Tips & Tricks: Songwriting Rig

Tips & tricksFor songwriting, as well as for practicing, every source of inspiration is important. I already wrote about a songwriting pedalboard, and in this second part I would like to add some ideas that might promote creativity.

Korg Volca

The small Volcas should not be underrated with regard to the possibilities they offer and besides, they are pretty affordable. The Korg Volca Keys can be used to create nice bass lines. In flux mode, the sequence will be continuously recorded and played back, regardless of the step. The Volca FM is perfect for soundscapes. The Volca Sample might also be interesting, for it can be used as a drum computer or to play back individual samples.
For those who are looking for a setup with several Volcas connected with one another, a small midi controller is a suitable addition to control each Volca via a respective midi bus. The Arturia Keystep is pretty recommendable because it is compact and offers various functions.

If there is already a DigiTech SDRUM on your pedalboard, you can synchronize the Volcas by using the DelayDude Midi Sync cable. By doing so, you can start the virtual backing group via the footswitch of the SDRUM.


In the case of using one or several Korg Volcas in your rig, the question arises what kind of amplification might be the best. One option is, to use a small mixer to add the signal to the guitar signal, so that both signals will be fed to the amplifier. Behringer for example offers a small and compact mixer (MX400). If you are looking for a larger mixing console, it might make sense to chose one with EQ and some integrated effects. In this case, you can also add some reverb to the sound of the Volcas.

If your mixing console offers an integrated AUX channel, the Korg Kaosspad might be another interesting supplement. Synced via midi, this device offers the possibility to add suitable delays as well. And, the Kaosspad offers a looping function that allows to sample the Volcas.


But: Running all this stuff on one guitar amplifier is not the best idea. If there is an old and unused transistor amplifier in the back of your rehearsal room, you ought to use it for your Volcas. Of course, a PA would be even better, but a small amp is also sufficient to amplify the sound of the Volcas.
And for those who already decided to synchronize everything via midi, you can connect the looper and the delay right away. If there are not enough midi thru jacks, you can add a midi splitter.

The looper is now suitable to record song ideas and backing tracks. Thus, you have already saved your ideas when you make up your way to the rehearsal room.
But you can also use an amp simulator to record the tracks directly via Ableton, Logic or Cubase. For a flexible looper you can connect Ableton via midi. By doing so, you can control the individual loops by footswitch.

This setup offers almost unlimited options so you can let your creative imaginations run free.