I was answering a comment on one of my videos this morning on YouTube, when I came across a great series on understanding tube amps posted by Old Tone Zone (http://www.oldtonezone.com). It’s a 7-part series, and goes through various features of tube amps. Here’s the first video in the series. If you want to view it with the playlist, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc-78AKIo5A&feature=BF&list=PL2D0A1CC3FC96F1CA&index=1.
Archive for December, 2010
Posted in Guitars, tagged amp, amplifiers, amps, GAS, gear, gear reviews, guitar, guitar gear, guitar gear reviews, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians, sebago double trouble, sebago sound on December 28, 2010 | 4 Comments »
I finally got some time to post my very first full video review (the Dumble series doesn’t really count because it wasn’t really a review, but more of a demo). So here, I present to you the Sebago Sound Double Trouble 100, an 100 Watt amplifier from a newcomer to the amp business and another entry in the very popular Dumble-style amp genre.
Intro and Feature Walkthrough
Dirty Tone (Master Volume)
Clean Tone and Wrapup
As I mentioned in the last video segment, I’m giving the amp a 4.5. Tone-wise, it’s a fantastic amp, but personally, I’m just not in pre-amp-only distortion, and like to have the power amp side working in conjunction with the pre-amp side. It’s just a lot beefier and dramatic to me. Cranked up like this, the amp performs wonderfully; and I especially dig using the boost as it seems to add even more clarity and note separation.
For more information on these great amps, check out the Sebago Sound website!
I swear by my Aracom attenuator as do many others, and it’s great to see people demonstrating it. This demo comes from a guy in Italy who can cop Angus Young like no other. This dude rocks the house and has several vintage amps and guitars. He’s not just a collector, he’s a bonafide player!
My church bandmates were a bit tired of this bluegrass-style “Joy to the World” that we’ve done for the past few years at Christmas Mass, and they asked if we could do a new song. Well… in keeping with our much more straight-ahead rock style, I came up with an 80′s punk version of Angels We Have Heard On High. That’ll wake everyone up!
By the way, the guitar (my R8 Les Paul) was recorded in the bridge position through the AWESOME VHT Special 6. I used a 1 X 12 external speaker cab loaded with a Jensen Jet Falcon. The amp was cranked, in the high input, high output, with the booster engaged! HA! It has a much bigger sound than its 6 Watts! It was actually pretty loud in my studio!
Also, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
Posted in Guitars, tagged effect pedals, Effects, GAS, gear reviews, guitar, guitar effects, guitar gear, guitar gear reviews, guitar pedals, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians on December 22, 2010 | 4 Comments »
A couple of weeks ago, I did a gear find announcement about the new EH Freeze pedal that essentially takes what you’re playing such as a chord or note and freezes it. The video demonstration was particularly awesome, and very intriguing. Intriguing enough to where I needed to check it out. So I did, and…
I’d rather use a looper. The premise is great: Strum a chord, or pick a note, press and hold the button, and what you just strummed is held in place.
When I first saw the video, I was thinking that it would be great for my solo acoustic gigs where I could solo over the frozen chord. But after playing around with the pedal, I realized that I like soloing over live loops than just a single chord. No doubt, the pedal offers some interesting possibilities.
One thing that I found was really cool was using the latch mode while playing chord progressions. In latch, freeze is always on, and each time you press the button the pedal freezes what you’re playing at the time. With chord progressions, it’s cool because it really helps fill the space, but the problem for me – and probably most players – is that I don’t do just a straight strum. I palm mute, I tap the strings, I pick out bass lines and such, and this is where it’s really tough to use this pedal.
Interestingly enough, lots of bass players have picked up this pedal. For bass, it makes lots of sense because you’re mostly playing single notes at a time. But if you slap or play two- or three- note chords like my bassist does, I think the pedal would get limited usage.
I suppose you could use it to get infinite sustain, but for that, I’d rather use something like the Pigtronix compressor/sustainer. While it won’t give me infinite sustain, it’ll give me enough for my needs.
So the verdict? I like the pedal, but not enough to actually put it in my chain. Quality-wise, it’s built solidly and that’s not an issue. I think for me, it would get very limited usage, and while I can get it for around $100, there are other things I’d rather use $100 for…
Posted in Guitars, tagged gear, gear reviews, gibson slash appetite for destruction les paul, guitar, guitar gear, guitar gear reviews, guitarists, Guitars, Music, musicians, new gear on December 21, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
I subscribe to Gibson tweets and Facebook postings, and yesterday I got an update about three new Gibson Custom Shop Les Pauls that Gibson is releasing. One of these is yet another Slash Appetite for Destruction. Gibson came out with one of these earlier this year that retails for around $4000. It’s a nice guitar in honey finish. This latest addition comes in two flavors – VOS and Aged – and is signed by Slash, with only 100 being made by the Custom Shop. Here’s Gibson’s blurb:
Slash Appetite For Destruction
Working hard to record Guns N’ Roses’ 1987 debut, Appetite for Destruction, Slash was experiencing nothing but frustration trying to achieve the tones he was seeking with a range of contemporary electric guitars he was using. Then someone handed him a reissue-style Les Paul Standard, and that was all she wrote. With this legendary rock machine in hand, Slash laid down the deadliest rock riffs of the decade—propelling songs like “Paradise City”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, and “Welcome to the Jungle”—and fired up the biggest-selling debut album of all time in the process.
Slash has been a devoted Les Paul player ever since, throughout his years with Guns N’ Roses and later with Slash’s Snakepit and Velvet Revolver. He has taken a number of Gibson Signature models on the road, and owned and recorded with near-priceless vintage late ’50s ’Bursts. To honor his achievements on the instrument, Gibson’s Custom Shop introduces the Slash “Appetite for Destruction” Les Paul, a guitar made in the image of the axe that launched a thousand riffs.
This one has an MSRP of $9,174 for the VOS and $12,468 for the Aged edition. You can read the details here, in the article entitled “The Guitar That Saved Rock N’ Roll;” hence the title of this article.
I’m sure collectors will get excited by this, and having a couple of Custom Shop guitars myself, I don’t doubt the quality of workmanship that went into producing the guitar. But I am scratching my chin about any of the Appetite for Destruction guitars, and also mildly chuckling. Why? The AFD guitar is a replica of a replica!!! Again, that is not to say that the guitar is bad; in fact, it apparently most closely matches the specs and more importantly the tone of the original guitar as Slash remembers it. Plus, if people are big enough fans to buy the guitar, I say definitely go for it!
By the way, for a more detailed article describing that original replica, you can read it at Premier Guitar! It’s definitely worth the read.
I don’t see these guitars as a real negative against Gibson. I think the fact that Slash played a replica on the album (and subsequent tours), is the ultimate compliment to Gibson. Be that as it may, I still find it amusing that it’s a replica of a replica, and that it took a replica to drive Gibson produce a guitar of this caliber.
As for the AFD guitar “saving rock n’ roll,” let’s be honest: That original replica probably saved Gibson’s ass, as the company’s sales at the time were apparently languishing with all the hair metal and glam rockers turning to Strats, Charvels and Jacksons. Plus, it is well-noted that Les Pauls of the era had some huge quality issues; all serving to draw players away. That Slash found his tone in a Les Paul, and in turn drew in a huge fan base not just to the music, but to Les Paul guitars was a major coup for Gibson.
It’s great that Gibson recognized the importance of that guitar by creating its own replica of it. It’s the implied gratitude of “Thank you for saving our asses!”
I’m fairly obsessive about my hobbies, and besides guitar (which is one “G”), I have a passion for golf (the other “G”). In the Goofydawg “BC” years – before children – I was an avid golfer, but with all my commitments to kids’ things, I gave the game up for many years. I’ve finally returned to the game after a 20 year hiatus, and to commemorate my return, I started another blog appropriately named, “The Lateral Hazard.” If you’re also into golf, I invite you to read my golf blog, and also share your own thoughts!
No, I’m not taking a poll. But I do have to say that people are passionate about Les Pauls on either side of the fence. The haters REALLY hate them, and the lovers REALLY love them. I’m one of the lovers; always have been. But it wasn’t until recently that I could actually afford one. Yeah, I know, I could’ve gotten a Les Paul Studio for a great price, but for me, a REAL Les Paul is a Standard or Custom, and they don’t come cheap.
Most haters’ problems that I’ve read about have to do with the high price Gibson charges for these guitars; and they all point to the fact that the LP requires a high price to pay when there have been known quality issues. I’ll give them that. There were indeed quality issues back in the 90′s, but I think those issues are less of a problem now. I’ve personally examined a good many in the last few years, and haven’t seen any quality problems with the ones I’ve played.
The lovers on the other hand, love the Les Paul for a variety of reasons. For me, there’s a certain magic in the tone and feel of a Les Paul that I just can’t describe. And since I got my R8 (’58 Standard Reissue) and ’59 Replica, those are pretty much all I’ve been playing, with the exception of my Yamaha acoustic when I do my solo acoustic gigs. But in the studio or when I’m playing with my band, I go to my Les Pauls. Just can’t get enough of ‘em.
Admittedly though, I was a hater, and it was an unreasonable hate. I couldn’t believe how much those guitar were! The prices were on par with boutique guitars. I just couldn’t understand it! I paid less than that for Goldie, my custom Saint Guitar Goldtop! But then I met Jeff Aragaki who is a Les Paul collector, and that completely turned my world upside-down. As they say, information is power, and Jeff was loaded with information about Les Pauls, especially how to get them for much more reasonable prices than retail. And armed with that information, I was able to procure my R8 and ’59 Replica for under $2000 each.
But besides price, I was also a bit intimidated by Les Pauls. After all, at least to me, those are the guitars that defined the sound of rock and roll for me. Part of me didn’t feel “worthy” to play a Les Paul, so I told myself I hated them. But Aragaki came to the rescue again, and had me play several of his LP’s, including a ’53 that he had upgraded to ’57 specs. Needless to say, I fell in love, and now I’m hooked on Les Pauls.
Yup, it’s Christmas time again, and yes, I’m loving it; but not just because of the holiday and the eating, and the gift-giving and the family time. Christmas time also means gigs. Parties, church, extra shifts at the restaurant. Gigs and more gigs.
No, it ain’t about the money, though the money always helps. It’s all about being able to play – a lot. For instance, I just got done with five days in a row of gigs this evening. Did a couple of parties, an extra shift at the restaurant, and did my church gig tonight.
My fingertips feel tender, my voice is a little scratchy, I’m physically exhausted. But I’m on a total high! You see, I just live to play; whether it’s gigs or in the studio, I’m at my happiest and most fulfilled when I have a guitar strapped to my shoulder and a microphone in front of me. I don’t care if I’m making money at it or not. What’s important is having an outlet for my creativity, and gigging gives me that.
Some day, I’ll make it my full time profession. But for now, I’m just content getting out as much as I can.
I love playing through a 2 X 12. I have an Avatar G212 Premier made of 3/4″, 13-ply baltic birch. It’s a bright cab, and has a big resonating chamber, which really gives a nice 3-D effect to my sound. I originally had it loaded with Celestion Blue and Gold speakers, and they sounded great, but I just felt the Blue didn’t have enough bottom end for my preferences. So I recently swapped the Blue out with a Jensen Jet Falcon. Yeah, that’s right. I now have one of the most expensive Celestion speakers and just about the most inexpensive Jensen speaker in my cab. And you know what? It totally works.
The one thing I like about ceramic speakers is that they have a nice, tight bottom end. The Falcon has a great bottom end that provides a real nice “oomph” to my sound. Alnico speakers – at least in my experience – are much more mid-rangy, with an emphasis on the upper-mids. The Gold has a fantastic, bright tone. It’s rich, and has a super-smooth breakup. So mixing the ballsy ceramic Falcon with the alnico Gold seemed like a good idea, as I postulated that I’d get a nice balanced sound.
I did the swap this afternoon, right before my church gig. I was a little nervous because my soldering skills are highly suspect. But I took my time, and the swap was done without incident. Then I went to test it out. The cleans were deep and lush, and the big space that the Avatar cab provides gave my tone real depth! Loved it.
Then I cranked my amp to hear the breakup. Yikes! It was pretty harsh and stiff, but I was kind of expecting that, considering I installed the Falcon right out of the box. It wasn’t too bad, but I could feel the stiffness. But I was determined to bring it to my gig, so an hour later, I loaded it up in my car and away we went.
Luckily, the songs I chose for Mass were mostly clean, so I didn’t have to drive the speaker too hard, but I played it straight for three hours (two hours of rehearsal, then an hour for service), and by the end of the service, I could really feel the Falcon loosening up. Our last song was a rocker, and I cranked my amp. I was greeted by a fantastic, ballsy tone that had a real complex tone; exactly how I envisioned it! So now I’m a believer in mixing ceramic and alnico. It’s a great combination!
So what am I going to do with the Blue? I honestly haven’t made up my mind. That’s not a cheap speaker by any stretch of the imagination. But it is only 15 watts, so I can really only use it with a lower wattage amp. That’s maybe not a bad idea. I could use it with my ’58 Fender Champ, or as an extension cab for my VHT Special 6. We’ll see…