Expression control for EVERY pedal! | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Expression control for EVERY pedal!

Discussion in 'Effects Pedals, Strings and more' started by Ti-Ron, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. Ti-Ron

    Ti-Ron Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    Longueuil, Québec
    Here is an interesting concept ton have an expression control on every pedals.

    I am pretty sure @mhammer will have some interest in it. ;)

     
  2. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

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    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    You mean an fx8/helix?
     
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  3. KapnKrunch

    KapnKrunch Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Location:
    Yes
    Dang. That could be a great idea.
     
  4. Ti-Ron

    Ti-Ron Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    Longueuil, Québec
    Digital heretic! :P
     
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  5. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    There's perks! Like having both a mix and level parameter haha.
     
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  6. mhammer

    mhammer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I had one of these in the late '70s. One attached the end of the flexible cable to the shaft of whatever pot could accommodate it. There were two things dissatisfying about it: 1) the re was so much torque on the cable that unless the pedal-to-be-controlled was very heavy or held down, moving the foot treadle of the Hotfoot could easily flip the pedal, 2) the wingnut for fastening the end of the cable was big enough that there had to be a certain minimum distance between pots for one to be able to attach it. It will NOT work with Boss pedals. Apart from that, it was way ahead of its time. Target uses were for working the Range control of the Deluxe Electric Mistress flanger in filter-matrix mode, and working the Delay control on the Memory Man for producing analog pitch-bend/whammy effects. I used mine to control the volume on my UNivox Uni-Comp, so that it could function as a volume pedal/booster/overdrive.
    [​IMG]
    Tone in Progress did a redesign about a decade back, and released the "Third Hand", which seemed to overcome the two caveats I noted. That it came in a more compact form (and the Hotfoot was a VERY large pedal) was a plus. Sadly, not in production any more.
    [​IMG]
    I wrote a feature piece on expression-control for Premier Guitar, which the editor initially expressed interest in, then sort of changed his mind about the direction. A pity, because it included discussion of the many different kinds of expression control available on the market these days. The plan was to also have a companion piece on both DIY and alternate forms of expression control. In the process, I had a nice chat with Tore Mogenson, who used to be the "toque guy" demoing TC Electronics pedals, about their MASH switches, as well as with David Rainger (Rainger FX) about his Igor controller ( Igor Mk2 - Rainger FX ), the folks at Source Audio, regarding their Hot Hand wireless controller, and the guy who was Toadworks (starting up again under another name) regarding their Enveloope envelope controlled loop selector ( https://www.emusician.com/gear/toadworks-enveloope ). The latter isn't an effect OR an expression pedal, but allows you to morph into an effect by how hard you pick.

    If you have anything that uses the Line 6 standard, all that requires is a 10k variable resistance to ground. So I rigged up a photocell, and attached it to the surface of a guitar, right about where the pinky of my picking hand might go, and used it to control the Whammy program on my M5 with my pinky finger. Works great, although the catch is that one "sweeps" the expression by blocking light. So one needs to use a photocell like this with a light source that CAN be blocked. Not for dark stages, but it works. I also picked up some force-sensing resistors to mount on the guitar surface. These are what Rainger uses, although I have not yet found the optimal amount of pressure to apply (it may be easier to provide more gradual amounts of pressure through a sheet of cork via one's foot, than with a finger).\

    In short, there are a great many expression-control options available, that are compatible with different expression-control standards (and there are different standards to be mindful of), provide different degrees of flexibility, and provide different feels; something which is fundamental to the very idea of "expression". Case in point: the Source Audio Hot Hand 3. I have one of these, and it's a terrific innovation. However, you wear he controller on your picking/strumming hand, which is only available to provide the needed movement after you've picked/strummed. It's near impossible to work the thing while you're playing, only between strums. That's not nothing, mind you, but it provides its own limitations.
     
  7. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands

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    Dec 19, 2016
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I’m surprised a servo motor is that fast?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2019
  8. Cups

    Cups

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    Jan 5, 2010
    Location:
    Manitoulin, Ontario
    That is VERY impressive
     
  9. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    I'd never use something for the style I play, but it sure looks like a handy tool in the right hands.
     
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  10. mhammer

    mhammer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    It's a smart and useful device. And although it can operate more controls, and has a smaller gripping footprint than my old Hot Foot did, there are still physical limits to what you can attach it to. If your pedals are of the mini variety or have controls clustered close together, or use stacked concentric pots, you will likely be unable to use the device with them. I'm not seeing a single 4-knob Boss pedal in that demo. That doesn't make it any less smart and useful, just not the magic door to everything you ever wanted to tweak in real time.
     
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  11. Brian Johnston

    Brian Johnston

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2019
    Location:
    Sudbury, Ontario
    Ever see those WINGS... plastic.. fits on any knob you want... and you turn it with a foot for live expression.
     
  12. mhammer

    mhammer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    The Option Knob. Thanks for mentioning them. They have the advantage of fitting probably a wider array of control spacings than other devices (and I included them in the draft article I sent to PG editor Shawn Hammond). Their shortcoming is that they're really more of a substitute for bending over and tweaking (for instance, on pedals lacking tap tempo) than for any sort of real-time control. Of course, if you're really nimble with your feet...
     
  13. Granny Gremlin

    Granny Gremlin Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Location:
    Toronto - Riverside
    OK, but when they demo that 'amp wah' with custom eq (master and 3 band eq being tweaked at once on expression pedal) that's really going to shorten pot life.
     
  14. mhammer

    mhammer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    It should come with a warning label: DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO PLAY "WHITE ROOM", "VOODOO CHILD", OR ANY FORM OF DISCO MUSIC WITH THE GECKOTOOL.
     
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