Designed for electric guitar players, the TC Electronic Quintessence is a dual-voiced harmony pedal that can give you one or two tracking harmonies in every key. With its stereo I/O and bevy of controls, the pedal is suitable for creating anything from hard-rock dual riffs, Queen-style harmony guitars, screeching metal leads, and more. In fact, with the MASH technology that TC Electronic has bestowed upon the pedal—essentially turning the footswitch into a pressure-sensitive pitch-bender in its default state—the stompbox will suit Americana and country contexts as well.
This being a TC Electronic guitar pedal, the Quintessence also features TonePrint technology, with three TonePrint slots for importing custom-designed harmonies by means of the free TonePrint editor. You can beam these TonePrints into the pedal with your phone, or import them over USB.
The Quintessence’s bypass switch can be set to either true or buffered, giving you the choice to keep your bypassed tone pristine or to lend the signal a bit of a boost to better handle long cable runs and multiple pedal setups. The pedal can be powered by 9V batteries or a 9V power supplies, available separately. For a full rundown on the pedal’s controls and features, please peruse the features section.
This not only makes the Quintessence more versatile (as you can switch between two different intervals mid-song without having to fiddle with knobs), it also lets you do fluid pedal steel bends, making the pedal suitable for country, Americana, and roots rock.
When Quintessence is not in TonePrint mode, the Custom mode is set for Locrian. Using the three TonePrint slots however, you can set the pedal to a variety of different custom scales. Major pentatonic, harmonic minor, and more are available to you.
3 TonePrint Slots
The free TonePrint editor gives you access to a wealth of tweakable parameters to ensure you achieve your desired harmonies.
Controls at a Glance
Scale Knob: Choose any of the seven diatonic modes for standard harmonies. The Custom setting gives you the seldom-utilized Locrian mode, except when TonePrint mode is selected on the Harmony knob.
Mix Knob: This adjusts the mix between the dry and wet signals. In the middle, both signals are at unity gain. Turning left keeps the dry signal at unity while lowering the wet signal, while twisting the knob to the right lowers the dry signal and maintains the wet signal at unity.
Harmony Knob: The first six settings add a single voice in harmony to your dry signal, while the seventh and eighth settings add dual voices to your original signal. After that, you’re in the land of TonePrints.
# Switch: This switch pitches your selected key up one semitone.
Latch/Momentary Toggle Switch: When in Latch mode, the footswitch acts like your run-of-the-mill footswitch. Press and release, and you’ll find the pedal is on until you press and release again. In Momentary mode, the pedal is only enaged for as long as your foot sits on the switch. As soon as you release it, the effect turns off.
MASH Footswitch: The bypass footswitch is pressure sensitive in both Latch and Momentary mode, effectively acting as an expression pedal without the hassle of an actual expression pedal. Lean harder on the footswitch, and you’ll engage in the MASH effects described above.
MASH LED: The MASH LED indicates the intensity of the effect controlled by MASH. Putting pressure on the footswitch will make the MASH LED brighter, while lifting your foot off the pedal will make it dimmer.
TonePrint 1: The first TonePrint is for evoking pedal-steel slides. A 3rd and a 4th is offered in harmony, but the 3rd is lowered by one interval as you MASH, while the 4th stays in place. Setting the Scale knob to Custom puts you in pentatonic major.
TonePrint 2: This one is a bit avant-garde. The harmony is a 4th and a 7th. MASH bends both harmonies up an interval, which essentially lands you in a power chord. The Custom scale setting takes you to the very dissonant super-locrian mode.
TonePrint 3: The last TonePrint is a bit different. The harmony is a 3rd and a 5th, but they are delayed individually, resulting in an arpeggio for every note you play. MASH to take up the harmonies an octave for some haunting effects. The Custom scale mode sets this TonePrint in a harmonic minor.