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Pedalboard Lineup: Devon Colella

So it just happens to be that our first featured pedalboard doesn’t come from a guitarist but from cellist Devon Colella from the band Quad. His signature sound comes from an array of stock bass and guitar pedals that he has carefully chosen to achieve that fine line of low-end fundamental and higher end biting attack-and-cut that is needed in a louder playing environment. PedalboardWe talked at great length about his battles regarding distortion/OD pedals and what he likes and what he has tried in order to be heard as both a lead and a grounding low-end instrument within the mix. A very very tall order from a single instrument, especially since Devon doesn’t split his signal into two amps, but chooses to rock a beautiful 2×15 tuck and roll solid state Earth rig!

His current chain consists of his cello retrofitted with his custom homemade rubber mute (re-purposed kitchen floor mats!) DSC_0181that he has been using for a number of years to keep feedback to a minimum while playing at high volumes. He says it makes the cello very heavy but it really does a great job. Next his signal comes from a David Gage Pickup which feeds an LR Baggs Para DI, which acts as general preamp and tone circuit as well as giving a DI for the FOH at clubs. Next in his signal chain is a newer MXR Bass Compressor pedal which is a great studio/live tool for keeping consistency without imparting typical compression artifacts. He starts his tone section with an EH Micro Pog which imparts all kinds of low end/high end and all around tasty goodness. I have heard this pedal a million times on fretted instruments but it is unreal on a fretless instrument with a master at the helm–the overtones alone are to die for! The MXR 78 Badass Distortion pedal is his drive pedal of choice for now (we all seem to be on a quest for a better drive/distortion pedal…) which is followed by the MXR Bass envelope filter that has blend control to mix pure dry signal with 100% wet–a must-have when trying to keep the fundamental solid (which you can see from his setting)!  Next is his Boss ME50 which is a swiss army knife for folks who love Boss pedals. It’s the marriage of multi-effects without all the shit that is associated with multi-effects pedals. Boss stompbox tried and true. He mostly uses this unit for the tap tempo delays as well as the wah section which he rides the expression pedal on to get human vowel-like sounds. Lastly the EH freeze which is used as a note/doublestop hold pedal to create thick beds of pedal tones and ambience for Devon to stretch out over, which he does with such mastery. All in all it is a small board that he has artfully selected to help him achieve a lot of worldly and otherworldly sounds. Listen to Quad’s youtube video demo here. Their new full length and new music videos should surface later this summer/fall.

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Preacher’s Fire – June Issue

Another great month of music in Portland! Be sure to check out the West Side Rockabilly Rumble happening 6/4 in Westbrook feat. Jittery Jack and Sean Mencher, and Battery Steele, a pop-punk group we’ve been working with at Acadia, performing at Flask on 6/22. This month’s cover art is by Jacob DeRaadt. Submit your music event(s) to preachersfire@gmail.com by 6/27 for next month’s issue.

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Suzuki Omnichord

Omnichord PosterThis Month’s featured piece of gear is an electronic instrument introduced in 1981 by the Suzuki corporation which far surpasses it’s intended use. The Omnichord is basically an electric auto-harp with chord buttons that can play in every key using Maj, Min, Maj 7, Min 7, Augmented, and Diminished chords, but the result is something an acoustic autoharp can’t do without modification. To the right of the chord buttons is a ribbon strip (called a touch plate) which is strummed as you play it, and spans a three-octave range sounding the notes in the chord being held on the chord button. In addition, there is a rhythm section with adjustable volume and tempo control featuring popular beats like Rock 1 and 2, Tango, Blues, Latin, Country, Waltz, March, and Disco. This model is from 1984 and is labeled the “System 2 model OM-84,” which features a chord memory interface that allows the player to record a sequence of chord changes and then trigger them from a separate button. The model after this one (still in Omnichordproduction) is named the Suzuki Q chord and includes MIDI capability. It has a purple color scheme and also kind of has a guitar shape, which I find very weird. Although it was designed for people with little musical training, several musicians have latched onto this bizzare instrument’s idiosyncrasies. Notable users of the omnichord have been: Bjork, Devo, Daniel Lanois, and Brian Eno.