The sci-fi-esque nature of tones used in post/psychedelic rock requires a specific foundation:
Distortion – Delay – Phaser
The genre becomes relatively monotonous due to the standard tones delivered by most bands within the aforementioned genres. A subtle introduction delivered by clean guitar with a hint of slapback delay, a gradual build accompanied by another overdriven guitar, deep bass and heavy drums into a wall of sound which to the uninitiated can be described as noise.
The two distortion pedals I use have completely different dynamics and are used independently, never triggered at the same time. The Distortion+ works very well with the delays on this rig, whereas the MT-2 is used on its own as it delivers that crunchy high-end metal sound and will not work well with a slap-back echo on it. The Distortion+ however is a very easy to use pedal and works well with almost every other pedal on this rig or any rig – it has a great bottom-end, allowing me to trill across the fretboard and still have a pleasant delay tail without it sounding too messy.
Three delay pedals (the BBE Two-Timer is added on the rig at times) are used, mostly independently but there are times where all three are triggered at once.
The Line 6 Space Echo is an extremely easy delay pedal to use, with a dual tap pedal, one to set the tempo and a heavier tap to turn on the pedal – giving you the option to turn the trails on and off and set it to a Tape, Analog or Digital delay all with the flick of a switch. Paired with 11 different settings, it has a delay tone for any situation. My personal favourites are the Reverse, Swell and Slapback delay functions on a Tape Delay setting, it does not sound digital, it has a warm analog tone that complements a clean or driven guitar.
The Boss DD-6, another post-rock staple is a gem of a pedal to have on your rig. Yet another easy pedal to use, its charm is in its preset, allowing you to get from a nice tap-delay to a trailing delay quite easily. It has a very short loop-rate giving you the chance to riff over it and have it repeat itself until you stop it. My biggest issue with the pedal is that it sounds a bit too harsh at times, I rarely use it on its own, it is always paired with another delay pedal or at least a distortion.
The creme-de-la-creme – The RE-20 Space Echo. This is the reason I love playing this genre of music. Firstly, it is modelled after one of the best echo racks ever built. Secondly, it has a built-in EQ – the overall tone of your guitar can be “overridden” and tweaked without having to have an EQ pedal alongside. The echo delay delivered by this pedal is superb, a mixture of reverb and delay, its a pedal that should be on anyone’s rig – giving you a beautiful chorus tone to that crazy slapback twang you get on a country tune. The overlap over delay tones is what sets this apart from any other delay pedal I’ve used. From a post-rock perspective, the “trill tone” is very important, meaning that it needs to work well with a distortion pedal; this pedal does that almost perfectly.
About Shankar Laxminarayan