Hands-On Review:DigiTech Hendrix and Clapton Artist Pedals


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DigiTech Hendrix and Clapton Artist Pedals

Capturing the sound of genius

By Steve Elmer

 

Digitech Hendrix and Clapton

Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton both took the art of the electric guitar into new sonic territory. Now DigiTech has taken on the ambitious task of re-creating some of the most essential tones Hendrix and Clapton pioneered with two new additions to their Artist Series pedal line. Both pedals offer modern guitarists a vast palette of effects and ambience useful for both retro and modern musical expressions.

Pedal to the metal

DigiTech used a process called Production Modeling to re-create the sounds of some of both artists' greatest live and studio recordings. Speaker cabinets, mic placement, pre and post effects, and the elusive element that DigiTech calls "engineer's magic" are all carefully modeled.

 

Both the Crossroads and Experience pedals give you dual outputs, one for your amp and one for a mixer. The Experience pedal also has three Flexible Output Modes for running different sound setups that allow you to switch among mono out (the default), stereo mixer, or stereo amp modes. A footswitch input on the Experience pedal allows you to cycle through the models and switch between toe and heel modes.

 

Each pedal has a knob on the right side that dials up seven different presets that represent each artist's sound on their greatest recordings. The Crossroads pedal has a level control on the left knob while the Experience pedal has a dual control tip-ring knob, controlling gain/level. Two inner knobs control reverb and other effects. Both pedals include an Artist Series pick and gig bag, plus a power supply and owner's manual. From here the pedals diverge in re-creating the distinctive sounds of these two electric guitar icons.

Deconstructing Slowhand

DigiTech went to the source to create the Crossroads Artist Series pedal, enlisting not only Eric himself, but also Clapton's long-time guitar tech Lee Dickson. Crucial recordings from Clapton's 30-year career were analyzed including "Sunshine of Your Love," "Badge," "Lay Down Sally," "Reptile," "Crossroads," and both the unplugged and electrified versions of "Layla." The sonic environments of the tunes were then painstakingly analyzed and re-created for each patch.

 

The power blues sound of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" roars with distortion gain. For the swirling guitar breaks in "Badge," Eric played his guitar through a rotary organ speaker. Fire up the corresponding patch on a stereo rig panned hard left and right and you'll get that exact tone.

 

Some of Eric's most famous licks are on the electrified "Layla" from the Derek and the Dominos album, on which he played his Fender Strat through a tweed Fender Champ amplifier. That sound is carefully re-created here, with two control knobs in the center letting you adjust elements like EQ, distortion gain, and reverb.

 

A defining moment in late-period Clapton was his appearance on MTV's "Unplugged" series, when Eric and band played acoustic versions of his electric material, including "Layla." Model 6 on the Crossroads pedal gives your electric guitar the sound of Eric's vintage acoustic on this famous performance.

 

Model 7 revisits the title track "Reptile" from the 2001 release, featuring the classic jazz sound of a Gibson L-5 jazz guitar through his custom Cornell tweed combo, with a touch of reverb and chorus.

These presets re-create the sounds from some of Eric's greatest recorded moments - and with your own creativity you can adjust the control knobs to create limitless variations.

Are you EXPERIENCED?

DigiTech was honored to be chosen by the Hendrix family to re-create the unique tones that Jimi used to forge his musical vision. DigiTech tapped their new Production Modeling process, using two powerful AudioDNA chips per pedal. Drawing on the original recordings, Digitech reproduced each song's tone with great accuracy.

 

Jimi's legendary engineer, Eddie Kramer, was brought in to help resurrect many of Jimi's most crucial sounds. All the gear that Hendrix used to achieve his incredible sounds was identified and modeled. This list includes the Marshall Super Lead and Fender Bassman amps, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, Roger Mayer Octavia, Unicord Univibe, Vox Clyde McCoy Wah Wah pedals, and more. DigiTech even had a small rotary speaker custom built to capture the rotary cabinet sound used on "Little Wing."

 

The seven song models include "Purple Haze," "Wind Cries Mary," "Foxey Lady," "Little Wing," "All Along the Watchtower," "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," and "Star Spangled Banner." Pressing the toe of the expression pedal accesses tones used for song intros, while tapping the heel brings up lead tones, with two lead tones available on a couple of patches. For example, on "Purple Haze," tap with your toe and you'll hear the intro patch modeling the Fuzz Face pedal, Marshall 100W Super Lead amp, and EMT plate reverb. Pressing with your heel activates the octave-divided guitar solo tone, modeling Roger Mayer's Octavia Pedal.

Features & Specs:

 

 

DigiTech Artist Series Crossroads and Experience

Crossroads Eric Clapton Pedal
  • Controls: Level, Cntrl 1, Cntrl 2, Model, On/Off l
  • Jacks: Input, Out 1, (Amp), Out 2 (Mixer)
  • Input impedance: 1M Ohms
  • Dimensions: 4-15/16"(L) x 3-1/8"(W) x 2-1/8"(H)
  • Power consumption: 4.8W
  • Weight: 2 lbs.
  • Power supply included

 

Jimi Hendrix Experience Pedal
  • Controls: Gain, Level, High, Low, Reverb, Control
  • Jacks: Input, Footswitch Out 1 (Amp), Out 2 (Mixer)
  • Input impedance: 1M ohms
  • Dimensions: 10.14(L) x 3.84(W) x 2.47(H)
  • Power consumption: 4.5W
  • Weight: 3-3/8 lbs.
  • Power supply included