How to Play Ambient Guitar Swells with El Capistan (No outside reverb)





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Published on Aug 23, 2014

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In this video, I show an example of how to play ambient guitar swells with just one pedal (or two if you use a volume pedal instead of the volume knob on your guitar).

You will more often than not see guitarists using one or two delays, one or two reverbs, and perhaps additional modulation effects to get nice long spacey swells. Well, you can get very beautiful swells using just the El Capistan tape echo pedal. We will take advantage of the fact that the El Capistan has delay and reverb (a very nice spring reverb).

Here are my settings for ambient swells on the El Capistan:

Tape Head on Fixed and Mode on C.

Spring Reverb (accessible via the “Time” knob’s secondary function) turned up to about 85-90%, or about 3 o’clock.
The “Tape Age” and “Wow and Flutter” were set at about 12 o’clock,
the Mix was about 4 o’clock, and
“Repeats” at about 3 o’clock.
Other secondary functions I left at 12 o’clock

Equipment used:

Gretsch Power Jet
Ernie Ball MVP Volume Pedal
Strymon El Capistan
Vox AC15

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