Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

Unlike that absolutely stupid Rolling Stone article on the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, I’m not going to be an absolutist with my top 5 list of guitar inventions. I’ve actually been thinking about this subject for well over a year, ever since a journalist contacted me asking for what I thought were the top 4. Five’s a better number.

So what did I base my top 5 on? A lot of my ruminations on the subject centered around utility from the perspective of an active player. So what you won’t see in my list are things like the invention of the pickup. To me, that was way too obvious of a choice. Same thing with the invention of the tube amp. The things I wanted to focus on don’t necessarily have widespread impact, though some certainly do. But they’re things that wouldn’t be the first things that come to mind. Now granted, I’m speaking from my own perspective, and I realize that others may have their own. But as I mentioned above, I’ve been thinking about this list for well over a year now, so I didn’t come up with this quickly by any means.

In any case, here’s my list, not necessarily in order:

  • Capo – As humble as it is, the capo has made a HUGE contribution to music, allowing players to play in different keys, using root chord shapes. It has probably saved a lot of hands from carpal tunnel as well. 🙂 And anyone who calls the capo a “cheater” is full of it. Tell that to the likes of James Taylor, Keith Urban, and Keith Richards (yes, I’ve seen him play with one). Not only does a capo allow you to play in different keys using root chords, they ring much differently because of the open strings.
  • Strap Locks – It takes only one time of dropping your axe when it comes off your strap to learn the lesson and get a set of strap locks. ‘Nuff said.
  • Electronic Tuner – Electronic tuners are far more accurate than any ear tuning. I used an old Seiko tuner for years, then moved onto different kinds. I still use my Boss TU-2 on stage, though I use a Peterson strobe tuner in the studio for more accuracy.
  • Attenuator – These have been around for a long time, and I realize that not everyone uses them, but you’d be surprised at some of the big names that put an attenuator to use, like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Steve Miller. To me, getting an attenuator was a godsend when I got into tube amps; not just in the studio, but also on stage, allowing me to kick up the power on my amp to get the preamp AND power tubes saturated but at the same time keeping my volume down to manageable levels. Big game-changer for me.
  • Gig Bag – With the right gig bag, you can transport not just your guitar, but also all your cables, spare strings and accessories. I actually laughed when I thought of this one because out of all the items I chose, this was the one that I completely took for granted. I used to lug a hard shell case to gigs for years. Then about 10 years ago, my wife surprised me with a padded gig bag for my acoustic on my birthday. Now practically all my guitars have both a hard shell case and a gig bag for transport to a gig.

So there’s my top 5 guitar-related inventions. Yeah, they’re pretty pedestrian choices for the most part, except for the attenuator. To tell the truth, I distilled this list down from a lot of things, but in the end, I focused on the most useful things. It wasn’t easy.

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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!stagetrix_riser StageTrix Pedal Risers

Summary: Definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of that” kinds of products. Elevates pedals 1 inch and makes reaching your back row easy. Routing allows you to keep your wires out of the way!

Pros: Very well made, with convenient fuzz to attach your Velcro’d pedals.

Cons: None.


  • Raises the second row of pedals to the perfect height.
  • Front, back and side openings enable effective cable routing.
  • Premium 18-gauge steel.
  • Attaches to board via heavy duty hook-and-loop fastener on base, which holds firm up to 200°F.
  • Designed to withstand temperatures of up to 200F without melting, so leaving your pedal board in your vehicle on a summer day won’t result in a gooey mess with all the Velcro peeling off.
  • Works with most pedalboards. To be sure, check that you have an extra 1″ of clearance when case is closed. The vast majority do.

Price: $16.99

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 – I dig these things. No, they don’t improve my tone nor technique, but they sure make it easier to tap dance on my pedal board!

This will most likely be a short review because this product doesn’t do much at all – that’s not a bad thing, either… It simply elevates your pedals. But as an accessory, since I’ve installed a set of four on my board, it has proven invaluable to me! In one fell swoop, the StageTrix Pedal Risers made the back row of my board instantly accessible AND cleaned up my cable runs! Where I used to have to run my cables along the sides if my pedals, I now run them underneath the risers because of their built-in routing. My board hasn’t looked this good – EVER!

Admittedly, I was a bit dubious about their ruggedness when I first discovered them. But once I got them, that opinion changed quickly. These risers are heavy and it’s obvious a lot of attention was paid to the details in their construction. They won’t bend, and that’s a testament to their construction. I even stood on one (I’m not a small man), and the pedal riser didn’t budge!

On top of that, the Pedal Risers are set up for immediate and easy use. The entire base is covered with velcro out of the box, and the top is covered with a thin fuzz for attaching your pedals. No assembly required! I hate to attach velcro tape to stuff. It’s a pain in the ass!

Once I got my board set up, I hooked it up to my amp and started tap-dancing. I immediately started smiling because for the first time, I didn’t have to put my foot in an awkward position to engage one of my pedals in my back row for fear of messing up the settings of a pedal on my front line – or heaven forbid, engaging a pedal that I didn’t want to engage. Nothing like doing a clean solo, clicking on my vibe and simultaneously engaging an overdrive. No doubt, it’s a little unsettling. But that won’t happen any longer. The StageTrix Pedal Risers completely eliminate that possibility!

Currently, they’re sold out, so you can’t get them directly from StageTrix Products at the moment. But they should soon make it to retail stores. Check their site often, as they often update it with news!

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