30 Pedals in 30 Days 2015: TWA Triskelion 2.0 Harmonic Energizer

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In the guitar playing world, the word “texture” often refers to deep, spacey reverbs and ambient echoes that serve as a wispy, ethereal backdrop to the main elements of a song. Such effects can give a song or part great vibe and soul, and turn a flat or formulaic tune into something special.

But texture can go the other way as well. Instead of serving as a backdrop, textural manipulation of your tone can push your parts right to the front and define the tune, rather than just support it. It can make a melody angry, snarky, sad, or sly.

The Totally Wicked Audio Triskelion 2.0 Harmonic Energizer (TK-02) is one of those textural effects that is not of the wallflower variety. It’s based on the Systech Harmonic Energizer. The Harmonic Energizer is a very rare effect pedal that used a synth-like filter capable of cooking up some extreme and unusual tonal curves that would punch through even the densest stage and recording setups. The unit was a key ingredient in Frank Zappa’s rig, generating tones as unique and innovative as the late masters compositions, and was also a favorite Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

The TK-02 is (quite obviously) the second iteration of the Triskelion released by TWA. For the TK-02, TWA added a relay-based switching system that defaults to bypass if power unexpectedly goes bye bye (TWA calls this S3 switching), an HP switch for extended frequency range, the ability to switch between two gain levels (original and attenuated), and a classic/modern switch that offers different ranges for greater tonal options. The TK-02 also has a smaller footprint and, amazingly, a smaller price than the original.

The Triskelion is an effect that really drills down into the heart of your base tone, rather than slathering something on top of it. It’s close in spirit to a parametric equalizer in that it’s able to target and tweak very narrow frequency ranges, but gets much farther out there than a standard EQ. If you’ve ever wanted a pedal that can really push your tone forward in the mix or over a group, this is a pedal that will easily get you there. The Triskelion can also add life and dimension to any tone, clean or dirty, powerful or polite, or generate raunchy, over-the-top, tunable feedback effects. So whether your tonal flavors run classic to creative to chaotic, the Triskelion is a strong addition to any rig. It’s an effect that can be used on it’s own, or simply to add a little “secret sauce” to a live or studio setup you already have. It should not surprise anyone that three(!) Triskelions have made their way into the rig of Dweezil Zappa to capture his father’s tones and vibes in the Zappa Plays Zappa tribute project.

So, check out the Tone King’s review,  submit to your urge to pick up a TWA Triskelion 2.0 Harmonic Energizer, fire that bad boy up and shut up ‘n play yer guitar!




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