Sunday, December 20, 2009

Steve Vai Duets With The Jemini Distortion Pedal

Not exactly a new video but a pretty entertaining one nonetheless.

Designed by Steve Vai and manufatured by Ibanez, the Jemini is a two-channel distortion device. The Jemini's left channel produces a smooth distortion with even overtones, while the right channel is, as Vai describes it, "grainier, with a lot more hair".

Vai sets up the Jemini's smoother left channel with the overdriven rhythm channel of his amp, kicking in the pedal for solos. The Jemini's right channel is used with the clean channel of his amp to accentuate its 'gnarly' characteristics.

Vai does a really good job demo'ing each of the Jemini's channels in two solo spots before performing a duet with himself, trading rhythms and solos.  When he puts the pedal's right channel through a rather skinny-sounding chorus-laden clean amp channel, he had me thinking how's he going to make that work?

As Vai plays the duet it all makes perfect sense.  Separating the two guitar parts with different tone frequencies, he cleverly avoids the tonal collision that using the same fat, creamy sound on both guitars would create.  No muddled frequencies!   His multi-guitar layering on Whitesnake's Slip Of The Tongue is still a reference for me from an engineering perspective -- check it out for how Vai lays down what must be 25 or 30 guitar parts per track, and have them all jive frequency-wise.    

A longtime devotee of the Boss DS-1 distortion pedal, check out also Vai's sly reference at 2:19!

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