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Yeah, I think that our ears are most sensitive to changes in pitch; even miniscule ones.

And even more so after we’ve put in the hours training them to hear it.

krcassid wrote:

… I do note tha the “always on” aspect, when pitch is set to unisaon, doesn’t seem to be an issue.   It’s really getting the right pitch, speed, depth and modulation of these 3 variables that is the challenge.  A bigsby or Trem is a lot more complex than one might think, even when just using it for that “quavering” sound in the decay phase. 

I’m right with you there.  If you’re good with the tone at 100%, then it can be done.  I’m a bit of a pitch modulation fanatic myself, but I don’t use the physical whammy bars much anymore on my equipped guitars.  Fretboard control, supplemented by electronics.  The challenge with DSP-generated pitch changes is getting it to sound ‘natural’ (if that’s what you’re after).  Or embrace the pitch variations that are impossible by physical means.  Both are valid approaches, and one type doesn’t exclude the other.  Let’s face it: the current technology behind pitch FX is just getting better & better.

krcassid wrote:

… Simply attaching Exp pedal to pitch and modulating speed or depth doesn’t do it.  I am thinking that it may require seperate modulation of multiple parameters, something the H9 can’t do, but my Eclipse and H8000FW can.   But, I’d really like to stay away from the rack mount gear for this. …

Yes, and no.  I have no doubt that you could pull this off with that rack gear.  It might even be easier, because you’ll have finer control over pitch and modulation.  You can build the effect using individual modules.  But I still think that you can pull it off with the H9.  You just haven’t hit on the right combinations (or algorithm) yet to ‘crack the code’.

Eventide’s take on expression pedal control is amazingly deep.  No less than morphing through intermediate ‘presets’ with parameter changes, range limits, and reverse directions.  But there are some limitations that can be problematic with advanced mappings.  For example, the ‘taper’ of DEPTH decrease may not align nicely with an increase in SPEED.  Difficult to explain in text, but easy to demonstrate in practice.  There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with the implementation.  The nature of the beast is that certain parameter values don’t line up well with each other when trying to obtain a specific result.

An AUX switch can supplement your expression pedal, but this is supposed to seem second-nature, right?  Tap dancing needs to be at a minimum.  I don’t know if you use MIDI, but it’s an extremely powerful option.  I can’t tell you how many ‘impossible’ H9 effects I’ve come up with via MIDI.  One caveat is that you can only throw so much MIDI complexity at the H9 before it starts freaking out.  You’ll know when you’ve pushed it too far.

krcassid wrote:

… I can’t imagine I’m the only guy who would like to nail this.  It seems so simple.  A Bigsby/ Trem does nothing more than vary ptch, right?  It’s not simple.

No, it’s very complex interaction.  And it’s a tactile interaction between hand & brain.  You’re going to lose something with trying to substitute a foot over a pedal with a completely different response.  So you’re going to need an ‘assist’, and that could be the algorithm’s internal modulators, MIDI, or some other external influence.  A combined approach that uses the expression pedal for the ‘main’ effect, plus MIDI or internal / external modulators as the ‘helping hand’.

While I do lean heavily on MIDI, there are ‘smart’ expression pedal devices out there that can automatically modulate your expression pedal input.  EHX 8 Step Program is incredibly deep, as is the Source Audio Reflex pedal.  There are other good ones, but I’m most familiar with these two. I actually use the 2nd device as my through-pedal for the first.  Bottom line is that either one can be a universal modulator for your expression pedal programming.  And your current expression pedal becomes the foot-modulator-for-the-automatic-modulator.

I find multi-modulation expression to be one of the better options:

  • Easy to program and tweak in H9 Control.
  • Automate the parameters that you need.
  • Maintain manual control with a foot pedal.
  • Build your own modulation shapes in the external device.
  • Avoid the potential MIDI headroom limitations on a complex data stream.

All that said, this is an interesting pursuit, and I’d like to help you get there, if I can.  I have a number of other pitch shifting options on my ‘board, so those might trigger some ideas or comparative results.  But I’m pretty much convinced that there isn’t much that you can’t recreate with a MAX-ed out H9.