Scott Matthews, the son of Electro-Harmonix founder Mike Matthews, not only pointed me towards my favorite (Brooklyn-made) bicycle, but also once took me on a tour of the Electro-Harmonix guitar and effects pedal factory. Not only is it in the United States, when just about everything these days is made somewhere else, but it is in New York.
You can take the 7 train there. Talk about not sending manufacturing jobs overseas.
Scott has long dabbled in various technology pursuits, from a multi-paned webpage interface in the early dotcom days, to leading Electro-Harmonix’s successful YouTube outreach program, in which various musicians demo the pedals in YouTube product videos.
Now, he has invented his first effects pedal, and it’s a doozy. Essentially, the 8 Step Program is a sequencer pedal for effects pedals, which lets the user control how other effects pedals behave at a given time. It’s somewhat hard to explain — your best bet might be to watch the above video, for starters. Then, here’s Electro-Harmonix’ official description:
The EHX 8 Step Program plugs into the expression pedal or CV input of other effects pedals and synthesizers, delivering rhythmic sequencer control. With eight independent sliders, each controlling a sequence step, it can turn an ordinary auto-wah into a step filter, a tremolo into a syncopated pulse effect and a pitch-shifter into an arpeggiator.
And here’s what Scott told me about 8 Step Program back in January, when the wheels started turning to make his idea a reality:
I’m just a bit personally jazzed that something I suggested turned into a box. The interesting thing is that you don’t plug instruments into it. Instead, it’s a device for your CV (control voltage)/expression pedal chain. Meaning, for pedals/synths that accept a CV/expression pedal input, it plugs in there
What it does: You have 8 sliders that you can set for different CV levels (meaning, you can set 8 sliders each ranging from the equivalent of your foot all the way up to all the way down with a foot controller). And it then rhythmically cycles through the different settings. And you can change the parameters as it cycles.
I finally comprehend what this thing does. If you’re still struggling with it, check out the video again — it’s fun, and like so many things Matthews-related, it’s from New York.