By: Rob Cavuoto
Who hasn’t picked up the guitar and not wanted to sound like their idol? For me growing up it was Eddie Van Halen. The desire to capture his sound on “Unchained” was always key and the only way to do was to find a Flanger – that magical flame sound and jet engine sweep!
TC Electronic now provides guitarists with a way to get a great Flanger, with the addition of preset downloadable artist’s signature sounds called TonePrints. From their website you can have instant access to sounds and tones of today’s hot guitarists like Orianthi, Bumblefoot and John Petrucci to name a few.
Being a bit of a self-proclaimed gearhead, when I heard about this new pedal and the download capabilities, I just had to give it a try. Even though I love playing with the knobs to find that perfect sound and effect, it’s very cool to have preset options. TC Electronic provides a nice array of artist’s sounds and I appreciated the fact that the TonePrints are free and that I didn’t have to spend hours trying to learn how to download them to the pedal.
It’s pretty intuitive even for me. (Gearhead I am, computer geek I’m not). For example, Bumblefoot’s Positive Flanger TonePrint sound is like a warm vintage type flange, while Orianthi’s TonePrints is more of a classic flange sound which is nice and clean. TonePrint is an added bonus to a solid performing Flanger.
With or without the TonePrints, I was able to have some fun spinning the knobs and really explore the limits of the Vortex’ sonic capabilities. Running my old Gallien-Krueger 210G amp clean, along with my distortion pedal, I found that it was extremely quiet on or off. When I kicked it in the effect didn’t overwhelm the tone of the guitar or my distortion pedal. It was deep enough to provide a rich, powerful, and intense flange that ranged from a light whooshing all the way from a 747 jet taking off (which my 7 year old daughter really loved!).
I’m not sure how I would incorporate that 747 in my playing, but you never know. When I used the Vortex without a distortion pedal, I found that it added some brightness to the sound without the computerized tinny effect that you can sometimes get from rack mounted effects. The sound was organic.
The unit is compact in size (a little bigger than a digital camera) yet sturdy. It is equipped with four control knobs and True Bypass switch that offer a variety of sounds all designed to let you have fun finding your inner Eddie Van Halen.
With so many Flangers on the market it can sometimes be overwhelming to pick one that works best for your style and sound. To all my fellow Flanger junkies, I highly recommend to giving this pedal a try as it is a well-made and moderately priced pedal. I’ve already added it to my bag of tricks and mounted it to my pedal board! The TC Electronic Vortex Flanger Guitar Effects Pedalretails for about $130. BTW – Don’t forget to check out their site for other TonePrint pedals with artist’s sounds are updated regularly.