Chase Bliss Reverse Mode C

The Chase Bliss Reverse Mode C is a pedal designed in collaboration with Empress Effects.

For the Minneapolis-base company, it represents a return to their comfort zone, the creative delay pedal, in this case, an “echo composed of multiple distinct voices that move in different directions – forward, backward, and up – that you can blend, isolate, and sequence, all glued together by some very colorful modulation.”

The effect’s functionality is an expanded version of the Octave Tap mode found in the Empress Effect’s Superdelay, a pedal launched in 2008 that was very influential for Chase Bliss’ Joel Korte.

The idea of such a circuit was discussed by the two company owners during a trip to Tokyo several years ago and, after many years, is about to see the light of day under a new series called Small Batch Bliss, a made-to-order line of special edition pedals adopting a new approach that allows the builder to experiment with new designs without the need to take excessive financial risks.

Joel posted a brief history of how the pedal came to be on the company’s site.

You can hear the sounds created by the Chase Bliss Reverse Mode C in the video below, shot by Knobs. It can be pre-ordered here.

Chase Bliss Reverse Mode C, Builder’s Notes

Vibrant reflections

Reverse Mode C is a fantastical mix of motion and space. It’s an echo composed of multiple distinct voices that move in different directions – forward, backward, and up – that you can blend, isolate, and sequence, all glued together by some very colorful modulation.

It was made in collaboration with Empress Effects, and is a celebration of a very special mode found on their Superdelay, released in 2008.

While we were in Japan together, I told Steve Bragg (owner of Empress Effects) that his Superdelay pedal was heavily influential to me when I was starting Chase Bliss. There was this one particular mode that was just so adventurous – I had never heard anything like it. I remember the first time I played it so clearly and it was that feeling that I wanted my pedals to give people.

It was named “Octave Tap,” but I always just called it “Reverse Mode C.”

So as we were strolling around Tokyo, visiting music stores and eating noodles, we started talking about how cool it would be to revisit that somehow. To make some kind of a tribute pedal.

It was one of those romantic ideas that makes a lot of sense when you’re 5,954 miles from home (I mapped it) but that would probably just fade away once Steve and I got home and went back to running our businesses. It was just kind of a weird concept, a bit risky and out of the blue. The Superdelay is 15 years old now and it wasn’t obvious how to make something fresh and exciting that was also a nod to that old “Reverse Mode C” sound.

So it did fade for a while and I’m 99% sure it never would have happened, but then we had an idea: Small Batch Bliss.

I don’t know if you all find it boring when I talk about business but I like to be transparent about what we’re doing and why. Here’s how a normal pedal release works: we guess about how many pedals you all will want, spend a bunch of money on parts, and then wait about 3-4 months for it all to come together and hope we got it right.

It’s scary, and it’s awkward. Either we sell out and disappoint you all (this just happened with the limited MOOD MKII enclosures!!) or we’re stuck with a bunch of pedals on the shelf.

Small Batch Bliss solves that.

The idea is simple:

A made-to-order line of special edition pedals, and everyone that wants one can get one. There is no limit or selling out – simply order within the month-long preorder period and we’ll make a pedal just for you.

The whole point is that everyone who wants one can get one – but it will likely be at least a year between batches.

Doing things this way is so helpful for so many reasons, but the big one is that it lets us take chances and make things like Reverse Mode C. I’m grateful that it let me collaborate and spend some time with Steve Bragg.

I almost forgot to talk about the actual pedal. I’ll keep this part brief, we’ve got demos and a summary that will do a better job than me. Reverse Mode C was kind of like a fun puzzle. It had to do 3 things:

1.) Turn a 15 year old effect into something fresh and new

2.) Do it while still remaining true to the original

3.) Not be gimmicky or one-trick

The process ending up being really collaborative and natural, one feature leading to the next. It’s not the pedal that I thought it would be when we started – its signature sound is actually the way it moves. It creates this layered, mesmerizing motion unlike anything we’ve done before. It was so nice to just go with it and trust what was happening. As long as it had that “Reverse Mode C” spirit and Steve liked it, we were good.

I feel like this is the start of something new and I think it’s going to let us go to some really interesting places.

You have until the end of August to order a Reverse Mode C. Our target for shipping is to get started in early October and have all orders out the door by sometime in November. They will be shipped in the order we receive them.

As always, if you are in Japan and are interested in getting one of these please get in touch with our distributor Umbrella.

Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have thoughts or questions about anything!