Andy Summers Reveals the Pedals Behind METAL DOG

What effects made the cut for the former Police guitarist's latest release?

To help inspire some of the textures on his latest instrumental epic, Metal Dog [Flickering Shadow], Andy Summers surrounded himself with a platoon of stompboxes and signal processors.

"Obviously, I look at reviews and things in Guitar Player," says Summers about his pedal explorations. "I found out about VauxFlores that way, actually. To me, right now we’re in this golden age of guitar pedals. It has become sort of amazing. When you think back in history, we started off with a few novelty sounds—funny sounds for the guitar. Now, we’re in this very artistic and brilliant period where it has gotten really good. I’m always looking for the guy who makes something that’s not just a fuzz box or a reverb. So I sort of keep half an eye out for the much more degenerated, granular types of sounds. There are a few out there, and I’ve got a couple of new ones to play with. I also like random effects, where you don’t know what’s going to happen when you start playing through the pedal. It's very open, very creative, and "Let's see what's going to happen." I'm literary sitting on my couch in the studio with all the pedals right under my nose. I used to stand up and use a pedalboard, but I found that's too far away for recording and creating. It's a weird thing—I have to get my face right over the pedals with my hands on them.

"Generally, I look for something interesting musically, and then I'll do my thing with it—find a weird sound or whatever. The whole process was about trying new things to see if I could get something. The ultimate box was perhaps the Eventide Eclipse, but I also used the Z.Vex Instant Lo-Fi Junky, TC Electronic Dark Matter, and the VauxFlores Number 23 a lot."

Although Metal Dog throws a huge canvas of great tones and textures at the listener, Summers pretty much kept to one guitar for all of his parts.

"Almost out of laziness, I stuck with a Fender Stratocaster," he admits. "I don’t use hundreds of guitars. I should, because I have a lot sitting around in the studio. But the Strat is such a great workhorse. It always sounds so good."