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Sydney Sprague shows how she weaves ambient drones into indie-rock anthems in this tonesome pedalboard tour

Phoenix-based singer-songwriter Sydney Sprague seeks to defy expectations. Her debut album, maybe i will see you at the end of the world, is, well, apocalyptic in nature, but there’s a sense of hope that underpins the entire record.

The same goes for Sprague’s tones. Rather than lean on a tried-and-tested overdriven indie-rock formula, she incorporates a range of ethereal textures into her compositions, from ambient drones to Mellotron emulations.

Sprague guides you through her diverse tonal palette in this short-but-sweet pedalboard tour, which incorporates no fewer than four looper/sustain stompboxes, and a wealth of smart pedal picks.

“I play solo a lot, and I started messing around with this set-up as a way to keep myself entertained,” she explains of the pedalboard’s origins.

“It’s still evolving, especially this year since I haven’t been able to play gigs. My boyfriend Chuck Morriss III has a studio here in Phoenix, AZ, so between the two of us we’re pretty much always buying and trading new pedals, but I broke it down to the essentials on this ’board today.

“These are the pedals I use all the time live. There’s a ton of tape loops, space echo, and Mellotron on my record, and I can kind of emulate some of those textures with this. I feel like that really helps put me into the headspace of the songs when I’m performing.

“The MVP of the whole board is definitely the MOOD pedal by Chase Bliss. I’ve used it on every song I’ve recorded since it was gifted to me by my parents last Christmas. It part micro-looper and part reverb/delay. It has a million knobs and dip switches, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever know what all of them do, but it makes cool sounds pretty much all the time.”

Sprague plays a Fender American Professional Jazzmaster through a Vox AC30 (although she used a Kemper Rack for this video), and the full pedalboard rundown is as follows:

  • Benson Amps Preamp
  • Electro-Harmonix Mel9
  • Strymon Flint
  • Chase Bliss Audio MOOD
  • Electro-Harmonix Freeze
  • Gamechanger Audio Plus Pedal
  • Mooer Lofi Machine
  • TC Electronic Ditto
  • Ernie Ball Mono Volume Pedal

maybe i will see you at the end of the world is out on February 26 via Rude Records and available to preorder now.

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Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.