Change is coming to the modular world in the form of the Pittsburgh Modular Patch Box, a stomp box module housing designed for guitarists. Reaching beyond the modular synth scene to bring more musicians into the fold, Pittsburgh Modular is attempting to make the complex world of signal routing and synthesis more accessible to a huge new market. According to the NAMM 2014 Global Report, retail sales of “fretted products” topped $1.3 billion in 2013. That’s a lot of guitarists.
It’s no surprise then, that Pittsburgh approached a trend setting virtuoso guitarist in the legendary Vernon Reid. Founding member of Living Colour, Yohimbe Brothers (with Dj Logic) and known for his collaborations and vast musical range, Reid is not only a prolific artist but also a super nice guy (I had the chance to help him many times in my capacity at Native Instruments years ago). Reid ventured to Pittsburgh to get a walk through of a system that the Pittsburgh team had put together with him in mind.
The Patch Box has some functions that are ideal for performing musicians like Reid, and they are demonstrated in the video. The device features two foot-switches (with 3 outputs each) and two expression pedal ins and outs, which can be routed into whatever modules you populate the Patch Box with. Reid uses an expression pedal in the video to control the filter cutoff on his tone, to great effect. As well, the box has a built in multiple for the patching of signals to many sources, so your expression pedal could control a few parameters at once for more dramatic results…
Of course, running guitars through modular synth gear isn’t necessarily a new trend. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour explored some of these ideas on what became the bands most recognizable album, The Dark Side of the Moon. In “On The Run” we not only hear the sequenced melody of the Synthi AKS, but also the filtered guitar effect of the Synthi multi effect unit, the Hi Fli, which Gilmour used on the track.
What modules would work for the ultimate guitar Patch Box? Would you like to see a Patch Box course from VCL? Let us know in the comments!!