Tag Archives: in the spotlight

In The Spotlight: Antonio Paone of Verona, IT

Ciao a tutti! This round of In The Spotlight takes us all the way to Verona, Italy, where we find musician, session guitarist, and instructor, Antonio Paone! One aspect of being a session player is having the ability to draw up a huge variety of tones and playing approaches. Having a diverse set of effects to draw on is an essential tool of the session player. Today, you’ll get a peak into Antonio’s approach to how he utilizes his pedalboard in ways that render it useful to his session-based profession.

[Mimmo]: Introduce yourself! What’s your story?

[Paone]: Hi! I’m Antonio Paone, a musician from Verona, Italy. In the last few years I’ve been playing a lot of Pop/Rock music, so I began a sound research that could guarantee me a range of sounds that could satisfy (almost) every sound request. My main guitar is a Fender Stratocaster American Special with some mods (a DiMarzio Fast Track 2 on the bridge, a Wilkinson bridge and Sperzel tuning pegs).

[Mimmo]: Give us 2-3 songs that allow you to utilize your pedalboard in a unique way.

[Paone]: There is a composition called “La Prova del Fuoco” (a different way to see Mozart’s masterpiece “Die Zauberflote”) by the composer Igor Bianchini (we recorded it recently in a recording studio, but unfortunately the master isn’t ready yet) that demands me a huge variety of sounds: from a crystalline clean tone, passing by a susceptible crunch, to the most aggressive heavy metal distortion that I can provide; using also some modulation effects (chorus, delay, reverb, etc.) and mixing the use of the volume pedal and the volume pot of the guitar (I use my Music Man Luke II for this particular tune).

Also a song that makes me use my pedalboard in a very creative way is “Rewind” (a song by Vasco Rossi). I made an arrangement of this tune with the band “I Folli”: with a crunchy sound, delay, reverb and chorus I recreated the characteristic sound of the keyboards that you can hear in the intro of the song, but leaving a guitar identity to the sound (also the rest of the guitar part for this arrangement is a mixture of the guitar sound and this “keyboard-like sound”, accentuating the predominant sound in the moment when it’s necessary).

[Mimmo]: What are some songs, artists, or guitarists that have influenced the way you utilize your pedalboard?

[Paone]: Oh let’s see… There are so many incredible musicians who inspire me every time I see them using their pedalboards. Steve Lukather always impresses me with his distorted sound; Mateus Asato, Mark Lettieri and Lari Basilio have a very tasty clean/crunch sound.

A guitarist that blows my mind for his sound variety is Tim Pierce. Luca Colombo also is a great inspiration for me for guitar sounds in pop culture. Recently I’m pretty much into the Vocoder because of the amazing Jacob Collier: I find his way of using it outstanding.

[Mimmo]: Are there any sounds you would like to emulate that you haven’t quite found out how to do yet?

[Paone]: I don’t have a pedal that allows my guitar to sound like a synth, so I’m pretty curious about the synth sound of Pat Metheny (the one that he used in “Are You Going With Me?”, to be clear).

After researching it, I saw that you can get a sound very close to Metheny’s with the use of the Roland GR-55, but I haven’t tried that yet.

[Mimmo]: A little off topic here, out of curiosity what is the best venue you’ve played?

[Paone]: I have a strong emotional connection to the “Teatro Bibiena” in Mantua; that’s because many years ago I saw Mike Stern (with Tom Kennedy and Steve Smith) in there and I thought “Man, what a beautiful venue to play in.” Last May I played in there with a jazz Big Band: it was really gratifying.


Quick-Fire Favorites:

Favorite Overdrive, Distortion, or Fuzz?

Suhr Eclipse

Favorite Chorus, Phase Shifter, or Flanger?

Strymon Mobius

Favorite Wah or Expression Pedal?

Xotic XW-1

Favorite Compressor?

TC Electronic Hyper Gravity Compressor

Favorite Boost?

Suhr Koko Boost Reloaded

Antonio Paone's main pedalboard

Antonio Paone’s main pedalboard

Pedalboard: (total current consumption: 431mA)

TC Electronic Polytune 2 -> Custom Audio Electronics MC 404 -> Mooer Envelope -> Xotic BB Preamp -> Suhr Eclipse -> Suhr Riot Replaced -> TC Electronic Corona Chorus

FX Loop:

TC Electronic Flashback Delay -> TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb -> Mooer E-lady -> Suhr Koko Boost Reloaded

Extras:

  1. TC Electronic Flashback X4 Delay – “I use this when I need many different delay type and settings. I put it as the last pedal in the FX Loop.”
  2. DigiTech The Drop – “I use this when I need to tune the guitar half /whole step down, I put it as the very first pedal in my chain.
  3. Also, for the wireless connection, I use the Line 6 Relay G30.


You can find Antonio Paone on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Paone has played in many musical groups and provides guitar instruction at Laboratorio Superiore Musicale in Cerea, Verona province, Veneto, Italy.

In The Spotlight: Tim Crowe of crowe.effects

We’re going local on this In The Spotlight with Tim Crowe of crowe.effects! I met up with Tim at the Western New York Guitar Show back in Spring, 2017. The experience of meeting up with a local pedal-maker and the idea of starting this interview series left me with no choice but to ask for Tim’s participation. He was more than happy to answer a few questions, here’s what he had to share:


[Mimmo]: How would you tell the story of crowe.effects?

[Crowe]: About 10 years ago, I bought a mod kit for a BOSS Blues Driver. It took me forever to get the thing working, but I had a great time figuring it out. It was a definite learning experience. After my band, Well Worn Boot, decided to call it quits a couple years ago, I decided to delve a little deeper into pedal building, modding, etc. A few months after I started building under the name crowe.effects, I found out a friend of mine, Nik, was also building some stuff. We decided to work together on builds, and here we are!

Stinger (Artist: Jen Crowe)

[Mimmo]: When you start thinking of building a new product where do you start? What is your design process like?

[Crowe]: The majority of my customers reach out to me looking for custom clones or variants on existing circuits. Someone might shoot me an email saying they want a Univibe type of pedal with more low-end control, they want a Tone Bender Fuzz that can run on a regular power supply, or they want a different voicing on an already existing OD. . .that type of thing. From there, I work with the customer to find just what they’re looking for in terms of the tone, art, design, etc. Essentially, the customer has a say in every little detail, so they get exactly what they want – a pedal tailored to their specific needs. Sometimes I like the pedals enough to build a few and release them, and other times I never think about them again. We also have some great original designs and pedal builds of our own. Ultimately, we’ll pull ideas together from all over the place to create something new.

In terms of the art on the pedals, I’m lucky to have some very talented and kind friends. All the artwork on my pedals is done by local artists. They’ve been kind enough to allow me to use their work. In most cases, they send me illustrations they’ve already completed, and when I feel something fits a pedal, I’ll use it. The artist names always appear on the side of the pedal, and they also receive 15% of the profits from any sales bearing their work. I’ve also had customers design their own art, and my wife, Jen, does most of the illustrations for custom work. I’m always on the lookout for new artists, too, so if any of your readers happen to illustrate and want to see their work on a pedal, I’d love to hear from them!

Victorian Vibe (Artist: Mickey Harmon)

[Mimmo]: Are there any particular sounds you wish to capture but haven’t quite hit?

[Crowe]: In terms of sounds I’d like capture but never quite hit, I have to admit that I have trouble with super high gain, metal-type distortions. I’ve built a bunch of them, modded a bunch of them, combined various portions of various high gain distrotion circuits, but for whatever reason, none of them ever seem to be exactly what I would want, hence not having one in my lineup. Don’t get me wrong, many have sounded good, but to me, there just isn’t a really high gain distortion that can cut it like a nice high gain amp can. My favorite high gain distortion is the Wampler Triple Wreck, but even that is missing something that only a Mesa Triple Rectifier can provide.

[Mimmo]: Choose a genre and build a pedalboard for a guitarist in your chosen genre. Which crowe.effects pedals would you select? Which products would you select outside of crowe.effects?

[Crowe]: This is a tough one! I think what I’ll do, if it’s ok with you, is just tell you about my board. I’m into indie rock type of stuff, but also like to get weird and shoegazey sometimes. My board’s a little complex, but nothing too crazy.

So I have two “lines.” Each one goes into a loop on the crowe.effects Two Spot which gives me the option to have the setup be Line 1 -> Line 2 or the reverse, Line 2 -> Line 1. That makes things very versatile. If you’ve never put a really wet reverb in front of a fuzz, do it! I have a crowe.effects buffer and a TC Polytune Mini before the Two Spot.

Line 1: Dunlop Mini-Volume/Expression pedal -> Dunlop Mini Wah -> crowe.effects Compressor -> crowe.effects Plexotron -> EHX POG 2 -> Strymon Mobius -> crowe.effects Bulb Deluxe -> crowe.effects Duel Drive -> crowe.effects Total Harmonic Corruption -> crowe.effects Skull Fuzz

Line 2: Strymon Mobius -> Strymon TimeLine -> crowe.effects Deluxe Timepiece Delay -> crowe.effects EchoVerb -> Strymon Big Sky -> crowe.effects Mega Trem Bot -> Strymon Flint -> crowe.effects Bulb Deluxe

A couple other side notes, after the two loops everything runs through an EHX Freeze, then an EHX 22500 Looper and out into my amp. The Volume/Exp pedal is on a crowe.effects true bypass looper. When the loop is off it’s just for EXP, and when it’s on, it does both EXP and volume. The EXP out runs through a Mission Expressionator, which lets you control expression settings on any combination of 3 separate pedals with one expression pedal, in my case, the Mobius, TimeLine, and BigSky.

Antiquus Fuzz (Artist: Jen Crowe)

[Mimmo]: Are there any other boutique pedal manufacturers for which you have a definitive amount of respect? Any companies that you simply cannot get enough of?

[Crowe]: I’m a huge fan of Strymon‘s modulation, delay, and reverb stuff. I suppose they’re the company I can’t get enough of at the moment. Their Mobius, TimeLine, and BigSky pedals are all absolutely amazing. They’re all digital, which turns some people off, but I love them. I’m also a huge fan of EarthQuaker Devices. They have an excellent lineup with some really unique pedals.

[Mimmo]: Popular advice for learning how to design and build effects units usually bounces between purchasing kits and performing mods on existing pedals. Is this how you started? What advice might you have for “young players”?

[Crowe]: That’s absolutely where I started. No full pedal kits, but modding for sure. In terms of advice, I would recommend getting your hands on Brian Wampler’s DIY Books. They’re available free online, and it’s my understanding that Wampler is cool with people sharing them, just not selling them. They’re an excellent resource. I learned a ton from them. In addition to owning an awesome pedal company, Wampler has done a lot for DIY folks, which I personally think is pretty awesome of him to do.

Anchor Point (Artwork: Tim Crowe)

[Mimmo]: The Internet, especially social media, is an incredible resource. How has it helped you in building crowe.effects?

[Crowe]: I primarily use Instagram and Facebook for social media, and it’s been huge. Most of my customers outside of Western New York contact me through one of the two, and I’ve had some success in working things out for custom pedals that way. I’ve also built some friendships, too, which is always nice. Even if people don’t buy anything from me, I enjoy just talking about gear, so it’s always good to hear from people, even if they don’t turn into customers.

[Mimmo]: Is crowe.effects considered a part-time hobby or do you do this full time?

[Crowe]: Currently, crowe.effects is not my full-time gig – I also teach high school English. Between the teaching and the pedals, I’m happy to say I have two jobs that I really enjoy!


Look out for crowe.effects on Facebook, Instagram and website (currently under construction)!