Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post: DIY Feedback Looping with Kevin Ian

Hello Kind Readers!

I've been experimenting with feedback loops for the better part of the last two years. In my band, The Common Men, I utilize feedback loops within the scope of an electric guitar. This yields some wonderfully noisy and melodically noisy passages that--in my humble opinion--make me stand out in my local scene.

I've been asked about experimenting with such techniques without having to invest in a feedback loop pedal.
Those of you interested in feedback looping can do so with your existing pedal collection and a basic mixer. The requirement is that this mixer has an FX SEND to it.

Before I continue, allow me to make this warning loud and clear:

Turn down the volume of your amplification source! Whether this is a PA or amp, make sure the volume is all the way off. Feedback looping causes sudden spikes in volume that can damage speakers--more on this later.

Let's get started!
After your have assembled a pedal chain made with your existing effects, power up your mixer.

Connect a cable from your FX SEND to the first pedal in your chain.

Connect a cable from the last pedal in your chain to any input on your mixer.

Connect a cable from the main out of your mixer into an amplification source. Slowly turn up the volume until desired volume is achieved.

Have fun!

Here a few things to keep in mind:

Not every pedal will work in the feedback loop. I highly recommend constant experimentation with regards to pedal order and what works/what doesn't. Some pedal act wonderfully in a feedback loop, while others do not. Also, pedal order is very important as how they interact together in order becomes far more drastic and noticeable when feeding back into each other.

Dirt pedals will yield an oscillating tone that can be control via the tone knob. You can also use this pedal LAST in the chain as a volume control to keep a lid on the signal level--very helpful when dealing with guitar rigs.

The nature of said dirt pedals vary. Sputtering/stuttering dirt will give amazing results.

Modulation pedals are a bit more interactive. As you turn the control knobs, the feedback loop slightly lags in its response, giving the sounds vocal qualities when in between settings. Flange can yield the scifi ray gun sounds instantly, and auto wah and synth effects are even more fun!

Delay pedals self-oscillate, even the clean digital ones! Slowly--or quickly--turn the time knob to experience pitch-bending type sounds!

Any combinations of these pedals will only increase the sonic palette. You will find that it quickly gets addicting to see what you can and cannot mix!

I have included a video tutorial as well as a demonstration of the pedals I have and what they manipulate within the loop.

Thanks for reading!

- Kevin Ian

Kevin Ian is a multi-instrumentalist from Norther California. His band, The Common Men, recently got on Pandora. Be sure to make your channel today! Their latest, "Let it Burn," can be found on most online retailers, and their page is www.thecommonmen.tk

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and video. This is really intriguing and awesome! I would have thought if you feed the pedals back into themselves they would snowball into a wall of noise. I'm confused about why instead they oscillate and interact with each other. Could you comment on why it works this way? Thanks!