Pedals And Effects goes way back with this week's Pedals And Effects 5 guest, Ben Hinz. I met Ben in 2010 after he had hooked me up with one of his Eau Claire fuzzes. Ben drove from Eau Claire Wisconsin (where he lives), to Chicago to see Mars Volta open for Soundgarden. Ben and I hit it off instantly and we have remained friends ever since.
Ben runs his business with his awesome wife, Louise, and they make pedals that everyone can dig and then they make the weird stuff that Nick and I love! I still use Ben's custom Baby Thunda fuzz and I am a huge fan of his Pitchgrinder. Ben is also in the business of building Eurorack modules, doing cool pedal runs like the Supa Soda Meiser with our very own Nick Reinhart. Without further ado, here is the Pedals And Effects 5 featuring Ben Hinz:
1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?
It's got to be my Eau Claire Thunder. It's been my dirt pedal for eight or nine years. I'm using a completely different tone than I started with, and I'll probably zone in on another one eventually.
2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals!
I'm really into Wah>Distortion>Echo. I've had a lot of fun with a lot of different pedals, but that's a combo I almost always have on board. The distortion exaggerates the wah's frequency sweep, making it like a swinging sword routine. When the echo pedal repeats a moving wah line you can start to sound like two guitarists at once, or you can make big synthy pads by moving the wah really slowly. There's just so many sounds available with that much frequency/time control at your feet.
3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?
I knew I loved pedals right away. I used my dad's '95 American Telecaster into a DOD DFX9 (yeah ok I just looked the pedal up) But anyway, the delay was amazing to me. It was also a long enough delay where I could harmonize with myself. It also had an infinite repeat mode, essentially a .8 second looper. The even cooler thing was you could speed up and slow down the loop via the delay time knob. So instantly I was back in tape experiment mode, but on a guitar... WHAT MADNESS! It was a long time before I could afford a guitar rig, but a delay pedal was a non-negotiable, must have device!
4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?
I just want to be surprised. Maybe even confused. I have a shitload of things that I want to do, a lot of pitch and sample based stuff, actually.
5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?
Well, if you're starting out from zero, honestly I would suggest nabbing the best multi FX unit you can afford. The Line 6 M9 is my favorite for that. Even if you get sick of every single effect on there (But seriously, that would probably not happen... those synth sounds? Forget about it!!!) you'll still have a bevy of totally useable effects, and an awesome looper, and you can never outgrow that! Anyway, when you've got a "jack of all trades" pedal you can really get to know yourself, and your musical vocabulary, and specialize from there.