On my way into work one morning this week I heard Icky Thump by the White Stripes.
It had been a restless night and a rough morning. I had been awake since 3:42 a.m. after waking from a nightmare in which I had been disgraced, lost millions of dollars to the people who disgraced me, and was moving to Tennessee to work a mundane job just to support my family. The dream itself wasn’t the nightmare, but the feeling of abject failure would not leave even after I awoke.
But this song being played on the radio hours later seemed to turn things around. Nothing had really changed but my attitude. The lyrics have nothing to do with my dream or feelings. It was the sound. It just felt right at that moment, on that stretch of road, on my way to that meeting.
At the meeting someone asked how everyone was doing. I said much better now that I had heard a song on the radio I liked. They asked what it was. I told them. Then someone asked me how it went. I laughed. I’m not going to hum it, then no one would recognize it. They asked again. I laughed, “Well, I do have my guitar in the car…”
No, I did not play the guitar for my coworkers. But it did get me wondering: How would I recreate Jack White’s sound? Check out the sound he makes with his guitar at 1:37 and 2:58.
I would need one of these.
But I don’t have a digitech Whammy. It bugged me.
Much later that day I was hit with an epiphany. I remembered that I own a digitech pedal: the RP200 multi-effects unit, which has a Whammy setting!
Then I started thinking about how to fit it into my pedal board without actually having it on my pedal board. This is when I was hit by another epiphany! I need to build an effects loop/bypass pedal that would be permanently on my pedal board. This would let me hook up pedals (like the RP200) to my effects board, but have them laying somewhere else. If I don’t have an effect that I need to add, then I just don’t ever engage the bypass/effects loop pedal. And I can build an effects loop/bypass pedal for a lot less than a digitech Whammy!
It was one of those times where I could see it all in my mind’s eye and it made perfect sense.