A couple of weeks ago, the Dawg was sniffing around for some new and interesting gear, and came across a little company in Raleigh, NC called Acoustic Image, that specializes in acoustic and bass amps. While I love my Roland Cube 60 for its acoustic channel, I was really impressed by the sound of the Acoustic Image Corus. Now, I could only go off the sound of the YouTube video below, but this puppy has some serious, natural tone. Amazingly enough, it’s a diminutive amp with a 10″ downward firing woofer, a 5″ midrange driver, and 1″ tweeter. It produces 450W at 8 ohms and 800W at 4 ohms. That’s a boatload of power! But we’re talking solid state here, so it’s tough to compare to tube amps. But power isn’t everything – it’s the sound that counts, and from what I can tell, this amp sounds fantastic! I need to get to a store that carries these to try it out with my acoustic/electric. Check out the video!
Archive for March, 2009
Posted in amplifiers, amps, Amps/Amplification, announcements, GAS, gear, gear find, guitar, guitar gear, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians, tagged amp, amplification, amplifiers, amps, GAS, gear, gear find, guitar, guitar gear, Guitars, Music, musicians, new gear on March 31, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in guitar, guitar instruction, guitar lifestyle, guitar theory, guitarists, Guitars, learn guitar, Music, music theory, musicians, tagged guitar, guitar greatness, guitar instruction, guitar life, guitar lifest, guitar lifestyle, guitar practice, learn, learn guitar, Music, musicians, teaching guitar on March 31, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Ah, Padawan. Come to receive the wisdom of the ages, you have I see. Into the realms of guitar playing greatness delve deep do you wish; to play among the stars of guitar such as Vai, Satriani, Johnson and others of that ilk. Good for you! Welcome you with open arms, do I. Now dispensed with the pleasantries have we Padawan, it is time to let you down…
- There is no magic wand I can wave to make you great
- Wish all you want, and you’ll never become a guitar god.
- Meditate on the virtues of truly great guitarists – It will do you no good.
Now that sufficiently crushed your dreams of guitar greatness have I, tell you I will the secret to achieving your place among the titans:
There are no shortcuts!!!
Okay, enough of the Yoda talk…
To be completely serious, if you want to be a great guitarist, there is no other way to get to greatness without dedication and focus. Simply put, you have to practice – a lot! You can learn all the theory in the world, you can take all the A/V classes out there. All of these things are absolutely helpful. But until you apply the things that you learn and master the techniques, you’ll never get there.
Playing guitar, or any instrument for that matter, isn’t something that you can be good at simply by intellectualizing being good. It takes practice – every day – to develop the skills to play well. I look on my own experience with playing guitar. Yeah, I’ve been playing for over 35 years, but I’ve only reached a certain level of proficiency in the last five years when I decided that I wanted to change the direction of my music, which was almost entirely acoustic, to include more electric guitar.
The experience in the last five years has been both rewarding and painful. When I was starting out, it was so frustrating because I could hear in my head what I wanted out of my guitars, but I didn’t have the technique. So I put my head down, so to speak, and started playing and practicing everyday, seven days a week. I’d even bring a couple of guitars and an amp on vacation! I try to play at least a half-hour each day. It’s not necessarily just straight practice of scales, and different techniques, I also spend a lot of time exploring how to express music that comes into my head.
I’m still learning. I feel I have so much further to travel, but I have also come a long way compared to where I was five years ago. Back then, all I knew were chords and playing chords in alternate tunings. I could fingerpick pretty well, and do a lot of stuff with an acoustic guitar – that’s all great, and I don’t want to discount what I could do on acoustic, but my abilities on the electric guitar, especially with doing improv, were sorely lacking. But from constant practice, I can do at least a basic lead in pretty much any key. That’s the reward; having the satisfaction of knowing I’ve made a lot of progress.
I originally got the inspiration for this article from a blog entry I read at GuitarVibe. It really got me thinking about what I’ve accomplished over the past few years, and moreover, how I got to where I am. Like with anything in life, learning is often fraught with moments of despair and discouragement, but it also has its times of complete satisfaction and reward.
So go practice, young Padawan, and may the Force be with you!
Posted in distortion, effect pedals, Effects, gear, gear find, guitar, guitar effects, guitar gear, guitar pedals, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians, pedals, tagged bennett music labs, brown sound distortion pedal, distortion, distortion pedal, effect pedals, Effects, GAS, gear, gear find, guitar, guitar effects, guitar gear, guitar pedals, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians, pedals on March 25, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Ahh… yet another distortion box! Hehe. You know I just dig ‘em. This one is from the same guys that bring us the J. Backlund Designs guitars; specifically, Bruce Bennet, of Bennett Music Labs, the actual maker of the J. Backlund Designs guitars.
I discovered this pedal while perusing the web for videos of the JBD-100 that I announced yesterday. It turned out that there was a video of how Bruce built the Brown Sound pedal (it’s below). That really got me interested in the pedal, so I did a bit more searching. I went to the J Backlund Site, and they had a link to view and list to sample of their pedals on a MySpace page.
That turned out to be a bit of dead-end because I couldn’t find where to buy them. I finally found a place that sells the pedals, call OohLaLa Manufacturing. Apparently, they’re a distributor and production house for a bunch of boutique pedals. They either take designs from pedal designers, then manufacture them or, as I found out from Bruce Bennett today, they just distribute the finished pedals. Defintely check out their site! Too bad they don’t have sound samples.
The Brown Sound
The original “Brown Sound” was popularized by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Clapton with the “Woman Tone.” In its simplest sense, the Brown Sound was produced by using a bit of fuzz combined with TONS of power tube distortion. The end result was a way huge sound! Fast-forward a bit, and the Brown Sound then became associated with Eddie Van Halen. But to produce his tone requires a bit more work.
What about the Brown Sound pedal? Well, it’s not an EVH tone simulator. Apparently, it’s more of a Hendrix tone simulator as the guys at Analogman describe here. Interesting to note that this pedal is not meant to add gain. The volume knob is more of a volume cut, and the drive adjusts the amount of “Brown” you get. That’s actually kind of cool because I’m assume you don’t have to mess around with the volume much to find unity gain. Just leave the volume knob wide open, and let the pedal do its thing.
I’m gonna have to contact the guys over at OohLaLa to get more information about this pedal. I love that tone, and to get it in a box would be awesome!
I forgot to mention: The pedal is all hand-wired, and it’s only $159! Pretty cool! Anyway, check out the video of how it’s made.
Posted in GAS, gear, gear find, guitar, guitar gear, guitarists, Guitars, tagged GAS, gear, gear announcements, gear find, guitar, guitar gear, guitarists, Guitars, J. Backlund Designs, Music, musicians on March 24, 2009 | 1 Comment »
I know I’m dating myself, but I used to love watching “The Jetsons” when I was a kid. It gave me my first impressions of what the future might hold, like flying cars and floating burger drive-ins where you docked your car. Ah, those nostalgic memories of the 60′s…
Well, if there were to be a guitar on the Jetsons, I imagine that it would have to come from J. Backlund Designs. Talk about retro-modern mojo! The JDB-100 shown to the left just oozes that! What a gorgeous guitar, and from what I heard of the sound from the video below, it has a pretty aggressive tone that seems to fit with that retro-modern styling.
At first, I thought I’d hear something like Dick Dale doing some surf stuff, but the dude doing the review played pretty heavy stuff. I’d actually like to hear what it sounds like clean.
Anyhow, here are some specs:
- Mahogany Neck and Body
- Set-Neck Construction
- Custom Inlays
- Custom Double Action Two Way Truss Rod
- Scale Length: 24.75
- Hipshot Locking Keys
- Hipshot Baby Grand Bridge
- 7 Degree Tilt Back Headstock Angle
- Custom Color Matched Lace Sensor Alumi-tone Pickups
- N-Tune Built In Chromatic Tuner
- All USA Components
- Custom Triple Chrome Plated Pick Guard
- Custom Snakeskin Case
A real cool feature of this guitar is the built-in tuner. When engaged, the signal to the amp is cut off, so you can tune quietly. Hmm… Imagine that! You could remove the tuner from your board, and replace it with another boutique pedal! <sinister chuckle>
For more information, check out the J. Backlund Designs site! They’ve got 4 models, and the funny thing is that the JBD-100 is probably their most conservative-looking guitar! But they’re all cool!
Posted in amplifiers, amps, Amps/Amplification, aracom amps, gear, guitar, Tone, tagged amp, amplification, amplifiers, amps, aracom, aracom amps, cabinets, guitar, Guitars, Music, musicians, speaker cabinets, Tone on March 24, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
I learned a really important lesson yesterday while I was recording some ideas in my studio: Where you place your amp; specifically, the speaker cabinet is very important. I never placed too much thought into this until I got my new amp. I had always had combos, and they just sat on the floor, so I never noticed the difference between having the amp on the floor and elevating it. But with my new amp, an Aracom VRX22, I got it as a separate head and 1 X 12 combo. Last night, I put the cabinet on top of a couple of PA speakers to prop it up, and I couldn’t believe how bright it sounded. Then I remembered Jeff saying that the bass response would be way better with the cab on the floor. He wasn’t kidding! Later this evening I’ll have some sound samples to prove the point.