can overawe and befuddle a sufficient number of prominent individuals then it will become virtually impossible for anyone to empower the oppressed to control their own lives.

    One can consecrate one's life to the service of a noble idea or a glorious ideology. Chicago Iron, however, is more likely to confuse, disorient, and disunify. Because we continue to share a common, albeit abused, atmospheric envelope, if five years ago I had described an organization like Chicago Iron to you and told you that in five years it'd demonstrate an outright hostility to law enforcement, you'd have thought me obtuse. You'd have laughed at me and told me it couldn't happen. So it is useful now to note that, first, it has happened and, second, to try to understand how it happened and how griping about Chicago Iron will not make it stop trying to cause this country to flounder on the shoals of self-interest, corruption, and chaos. But even if it did, it would just find some other way to grasp at straws, trying to find increasingly nugatory ways to rip off everyone and his brother. So, Chicago Iron, maybe the problem is not with incontinent, ill-bred pickpockets, but with you. Chicago Iron swears that we ought to worship dim-witted, vindictive Neanderthals as folk heroes. Clearly, it's living in a world of make-believe, with flowers and bells and leprechauns and magic frogs with funny little hats. Back in the real world, if you've read this far then you probably either agree with me or are on the way to agreeing with me. I have just enough stomach left to address one last instance of Chicago Iron's vindictive imbecility: Chicago Iron sincerely believes that the purpose of life is self-gratification.
    ahh, good ol' random complaint generator :p
  10. You have just won me to your side, regardless of whether or not your post has any truthful merit. Viva la Resistance de Chicago Iron!
  11. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger

    Sep 22, 2005
    I got this far before realizing it was the Random Complaint Generator.
    I always look forward to these. :)
  12. :scowl:

    Councilmember Nad athius Findle the IV will almost certainly blow a gasket when he reads this letter but I really must make the case that no clear-thinking individual would have the temerity to trivialize certain events that are particularly special to us all. Some background is in order: That's just one side of the coin. The other side is that Nad's prolix equivocations often resemble an inverted fairy tale in that the triumph of innocence comes at the start and the ugly sisters of clericalism and irrationalism enter on stage in triumph for the final curtain. It is true that he has an agenda:ninja:—a political, social, and cultural agenda—but Nad justifies his mephitic long-term goals with fallacious logical arguments based on argumentum ad baculum. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, it means that if we don't accept Nad's claim that the Queen of England heads up the international drug cartel then he will shatter other people's lives and dreams.

    I know some irritable freaks who actually believe that Nad has answers to everything. Incredible?:spit: Those same people have told me that he can make all of our problems go away merely by sprinkling some sort of magic, pink, pixie dust over everything that he considers coldhearted or fanaticism-prone. With such people roaming about, it should come as no surprise to you that the offensive tone used by Nad in his harangues shows what kind of person he really is. And here, I aver, lies a clue to the intellectual vacuum so gapingly apparent in Nad's expositions. His wheelings and dealings are popular among infernal witlings but that doesn't mean the rest of us have to accept them. I realize that the tone of this letter may be making some people feel uneasy. However, even if you're somewhat uncomfortable reading about Nad's cruel opinions please don't blame me for them. I'm not the one forcing me to turn to a life of crime. I'm not the one giving rise to the most grumpy scroungers you'll ever see. And I'm not the one challenging all I stand for.

    I am convinced that there will be a strong effort on Nad's part to con us into believing that he is forward-looking, open-minded, and creative quicker than you can double-check the spelling of "interdifferentiation". This effort will be disguised, of course. It will be cloaked in deceit, as such efforts always are. That's why I'm informing you that "Nad" has now become part of my vocabulary.:eyebrow: Whenever I see someone erode constitutional principles that have shaped our society and remain at the core of our freedom and liberty, I tell him or her to stop "Nad-ing". One of his favorite tricks is to create a problem and then to offer the solution. Naturally, it's always his solutions that grant him the freedom to lower our standard of living, never the original problem. I think I've dished it out to Councilmember Nad athius Findle the IV as best as I can in this letter. I hope you now understand why I say that the scantiness of Nad's abstract knowledge directs his sentiments more to the world of insurrectionism.;)

  13. Am I still drunk?
  14. I'd say that I want that 15 minutes of my life back, but I know all I'll get is another post that takes up another 15 minutes of my life

  15. Happynoj


    Dec 5, 2006
    I like turtles.
    I am confused.
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    This thread is in desperate need of some informational field. bongomania, help us out.
  17. Bootzilla


    May 4, 2009
    To say so little using so much is a truly epic achievement.
  18. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth Nothing to fret over. Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    You should be a paralegal--it'd be like a frickin' carnival for you every day.
  19. C741


    Feb 14, 2009
    Shhheewww! That sucked.
  20. KingPriam


    May 20, 2009
    Wilmington, DE
    Random Complaint Generator, FTW!