Category Archives: Amplifiers

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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When Newer IS Better – Fender Innovates with New Mustang GT Amps and Tone App

Guitarists (myself included) tend to live in an unusually backward-technology world. Meaning, what was made back then was generally always considered better and more valuable than what is being made now. The proof is in our love of all things vintage, whether we’re talking tube amps, guitars, or effects.

While there is certainly some validity to the argument of certain aspects of “older is better” being true (I would argue that this is true if we are speaking about vacuum tube production, wood availability in guitars, etc.) compared with what’s currently available now, continuing to make the claim of “older is always better” when discussed as an ENTIRE category of guitar gear I would say is false. And I still love vintage gear, but let’s explore this a bit and really think about it and remove our blinders for a moment.
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George Lynch’s 1973 EP-3 Echoplex Tape Echo Previously Owned by Eddie Van Halen

frontevhechoplexI wanted to share an interesting story and historical piece for you, our dear readers. First some background on the Echoplex tape echo. If you haven’t played through an Echoplex, they are truly legendary tape echo units and should be experienced. In the 1960s and 1970s, when you wanted echo, tape echo was the way to do it. When smaller solid state echo pedals emerged during the mid ‘70s using Bucket Brigade Device (BBD) technology, they were convenient, but lacked the ability to produce long repeat times versus what a tape delay could offer (most analog solid state delay pedals were limited to just 300ms. of delay time). They also sounded different.
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Finding Your Distortion Tone (Hint: Mids)

1976MarshallheadftIf 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.
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Marshall 1976 JMP Model 2203 Master Volume Rebuild Project

1976MarshallStack 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.
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The Legend of the Soldano Super Lead Overdrive

Purple SLO 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.
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Keeley Oxblood Overdrive Pedal Giveaway!

Oxblood_lyxe57We’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!

Vintage Jensen Speaker Rebuild Project – Part 2

Two months ago we posted part 1 of our project Jensen speaker rebuild for our IMG_6545original 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.
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Vintage Jensen Speaker Rebuild Project Part 1

At LegendaryTones.com, when we’ve taken on amplifier upgrade projects in the past, IMG_6538often we have recommended replacing stock factory speakers in the process with new models. This is especially true with Fender reissue amplifiers, as often the reissue models include speakers that do not sound or respond anything like the originals – regardless of the brand name they are badged with.
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