(5 questions we ask artists – the same 5, every time)
Pedals and Effects is back with the first Pedals and Effects 5 entry of the new year! For those unfamiliar, “The Pedals and Effects 5” is where we ask musicians of all styles and all walks of life how they first got into pedals, and what pedals are currently inspiring them. It will be the same five questions every time, so be sure to keep an eye out to see what your favorite artist has to say about their favorite pedals and effects. Today’s entry for the Pedals and Effects 5 features long time pedal fiend and friend to Pedals and Effects, Jonathan Hischke. Jonathan’s knowledge of effects pedals is as unabashed as his proficiency on the bass. Jonathan has played with such acts as Hella, and Broken Bells. Currently, Jonathan plays with Josh Klinghoffer (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) in Dot Hacker. When he’s not rocking out, Jonathan is continuously scouring the world for the latest in greatest and sonic experimentation.
1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?
A humble tuner is something I’d never travel without, but if we’re speaking musically; I also always have some type of preamp pedal with me. Depending on the situation, that could be a Tronographic Rusty Box, Tech 21 VT Bass, DOD Bi-Fet, Tubeworks Blue Tube, Way Huge Pork Loin, Wren & Cuff Phat Phuk, Fuzzrocious Dark Driving…I have an array. These are all tone and ‘vibe’ in a box and provide that bit of extra sonic versatility at the very least, if not creating the entire architecture of my bass tone. Essential. But to answer your question, my FAVORITE pedal is the Digitech PDS 20/20 MultiPlay. Because it makes me think differently.
2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals.
I recently found that the Cog Effects T65 Octave fed into the overlooked Ibanez SB7 Synthesizer Bass makes for a very responsive, organic and warm sounding synth bass situation that I can’t wait to take advantage of. I can always get behind the Catalinbread Montevillian delay going into the Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master for the purest psychedelia (thanks to Just Nick for that tip!)
3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?
My big moment was getting a Digitech Whammy II pedal. It changed everything. I got one when they first came out in the early 90’s, and it opened up so many possibilities. I had to finally retire it as it was my default tool for a solid 15 years. Luckily, every 4 or 5 years a pedal is created (or re-discovered) that brings a totally new vocabulary with it, which is the ultimate beauty of these things. The EHX Superego has been the most recent one in my experience.
4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?
I have so many ideas for new frontiers, but I most often find myself wishing for more pedals that are ready to go at one’s whim…for instance: pedals with momentary switches (the BOSS Vibrato being one example, or the EHX Superego and Freeze), as well as pedals with an expression rocker that are ‘uneffected’ at the low position and get crazy as you press it down (Digitech Whammy and Space Station). But most wild and desirable to me are pedals that are collecting information and just waiting to inject their ‘version’ of your playing back into what you are doing (the Digitech PDS models are like this, as is the legendary EHX 16 Second Delay). I guess I like the idea of the box being armed and ready for you to add just a bit of flavor if you are feeling it at the moment, and maybe it will do something unexpected, rather than just ON or OFF.
5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?
Experiment!!! This is the golden age of possibilities with these things. Get into it!