Picture this: you're a hunter and you've been searching for a mythical beast -- ever elusive and challenging. A beast so hard to find that you've had to search high and low, sifting through the mire to attempt to not only find the four-leaved clover -- but to grab onto it and hold it for dear life. Sound crazy!? Well, maybe slightly -- but this is what the new offering from Shin-Ei/Honey are bringing to the table with the Vibe Bro.
Many guitarists will attest to trying to find the elusive 'perfect' Uni-Vibe pedal. Whether you're looking to bring back the tones of Hendrix, Gilmour or Trower -- or simply to find that elusive tone you've always heard in your head and what you remember those records sounding like, it's a momentous occasion when you finally nail that beast to the wall. With all hyperbole aside, this is how I felt when I first heard the Shin-Ei Vibe Bro.
The Uni-Vibe itself is such an interesting effect. In an age when guitarist's didn't have many effects or sounds to choose from, there was the Shin-Ei Uni-Vibe. Designed to emulate a Leslie rotating speaker system, and while it never really did sound anything close to those Doppler shifting cabinets, it did however sound very, very, very cool.
Check out this link for some deep technical information http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/univibe/univtech.htm
Trusting itself into the hands of players like Jimi Hendrix who loved it's deep otherworldly underwater tones --- Phasey, warbly, spacey and straight up trippy. It's pretty safe to say that without Hendrix's prefixed obsession with the Uni-Vibe, it probably wouldn't be very much on any guitarist's radar or pedalboards today. I for one am incredibly grateful for his obsession for the Uni-Vibe and of course his never ending quest (no matter how short it was) to find NEW sounds. That's the truest irony of the Uni-Vibe as a voice in modern music on the guitar. It's essentially a 'vintage' effect --- but I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'm not inspired every single time I hear that incredible pitch and tone warble, glassy and ALIVE!
That brings me back to the offering from the folks over at Shin-Ei, who have not only resurrected the Uni-Vibe, but the Shin-Ei name itself. Here's a bit from the company:
Over fifty years ago, Shin-ei® began as a Japanese based company manufacturing electronic devices for musicians and consumer use. Over the years they produced the Uni-Vibe, Special Fuzz, Uni-Fuzz, Psychedelic Machine and many other popular pedals and effects.
Originally, the Uni-Vibe was first produced in 1968 by "Honey Company Limited", a small Japanese company who closed its doors in 1969. Shin-ei assumed the reins and began producing the Uni-Vibe and other former "Honey" products well into the 1970's generally branding them as Shin-ei or Shin-ei/Companion.
In the 1960's and 70's, Shin-ei also produced many of their pedals and effects under private label brands such as "Jax", Companion, Shaftsbury, and Sekova to name a few.
In recent years, Shin-ei focused on producing industrial electronics and shut its doors after being acquired by a U.S. corporation.
In 2015, trademarks for the original Honey, Shin-ei and Companion brands were filed by Honey Shin-ei LLC with the sole intention of "carrying the flame" and bringing back to life the great products these wonderful companies produced back in the day. We are huge fans and didn't want their work to be forgotten over time.
The Japanese history and heritage of Honey, Shin-ei, and Companion is very important to us. Great care will be taken as we move forward to faithfully reproduce the vintage historic Honey/Shin-ei products and create exciting new ones as well.
We are committed to producing products with the same spirit, dedication and creativity shown by the original Honey and Shin-ei design teams of the 1960's and 70's.
I've personally always loved the Uni-Vibe as a guitar effect. I love it's otherworldly sounds and undulating elements that hearken to another place that I've yet to explore --- inspiring me to create new and interesting sounds. The Vibe Bro is a welcome addition and while it could be thought of as only a 'vintage effect' and seen in the video above, a sound or effect is only limited to it's perspective. In fact, it's incredible for synth, keys and drum machine sounds -- adding an element of space and grit that you just can't find with a plug-in or typical effect.
I choose to see beyond what is typical and search for that which inspires me to keep going! It's the eternal quest for new sounds, new moments, new feelings --- FEELS!
It's safe to say that living in this age of remarkable technology, being able to use the benchmarks of our musical history and apply them creatively in present time yields incredibly exciting creations. Now, I'm off to go undulate in the deep and mysterious tones of what's left of this year 2016. Happy New Year, Gearheads!