I got to play a bit more ambient guitar this weekend, and have some more fun with my Live effects box/looper setup. One effect I get a lot of mileage out of in this setup is the Grain Delay. I use several of them for a few different purposes, one of which is pitch shifting for generating low bass notes and high harmonized melodies.

This is no super clean Eventide-style pitch shifting. It creates a noticeable pulsation in the signal and has an overall quirky sound to it that I like.

My basic setup for pitch shifting looks like this:


The key settings are:

  • Pitch is set to the number of semitones you want to transpose the signal. The above setting is for a perfect fifth up. 
  • Delay Time is set to 1ms to pitch shift the signal without noticeably delaying it.
  • Frequency can be tweaked to adjust the rate of the pulsing
  • Feedback can be turned up to add additional shifts. In this case, turning it up will generate additional perfect fifths above the shifted signal.

Once you’ve got a sound that you like, try putting a standard delay (like the Filter Delay) after the shifted signal to really space it up a notch…and make sure to try it out on drums and other instruments you might not think of as candidates for pitch shifting.

mmmmmm, weird.