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Think You Dont Need MIDI

June 1, 2010
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MIDI Is Kind of a Four-Letter Word For Most Guitarists.

It smacks of non-analog, non-old-school, and non-hip to many, but not me. I’ve used MIDI to control tube amps for years, and this application just might make you rethink your relationship with the much-maligned musical instrument digital interface.

The situation: I have a Fryette Sig: X amp with three channels, each with a switchable boost. I have a Boss processor that I use for time-based effects. If I want to go from a clean sound with no boost and delay to a dirty tone with boost and reverb, I’d have to step on at least three different buttons. Enter these two handy little programmable devices: the RJM Mini Amp Gizmo ($229 street) and the Voodoo Lab Control Switcher ($139 street). They both convert the MIDI signal from my Boss unit to the multi-pin footswitch jack on the Sig: X. For each patch on the Boss processor I can select any of the three amp channels, boost functions, and even effects loop on or off—all with a single stomp. Either switcher can be Velcro-ed to the top of the amp (or mounted to a pedalboard or in a rack). Memo to anyone still doing the tap dance onstage: The Mini Amp Gizmo or the Control Switcher will change your life.

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