Electric bassoon setups 1

Since we’re planning on having a pedal rehearsal in the next week, I thought I’d try out some new toys I got over the summer. I got a Line 6 Verbzilla (which has been on my wish list for a while), and a tube preamp (you can actually see the tube glow!), but my most exciting acquisition was a hand-wired pedal by Mark Stephenson (of Stephenson Amps) called Fix My Duck. Seriously.

Catherine's pedal explorations

Catherine’s pedal explorations

For the last while I’ve been using my Zoom Multi as an EQ, which made it more complicated to use for what it is designed to be — an FX pedal. Fix My Duck is a multifunctional pedal, but I find that the treble boost has done much of the heavy lifting previously done by my Zoom. I’ve spent a number of hours with Fix My Duck, and now my Zoom is freed up and loaded with chorus, wahs and pitch-shifters!

Could this be the answer to my EQ woes?

You might notice I also have two different overdrive/distortions. The big orange beast is Dr. Distorto by Line 6 — lots of tweaking possibilities and good clean overdriven sound. There’s also an Octave option, which adds a bit of scream an octave above my played pitch. I love this pedal, but it’s VERY noisy and I haven’t worked out how to correct that yet. I have a noise gate on my Zoom, which is after it on the effects chain, that helps, I’m going to be doing more research on noisy pedals.

The Blue Box is by MXR is actually on loan from my hubs, and I love it because it can play an octave below. Great for fuller distorted sounds, or just being perverse. Used it to do a Clockwork Orange version of Beethoven 9 in a show this summer. Can’t wait to try this out on Iron Man! My only issue with it is it doesn’t seem to have as much output power as the other pedals, so I’ll have to do some more research on that too.

The gold-ish one on the end is the Verbzilla, also by Line 6. It has a ton of options, but I use Spring and Room the most. The thing about bassoon is that when you stop blowing, the sounds stops, so it’s nice to have something to create atmospheric sound. I find I need more reverb when using a distortion pedal, and less when it’s the clean bassoon sound.

And the big box on the top right is a tube preamp. I’ve been using the L.R. Baggs Gigpro for a long time, but wanted to try something different. I haven’t done a side by side between this new preamp and the Gigpro yet, but plan to. Perhaps that will be a separate post. I added the tube preamp and Fix My Duck to my setup at the same time, so part of me wonders how much of the warmth I attribute to FMD is actually from the tube. Can’t wait to do some more experimenting!

Want to see these pedals in action? Then you definitely have to come to our show on September 26! More details after the jump!

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Post Northern Lights Festival

You know you're getting close to Sudbury when you see the SuperStack!

You know you’re getting close to Sudbury when you see the SuperStack!

Das Fagott Mannschaft went on its first road trip to Sudbury to perform at the Northern Lights Festival Boréal on July 5th! We had a spectacular time: we met amazing musicians, heard fabulous music, and made many new friends! The festival featured many Canadian musicians, artisans and small local businesses.

As artists, we felt spoiled all weekend, we were fed with delicious food provided by the Motley Kitchen. We were watered with beer provided by Stack Brewery. And we got to mingle with other artists and local music producers all weekend. The weekend was busy, busy, busy…but even busier for our good friend’s Geoff McCausland who is a partner of Motley Kitchen as well as brewing small test batches at Stack brewery PLUS he was also performing with his band Murder Murder, a Sudbury-based band that sing Murder ballads…

Our weekend seemed a bit less frantic when compared with his as we actually had time to enjoy some of the other bands. (Like Melbourne Ska Orchestra, we caught their high energy, foot tapping show, then we were lucky enough to hang out with them at the artist residence!)

Catherine and Susan showing their DFM pride

Catherine and Susan showing their DFM pride

Our performing weekend started out on the family stage’s instrument petting zoo, as we demonstrated the awesome power of the bassoon and contrabassoon beside some ethnic percussion instruments as well as a double bass played by  festival Artistic Director Paul Loewenberg, owner of The Townehouse.

Later in the afternoon we got to got to jam with Sheesham & Lotus and friends on the workshop stage sponsored by the CBC. Our workshop was called “Breakdown in the Reeds” with a smattering of bassoons, fiddles, a double bass, a mandolin and some strange looking harmonicas and harmoniphoniums…you can bet it was quite a site to see…Even though us bassoons are not “jammers” and were mildly terrified at the thought…we tried our best and even played along for a couple of tunes…Which was quite fun. The workshop rounded off with a blue-grassy, reedy adaptation of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.

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