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Thread: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

  1. #1
    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Okay, here is my next tone investigation:
    The bagpipe-sounding guitar lines in the song "In a Big Country" by the band Big Country.
    Delays set for really short repeats? Weird eq? Eventide strikes again??

    I recall when the song was new they were asked how they got the guitars to sound like bagpipes and they just said "it's the melodies we play, not the guitar sound" and as a naive teenager I believed them but I heard that song today on the radio and I call bs! The sound is definitely processed to give a very specific tonal effect but I have no idea what's used.

    Sorry, I can't link a video on my tablet but if you type "Big Country" it pops right up on YouTube. I just watched a live concert clip from 1983 and the lead guitar player seems to be playing through a Marshall half stack but he definitely has a few pedals on the floor and he is messing with them before each one of those runs. The singer/rythm guitarist doubles that line at one point but the rest of the time it's just one guitar and it still has that warbly sound. Chorus set really fast??

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    Cat In The Hatministrator stevie_bees's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    I wonder if using a cocked wah, set more towards toe down would give a good base for it? Bagpipes are quite a piercing sound, and quite narrow frequency-wise.


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    Cat In The Hatministrator stevie_bees's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Bear in mind, you actually have 2 sounds coming from a set of bagpipes, the drone notes and the melody.


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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Play open chords leaving a few strings droning -A or D is usually the string left to do the Drone, and get a Boss Super Shifter or an EHX Pitchfork and run a harmonic or 5th with your chords.

    also, there a lot of playing technics that mimic it without as much gear -Listen to Scottish rock bands like Frightened Rabbit, Admiral Fallow etc etc -sometimes you'll hear a guitar that tonally and stylistically suggests their heritage.
    Last edited by NegativeEase; 02-12-2019 at 05:54 AM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker saladin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    It's the MXR M-129 Pitch Transposer!

    Last edited by saladin; 02-12-2019 at 04:14 PM.
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    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Quote Originally Posted by saladin View Post
    It's the MXR M-129 Pitch Transposer!

    Did that exist in 1983?

    For earlier posters: I'm not asking how to make my guitar sound like a bagpipe, I am asking how Big Country got that specific sound on those specific lines in that particular song.
    The lead guitar player is stepping on one or two pedals every time he plays those high melodies. It is a tone I never tried to duplicate so I have no idea what he might be using.

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    Mojo's Minions dystrust's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Quote Originally Posted by saladin View Post
    It's the MXR M-129 Pitch Transposer!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Locher View Post
    Did that exist in 1983?

    For earlier posters: I'm not asking how to make my guitar sound like a bagpipe, I am asking how Big Country got that specific sound on those specific lines in that particular song.
    The lead guitar player is stepping on one or two pedals every time he plays those high melodies. It is a tone I never tried to duplicate so I have no idea what he might be using.
    From what I've been able to find online, it most likely did exist in 1983. As far as what he was stepping on, a friend of mine had a couple of those MXR rack units (though not a Pitch Transposer) and they used a 1/4" latching switch for bypass. It's possible that he had a simple amp style foot switch on his board.
    Quote Originally Posted by crusty philtrum View Post
    And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    That would make sense. In the concert clip one can clearly see rack stuff beside the Marshall, closer to the singer.
    There is delay in there, possibly an eq, and then this pitchy thing...

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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Oh, you want the exact way Big Country made it?

    and MXR-129 and whole bunch of Boss chorus/delay pedals

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    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    Oh, you want the exact way Big Country made it?

    and MXR-129 and whole bunch of Boss chorus/delay pedals
    Yes. Thank you!

  11. #11
    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    When I saw them live, it was just the two different guitars playing slightly out of tune. Seriously. But YMMV.
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Locher View Post
    Yes. Thank you!
    But look at my comment #4 -The Boss Super Shifter and EHX Pitch do the EXACT Octave and 5th Harmonizer effect that Big Country used on that old MXR 129 -and for a sixth of the money and in a pedal!

    Just add Boss Chorus pedal and maybe some Grit

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    Mojo's Minions LLL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    With this post and the former Britny Fox post, sounds like Mr. Locher needs an Eventide bad.
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  14. #14
    Super Toneologist Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Effects for the bagpipe guitar lines in "In a Big Country"?

    Quote Originally Posted by LLL View Post
    With this post and the former Britny Fox post, sounds like Mr. Locher needs an Eventide bad.
    Ha! The thought is starting to occur to me!
    That thread got me listening for it. I heard this song and I thought "Is that...?"
    Just curiosity, though. For now...

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