Ibanez Nutube Tube Screamer vs. original TS-808

In a market saturated with numerous different Tube Screamers in addition to various clones and modified units, Ibanez recently introduced a bold and unique entry with its latest Nutube Tube Screamer. The Nutube Tube Screamer most notably uses a Korg-designed Nutube module, which is said to work in a similar way to a traditional vacuum tube. However, as I’ll discuss later, this isn’t the feature that impressed me the most with the Nutube Tube Screamer, although the NuTube technology itself certainly will grab the most attention for prospective buyers.
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The Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster

Jimi Hendrix reaches the end of an already incendiary set at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, when he takes off his black Stratocaster, and straps on another Strat. This formerly red Strat now features a hand-painted white base and personal designs applied with nail polish by the young guitarist earlier in the day. As he plugs in, strumming it to get in tune, he laughs and makes a seemingly offhand remark to the euphoric crowd about sacrificing “something I love,” before summoning a wall of feedback to start the set-closing “Wild Thing.” Unknown to everyone but Jimi, the Strat is now an offering to the audience and his destiny, the guitar a legendary piece, and then pieces, of modern history.
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Stories of The British Amp Invasion Come to Life

Dave Hunter’s latest book is entitled, The British Amp Invasion: How Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox, and More Changed the Sound of Music, and covers a span of the influence of British amplification from the late 1950s onward. As an industry, the companies behind the amplifiers are a fascinating study, not only from a design and sonic perspective, but also because of the stories themselves that surround their business success and growth (or for some, their bad deals and decline).
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Fender’s Mod Shop Expands for Summer and Fall 2017: Enables Direct Online Creation of Custom Instruments

In between a Fender production instrument that one can purchase from a dealer and a Fender custom shop instrument, is the Fender Mod Shop. The Mod Shop opened its doors in June of 2016 and is Fender’s online digital design studio where users can directly create and customize their instrument from a variety of options otherwise not available on standard off-the-shelf models.

Fender recently expanded its palette of offerings for the Summer and Fall of 2017, with some options being offered for only a limited time. From new body and pickguard colors, neck shapes, and pickups, the online Mod Shop offers a variety of options to create an instrument that is truly unique.
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Elixir Optiweb Electric Guitar Strings

Changing guitar strings is a lot like shaving; it’s fun and challenging at first, but do it a few thousand times, the less fun it becomes. Upgrading from a Bic shaver to three-blade cost me a little more, but it made the task easier and I got a better shave that lasted longer. When it came to making strings last, I boiled them, or cleaned them with Windex to stretch a set for a few more days. So, any string that promised a longer useful life, I’d try out a set, even when they cost more than my normal nickel/steel brand.
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Analog Man Astro Tone Fuzz Review: The Fuzz to Win Over the Anti-Fuzz Player

Fuzz pedals are notoriously finicky. Not only can some fuzz boxes themselves sound different based on their own component variances and the environment or temperature they are used in, but they are always dependent on the gear that they are being used with as well. Case in point is the classic germanium Fuzz Face beloved by Hendrix. Sure, when it’s in front of a Marshall that is already overdriven, you’ll get some magic happening by adding those bits of germanium magic.  But…

…stick that same Fuzz Face in front of a Fender blackface amp and you’ll hear a whole different, and very ugly, side to the Fuzz Face. And turn on the bright switch on your old blackface and you’ll be pummeled with an even more horrid and brittle sound.
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Mike Fuller Obsesses Over a New Version of the Fulltone OCD Overdrive and Introduces the OCD V2

The Fulltone OCD, otherwise known as the Obsessive Compulsive Drive, is not only one of Mike Fuller’s best-selling overdrive/distortion units of all time, it has also been heralded and awarded accolades by the media since its introduction 12 years ago. Along the way, Mike has continued to make mild tweaks to the circuits and I remember playing through and trying each version myself. Mike continued to be obsessive about his OCD and I enjoyed listening to the results.

Now in 2017, Fulltone has launched what it is being dubbed as the “final” version of the OCD, the OCD V2. The OCD V2 packs a number of new updates and features, so we took a look to compare it to its predecessor, the OCD version 1.7.
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Fender Launches Fender Play, a Digital Learning Program for Guitarists

This research point I’m going to share with you doesn’t surprise or shock me. Researchers working on behalf of Fender found that ninety percent of people who pick up the guitar will drop out after one year. In this day and age of instant gratification and short attention spans, it’s not surprising is it? But now, Fender has a solution to take on that challenge.

Fender released a new, subscription-based, digital learning program for Desktop and iPhone, FENDER® PLAY™, designed to help aspiring musicians everywhere learn how to play the guitar. Designed with esteemed music programs and instructors from the University of Southern California and Musician’s Institute (MI) to help first-time players via personalized paths, 4K video and song-specific lessons – Fender Play is poised to revolutionize how new guitar players learn the instrument.
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Talkboxes and Vocoders Reviewed From BOSS and TC HELICON

Guitar effect signal processing has become more advanced in the past several years as DSP engines have allowed musicians to obtain more specialized, advanced effects that are easy-to-use and available in smaller form factors. Today we’ll look at two effects for guitarists and vocalists that enable classic talkbox effects as well as vocoder synthesizer sounds in convenient small stomp box-sized packages.

These two units from BOSS (the VO-1 Vocoder, $249 street) and TC HELICON (Talkbox Synth, $249.99 street) offer similar overall sonic features, but they each take different approaches with how they are used in a guitarist or vocalist’s system and also in how the talkbox and vocoding effects are processed and applied.
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The Story of the Musicians Behind the Scenes of the Stars Goes to the Big Screen TODAY June 29, 2017

HIRED GUN opens for one night only in theaters nationwide TODAY, Thursday June 29, 2017. It is positioned as the quintessential summer film, a rock documentary feature about the stars behind the stars. The film features session and touring musicians that are hired by well-established and famous bands and artists from Billy Joel to Pink to Metallica, and KISS, among many others.

These hired guns — some household names, some not — are undeniable masters of their craft who talk about the art of creating historic rock ‘n roll music of our time.  “Hired Gun” is a unique motion picture with the pedigree of winning numerous festivals and making an impact with print editors and the rock community in advance of its June 29th US premiere.
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