After long research, careful analysis, many software prototypes, many countless hours of work, sleepless nights, we are proud to present our newest addition to our Efektors pedals line: The Whammo. With a bold statement: It is literally one of the cleanest pitch based effects available in the audio plugins industry.
98% artifacts free! 😎 With the clearest possible resampling and the purest tone that a DSP code could produce.
The Octave effect. Analog.
“ Octave effect boxes are a type of special effects unit which mix the input signal with a synthesized signal whose musical tone is an octave lower or higher than the original. The synthesized octave signal is derived from the original input signal by halving (octave-down) or doubling (octave-up) the frequency. This is possible due to the simple two-to-one relationship between the frequencies of musical notes which are separated by an octave. Analog octave effects differ from harmonizers and pitch shifters which digitally sample the sound and process it to change its pitch.”
Source Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octave_effect
Digital pitch shifters
In most cases, pitch shifters combine the functions of an Octaver with pitch bends and harmonically added intervals. Octavers add synthesized sounds one or two octaves above or below the original sound. A DSP chip and software that uses AD-DA sampling enable this. Sounds like that can be generated digitally and the original pedal has a variety of pre-programmed presets. The pitch of the notes can be controlled by the foot pedal.
Historically, the WH-1 Whammy pedal, the original Whammy, was first engineered and manufactured in 1989 by IVL Technologies and discontinued in 1993. The Whammy Pedal is sold under the Digitech brand name. IVL created the vocal harmony product category with introduction of the Digitech Vocalist in 1991
The original Digitech Whammy WH-1
- Polyphonic pitch shifting. Morpheus Drop Tune
- Award winning Whammy Pedal sold under the Digitech brand name
- Electro Harmonix Pitch Fork.
- Morpheus Bomber Pedal. Craig Anderton’s pick of the 2011 NAMM trade show
Lets dig deeper, talk about a few guitar players, their way of using the pitch shifters and realize that: We need it! Not just the modern keyboard players.
The pitchshifter is not just a fancy tool that you can fool yourself that is easy to utilize and integrate it in your playing style. A few artists over the years had the courage to use it and not just throw it randomly here and there. But instead, create actual melodic lines and make them sound convincing.
Actually, the history of using and adding intervals to the actual guitar signal goes back in time. The Octavia Fuzz – the effect was designed in the early 1967 and used by the one and only legend Jimi Hendrix is maybe the first one ever and it is a Fuzz pedal with analog design that adds one octave high in the pitch range, while being mixed with the saturated signal. You must check the intro of the anthem Purple Haze. It’s a vivid example of the first use of the effect that adds intervals or additional pitched signals – notes to the guitar sound.
Another great master of the guitar that quickly jumps into the mind is the amazing David Gilmour. Gilmour had the courage to not just try the whammy pedal and then return it back to the store. He actually recorded an amazing guitar solo for the song The Blue. The guitar is so expressive. The notes are flying and gliding over the slow rhythm and the great backing harmony. When you are thinking, how one can come up with a fresh idea or you’re out of inspiration, just listen to the sound and especially the solo, just switch your pitchshifter pedal on and search for notes from another planet. You won’t be disappointed!
Then think of Tom Morello. Everybody remembers very well the solo of the track: Rage Against The Machine – Killing In the Name. It’s a part of the instrument, of the melody and the overall style. He has created effects that would otherwise be impossible. Scratches, imitating DJ noises, squeals and screams of high pitch, even low tuning effects have been created using the whammy pedal. The innovation and the creativity here is on another level. The guitar escapes the orthodox boundaries and becomes a modern musical instrument, capable of many more complex sounds.
We should quickly mention The Audioslave – Like a Stone. What a great song. Well, let’s not forget again who the guitar player is. Morello’s solo is like a crying entity and here is the secret. The guitar becomes an instrument from another reality. It is a part of the whole story , the song, the lyrics and the whole mood. A perfect example how the whammy works in the hands of a great mind.
Tom Morello’s pedalboard
Next in mind is the master of the melody Joe Satriani.The track Searching is an amazing example. The song starts with a short intro melody and then the main riff enters with arpeggiated notes, pitched up with the whammy pedal in a fashion that makes it screaming and quite interesting. If you quickly browse through Satriani’s discography you will discover many great examples of how the pitch effect could be not only a “strange” one time trick pony, but an actual way of expressing yourself and expanding the range of your creativity. The range of the instruments extends to another level: artistically and literally!
The virtuoso Steve Vai. Well well. Here the notes are living like nowhere else.
Please check out and listen to the Touching Tongues. At 1:13 you will be amazed what could be achieved with the effect. The melodic line is so fluid. The high bends produced by the whammy pedal are almost naturally sounding. It’s like the Vai is sliding but with greatest precision ever. A masterpiece!
Korn. When it comes to a mind, the Korn are tied to usage of the octave down octave up tones mixed with their low low tunings and 7 strings guitar. True innovators. Around 2000’s when we all heard those low rumbling and earthshaking guitar tones, no one could believe that a 7 string guitar in “A” tuning needs more bottom end. The only way the bass guitarist to survive in a mix like that was to cut down the lows and bring the presence up. There are many riffs that are using the whammy pedal, intros, main riff or just background sonic scapes with delays and long reverbs. The pedal is cemented in the sound of Korn!
Shoegazing. A legend that we should mention is: Kevin Shields, the guitar player of the band My Bloody Valentine. You can spot the red whammy pedal in his live pedals rig Loveless album and tour. This style is from another dimension. If your guitar doesn’t have a tremolo system or so called whammy bar, then you can actually do this and move the chords pitch in small fractions or variations. Combined with long delays, space reverbs, fuzz pedals and every guitar pedal effect that you could think of, the whammo effect could create strange and beautiful new worlds of guitar tones.
Well, we should stop here. The list could be endless. Really!
Don’t be afraid to be creative, don’t follow “guidelines” Don’t stop to discover new pedals, new combinations and to integrate them in your one voice. As we can see and hear the pitch shifters are with us for a long time, and in this modern era of using software amplifiers, software effects, audio plugins and all the possibilities that we have in our hands, it will be a big loss if you don’t download and load the whammo pedal in your DAW and make some new and crazy riffs and music!