Heet Sound Products EBow by Jack Morgan
So many of my favourite artists have used the Ebow, I just had to get one. REM and Sigur Ros even have song titles with “Ebow” in them: “Ebow the Letter” and, uh, “Ebow”.
You use this 9V battery-powered device instead of a plectrum, positioning it above strings one by one – a small electrical charge vibrates the string, providing limitless sustain until you take it away. You can make your guitar sounds like a violin, cello, organ, flute, you name it.
The Ebow is stylish and ergonomically well designed. The blue LED also looks really cool, lighting up your guitar on a dark stage and making you look like some sort of musical Jedi. There are two modes on either side of the single switch’s “off” position. One is a straightforward vibration of the note you are holding, the other adds upper harmonics.
Once you’ve had some practice (you need to position and move the Ebow carefully to get the sound you want, whether smooth/aggression, legato/staccato) – it’s a brilliant sounding effect. For my purposes, it sounds gorgeous for recording a layered, artificial string section, as well as ambient drones.
Obviously in terms of sound quality, so much is determined by how you process your signal. I tend to roll off a lot of my telecaster’s high-end using the tone knob, then send it through lots of delay and reverb. Sounds beautiful.
Using a slide with the Ebow is a lot of fun and turns your guitar-turned-violin into a theramin or an Ondes-Martinot. Perfect for playing the Dr Who theme tune. Or Radiohead, that’s probably a better idea.
An essential tool for me… 10/10