About The SlideRIG
“The SlideRIG delivers the slide tone made famous by Lowell George and others! Inspired by his use of two cascaded Urei 1176 studio compressors… it’s a labour of love… an undeniably niche product… not for everyone… a bit crazy, perhaps… However, what I will say is, if you “get” the concept, you will LOVE the pedal!” – Simon Keats, Designer.
The Common Misconception
The SlideRIG offers a signal path that consists of two Cali76 style compressors. These compression blocks are PERMANENTLY chained together with the signal passing through both blocks at all times. There are also two sets of controls, which unfortunately causes a lot of confusion! There IS NOT a set of controls PER compressor block, as many believe. In actual fact, the controls are perfect duplicates, with only one set of control is active at any one time. This gives the user access to two “patches”, select-able using the SOLO switch. So how do you make changes to the individual parameters of a single compressor block? Simple, you don’t. It’s all taken care of! Adjusting the GAIN control will adjust the gain of both compressor circuits, simultaneously. Likewise, adjusting the RATIO control will adjust the ratio of both compressor circuits, simultaneously.
SlideRIG vs Cali76
The Cali76 is a high quality studio tool in a pedal enclosure! It’s capable of lots of compression, but can also perform useful dynamic compression without stealing the show! It’s natural and transparent when transparency is needed! By way of contrast, the SlideRIG is a crazed gun slinger! It has a studio pedigree, but the presence of two compression stages means that transparency is off the menu. The SlideRIG can serve up, medium compression to the ultimate in heavy compression. As a “stomp effect” compressor, this is actually a good thing! Beyond it’s intended use as a compressor for slide guitar, the SlideRIG would make a fantastic country picker’s comp!
Input / Comp
The input stage of the SlideRIG features a low noise 1960’s style variable-gain recording preamp. This is there to boost the guitar signal, so that it hits the compressor hard! The preamp makes the guitar touch sensitive, and the compressor quickly catches each note a fraction after it’s played. The first compressor greatly boosts the average level of the guitar signal. As well as determining the input gain, the INPUT/GAIN control also determines how much signal is transferred from the first compressor to the input of the second compressor. At higher settings the second compressor stage maintains a strangle hold on the signal – keeping everything at a consistent level!
The Cali76 RATIO control ranges from 4:1 to 20:1. 20:1 is extreme! Due to the chained topology, the SlideRIG’s RATIO control spans from roughly 8:1 to 100:1. Use sparingly, or else throw caution to the wind and have fun!
Signal to Noise
The SlideRIG is extremely quiet by the standards of most pedals! However, it does employ a lot of clean-gain and can quickly highlight noise induced in pickups and other effects units. Humbuckers allow you to push things further without suffering from 50% cycle noise! I recommend placing the pedal straight after your guitar. Keep the guitar’s volume up for best results – this will be counter intuitive for some, especially for those who like to manipulate stage level directly from the guitar – but you quickly get uses to things! Volume pedals must be placed afterwards, as the SlideRIG will laugh in the face of any coordinated changes in signal level, and will work to maintain a consistent output! Placing a volume pedal after the unit is a great way to manage stage levels, another option is to correctly set up the two user-patches for two distinct volume levels.
One of my favourite tests in the office is to dial in a generous amount of compression (input totally cranked), and with the Twin set to talking level, simply play a 10th fret A on the B string and apply lots of vibrato. The pedal does it’s thing and pretty soon your presented with something akin to the intro of “Foxy Lady” (a sustaining wide-vibrato) but where there is no end in sight! The note can be sustained that way for any amount of time and with no reduction in level!
Another fun approach is to alternate between picked and left-hand-only legato playing. No change in level and no overdrive needed, just pure clean tone! Have fun! Simon.