Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I got myself another present, and it's not even my birthday!

I won the Yahoo Auction on Friday. Paid for it on Monday. The guy sent it with Japan Post's Letterpack 500 (as in 500 yen) from Hokkaido, and it arrived today. All I can say is "wow". Now THAT is what I call fast, super fast.

Considering the distance, that would usually take at least two days back home. It makes me wonder why people send stuff here by Kuroneko Yamato and Sagawa, the "preferred" couriers for Yahoo Auction sellers. They use the same type of tracking as their EMS too. In this case it was accurate enough to let me know it'd arrive today.

My new toy is a Boss PS-6 Harmonist. It's quite a cool box of tricks. Part intelligent pitchshifter, part chorus, and part Whammy.

Why did I get this?

I sent my other multi-effects back home, and now I'm looking into battery-operated, or DC powered stomp boxes for possibly my busking project. I saw a nice shiny 20th anniversary Whammy, but was put off by the AC only requirement, and it's quite pricey for what it is.

I looked around for other alternatives, and this Boss looked like just what I was looking for.

The guy had it marked for free shipping, but after I won the auction admitted he made a mistake :( Still, it looks brand new, save for the slightest bit of dust, and I saved about 4,500 yen off a new one, so I'm pretty pleased. It's a LOT of fun to use.

With my sustainer-equipped Steinberger, I managed to coax some very trippy S-Bend (Whammy) tricks from outer space, and organ-like drones playing three part harmonies on single notes! It's very handy for my White Stripes "7 Nation Army" style bass lines, and Radiohead "Iron Lung" impersonation. The detune is convincing enough to make me not have to buy a Chorus pedal.

I think I'll have to get me some more guitar leads to connect this up to my looper and delay pedals, but I think it's going to take it to the next level!

Speaking of the Echo Park, I gave it a pretty good run through finally, listening to it through my laptop. I'm really digging the "old school" analog repeats, and self-oscillation. I think it sounds amazingly awesome to my bad ears. I wanted to sample some lines for some trip-hop style inspiration.

Only thing I'm not too pleased about is its attitude to batteries. I put a just bought (although a 100 yen shop 9V) battery inside, and I swear after only a couple of minutes it was already saying the battery was low and flashed red! I tried the same "low" battery in the Boss, and it was as happy as a pig in ****. It works fine on my Eneloop power supply though. To you Echo Park users, is this normal battery performance?

I kinda wished I didn't send my Wah home. That's on my next "to get" list. I tried a Behringer Hellbabe, that sounded and felt completely amateur, but a nice and cheap 2,100 yen. The Ibanez Weeping Demon was the second I tried, and it wasn't bad at all. I also liked that it turned on automatically from placing my foot on the pedal. REALLY nice idea. It was 5,980 yen.

I'm thinking of getting a Boss Pw-10 V-Wah. I tried one in Shinjuku and quite liked the variety of wahs, and the univibe. It could double as a dirt box, but I wasn't overly pleased with the overdrives. Anyone want to sell me one cheap?

I can't wait to put all this stuff together. It'll be like the keymaster and gatekeeper getting together for world domination, or something like that. Mmm.. harmonist. I definitely need more "harmony" in my life.


Adam Smith Lieberfarb said...

Hey, I just won a Boss PS-5 (predecessor to the Harmonist) on Yahoo. Kind of a coincidence, eh? You can read about it on my blog.

And yeah, the Echo Park eats batteries like a Hummer eats gas.

Jimmy In Japan said...

I tried the PS-5 before I got this one. They're quite similar, but I think Boss refined the effect more aesthetically pleasing to the ear. They were about the same price for me. Very cool. Yahoo Auctions FTW!

You're a bigger gear head than me! I think I'm getting the stomp box addiction. The RC-5 you got is cool, but if you tried a Boomerang you'd want it straight away. Although it doesn't save your loops, you've got more loops to play with, building entire songs on the fly.

Thanks for the Echo Park info. For what it can do, I'm just going to suck it up. I'm glad I got it.

Adam Smith Lieberfarb said...

I prefer gearslut or gearwhore (or maybe gear-playa?) to gearhead. Most pedals don't last long on my pedalboard. Everything I buy fills a particular need for a tune/gig, etc. I don't actually want any of it, and am happier with just just a good guitar, cable and amp. Once a piece of gear loses its usefulness, I sell it on Yahoo.

Jimmy In Japan said...

HA! I'm opposite. I can't let go of the stuff I buy. I still have back home an old Roland GP-16, and it took me about 20 years to sell my pointy headstock 80's axes.

I agree that direct to amp always was my favourite tone. I forgot how awesome my ex-JCM800 was until I untethered from the multi-effect. That was one regretful sale.

Adam Smith Lieberfarb said...

Hey Jimmy, have you messed with the Super Bend mode on the PS-6? I think want to get rid of my PS-5 because there is time lag and tone loss in T.Arm mode which is my favorite feature. Have you noticed any issues with the PS-6?

Jimmy In Japan said...

With the bend using the pedal's switcher, the length time could be adjusted. I hooked up an EV-5 I bought that allows you to control it better, and it feels more natural. I don't really notice a lag but I definitely like it a whole lot better than the PS-5.