If only things were so easy that we could buy the guitar we felt comfortable with, plug into an amp, maybe add a pedal or two, and then be done. Tone Nirvana. It usually doesn’t happen this way however. The problem is that there are numerous choices for gear and, and even more options for putting together the whole rig, to create an effective system that is optimized. And just how we use the equipment (whether for live use or studio recording) also makes a difference in finding what works for guitarists.
We recently wrote about the challenges with the Internet and its opinions. You can find as many people who will love or hate any particular piece of gear. This can become frustrating when trying to dial in a tone you’re interested in capturing.
Continue reading Finding Your Distortion Tone (Hint: Mids)
First, Some Background…
When people most often think of vintage Marshalls, the most highly regarded are the non-master volume series including the model 1959 100 watt head produced in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. It’s hard to argue against the amp that Hendrix, Page, Van Halen, Clapton and many others used.
And while I would agree that they are incredible amps, the REAL game changer in my mind for Marshall was when the company introduced its master volume series of amps in 1976. The models 2203 (100 watts) and 2204 (50 watts) heads became instant hits, and quickly began to outsell the non-master volume versions by the late 70’s. Why? Well, they sounded great at more reasonable volumes which essentially made them more practical for guitarists who couldn’t always play at full volume and crank up a non-master volume Marshall inside a concert arena.
Continue reading Marshall 1976 JMP Model 2203 Master Volume Rebuild Project
When the original Klon Centaur professional overdrive was released in 1994, it was one of the very first boutique overdrive pedals on the market created for the player interested in fine-tuning their tone. Boutique in every sense of the word and hand built by its creator Bill Finnegan, each Klon Centaur was carefully crafted with premium and carefully selected parts. As other boutique pedal makers developed products throughout the decade and focused on expansion with other models, Finnegan stuck with the Klon Centaur as his sole focus.
Continue reading Klon Centaur vs. Klon KTR
Michael Soldano had no intentions of becoming a guitar amp maker. Prior to the launch of the first Soldano Super Lead Overdrive (SLO), he dreamed of rock stardom and not amp building. But it was during these early days while he was on his tone quest that he realized he wasn’t fully satisfied with the amplifiers that were available at the time.
Continue reading The Legend of the Soldano Super Lead Overdrive
Knowing about the details of most anything can be a curse. Really. The devil truly CAN be in the details. I’ve been on the guitar tone journey for a long time and it all started when I was a young player in my early teens. I wanted to capture and emulate the exciting tones I heard from my favorite guitarists. That’s normal.
Over the years I’ve learned that the gear is only part of the equation. There is a lot of truth when people say, “Tone is in the fingers”, but we’ll get to that discussion in detail another time. It took me a long time to live by the thought and remind myself of this fact.
Continue reading Tone Obsession: The Devil’s in the Details
Richard Coibion was hit by the effects building bug back in 2001. With a background and education in electronics engineering and having a steady career in IT, Coibion dabbled in modifying fuzz circuits and tuned them to his liking. He hadn’t ever considered making a career out of building effects however.
Continue reading Last Boutique Builder Standing: Richard Coibion of Monsterpiece Fuzz
We’re thankful for YOU, our readers! And to show our gratitude, we’re giving away one of Robert Keeley’s most in-demand new releases, the Keeley Oxblood overdrive pedal. All you need to do to enter is insert a comment below with a topic you’d like us to research and write about next year! It could be anything from a review request for a specific product, a tone tip or question, a profile of a favorite artist or an interview, etc. We’ll select a winner randomly on DECEMBER 18, 2015! Good luck and wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
In 2014, Ibanez introduced its 35th anniversary TS-808 Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, based on the original it created in 1979. What’s now known as the “narrow box model” by collectors, has returned in its original smaller footprint, with the rare “flying fingers” graphics along with side-mounted 1/8-inch 9v DC adapter jack just like the original. The lightweight aluminum 35th anniversary TS-808 was also changed under the hood to be closer to the original, and is outfitted with a pair of op amp chips. This is a variation that is the main difference between it and the single op amp version of the 1980 TS-808 Tube Screamer and others including the TS-9 that followed. These later TS-808 and TS-9 models deployed input and output transistor buffers rather than the additional chip used in the original and now reissued narrow box model.
Continue reading Analogman Mods Our Favorite Reissue Tube Screamer: The 35th Anniversary TS-808
The Tube Screamer is arguably the most copied and modified overdrive circuit ever. With good reason, this classic effect delivers a soft compression that truly is amp-like in response, feel, and tone. Maxon, the original manufacturer of the Tube Screamer, has now released its own response with a modified design and dubbed it the Maxon OD808X Extreme. But will the OD808X Extreme just provide more gain and the “same old” sound, or will it provide something truly unique?
Continue reading Maxon OD808X Extreme…Just Another Modded Tube Screamer?
Two months ago we posted part 1 of our project Jensen speaker rebuild for our original 1964 pre-CBS Fender Super Reverb. The amp has original transformers and used to sound wonderful – but the original Jensen speakers were in rough shape. The cones had tears, and the magnets on two of the speakers had shifted off-center, causing the voice coils to freeze and no longer produce any sound.
Continue reading Vintage Jensen Speaker Rebuild Project – Part 2