In reference to the following live performance:

I'd like to know specifically:

  • What technique(s) is he using (does it have a name?) in which he repeatedly hits his guitar at the base and neck (1:48) to create a distorted, vibrating sustained note, and
  • What the most likely pieces of hardware (pedals, cabinets, etc) he's using to continually draw that sustained note out, producing the effect that carries on long into the song, until it ends (3:40).

The only possible starting point I found was the "Vamos - Tabs" located on FrankBlack.net, in which it is mentioned at that point in the song to:

"Buy yourself a white-noise maker and turn it up to ten."

That's great, but for an amateur hobbyist that's just still learning the basics, this doesn't mean a lot. It's clear from the video he has more than just a white-noise maker looped into his equipment.


If I pound on a guitar which has the gain and volume cranked up, you will hear the knocks and they will also cause string vibration. If I have a delay pedal and I tap the "record" button as I am striking the guitar, it will sample and loop that hit, and these hits can be layered, depending on the pedal capabilities.

I hear a repeating loop, some sort of sweeping filter (possibly a wah or auto wah or just a resonating sweep filter). Also, there may be a tremolo pedal effect, but that might be the delay.

I know that in many Pixies recordings, you can hear the effects loop pretty clearly just before the song begins: either he has struck the guitar, or turned on a switch and the effects amplify that signal. I am certain in those cases (celia ann) that there was heavy reverb, chorus and possibly a tremelo effect such as on a Fender Twin amp.

EDITS: Take a look at this one (pick 720p)

at 2:20 and 2:30 in particular, you get really high-res close ups of the pedal board: mxr (smart gate?), Boss Tremolo, Mr. Echo, Hyper Fuzz, Something black with a white knob (mxr?), some other boss pedal, and a large brick of a wah which I don't recognize


This should answer all of your questions regarding what effects, amps and guitars, both Joey and Frank (Charles) use. http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/20360-rig-rundown-pixies

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