Tag Archives: gear

Lots of gear updates…

Ok, so I’ve been busy. In the two weeks since my last post, I have done a lot of selling and buying (pretty much in that order).

Sold:

Tim – really nice boost/overdrive, but I wanted a new flavor.

Strymon El Capistan – amazing tape delay simulator, but it had to go for reasons listed below.

Suhr Riot – cool high gain distortion box, but didn’t really play nicely with my amp.

Pedaltrain PT2 – a little too small.

Lollar Strat pickups – Nice tone and well-balanced, but too low output and didn’t match up with my other guitars.

Boss RV5 – Really cool modulated reverb, but kind of a one trick pony.

Lots of good stuff in that list. However, it had to go to make room for better stuff.

New/better stuff:

Strymon Timeline – full review coming soon. Suffice it to say that this delay is pretty freaking awesome. This is why I sold the El Capistan.

Lovepedal Amp Eleven – Some people say that it’s a Tim clone. Maybe so. Regardless, I prefer it to the Tim. The overdrive is smoother and the boost sounds better to me. It sounds really, really great in when boosted by the Sparkle Drive.

Brady Cases custom 32×18 board – I have always loved Bradycase pedalboards, and when this one popped up used at like half price on The Gear Page, I had to jump on it. It’s a little too big right now, but I’ll grow into it. Besides, I have too much money wrapped up in pedals to haul them around in a soft case.

Strymon blueSky Reverberator – I had one of these a while back, but I sold it to fund other gear. We’ll see if it sticks around this time.

Diamond Compressor – Holy crap, this thing is awesome. You can dial in subtle compression all the way up to squashed chicken pickin’ tones. I’m somewhere in between, btw. I love the tilt EQ – it’s great for adding just a little sparkle.

Fulltone Clyde Standard wah – I have been needing a wah, and this one popped up cheap on TGP. It’s a little bright, but I think I can tone it down a bit with an internal trim pot.

Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive – I’m really liking this pedal at the moment. It’s a tube screamer clone, which ordinarily would be an instant turnoff. I think that tube screamers tend to be overly compressed, muddy, and mid heavy. However, this pedal has a clean blend which allows you to add your unaffected clean signal in with the overdriven tone. It allows you to have the fat overdriven tube screamer tone, yet still retain the brightness and “sparkle” of your original clean tone. I kept it on full time yesterday.

Lava Cable Mini ELC pedalboard kit – These cables are really cool. They are super easy to put together, and if you build them right, they won’t crap out on you like the George L’s do. I like that they’re really low profile and the connectors don’t get in the way, so you can put your pedals really close together if you need to.

That’s pretty much it for now, but I’m on the lookout for new stuff. I kinda want to add some more dirt (maybe a Rat and a fuzz) and I really want to get a true bypass looper pretty soon. I will probably build that one myself, but I need to figure out if it would actually save me any money to do it that way – all those parts really add up quickly.

Here’s a picture of my board, pretty much as it is at the moment. I still need to get my io distortion back from Maury at RAILhead Effects – he’s fixing it up for me (apparently, I was a little too hard on it).

Gear Flipping

I have been told by a few people on the interwebs that I don’t blog enough, so here goes.

I am getting kind of embarrassed about my inability to commit to my musical equipment. I have been through so many guitars, amps, and pedals that it’s not even funny. Part of that is because I can’t afford to just buy stuff when I want it. If a new delay pedal (or whatever) catches my eye, I usually have to sell something else to make room.

I am currently in the middle of flipping a bunch of gear. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer my G&L ASAT (telecaster-style guitar) to my other guitars. I like it so much that it literally makes my other guitars weep. Okay, not really. [For the record, the misuse of the word literally is one of my pet peeves.]

Anyway, what I like so much about my tele is that it just sounds like rock and roll. Even when I’m playing softly, it’s just kinda rude. My PRS is not rude. It is polite. It doesn’t put it’s elbows on the table during suppertime. It uses a napkin. It knows the difference between a salad fork and a main course fork and a dessert fork. It doesn’t sound like rock and roll. Sure, I can plug it into a big, loud amp and play Smoke on the Water and it’ll sound pretty convincing, but it doesn’t feel right. Not to me, anyway. Maybe it’s just too pretty for me to take it seriously.

Anyway, I decided to sell it. I put it up on The Gear Page this afternoon, and it sold about 5 hours later. Right now, the plan is to buy a ’62 AVRI (American Vintage Reissue) Fender Jazzmaster. I’ll probably have to look for a while, since I don’t really want to pay a premium for a new one. Unfortunately, I haven’t really seen any used ones on ebay/craigslist/etc. Do me a favor and keep your eyes open for an AVRI Jazzmaster. I’d prefer one in Olympic White like this one, but black would also be fine. :)

I also decided to sell my delay. I pretty much decided to sell it as soon as it broke down, but I had to get it fixed first, since no one is going to want to buy a broken delay. It turns out that it was just a fried diode, which means that I (or the guy that I bought it from) plugged it into the wrong power supply. Anyway, I’m getting a couple of strymon pedals to take care of my delay needs: the Brigadier dBucket Delay and the blueSky Reverberator. Both of these pedals sound amazing and should enable me to make some truly spacey, echo-ey sounds. I really considered waiting for the soon-to-be-released El Capistan dTape Echo, but I think I’m more interested in analog delay sounds rather than tape echo sounds. Oh well, I could always flip something if I change my mind.

Oh yeah – I almost forgot. I won a little Twitter contest that Dan over at This1smyne Effects put on a few weeks ago. I’ll be getting his T1M Booster, which is a clone of the ZVex SHO boost with a tone control. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

simplifying (?)

Over the last few months, I have made some major changes to my guitar setup, and there are more changes coming. I think that it will be simpler to operate when I’m done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be simple to look at.

For one, I have gone through quite a few amps. I started out with a Stulce – a relatively simple ~8 watt tube amp. It was designed to get maximum tube saturation without getting unbearably loud. It was nice, but it didn’t have enough clean headroom. I traded that for a Genz-Benz Black Pearl, which is a 30 watt amp similar in nature to a VOX AC30. It was really jangly and chimey, and it got pretty rude when you cranked the gains, but it never really got seriously crunchy. I also acquired a 1970 Fender Bassman. It had great cleans and it was really loud, but it needed some work (new filter caps, pots, etc) and I didn’t really want to drop any more cash into it. I decided to sell both of them and buy a VHT Sig:X. The Sig:X is a monstrous 100 watt 3-channel amp that can do pretty much everything. I have talked about this amp ad nauseum here, so I won’t continue to do so.

My pedalboard used to be 36″ wide with a wah, a volume pedal, a bunch of analog overdrive/distortion/boost pedals, and a giant green delay pedal with a huge midi controller. It is now 24″ wide with one of these and two of these. I’m still figuring out some of the intricacies of the M13, but I’m really liking it so far.

The next change is going to be my speaker cabinet. I had an Avatar Vintage 2×12, but it was kinda cheaply made, and it didn’t have a very tight sound. I sold it, and I will soon be the proud owner of  a Fryette Deliverance 4×12 that will match my Sig:X. A 4×12 is a really big speaker cab, and it’s going to be awesome. I have never had a half stack before, but I have a feeling that it’s gonna be pretty rock and roll. I was initially planning to buy the 2×12 version, but I happened to find a really good deal on the bigger one. The used 4×12 ended up being significantly less expensive than a new 2×12 so I decided to go for it.

The other little gadget that I’m planning to add to my setup in the near future is the RJM Mini Amp Gizmo. This thing looks pretty awesome. It allows you to control a modern multi-channel amp (including models by VHT/Fryette, Mesa, Bogner, Egnater, etc) with a MIDI device like the Line 6 M13. Basically, I can run a MIDI cable from the M13 to the Amp Gizmo to my amp. The M13 will send information to the Amp Gizmo, allowing me to use the M13 as my amp’s footswitch. I can assign a different amp setting (channel/boost/effects loop) to each scene on the M13. Rather than using distortion patches on the M13, I can use the clean/rhythm/lead channels on the amp. Here’s a little video that demonstrates how it works.

It’s going to be kind of a pain to get it all set up, but it will be super easy to operate once it’s done. I really don’t want to have to stomp all the time – I would much rather just focus on playing.