Pedals – Fuzzy and Squishy

It seems logical that once you start buying guitars and amps that pedals will then follow. As of now this is my inventory

 

Guitars

-2010 Taylor DN3e

-2000 Gibson SG special

-2010 American Standard Fender Telecaster

Bass

-Fender Modern Player Telecaster Bass (yeah I got rid of the Schecter, I’ve been playing a lot more and

It just wasn’t a comfortable bass. I can do into detail but not here.)

Amps

-Egnater 20 Rebel Half stack

-Behringer Thunderbird BX108

Banjo

-Gold Tone cc-100 Open Back Banjo

Pedals

-Fab Distortion (I got this one for free)

-MXR compressor

-not really a pedal but I got a nady line mixer and it has a delay in it and I like it for now

 

I have been looking a lot at pedals, just to see what is out there and there are so many pedals. I am not amazed but it is certainly overwhelming. For the longest time I was not a fan of pedals but then for a long time I wasn’t really playing anything but acoustic. I am beginning to see why people get into pedals. Right now I have all of the basic guitars covered, acoustic, single coil and humbucking, and guitar wise I am very happy. However, with pedals the types of tones grows exponentially and they are way cheaper than buying a new guitar. A couple of pedals keep on coming up over and over again, the Ibanez Tube screamer overdrive, the arbiter fuzz face and the big muff pi pedals.

 

So one question I had was what is the difference between fuzz, overdrive and distortion? They are all types of distortion but there has to be something different. So fuzz is a distortion pedal that really augments the sound. It is meant to be played with one note and the fuzz fills in the rest. I like to think of it as a bloom of sound. Distortion is like the most basic it just distorts the signal and no matter how hard you play it’s the same level. It’s just making you sound grittier. Finally, overdrive is the most interesting. It is made to mimic the overdriving of tubes in an amplifier. So the more you open up your volume the more distortion you get through the pedal. I have recently been looking at the boss blues driver. I tried it out at a guitar store down in Roanoke, VA. I like it and it’s supposed to assist in overdriving your tube amp. Which I assume is what a lot of overdrives do. It’s dynamic and variable using your guitar as a control.

 

The other pedal I have the MXR Compressor, I got because I like that clipped country sound and it smoothes out your guitar or bass’s tone. I really got it for the squishy sound it makes. There are compressors that get really squishy but they didn’t have them at the store so I didn’t try it out. I’m not going to get into compressor because there are a lot of sites that go into extreme detail about it. Next post I’ll be talking about my bass upgrade.

 

This is the compressor site I was talking about.

http://www.ovnilab.com/

Here is a brief overview on distortion pedals

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion_(music)

American Aquarium

I know I haven’t written anything in a while but I am going to start writing more again. One of the most recent concerts I went to was Justin Jones at the 930 club. While I really liked Justin Jones, the opener American Aquarium was really good. They are produced by Jason Isbell formerly of the Drive By Truckers and it sounds great.

 

One of the best things about American Aquarium is the lead singer BJ Barham. He has a Springsteen swagger, a great voice and a great red acoustic gibson. The other best is the lap steel player who plays in every song. The band has a really close feel. It seems like they all get along and there isn’t any tension in the band.  I appreciate the bluegrass jam vibe with country rock and roll.

 

Here is a link to their site

 

http://www.americanaquarium.net/home.cfm

 

and a good song to start you off on

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3E8f5huDo

 

Gibson SG Special

I can’t believe I finally have a Gibson. It’s been a long time coming. I have been looking at and following Gibson for a long time. Anyway, I was at a pawn shop on 14th street near U street and I was walking by and just stopped in to look at what they had. I saw a whole row of guitars long the top and at that moment I saw this cherry SG. Then I walked out. The Monday after I walked in asked to check it out and then I bought it. That’s my story. For a while I was dead set on a Les Paul then I wanted a jaguar then a Les Paul again. I’m glad I ended up with this one. I had tried out an SG standard at guitar center a few months ago but I really didn’t like the neck. The 2 main things, I didn’t like the binding and the frets were too high. It was too bumpy. That’s why I decided to go with used. I wanted some worn down frets and I wanted it broken in.

However, it needed some replacements. I took out the nut and replaced with a tusq that I bought. That made a huge difference. I got rid of the buzz and the old nut had graphite.  I got new knobs and a new control plate, but those aren’t as interesting.

This is an SG special, so no binding or pick up covers. That seems to be the big difference between the standard and special.

Specs

Cherry red with a full pick guard built in 2000

490 alnico pickups – The specials now have dirty finger pickups, but on the Gibson site it still says the 490s so I’m not sure who to trust

Gibson deluxe tuners – These maybe need to be replaced

Mahogany body and a mahogany Set neck

Rosewood fingerboard – before Gibson was hit with all these Lacey Act charges

2 tones knobs, 2 volume knobs and a 3 way switch

I love this guitar and I liked being able to do work on it. I really like having my telecaster new, but having a used knocked up guitar doesn’t make me feel as cautious about working on it. Thank god everything I have done has been correct so far.

 

And now Pictures …

My SG

My SG in all its glory

Head Stock

Head Stock, I looked into the graphic because at first I thought it was fake but this is an older logo

I replaced the knobs

I replaced the knobs

Pickups

Pickups

I replaced the control plate also

I replaced the control plate also

Horns

Horns

I have a few pictures of the nut I took off. I just used a razor blade to cut it out and then I sanded down the tusq nut and after about an hour of sanding it was ready. However, I am not going to do any work on the body. I like all the dings and nicks.

This nut was in bad shape and the A string has cut down too far into the nut. A lot of buzz.

That’s it so far. If you are considering an SG, I highly recommend one, but it is a great compliment to my telecaster also.

Egnater 20 Rebel Half Stack

I have had quite a bit of time to crank up this amp and see what it can do, and I am very pleased with it so far. When I first started looking at amps I was of course deciding between stacks and amps. Now I have had big combo amps before, I owned a peavey bandit for a while and one problem I had was that it was just so heavy. Now I know not all combo amps are heavy but it was something that stood out to me. Another thing I liked about having an amp and a cabinet is that I can buy a different head and use it with the cabinet or buy another cabinet, but since this cabinet has a celestion speaker, I’m not really temped to get another one.  I also decided no on a solid state amp because I wanted that tube warmth and all those wonderful qualities that come with tubes.

Specs

So one thing that is probably a big turn off for many people is that there is only one channel, and there aren’t any effects in the amp. It was described to me as somewhat of a one trick pony, but ignored that and still bought it.

However, there are a few really cool things about this Egnater amp.

20-Watts (there is a Rebel 30 which is a 30-Watt, but in my apartment 20 watts was plenty of power)

Power Tubes

2 x 6V6 tubes – These are for the American tones, because these tubes were popular in fender amps

2 x EL84 tubes- British tubes found in Marshalls

So if you notice on the front plate there is a dial that goes in between the two sets of tubes. If you want you can have all British or all American or a blend of both “Canadian”

Preamp Tubes

3 x 12AX7 tube

Seven tubes in all

Variable Wattage Control from 1W to 20W – This is another cool dial, it cuts down the power so you can overdrive the tubes. I usually hook up a Danelectro Fab distortion because I can get more distortion at lower sounds, but if you turn it up this amp has a lot of good gain.

Tight and Bright Voicing Switches – These switches are nice, I usually use the bright to get a little more jangle and the tight for a little compression

Cabinet

Rebel 112x – It was sold together with the head as a half stack, and I am happy with it

1 x 12 Celestion elite 80 speaker – like I said before it’s great and I’m less likely to buy another cabinet

Closed back and birch ply construction – I have seen some reviews online and the little metal caps on top were shaking so the guy took them off, they look solid to me and no rattling.

Generally, I play Rock, Blues, Country, Folk, and a little bit of R and B, and this amp works for me. This is the best amp I have ever bought and so far it’s served me well. I hope to have it for decades. I know the tiny terror by Orange and a popular comparison and I really like both. I tested one out with the reverend guitar and I’d say it would be one of the next heads I get. There are also some great new 5 watt heads that have come out from Hughes and Kettner and VOX. Also fender has come out with some Pawn shop series amps called the Greta and the excelsior. Esquire reviewed the Greta as a good father’s day present, but it seemed like they recommended it more as a book stop than for amp use.

Here is a link to the Egnater page

http://www.egnateramps.com/EgnaterProducts/Rebel/Rebel20/Rebel20Head.html

http://www.egnateramps.com/EgnaterProducts/Rebel/Rebel112x/Rebel112x.html

Photos

Front of the the Amp head

Front of the the Amp head

Half Stack

Half Stack

Egnater Grill

Egnater Grill

Back side of the Amp Head

Back side of the Amp Head

Just look at all of those tubes

Just look at all of those tubes

Bob Taylor talks about Ebony and sustainable wood

This video just came out and I believe this is one of the most important topics in music. He is speaking mostly about ebony, but it is all about sustainability. You can see that he cares so much about wood. I greatly respect Bob Taylor. This isn’t just a topic for music and guitars but for conservation in general.

http://www.taylorguitars.com/about/sustainability

http://www.taylorguitars.com/about/sustainable-ebony?utm_source=June+2012+Insider&utm_campaign=June+Insider+2012&utm_medium=email

Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center

Since I opened up on guitar stores I have to talk about my favorite guitar store of all. Chuck Levin’s in Wheaton, Maryland. Chuck Levin’s has been around forever, and by forever I mean the 1950’s. I have gotten most of my big purchases from Chuck’s. My tele, my taylor and the amp I used to have the Peavy Bandit 112. If you read my blog you know how much I love my telecaster and I like to use my Taylor as a default picture.

Not only do I love supporting local music locations, but I also grew up a few miles away in Maryland and they have the lowest prices. I have seen them under cut craigslist. I don’t have to any comparison shopping. Also their employees have always been nice, which is not the norm. When the Johnny Marr Jaguar came out I wanted to play it immediately, and one day I ended up at Chuck Levins and they actually opened up a new case for me to try out. It was amazing. Also very knowledgeable, these guys have been in business for decades and are always willing to talk about guitars. They also have an extensive PRS section because of that special MD connection.

They also deal with other instruments besides guitar, bass and drums. So if you are in the market for a violin or cello, or maybe a trumpet you can pick one up along with the guitar you are most likely buying. I tried to get into violin, but it was not my destiny.

Here is the link and if you are ever in Wheaton, Maryland stop by. I don’t think they know who I am though.

http://chucklevins.com/

A few items I have gotten there

Telecaster with black pick guard

Telecaster with black pick guard

Taylor against a blue Wall

Taylor DN3

Reverend Guitars and Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor Michigan

Reverend Flatroc from Reverendguitars.com

Reverend Flatroc from Reverendguitars.com

I was recently in Ann Arbor for a graduation and I found Herb David Guitar Studio. As far as guitar stores I’ve been to it is one of the best. I only ended up buying a banjo strap but I tried out a few Reverend guitars. If you are ever in Ann Arbor is highly recommend stopping in. They have jams on Sundays and the staff is very friendly and helpful. They carry a lot of Seagull acoustics and Fender electrics. I only ended up buying a banjo strap there, but I did try out a few of the Reverend guitars they had in stock.  If I ever decide on a Reverend I’m going to get it there.

So I tried out the Reverend Flatroc and it is a damn nice guitar. The one I played had contoured korina body, mini humbucker pick-ups and a rosewood fret board. I was playing it through an orange tiny terror head which sounded great. It doesn’t have a lot, I think just 4 dials but dialing down the wattage gave the Reverend a nice gritty sound. Playing the Flatroc really gave me an appreciation for mini humbuckers. They are really a different sound and I have been looking for minis. The puck ups look a lot like the filtertron humbuckers that Gretch uses. I think that was a smart move because it’s really has that warm country sound I was looking for. I loved the contour of the body it was like a modified Strat contour but the guitar felt very substantial. I think I loved everything about the body from the feel to the retro style.

The only thing I didn’t like was the bound fret board and the frets were too large for me. That is totally a personal preference and its one of the same reasons that Les Pauls and SGs feel weird to me. However, I would chose the Reverend neck over an SG neck any day. I also picked up a reverend six gun and it sounded very close to my telecaster.  Which was great but I would probably stick with my tele. Ultimately, if I hadn’t been traveling by air I probably would have bought the Flatroc.

Here are some links

http://www.herbdavidguitarstudio.com/catalog/

http://www.reverendguitars.com/