Over the past decade, Pittsburgh band Code Orange have rewritten the rulebook on hardcore guitar playing, incorporating low-tuned guitars, electronic elements and a huge tonal palette into boundary-pushing compositions.
Guitarist Reba Meyers has played a huge role in that tonal evolution and in a new clip for pedal firm EarthQuaker Devices – premiered exclusively with Guitar World –the guitarist demos some of her groundbreaking pedal technique.
This isn’t your regular rundown, though. Instead, Meyers takes a break from readying Code Orange’s new album The Above (out September 29) and whips up a free-flowing remix medley, incorporating a grab-bag of licks and tricks from across her recent writing.
“EarthQuaker reached out me to do another video with them, and I felt inspired to create a free form performance instead of just a typical ’board run through,” explains Meyers.
“Taking a musical release to its final stage can sometimes be very mentally demanding, so I took this opportunity to get out of that headspace. I simply enjoyed creatively exploring melody however felt right in the moment, using their pedals to add unpredictability and expression.”
The result is a fascinating melding of new material, distorted drum loops, expression-warped modulation and tunneling reverbs.
“The EQD Aurelius and Astral Destiny pedals in particular were key elements of this and a true joy for me use,” says Meyers. “I pushed everything through a waterfall of colorful pedals from EarthQuaker Devices, Z.Vex, Moog, Boss, AMT, and DigiTech.
“Focusing heavily on the expression features of the pedals, I tried to showcase the movement and living, breathing, musical energy that they bring to the table. Creativity can be brought to light in many ways, and the unpredictability of pedals is one of my favorites to show mine.”
Meyers has kindly supplied a full list of gear used in the clip, alongside her Fender Telecaster and Roland JC-120 amp. It’s a sweet shopping list, but also widely available and relatively accessible, so you won’t need to sweat it out finding the right vintage Rat or Klon to recreate some of these sounds.
It’s also huge, but we’re here for that, so strap in… The full list includes a Z.Vex Machine, Z.Vex Sonar, AMT wah, Boss Harmonizer, EQD Astral Destiny, EQD Disaster Transport, EQD Data Corrupter, EQD Rainbow Machine, Moog expression pedal, AMT expression pedal, EQD Avalanche Run, EQD Park Fuzz, EQD Bit Crusher, EQD Cloven Hoof, DigiTech Drop, EQD Aurelius, EQD Aqueduct and Moog Clusterflux… Phew.
Obviously theres a bias to EarthQuaker boxes, given the sponsor of the clip, but Meyers says nothing is there for decoration.
“I used some more heavily than others, but all had a purpose in the overall piece,” explains Meyers. The result is an impressive exploration of a huge variety of guitar tones, from crunching break-up to colorful chorus and some haunting, bass-y reverbs, through to the harsher, heavier sounds that have become Code Orange’s calling card.
Meyers’ use of expression pedals is particularly interesting, especially when linked to the Aurelias’ modulation rate control, which as she notes in the later interview segment, “I just feel is the most extreme-sounding change, which is why I like it so much.”
The final essential equipment consideration, Meyers notes, is footwear: “If you’re wondering why I’m weirdly wearing just socks in this video,” she says, “it’s just much easier to tap-dance pedals like that!”