Sunday, June 25, 2017

FUZZ- ANANASHEAD FX- Sustainer Civil War v.2 modded Sovtek Fuzz

ANANASHEAD FX Sustainer Civil War                                                                                                                                            

$150.00 USD

There are many Sovtek Big Muff clones that are sold by other company's. Nearly all are modified. So what is so different with Ananashead?
Ananashead have a long history of making dead accurate clones of many classic Fuzz pedals.They have the experience and therefore the advantage of getting the original sound right.
Their Ananashead Superfuzz clone of the Univox Super Fuzz is one of the most accurate reproductions I have ever heard. It never falls short to be one of the most viewed posts every week ....where as other posts come the and go
.
(see the Univox Super-Fuzz Post.)

My personal fav see it on my board.

Ananashead Super Fuzz

It is of course a fine balancing act to add improvements that enhance the pedal but not destroy the magic.
I find they have indeed kept their balance on the tight rope to success.
The added pot to increase the mids and the heavier tight low end makes this pedal fatter and more versatile!
                 


                                      An excellent fuzz for a reasonable price!
.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

FUZZ- TONE HUNGRY Hunger Bender ...and a classic revisited

THE TONE BENDER

This was the classic Fuzz that put serious dirt on the map.The MK1 was a higher gain with 2 geranium transistors.
It was based off of the first ever made commercially available fuzz. The Maestro Fuzz Tone. It came about when a repair guy in London's west end was asked if he could give a customer with a Fuzz Tone more sustain.

After doing over dozens of the Fuzz Tones it was obvious to just make his own.

It was replaced with the MK II which was deep and bassy with a very high out put.
.
The MK III pulled back the gain and added the first ever tone control to a Fuzz. 

$150.00 USD

Between the EQ and the lower gain a good impression of both v.1 and v.2 could be made plus many original tones.
All 3 have their followers.

The Hunger bender is a religiously made clone of the MK III . Hand wired in the point to point style of the original.
Every original part from new old stock was used. The wire is the same right down to 
cutting each piece to the exact length that went from part to part on the original.

I have had mine for quite awhile. I love this pedal!!!!
Mine was from a special LTD ED. order of bright red ones.



There is a lot more info in the post
FUZZ- SBS
check it out!!!



The purpose here is to give you a taste of the classic boxes that changed the sound of Rock forever.
The second Vid. will give you a broad picture of 
nearly all that was out there in the 60's.

FLANGER- ModTone MTM-FL mini Flanger

  ModTone MTM-FL Mini Flanger                                                    

$50.00 USD 


Mod Tone has been all over the map. They started out in 2007 as a little guy Gourmet pedal maker. Teamed up later with a Chinese maker Bellcat ( a product manufacturer..that makes dependable glossy well built junk for the Mom & Pop small stores)
That did not go well so they went independent again.
I have found it hard to get all the info ...in fact I even suspect they may have gone bust!
There original product was in the standard B size box.
They then added the larger 'Piece of Pizza' box.
Most recently the Mini 'pie' box models took center stage. I get the buzz ...that the quality of sound of their pedals could range from crap to crowning.

I believe getting a great Flanger sound is either tough or 
the buyers would rather have a Chorus or Phaser...as there are so few choices ...at least so few in the serious mini category.

This is a little gem. It has it's own sound though it reminds me of the EH Electric Mistress as it has those incredible cutting highs ...but unfortunately the renown EH drop outs too. LOL.
The goofy looking box is a good quality aluminum alloy. I confess... I quite like it.
If I had the room I would keep the re branded Rowin/Mooer I have on order and add this and have 2 Flangers.


So considering the typical ModTone pedal is in the $30.00 USD to $50.00 USD range.
and this is getting priced at as much as $125.00 USD on E bay & Amazon I have to wonder what's going on????
Musician's Friend ...a reasonably serious on-line store has it listed but also discontinued?
It is looking like the biz itself is DISCONTINUED.

Long story but a small Italian store has one. I am sorting out the export thing with them.
So if I can ... I will get the one they have ...$40.00 USD  ;-)
If I get it and all goes well ...you could look around some store may have some ...and cheap too!!!
You should not have to pay over $50.00 USD

Sunday, June 18, 2017

COMPRESSOR- Philosophers Tone & Philosophers Tone Micro

PIGTRONIX PHILOSOPHERS TONE & PHILOSOPHERS TONE MICRO COMPRESSOR

$185.00 USD

Pigtronix are one of the earliest of the Gourmet companies formed at the beginning of the century.
The compressor was the result of wanting something better then the MXR Dyna Comp and all the other compressors that were nothing more then the same pedal with the odd modification of the basic schematic. They were in fact all OTCA  or (Operational trans Conductant Amplifier) designs.

They settled on making a small Optic :Photo resistor compressor. On the good side there is no pop to deal with on the down side the effect comes

$120.00 USD

in slightly slower and the highs get robbed..

On the plus side they sound more natural and you can get a long sustain out of them
The design added back the highs with with a booster and a blend control to let some of the original signal to come through.
They became an instant cool pedal to get. Once the media and hype died they did a very nice stream of steady sales by word of mouth. There owners on the whole have been very loyal. they seldom come up for sale. 
The whole phenomena has had a rebirth with the new micro.They mange to keep the original circuit in tacked and still fit it in the mini pedal size.
With many company's finally make high quality mini pedals like Xotic, MXR, Ibanez and Wampler
Because many pro's want smaller portable pedal boards we are entering a new stage of mini pedals.
The start of serious mini pedals.
The demand for pedals of the size and quality of this pedal is enormous. The waiting list is 2 and a half months.

The extra knob on the full size pedal is labeled 'GRIT' it is actually a medium gain OD tucked in the corner of the box, Nothing special
I think someone thought with a couple of extra parts attached to the circuit
already in it they could offer  a 'free extra'.
In the current climate it comes off as a free bicycle stand wielded on to
the door of your new Cadillac.
There are some who liked it. As for me it just cheapens an otherwise stellar pedal
At any rate it was logical step to move it from the Micro to keep the original
compressor design in tact.
If your wants or needs require a Mini Compressor it should not be overlooked.

I got mine as i wanted something with a bit more punch and sustain on the out side of my Fuzz pedals. I tried it on output side of my 9 premium high gain OD's.
HEAVEN!
The OD's respond with all their nasty dynamics in tacked. with a very sweet post production sound.
I feel like I am hearing them after a good engineer in the studio buffed and polished the sound to perfection.
Definitely my fav.

Still if I was recommending a compressor to coverf all the basses I would go for the Xotic SP


READERS PEDAL BOARDS!! ....check them out!

THIS SPACE IS RESERVED FOR YOU!!!!


SEND A PIC OF YOUR BOARD TO
 tasklamp@hotmail.com

TITLE IT.......COOL PEDAL BOARD

It's time to share your booty with all of us!!!
Please list what you have on it.


            READERS BOARDS                                                            



Mike has sent us his board. he paid $21.00 ea. for the Ammoon  and $28.00 for the Rowin.
The switcher in the center of the board is for his amp. He plans on putting another switch on it to bring in his time delay effects.
Notice the nice clean layout of the cables. Those pancake connectors are the best. The cable is well shielded and yet the cords are reasonably priced. Hosa have a half decent collection to choose from.
In this case Mike made his own.
If the Donner pedal looks familiar it is because it is made by Caline. In fact Donner have been selling this for quite awhile ...where as the Caline version was just released.
So basically he has Caline and Joyo pedals. Both those company's make quality stuff. Some of the Joyo pedals have German and Japanese parts. Mike has done well!!! The tuner is made by Mooer.

_________________________________________________________________________________


WOW!

Tobbe Eek has sent us his board & he has put together some serious pedals on it.

So starting with the Mosky Clean Buffer he then goes onto a TC Polytune 2, Philosophers Tone Micro, Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini, Digitech Freqout, Cry Baby mini, Tone City Bad Horse, JHS Muffuletta, Caline Orange Burst, Two Note Le Clean, Nux Loop core then out to his amp.

In his FX loop is the Joyo Wooden Sound, Strymon Mobius and Timeline & Digitech Polara.

The AMT GR4  loop switcher is controlling the Mobius, Timeline, Tube Screamer and Freqout.

He has plans for further updates. I know how that is. LOL
He could change his mine on what he has in mine... so we will just hang in. I am sure we will get to see his board again next time he has made some changes!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PREVIEW- Calines whole new line of 6 pedals. WORLD PREIMER...HERE!


UNRELEASED CALINE PEDALS 

Yes folks you will not find these pedals anywhere else. You are the first to even see them! PERIOD!!!


These pedals as yet have no shipping date. They have never been shown at any trade shows.
I got them in a somewhat devious way from a very big International Wholesaler.  I convince him of a very large purchase  I would be making ...but I was only interested in NEW product. LOL

Sometimes it works...sometimes it does not work. LOL
I fully expect these will not be in the distributers hands until August.

...a Looper, Pitch Shifter, Vintage Distortion, Modulation pedal, Acoustic guitar simulator and a Noise gate. I have no more info then what's written on the the pedals.

THE DISTRIBUTOR

The people involved have no information. They have no need of it. To them it is no more important then to have info on then TV sets ...radio's or the latest vacuum cleaners.
It is just product.
Model numbers are important and Pics help identify the boxes of...etc.
They only advanced info of these products to help the schedulers with lining up  planes, boats, trucks and trains.


I thought you might enjoy the scoop!

In Pedal Land this is a big deal for Retailers and small pedal makers.
These people do not want to get stuck with the wrong product nor do they want to make the wrong product because musicians are very savvy.
TV makers are not too worried most of their clientele because they neither care or understand or want to know about the very latest TV.  So where these pedals are meant to be secret with good reason. This concern is of little or no importance to all the middlemen that get it to market.

So those that get these advanced pics...are not those that can tell me what I am looking at.

The short story it is just another of SBS being at the head of the curve...the leader!!!
and to give you the bragging rights on what's new FIRST when you get with your buddies over a beer to talk gear!!!
.






WAH- Caline HOT SPICE CP-31 Vol./Wah...small, cheap Cry Baby Knock off

CALINE HOT SPICE CP-31 Vol. & Wah

 $60.00 USD 

For years I played an original Cry Baby Wah basically a first edition that I ...yes ...bought new lol
This was years before any pedal had a jack for a 9v adapter.
I became very adapt at using it. In a short I mostly used it as a tone control booster. I could turn it on find the basic sweet spot and by leaving my foot on it pull out the sweet spot on every note by moving the pedal just a hair width forward or back on the fly!!!
Once Wah pedals became associated with Disco the rock world almost instantly abandon them! In fact it was then that Jim Dunlop bought the rights to them for a song. Smart guy!!
So it was not cool to use a Wah. So I sold mine.

I still do not think my music fits that Wah as a rhythm maker type sound.
BUT... I sold my volume pedal and I miss it the odd time when I am too loud.
I have for some time been looking for a cheap smashed up Cry Baby to remove the guts and build it into a small case to use as a fixed wah. I have been toying with the idea of using a wah for a bit of the before mentioned tone control thing on a solo. I would most certainly want one of the new Mini ones because of space.

(about 5 1/2" x 2 1/2")


The Caline products are well made I have never had a problem with them. Last but not least a Cry Baby sound is bullet proof. Yes they cloned it very close ...perhaps with a tiny bit less high end. But they have nailed the sound of the sweep!!
Caline checks all the boxes.
It even checks off the CHEAP one. LOL
                                             

If you are a serious Wah guy you may want to give this a pass.
If you are interested but not sure you will still have a volume pedal if it does not work out.
If later you move up to better one.You can still keep this as a volume pedal.


COMPARE THE 2 SOUNDS

Unfortunately the Caline video is very amateur but it will do.
There are a lot of loud reflections off the walls and the mic is typical 
of a cheap one without any low end.The low end may be more critical
as it gives the pedal an illusion that it is not full sounding when it is. 

The Cry Baby is reasonably recorded. The player is experienced with
playing a wah.

Compare- Caline start vid at 410
Compare- Cry Baby vid at 47





__________________________________________________________________________________

Listen to Shane play live ...start at 7:14  and you will have a great idea of how all around and pro the Caline sounds.



So ...Whats to loose.I ordered one!


...and since you asked...LOL

 The Best is the Xotic you can adjust it to basically copy any of the hundred Jim Dunlop artist series or better still adjust to your tone and technique requirements. Xotic pedals are ALWAYS well made & priced reasonably for what you get!!!

$236.00 USD

NOT CHEAP AT ALL
BUT YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR GIMMICKS


YOU GET TONE BIG TIME!
AND MORE IMPORTANT YOU CAN TWEAK IT FOR "YOUR" SOUND
IT IS BUILT LIKE A TANK BECAUSE PUMPING
ON ANY TREADLE BASED PEDAL CAN KILL IT !!!







 .

Saturday, June 10, 2017

OVERDRIVE- BEHRINGER VINTAGE TUBE MONSTER ....real tube at an unreal price!!!

BEHRINGER VT999 VINTAGE TUBE MONSTER

Well we have a company here famous for cheap pedals.It is equally famous for it's rock bottom

$49.00 USD

quality. Their plastic cheapie pedals were the cheapest you could buy in a store. Of course the same money on-line could get you a decent sounding and reasonably made product straight from China!!!

They recently bought TC Electronics. The discontinued product has been repackaged in a very, very nice metal case. But most of it still sounds like the crap it is.

So why is this pedal here?

HOW DOES A REAL  12Ax7 TUBE DISTORTION sound to you at
less then 50 bucks !!!!
NO! 
It is not a typo. lol 

But what does it sound like.
Well actually if it wasn't tube we would all take one big step back.
But because it's a real tube sound it can hardly be ignored. It needs a good listen.
It may be pretty ratty sounding but it does have a funky cool to it. LOL

Unfortunately I noticed it is run off of a good ol' 9v adapter.
Tubes need a lot of power to overdrive. This tube is just adding a little tone.
The whole thing is really not much more then cheap solid state OD
with a light bulb. LOL




It is very ratty as I said and it has very little sustain. 
It does however give a nice authenticity to a classic blues thing.


And as the man says... the EQ is not bad and it even has a gate,

If you are thinking of putting it on your board....ouch !!! the thing is aptly named ...it is a Monster size pedal!!! lol



BASS PLAYER- SPECIAL POST...an entire mind blowing world class BASS RIG .... $1150.00 USD

THE BEST BASS SOUND

and it has pedals at the heart of the system!

...Not cheap ...but hardly pricey!!!... and either live or in the studio... more money will not buy a better sound !!

LOUD ENOUGH for medium size club gig ...you can drown out an unmiked drummer with power to spare.
If the guitarist is using a sensible 100 watts or less you can drown him out too. LOL
Not a producer in the world would do more then tweak your sound !!!

DARKGLASS ELECTRONICS MICRO TUBES B7K

This quite simply is a Bass preamp/Direct box.
No matter what hot poop and overdrive etc. you have

$350.00 USD

the odds that is your sound on record ...will be inclusive to a method which is called the N.Y. Sound this takes in account EQ and Compression too.
The results are a very clean chunky low end and lower mid range..a hint of upper mids and defined high end..not too bright not too mellow. Sometimes a little ...trace of dirt or growl is added.
This is all done by tracking the bass players sound on one track and a direct box right off of the bass on a second track. When all is done..the engineer, the producer and indeed the the whole band will pick the sound on the direct track.
Not the track with your sound. Why?  Because the NY sound sits in the mix perfectly ...it has the clarity to never get buried even by the kick drum and it is majorly punchy. It has BALZ!!!!
It works best when most of the playing is lower then the 5th fret.

...and the second track with a mic on your current rig???
SCRAPPED !!!

So this Pedal creates this perfect sound in spades. It allows lots of easy tweaking to tailor it to the taste and exact instrument of the player. Any...I said any Fender wanna-be will sound great after going thru this pedal. So if you are playing a Squier entry level Fender P or J. Use your "get Myself a Real Bass"
savings and buy this pedal.

THE FIRST VIDEO IS SHORT AND TO THE POINT!!!



_________________________________________________________________________________

EMPRESS COMPRESSOR


$250.00 USD

So to complete the picture...you need the ultimate compressor.
Empress make the cheapest studio grade comp.

This the real deal...a studio grade comp.
A studio may give you 'different' but not better.
Not quieter nor with a better sound!!
This has been the first choice of thousands of Bass players for the last few years.

So yes..with 6 knobs and 2 switches it will take a bit of time to zero in on 'YOUR" sound.
The company has a good manual...but best of all an excellent Video.. with lots of hands on
knobs and switches to get you rocking...and to make the right choices for the style you play in.
besides.. you only have to get that sound right...ONCE!!!




THIS IS A STUDIO COMPRESSOR IT WORKS ON EVERYTHING FROM A GUITAR TO AN ENTIRE BAND.
So do not be concerned that they choose a guitar for the operational demo ...it works as well on ANYTHING!!!

__________________________________________________________________________-

To play live we will need an amp. Not a Bass guitar amp...the pre and comp takes care of the tone. We just need lots of clean power. What could be more fitting then to use a Studio amp as well.

ART SLA-2

Strapped into mono we get 560 watts RMS. To those that do not understand RMS it basically the average loudness level you will hear in the real world. Or in this case the loudness of over 4 Marshall stacks. That is F.-ing loud. We really need about 250watts but with headroom ...headroom ...headroom. so we have 320 watts of headroom... excellent!!!



$350.00 USD

________________________________________________________________________________

Last but not least we will need a cabinet. The average 15" cab...even used is good. Empty even better.
Because we want a world class tried and true 15" Speaker.
Any Major high end brand claiming their cab is hot poop uses this same speaker...wether it is a European, Brit or American brand!
the....

EMINENCE BN 400x Green Label Neodymium 15"

$200.00 USD

There are technically better speakers but this one just sounds good. If this speaker was a Bass guitar it would be a classic P bass.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Guessing that a used cabinet can be found for about $200.00 USD

OUR nice little state of the art Bass rig will be about...$1150.00.00 USD

Add to that this rig does not take up much space.It will fit in the trunk of an average car,
Even the cabinet is reasonable light. The amp is about 5 pounds.
I easily put both amp & cab in the hatch of a Fiat 500 ...the Fiat is about as small as you can get. LOL

CODA

At the price/performance level this rig is awesome.
It is quite simply a NO-BRAINER choice for a Bass rig!

What's more every piece of it is supported word wide. Getting service in Brit/Canada/USA/ Australia. Japan and Australia is a given. New bands do not play very much anywhere else even if indeed they actually do gigs in ...all these places. If you have to carry limited gear. The amp is just one unit high and the pre and comp are just pedals. That peachy keen combo you had in mind to get may not be serviceable everywhere..and it is to big of a lump to take with you.
Most of the best brands use the same speaker that I just recommended so being able to rent one of these cabs will give you your sound.Every city and town on the planet has at least one of these cabs.
So what's to think about...start planning on this rig now. You can buy the pre or comp first etc. 
what other rig can you buy in pieces and improve your sound a bit at a time???

I believe I said it is a NO-BRAINER
IS IT ????



OVERDRIVE- ALEK K PRODUCTION RED SCORPION ...ACCESSORY....as must buy!!!

ALEK K PRODUCTION WHITE ARCHILE GLOVES

An amazing product that has thrilled every owner of the now famous Scorpion Distortion.
No longer when your good friend wants to try your Scorpion do you have to forbid him from touching it.
You can now have the thrill of watching your friends face fondle your prize pedal to adjust it for a test run.
Gone is that horrible stress and that racing heart when you cringe at the possibility of
finger prints on your most prized possession.







OK GUYS ....YES THIS IS JUST A GAG!
Alek K is not even in the loop.

I DID THIS ALL ON MY OWN!!!

In fact these guys are just too modest for their own good.
In fact they will be very embarrassed by this. LOL
What's worse is that their friends will torment them for months with it.


HEY...for you guys that are unaware of their OD's read  the all 3 reviews I have already done.
The Red Scorpion sits side by side with my Friedman BE-OD....
This way my guitar friends can compare them...
I LOVE IT ....IT IS LIKE BETTING ON A FIXED HORSE RACE
I BET ON THE SCORPION BEING THE WINNER
AND AD ANOTHER PIC OF AN ASTONISHED FACE TO MY COLLECTION!!! LOL

CODA


A little levity never hurts. If you are over my way drop in and try the pedal.
You don't have to wear any gloves either...ha ha ha ...



BUT IF YOU TOUCH MY PEDAL WITHOUT THEM I'LL BREAK YOUR FINGERS !!!!


Sunday, June 4, 2017

OVERDRIVE- KHDK Dark Blood Distortion ....small box, big band,big SOUND

KHDK Dark Blood Distortion

$230.00 USD

Nothing new but the box?
Ok a little cynical. LOL
It really is a very good high gain pedal. One would assume this by the Kirk Hammett/Metallica
association that a metal sound is a given.

Is it the best??? Well some think so.

Different players have small but different demands. Some players want a lot of control for a music that is played a break neck speed and a tone that by nature works better with the old chugging along styles that started with Sabbath when it more about the weight of the sound then a defined click of the pick on every note.
Metallica were about pop as much as metal.
Control means thinning out the sound to keep it tight.
So with the pop element this pedal has been held tight on the reigns.
I feel all of these pedals have picked a compromise between tight or fat.
For fat nothing beats the Goosesonque Kult.
For tight there are dozens ...all with some compromise.
I think the Dark blood has hit the middle zone dead on.
The size is a nice feature but Metal players unlike other high gain users are not too worried about turning off the pedal and switching to something with a lower gain.
They may use some lighter sounds but having a lot of space saved for
a Klon and a Timmy is not an issue.  
In short a large metal pedal will always have a home.





The sweet spot for selling gourmet pedals is $200.00 USD ...I think the high end of that is about $225.00 USD. The low is about $175.00 USD  So at $230.00 USD it should do OK.



In this price range there are a lot more 'Brown Sound' pedals then serious Metal jobbies.
So it is nice at this price to have some decent choices.

 

The Metallica thing may be as good as it is bad...many players consider them a sell out pop band.
Others see them as the elder statesmen of Metal...and still others see their music as dated and perhaps the pedal itself has a dated sound. The pedal is quite good and no one cared that Les Paul played pop jazz...they bought the guitar anyway and pioneered the sound of Metal with it.

So in short it is worth a listen.

I got to admit it...the more I listen to it the more I like it!!!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

OVERDRIVE- Alek K Production SUN BEAM Magic Drive....in search of the ultimate transparent OD pedal

ALEK K PRODUCTION 

SUNBEAM OVERDRIVE

Regular readers know I make a point of avoiding 2 OD's from the same manufacturer
Why? Because all company's have a way of imprinting a sonic character to all their pedals
Give me 3 different pedals...lets just say Flangers...and if one is EH or Wampler etc. I can nail down the company by ear.

Readers know I am trying to find the best low gain transparent OD on the planet. I have just recently bought the Greer Burning Goat.... Nice...but after only a couple of weeks I can hear the warts and blemishes in it. Do not get me wrong if you push it a bit it sounds amazing. But I am looking for a sound that is just a teeny bit more then clean ...more of a boost sound ...but a boost does not ADD harmonics.  A low gain drive does.
I consider the #1 high gain OD that still maintains a tube amp character with zero artificial beep up to be the Red Scorpion.
I have one. I consider it the best OD on the planet!
(Yes ... I said the best!!!!)
So I honestly avoided listening to the Sunbeam.
BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG MISTAKE!!!
I will order one and come back to this review with my hands on review ...BUT my first impression is it is so much better then the others then anything said to describe it would look like the highest heap of Bull sh@t you ever read!!
ENOUGH SAID...
Listen to it when it is backed off...it sounds like a mildly cranked Dumble Amplifier I am talking about a $6000.00 USD SOUND!!!

THIS ONE IS GOING ON MY BOARD!!!
I JUST ORDERED IT!

Listen to the sound on the vid start at 215.
All those wonderful low settings that support detailed chord work.
Nothing fake sounding like the Tube Screamer and beyond JUNK!!!
that has frustrated me for years!!!
....from my experience any position on Alek K pedals is a sweet spot!!
nothing has endless sweet spots ...so is it design or the military spec parts?
probably both.


HEY! the little hotshot has my blue Strat!!!

  
   I think you get my point!!!  

MY TURN

My turn indeed!!!
I just got my pedal.

As soon as I had it in my hand I stood there amazed. The finish!
The look of any  Alek K is stunning. They make all your other pedals look cheap.
This does not come across on-line. The Sun Beam just looks like a cheerful yellow
but that yellow is actually gold. Gold but yellow at the same time, Yes..I know many associate gold with the colour yellow. But this pedal is actually both!
Once on my board I spent about 20 minutes twisting knobs trying to find 'that sound '
I did not find it. Close but not there.
BUT...every different sound I tried was usable. BIG TIME!!!
So what do I mean by this???
Well I like dirt pedals and I use a lot of them ...all kinds ...many makes of pedals and I love them all for that one special thing they do.
But you did take note . ONE ...one great but perfect sound is fine by me.
But this pedal can take you from near dead clean up to a very healthy medium gain distortion.
This is typical of an Alex K...every spot on it's gain is the sweet spot!!!

NOW HERE IS THE BIG DEAL!!!!

This pedal can make every note in a full 6 note chord ring out transparently clean with a nice defined attack the moment your pick touches the string ...and it keeps that nice articulate attack even if you push hard on the gain.
Let me tell you how many other makes of OD's pedals can do that. .....ZERO!!!
Without exception the others always muddy up. The crisp snap of your pick disappears. 
This drives me nuts on the  E and A strings!!!!
I often use them in an acoustic guitar sort of way putting in a small bass lines running around and between the cords that I may strum or play small arpeggios etc.
The other cool thing is...and I hate to say it ....because you have heard it said about every OD on the planet ...and we both know most of the time it's bull.
This thing really sounds like a damn tube amp. All light gain OD's I have ever heard sound fake.
I will not argue...fake 'Can' sound good.
BUT better????
Hello!!! I ask you. BETTER???

The good and bad news is that every knob changes the sound just by small increments of it. So you can go around in circles. But you will find 'that sound'  

   CODA                                                                                              

So after having this pedal for a couple of weeks I decided to do something I was putting off forever.
I had been using my amp with a permanent light crunch sound. With one or more of  my OD's always on it worked quite well. I decided to get the best possible clean sound I could get. It took me 3 evenings and one rehearsal but I succeeded big time!
Now with light settings on my Sun Beam they were not competing with anther distortion. Wow!!!
What a difference. The pedal went from good to amazing!!!!
Well after tweaking all my OD's they all worked better. Of course the Sun Beam benefited the most.
Those who read between the lines I think may have concluded that this pedal is a good step up to a yet undiscovered 'King in Waiting' and they would be right. But now I feel one day we will see an alternative to this pedal ...but not an improvement. In fact what we may see is someone using the schematic to this and giving it a tweak here and there ...just like everyone has done with the Tube Screamer.
BUT ...to those with an ear ...such tweaks take away as much as they add to the overall sound.
it is a matter of 'If it's not broke don't fix it!!!

So what we have here with the Sun Beam is a "Best on the Planet low gain OD.'
.

OVERDRIVE- Rock Fabrik Effects MIND ABUSE DISTORTION ...WOW !!! but is it better then ?

ROCK FABRIK EFFECTS 

MIND ABUSE Distortion


Great dirt boxes from all over the globe is fast becoming the norm. It is great to finally have some real choice. This time it is from Turkey.
Only a year ago I would hear a half dozen OD's and only one or two would stand out.
Very quickly they would become the 'must have' of the day.
That little switch on the side of this pedal gives you the equivalent of 3 entirely different sounds and quite probably 3 different players who play 3 different styles of music. These 3 players will only ever use one of them because the the 3 sounds are all outstanding but cover 3 styles of playing.
If of course you were in a cover band doing or wedding band playing a wide range of diverse music this would be a godsend. Zero compromise on sound no matter what the challenge.
I hate to admit it but this is easily in the category of several pedals I have recommended in the last couple of months.
I think this pedal is going to kick a few American makers butts. They will have to get back to the drawing boards. The only US soldier still standing is Friedman with their BE-OD.I know I will not be dumping mine soon.


If you bought any one of my 4 best dirt boxes in the last few months do not be dismayed... this is NOT better just different. But as I said ...IT IS GREAT TO FINALLY HAVE SOME CHOICE!!!


$250.00 USD

Brett Kingman seems to think this is 'IT' for once I actually disagree. Sound is everything. If this were judged as 3 different boxes it would still get 10 out of 10 ...BUT I think I could find 3 actually different OD'S that would get 11.
It could not bump any pedals I have on my board ...BUT if my board were bigger I think it would be coming home.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

WHAT'S NEW ....for June 24/17 ...as always my board has an update

LIFE OF A MAD MAN

Every few weeks life catches up to me. LOL
I have this Blog that uses up at least 20 hours a week ...a day job that uses up 50 hours
My band uses up at least 10 hours. It is common for me to sit down and find about 4 hours later that I fell asleep. I quickly loose sense of the time of day and even the day of the week.
I got an offer on Reverb for my Mobius...bottom line...It's gone and I sold my POT too.
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JUST IN AN UPDATE


The LPD SIXTY 8 is selling faster then Lawrence can keep up.
There has been a flood of letters from those that have one that they have found that they have turfed a lot of pedals...expensive ones too because they only use one pedal now. They want a Deluxe model with the boost on it's own switch and all the bells and whistles. SO! the Mini version will be discontinued and we will be getting the Deluxe!!!
Read my 4 Best OD's and also the LPD SIXTY 8 post for more.
If you are new and are not up on the 68....
It is a pedal soooo good that to tell you just how good would sound like the biggest load of bull you ever heard.
I truly believe it could end up being another KLON thing. If I am right...well...buy it now leave it in the box and get ready in a few years to sell it for some really big bucks!!!!!

HEY!!! THIS IS NOT BULL!!! trust me on this one!!!

 CALINE HOT SPICE WAH/ VOL. 

Check it out! For those tempted to get a Wah for the first time it is a winner...or maybe you need a Wah for just a couple of tunes.
If it doesn't work out you have a handy Vol. pedal.
If you move up to something better...once again you have a handy Vol. pedal.
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NEUNABER IMMENSE REVERBERATOR

The little reverb with the BIG sound... nothing new?   Or is it the one to buy???


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BASS PLAYER SPECIAL POST

It may seem simple but this post represents a lot of work with my own bass player being the guinea pig...and personal input from a lot of pro reviewers that gave me their time. Even a band ...friends of mine that did a small tour of California and are now leaving for Europe with an upcoming tour of Australia.
Another band that has it's biggest fan base in Spain. They do not speak Spanish and their music has zero Spanish influences. It is a whole new world out there.
With a total price of $1150.00 USD ...with ZERO compromise to get a world class sound both live and in the studio this rig is simply KILLER !!!!

YES I SAID ZERO COMPROMISE !!!

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THE ULTIMATE ANSWER TO A BETTER TUBE SCREAMER?   KLON?  TIMMY?   KOT?  OR   ?   

IF YOU HAVE BEEN TRYING LIKE ME FOR YEARS TO GET THAT NOT QUITE CLEAN BUT NOT QUITE CRUNCH SOUND TO DO SOME NICE CHORD WORK ...CLEAN BUT WITH SOME SERIOUS BALZ...YOU HAVE TO CHECK ON THE 

Alex K. Production Sunbeam Magic DrivE  

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CHECK OUT MY BOARD

... updated the main pic today...with lots of changes in the layout... there are new pedals and the text has has already been been updated. (note: the pic is a bit blurry tech ...probs...I am waiting for a better pic to arrive on my E at any time now)

I just got the MXR Phase 95 and a TC Electronic Mini Corona Chorus.
I ordered the current state of the art Empress Echo System ...only out since May4 ...so expect an August showcase lol.
A Rowin/Mooer flanger is in the mail.
but i am already looking at a little monster made by ???
I will keep the EH Mini POG...but otherwise I have made a clean sweep of my FX.
I have put my Catalinbread Talisman reverb on the end of the FX ...as I no longer use it as an always on reverb. For that my amp's digital Spring reverb is adequate. That is up for sale too ...it will soon be replaced by a NEUNABER IMMERSE REVERBERATOR which is really just a simplified Strymon Big Sky reverb ...with the best of the best of it's sounds. It is smaller simplified by omitting stuff Rock player do not use. BUT sonically it is equal ....in short a big bucks pedal sound $200.00 USD cheaper. Needless to say it is in high demand so I wait delivery.
I squeezed in a now defunct Metal Pedal...a gem!!! Used ...Cheap....read the text on the post for the whole story.


I am selling my MXR Dyna Comp ...I have a  Pigtronix Philosophers Tone Micro. I need something with more sustain and mini..to free up more space. There is a 2 and a half month waiting list for that too ...but I was able to obtain a mint condition used one for a paltry $113.00 USD from
someone in the BIZ who was pushed to the front of the list by the manufacturer when he bought it.
Social nepotism at the extreme. LOL

 I may yet add the Arc Big Green Sovtek clone.
With all the tiding up and rerouting etc. I think I can squeak my $23.00 Mighty Sound M5 Delay back in.
If you want one they are STILL the same money. It has to be the best deal on any pedal when it is good enough to sit beside a the Empress Echo System. You may recall it was on the 'BEST 5 Analog Delays' list in 2015.
There will be 3 or 4 new pedals on my board and and the layout will change a fair bit..I have expanded even the quantity of pedals on the board with 4 more pedals added since I first posted pics in January ...not to mention swapped out as many old ones for new ones
I average at least 2 new pedals a month. More if they are in the $200.00 USD range and less when they are rocketing towards double.
CHECK OUT ....WILL I CHANGE OR ADD A PEDAL?   in my pedal board post every week!!!

Spektr Phaser  ....rare vintage Soviet phaser

MAYBE CRAP???  BUT DEAD COOL!!!



MY USUAL RANT !!!

My goal is to help you guys get a pro sound you can afford ....FIRST. 
Then to get your dream pedal! 
Your dream pedal will have to be as free of flaws as is possible! 
It MUST sound great BUT it must fit your playing style and technique.
It could have room to grow ..like a FX pedal but you do not want to pay for things you will never ever use or simply 'MORE OF' .... put in to justify a higher price or to BLIND YOU WITH SCIENCE. 
Some times a pedal is flawed and crude but sounds great. Sometimes a pedal is high tech
but thin and sterile but is weird enough to have character and sounds great.
These pedals can not be overlooked or put down because they are the exception!
Sometimes an old design can be improved on and the result is an improvement worth having...but as often not as not ...NONE OF THE ABOVE SHOULD BE IGNORED.

In the end the pedal must be a joy to play and IT MUST MAKE YOU SOUND GREAT to your listener!!!
Anything less is a non starter!!!

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ROCK FABRIC MIND ABUSE DISTORTION

I discovered a new OD...that can produce the equivalent of 3 different OD pedals...and do it well.
This time the guy is in Turkey. Lately it is only the little countries all over the globe that are bringing out innovative stuff that sounds great.

.___________________________________________________________________________

A Metallica high gain pedal and low gain transparent Drive kick off the goodies for this week!.

The Mind Abuse distortion ...3 different dirt pedals in one box. 

But does it matter? ....

 You just click a switch for each of 3 voicings. Three different players with 3 different needs may buy this pedal and each could leave the switch in just one position for the life of the pedal. This takes this pedal to whole new level in design.

STOMP BOX SEARCH- looking for the very best...the Dummies guide of how to do it. lol

SEARCHING FOR THE VERY BEST!!!


Well my first way of doing this was to scour YOU TUBE and find all the good reviewers... even the infomercial reviewers were helpful.

-I soon learnt that infomercials had lots of facts and detail ....they also had mind boggling post Production!!! They can make a Snails Fart sound good!

-The better vids were balanced but you had to read between the lines. "this is going straight on my board" means BUY IT!!!

-Amateur vids can be so bad you can miss a great pedal.
for example the Greer BURNING GOAT set to a low gain ...with the tone set very low (which on any other OD would sound bass heavy) gives you a near clean sound that sounds like you are actually switch to your clean channel but without ANY OD.
It is an instant $6000.00 USD ....DUMBLE amp CLEAN sound. But there are vids with it set with the knobs pushed to positions only fit for a fuzz.
The result is the sound is so frighteningly terrible that my $22.00 USD  Ammoon nano pedal would blow it out the water!!! WHAT IS REALLY SCARY...I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!!!

 BUT the best amateur videos can give you the sound of what it will sound like when you hear it for the first time in your home or at practice.... Plus all the good ...and the bad news of how it works for them within their band at the club or the studio.

SO AS MANY OF EACH I CAN HEAR IS THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW!


If it passes all the smell tests . I buy one!

-I went from Oh my god ...NO  ...NO ...NO!

-to... great but zero dynamics...but OK
        I guess...
        I wonder what they are going for
        used on Reverb? I have to dump this turkey.

-to... just OH MY GOD!!!! YES!!!!!! FINALLY!!!

Fortunately I learnt how to play the game with the China cheapies.
Since they gave you a clone at least the basic sound was proven.
After going thru about 300 'made in China pedals...I ran out. I had caught up.
If a pedal is half decent and sells well it will made to infinity. lol
So only a pedal or 2 would come along each month.
Especially since the Chinese makers are only interested in
making the most popular pedals from the west.

Ah I thought..why not find the best...?

Readers will not buy these but it could be fun to compare them against our cheap loot!!!
Besides who wouldn't want to kick the tires on the Ferrari and Lamborghini pedals.

BUT THEN I GOT HOOKED ON THE BEST.
FIRST ON A WAMPLER AT HALF PRICE...(oddly as it turns out I just sold it yesterday  LOL 6/2/2017) BEFORE LONG IT BECAME PEDALS OVER $300.00 USD..and never less then...
$200.00 USD
THEN...EVEN $400.00 USD mistakes!!! and a diet of 2 pedals a month.
...would I end up sleeping on a park bench panhandling for 9v battery money ...since I would no longer have access to a wall socket???

OK...back to the basics..

Once I got a lot of the specific pedals to further research.  I also then had the Brands names that I could then go to their sites and check out a vid on every product.

Online sellers often stock at least a few obscure brands. That is the way they got into business.
A great way to find hidden gems.

There are easily 200 brands of pedals maybe even a lot more. A lot of very high end and very low end are one guy...who designs ...builds and sells the pedals. A few like Paul Cochrane only makes one pedal ...the TIMMY.

Then there is the issue of county's beside the American and some European that you may know about.

THE INTERNATIONAL TREASURE HUNT

There are two well known makers in Canada Empress and Diamond.
But there are some serious other makers too
like Radial Engineering,  Dr. Scientist, Solid Gold and Fairfield.
Tone Hungry make point to point hand made
duplicate's of classic pedals with new old stock...
they even sell it for low prices. About half of what is demanded by some European equivalents.
Retro Sonic , Toe Tag and Dingo Tone are
others worth checking out.
6 Degress FX take classic pedals and not just improve them they virtually reinvent them. One fuzz they did offers not only the original transistors used in a pedal but also 2 other types. For most brands this would constitute making 3 different pedals ...because the difference is anything but subtle. This requires  3 separate circuits with a pair of transistors in each circuit.
Alex K Production make state of the art pedals with military spec parts...and 'only' after they design with a tone that is second to none.

There are two South America makers...In Chile it is and PedalPalFX  in Venezuela there is the Fire Custom Shop. Both make world class pedals. Both use high end parts
,
In Europe the French, Greek, Italian, Belgium, Denmark, Turkey and Spanish makers are not well known.

One of the outstanding makers is in the Ukraine.  Piod a one man show making analog state of the art Overdrives that can be used alone or thru a computer. Doing the PC thing is one challenge in itself ...but doing the analog OD thing and getting that dead on right is another,,, and the pedal's sound is a total mind blower,

WHY ARE SOME INTERNATIONAL PEDALS PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE

They quite simply have a different mind set.
The perfect example is the U.S. mind set vs. the British

An American player traditionally works hard on an arsenal of hot licks.
When he joins a band he uses these licks as ornamentation in the tunes.
A Brit joins a band...and he will compose a specific hot lick to put in a tune that he will not ever use but in that tune and in the spot it was written for.
To over simplify listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn then listen to Brian May. 
Stevie might change his parts nightly ...Brian will always play that specific lick in a tune in the same spot every night.
Both produce great results.. but the thinking is quite different.

HOW TO FIND THEM???


It is not well known to most that many countries have their own tailor made version of GOOGLE...and ebay I am not just talking about language.... they are set up to only easily access X amount of content with Google USA. Some of this will seem obvious..if you type in WAMPLER...in France you may not see anywhere on the screen that is not related to Wampler France etc.
Most of the country's in Europe speak some English. So you can for example from the U.S.Google type in ...Google Germany then from there google ebay and up pops the German version of ebay...then ferret around finding maker after maker. True many pedals you find no matter what country they reside in are the average fuzz...just 2 resister shy of being a Big Muff or the 10,000th version of a Tube Screamer.

So ...try this google GOOGLE UK then type in ebay...or even just type in guitar pedals. Or British guitar pedals etc.It is a lot of fun.

There are small exceptional makers too. Guys that are both engineers,  players and geniuses. but you can not count out some little guys who may be amateurs or TV repair guys who play
guitar etc. With a little knowledge but a good imagination they sometimes come up with something special.
Crazy Tube Circuits in Greece...their Ziggy is just such a pedal.They did not start out to make the closest pedal to a Vox AC 30...Top Boost as possible. But nothing that set out to sound Vox like is closer.
Lots of these cool accidents happen all over the world.
Right now I am exploring the pedal makers of the southern USA the middle states not the coasts.
My latest discovery is....Greer Amps.

A year ago if someone told me perhaps one of the best OD's ever is made by a maker from Turkey
I would have laughed.
I STOPPED LAUGHING!!!
ONE IS.

A Tale of 2 Compressors

Greer Amps Fish Press 

....a simple yet exceptional compressor ...a very nice repro of the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer Compressor




Dan's very basic little preset box brought out with several others in the 60's








I will let Mark give you a demo. Mark is not a bad player and he will ...do his best on his T style guitar. No not a Strat...he couldn't afford one when he recorded this. Hell what could he ask for! He had a nice little 4 track studio to record in. Why I recorded there myself.       (I actually did. The studio was terible.  LOL)


 Anyhow ...Greer does a nice job of letting you add or subtract a little bit of sustain.
Otherwise it was a case of
...if it is not broken don't fix it


T-REX Tone Bug Sustainer   

...Denmark


A nice cheap enough  ($100.00 USD ) comp.
BUT...as in all comps when you push up the sustain you also have to turn up the level. Oh my ...no level???






So this is an overview of the process 

 from searching to finding to presenting or rejecting.

So which pedal made it onto SDS?    and which one would waste your time?  


WHAT MAKES A GREAT PEDAL

Many things! but the most important is detail in the sound!!!
overtones  ...harmonics ...light and shade 
...and in dirt pedals...dynamic ...sensitivity to your touch.

BUT ALL THAT IS ANOTHER POST!

Friday, May 26, 2017

OVERDRIVE- BOSS DS-1 ....it still hangs on after 30 years

BOSS OD-1 DISTORTION


This was a break through pedal when it came out in 1978. 
The first pedal with serious amp like tone. Everyone else was
still only offering their Fuzz boxes.
So many players used them that we often have made the mistake of
judging a Marshall sound with this pedal included in that sound.
But we did not know that when we heard those records.
For example listen to the PAL 800 JCM 800 box. It sounds nothing like
any other JCM800...because the vast majority of other makers added a DS-1 into the sound! Do not get me wrong ...those pedals can sound amazing. But
it is good to have the real deal like the PAL800.
Surprisingly the DS-1 still  sounds impressive. At $50.00 USD
what can you get that is better????
After 30 plus years there are a hundreds of used ones, Some as cheap
as $20.00 USD.















The new Ltd. Ed.
30th anniversary model.



The Boss DS-1 started life as a near Metal type box. So ...it is fascinating to find a Timmy with the rep as a 'the' transparent pedal being based off of a the same 4558 opamp chip.

I confess I quite like the Boss when used as a medium gain pedal.
Just keep the gain at around 9 o'clock and you get a nicely voiced really contemporary  medium gain OD.