Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘guitar accessories’

ampendage1Normally when I get gear, I put to the test in a gig, then report on it. And while this Gig Report is no different, it’s coming three years late. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. It wasn’t as useful to me with my 1 x 12 cab and an amp head, so I only used it for my small combos at first.
  2. I lent it to a friend soon after I got it, and he had for over three years before I finally asked for it back so I could use it at my gig this past Saturday.

My friend’s feedback was simply that he loved it. He put his Fender SuperSonic on it for several of his gigs, and it elevated his amp just nicely; not only that, he loved the way it looked! As I said in my original article, it looked like a piece of furniture. Even now after my gig, I have it my living room with an amp on it, and it looks great!

In any case, for my gig last Saturday, I brought my big Avatar 2 X 12 cabinet, and wanted to eliminate ground effect, so I needed to get my Ampendage back so I could elevate the cabinet. To make a long story short, I got the stand back from my buddy, and I was all set to go!

The first thing I noticed when I set up my rig was that the tilt-back angle was perfect! I mean perfect. Not sure what the actual angle is, but it was back just enough to elevate the projection angle, but not so steep that I couldn’t set my head on top of it. Like I said, just perfect.

And as far as getting my sound out there, the elevation combined with the tilt angle definitely got my sound out… well… so much so that I was stepping on the rest of the band. The sound guy told me I was WAY too loud, and I even turned my amp down, but I still cut through almost too much according to him. I said I that I think it has to do with my amp cab being up off the floor and tilted slightly up. It made for much better projection than my bandmates’ amps whose amps were pointed straight ahead, and on the floor. Ground effect is real folks…

Also, having the cab tilted up, even ever so slightly, made it very easy for me to hear myself, even when the drums were pounding.

But still, while this stand is incredibly useful, it still looks KILLER!

Read Full Post »

Wow! I didn’t realize how fun doing videos would be! Expect to see more video reviews in the future! In any case, here are some key points:

Tone Bone Rating 5.0
Notes I LOVE this stand! I’m going to get a couple more! Very well built and lightweight, it’s a perfect stand not just for the stage, but also in the studio where its small footprint won’t take up much space!
Price $34.95
Pros Very easy to fold up and lug around
Cons May not work for bass – it works for mine, but fat basses may not fit (this is not really a negative, just a warning)

Read Full Post »

Fooled ya, didn’t I… You probably thought this was going to be about an actual guitar. From the picture, it’s obviously not about a guitar, but it is related. Let’s start out with a story…

Awhile back, my buddy Phil, of Phil ‘N The Blanks, a local classic rock cover band, shared a story with me. He was playing along, rockin’ out when suddenly his a strap loop came off its peg and his guitar ignominiously clattered to the floor, wreaking sonic mayhem in the clube ala Pete Townshend, and seriously banging up his axe. His lead guitarist laughed and said, “Now it’s a workin’ man’s guitar. I warned you a long time ago to get strap locks, and you wouldn’t listen. You learned the lesson the hard way.”

I didn’t have to have what happened to Phil happen before I learned that lesson mainly because I was able to catch my guitar before it hit the ground, so no harm no foul. But once that happened, the next day I was at the music store and bought strap locks for all my guitars. Now I won’t buy a guitar without having strap locks included in my order.

If you’re one who doesn’t mind playing a guitar with dings and scratches, maybe strap locks are low on your list of accessories to get. But you don’t want a workin’ man’s guitar, do yourself a favor: Get strap locks!

But then there’s the type of strap lock to choose as well. I’ve used two types: Schaller and Dunlop. I prefer Schallers because of their “cup” design. I feel it’s more secure, and the screw won’t get torqued. I absolutely hate Dunlops. Yeah, they install pretty easily, but the strap is actually held out away from the body, and I’ve found that with heavier guitars, the screw will get torqued and loosened. When that happens, even though the locking bolt will still go in the hole, the lock will not engage because the screw head keeps the bolt from sliding all the way in. I almost had a $4000+ custom guitar crash to the floor recently because of this very issue. Needless to say, I changed the locks to Schallers.

Read Full Post »

Your guitar, that is…

I dig cool, off-the-wall stuff. Remember the Harmonic Capo I wrote about? I actually never got one, but that never reduced its cool to me. But this new, cool thing is something I’m definitely going to have to check out. It’s called the Guitar Hanger, made by the guys at The Guitar Hanger company. As the name implies, this little contraption literally lets you hang your guitar, much like you would a shirt or a pair of pants. Check out the video:

Right now, I’ve got all my guitars in my studio in their cases or gig bags, lined up along a wall, taking up valuable floor space. But with guitar hangers, I can free up A BUNCH of floor space. With guitar hangers, you could do something like this:

How cool is that?!!!! For more information, go to the The Guitar Hanger web site!

Read Full Post »

Sennheiser e609 Silver Instrument Microphone

Summary: Need a great mic to close-mic your amp? Look no further! The e609 delivers on all fronts, able to withstand high SPL’s, and still accurately reproduce your tone.

Pros: Flat-face design makes placing the mic a breeze, but more importantly, placed correctly (as you should with any mic), it’ll capture your tone beautifully!

Cons: None

Features (from the web site):

  • Hum compensating coil reduces electrical interference (I can attest to this – it’s super quiet)
  • Neodynum ferrous magnet with boron keeps mic stable regardless of climate
  • Metal construction—rugged and reliable
  • Super-cardioid pick-up pattern provides isolation from other on-stage signals

Price: ~$95 streetTone Bone Score: 5.0 ~ Going back to my “using the right tool for the job,” I don’t know why I didn’t pick up one of these earlier. I have some good mics, but now that I’ve got the e609 that was made explicitly for micking instruments, I kicking myself a bit. Lesson learned yet again!

I told myself that all I would get was a speaker cable for my cab when I walked into my local Guitar Center today. Unfortunately for me, the cables were located in the Pro Audio area where GC has a big case of very nice mics. And, gear slut that I am, I couldn’t resist a look. Granted, most of those mics were completely out of the ballpark for me, costing several hundreds of dollars. But it did get me thinking that I really should be using a dedicated instrument mic for my home studio when recording my clips and songs.

Fortunately, they didn’t have any instrument mics in the case, but silly me, I just had to ask the guy behind the counter if he had an e609 (I had researched this and other instrument mics several months ago). “Oh yeah,” said another sales clerk, “We got those. They rock, and they’re cheap.” Damn! Words that a gear slut should never hear in one sentence: ROCK and CHEAP! That will instantly elicit a fidgety, twitchy response as the pragmatic half of the psyche wrestles with the GAS half. And usually the GAS half wins, as it did today.

So now I am the very proud owner of a Sennheiser e609. And I do have to say that it does rock, and it costs far less than what one would normally expect to pay for a great mic. At less than $100, how can you argue with that?

How It Sounds

I recorded a little blues solo over a standard GarageBand backing track to demonstrate. Give it a listen:

For the solo, I used “Blondie” my Squier Classic Vibe Tele, the insane-sounding Aracom VRX18 amp (it’s customized with an EZ81 rectifier), and my custom Aracom 1 X 12 cab with a Jensen P12N speaker. The e609 was placed about halfway between the dome and the speaker edge about an inch away from the grille cloth.

I added a touch of reverb to the dry clip in GarageBand, but that’s it. No EQ (I don’t like to EQ my guitar parts anyway). What you hear on the clip is what I heard in my studio. Freakin’ amazing! Like I mentioned above, after recording this clip, I should’ve gotten one of these a long time ago. It’s a great mic!

Mixed Reviews

I re-read some reviews today, and interestingly enough, they come back mixed. Harmony Central user reviews rate it at about 7.5 on average. People other love it or hate it. But in reply to the negative experiences, I have to call into question mic placement. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from years of home studio recording, placing your mic correctly is critical to getting a good tone. Maybe they weren’t experimenting enough with mic placement. Who knows?

With the e609, I first went with the recommended placement in the user manual (yes, I am one of those anal people who do indeed RTFM), then moved it maybe half an inch more towards the speaker edge to reduce the highs just a tad. That made all the difference in the world because my amp is pretty bright micked up close, and I didn’t want that to dominate the recording, especially since the mic was only an inch away from the grille cloth.

Overall Impressions

The Tone Bones score says it all. I’m hooked! Frankly, it didn’t take me long at all to dial this puppy in. It’s a truly great mic!

Read Full Post »

Dunlop Ultex Sharp 2.0 mm

Summary: It’s sharp alright; nice and pointy, and it feels great in your hand!

Pros: Like any sharp pick, this pick is accurate. It’s super lightweight, and made of a material takes a lot of pressure to even slightly bend. The pointy end makes pick harmonics a breeze!

Cons: It’s a small nit, but I wish the butt-end were just a bit wider.

Features (from the web site):

Based off of a coveted vintage tortoiseshell pick in our collection, the Ultex Sharp delivers a pick with a rigid body tapering into a thinner and sculpted tip for intense control and speed. The seamless contoured edge surrounds the pick for more playing surfaces and tones. Engineered of Ultex—the Ultex Sharp is virtually indestructible and delivers a crisp tone and quick release attack. Available in .73, .90, 1.0, 1.14, 1.40, and 2.0mm gauges.Price: 50 cents street

Tone Bone Score: 4.75 – Real nice-sounding and nice-playing pick. If you want to step up to a thicker, more rigid pick, but don’t want to shell out for high-end picks, this is a winner!

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of pick snob. Ever since I started playing with V-Picks and Red Bear picks, I’ve mildly eschewed mainstream picks in favor of the insanely awesome picks those two companies produce. But I have to tell you that I was taken by complete surprise by the Dunlop Ultex Sharp pick! I wasn’t really looking to explore new picks, but a buddy of mine was looking for some Ultex picks at a local store, and offered to buy me a couple. Hell! They were only 50 cents apiece! I carried them around for a couple of days before I actually got to try them; not because I was dubious of them, I just couldn’t find time until this evening to sit down with an axe. Life happens, you know?

Anyway, I slung “Blondie” my trusty Squier Classic Vibe Tele, dug an Ultex out of my pocket, and started to play. Admittedly, I had a bit of trouble playing with the pick at first. Even though it’s slightly thicker than the thinnest pick I play – a Red Bear Tuff-Tone – it’s decidedly narrower in shape; something to which I’m no longer accustomed. But being the hard-headed type, and because I wanted to give the pick a fair shake, as it were, I kept at it, playing scales and riffs to get used to it.

I have to say that I’m really impressed by this pick! First of all, the material feels great in your hand, and like any real good pick, you forget about it. I love the rigidity of the material as well. Contrary to what you might think, a rigid pick actually makes you relax your hand. I know, it’s counterinuitive, but any player that plays a rigid pick will attest to this.

I spent quite a bit of time playing with this pick, and it’s a fast pick, though what I really missed was how my high-end picks really glide over the strings, like they’re lubricated. The Ultex material is pretty smooth, but there is a difference. Mind you, I’m not saying it’s bad in the slightest; it just has a different feel on the strings.

Most importantly though, the Ultex Sharp produces a nice, bright tone. That’s what I really dig about this pick! Part of it is due to it being rigid, but the other part is because of the pointy end. It really makes the strings snap in a very nice way!

Will the Ultex supplant my V-Picks and Red Bear picks? Probably not, but I will be using it for sure. It’s not even a small wonder why these picks are so popular among guitarists. They’re great playing and sounding picks at an insanely cheap price. I’m sold! Buy a few, and you’ll see for yourself!

Read Full Post »

Click for full size view

What do you get when you have a group of product development consultants who are avid guitar players who want to find a way to stop “workin’ for the man,” but not create a bunch of “me too” products? You get StageTrix Products. These guys are brand-new, and from what I can gather, their approach to creating guitar gear centers around what you might call convenience products for guitar players.

Take, for instance, their pedal risers that I reviewed back in October. These gadgets that raise the back row of your pedal board may not make music, but they sure make the making of music a helluva lot easier. Here’s proof: The solo part of my latest song, Strutter, was recorded in a single take, with one punch-in at the very end of the song after I was done. In between sections, I was activating/deactivating effect pedals on the fly – something I’ve never done in a recording. I usually stop the recording, activate the pedals, then continue on. Granted, I had enough time between sections to do the switch on the fly, but I will submit that I couldn’t have done without the back row of my board being raised; in other words, how my board used to be. The point here is that that little convenience made a world of difference for me in my recording.

Enter the Pedal Fasteners. For $9.99, you get a pack of three, pre-cut hook-and-loop strips that are dimensioned to fit standard-size pedals. You might say, “So what? I can just get some Velcro from my local crafts store and be done with it.” You certainly can, but my experience with that stuff is that the glue used with these cannot withstand higher temperatures. They get all gooey, and once the glue has melted, the glue must change chemically, because its sticking power is lost. You ever get that stuff on your hands? I rest my case… 🙂 Pedal Fasteners, on the other hand, have a glue that can withstand up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit; more than enough for even a hot car interior, and the mere fact that you don’t have to cut them to size is killer!

I recently replaced the velcro strips on all the pedals on the front-row on my board with Pedal Fasteners. No cutting, (except for the center section (which you could conceivably push out, but I wanted clean edges and didn’t want to risk tearing, so I used a sharp utility knife). They work great, and even stick to rubber! I’d recommend removing the rubber though… I’ve had mixed results with that, but I did it to test it out – it’s sticking just fine so far.

So if you’re tired of having to cut fasteners to size, and even more tired of that messy goo once the glue has melted, you owe it to yourself to get a couple of pack of these!

For more information, please visit the StageTrix Products site!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »