I know quite a few serious pro guitar players that have been aching for a device like this. Many super Zappa fans, in particular, have been waiting for ages for a pedal to truly replicate his cocked wah frequency-boost thing but the Triskelion probably goes even further than they expected.
Based on the Systech Harmonic Energizer, used not only by Frank Zappa but Greg Lake, Joe Walsh, and other ‘70s icons, it is essentially a parametric midrange filter with adjustable peak and gain control so you can add grit to the boosted frequencies. The Triskelion has reproduced all the searing and squawking sounds of the original Systech but also has the added benefit of an extended high-frequency range & expression control over the filter sweep.
It may seem pretty simple on paper and you might think, “why would I need that?” but I assure you with all the new features you could soon think of it as a necessity. First of all, it’s super hi-fi and has none of the noise of previous versions. The filter section has been completely redesigned over the Mk. I and II for much greater range and flexibility.
On the top far left is the energy control knob, which is kind of the peak resonance of the frequency you settle on. On the far right is the variant mass control, which is the precise frequency you want to dial in and boost. The boost switch can lift the frequency up an octave if you desire, and the gain switch brings gain into the frequency range you’re trying to boost. Frankly, the gain switch really makes this unit for me. As useful and cool as it is to create a perfect sweep of a certain frequency, it’s bringing in just the right amount of gain to harmonically color your signal that beautifully takes it into classic rock land. In fact, after you play around with this pedal for a while and experience the full range of sounds, colors, and rich feedback, you’ll realize not only how powerful it can be in a mix but also how indispensable it really is. You can even set the feedback frequency perfectly to kick in on a song at the right moment and the sustain and harmonic richness will sweep you away. You can also connect the TWA Side Step® to this jack to turn the Triskelion into a tap-tempo LFO modulator of doom.
So in fact, the Triskelion® is not just a guitar tone junkie’s dream but also a very effective tool for experimentation. While it certainly can be used to recreate classic guitar tones, the addition of the mini jacks to allow LFO, gain, and expression control can take your sound far beyond what you probably imagined. I can also easily see it being used as an ambient tool to develop new textures and aural landscapes to your songs without trying very hard and bringing new color to the standard chord progressions. Just don’t blame me if you get lost for hours the first time you plug it in. They really put a lot of thought into the Triskelion® and left no stone unturned with this Mk. III.
Check out some demos online or at your favorite dealer and see if it doesn’t inspire you. Not so simple after all, eh?