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Archive for July, 2015

I recently wrote a song – not even sure I shared it here – called “Love Is More Than What It Seems.” It’s kind of a fast-moving, “happy” rocking tune. I originally recorded it with my Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18. Gorgeous little amp that’s totally versatile. I love it. I used the silent recording option with it, and for the initial recording, it worked great. But as I got into mastering it, I was less and less satisfied with the electric guitar sounds. They just didn’t sound “right.”

So I switched to my beloved DV Mark Little 40, and that got me closer. But I was still not really digging the electric guitar tones. Then I realized that what I love the H&K and Little 40 amps for is their live performance versatility. But for recording, they just don’t quite cut it for me. For the biggest strength happens to be their weakness in a recording environment.

So… being a vintage Marshall fan, I pulled out my Aracom VRX18, based upon the classic Marshall Plexi 18. I’ve got NOS Pre- and Power-amp tubes in it, and this amp just oozes classic rock tone. Combined with my ’58 Historic Les Paul, and outputting through an Aracom Custom 1 X 12 equipped with a Jensen Jet Falcon, it was the exact tone I was looking for! Methinks I should’ve just used it to start out with, but hey! Live and learn right?

Here’s the song:

The interesting thing about that amp is that it doesn’t have the sustain, nor even touch-sensitivity of my other amps. But that works to its advantage because it makes me work a lot harder on the fretboard, and that makes my playing much more expressive as I have to work every note. But best of all though, the “bloom” I expect from any of my Les Pauls is right there; it just decays a little quicker than my other amps. But who cares? It works…

By the way, I also used the wonderful Aracom DRX attenuator to record the electric guitars at just a little louder than bedroom level. I was a long-time user of the PRX150, but with the dual-level attenuation, at least for live performances, I can get a nice volume boost at the press of a footswitch button.

Equipment:

Guitars: Yamaha APX900 (acoustic, direct-in); 1958 Les Paul Reissue

Amp: Aracom VRX18

Cabinet: Aracom Custom 1 X 12 Jensen Jet Falcon

Bass: Fender Jazz Bass (direct-in)

Note: Guitars were not EQ’d, though to bring them out in the mix a bit more, I used a stereo spreader.

Everything was recorded in Logic Express 9.

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Jensen Jet Nighthawk

I’ve been a fan of the Jensen speakers for a long time. The first custom speaker cabinet I had made used a Jensen P12N Alnico. I still use it when I record clean tones. But then I discovered the Jet series and fell in love! All my rock rigs have either a Falcon for 12″ and for my 10″ rigs, I use the Electric Lightning. Some gear purists may turn their nose up to these ceramic magnet speakers, but I absolutely love them. After all, it’s not about the materials, but about the tone, and the Jet series speakers – at least the ones I have – have never disappointed!

The other day, I got a press release from AmplifiedParts, announcing that they’re now carrying the Jensen Jet Nighthawk. Being such a fan-boy of the Jet series, I immediately contacted them to get a demo unit to do a test on the speaker. Can’t wait until it gets here. But until I get it and install it, here are sound clips from the Jensen site:

Blues

Country

Jazz

Metal

Classic Rock

If you take the time to go to the Nighthawk site, pay particular attention to the frequency response chart. This speaker has a “scooped” response, with fairly aggressive upper-mids, and a rounded bottom-end. From that, I expect it to be a fairly warm-sounding speaker, but with plenty of punch in the upper-mids to cut through a mix. While Jensen did the metal and rock tests with a Schecter and a Strat respectively, I looked at the chart and immediately said: Les Paul. Okay, okay… I admit it, it’s one of the first things usually comes to my mind. 🙂

But on the serious side, I can’t wait to try this speaker out with my R8 that’s equipped with Deacci Green Faze pickups, modeled after Peter Green’s (of the original Fleetwood Mac lineup) Les Paul, whose pickups are wired out-of-phase. The middle switch position KICKS ASS! Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound as good as I know it can with the Jet Falcon – it’s a little muffled for my tastes – but it worked incredibly well with the Electric Lightning. Unfortunately, that only means that I can only use it in the studio or in a small venue. I’m hoping that the Nighthawk will provide the upper-mid punch that I need.

Really looking forward to testing it!

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Late last year, I had a conversation with David Packouz, founder of Singular Sound. We were discussing various things that could expand the use of the BeatBuddy drum machine pedal. Having just used its MIDI sync to record a demo, one of the first things that came to mind was using the BeatBuddy with a looper, and do a video tutorial on it. David asked what looper I thought would be good to use the BeatBuddy with – I had already done some research on various loopers, and was prepared for this question – and I replied that the Pigtronix Infinity Looper seemed to be the only one that seemed to have reliable MIDI sync capabilities.

And lo and behold, after receiving an email update from Pigtronix on the Infinity Looper, I saw the video below on the Infinity tutorial video page!

This is super-exciting to me because I’ve been wanting to use the BeatBuddy in a live setting for a while, but I wanted to do it with a looper!

Now… I have to save my pennies for the Infinity…

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