Never-ending Pedalboard Quest

 Posted by at 12:41 am  Gear
Apr 302014
 

For those of you who’ve followed TGM for awhile, you’ve no doubt seen more than your fair share of pedalboard posts from yours truly. I can’t deny it, I LOVE pedalboards and find that I’m constantly rebuilding and swapping in (and out) pedals in search of that elusive “perfect tone.”

Now that I’m an old(er) guy I’m pretty sure that I’m off the road for good, so last year I decided to downsize from the gigantic touring board to something a lot more manageable. Now that I have to cart this thing around myself in the back of my wagon, the old board just didn’t make sense. I’ve definitely had to give up a few pedals that I liked, most notably the EHX Micro POG. But in the grand scheme of things, I have everything I could ever need and then some. So I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how the pedalboard has evolved over the last year. I’m still playing a mix of traditional and modern country up here in the  Northwest and that definitely influences what you’ll find on my board.

You’ll see three pedals in every picture and they’re the ones I can’t live without. They are the Sonic Research Turbo Tuner, the Xotic EP Booster, and the Wampler Ego Compressor. The EP and Ego are on all the time. Give me those three pedals plus virtually any good overdrive pedal and I could easily cover any show. Hmmm, that sounds like the makings of a new, even smaller board…..

So without further ado:

Version #1

#1 The original pared-down board

Version #2

#2 Addition of the Halo and Nobel Overdrives

Version #3

#3 First appearance of the Mojo Hand Rook Overdrive

Version #4

#4 New EHX Soul Food boost pedal

Version #5

#5 Two new pedals from Mesa, Tone Burst & Flux Drive

Version #6

#6 Just a different combination

Today's Version (for now anyway)

#7 Today’s version while the Halo’s in for repairs

The Alairex Halo pedal is like a two-channel amp-in-a-box and is my go-to OD for mild overdrive and hi-gain lead tones. Much like the Ethos overdrive, this pedal turns any clean amp into a three channel monster. Hand built by Alex Aguilar formerly of Aguilar bass amps, these things are expensive and totally worth it. Everyone I know who’s tried one has bought one (including Ray). They really are that good. Mine is currently back with Alex for repairs as one of the pots went bad, but it will be back on the board as soon as it’s fixed.

The Nobel OD-1 was on the board for about a minute. I know it was all the rave in Nashville for a long time, but I couldn’t find a single useful tone in the thing. Now to be fair, one of my favorite guitar players, Guthrie Trapp, uses two of them and has killer tone, so I’ll chalk this one up to user error on my part. Wouldn’t be the first time…..

My favorite overdrive currently is the Mojo Hand Rook. This is maybe the most versatile overdrive I’ve ever used. It has three different base settings that range from clean boost to overdrive to distortion, and I have yet to find a bad sound anywhere in there. I actually considered running two of them on different settings, it’s that good. While this one is a little harder to find, it’s definitely worth the effort in my opinion.

A pedal that’s in high demand right now is the Electro Harmonix Soul Food boost. Said to be based on the infamous Klon Centaur, this pedal is great at that edge-of-breakup sound. I use it mainly as a solo boost with just a touch of drive and it works great. Does it sound like a Klon? Eh, maybe. I’ve used three different original Klons and they all sounded slightly different to me, so this is just another variation on that theme in my opinion. At $62 however it’s a steal and I would suggest picking one up immediately if you happen to find one.

My good friends at Mesa were nice enough to send me two of their new pedals, the Tone Burst which is their clean boost pedal, and the Flux Drive which falls in the middle of their three overdrive pedals. If you’re looking for a clean boost that doesn’t color your sound even with the Gain turned up, the Tone Burst is the pedal for you. I use it as a solo boost and it’s great because you get exactly what you put into it, only louder. I’ve been switching back and forth between the Soul Food and the Tone Burst for solos, but I’m liking the warmer solo tone of the Tone Burst better currently. I was super excited to try the Flux Drive as I recently saw the Keith Urban Rig Rundown that Premier Guitar did (check it out here), and his tech said that he was using it for 80% of his solos. Being a huge fan of Keith’s tone (and playing) I couldn’t wait to try it. It’s supposed to be similar to the Xotic BB Preamp gain-wise, though I think there’s a bit more gain on tap in the Flux Drive. I’m still tweaking it to find the perfect setting for my ear and actually have the BB back on the board currently for comparison purposes.

So that’s basically it at this point. Hopefully I haven’t bored you all to death. I have an old Ibanez chorus on there as well as a great Vox delay, but I really don’t use them all that much. And for those of you who were wondering what the ancient DOD pedal was doing on there, that’s just used to switch on the boost on my amp.

I love talking pedalboards so comments are always welcomed!

Paul

 

 

 

 

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Mar 052014
 

stageWhen it comes to gigging, the one thing all musicians can count on is that things can and will go wrong. Cables die, tubes fail, strings break, drum heads tear, and singers bleed. Most musicians are prepared for the common problems like a broken guitar string or drum stick, but being ready for crazy and unexpected mishaps is what separates the pros from the wannabes. So, when heading out to a gig it’s always good to bring everything, and prepare for anything.

Trying to predict potential glitches isn’t always easy, but it’s the goal when packing gear for the gig. I’m not saying you need to be a modern-day Nostradamus, but a little forethought goes a long way. For example, if there’s even a remote possibility you might need a tool or a piece of gear –just bring it. You’ll be glad you did when you actually need to use it. In addition, history is a great teacher so it’s good to prepare for everything that has gone awry at past gigs. I bring everything I need to perform, plus back-ups for all of my gear, and the tools needed to repair anything that fails. I’m also a big fan of having non-gear necessities for the whole band such as: Pliers, screwdrivers, duct tape, vocal-care items, and a simple first-aid kit. On the occasions when it’s not possible to bring all of your extra gear, it’s good to plan for the potential troubles usually solved by having back-ups. For example, I can’t always bring a spare guitar to gig, so a broken string would need to be handled right when it happens. In these instances, I’ll have my extra strings, peg wider, and wire cutters unpacked and in a handy spot so I’m not wasting valuable stage time digging for my tools. It also helps to have a good working knowledge of your instrument so small problems like a broken string are an easy fix. Being able to change a string in about a minute allows me to handle that particular issue with minimal delay to the performance.

Of course, being handy with quick-fixes and having backup gear is a great way to be ready for trouble, but the ultimate preparation lies in maintaining gear between gigs. Keeping equipment in top playing condition is essential to avoiding on-stage malfunctions, and it’s easy to do. Strings don’t break as often when they’re installed/stretched properly and resting on a bridge that does not have burrs in the saddles. Drum heads are less likely to break if they are new, and cables will last a lifetime if they are handled correctly (especially when wrapping them up at the end of the night). If you’re unsure of how to properly maintain your gear, consult with a good tech or teacher to learn the fundamentals. As with personal health, preventative care is the best way to avoid future problems. Take the time to maintain your equipment properly and it will return the favor by not breaking down on stage.

I realize that anyone interested enough to read this article probably believes this is all common sense. And I agree, but it certainly is not common practice. I have played too many gigs where fellow musicians abuse the band gear, don’t have backup gear when it’s needed or the right tools to fix their gear, and obviously disregard instrument upkeep between performances. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of knuckle-headed moments, but I also learn from my mistakes and embarrassments. To me, there’s nothing more horrifying and stressful than disappointing your band and insulting the audience by holding up the show -especially if it was avoidable. So, when packing and preparing for a gig it’s best to bring everything you could possibly need, maintain your gear like a champ, and be thoughtful enough to anticipate the unexpected. It’s amazing how a little foresight can help us all manage anything a troublesome gig can throw our way.

Jeff Nagel is a guitarist, instructor, songwriter, session musician, and writer located in Seattle, WA

www.jeffnagelmusic.com

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Feb 242014
 

guitar picThe goal of every guitarist is to get better. We all strive to be better players, technicians, and musicians. And even though improvement is the common goal, most guitarists have only a vague idea of the difference between playing and practicing. They often think that just picking up their guitars frequently will equate to making great strides in their skills and abilities. Unfortunately, it’s simply not true because there is a big difference between just playing your guitar, and actually practicing.

In my experience, the biggest difference between playing and practicing is intent. Practicing involves the dedicated intent to acquire a new skill, and/or the achievement of a specific musical improvement, while playing lacks a specific intent, and is the act of running through material that has already been thoroughly learned (therefore, easy to play). Don’t get me wrong -both are important to growth and improvement. Playing is essential for maintaining your current skill level, morale, and helps improve your muscle-memory through reinforcement, but practicing is the path to growth because its’ intent is the commitment to an organized and specific evolution.

As a teacher, I commonly meet seasoned guitarists looking to start lessons because they feel their playing has become stagnant. They almost always say: “I’ve been playing guitar for years -I should be better by now.” Whenever this happens, I like to describe how difficult it is to quantify a year in guitar terms. After all, a year to one guitarist is not generally the same as a year to another. For example, there is an obvious difference between a guitarist who plays a couple times per week, and another who plays 3 or 4 hours every day. To them, a years’ amount of time spent with the guitar varies greatly, and logic would lead us to believe that the one who plays more often would get better faster . But, if the one who spends less time knows how to practice properly, and the other does not, the productive quality of each hour spent would lead to a more rapid improvement. In other words, it’s very possible for a musician to spend less time and improve quicker. My students are probably tired of hearing me say; “how you practice is much more important than how much you practice,” but I’ll never stop throwing this little gem out there because proper practice will allow for bigger progress in a shorter amount of time.

So, what does good practicing look like? Well, the fundamental aim is to identify what you’re trying to accomplish, and to stay focused on it until you achieve your goal (i.e.; to maintain your intent). We guitar players have short spans of attention (especially when the task is difficult), so we often veer off the rails to play something more fun and easy. Instead of letting practice time go astray, stay focused and build muscle-memory through the repetition. Just keep going. It’s also a good idea to use your “play time” as a reward for focusing on the task at hand –practice first and play later.

If you’re not sure how to go about building a specific skill, try working with a good teacher who can help guide you through the process. The shortcuts you can get from someone who’s already been down the road you’re traveling can be incredibly valuable. Plateaus, playing-ruts, and feeling stagnant are part of the musical growth process, but focused practice can help you break through those walls. The best course is to carve out some time devoted to deliberate practicing, and to tackle something new and difficult on a regular basis. It’s amazing how much can get accomplished in a short amount of time when practice is focused, regular, and attacked with attention to detail.

Jeff Nagel is a guitarist, instructor, songwriter, session musician, and writer located in Seattle, WA

www.jeffnagelmusic.com

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Feb 202014
 

Mike Lull TX ChubbyMike Lull Custom Guitars of Bellevue, WA has added a new model to their line-up for 2014 -the TX Chubby. I had the privilege of checking it out at Mike Lull’s shop before the guys debuted it at the 2014 winter NAMM show, and it’s a pretty great instrument. It plays beautifully, sounds great with the P-90s, and is super light. The one in the pic has a rosewood fretboard, gold top, and Gibson style bridge/tailpiece.

The TX Chubby is a great new take on the classic Tele shape, but with a few twists. The first thing you’ll notice is the extra body thickness (hence, the name “Chubby”), but it’s hollowed out to give it great light weight and tonal quality similar to the Thinline Teles. As with all Mike Lull guitars, you can personalize this bad-boy by choosing your options, such as; body material, pickups, and finishes. For more info on the TX Chubby, check out Mike Lull Custom Guitars.

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Feb 192014
 

Choosing the right guitar teacher can be challenge. It’s important to find a good match for your personality, musical direction, and someone with great teaching skills. The wrong fit can cost you time and money, and possibly even discourage you from wanting to play guitar at all. Here are 5 steps to help assure you are getting an instructor who will be a good fit for you.
1. Know what you want. If you aren’t sure of your own goals, take a few moments to figure it out. Knowing what you would like to accomplish, and being able to articulate it, will help you get there. Ask yourself: “What kind of music do I want to play?” If you want to play jazz, find a jazz teacher; if you want to play classical, find a teacher who specializes in classical; or if you want to be a versatile player, take lessons from a versatile teacher. This sounds obvious, but a lot of potential students just assume all guitar teachers are experts at everything. The key is to figure out what you want to do first, the find a teacher who matches up.
2. Ask around. Friends and family are a great resource for finding a good instructor, so ask them if they know any excellent teachers they would recommend. Word of mouth is a great way to get good info on a potential instructor. Sure, it’s a good idea to start your research on line, and at the local music shop, but the next step is to get personal referrals from someone who has spent a lot of time with a particular teacher. Endorsements from other students are also a great resource.
3. Look for a pro. Try to avoid taking lessons from your uncle’s neighbor’s cousin’s boyfriend, who plays in a band. Studying with a guitarist who doesn’t teach professionally often ends in very little learning, and good money washed down the drain. Try to find a teacher who treats his/her teaching practice seriously -it will pay off in the long run. Also, it doesn’t hurt to look for an instructor who teaches at a reputable location (i.e.; local music store or school).
4. Set up a meeting. A good rapport is crucial to successful lessons, so it’s a good idea to chat with a potential teacher before making a decision. A quick conversation can provide a great opportunity to ask important questions, and give you some idea of his/her conversational style. And, any guitar teacher who isn’t willing to chat with you up front (or wants you to pay for an initial conversation) is waving a big red flag -say no thanks, and move on to another candidate.
5. Ask good questions. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to ask relevant questions when trying to choose a guitar teacher. Here are a few things it’s a good idea to ask:

  • How long have you been teaching? (Experience is a good yardstick for assessing an instructor’s seriousness about teaching, and his/her ability to maintain a student schedule)
  • What’s your emphasis on reading music and understanding music theory? (Make sure he/she can read music (not just TABs), and doesn’t minimize it–it’s vital for your instructor to have a good working knowledge of what he/she is teaching)
  • What’s your musical background? (This can include education & performance experience)
  • What’s your general approach to teaching? (Every instructor should be able to articulate his/her methodology in a clear fashion)

The point of these questions is to obtain information, and to provide a doorway into an introductory conversation. It’s important to be an active participant in choosing your teacher by meeting up and asking some good questions. Ultimately, you’ll have to trust your gut when choosing a guitar teacher, but if you put in a little effort up front, it can go a long way. It’s your time and money, so get the most out of it by doing your homework before making a decision.

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Inside 65 Amps

 Posted by at 11:45 pm  Gear, NAMM
Jan 252013
 

To anyone who follows The Gigging Musician, it will come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of 65 Amps. If you haven’t tried one of their amps yet, you really owe it to yourself to give them a listen. While they can be a bit hard to find depending on where you live, it is definitely worth the effort. I use an original 65 London and it’s hard to beat the tone I get out of it. When we’re out on the road or in Nashville it’s amazing how many of these amps you see on stage.

For the show this year they are introducing the Producer and a Red Line SoHo. While the Red Line series is their lower-priced “players” amps, some would argue that the new SoHo beats out its more pricy sibling. The Producer features EL-34s, but with a new design and specially designed transformer from Mercury Magnetics that allow the tubes to literally last for years, saving you the cost of re-tubing and re-biasing every year or so. Another added benefit is a great clean tone that is not common with the EL-34 tubes.

The following picture is very similar to what my dream music room would look like at home!

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New Martin Acoustics

 Posted by at 11:32 pm  Gear, NAMM
Jan 252013
 

One of the guitars I really wanted to check out was the new version of the Martin John Mayer Signature guitar, the 00-42. Much like the very limited edition 00-45 Stagecoach guitar released last year, this new model is going to have much wider distribution and come at a bit lower price-point.

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While this is a really small guitar, the sound is anything but small! The notes literally jump out of the guitar and it’s a dream to play. The embellishments and detail work on the guitar are beautiful and it’s the perfect guitar to grab and go anywhere.

Also worth noting are the guitars in the new Retro Series. Based on some of the best examples of each model, these guitars have all the modern conveniences and are perfect for the gigging musician who is looking for that combination of tradition and ease of use. With a D-18, HD-28, D-45, and 00-28, I played them all and would have a very hard time choosing my favorite. Let us know which on you like best!

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Jan 252013
 

Hands down my favorite guitar of the show has been the Hahn Model 1229 all mahogany guitar. This is the very same guitar recently reviewed by Premiere Guitar Magazine, and shown below.

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Chihoe also told me that he recently sent the guitar off to Joe Perry to try out and since Joe wanted humbucking pickups, in went a Duncan stacked Tele in the bridge and a Lollar mini-humbucker in the neck. That turned out to be a great choice as the pickups are perfectly balanced and tone is amazing in every pickup position.

The first thing you notice when you pick up one of his guitars is the attention to detail and how well setup they are. It’s amazing how many guitars you pick up at the show that have had very little attention payed to playability, and in this respect the Hahn is noticeably different. Fret ends are perfect, fingerboard edges are comfortable, and he has totally nailed the neck shape. These are guitars you can’t wait to pick up and play.

Chihoe’s guitars have been highly rated since his original model 228 came out just a few years ago. While there is no shortage of people copying this iconic design, few are doing it nearly as well as Chihoe Hahn. Most of the guitars at his booth have already been spoken for at the show, and I’m afraid if this one is still available when I go back tomorrow, he may have made one more sale!

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Score of the Day at NAMM

 Posted by at 12:13 am  Gear, NAMM
Jan 252013
 

First day at NAMM and we were lucky enough to score passes to the best party of the show!

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Put on by 65 Amps, Deusenberg and Tone Pros, the featured band is the Dirty Knobs lead by none other than Mike Campbell from the Heartbreakers! We’ve always heard amazing stories about this party and it’s only taken us four years to finally score an invite! We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and post them here!

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Jan 212013
 

So Ray and I are off to NAMM again this week and there’s a ton of things I’m already looking forward to checking out! But more importantly, what would you like us to check out and report on here? I think we’ve realized over the last few years that there’s just too much stuff in Anaheim for the two of us to cover, so if there’s something you’d like to see us cover that we may not be aware of, just let us know and we’ll try to get to it.

As for me, here is just a sampling of some of this things I’m looking forward to checking out this week (in no particular order):

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Nov 282012
 

Mesa Boogie has joined the ever-growing boutique pedal market with four new overdrive pedals, and given their 44 year history of writing the book on amp overdrive, these should be something special! I suppose it’s only fair to state right up front that I am a huge fan and have used Mesa amps for more than 25 years, so I’m really looking forward to putting these new ODs through their paces as soon as possible. In the meantime I’ll include what Boogie has to say about the pedals, as well as include some inside info direct from Boogie on how their ODs compare to other models you may be familiar with. From Mesa insider: Tone-Burst – In same family as most clean boosts. Xotic RC Booster, Xotic EP Booster, Keeley Katana, etc. Grid Slammer – Same family as overdrive pedals. Tube Screamer, Xotic AC Booster, King of Tone, OCD, etc. Flux-Drive – Same family as higher gain overdrive pedals. Xotic BB Preamp, OD1, etc. Throttle Box – High gain distortion. Definitely NOT a Recto, but it’s in the modern high gain family. MXR Fullbore, Super Distortion, Metal Zone, etc. Good lead sounds, and lo gain is versatile.   From the
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Jul 262012
 

One of the highlights of Summer NAMM for me this year was getting to spend some time with Alex Aguilar from Alairex. Best known for his legendary bass amplifier designs, Alex has once again turned his attention to us 6-stringers as you may remember from our recent story on the incredibly touch sensitive HALO overdrive pedal (you can have another look at that article here). Touch sensitivity seems to be a trend with Alex as he debuted the prototype of his new Alairex Select-o-drive amplifier at the show featuring remarkable touch sensitivity throughout it’s range. The model at the show was a 2×12, 3-channel combo, though the amp will eventually also be offered as a 1×12 combo and head version. The most unique thing about the amp though is that the preamp is 12ax7 tube driven, while the power section is solid-state. Alex said the idea came from the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get those great, old tubes like the venerable Sylvania 415 anymore, so he wanted to recreate that tone and feel in a bullet-proof, solid-state package. And from what I could tell from the prototype, he’s nailed it! The amp sports the standard Clean, Crunch and
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Summer NAMM in Nashville

 Posted by at 6:08 pm  Free
Jul 192012
 

So we’ve now been back home for a few days, are just starting to catch up on some much needed sleep, and have a surprising number of cool things to write about from the show. This was my first trip to Summer NAMM and when people said it was much smaller than Winter NAMM in Anaheim, they really weren’t kidding! I would guess it’s about the same size as the lower level in Anaheim, so if you’ve been there, you know how small we’re talking about. That being said, there were some interesting things on display there from folks like our friend Forrest Lee Jr. at Forrest Custom Guitars, Bluesman Vintage Guitars, Wampler Pedals, Little Walter Amps, Benado Effects, Alex Aguilar’s Alairex, Long Hollow Leather and Pete Schmidt Straps. To buy myself some time to get these stories written I thought I’d leave you with a cool video of Brent Mason at the Wampler Pedals booth. Audio isn’t great, but man can that guy play! Enjoy!    

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Jul 092012
 

Ray and I are off this week to see how the Music City does NAMM! We got snowed-in back in January trying to get to Winter NAMM, this week it’s high temperatures and thunder storms, but nothing is going to stop us from bringing you the latest and greatest in new gear news. And if you’re in the area, Saturday at NAMM is open to the public. They have stopped doing this in Anaheim, so if you’ve always wanted to see what the show is all about, here’s your chance. Below is the info from the NAMM offices:   SUMMER NAMM COMES TO NASHVILLE JULY 12-14 AND WILL OPEN THE DOORS FOR “PUBLIC DAY” SATURDAY, JULY 14 FROM 10 A.M. – 4 P.M. EVENTS – The Summer NAMM Show – one of the world’s largest music industry trade shows, produced by The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). This is the chance for media to explore what’s coming up next in the music products industry. Not open to the public. Summer NAMM “PUBLIC DAY” – a unique look inside the typically trade-only show for master classes & seminars, live performances, shop talk with industry insiders, interactive opportunities to play music,
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Jun 192012
 

Finland’s boutique pedal maker Mad Professor has just announced an interesting new pedal that combines singing, cello-like overdrive with a vintage tape delay sound to give you that classic Eric Johnson tone in a single box. Okay, so they don’t (can’t?) say that it’s Eric’s tone in a box, but hey, one listen and you’ll know exactly what they were shooting for. One thing not mentioned in the press release is that there are internal trim pots that give you more control over delay time and sounds, as the front delay knob only let’s you vary the effect level of the delay. The pedal is supposed to be available this Friday the 22nd of June and I know it’s one that I can’t wait to try out. Following is from the Mad Professor press release and website: Mad Professor Amplification Introduces the Golden Cello Pedal Mad Professor, the Finland based Boutique pedal effects manufacturer, in partnership with Guitar Center’s Director of Merchandise, Barry Mitchell, announce the new co-developed Golden Cello pedal available exclusively at Guitar Center stores, Guitar Center online and Musicians Friend online. The new Mad Professor Golden Cello pedal delivers one of the most sought after lead tones
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May 142012
 

So for those of you who’ve followed this site from the beginning, you already know about my compulsive fascination with all things pedalboards. It seems that no sooner do I have one finished and working perfectly, I either start in on another one or revamp my existing setup. For the last two years we have been touring and doing a lot of bigger shows and I put together a board that would give me all the sounds I needed for any show that might come along. I also put together a smaller fly-board as we were having to fly to enough dates that I got tired of tearing apart my big board every time we traveled. As I begin to wind down the touring (I am old after all!) I thought it was time to simplify and put together one reasonably-sized board that I could actually fit in my car and carry around, and would cover most everything I have coming up this summer. I blame this craziness on John Bohlinger’s latest article in Premiere Guitar about how he was simplifying this summer too. It’s seems a lot of people are heading in this direction as I’ve seen several great
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May 112012
 

I’ve recently had a number of fellow musicians approach me asking about how my band runs backing tracks for our live performances. I know that the use of backing tracks is a hotly debated topic in some circles of musicians, but we’ll leave that debate to another time. These days it seems to be more and more a fact of life for a lot of musicians that gig on a regular basis. So, if you do need to use backing tracks the video above can provide an overview on one way in which to achieve success in a live environment. Our setup involves the use of a MacBook. We use the older white version as they’re cheap to find on Craigslist and are pretty durable (don’t ask about the time we were in Montana and our singer drove over the laptop with an SUV – no it didn’t survive and we ended up doing the show sans tracks that night).   For software we use Ableton Live to run the tracks. We either trigger the tracks directly from the laptop using the arrow and enter keys or we sometimes use the Novation Launchpad which has 64 small trigger pads. This
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May 012012
 

Do I need a compressor pedal? I’ve asked myself this very questions many, many times over the years, and until fairly recently the answer was always an emphatic “No.” While I’ve tried many compressors over the years, I play fairly percussively and always felt that they took away some of the natural dynamics of my playing (which of course is exactly what they’re designed to do, right?). A few years ago I started playing modern country music and it seemed that every country guitarist I saw was using a compressor on their pedalboard, sometimes even more than one pedal! Now I’m no ace chickin’ picker, but I figured if I was going to play country I needed to find a compressor that worked for me. After trying more than a few pedals I happened onto the Barber Tone Press pedal, and the beauty of that pedal is that in addition to the regular compressor controls of Sustain, Attack, Tone, etc., it offered up a Blend knob that allowed me to add in just enough of my original, uncompressed signal that I didn’t lose all of my dynamics. Pretty cool, but I find that I still don’t turn it on all
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Mar 212012
 

Just announced today at Musikmesse in Frankfurt Germany, Bogner‘s new line of pedals. The Uberschall is like…..an Uberschall, while the Red Ecstasy features hotter tone and the Blue Ecstasy is crunchier/bluesier. There is rampant speculation on pricing flying around the web today, but since it’s quite apparent no one knows at this point, we won’t add to the frenzy here. Needless to say, these will be worth checking out once they are available. Check back here for more info as it becomes available!

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Jan 302012
 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but even with all of the guitar straps available today, it still seems like it’s hard to find great straps! Maybe I’m too picky, but to me your guitar strap says a lot about your personality. I’ve gotten great straps from Jeri Designs and Red Monkey, and I picked up a really nice, simple strap from Gruhn’s in Nashville by Long Hollow Leather. I’ve even started making straps from new and vintage belts that have turned out pretty well. One of the big problems with the great custom straps though is their high cost. Straps from Moody, El Dorado, and Anthology are really nice, but set you back the price of at least a couple nice effects pedals! That’s why we were happy to find Pete Schmidt Straps at NAMM this year. You always find great stuff on the bottom floor of the convention center where most of the smaller guys have booths, and this year was no exception. Pete’s straps are some of the highest quality we’ve seen and the prices are super competitive compared to straps of the same quality. I picked up a Black Iguana strap with creme stitching
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