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Posts Tagged ‘new gear’

BeatBuddyAs an active performing musician with 75% of my gigs being solo (I do roughly 200 gigs a year), I’m always looking for ways to expand my musical offerings either by introducing new material, or adding new gear. A few years ago, I started using a looper, and that changed the game for me; allowing me to solo over chord progressions I’d come up with live. But one thing that I missed, especially for certain songs, was percussion. Enter the BeatBuddy.

I’ve been waiting for this to arrive for many months, and mine arrived yesterday afternoon (it’s 1AM PST right now), and I’ve been playing with this pedal for the past few hours. It’s truly amazing!

I was impressed with the introductory video, and have been watching the growing number of video demos of various musicians playing with it while it has been in production. But nothing could prepare me for the real thing. I’m so totally blown away, it’s hard to describe what I’m feeling. This is another game-changer for me!

First off, it’s super easy to use. You start out with a tap to get an intro fill. The main beat then starts off. You tap another time to get a fill (most have 3 different fills). To change to the chorus, you hold down the pedal for a second or so. The BeatBuddy then does a lead-in fill, then changes the pattern. You then can tap to get fills in the chorus. To return back to the main pattern, you hold again.

The cool thing is that the fills aren’t restricted to playing just a whole measure. I was concerned about this, as some stuff I play has only 2-beat transitions. But with the BeatBuddy, that’s not a problem. If you tap on “2” you’ll get a three-beat fill. The damn thing is smart, and will just fill to the end of the measure then go back to the pattern! And like a it keeps perfect time. 🙂

Here’s something I quickly put together once I got the hang of it. Excuse the little mistakes I made. I did both guitar tracks in single takes.

https://guitargear.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/beat_buddy.mp3

Admittedly, before I start using this in a live setting, I’m going to have to both practice, and find the right drum tracks for the stuff I play. It’s really not hard to find a track to fit a song, but I do know that I’ll probably want to tweak some tracks to fit some songs.

I’m starting to fall asleep, so I’m going to sign off… But please, check out the BeatBuddy web site. Even if you’re not a gigging musician, you could use this just for practice. I know I’m going to do it. It’s better than playing to a metronome because you can add a bit of drama to your playing!

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Australian Bulloak Pick

When I first heard about these, I was admittedly rather incredulous about the prospect of a wooden pick. But after going to the Polarity Sound page, and checking out their offerings, I’m extremely intrigued. I’ve played with all sorts of picks made with different materials from milk-protein polymer to acrylic to high-velocity plastic to ceramic, etc. Can’t say that I’ve played anything made from wood, so this pick really makes me wonder.

They currently make a single style of pick that is similar in size to a Dunlop Jazz 3 – they call it the J3. And at first blush, you might think, “Ho-hum, just another pick,” but there are two things that distinguish this pick from others:

  1. The picks are made of extremely hard wood; either Lignum Vitae or Australian Bulloak
  2. The picks are magnetic. Yup, magnetic. They even come with a magnet that you can put on the inside of your guitar body, so you can place the pick when you’re not using it.

From what I could tell from the video, the picks produce a nice, chime-y, bright tone. I thought it would be a bit warmer, but given the hardness of the wood, it’s not too surprising. In any case, I’ll hopefully get one of these in for review, and I’ll let you know what I think of it, plus a bit more technical stuff in detail.

A question in my mind is: Just how durable are these picks? I’ll have to flesh that out once I play one, but chances are with the hardness of these woods, they’ll probably hold up for a long time and so long as you care for them properly. I imagine they’d be similar in durability to Red Bear picks (made from milk protein polymer).

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It’s called the Firefly pick. It’s the first flashing pick. They’re still in development, but they just got enough startup funding to go to production, and sure, while it’s a bit of a novelty, I think it’s totally cool!

Interestingly enough, they funded the project using KickStarter, and they reached their goal of $30k just recently. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these. Check out their crowd funding page here.

Yeah, yeah, seems like a gimmick, but I have to admit that when I first saw this, it put a smile on my face, and it’s so unique that I just have to have one. No, it won’t make me a better player, nor will it make my performance any better. But it sure is neato and the neato factor is pretty big with this.

The Firefly pick is a lot like those kids shoes with the LED’s in the sole. Why should the kids have little flashing things? While I wouldn’t where shoes with LED’s, I’d play a pick with an LED. 🙂

 

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I was perusing the Premier Guitar site for their NAMM coverage and came across a video of the new Four Force EM-1 amp from new builder Four Force. This is a solid state amp that Four Force claims comes about as close to tube sound as solid state can get. Don’t they all say that? 🙂

But I do have to say that based upon several demo videos I’ve seen of the amp, it doesn’t sound half bad at all, and at $159 – no, that’s not a typo – it might just be worth checking out as a practice amp. Some people have actually run this through a full stack, and apparently it rocks.

The amp weighs just 13 lbs. That makes sense since solid state doesn’t require huge transformers, but the amp packs 4 gain stages into its design, so it apparently can get some hefty high-gain – at any volume.

My concern with any solid state amp isn’t sound – heck, my Roland Cube 60 sounds great – it’s response and dynamics with gain, and it’s a reason why I only used my Cube 60 for acoustic. The EM-1 could very well be a different story, but only a live test will determine that. So to be fair, I’ll reserve that judgement until I actually try out the amp.

For more information check out the Four Force site! It’s a single page, but it has a bunch of demo videos on it.

 

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Got an email this morning from Guitar Center inviting me to come down to GC and try out the new Golden Cello from Mad Professor, an overdrive and delay in one pedal. Intrigued, the Dawg did a little sniffing around. Here’s info I got from the Mad Professor site:

Mad Professor Amplification is proud to release a new pedal that will be sold exclusively at Guitar Center stores and Musicians Friend.

The Golden Cello pedal offers guitar players one of the most sought after lead tones on the planet. In this one small gold pedal is the much sought after million dollar tone. Sweet cello-like singing fat lead tone with the most luscious open ambient tape delay.

The tone that you used to need: a great overdrive, a vintage tape delay and a loud vintage full-stack at full volume is now one foot stomp away! Very easy to setup – just plug it into any (quality) clean amp and you get “The Tone!” you have been seeking, at any volume level. This inspiring pedal will keep you playing and playing, you simply can’t stop!

Just four knobs for total output: Volume, Delay level, Tone and Drive. You simply cannot get a bad tone out of this pedal. This is a pedal th at belongs on every pedalboard, in every gigbag and every studio. Singing lead tone, with the classic Mad Professor dynamics and touch sensitivity.

Sold only in Guitar Center stores, but from guitarcenter.com or musicansfriend.com websites, you can order and have it sent it to any corner of the world.

Here’s a video demo:

Hmm… This is definitely a cool pedal, but as they say you need: “A great overdrive, a vintage tape delay and a loud vintage full-stack at full volume,” I already have with my Timmy and Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay. Granted, having both in one box is very convenient. I’ll probably go down to GC in the next few days to try one out. But at $199, I don’t think it’ll be an expenditure I’ll be making any time soon, and it REALLY has to blow me away. The demos I’ve seen in addition to the one I linked to here have been pretty awesome, but for me, it’s not a tone that I’m currently after as I’m actually writing stuff that is a lot more clean right now plus, as I said above, I can get that tone with the pedals/amps I have.

But all that said, if this tone is for you, this pedal would definitely be worth checking out. Mad Professor pedals are the bomb!

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Maybe it’s the recording… but just watching/listening to this demo video has me GAS-ing for this pedal!!!

Yowza!!! I loved that first sequence with the Strat!

Some quick info: This is an all-analog drive pedal, folks, and I’m digging what it does! And at $139, it’s a bargain!!!

From the web site:

Pigtronix FAT Drive is an all analog tube sound overdrive. The FAT Drive’s multiple cascaded gain stages enable you to nail sounds ranging from bluesy overdrive to rich saturation, all while retaining musical dynamics and the original character of your instrument.

FAT Drive takes a futuristic analog approach to create complex crunch tones using CMOS clipping and a variable low pass filter for tone shaping. Bringing the tone control all the way clockwise takes this filter completely out of the circuit for total transparency and robust low end. Rolling the tone control back smooths out the highs, leaving ample mid-range bloom and bottom end punch.

A Hi / Lo toggle switch brings additional versatility to the FAT Drive’s wide-ranging palette of overdrive tones, altering the gain structure for enhanced crunch and soaring leads. The FAT Drive features true bypass switching and runs fine on standard 9-volt power but ships with an 18-volt adapter for superior headroom, clarity and overall output.

For more information, check out the product page!

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I dig what Electro-Harmonix has been doing the last couple of years. They’ve really thought outside of the box to either introduce completely new innovations or re-invented some established norms. With these two new pedals: The Superego Synth and the Crying Tone Wah, they’ve done both, respectively. But rather than talk about them, let’s first view a video from our friends at PremierGuitar:

The synth is cool, though I’m not sure I’d ever want one. The wah on the other hand is VERY cool, and I definitely will want to try one out once it gets released to the market in May. Imagine a wah with no moving parts! They’ve probably got some sort of accelerometer inside, but it’s pretty responsive, based upon the demo. My only concern with it is that I can’t attach it to my pedal board, as it was made to just sit on a surface. But once I test it out, I’ll see how I could make it work.

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