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Ambient guitar meditation

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  • Ambient guitar meditation

    Hi all, I'm new here and new to ambient guitar but have fallen in love with it. I will try and make this as short as I can with as few questions as possible
    I would like to get a pedal board put together for live/recording ambient guitar tracks for the purpose of meditation and need some advice. Having scoured YouTube, I want all the pedals available for ambient guitarists, but realistically, having not won the lotto yet, I'm looking at starting with 5/6 pedals. I am currently using a rc300 for gigging, but with regards looping, the ditto x4 seems more suited to ambient guitar. I also have a zoom a3 acoustic effects pedal which I'm hoping I can use as a compressor combined with a delay/reverb. I have a boss ME 50 which I have used in a rock set up year's ago. But from what i remember from trying to use it in an acoustic set, it didnt really work. I really want to keep the acoustic tone in my ambient music. Loving the strymon el capistan which will deffo be my first purchase, also liking the e/harmonix mel 9. So I guess my questions are as follows :
    1. what is the general consensus on rc300 v ditto x4 with regards ambient guitar.?
    2. Is it better to have dedicated pedals for comp/delay/reverb or can I use my a3 to combine?
    3. With regards to stacking delays would my a3 along with the capistan be sufficient so I can spend more elsewhere on the board?
    4. What would be a good starting pedal. with regards reverb

    i know it's all about preference, and a book could be written on each of These questions, but I'm just looking for some opinions to get me started. Appreciate any advice thrown my way.
    Last edited by The jamin shaman; 05-11-2018, 11:57 AM.

  • #2
    Welcome to the world of ambient guitar.
    1. I don't think you can really compare all the different loopers as they are all a variation of a theme. The most important thing is that you get seamless looping. You'll get that on the Ditto x4 if you set the appropriate dip switch on the back. I have not used the RC-300 but used to use the RC-50 and couldn't get seamless looping on that. I now use a looping app on iPad which has 7 tracks and I get seamless looping on that.

    2. The one advantage of individual pedals is you can put them in any order you want but moving them into another order can be a faff. You can of course pick the exact pedal you like with individuals. I use the Line 6 Helix Floor which has the ability to put effects where you want them and save the patch. I am stuck with the effects in that though and reverbs and pitch effects are not brilliant for ambient so I use individaul pedals in send/return to cover them. Very expensive as well. The new Boss GT-1000 has the ability to move effects around too and is supposed to have the three big Boss pedals in it. Again expensive.

    3. I'm sure your Zoom will work fine with the El Capistan so a good starting point.

    $. Reverbs? I started with a TC Electronic Hall of Fame which, I'm sure you'll know, has a lovely warm tone to it. The new version has the added Mash effect and shimmer reverbs. If you have the money you'll know about the Big Sky and how good that is.


    • #3
      And I'll throw in less concrete, general advice: never let NOT having a piece of gear stop you from doing what you do.

      And welcome to AO!


      • #4
        FWIW, Ditto x4 was the glitchiest, most messed-up piece of gear I've ever owned - and not in a good way. Loop 2 constantly refusing to work properly, random clicks at crossing points, volume dropouts - it was pretty much unusable. Tried updating the firmware but each available version had its own glitches. Sent it back to the store after a week of fighting with it. Maybe it was just my luck, though - seems to work well for some.

        At the same time, the looper in the El Capistan is absolutely awesome. You can make ambient, drones and soundscapes with nothing but a guitar going into the El Cap. I sold mine and got the Ditto x4. Never again
        Last edited by CSCD; 05-15-2018, 06:02 AM.


        • #5
          I've been using the RC300 and love it. It is seamless. Has a nice fade-out feature (no fade-in). It does have effects built--in, which are OK, not great, but adequate if needed. Plus it has simple drums which I don't use.

          I have an El Cap and love it, as everyone does. The looper is great and letting it decay and layering on top of it is wonderful and I don't know how to do that with the RC300 (in fact, I don't think it's possible). The El Cap is unique, and if you only have one delay, it's probably a good choice to have it. But, the El Cap looper is only 20 seconds and while that is good for drones or a couple of chords, it's not long enough for serious chord changes. And, (IMO), no matter how "clean" you set the dials (wow/flutter, etc.) , the loop decays a little, so if you want a pristine loop for a long time, I would prefer a different looper. So while I've done some gratifying pieces using the looper (Sound On Sound they call it), I really need a proper looper. I also have the Ditto X2 and I use that a lot for simple loops. Works great, only one track, but it's cheap.

          Reverb: I own the Neunaber Immerse and it's very good...... I sold my BigSky but miss the Bloom setting; can't find that anywhere. But I have, and love the Source Audio Ventris: it has excellent engines but the big thing is it's a Dual Reverb, so you can run two different reverbs (Hall and, say, Modulation Reverb) at the same time IN PARALLEL. Really, really, nice, something you can't do with just two reverb pedals (that would be a serial setup). I've found that two reverbs in serial get real mooshy, messy, but in parallel, they both stay sweet.

          For inexpensive reverb, I owned a Boss RV6, which I bought on eBay, like new, for $112. It's a very nice reverb with enough engines to keep you happy. I could definitely live with it if I were on a budget. I'd put more money into the delays. The RV6 sound is good, but in my A/B comparison, I liked the sound of the Immerse and Ventris better, (more organic, less "digital"), so I sold it.

          Latest YouTube piece:


          • #6
            Ha, ha, dude- I LOVE your name- 'jammin' shaman'... that's great! I currently use a Roland GR-20 guitar synth for some applications, but want to upgrade to a Roland GR-55 which will allow me to do alternate tunings without actually re-tuning my guitar. If I were going to get a Strymon, I'd go for the Strymon Timeline, but the Boss DD-500 is a couple hundred dollars cheaper and seems to have most of the same features. Currently using the reverb on my recording outfit which is a TASCAM DP-24 SD. Works for most of my purposes. Anyway, hope you enjoy your time here!


            • #7
              I've recently been watching some YouTube vids by 'Chords of Orion'. Some are of completed pieces while others are instructional. He gets some really great results using three or four pedals. I highly recommend watching his videos if you are looking at starting out with a minimal amount of pedals. There are other ambient guitarists on YouTube who do amazing things but I just thought what Chords does with just a few pedals is really good.


              • #8
                As far as Loopers are concerned I use 2. First in the chain is the Dito X4, then the EXE 95000 loop station.

                I use the EXE95000 loop station first to create my base layers. You can put 6 different loops on top of one another. It has a nice fading capabilities as well.

                I'll use the Ditto X4 when I want to create some fripertronic type effects or some kind of rythmic sequence.

                Once you have your Loops running then you're free to experiment around as you like.