As any guitar player knows, we are always trying to emulate and innovate upon the iconic tones we grew up listening to and idolizing. Some effects can help make these tones much easier to capture, as well as create our own ideas and sound that is unique and interesting. One of these pedals that can add a variety of nuances, from the most subtle reverberations to out of this world cosmic phasing, the flanger pedal can add a new flavor to any guitar players’ arsenal.
This week on TPS Dan & Mick dedicate an entire episode of echoing and swaying, screeching notes through a variety of flange pedals to hopefully answer the most complex of questions: has Dan finally found his flanger??
Dan’s HC-30, ’63 Tele, and a Plethora of Flangers: Mysticism Ensues
With Dan being our resident beacon of classic tones, the flanger is an integral piece of his everyday rig. He uses the alternative to a chorus pedal during his solos to isolate the notes and allow him to mentally slow his playing, giving it a more melodic chime-like tone. While his favorite pedal, the Electro-Harmonix Mistress, gives him the sound he strives for, there’s one big problem with it.
“The Mistress (born in ’76) rarely leaves my pedalboard,” Dan explains. “However, it is hard to use live because its top end is very bright and lively but it drops a lot of the low end so it is hard to mix.” If only there was a way to reintroduce that warm low end back into the unique and complex sound of a flanger… Or is there?
With two killer amps rigged up, along with the impressive Kingsley Harlot tube distortion pedal, Dan and Mick run through five similar yet strikingly different flanger pedals to not only provide an array of sounds, but to finally understand the tone Dan is always chasing.
The Mooer and The Dreadbox
To begin the wide assortment of flanger pedals, the guys start with the seemingly simple Mooer SFL Spark Flanger. While its size is underwhelming, it brings an interesting note to flangers. However, the Spark still lacks that low end range that most flanger pedals seem to lose tonally. However, Dan switches on the Harlot overdrive and the tone opens up and becomes something brand new.
“Adding an overdrive to a flanger is awesome at taking those harmonics and the regeneration of those harmonics and really pushing them forward,” Dan clarifies. By driving the regeneration delay effect that the flanger is known for, it fills in the discrepancies between the harmonics as they move around sonically, creating a more solidified sound.
The Dreadbox on the other hand is an entirely different animal. After Mick picks up his rarely seen Supro “Something Or Other” (properly known as the Jamesport), he notes that it’s much tighter sounding than the Spark.
“This pedal is just pure, experimental fun,” slips out of Mick’s mouth as he turns his volume down. “It is a much more complex, experimental flange than the Mistress and the Spark.”
The next two pedals are along the lines of what the general public considers when they think of a flanger pedal. The first is the A/DA PBF, universally used throughout the ’80s. “This is much more chime-y,” Dan adds. “When I think of flangers, this is the tone I think about. It is great for rock.” The main reason for this is because the A/DA has an Even/Odd function which allows the player to change how the harmonics regenerate, changing the sound.
Following the A/DA is the Retro-Sonic flanger, or as Dan calls it “The Mistress 2.0.” Basically, the Retro-Sonic is the same as the Mistress schematically, however it has an added level control. This added knob allows the tone to be adjusted and regulated without losing the flanger charm. The Retro-Sonic is what the Mistress should be on stage, and the Mistress is what the Retro-Sonic should be in the studio.
The Dan-Worthy Grail of Grails
Lastly, Mick and Dan tease us with a look at the yet-to-be-released Thorpy Camoflange pedal, which builds off of the idea that the Retro-Sonic held with its leveling knob.
“The Camoflange has the magic knob, which happens to be this ‘Blend’ knob,” Dan lets out through his excitement. “This allows the original signal to blend with the flanged signal.” What this does is let’s the amp push the signal without the effect, but adds the flanged/reverberating effect to that original clean signal.
“All the good top end is there, without losing signal strength,” Mick adds. The Camoflange does a good job of showing what a flanger can do without getting to flange-forward.
While the flanger may not be everyone’s preferred taste and/or style, there is one thing we can all agree on: that the joy that flangers bring to Dan’s guitar playing can bring a smile to even the grimmest of faces.
That’s it for this episode of That Pedal Show! Tune in next time for Dan and Mick plugging in, rocking out, and laying down the law on all things guitar!
TPS Episode Rig Rundown:
Guitars: PRS DGT, Fender Custom Shop ’63 Telecaster, Supro Jamesport, Fender American Vintage ’59 Stratocaster
Pedals: TheGigRig Three2One, Mooer Spark Flanger, Boss BF-1, EHX Electric Mistress, Dreadbox Komo Rebi, A/DA PBF Flanger, Retro-Sonic Flanger, Thorpy Effects Camoflange, Kingsley Harlot V3, Ibanez Analogue Delay, TheGigRig G2
Amps: Orange Tremlord 30 112/Lavoce Speaker, Matchless HC-30 w/Hughes & Kettner Vintage 212/Celestion G12M Greenback