I use a magnetic pickup to run my guitar signal through an Electro-Harmonix Super Ego granular synthesizer. It works great but there are times when I want to add a Hammond Organ B9-like "click"--not a dry guitar note--to the very beginning edge of a guitar note to be able to show where the beat is a bit better. The Electro Harmonix C9 pedal has this feature but I'd rather save myself a couple of hundred bucks.

For folks who don't know how a super-ego pedal works, you can mix the dry and effected signal in the output. What I'm looking for is a way to emphasize without a tone the initial attack of the guitar. Sort of like a Tic Tac Bass, only done electronically.

Any ideas?

  • Do you need to do this live, or just when recording (i.e. is 'post processing' allowed?) May 7, 2016 at 20:25
  • @topomorto live.
    – empty
    May 8, 2016 at 3:35

4 Answers 4


You are using a synthesiser to generate your sound, so if the synthesiser doesn't have the feature you like then there isn't a lot you can do.

The C9 you mention does provide it so your best bet is to get one of them. You may be able to get a part exchange on your current synth, or possibly sell it and make a profit.


There is a type of compressor called a "Transient processor" that can drop or accentuate any sudden changes in velocity, most commonly drum hits. If you can find a guitar pedal one then you can add this to your live guitar sound and adjust it to only let through the "transients" which will be a click. Then mix it in with your synthesized sound.


It's not straightforward to process a guitar sound into a click with traditional effects - so the click sound would probably have to be triggered separately.

One way to do this live would be to split your signal before you go into the superego and route one branch of your signal into a guitar-to-MIDI converter (something like a Sonuus G2M, which is available quite cheaply, or an i2M) and trigger a sound via MIDI on a computer or sound module. There's likely to be some latency, and of course there may be some investment there - but on the plus side, you're not limited to a click sound.

If you're only playing slow passages, you could probably quite cheaply rig up a footswitch that would make an electronic click that you could tap as you played a note! You might also be able to find a drum machine with a pedal input that could be set up to do this.

  • @empty I think the MIDI idea would still work - and could be cheaper than a new EHX organ pedal if all you need is a second hand audio to midi converter. If you need to buy any more stuff, probably not! May 8, 2016 at 7:04
  • Latency is definitely an issue. I got rid of my old Midi rig for that reason
    – empty
    May 8, 2016 at 23:57
  • @empty ...though of course the EHX organ pedals also exhibit latency. Not sure how they compare to the better MIDI solutions in that respect... May 9, 2016 at 6:17
  • Zero latency (as far as performance is concerned) on the EHX pedals. They tweak the signal in real time instead of triggering samples.
    – empty
    May 9, 2016 at 16:34
  • 1
    @empty I know it's not triggering samples but the required digital processing by all accounts still causes a perceptible lag - en.audiofanzine.com/misc-guitar-effect/electro-harmonix/… mentions the latency, and has an audio demo (though I'm not sure it's accurate in saying that it works 'like a guitar synth'). May 9, 2016 at 16:58

I'll leave the question unanswered for awhile to see if there are any other suggestions. I like the idea of a Transient Processor but I don't have one of those and they may be more expensive than a C9.

In the meantime, I'll:

  • split the guitar signal before the SuperEgo
  • run one line into the SuperEgo
  • run the other line into a Boss GE-3 amp pedal with the high frequency pegged up and the other frequencies suppressed
  • combine the two lines after the SuperEgo.

It's not perfect because the "click" will have pitch, but it's the best I can do for now.

  • 1
    A quick read shows that the percussive effect was achieved by adding a temporary 2nd and/or 3rd overtone (or a blend?) that hits once and fades, leaving the original note, only refiring the overtone after all notes are released. This sounds like a potential description of "a pitch pedal with envelope follower" setup, so if you have anything like that, maybe put in the send/return and fiddle with it.
    – Yorik
    May 10, 2016 at 20:26

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