North Effects Repeat Percussion

Various

Northwind

The History

The Vox (or later Jen) V809 Repeat Percussion was a distinctly different tremolo effect which was first produced some time in the mid 60s. It was originally a notoriously fragile little module that plugged directly into your amp input, which was then connected to your guitar. The unit was then built into some of the higher end Vox guitars such as the Starstream and Grand Prix. Later the circuit surfaced in a more conventional pedal (combined with the Vox Top Boost) format before wandering off into obscurity for nearly two decades. The original plug in modules now go for considerable sums, with the later pedal versions being even more scarce.

The Clone

Built from the original factory schematic, this will give you the orginal's thumping trem in a handy pedal package without the expense and fragility of the bakelite house originals. The best quality materials have been used throughout (all hand-wired, with Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots, heavy duty die-cast housing). Like the originals there's no tacky LEDs (you'll know when this is on) and no 9V adapter, unlike the originals it does feature true bypass switching so it won't sap your tone when not engaged. Fresh Zinc-Carbon battery included, which should last a very long time. Rather than inflict another poor attempt at graphic design onto the pedal world (and keep the price down), I've decided to keep the look simple by leaving it in its bare aluminium state.

The Sound

At heart the Repeat Percussion is a very simple tremolo device, with a single rate control that goes from a slow pulse to near ring mod territory (depth is fixed at about 75-80% of the input signal). What's special about it is whereas most tremolo units have a triangle or square waveform, this has a unique reverse sawtooth waveform. What this means is that you get a very pronounced attack, then gradual decay of a note which mimics your pick attack and decay. This gives a kind of "repeat" illusion; the "percussion" part of the name comes from the thumping quality of the attack that sounds not unlike the prehistoric drum machines used by Suicide.

Where can you hear it on recordings? In short - Spacemen 3. First showing up briefly on The Perfect Prescription (1987), then smeared all over Playing With Fire (1988), then finally dominating the live album Dreamweapon (1990). Pete Kember seemed to be almost religiously obsessed with this little box for several years - he owned a Starstream with the effect built in and most likely the plug in module and foot pedal versions.

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