Pedals

Silver Apple by Shoe

  • By David A. Evans @tonereport
  • July 15, 2016
  • 0 Comments

Well, Shoe pedals is at it again with its unorthodox Silver Apple wild oscillating fuzz pedal. As some readers might know, Shoe develops and produces only pedals that designer and builder CJM Venter would himself play. It’s true—he’s signed this statement in ink! Venter describes his latest creation as part fuzz pedal and part analog synthesizer. It’s certainly a pedal which rewards users who are willing to experiment with the pedal, “as an extension of your instrument,” as Venter says.

Essentially, the Silver Apple is a fuzz pedal with two oscillators, one of which is connected to a momentary footswitch for mid-song freak outs. The oscillators start from the moment the pedal is clicked on, but the Silver Apple features a useful noise gate just in case the oscillations get a little too crazy. That’s right, the pedal doubles as a monstrous fuzz which produces a supersaturated distortion and great sustain. And at any one moment, only one of the oscillators rings through. Stepping on the momentary footswitch to the right of the bypass switch mutes the first oscillator in favor of the second. As readers might imagine, the footswitch offers the opportunity to jump between two different pitches.

The Silver Apple’s oscillators can be tuned to the key of a song. Say that I want to play a song in C-major. I can play a C on my guitar, then carefully adjust the Pitch 1 knob to match that tone in basically any octave I’d like. To tune the second oscillator, I simply have to step on the momentary switch and adjust the Pitch 2 knob. I decided on G, a perfect fifth above C. Now, when I play the song in C-major, I can let the oscillators ring out. I can emphasize the fifth of the scale or the root note depending on how I feel.

These oscillators really only ring out when the inputted signal falls below a certain threshold. As I played various chords, I noticed no interference from the oscillators. However, as the guitar signal rang out and died down, I noticed a really cool wavering between the guitar’s signal and the oscillator’s signal. At a certain point, the oscillator’s signal came to the fore as an almost infinitely sustained single note.

The Fuzz knob, which Shoe says is “unique to the Deluxe Silver Apple,” controls the oscillators’ pitch ranges. Turning it to the right lowers the tones and actually alters the interval between the two oscillators. At noon, I’d dialed in the major third interval, but when I wanted to lower the pitch range (make both notes sound deeper), I discovered that the major third had turned into a perfect fourth! (Such is the weirdness and intrigue of wholly analog pedals.)

As I said, the fuzz itself is the sort of thick, super-saturated sound of dreams. It’ll verge on the sort of digital motorbike-from-a-video-game sound if you need it to. Or, you can dial it down a bit and get a smooth fuzz with plenty of sustain. As your signal fades, the oscillator’s level will increase. If you’ve “tuned” the oscillators so that they’re in key prior to playing a song, the pedal will sustain those notes. It’s a cool effect if you want a screaming, feedback-like effect, or even a low, analog-synth rumble.

Much of the Silver Apple’s fun derives from its analog quirkiness. Mess around with the oscillators a bit, run them through a delay pedal (as CJM Venter of Shoe recommends), and see what happens. Honestly, a person could easily make the Silver Apple a standalone tone generator, or the go-to box for a psychedelic freak-out. I recommend it for lovers of fuzz who also want something a little . . . weirder.

What We Like

Shoe’s fantastic fuzz with a couple of oscillators thrown in for drone notes.

Concerns

None.

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