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Witness VASA’s post-rock guitar heroics and ingenious pitch-shifter usage in this tonesome playthrough

As the birthplace of post-rock pioneers Mogwai, Glasgow, Scotland is one of the genre’s spiritual homes - and it’s also the hometown of VASA, one of instrumental rock’s next great hopes. In this premiere of the playthrough for Heroics, Blaine Thompson shows you exactly why that is.

Besides employing a host of euphoric riffs and melodies, the track - taken from the band’s new album of the same name - is notable for Thompson’s cunning use of pitch-shifters to wring a range of textures from his 2005 Gibson SG Special Faded and Helix Floor rig.

“Heroics is probably the most playful track on the album, but I wanted to make it hefty hence the open B tuning,” he explains.

“I used a DigiTech Drop to go from my standard tuning of open D down to open B.

“My favorite parts of the song are the My Bloody Valentine-esque whammy bar in the opening chords, but I don’t really like using whammy bars as they tend to introduce tuning instability. So I used a Whammy pedal setting in the Helix instead. This has now become a staple of our sound.

“I also like the dotted delay part at 0:48, which is pitch-shifted up an octave with a slow barber pole phaser - another staple!”

We really dig the sonic approach, and if you do too, Heroics is available now (opens in new tab).

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Michael Astley-Brown
Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).