Guitars, Pedals, Amps: Ism!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Extent of Flood Damage in Nashville becomes apparent

It's been a while since my last blog as I've been pouring what little get up and go I have into my other half arsed projects but I could not ignore the subject of this post. As some of you may already know parts of Tennessee in the United States was hit by flooding over the past few days including Nashville, home of the Gibson USA and Gibson Custom factories. I have been informed that both factories have ceased production whilst they assess damages but it looks like they won't be making any guitars for a while so if you were umming and erring about that Gibson then now's the time otherwise you'll have quite a wait on your hands.

Here are some examples of the damage:

Water Damaged Gibson Historic R7

Man Pouring Water out of a Gibson ES-335

Friday, 16 April 2010

Fender John Cruz Masterbuilt Jaguar Relic

Occasionally on my my travels around the Internet I come across a guitar that is so special it makes me do a little bit of a weep. One of my favourite haunts is Wildwood Guitars who are based in Louisville, Colorado who stock a hideous amount of Fender and Gibson Custom shop, so much so that they stock a model of Fender Custom Shop called the 'Wildwood 10' which you cannot buy anywhere else.

They lovingly update their website daily with glorious high resolution photos of their new arrivals and this Fender Custom Shop Jaguar Relic which arrived today is a very special guitar indeed. It's special because it epitomises everything a custom shop guitar should be, it's been masterbuilt by one of my favourite Luthiers, John Cruz (I've been lucky enough to play a couple of his stunning guitars before), it features a super spec but with subtle differences from your run of the mill custom guitar. The mould has been smashed with its hybrid Jaguar shape and '52 Tele spec, the finish and the relic work is stunning and the bigsby for me is the icing on the cake. If you've got a spare $5299.00 then I wouldn't hesitate to jump on this, if you haven't then you can only do the best that I can do, sit in front of your flickering monitor crying softly. Someone pass the Kleenex...

Orange Amps to start producing personal computers.

Those boffins at Orange have done it again. Not content with making quite frankly, some of the best guitar and bass amplifiers on the market today they have now announced that they will be launching their first Windows based PC in June.

The legendary London amplifier manufacturers have founded a subsidiary company called OMEC Personal Computers Ltd and will be fusing a PC that boasts... well, who cares WHEN YOU HAVE A COMPUTER THAT YOU CAN PLUG YOUR GUITAR INTO AND ROCK OUT. Just think of it, you're playing unreal tournament and you just frag some asshole that's been camping with a rocket launcher for four hours and as your screen is filled with a shower of his or her gibbed remains you whip out your favourite rock pig and bust out a sick-ass solo which you'll probably upload to youtube. Awesome.

Seriously though Orange have stated that the specs of the first machine will be as follows;
4GB DDR2 RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, Intel chips, Windows 7 x64 home premium, 8 x USB2.0 ports, is Wi-Fi enabled and has an integrated GeForce 9300 graphics card with an optional dedicated ATI 5670 512MB card for those who may want to play a few games while they put their guitars down. The best thing about this is that it looks like the guitar input will allow you to record straight to your computer and there is going to be recording and amp modelling software pre installed on the machine.

I'll post more news on this as I hear it, exciting times.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Wampler Pinnacle: The Best Overdrive/Distortion in the world?

I have always enjoyed reading the monthly effects pedal column in Guitar Buyer which is written by all around stomper guru Dan Steinherdt of I remember a few months ago when he first introduced me to Wampler Pedals and in particular the Pinnacle distortion.

It claims to nail the Eddie Van Halen 'Brown Sound' and give you some of the most shapeable and dynamic overdrive around... of course pouring over videos on youtube can only teach you so much but last week Nick who thumps the bass guitar in my band (the irony is I play guitar but he is an immeasurably better guitar player than I will ever be) bought one so that when he travels the country demonstrating a particular brand of popular electric guitar he can blow peoples minds with the sound of brown.

He brought it to band training last week and I was impressed with how red and sparkly it was and spent a good few minutes just looking at it and playing with its various knobs and switches before eventually plugging it in. It sounded good, damn good, up their with the best distortion I've ever heard but it didn't quite click with the single coils of my telecaster. In Nicks own words 'it rocks your tits with humbuckers' (he's Australian so he talks like this all of the time) so hopefully I'll get to hear it with some dual coil power at some point in the not too distant future.

Of course whenever I hear someone say 'this is the best distortion pedal ever' I get all excited and have an uncontrollable urge to start spending money all over the place but then I calm myself down and remember that all things musical are completely relative to the individual in question and this individual is still very, very happy with his T-Rex Dr. Swamp (see earlier articles for more about this) in fact I am currently championing T-Rex pedals left right and centre... I challenge all Fulldrive 2 owners to compare one to a T-Rex Moller and I'd wager 8/10 of you would swap it out for the superior Moller any time of the day... So if I am happy with my Dr. Swamp why do I have an uncontrollable urge to buy a Z.Vex Box of Rock? This is because a guitarist is never happy with his tone, and why should he be! This is all part and parcel of what makes it exciting to be playing the electric guitar at the moment, the market is saturated with super exciting noise boxes and axe wranglers around the globe are all carving their own little tonal niche and who knows, maybe some of us will stop lusting after gear and write some fantastic music at some stage.

Forgive me, I've gone a bit philosophical on your collectives asses... probably due to playing Final Fantasy VII for the last five hours (I forgot just how SaVE THE PLANET it is) I'll let the demo skillz of Gearmanndude do the rest of the talking.

Ladies and Gentlemen, take a bow for the Wampler Pinnacle (and while you are at it check out the Triple Wreck, that thing sounds demonic!)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Devi Ever: The Goddess of Fuzz

I'm on a bit of a pedal trip at the moment (to be totally honest I am ALWAYS on a pedal trip) and now that I've finished a gigging pedal board that I was happy with for about five minutes I naturally want a load of new pedals to make new horrible nasty sounds with and from what I've heard no one does more horrible or more nasty than Devi Ever FX... (that sounds very, very wrong and for this I apologise.)

I first heard Devi's boxes of tonal destruction a couple of years ago when I came across the now seemingly defunct Effector 13 pedal brand and I spent some time putting aside pennies for a 'Truly Beautiful Disaster' which was an almighty yet disgusting fuzz that also featured a built in effects loop and photo sensitive eye so presumably you could look like a complete tit on stage waving your hand madly like some deranged version of Jean Micheal Jarre whilst you gradually deafen your audience. Sadly when I went to buy one I couldn't find one anywhere and learned of the apparent demise of the Effector 13 company (coolest name for a pedal company ever too...) and spent my money elsewhere on things like takeaway pizza and beer.

Recently I discovered that Devi Ever carried on building this pedal and heaps more under her own company of the same name out of her home in Portland, Oregon which has reignited my fuzz-lust. The only real problem I have now is deciding which one to get... my needs have changed and the all encompassing power of the Truly Beautiful Disaster would be complete overkill so I'm pondering investing in the simplified 'Disaster Fuzz' or perhaps the 'Destructo Noctavia or maybe the 'Hyperion'... ARGGG I JUST DON'T KNOW.

One of the things I really like about these pedals is the disclaimer that when you order one there is no guarantee she'll have painted it like the one in the picture so you don't know what you're getting... well apart from that you'll have a tone-mangling weapon of mass destruction at your disposal to destroy feeble audiences who doubt your guitar wielding credentials.

You should really go to and check out the plethora of pedal power available and then check out now one but TWO awesome videos below, aren't I good to you?

Just a note regarding the Oohlala version of the Truly Beautiful disaster that you may have seen knocking around... It doesn't look as cool and therefore you should get the Devi one, thanks.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Malekko Heavy Industries Chicklet

A few weeks ago I was harping on about Malekko pedals to some friends of mine and anyone who has seen any of the proguitarshop videos on Youtube will know that they are the manufacturers of some pretty formidable delay and reverb pedals as well as the infamous assmaster fuzz. What follows is the true story of how I came to be the owner of one of their superb pedals.

At some point in the not too distant past I consciously made a decision that my new pedal board had to have a reverb pedal at the end of the chain that I would probably leave switched on all of the time. My Orange Rocker 30 combo doesn't have a reverb circuit (and in my opinion the tube driven reverb on the larger Orange models is way too over the top to be musically usable) and so once again the quest to find the perfect pedal in it's class had begun!

Of course the first thing I did was ask my friends what they though and they just said "reverb is for losers" so I decided not to ask their advice again and try some out for myself. I was looking for a nice lively and bright sounding spring reverb that wasn't too mushy and still let the dry signal cut through nicely, I also wanted to add a little depth to the repeats from my MXR Carbon Copy delay. The physical footprint of the box was also extremely important as I wanted to fit as many pedals as I could onto a board that I can carry around with me with not too much difficulty. I created a short list of reverb pedals after spending an hour or so on youtube which consisted of the Electro Harmonix Nano Holy Grail, The T Rex Tonebug Reverb and the Malekko Spring Chicken all of which had received numerous levels of praise from various sources.

The Holy Grail was good, of course it was, it's featured on pedalboards of many pro players and has probably been used on countless recordings and me being the guitar snob I am this put me off a little. I liked the pedal put found it to be a little mushy and the extra modes surplus to my requirements. I wanted a reverb that I could set up and forget about so moved on to trying out the recently released T Rex tonebug but found it be slightly over the top and a little uncontrollable with a tendency to drown out what you were actually playing. It was still a top quality reverb and I was tempted to try out their much more expensive Room Mate reverb but it was too large (I have enough pointlessly large pedals on my board already) and I have never been a fan of valve driven pedals running into a valve amp...

So by the time I got to the end of my list I was pretty sure that the Spring Chicken was going to be the reverb for me. Hell I was sold on it just because it had a picture of a chicken and a single knob labelled 'cluck' on it but then DISASTER. Turns out Malekko only made a few hundred of these bad boys and they had already flown the coup... errr, I mean sold out, FOREVER.

I was at a total loss, I spent hours pining over youtube videos coming ever closer to the realisation that this was indeed the reverb I had been searching for and that I would never hear it's sweet clucking echo at the edge of my tone. THEN as if by magic the wonderful people at Malekko announced they were releasing a NEW RANGE of ultra small effects boxes called the OMICRON series and amongst them was the ultra cute, pink, sparkling CHICKLET reverb which not only had the original cluck control (now more sensibly labelled 'mix') but also had the upgrade of a 'dwell' control which controls the depth of the reverb time! This was my chance, I thought, my credit card magically appeared from my wallet and FORCED me to order it right there and then and so the weeks of waiting began.

When I almost couldn't take it any more a LETTER arrived from Parcel Force demanding MONEY and VAT for my US import. After a few short curse words I payed the damn fee and so my Chicklet was delivered. In fact I actually chased the courier down the street, but that's another story for another time.

I've been using it for a few weeks now and every time I plug it in I am reminded just how fantastic a reverb it is. The controls are simple but with a massive range that can take you from gentle slap back to all out cavernous reverb hell, the reverb itself is bright and lively and never interferes with your playing (unless you want it to in which you can crank the dwell and get lost in the soup.) Perhaps my favourite thing about this pedal is the way in which it responds to input levels and the dynamics of your playing making it perhaps one of the most expressive spring reverbs I've ever played, highly recommended.

Malekko Heavy Industries are a small stomp box manufacturer based in Austin, Texas that went into business in 2006 and they've just released a whole range of super tiny, super amazing pedals and will probably sell lots of them, in fact you should buy one but not a chicklet because IT'S MINE.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Guitarism WILL RETURN.

Hey folks!

I've been very lazy with my gear blogging recently after getting very busy at work over christmas and spending a lot of time sorting out my new band! Now that the dust is beginning to settle I'm feeling the inspiration to spout endless nonsense about gear again!

All being well I'll be writing about once a week and if there is anything you want to see me write about then why not drop an email at and I'll add it to my list!

Now then, down to business... Over the last few weeks I've been aquiring a few pedals in an effort to get my new rig ready for my bands impending debut performance on the 4th of April, yesterday I aquired a T-Rex Tone Trunk 55 Pedal Board which is a handy slatted metal rack which sits in a well padded gig bag. The board itself is angled and as well as having lots of room for your pedals has plenty of space to route your patch and power cabling thus creating a much easier board to chop, change and maintain!
If any of you have seen the Pedal Train boards it's essentially exactly the same thing, perhaps exactly the same thing but beige. I don't have a problem with beige, honest.

Clicking on the picture at the top of this post should expand my pedalboard for all of you to see its gloriusness. In signal order we are running into an Ernie Ball Wah followed by an Artec Pedal Tuner (it's awful, I have a korg pitchblack on order...) into the Morpheus Droptune for pitch dropping octave fun and then to the T-Rex Dr. Swamp 2 channel distortion which I now leave on 90% of the time and use the volume knob on my guitar for different levels of gain.

After this we hit the swirlyness of my trusty, battle worn Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phaser (I've tried more expensive phasers, much more expensive and this is still my favourite) which then runs into the MXR Carbon Copy before arriving at the newest pedal in my collection and despite it's tiny size possibly the one I paid the most for the FANTABULOUS Malekko Chicklet Reverb MORE OF WHICH can be found out in my next blog.

Until then blog fans, questions, comments, heresies all welcome.