The History of Flanging….. – How did the classic airplane whooshing sound begin, it has been around since Sgt Peppers so it wasn’t like some made scientist was sitting around and cranked out a guitar pedal that made the Flanger effect. Things where much more simple, and creativity was at an all time high, so it was created in the studio by some some VERY experimental hippie engineers.
Technically the audio effect is by having two identical tracks or sounds that are played or played back and delaying one of the signals somewhere around 20 milliseconds. Varying the the time delay gives it the whoooshing sound. We then take part of the output and feed it back into the input which is called a re-circulating delay line. This intensives the flanging sound, you can invert the phase here and you get more sounds. Delaying, flipping, re-circulating your really playing with time. Mmmm pretty trippy. Classic flanging tones and panning in stereo and your in business.
So no pedals, no rack gear, it’s 1969 how did they get the sound. A lot of work that’s how, you would record a spoken word phrase, guitar track, drum toms on one mono track reel to reel recorder. You then record the exact passage to ANOTHER reel to reel deck so now you have TWO decks ready to play with the same passage. You set them to play exactly at the same time, and as they play you drag your fingers on the “FLANGE” of the reel of tape. That’s the delay the drag of your fingers delayed it mmm 20 mS – more and less you got whoosh. Pretty much that’s how Flanging was invented !
So the audio effect is invented, and now guy smoke some weed and dissect what is exactly going on in the time realm. Then some smart electronic stoners (David Tarnowski at ADA) sit down and work it out in electronics. Here comes the ADA, MXR, Eventide, Boss, Ibanez flangers in the 70s and rest is Police guitar pedal history !
Play on !