Steve Morse’s Volume/Expression Pedal Setup

August 19, 2010 | By | 3 Replies More

First of all, Steve Morse! How ’bout it! Love the guy’s playing. Sick, sick stuff, brilliant playing, seen him many a time, mostly with the Steve Morse Band.

I watched a recent vid (below) of Steve’s tech, Tommy Alderson, running through Steve’s rig. It’s actually kind of boring because the rig is so simple: one Morse signature Engl head run dry (no effects) into 4 Engl cabs, another amp (same head) run wet (effects) into two cabs. That’s it.

And the effects aren’t much: two Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man pedals and a Boss OC-3 Super Octave Pedal. That’s it! Except for some chorus (rack?) on one of the delays.

Which implies that Steve’s pedalboard is pretty darn simple – and it is, which is the interesting part. He uses volume pedals (I assume Ernie Ball?) to control the expression of the two delays and the octave pedal. He does have some presets on an Engl board on the floor (the shiny silver one to the right in the above photo), but doesn’t tap-dance on it as you can tell from the fact that it’s at a right angle to the main pedalboard.

The volume pedals let him control the amount of the wet signal, and “ride the solo, I call it,” Tommy says. “It’s much more effective… It’s basically infinitely controllable…depending on how you feel, what the acoustics [of the venue] are that night….”

Very cool and very interesting.

In the vid below, Steve talks about the volume (expression) pedals starting at 5:04. He notes, “For me it’s the only way to go. Having a preset with here’s delay and suddenly here’s none is too stark. It’s too weird.”

Using expression pedals with effects isn’t new, but is pretty dang rare in the rock world. Anyone have another example? I’m REALLY curious now about manipulating a flanger, a boost/OD…hmmm. Like dialing in a little bit of another pickup. Could result in some unique tonage.

Category: Boss/Roland, Electro-Harmonix, Engl, Steve Morse

Comments (3)

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  1. Buy Guitars says:

    That setup looks amazing. Mine is always a tangled mess of cables & plugs.

  2. Eric says:

    thats, cool. Adam Jones of Tool uses a similar method as well as Jim Thomas from the Mermen, check him out. i think he splits his strat’s pickups into different heads and blends feedback with volume pedals, pretty crazy stuff lol

  3. John Sipple says:

    How would one hook up each separate volume/expression pedal for each effect without swelling or diminishing other effects? Considering your going through 1 effect’s loop?? Post loop. I have the ENGL head but I’m still baffled??

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