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Archive for the ‘announcements’ Category

Tonic Amps

As you know, the Dawg spends a lot of time sniffing around to find gear, but sometimes, manufacturers find me. Recently Tonic Amps contacted me, and I checked out their offerings. Tonic builds some nice reissue amps with their own twists, but they are also the North American distributor for Fane Speakers, the noted UK amp speaker manufacturer.

As you’d expect, if they sell speakers, Tonic probably builds cabs as well, and that is definitely the case. Darin (owner/builder of Tonic), has some very nice custom cabs in a variety of configurations and woods, all solid board cabinets: no pressed sawdust here, my friends. Tonic also offers custom cabs in a variety of hardwoods (though of course, you’re going to pay a premium for these, but hey! they’re available).

In any case, Premier Guitar has run a couple of videos that demonstrate Tonic Amps. You can check them out below:

From the 2009 New York Amp Show:

From the LA Amp Show:

These are some nice-sounding amps with some nice features! One thing that’s totally awesome for me is that Tonic Amps is literally ten minutes away from where I live! I can’t wait to try out Tonic’s amps and cabs!

Another cool thing is that Darin shares a shop with GeekMacDaddy, who makes a line of very cool pedals. Maybe I’ll get a chance to give ’em a whirl, in particular, his British Ball Breaker, which is touted as a Marshal stack-in-a-box. Yummy!

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I was perusing The Gear Page this morning, and saw one of Anthony’s postings of the colors the Bambino comes in. CHECK IT OUT!!!

bambino_colors

I have the blue tolex model shown at the bottom right. It is SO cool looking.

BTW, if you missed the sound clips, here they are again:

Clean fingerstyle in neck position of my Strat:

Clean, blues progression, with Strat in neck/middle position with just a minute amount of breakup:

All out, wide open with channels 1 and 2 dimed and StackMode volume at 3pm. I’m playing my Prestige Heritage Elite with ‘buckers in the bridge position:

This little amp has created quite a buzz on the forums, and at $699, it’s a deal. It has been so popular, that they haven’t been able to keep up with the demand, and that’s a good thing! To place an order or to get some information, contact the guys directly at info@reasonamps.com.

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Reason Amps BambinoWhat three word phrase begins with an “O” and ends with an exclamation mark (!)? You guessed it, OH MY GOD! That was my reaction when I first turned on the Reason Bambino I got for review today. For the unfamiliar, the Bambino is Reason’s brand-new entry into the sub-10 Watt amp market, and if this little monster doesn’t make a big splash, I’ll be very disappointed!

I won’t go in-depth into the features since I covered those in my recent pre-release announcement, but the Bambino is simply a miniaturized version of the Reason family of amps, sporting three modes: Normal, Bright, and Stack. Stack Mode ROCKS folks, as it runs the Normal and Bright channels in series, adds an extra gain stage, while retaining full EQ control over the individual channels. Can you say, “High Gain?” 🙂 The volume knob on Channel 1 is a push-pull fat booster, while the volume knob on Channel 2 is a treble booster to add top-end sparkle. And of course, the Bambino is powered by two 6AQ5 power tubes. But enough of the features…

I opened up the shipping box and pulled out the amp to find a Navy Blue Levant tolex-covered amp. I just smiled as that is the exact color of my Aracom Amps! Talk about matching a set (though I don’t get to keep this eval model)! I’ve been so excited to get this amp as I’ve known about it for months, and couldn’t say a word about it. So despite the fact that I just finished a 4-hour solo gig tonight, how could I not open it up and try it out!

So I checked the tubes to see if they got unseated during shipping (they were fine), hooked it up, plugged in my Strat, and being that it was 10:30pm, switched the amp to 1 Watt mode (it’s switchable between 7 Watts and 1 Watt). I put the amp in Stack Mode, cranked the two channel volumes, turned the amp on, and got the Stack Mode volume to a reasonable level; that is, loud enough to move a bit of air but soft enough so as not to wake the neighbors (my studio is in my garage).

I struck an A chord on the fifth fret, and almost jumped out of my shoes! I could not believe what I was hearing! As expected, like all Reason amps, the Bambino is brightly voiced. But the 6AQ5 has a sound all its own. The overdrive tone is sizzling, with a nice, open character, incredible touch-sensitivity and dynamics, but it’s amazingly smooth at the same time. I liken that type of overdrive to the way 6V6’s break up, but the Bambino with its 6AQ5’s has a tone that is wholly unique! I LOVE IT!!! I did a few legato runs, and tested out the sustain and feedback. All I can say is that I was totally blown away! And I got this tone running the amp at bedroom levels in ONE FREAKIN’ WATT MODE!!!

Now, before you go thinking that 1 Watt doesn’t seem like a lot. In amp vernacular, it’s not much at all. But from an audio perspective, a 1 Watt amp running through a 1 X 12 speaker is as loud as a jack-hammer! That’s where the Stack Mode Volume comes into play as it is a PPIMV (Post Phase Inverter Master Volume), which effectively controls the amount of signal going into the power amp. At the volume I was running at, I was probably down to 1/2 or maybe even a 1/4 Watt, and that was at about loud conversation level.

But the gain that I was getting in Stack Mode was plenty for my needs, and as a home studio recording amp, being able to get that kind of tone without needing an attenuator, is incredible! I do have to say, that if I really want to take advantage of the third gain stage, I’d have to run the amp through an attenuator. Even at 1 Watt, with Stack volume cranked, it’s very loud, and that’s a testament to Obeid Kahn’s genius with power management.

As far as cleans are concerned, from what I can perceive with my Strat, the tone sits between an EL-84 and a 6V6 clean tone. It’s not as glassy as an EL-84 clean, and not as rich as a 6V6 clean. But what I like is that the clean tone has a real nice three-dimensional quality about it. There’s nothing flat about the cleans this amp produces. Adding just a touch of reverb accentuates this quality. It’s pure ear candy. While I love high-gain, to me, the real test of the amp is how it sounds clean. From that perspective, the Bambino totally delivers!

It’s almost midnight, I’m incredibly exhausted, but I have to play a little more before I turn in. So, in summary, my first impression of this amp is that it KICKS F-IN ASS! I haven’t even begun to explore all its features like its balanced line out (can’t wait to re-amp this with my Aracom VRX22 or do direct recording). All I know is that this is one special amp, and one that I am definitely adding to my collection! It’s a no-brainer at $699 for a hand-wired, US-made amp. Like the Aracoms amps that I love so dearly, I’ll take this amp over any name brand boutique amp out there!

Check out my review of the Reason Amps Bambino

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Goldie’s ready for her clear coat! OMG! I just can’t believe it! We are so close now! Had a bit of a setback because Adam, in addition to being a luthier is also a professional forest firefighter. What a guy! Anyway, enjoy the pics!

To see all the progress pictures, see my “Goldie” dedication page.

For more information about Saint Guitar Company, see their site! FYI, Adam’s come up with a Vintage series. I believe this is going to be a semi-hollowbody, with real classic styling.

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Elite Tone Smooth BoostIf I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. The market cannot have too many overdrive pedals. 🙂 As you know if you read this blog with regularity, I just love ’em. I know… there’s nothing like the sound of a cranked amp, yada-yada-yada… But to get to the type of amp drive that I like; that is, with both pre-amp and power tubes contributing to the distorted sound, the volume levels will make your ears bleed. Enter the overdrive pedal, which gives you that breakup tone at any volume level! And the reason I love OD pedals so much is because I personally haven’t come across any two from different makers that sound exactly alike. Sure, many cop the tone of some original design – can you say Tube Screamer – but even the “clones” have voices all their own as their manufacturers add features or make the original circuits more efficient.

The brand-new Smooth Boost from Elite Tone promises to be a VERY interesting take on the overdrive pedal. Don’t let the name fool you: This is not a pure booster pedal. Even Elite Tone categorizes it as a distortion/overdrive pedal. Here’s the description from their site:

Brand new offering from Elite Tone a simple subtle unique boost effect pedal. The Smooth Boost features a circuit architecture that supports, enhances and optimizes your existing tone with delicate transparency. This simple yet multifaceted effect, achieves hi fidelity tube like signal boost, compression, sustain, overdrive and even mild distortion. The smooth boost can also be adjusted remotely with guitar volume and produce a lush twangy tube like sound as the volume is rolled back. With the signal maxed it adds mild harmonic overdrive and a touch of distortion.

What really intrigues me about the pedal from the description is the phrase “The smooth boost can also be adjusted remotely with guitar volume…” Wonder if that’s actual mechanical control through a specific input, or it’s functioning like other OD pedals that respond to input gain. I’m going to have to do more research.

Holy GAS Attack, Batman!!! This handmade pedal only costs $99 direct!!!

Dammit! I wish I hadn’t gotten wind of this pedal. It’s bad enough that my natural curiosity makes me want to check this pedal out, especially with that “remote adjustment” bit. But that combined with the price is giving me a serious case of GAS! Crap! 🙂

Anyway, the Smooth Boost includes the following features (from the Elite Tone site):

  • Engineered and constructed all by hand
  • True bypass
  • Battery Included
  • 2.1 mm diameter DC jack adapter (like boss style, etc…)
  • Extremely low ambient noise ( Not audible with effect full on and strings muted in many cases)
  • LED On/Off indicator

Okay… I’m sold. Sight unseen, sound unheard. Well… I am a bit more reasonable than that, but this is VERY COOL! At the very least, I need to find out more about this pedal!

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!
fenderstudio
IK Multimedia Amplitube Fender Studio

Summary: Need a quick, portable way to get your guitar ideas down on track, with an incredibly easy-to-use USB interface for performing live through software models? Look no further. Amplitube Fender Studio will get you rocking in minutes!

Pros: The inclusion of Fender Studio SE, RiffWorks T4 and Amplitube X-Gear, provide you with a full-featured experience to develop and track your song ideas, and are well worth the price of admission!

Cons: None.

Amplitube Fender Studio Package:

StealthPlug Features:

  • 9’/2,5m length cable with integrated audio interface
  • 1/4” jack connector MONO IN
  • 1/8” mini-jack Headphone STEREO OUT (suitable also for Amp/Powered Speaker OUT)
  • USB 1.0/2.0 connector
  • Activity LED
  • Volume UP/DOWN buttons
  • USB bus powered
  • 16 bit A/D -D/A converter
  • 44KHz/48KHz Sampling Frequency
  • Ultra-low latency ASIO and Core Audio Drivers
  • Hi-Z direct Guitar and Bass-IN (suitable for any instrument with line out also)

Price: $99.99 (street)

Tone Bone Score: 5.0. Being constantly on the go as I am it can get frustrating having to wait all day to get a riff or song idea down. With the Amplitube Fender Studio, I can quickly hook up my axe, switch on my laptop, and get an idea down before I lose it!

I’ve been getting some pretty cool gear and software from IK Multimedia as of late, and so far, I’ve been nothing short of impressed with what I’ve evaluated. I totally dug AmpliTube Fender, and the StealthPedal blew me away with its high-fidelity signal processing. So it was with great anticipation that I’d do a review of Amplitube Fender Studio with the StealthPlug. I wasn’t disappointed in the least!

Amplitube Fender Studio: Be Anywhere, Record Your Axe Anywhere

I received AmpliTube Fender Studio with the included StealthPlug a few days ago (it’s always nice to come home to find a delivery box), immediately opened the box, plugged the StealthPlug into the USB port of my laptop, plugged my headset into the StealthPlug, fired up AmpliTube X-Gear, chose an amp, and started to play. Just as I expected, the device worked as advertised; and also as I expected, it worked with practically no latency. I immediately thought, “Man, I could gig with this…” But I’m jumping ahead… As fortune would have it, I could only spend a few minutes playing as I had to leave, so I unhooked everything and placed the StealthPlug in the pocket of my gig bag.

This morning, I loaded up my axe into my car, wanting to practice a little at lunchtime, as my work has kept me from playing regularly for the last several days. As I was driving into work, just letting my mind wander as I traveled down the freeway, out of nowhere I got a song idea. I played it over in my head for a few minutes, then anguished a bit because like many song ideas I’ve had in the past, I would have to wait until I got home to get the idea tracked; more often than not, by the time I got home, I’d lose the idea. Then I remembered that I had put the StealthPlug in my gig bag!

I immediately exited at the next exit and found a good place to park. I jumped out of the car, with laptop in hand, opened up my rear hatch, pulled my axe and the StealthPlug out of my gig bag, hooked up to my laptop, opened up GarageBand, created a new track, and hit record. I had the song idea down in less than five minutes. Sorry, I’m still working on the song, so I don’t have a clip. But the point of this is that the StealthPlug enabled me to get my song idea down soon after I got the idea. It meant that the idea didn’t get relegated to another “one that got away.”

Performance

I needn’t go into any diatribe of the StealthPlug’s fit and finish nor how it sounds. How it sounds is based upon what amp and effect models you apply in your software. But here’s one thing I did notice, and it’s a huge thing: I could barely detect any latency at all while I played through the StealthPlug, even when recording in GarageBand, which can be a real resource pig. That kind of instantaneous response is absolutely to die for! I suppose the near-zero latency of the StealthPlug probably has a lot to do with the simplicity of the signal route. It’s a USB cable, for goodness’ sake! But that bodes well for using the StealthPlug in a live situation. I’ve often wanted to use my computer in a live situation using nothing but software models for amps; especially in my church gig where controlling output volume is essential. The only thing that has kept me from doing this is latency. Even tiny amounts of latency can throw you off while you’re playing. But with the StealthPlug’s near-zero latency, I think I’m going to have to give it a go.

Funny thing, I perused the web for other reviews, and all seemed to have a much more tepid response to this wonderful piece of gear; especially with respect to latency. Mind you, I have 4 GB RAM in my Mac, so that probably has a lot to do with my lack of latency, since the computer rarely has to go to the hard drive once things are loaded.

Another thing I tried with the StealthPlug was running it from my pedal board, to see how it would react, and see how the amp models I have on my laptop would react. After tweaking some levels, I was amazed at how well it worked! Admittedly, the tone produced seemed a little thin in the highs, but a little EQ to boost the highs remedied that right quick. But there are other ways to employ the StealthPlug. Here a few ways you can use it.

Amplitube Fender Studio: It Simply KICKS ASS!

So I’ve established that I dig the StealthPlug… On a standalone basis, I’d give it a 5.0 Tone Bone score by itself because of the effect it had on my songwriting, but used within the context of the included Fender Studio software well, the whole package gets a 5.0! And it’s due to a little software package called Riffworks T4 that’s included with Fender Studio. I had heard of Riffworks by following Todd Rundgren who recorded his latest “Arena” album using the full version of this software.

Basically, Riffworks, as the name implies, is a software where you can create layered riff loops. Unlike programs like GarageBand or Ableton or the like, you construct songs in Riffworks by linking together riff loops that you can create. I won’t go into a lot of detail about it here, but I will say that it makes songwriting very very easy. For those of you familiar with digital recording, riffs are built using a “loop recording” methodology; that is, a phrase is played over and over again with a new “layer” added with each iteration of the loop. It’Add to the fact that Fender Studio and X-Gear or whatever amp plug-in you have on your computer is readily available in the software, and creating music is absolute freakin’ breeze. Here’s a clip that I recorded just a few minutes ago using Riffworks with Fender Studio:

For the rhythm part, I used ’59 Bassman model, then applied a Riffworks Filter and Shaper to it to give it that “vibey” sound. For the lead, I used driven ’57 Deluxe model. But for this, I ran my guitar into my pedalboard first, then into the StealthPlug. I only used a single pedal, and that’s my beloved Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2 to add some slightly compressed and sustaining overdrive to the signal. The result was magnificent!

Once I was done with recording in RiffWorks, I outputted the clip to a WAV file, then imported it into GarageBand, so I could add a bassline. If I had a bass handy, I could’ve done everything in RiffWorks, but alas, I can only use MIDI for now. But here’s the cool thing: The StealthPlug was my only audio interface into my computer! How incredible is that? And I just had my headphone attached to the StealthPlug, and it all worked amazingly well. Talk about having a portable studio! All I need is a couple of guitars, the StealthPlug and my laptop! Save the guitars, all I need will fit into my laptop bag. Granted, I wouldn’t have access to my pedalboard if I was on the road, but adding effect plug-ins to Amplitube if I need them is not a problem.

Overall Impressions

Amazingly enough, response to the StealthPlug has been just okay… Not sure what that’s all about. But for me, I have a recording solution wherever I go. I don’t need to bring amps, just my laptop and a couple of guitars when I want to get away for a remote songwriting adventure. And RiffWorks plus Amplitube gives me everything I need!

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Fender Champion 600 Re-issueAs much as I have been ranting about Fender gear pricing as of late, and their latest “supposed” price drop (who knows for how long), my Champ 600 has been a tried and true companion in my studio ever since I got it. I’ve even used it at small venue gigs hooked to a 1 X12 cab, and it has performed wonderfully! This is a great amp!

Anyway, As I was doing a bit of research on the Fender price drop, I happened to go to GuitarCenter.com and couldn’t believe the pricing of the Champ 600 there! At $149, this is even cheaper than what I got it for two years ago!

Folks, this is phenomenal! While diminutive in size, this amp packs tone! You want classic Fender tone at a lower volume for home recording or just futzing around, this is the amp to get! And because it’s a low wattage amp, you can push it and not worry that your eardrums will start to bleed.

For my own purposes, this has been one of most pedal-friendly amps I’ve ever owned, so I retubed it with a NOS JAN-Philips 12AT7 and a JJ 6V6 to get maximum clean headroom out of the amp. Now, I have to open up the amp full to get even mild breakup. But that’s why I have my OD pedals. My thought behind this is that I want to get as pure character out of my OD’s as possible, so playing through a really clean amp will accomplish that.

So what’s the point of all this? As I mentioned above, this is a GREAT amp, and at $149, it’s a steal. Go get one at GC today!

Here’s a sample I recorded with the amp hooked up to my 1 X 12 extension cab:

Disclaimer: I’m not in any affiliate program with GC, so I get nothing out of announcing this. 🙂

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What’s handmade, black and gold, and has the potential to catapult you into tonal heaven without breaking the bank and more importantly busting your eardrums? Simple: The soon-to-be-released Reason Amps Bambino! This article is the first news glimpse of this brand-new 7 Watt amp from the Reason guys that has all the tonal goodness you expect from a Reason amp but at volume level that won’t make your ears bleed, and almost as importantly, is easily within the financial reach of most cash-strapped gear sluts.

Reason Amps Bambino
When I first reviewed the Reason SM25 and the Reason SM40, I knew that what I was hearing was something special. These amps weren’t clone designs, and didn’t sound like anything that I had played before. Yes, they were based on classic 6V6 and EL84 power tubes, but the thing with those amps was that the power handling was magic, and either of these amps sounded way louder than you would expect with low to medium wattage amplifiers. Make no bones about it, what Obeid Kahn has figured out in the power transformer section of his amps is totally proprietary and SICK! Even as well as I’ve gotten to know Anthony and Obeid, that’s a subject they hold close to their chests.

So imagine my excitement when they shared with me several months ago that they were coming out with a brand-new low wattage amp. I wasn’t allowed to say anything about it at the time because Obeid was still working out the design, and hadn’t decided on the power tube he was going to use. All they would tell me was that it would be a sub-$700 amp that would have all the tonal goodness you’d expect from a Reason amplifier. Yeah, really definitive… ☺

But as luck would have it, I happened to give the Reason guys a call to see how they were doing, and much to my extreme pleasure, Anthony mentioned that they were almost ready to release the new amp, and that they were calling it the Bambino. After Anthony described the amp’s features, I started salivating. I LOVE LOW-WATTAGE AMPS! And this amp’s features totally kick the shit out of a lot of the low-wattage amps on the market, boutique and production alike. So let’s go over the features, shall we?

Reason Bambino Specs

Preamp Tubes: Three 12AX7’s

Power Tubes : Two 6AQ5’s in a push-pull configuration.

Output Power: 7 Watts, switchable to 1 Watt

Channels:
Normal – British cleans to Vox-like top-end. Includes a “thick” setting via pull-switch to get thick “Beano-like” grind.

Bright – Very American, SoCal type of bright and scooped tone, with smooth overdrive when pushed. Bass knob scoops the mids when you dime it, and the pull switch will add extra shimmer to the top end.

StackModeTM – As with all amps in the Reason Amps family, the Bambino also sports StackMode, which runs Channel 1 into Channel 2 plus an extra gain stage in a series. Want to get over-the-top grind? StackMode is it!

Sounds basic enough, but wait! There’s more!

Built-in Speaker Load Box Simulated Line Output with Level Control – The line output is not just another line output.  It starts with a fully inductive speaker impedance simulator, which then goes onto a complex frequency shaping network that simulates the sound of a classic 2×12 speaker cabinet.  The fully balanced TRS ¼” connection allows for connection to any recording devices or slave amplifiers. Can you say “re-amp” anyone? ☺ You can also use this output to perform true silent recording. Of course, nothing beats a speaker moving air, but when you need a straight guitar sound to record, now you have it.

Separate Headphone Output – Want to practice and not wake up the significant other? No problem, mahn!

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know how much I love Reason Amps! They don’t pay me anything for telling their story – all you have to do is play a Reason Amp and you’ll be hooked! And at the price-point that the Bambino is coming in at, there is NO reason (excuse the pun) that you shouldn’t seriously consider this amp when it’s ready for shipping!

Not Your Daddy’s Oldsmobile

It would be so easy to dismiss this amp as yet another boutique amp. But you’d be wrong. One of the reasons I dig Reason amps so much is because they have a sound all their own. It’s also the reason I dig Aracom Amps so much. Manufacturers like these don’t settle for making copies of classic designs. They’re true innovators, taking the classic designs, improving on them, and adding their own special touches. The net result is that you get amps that have tones that are uniquely theirs.

And on top of that, Obeid Kahn is one of the leading amp designers around, the meticulous care and innovative spirit he has put into his designs is evident in the amps he has produced over the years, and with Reason Amps, that skill and innovation are at their paramount. These amps are special!

Stay tuned for more! I hope to get a test amp when they have one available! But for now, check out the Reason Amps site for any updates.

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Nova Repeater

The Nova Repeater news is a tad old, as it started shipping a couple of weeks ago, but retailers are still only taking pre-orders on it. I’ve been waiting for the Nova Repeater to come out for awhile, ever since I heard about it from Winter NAMM news. As TC Electronic puts it, this pedal is “No frills, with a sound that kills.” It truly is no-frills. There’s no programming of the pedal. It has a few features and that’s it. But what it has that I’ve not seen with other pedals is a feature TC calls, “Audio Tapping.” Essentially, you hold the tap tempo button down, then strum your guitar, and the delay is set based upon the strum. I can’t wait to try out this delay pedal! Here’s a demo video:

Nova Drive

Next up is the Nova Drive, which is an analog overdrive and distortion pedal that is controlled with a digital interface. Not sure how that works, but it does sound very cool. This is the same drive/distortion circuit that is in the Nova System, so if you know about that tone, you know it’s very nice. There are a couple of things that stand out about this pedal for me. First, you can change the order of the drive and distortion, making drive first, distortion second; and vice-versa. Second, you can also run the effects in parallel, which is totally – it provides a completely different dimension in the tone this pedal produces. It also has a MIDI input that you can hook up to a G Major system to program it. Not bad. Anyway, here’s another demo video:

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Jam Center

Wow! Amazing what taking a few days off can do! I spent last weekend in Las Vegas deflating from the rigors of everyday life, and when I came back, made a conscious effort to play as little guitar or writing as possible. Sometimes you just need to take a break. But I’m back now, refreshed, restored, and fully recovered.

So yesterday, not feeling like writing any music – actually not feeling very creative at all – I just picked up my guitar and started noodling. Within a few minutes, I wanted to play to something, so I did a search on “jam tracks” and the first search result was a link to a place called Jam Center. Intrigued, I clicked the link and was taken to the site.

There really wasn’t much there; just a navigation bar on the left that listed “Jam Machine Keys.” I clicked the Key of A, the page reloaded and the following “machine” appeared on the page:

jamcenter_player

Cool, I thought, this looks really promising. I clicked on “COOL” and was rewarded with a nicely produced jam track. I slung my guitar and started playing… Two hours later, I still hadn’t gone through all the keys and all the jam tracks, I was enjoying myself so much!

Yeah, there are lots of different sites offering jam tracks out there, but what I like about this particular site is that instead of just playing MP3s in another tab or window that eventually end, the jam tracks are arranged in a loop, and not only that, many of the jam tracks have two different “feels” to them. Usually, the first part of a track will have a mellower feel, then jumping into the second half of the track, the feel gets more intense. Having this type of variation makes you play differently. So not only can you practice your technique, you can practice changing your tones and attack. What I found very useful with having two different feels to a track was it allowed me to practice switching pedals and pickup selections. How cool is that!

One thing I forgot to mention was that when you click on a style on the machine, text appears on the machine suggesting the type of scale to play like “A Harmonic Minor” or “E Blues.” It’s a small thing yes, but it’s cool to have a starting place. For instance, in one of the tracks, the suggestion came up with “A Mixolydian.” I’ve never been that much into modes and such, even though I’ve studied them, but as an interesting and added value, the site has some great graphic examples of the different modes.

I looked up “A Mixolydian” and was greeted with the pattern, and started playing the pattern over the jam track. That was really cool; a way to immediately use a mode over a piece of music, as opposed to having to intellectualize. What that sparked was using different modes starting with different tonics or root notes over the different keys. Some didn’t work at all, but it sure helped me understand how modes can open up a whole different world when jamming.

Anyway, check this site out. It’s a great tool!

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