Donna Grantis burst out of the proverbial "nowhere" to play guitar
with Prince in not only 3rdEyeGirl, but also alongside him in the New
Power Generation big band. Well, the nowheresville bit is not entirely
true, of course. Grantis has a past. She made the semi-finals in the
North American Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition at just 17 years
old, and got a scholarship to and a Jazz Performance degree from
McGill University in Montreal. But her hard work, chops, and musical
knowledge aside, it's still a long journey from session work in Toronto
to sharing stage and studio with the purple legend.
Performing Prince hits, new songs, and spontaneous jams during a
3rdEyeGirl or New Power Generation concert requires covering a lot of
"I actually had a pretty small pedalboard before I joined
3rdEyeGirl," laughed Grantis. "But now I need upwards of 20 pedals or
more to have the flexibility I need, and I use every single one of
Her half-circle-shaped pedal system includes a T.C. Electronic
Flashback Delay, a T.C. Electronic Vortex Flanger, a T.C. Electronic
Hall of Fame Reverb, a T.C. Electronic Spark Booster, a Boss BD-2 Blues
Driver, a Boss BF-3 Flanger, a Boss RC-30 Loop Station, a Line 6 DL4
Delay Modeler, a Dunlop Eddie Van Halen Signature Wah, an Ibanez Tube
Screamer, a Fulltone OCD, and more.
Donna Grantis with 3rdEyeGirl in Manchester, England, February 22, 2014.
When Andy Summers was preparing for the Police reunion in 2007, he invited GP into his Venice Beach, California, studio as he was getting his sounds together to create, once again, all the sonic magic of those Police hits from 1977-1986. By then, Summers had long retired the original Pete Cornish pedalboard he used during the band's glory years. So he looked to Bob Bradshaw to develop a custom switching system for the reunion tour. Bradshaw built a V-shaped control surface, one wing patched into a rack loaded with stompboxes and rack processors (as well as containing a Boss volume pedal and a Dunlop Cry Baby wah), and the other wing holding some of the effects he liked close at hand in order to tweak them during performance (such as a Moogerfooger Analog Delay and a Boss Loop Station).
To illustrate how all those buttons, switches, and pedals worked their way into Summers' crafting of a song's sonic signature, he shared his "pedal dance" for the hit "Can't Stand Losing You":
Intro Lexicon PCM 70
Dirty Bit Love Eternity Overdrive + PCM 70
Solo Red Witch Empress Chorus + Eventide Eclipse + PCM 70 + T.C. Electronic TC1210 Spatial Expander/Stereo Chorus/Flanger
Jam Bob Bradshaw V-Comp Tube Compressor + Moogerfooger MF-104Z Analog Delay + Klon Centaur
Instrumental Section Red Witch Moon Phaser + Eternity Overdrive + PCM 70 + Centaur
Vocal Jam V-Comp Tube Compressor + MF-104Z + Centaur
End Eternity Overdrive + PCM 70
Outro V-Comp Tube Compressor + Eternity Overdrive + MF-104Z
Andy Summers and the Police during the 2008 reunion tour, Tokyo Dome, Tokyo.
The magic of guitar effects was brought home to both musicians and non-musicians in a somewhat humorous way when Ed Bradley interviewed The Edge on 60 Minutes in the early 2000s. Standing near his big ol' pedalboard during a soundcheck, The Edge called up a beautiful and edgy wash of delay and chorusing and reverb, and then launched into the intros of a couple of U2 hits. Suitably blown away, Bradley gushed about the sound. Then, The Edge said, "Do you want to hear what it sounds like without the effects?" Switching everything off, The Edge hit his strings and produced the "mammoth" sound of "plunk, plunk, plunk."
This is not to take anything away from The Edge's conventional technique as a guitar player, as much as it confirms his mastery of signal processing and utilizing sounds to inform the emotional context of U2's songs. The guy is a wizard.
When GP talked to The Edge before U2's 2001 for All That You Can't Leave Behind, his setup included a smorgasbord of the following gear: two T.C. Electronic 2290s, a Rocktron Replifex, an Eventide HD 3000, a DigiTech 2101, a Yamaha SPX 1000 (his main reverb), a Korg A3, two AMS delays, three Korg SDD-3000s, an Electrix Filter Factory, a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive, a Boss OD-2R Turbo Overdrive, three DigiTech Whammy pedals, three Dunlop Cry Baby wahs, a Lovetone Meatball, a Lovetone Doppleganger, and a Lovetone Big Cheese.
And though all of these effects are a big part of the guitarist he is, The Edge reported that he often yearned for a less-complicated system.
"Whenever I feel like going with a simpler rig," he said, "someone will inevitably say, 'Hey Edge—remember the sound we got on this tune when we recorded it? Can't we get that
sound?' And I'll think, 'Man, that was eight pieces of gear strung together and run through a pair of headphones. How am I going to recreate THAT in a stadium?'"
The Edge and guitar tech Dallas Schoo soundcheck his rig before filming a scene for the documentary It Might Get Loud.