Last month I gave you a totally fabulous and INGENIUS (and humble) tour of the new Beat Buddy pedal that debuted earlier this year. And I’ll have you know, Bigfoot Music gave the Buddy our ringing endorsement. HOWEVER, perhaps you’ve read up on and even played around with a Beat Buddy of your own, and though you may have appreciated all that it can do and the depth of thought put into the quality of the sounds and the logic of the brain…there’s still something missing in your bedroom jamming sessions (and no, that wasn’t MEANT to sound dirty, but oh well…I’m cursed).
It isn’t enough to have a robotic drummer at your beck and call…you want the whole sha-bang! Allow me to introduce you to Digitech’s new little monster, the Digitech Trio.
Here’s the thing about the modern world: it’s hard. And it’s busy. And despite our intense love of music (and gear) around here, those of us on staff will be the first to tell you that a busy schedule is the enemy of a good, long jam session, and for a couple of reasons: 1) it’s hard to get all your friends in one place at one time to even play in the first place since we’re all spending our time struggling to figure out what it means to be freakin’ adults and pay bills and feed kids and milk cows and sheer sheep…(sorry, I seem to have mixed up being an adult with being a livestock farmer)…anyway! And, 2) when we finally DO get the rare opportunity to all get together and jam, we have to compromise and deal with egos and figure out what exactly we want to play and who gets to solo and eventually the drummer gets tired and the bassist gets drunker and the lead guitarist is emotionally wounded because no one else appreciates his/her genius! Sound familiar?
Digitech knows. And Digitech have sent their child, the Trio, to ease your suffering. Halleluyer!
What’s it For?
The Trio guitar pedal is the ideal practice and jamming tool for those of us deeply ingrained in the hustle and bustle of life and yet STILL need to get the Led out regularly. The genius of it lies in two simple steps: show the pedal how you play, and then let the pedal jam with you. No fuss, no muss. Here’s how it works:
Say you’re just starting to play guitar, and you may know a couple of chords and you can strum at a decent tempo but you are looking to improve your mad skills and get better and better without having to go through the hassle of finding others to play with and then making them suffer as you awkwardly stumble through the new frontier. Trust me, I’ve been there before. It’s a rough couple of months to start with pretty much any instrument, especially guitar. And let’s say you’re exposure to guitar-driven music is pretty limited to a couple of genres, like pop and rock or blues and jazz. No problem. The Trio is a great listener and fast learner.
To start, you click the footswitch once to tell the Trio to start listening. After you’ve played your chord pattern maybe once or twice, click the switch a second time on the downbeat (like a loop station) and viola! All of a sudden, you’ll be playing and there is a complete, invisible rhythm section playing along with you! Of course, the logic of the Digitech Trio (though pretty darn sophisticated) is still limited, so you are given control over the following: Genre (Rock, Country, R&B, Pop, Jazz, Alternative, and Blues), Style (up to 12 per genre), Tempo, as well as respective Drum and Bass levels. You essentially play your patterns, activate what the Trio offers as a complimentary jam session, and then custom-tailor the Trio’s genre and style to YOUR genre and style. You want to play a heavy metal lick but in 3/4 time instead of 4/4? You got it. You want to explore the murky depth of jazz-fusion-funk in cut-time with a swing? You can do that, too. Heck, you just want to sit down and mindlessly jam to a 12-bar blues pattern until your fingers ache with angst? The Trio is there to give you the full-band experience any time you please, without all the complications of navigating a full band.
Now, let’s say you’re looking to start writing and composing songs, but you don’t really know how to flesh it out beyond your guitar parts. Not everyone can be a multi-instrumentalist or a music theory prodigy. Some of us just know one, maybe two instruments pretty well. The Trio is there to give you some ideas to springboard off of. Teach the Trio the chops you’ve already got, and then explore what the Trio has to offer! Heck, maybe you have a couple of tried and true original tunes you like well enough, but you’re bored with them and would like to experiment with different versions (maybe your country-pop ballad would sound more interesting as a death metal epic? Let’s try it!). The Trio can help with that as well! Heck, it’s YOUR band.
And let’s just say you’re a veteran guitarist who has played with everyone and everything and you’re just looking for something that you don’t need to feed, water and talk to that can jam with you as long as you need for practice and improvement. The Trio is a great tool to help keep your chops up and improve your overall versatility and improvisational playing. I’ve personally found it very helpful in developing my own abilities in improvisational lead lines in the context of what I already know. Since that’s the thing: because the Trio learns from you FIRST, it never gets any more complicated than you want it to. This is a great, hands-on practice tool that challenges you without ever giving you more than you can handle.
Let’s dive into the tech, shall we?
What’s it Got?
The Trio pedal can be added to your pedal set up just like any other stomp box. And I probably should clarify this before we talk about anything else; the Trio is NOT a loop station, nor does it have one installed, which may have been a really cool thing for Digitech to consider outright with the pedal’s design, but for whatever reason they chose to forgo that feature… for now, anyway!
As far as the literal ins and outs of the Trio go, the little band-in-a-box comes with what the owner’s manual refers to as “auto-sensing” output jacks, which are basically designed to automatically optimize the output signals’ quality in such a way as to best compliment whatever you’re hooking it up to. For example, when using the mixer out, speaker cabinet emulation is added to your guitar signal and is then merged into a single mono-signal with the drums and bass mix so as to create the feel of a live band all in one shot. However, if you were to split the output between the mixer out and the amp out, only the bass and drums mix is fed to the mixer and your guitar’s signal is sent to your amp. Kinda neat, right? You can also hook up the Trio into your effects loop or auxiliary inputs in most guitar amps* and into headphones so you don’t drive your household crazy.
Now obviously it has a guitar input jack (which they recommend that the signal going into your Trio should be the cleanest possible), a Control In for their Digitech FS3X footswitch (optional) so you can be truly hands-free with your jamming (again, why does that sound so wrong to me?), and a USB port so you can update the Trio’s firmware once you register it with Digitech’s website. Sounds like they’re already making all kinds of extra downloadable goodies for you!
Talking interface now, the pedal includes its own added guitar effects (pretty basic, but handy for some genres), 3 different learning banks so you can record different songs parts (example: verse, chorus, bridge), adjustable knobs for both Bass and Drum levels respectively, and a Tempo knob, which allows you to slow down or speed up your jamming tracks without altering pitch or sound quality. Definitely handy! Genre knob helps you choose a different library of Styles depending on what sort of music you like to play, and once you’ve picked your genre, click the footswitch and teach the Trio and start jamming right away!
The Digitech Trio Band Creator pedal is currently going for $179.99 here at the shop and yes, power supply is included. Yay.
So come on by and ask one of us to give you a tour of the Trio. It’s a pretty spiffy piece of tech and definitely has our Bigfoot stamp of approval for jammers, home-recorders, and noodlers everywhere.
Stay Excellent and have a good week!
*(Quick note: using the auxiliary inputs on most amps that come equipped with said inputs will require specific cable hook-ups, usually a ¼” TS – 3.5mm. Also, when using the Trio in a series effects loop (which is the most common kind of effects loops in most amps these days) will not separate the guitar signal from the bass and drums signal, so any overdrive or built in effects that you apply to that Trio’s signal through your amp will effect drums/bass and guitar signal equally. If you’re looking to run through your amp but split your guitar signal, you’ll have to be sure to use an amp with a parallel effects loop and a wet/dry signal pot to blend between the two signals. Otherwise, you’ll have to run the Trio’s Amp output through a separate amp and cab or split with a small mixer into a full-range system).