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Archive for June, 2010

Being “GoofyDawg,” it’s always cool to find gear with the “dawg” moniker. 🙂 So when I came across Li’l Dawg Amps on one of the forums, I had to check out their web site. All I can say is, “Wow!!!” The reason for that is because I was completely blown away by the prices of these handmade amps! For instance, a 5F1 Champster (based on the 5F1 circuit) in a metal lunchbox enclosure is only $399! After seeing the prices of his amps, I had to get the low-down on the low prices, so I called Jim Nickelson up.

The story of how Li’l Dawg started is actually really cool, and Jim tells the story well in his Story page. What started out as a labor of love turned into a full-on amp business. What a way to retire! This was “supposed” to be a hobby. 🙂 Well personally, I’m glad he took up the hobby because many people have benefited from it.

Jim’s approach to Li’l Dawg is no-nonsense. He can keep the price down because he does all the work himself. He doesn’t advertise, which is another cost saver, and he’s worked out a product system where he turn around an order within 2-3 weeks! That’s amazing as most single man shops typically take months to complete an order.

But what about the amps? Well, I haven’t played one – yet. But Jim specializes in classic Tweed circuit amps, like the Champ and Deluxe. The model that I’m particularly interested in is a hybrid amp that has a 5E3 preamp (replete with jumperable inputs – nice) and a 5F1 power section, called “The Mutt.”

Now, Jim could probably just stop there and produce reproductions, but he has some nice added touches with his amps, such as Mercury Magnetics or Heyboer trannys, Sprague caps, and choices of steel or aluminum chassis.

As Jim shares, he wants to create a “candy store” experience when people choose an amp, and provide a basic foundation from which options can be added. So very nice, indeed! Then when you see the prices well, how could you not consider one of these amps?!!!

In any case, here are a few clips of the Mutt to whet your whistle:

Bright Rock Style

Clean, Chords

Jumpered

I don’t know about you, but that has TONS of classic rock mojo going on! Can’t wait to try one out! Or maybe I shouldn’t – I just may leave with an amp. 🙂 Well, that’s NEVER a bad thing. 🙂

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This is a “mini-review” only because I wanted to provide feedback on it after using it, and because I only used it in a limited way. The Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay is a digital/analog delay pedal meaning it is a digital delay with an analog direct signal path – or as Mad Professor puts it, the direct signal path is made of analog amplifiers with no filtering. In other words, it’s supposed to be transparent with no tone coloration.

Okay, I’ll just cut to the chase. This is about the sweetest delay pedal I’ve ever played through! It can do really subtle, ambient stuff, but also nicely textured “The Edge-” like delay. But no matter where you set it, the delay never turns to mush. It retains your tones, and is super-sweet.

At first glance, you might think this is a typical analog delay pedal, but it is a digital delay, and thus nowhere near as dark as I’ve heard analog delay pedals, which has kept me from getting an analog delay in the first place. I just don’t get into the really dark, brooding type of delay. But I’d easily consider the Deep Blue Delay. It’s simply killer!

I only used it with a Yamaha APX900 acoustic to add some subtle ambient textures to my finger picking. I was also running the signal into a nice little Genz-Benz Shenandoah JRLT. Level was at about 10 am, Delay about noon, and Repeat at about 11 am. I wanted to get just a subtle hall-like echo. All I can say was that it performed astounding well! Combined with that sweet ToneCandy Spring Fever reverb pedal, and I was awash in ambient heaven!

I did play with higher levels of each setting, and was amazed at the overall clarity of my tone. No mush or mud. My signal stayed nice and clean, and the note separation was always retained. And with this delay, smooth is the name of the game. There’s nothing harsh in the delay the Deep Blue produces.

Apparently – and I still have to corroborate this – the Deep Blue was designed to be place in front of or in the effects loop of an amp, and can be used either before or after distortion. Pretty amazing, as most time-based effects only work well in a loop and after distortion only. The folks at Mad Professor really put a lot of thought into this pedal. The guy at the shop where I tested it at – and someone whom I trust implicitly – plays the Deep Blue in front of an old Traynor amp, and loves it.

But there is a down side to this pedal, and that’s its price. At a street price between $325 and $350, it’s an expensive proposition, and like the Spring Fever, is probably the only thing that keeps me from getting this pedal. It’s tough to justify spending that much for a pedal, but that’s just me. Once a pedal gets in the $250 range, I start getting a bit antsy. But that said, if I had the scratch to get one, I’d run out right now and grab that pedal! It’s that good! (Damn! Knowing me, I’ll probably end up getting it… 🙂 ).

In any case, it gets 4.75 Tone Bones

Pros – Absolutely fantastic delay! Decay is perfect, and note clarity is like nothing I’ve heard.

Cons – Pricey

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