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Posts Tagged ‘gear find’

Just got an e-mail from Fender today, announcing the 60th Anniversary of the Telecaster. They’re calling it their “Tele-bration.” Nice. The beauty above is called the “Modern Thinline” Tele, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous guitar! Fender calls it a chambered body.

In any case, in honor of the 60th Anniversary, Fender is releasing special edition models throughout the year; some of which you can see here. One of the models that has particularly caught my eye is the “Old Growth Redwood” model. This is made from salvaged redwood from old buildings, and has the knots and nail holes from those buildings to give the guitar a really distinctive look.

MSRP on all these guitars is $2499, so count on street prices being around the $1500-$1800 price mark. That’s very attractive pricing for these models. πŸ™‚

BTW, I found a GREAT video demo of the Old Growth Redwood model from none other than Andy @ ProGuitarShop.com:

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I was looking around for new gear to talk about and ran across this video at Guitar World:

All I can say is… interesting. As said in the video, the power wire has a tiny amplifier built into the jack that connects to your guitar powered by two long-life batteries.

Not sure how I feel about it, which is why my reaction was a lot more mild. It’s certainly cool, adding more gain to your input signal. According to the R&M Tone Technology web site, the cable comes in 0-6dB gain options. I guess the thinking is that more gain gives you more dynamics, but it also changes the overdrive point of whatever drive pedals you’re using, or if you’re going straight into the amp, where your amp breaks up.

I would actually see this as a benefit for single-coil, or low-output humbucker-equipped guitars, where that extra gain will get you overdrive earlier on. Not sure how I’d like it with hotter pickups such as the ones that are in my Gibson Nighthawk Reissue.

But at $39.00 for a 20 footer and $43 and $47 for 30- and 40- foot cables, it might be worth it to try out. For more information, visit the R&M Tone Technology site.

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TC Electronic Corona Chorus

Summary: Part of TC Electronic’s new Compact line, this is just about the most tweakable chorus I’ve ever played. Standard chorus most offers a wide range of chorus tone from subtle, ringing tones to thick leslie-like warble. But with TonePrint and TriChorus, you’ve got even more chorus sounds at your fingertips.

Pros: For the chorus lover, the Corona is a tone tweaker’s wet dream! There’s so much you can dial in with this pedal, and guess what? It all sounds great! Great TC sound in a standard-size enclosure? No problem, mahn!

Cons: None. Granted, I haven’t played with it much, but I just can’t think of anything NOT to like at this point.

Features:

  • TonePrint – instant access to custom pedal-tweaks made by your idols!
  • 3 chorus types – expansive tonal options from glassy shimmer to mind-boggling swirls of sound
  • Speed, Depth, Color and Level controls – sculpt your chorus sounds from subtle to extreme
  • Stereo in & out – for added flexibility to your set-up
  • True Bypass – zero loss of tone
  • Analog-Dry-Through – maximum tonal integrity and clarity
  • ToneLock – protects your presets under all circumstances
  • Easy battery access – makes changing batteries fun! (well, almost)
  • Small footprint – save precious pedalboard space
  • High quality components – only the best will do when it comes to tone
  • Road-ready design – ready to follow you wherever your playing takes you

Price: $129 Street

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 ~TC Electronic is finally coming down from the stratosphere. In the past, price was a big barrier to entry, but with the Compact line of pedals, that’s no longer the case. You get great TC tone at an absolutely affordable price.

Selling Like Hotcakes

I called up my buddy Jordan over at Gelb Music in Redwood City today to see if he had any of the TC Electronic Compact Line in stock. He said he had one chorus and one delay left. He had three of each two days ago, and people are calling, so he has a bunch on order. I’ve been reading the buzz about these pedals for the past couple of days, and it seems that dealers sell them as soon as they get them; and for good reason: At least for the Corona, the pedals sound INCREDIBLE! As soon as Jordan told me he had a Corona (which is what I was originally interested in), I told him I’d be down in a few minutes and he said he’d pull the pedal. He knows me too well; if I like and bond with some gear, I’ll walk out the store with it.

Well, such was the case with the Corona. As soon as I got to the shop, Jordan handed the pedal to me. I took it and got set up to test it. I tested it through a 100 Watt Sebago Double Trouble with a Gretsch Electromatic at the shop and immediately fell in love. This is a keeper, and will be going on my board – today! Let’s get to the review, shall we?

Fit and Finish

Can you say, “built like a tank?” πŸ™‚ The enclosure is absolutely solid. The knobs feel totally sturdy, and the bypass switch (yes, it’s true bypass) feels solid. In other words, if the Corona is any indication of the rest of the line, these pedals will be gig-worthy.

How It Sounds

Sorry, no clips yet as I have yet to bring it home. πŸ™‚ But all I can say is that the chorus is simply silky-smooth. The “Analog-Dry-Through” (ADT) technique that they’re using really works. Basically, with ADT, the dry signal stays untouched in the pedal, and the effect is simply blended in. I really like this technique, as it ensures that your signal retains its integrity. So there’s no signal loss, and no gain boost like you get with other pedals that modify the dry signal directly. It also gives you a lot finer control over how much effectΒ  you want.

I tested all three modes: Chorus, TonePrint, and TriChorus. Here’s a synopsis of each:

Chorus Mode ~ If the Corona only had this mode, I still would’ve bought it. Based upon TC’s classic SCF circuit, this is a smooth, sexy chorus. There’s nothing bell-like with this mode, but it just adds some very beautiful character to your sound and it doesn’t sound at all processed. Based upon my initial test, this will most probably be the mode I use the most.

TonePrint Mode ~ This mode, of course, offers the ultimate in tweakability. Out of the box, the default TonePrint is an asymmetrical TriChorus that has some really cool swirls. But if you don’t like that, just hook the pedal up to your computer via the included USB cable and print a chorus sound you like. You can download TonePrints from the TC Electronic site, where they’ve had some major artists provide TonePrints. Want a Bumblefoot chorus sound? How ’bout one from Orianthi? Pretty cool stuff!

TriChorus ~ For me, used subtly in mono, this mode out of the box will give you very cool leslie-like tones. Apparently, it’s best used in stereo. While I liked it, it was the least of my favorites, but I can actually see where I can use it in one of my songs. It’ll work perfectly for that.

Overall Impression

As I entitled my previous article on the Corona chorus, I really thought I was done getting chorus pedals. But this is a must-have for me as I wanted to have another chorus pedal that could do sounds that me Boss CE-2 can’t do. The CE-2 is a really in-your-face type of chorus, while the Corona can be dialed back for a much more subtle chorus tone. I’ll be using this pedal – A LOT!!!

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TC Electronic comes out with the Corona Chorus (announced at Winter NAMM 2011). From what I’ve been reading and watching about this chorus pedal, it’s a winner! Very tweakable, with three different modes including their classic SCF chorus, Tri-Chorus, and TonePrint, which allows you to download settings directly into the pedal via a USB connection to your computer.

I have never owned a TC Electronic device; though I’ve tested a few of the Nova line pedals, and they sound great, one thing that has turned me off in the past is the size of the pedals I tested. Now with TC Electronic’s new compact pedal line, all that tonal goodness TC Electronic is known for can be had in a more standard form factor!

I don’t have a lot of chorus pedals; in fact, I only have two (BOSS CE-2 and a Homebrew THC), and I love them both. I use the THC for acoustic guitar, and use the CE-2 for electric. But I was just thinking that I’d like to have a more tweakable chorus to accompany my CE-2, as it’s kind of on the bright side, and sometimes I want something much darker, plus the versatility of the Corona would be awesome to accompany the CE-2 on my board. And no, I wouldn’t remove the CE-2 because it has a very distinctive tone that I have not been able to duplicate with any other pedal – ever.

From the techie side of things, the Corona is true bypass, and as TC Electronic puts it, Analog-Dry-Through, which simply means that the dry signal through the pedal stays dry and the effect is blended in. Very nice. That would definitely make it easy to put in front of an amp.

In any case, as usual Andy at ProGuitarShop.com has created a demo video. It’s pretty sweet:

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For years I was on an Overdrive kick. I still kind of am. I love dirt pedals despite the fact that I don’t use them nearly as much as I used to, and am patiently waiting for my Timmy to arrive. πŸ™‚ But ever since I went on my quest to get an original BOSS CE-2 chorus, I’ve kind of gotten on a chorus kick as well; not as bad as my overdrive kick, but every time I see a new chorus, I have to at least listen to it. And if I REALLYΒ  like it, I might just buy it. That’s how it was with my Homebrew THC. It just came along at the right place at the right time.

Truth be told though, while I’m not currently in the market for another chorus pedal, the Sea Machine Chorus from Earthquaker devices does give me pause. One thing that always turns me on with respect to gear is versatility, and the Sea Machine certainly cannot be blamed for lack of it. In addition to the tradition, Rate, Depth, and Intensity knobs, the Sea Machine also boasts three other knobs:

  • Animate – adjusts the width of the chorus pitch shift
  • Shape – adjusts the shape of the LFO
  • Dimension – which adds reverb/delay-like ambience to the tone.

This is impressive because from demos I’ve seen, this pedal is capable of producing TONS of different tones from your traditional chorus to leslie to vibe to all-out tweaked!

The pedal retails for $215 online. Here are some demos for your viewing/listening pleasure:

I totally dig Andy at ProGuitarShop.com’s demo as he demonstrates AND explains what the pedal can do, which is a lot. The Dimension feature is absolutely awesome!

If I had to do it over again, and I hadn’t purchased the Homebrew THC, I probably would’ve picked up the Sea Machine. Great chorus!

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I usually keep up on new stuff, but the Aria has been around for about a year now. Can’t believe I missed it! In any case, I just spoke with Dave Koltai of Pigtronix, and he said the Aria was the result of releasing a product with no marketing. I take it that Dave is one of those back-room geek dudes who come up with lots of amazing shit, then just put it out there. πŸ™‚ Actually, after speaking with him, he’s a really cool guy, and it’s great to meet someone who has a passion for what they do, and that was clear that he has a passion for creating great pedals.

I’ve known about Pigtronix for quite awhile, but it wasn’t until I got the press release on the Keymaster and shared it, that I started looking in on Pigtronix’s product line. They’ve got an impressive array of pedals. The one that I’m really keeping an eye on is the Philosopher King pedal, which is a compressor/sustainer, grit, and envelope filter. Have to save my pennies up for that one, but it’s definitely something I’d like to add to my board. But more to the immediate, I also came across the Aria Disnortion pedal, and that’s what this post is about…

I love dirt pedals! I’ve got a bunch of ’em, and for some reason, I just can’t get enough of ’em (I know… I say that a lot, but it’s true). Each one that I have has a different character, and they rotate on my board with seeming regularity as I get the in the mood for different tones now and then. As of late, I’ve really been into more transparent overdrives and boost, as I love the natural sound of my amps when overdriven, and the Aria definitely seems to fit the bill.

Now with respect to transparency, let’s face it, nothing is transparent. Everything you put on your board will change your tone. But what I tend to look for – especially in dirt pedals – is that they don’t take anything away, ESPECIALLY dynamics and and note separation. Some pedals I’ve tried in the past sound pretty decent and have lots of dynamics, but at high gain levels, lose clarity and note separation. While I’m not a speed demon on the fretboard by any stretch of the imagination, I do have more of a legato style of playing where I play several notes in one complete phrase which I’ll end with a bend or sustain, depending upon what I’m playing. So note separation is VERY important to me. There’s nothing worse than playing a well thought out phrase, only to lose it in a mush. From what I’ve heard from the demonstrations by Peter Thorn and Andy at Pro Guitar Shops, even at high gain settings, the pedal retains note separation. That’s a huge plus!

Another plus of this pedal that I can see is the 3-band active EQ that provide 12dB of cut or boost to really shape your tone. The gain knob will give you clean boost to fuzz, which makes this an incredibly versatile dirt pedal. This ain’t no one-trick-pony; that’s fo sho!

Then add to all that this pedal retails for a street price of $149, OMG! I have to get this pedal! πŸ™‚

For more information on the Pigtronix Aria Disnortion (no, it’s not a typo), visit the Pigtronix Aria product page!

In any case, for your viewing/listening enjoyment, check out these demo videos!

Peter Thorn

Andy @ ProGuitarShops.com

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When I first heard about this pedal, which EH calls a “sound retainer,” I have to admit, I was rather incredulous. I asked, “What the hell would I use THAT for?” But after seeing a demonstration of it, I seeing some real possibilities; especially for my solo acoustic gigs. But rather than bore you with a bunch of features, take a look at this video:

That dude is a great guitar player! Don’t know who he is, but I do know he’s from Mexico as that demo comes from guitargear.com.mx. No affiliation to this site, but it’s a cool name just the same! And of course, at least for me, I have to appreciate his choice of guitar. πŸ™‚ Nice Tea Burst Les Paul!

In any case, that demo sparked off an idea in me for when I play my solo acoustic gigs. I could strum a chord, then play a short lead over it. But I can also see how it could actually be used to introduce a whole new way of approaching music. It’s wild! I’m seeing all sorts of possibilities now with this pedal, once I saw a demo. And at under $120, it’s not expensive at all.

For more information, check out the EH FREEZE site!

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Homebrew Electronics Three Hound Chorus

Summary: All-analog, thick and rich chorus capable of produce subtle to dripping wet chorus to organ-like leslie tones.

Pros: Warm, rich chorus tones – never gets bright, so it might not be for everyone, but I LOVE IT! Width knob is the “secret sauce” of the pedal that physically alters the width between the wave forms.

Cons: None.

Features:

  • Depth – Controls the depth or wetness of the signal
  • Speed – Connected to the LED indicator light which flashes with the rate of the chorus – very helpful.
  • Width – As mentioned above, controls the width between the wave forms. The effect is subtle, but provides another dimension for tweaking.
  • All Homebrew pedals feature true-bypass switching, heavy duty metal enclosures, chassis-mounted switches and pots.
  • All pedals are hand-built. Even the enclosures are drilled by an actual person, not a machine.
  • Lifetime warranty

Price: ~$189 – $200 Street

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 ~ I’m blown away by this chorus! It has such a beautiful tone! I was looking for a chorus to use with my acoustic rig, but this pedal has so much versatility, that I will be using it for a variety of settings (though it’ll mainly be used for my acoustic rig).

I Love Surprises…

Actually, saying I was surprised by the THC is actually an understatement. I needed a chorus pedal to go with my acoustic rig yesterday, because I was tired of using my BOSS CE-2 on both my electric and acoustic boards. Plus, the CE-2, at least for me, has always sounded better with electric because of the gain boost which I dig with my electric rig. But for acoustic, I just want something that turns on, doesn’t give me a jump in volume, and doesn’t add any brightness. So when I auditioned a couple of chorus pedals yesterday – the other was an MXR Micro Chorus – I could not believe how absolutely SWEET the THC sounded!

Mind you, the Micro Chorus sounded killer to me, but it was much closer in character to the CE-2 as it is a fairly bright chorus. For acoustic, I needed a much thicker tone, and I found that in the THC. I will mention that I was going to also audition the Red Witch Empress Chorus, which is hailed as just about the best chorus on the market today. But at $400, there was absolutely no way I was going to get it, so I didn’t bother auditioning it. Also, the Red Witch has 4 knobs and two toggles. I didn’t need that kind of tweak-ability. I know, it’s also a Vibrato, but I just wanted a chorus.

Fit and Finish

All Homebrew Electronics (HBE) pedals are hand-built: And this means all the components, drilling and even the painting are done at the Homebrew shop. But the cool thing is that HBE. My experience with them has been that they’re built like tanks, and the THC is no exception. The pedal feels solid. There’s nothing loose. I also absolutely dig the bright green paint job. Reminds me of a Granny Smith apple! πŸ™‚

Ease of Use (read: How easy is it to dial in great tone)

This is where the THC really shines. What’s very helpful in this regard is the LED, which flashes with the according to how the Rate knob is set. I found myself setting this knob first, then setting the Depth knob for the wetness, then setting the width, which I mentioned is a very subtle feature, but it changes the character of the chorus, which is really cool. Note that it’s not something that I can’t really explain because at least to me, the change is more felt than heard.

How It Sounds

As with all gear that I give 5 Tone Bones, the THC sounds AMAZING! With a high rating like this, the tone really has to move me emotionally. Other gear that gets a lower rating, even gear with a 4.75 sounds great, but there’s something that “bugs” me. Not so with the THC. It’s one of those pedals where I can close my eyes, put a smile on my face, and just let my fingers do the talking. It’s that good!

I recorded a few clips of the pedal to demonstrate how it sounds. All clips were recorded with my trusty Squier CV Tele 50’s (middle pickup position) into my Aracom VRX22 and a 1 X 12 with a Jensen Jet Falcon:

All controls dead-center

Subtle: Depth at about 10am, Rate at 12pm, Width at 10am (added a touch of reverb)

Leslie: Depth at 2pm, Rate cranked, Width about 2pm

Heavy: Depth at 4pm, Rate at 1pm, Width 11am

With this clip I wanted to see how well it played with both delay and reverb, and it plays quite nicely. πŸ™‚

Overall Impression

This is one of those pedals that I actually had never seen before. I’d heard of it, but went into the audition completely cold. If you have a dealer near you that carries these pedals, I encourage you to check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

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No, not the sexual kind – though we do like that – but the spring reverb kind. πŸ™‚ Specifically, I’m talking about the Tone Candy Spring Fever. I reviewed the Spring Fever back in May, and gave it a 4.5 Tone Bones. But now that I’ve got it and after spending a few hours with it last night, I’m now giving it 5.0 Tone Bones! Here’s why:

  1. As I said in my original review, the Spring Fever is just about the best spring reverb pedal I’ve ever played. It sounds incredibly realistic, and unlike many of the digital varieties I’ve played, while it’s jangly with some top-end, it also doesn’t lose bottom end, so your tone stays nice and rich. That’s a little disconcerting to some folks because they’re used to a brighter tone, but for me, the retention of the bottom end is really what sold me on its tone, plus with the Spring Fever, you can go from subtle spring ‘verb, to rich, spacious, swirling surf tones, so there’s lots of variety on tap.
  2. What I didn’t get to test out in my original audition of the Spring Fever was its Volume knob which also acts as a clean boost if you turn the Reverb and Mix knobs all the way down. I’m not sure how much boost the pedal adds, but there’s enough boost on tap to slam the front end of your amp with loads of gain.

I particularly like the Volume knob because it solves a real problem for me when I play my acoustic gigs at venues where I have to plug directly into a PA board. My acoustics’ pickups don’t have much gain, and I usually have to crank up the volume faders on the board, which can be problematic as it makes it difficult to balance out the guitars’ volume with my vocals. I’ve solved this in the past by lugging my Presonus TUBEPre preamp with me, but that’s a bit of a pain to lug (read: extra gear, not because it’s heavy), and requires a separate 12V power supply. The Volume knob on the Spring Fever eliminates the need for me to bring a preamp with me. Nice.

If I have one complaint of the pedal, it has to be its finicky nature with power supplies, and will add some noise to the signal. Mike Marino explains this on the Spring Fever product page, and recommends some power supplies to use, such as the 1-Spot. I used the 1-Spot in my clips, and when the Spring Fever was activated, there was a slight, but noticeable hiss. This has to do with the power supply, and not the pedal. This also happens when I use my MXR Carbon Copy with the 1-Spot. When I hook it up to a regulated power supply like a Dunlop DC Brick, the pedal is as quiet as can be. So despite Mike’s recommendation about the 1-Spot, don’t use it. Get a regulated power supply like the DC Brick. Luckily, I have an extra DC Brick, so that will be powering my mini board.

How It Sounds

As I said, the Spring Fever is about the best spring reverb pedal I’ve ever played! Capable of producing a wide range of reverb, this pedal will be a permanent fixture on my board! I’ve still got to play around with it some more, but I recorded a few clips to give you an idea of what it can do. The clips below were all recorded using my 1958 Fender Champ output to a Jensen Jet Falcon 1 X 12. I start out each clip with a dry signal, then play it again with some “grease.” What that pedal adds with respect to spaciousness is amazing! All the clean clips were recorded at unity volume, while the dirty clips were played with the amp turned up to about 2pm, and the boost at 1pm with Mix and Reverb completely off. I wanted to demonstrate the clean boost and its effect on an overdriven amp.

Les Paul, Middle Pickup, Fingerstyle. Reverb: 11am, Mix:10 am

Left Channel: Les Paul Middle Pickup, Reverb and Mix same settings as above
Right Channel: Les Paul Neck Pickup, Reverb: Dimed, Mix: 8pm

I love the right channel track on this clip. Turned up all the way, you get this cavernous room sound, but with the Mix set real low, it becomes a much more subtle effect, providing almost a delay-like ambience without the echos.

Squier CV Tele Middle Pickup. Reverb: 10am, Mix 10am
MXR Carbon Copy with long delay time, Mix at about 10am

Les Paul Middle Pickup (biased toward bridge), Volume: 2pm, Mix/Reverb Off

Squier CV Tele Bridge Pickup (biased toward bridge), Volume: 2pm, Mix/Reverb Off

Overall Impression

Yeah, it’s pricey at $275, though you can find it at a lower price if you look. But I haven’t heard as a good a spring reverb pedal like this – ever. And the fact that it has a booster in it just rocks! For me, and especially for my acoustic gigs, this is a game changer!

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You’ve heard of it happening to other guitarists, and how could it possibly happen to you? That’s right, your guitar gets stolen at a gig. Over the years, I’ve heard of countless stories of players having their axes taken right off the stage during a break; especially at small clubs where the stage can get obscured by the crowd. Bands have devised numerous ways to protect their gear from taking their guitars with them during breaks, to always leaving at least one band member in the stage area to keep watch over gear to even cordoning off parts of the stage area.

Myself, in my solo acoustic gigs where I play outside at a busy outdoor mall, I cordon off the open, rear area – I play in a “patio” at the end of a busy walkway – to prevent people from walking through my “stage.” But I also do this as a mild deterrent from possible theft. In other gigs, the stage is either raised or in an area that’s secure enough so as to offer more reasonable protection from theft. But still, that’s not complete insurance, so when I take a break, I either do it within line-of-sight of my rig, or have the servers and bussers keep watch over the stage when I can’t be within eye-shot. But if in the rare chance that any of them get busy and can’t keep watch, it’s possible for a cunning thief to come along at take my guitar.

Just a couple of weeks ago, this kid wandered over to my stage area and started checking out my rig while I was on a break. He was even audacious enough to twiddle with my pedals – he even lifted my Deep Blue Delay to inspect it! And while I was trying to get through the crowd back to the stage, he picked up my guitar! I finally got out there and asked him what the hell he was doing, and told him to put my guitar down. It turned out that he was just a young, high-school kid who turned out to not have any filters for manners. Some of the stuff he blurted out during our conversation made me open my eyes wide (had to say a brief prayer that I make sure my kids have filters πŸ™‚ ). In any case, he just assumed that since he played he could just go up and mess with another player’s gear. I was friendly enough so as not to make him too uncomfortable, but I was quite firm when he asked me if he could play my guitar while I was on break that no, he couldn’t, and it was just not cool to just pick stuff up.

So what are we gigging musicians to do?

Enter the new Rock Lock from The Rock Lock Company. This is one of those inventions where you say, “Damn! Why didn’t I think of that?” The Rock Lock is much akin to a laptop tether with a loop at one end to attach to a fixed, stationary object (like a guitar handle as shown in the picture to the right), and a locking mechanism that wraps around the neck of your guitar.

Folks, this is the answer to guitar security! Talk about a theft deterrent! I’m totally excited to get one of these as it will certainly set my mind at ease when I go on breaks!

Here’s some information about the Rock Lock from the site:

  • MADE IN USA!!!
  • PATENT PENDING
  • Core Constructed from Cutting Edge Metal Replacement Technology
  • Nitro-Cellulose Safe Over-Mold
  • Heavy-Duty Braided Steel Cable
  • 1 Year Full Warranty with Registration
  • 2 Keys Included, with optional Key Registration
  • Fits almost all standard 6 string Guitars.
    This excludes: 12 String Instuments, Flamenco/Spanish Guitars, and Bass Guitars.

Pricing and Ordering

The Rock Lock will retail at $49.99, and if you’re one of the fortunate first to pre-order, you’ll get free shipping.

Note that the Rock Lock is not widely available just yet, but you can submit your name and email address to be notified when the next shipment is available (apparently, the first short, test-run sold out immediately). I exchanged info with the manufacturer, and he indicated that the first large production batch will be available on December 1, 2010, so get your name in ASAP!

You owe it to yourself to be comfortable to leave your stage knowing that your axe(s) are safe!

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