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Equipboard.com – An artist gear database

Equipboard
Equipboard.com is a community-built database of artists and the gear they use, it is not only limited to guitarists but obviously this was the area of the site that interested me.

“Launched in late 2013, this growing community of gear-obsessed music fans have already made the connection between 13,147 products and 4,480 artists – everything from Jimi Hendrix’s guitars and amps to Aphex Twin’s arsenal of electronics.”

As an example I chose a guitarist who I know has some pretty impressive vintage gear, Robben Ford:
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As you can see you can follow an artist board for more updates, share buttons and some info about the artist’s band history. Below that are a list of guitars that have been added, below is another screen grab taken on my ipad of some of the guitars currently entered into the database:

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If you are a logged in member you can also add any missing pieces of the gear puzzle to your favourite artists! Below the guitars are of course amps, effects and other peripherals as you can see in the screenshot below:

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As a member you can click on the “save to your list” button under each piece of gear and either choose “I have it”, write a review and choose how many stars out of five to give it, or you can choose “I want it” to add to your equipment board for your profile.

I think Equipboard is a cool idea, it’s a visual wiki of artists and the guitars, amps & effects they have used throughout their career. I think a lot of guitarists will spend a lot of time checking out the gear porn on this site!

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Andy McKee’s Musicarium Camp

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I’ve reported on these music camps with top guitar players from around the world quite often, it definitely seems like a good source of income for the musicians and amazing experience for the attendees to get up close for a few days with masters of their craft and absorb as much as possible. This is the first acoustic camp I’ve seen and it features some incredible talent, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour, Stephen Bennett. These guys are true innovators of modern acoustic fingerstyle music.

Press Release
Internationally renowned master acoustic guitarist Andy McKee has created “Andy McKee’s Musicarium”, his first ever music camp that will take place August 3rd through 7th 2015 at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY in the Catskill Mountains.

The 4-day experience will be an immersion in music, guitar playing and all things creative. Led by Andy with his handpicked guests and instructors including top players like Antoine Dufour, Stephen Bennett and Billy McLaughlin, plus a special appearance by master guitar builder Michael Greenfield, the ‘Musicarium’ will be filled with workshops, breakout sessions, jamming, open mics, concerts, and music in every way, shape or form. Additionally, camp sponsor Ernie Ball will be on hand to help set up participant’s guitars and also give a special presentation on the making of acoustic guitar strings.

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Registration for “Andy McKee’s Musicarium” is now open and packages can be purchased at the official website.

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Review: Positive Grid BIAS Desktop


When Positive Grid released BIAS for iPad I, and to be honest I think anyone that tried it, was blown away. While I’m sure amp modelling software companies had tools like this internally to tweak their amp models, never before had the public had access to such an amazing piece of software to create and share your own creations. Not only does BIAS sound great it looks great too, that’s the beauty of the app it looks like you are really inside the amp tweaking settings and swapping tubes.

The only issue with having an app as iOS only is that it isn’t the most convenient when recording on your desktop computer, so much to the delight of guitarists all over the world and many bedroom and professional producers Positive Grid have created a plugin version of BIAS to use in your favourite DAW called BIAS Desktop.

I know my demonstration is fairly long but I wanted to run through BIAS Desktop’s various types of amp models and show how powerful the editing features are. I did include a demo track at the end which I think sounds amazing (the tones I mean). I plugged my Cilia CGA7 into my Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 which is connected to my iMac running Reaper. In the demonstration this is exactly the setup you are hearing. For the demo track I double tracked the rhythm guitars, added a lead track with slightly more gain dialed in, doubled the lead track toward the end of the solo and octave lower and added my Ibanez 5 string bass (also using a BIAS amp model) and finished it off with Superior Drummer.

Because I know some people won’t have the patience to watch my entire demo video here is the track I wrote and recorded using BIAS Desktop:

BIAS Desktop

I can’t get enough of the Mark IIc+ model! I’d actually happily pay for BIAS if this was the only amp to edit, of course there area actually plenty of different amps to choose from to cover any situation and if a model doesn’t sound exactly like what you’re looking for you can change a myriad of settings, switch out the transformer, add an EQ after the preamp stage bias the power tubes, add or remove tube stages for more or less gain or switch the cab and mic placement. With the 36 models included you have every amp tone at your fingertips and to top it off you can download thousands of artist and user created and matched amp models from Positive Grid’s ToneCloud!

Now just one thing I feel I should point out, BIAS does not include effects such as overdrive pedals, chorus, flanger etc. which you get with some amp modelling software. BIAS concentrates on doing one thing really well. You will have to use your own effects plugins with your newly created amp creations. This is no big deal to me, I’d rather they concentrate on getting the amp models as close to the real thing personally.

One of the coolest new features of BIAS Desktop is the Amp Matching module which takes a sample of a real amp and makes internal changes to a ballpark model amp you have chosen to create a tone that is close as possible. Ryan Bruce has recorded a number of videos demonstrating this feature and he did such an awesome job with this Mesa Boogie Mark IV video that I thought it better to include here.

If you are someone who records a lot at home or in a studio Positive Grid BIAS Desktop is an absolute must have. If you use modelling apps live you will be better using the iPad version in conjunction with JamUp Pro. Either way PG have you covered and have created an amazing app which with the newly added Amp Matching feature moves their product into the realm of the super expensive hardware amp modelling units at a fraction of the cost.

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Fender & Hurley collaborate for Waves For Water Auction

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Press release
LOS ANGELES (October 15, 2014) – Through a unique blend of artists and musicians – including Donald Edward Hardy, Brandon Boyd, Thomas Campbell, Johnny Marr and Shawn Stussy – Hurley and Fender will recognize the unparalleled heritage of the world’s most popular guitar on its 60th anniversary. Twenty American-made, hand-painted Stratocaster guitars will be auctioned off to raise money for Waves For Water, which in turn will save lives through water-based initiatives.

STRAT: 60 Years of the Stratocaster is a collaboration between the two unique brands and pays homage to the iconic Fender Stratocaster® guitar as it embarks on its seventh decade of existence. Each Strat® guitar will include individual designs and artwork by a featured artist and will be auctioned on eBay, October 22 through November 1. Proceeds will benefit Waves For Water, an organization that brings access to potable water to nations in need.

A charity art show will take place at Hurley’s headquarters in Orange County on October 24 to bolster the financial efforts of the project, and will be the only exhibit to see the guitars in person before they’re sold via eBay Givingworks.

The featured artists each designed their own unique guitar – the list includes: Shawn Stussy, Don Ed Hardy, Craig Stecyk, Christian Jacobs, Natalia Fabia, Ryan Adams, Johnny Marr, Brandon Boyd, Tommy Guerrero, Ray Barbee, Wes Humpston, Lance Mountain, Tim Armstrong, Tim Biskup, Dan Smith, Albert De Alba, Russell Crotty, Tokyo Hiro, Cryptik and Thomas Campbell.

“Having had a relationship with both Fender and Hurley for years, it seemed natural to bring them together; both are two seminal Southern California brands that have become leaders in world culture,” said Curator and Participating Artist C.R. Stecyk III.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Waves For Water. To learn more, see the guitars, and place a bid on a one-of-a-kind Stratocaster, visit http://ebay.com/stratauction, and wavesforwater.org.

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Spicetone 6Appeal Analog PolyFuzz. Say what?!


Hexaphonic fuzz-overdrive with an active breakout box and modulation effects with full MIDI control. Ok we need to break this down as some of you may not have even heard of Hexaphonic pickups. So if you ever seen a Roland equipped MIDI guitar used usually in conjunction with their MIDI effect unit that can turn your guitar into a synth, you’ve seen a Hexaphonic pickup in action. These pickups isolate each string into its own signal so that the strings can be affected individually.

What Spicetone have created is a unique Overdrive unit that takes advantage of Hexaphonic pickup loaded guitars, you can modulate the sound, applying different modulation rates and types per string. For the modulation, there are two Low Frequency Oscillators (LFO) and a Sequencer. The modulation section can control any pot on 6Appeal.

You can modulate drive and level in opposite phase, and get supernatural tremolo.

There is also a powerful Filter Section on three ¼” jack outputs; modulating the Filter produces autowah style effect.

Everything in 6Appeal can be controlled by external MIDI, including the modulation tempo. It is also an outgoing MIDI controller – you can send MIDI messages from 10 pots and 3 footswitches. “Internally, 6Appeal is high end product with more than 1000 components,” tells Taivo Saarts, Spicetone’s technology head. “It’s costly but you have the power of several stompboxes in one pedal. What I like the most is that all settings can be saved. A guitarist has 144 preset memories for one’s own custom presets. I’m also very fond of how we manage to indicate actual pot positions, using illuminated pots.”

If you’re into digital post processing, 6Appeal works as a Breakout Box for 6+1 channels. You can send all channels separately to you DAW, overdriven or clean. The output signal can be boosted to strong +4dB signal level, so you don’t have to turn up your soundcard’s input level.

6Appeal is currently available is Spicetone’s webshop. The international retail price is EUR450 (USD595). Here’s a 10% discount code valid for Guitar Noize readers until 24 Dec 2014: GuitarNoize14.

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Bogner enter the pickup market

Bogner Pickups
Bogner Amplification has partnered with renown and highly respected Arcane Pickups for our exclusive line of PAF vintage style humbuckers.

“Designed by Bogner and built by Arcane Pickups here in Los Angeles, each pickup is hand wound and features the finest quality components. Our PAF’s deliver clear, balanced and sweet cleans. When pushed hard, you’ll hear and feel dynamic, articulate and harmonically rich overdriven tones.”

More pickup styles and models to come soon. Available direct at http://www.bogneramplification.com

I actually think this news is a little sad, as I did when Bogner announced their first effect pedals as it means that they are not selling enough of their $3500 amps to concentrate solely on these products that made the company legendary among guitarists. Also Bogner are outsourcing the pickup building to to another company which to me dilutes the brand? I’m not saying the pickups don’t sound good, just listen to the demo below the combination of these pickups with the Bogner Helios sound amazing, it just makes me think Bogner must be struggling?

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A Little Thunder – Revolutionary Humbucker Pickup adds Bass to Electric Guitars


Imagine being able to flick a switch on your guitar and your bottom 2 strings become a Bass, well Andy Alt’s new invention A Little Thunder is a very clever new Humbucker design that does just that! I’ve chatted to Andy many times over the years (check out my interview with Andy for The Guitar Noize Podcast), he previously told me about his invention but I didn’t understand how it worked, he has obviously fine tuned this pickup for years and finally has a pretty remarkable prototype that does something that no other pickup on the market does. Just check out the video above to hear how it can be used in different situations an genres. Andy Alt used to play in a duo called ‘Swimming In Trees’ alongside a drummer and I think this is where the idea started to come to fruition, as a singer songwriter Andy was able to add a bass line to fatten up the sound of his guitar and make the duo sound like a trio.

The addition of the bass feature comes at no physical modifications to your beloved guitar: no drilling, routing, adding extra strings even replacing 9V batteries or using midi. Players will simply remove their existing humbucker and with about 5 minutes of installation time, will have the ability to push a button and add bass to their lowest notes, leaving all 6 guitar strings in-tact. The controls for the pickup are on-board a custom designed pickup ring: an on/off switch, a -1 or -2 octave switch and a polyphonic (2 bass notes at once) or “low note priority mode” (detects the lowest note being played an only applies the effect to that note).

Head over to the A Little Thunder Kickstarter page for a more detailed explanation of the technology used in this pickup and to contribute.

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TC Electronic announce the Flashback Triple Delay

TC Electronic flashback triple delay
The TC Electronic Flashback X4 is a fantastic pedal (check out my review here) but the extremely talented people at TC Electronic don’t rest on their laurels, they’ve found a way to improve it with the Flashback Triple Delay.

“Flashback Triple Delay is the first stompbox in TC history that lets you run three delays simultaneously, opening up an entirely new delay dimension filled with divine sounds. The Flashback Triple Delay also features 11 different subdivision types, and the option of running the delays in parallel or in series, which lets you infuse your delays with distinct and unique rhythmic patterns.

On top of that the Flashback Triple Delay sports 12 different delay types, 4 TonePrint slots for loading in signature effects, a tap tempo switch, stereo I/O, MIDI connectivity and an expression pedal input.”

Check out this video from TC Electronic explaining the features and a few audio demonstrations.

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PRS Announce the Archon 25 Combo

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A couple of months ago PRS announced that they were adding to the range of their new high gain amp, The Archon, with a 50/25 Watt Head and Combo. PRS obviously decided that there would be a benefit of having an even lower wattage version and have released the Archon 25 Combo which features the same look as the 50/25 and is switchable to 13 Watts via the back panel.

Press Release
The Archon 25 brings the ‘king’ of PRS high-gain amplification to the world of small, low wattage tube amps. The Archon’s lush distortion and singing clean channel tones are all here in a 25 watt package. The Archon 25’s wattage makes the amp easier to push to optimum performance – tube amps sound best when pushed a little – and it gets there at a lower volume, which is a huge benefit not only at home, but also in the studio and on the stage. Recording with an amp at lower volumes allows for a cleaner signal and a truer tone, and keep the soundman happy by not blowing out the other members of the band.

The Archon 25 features Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass controls for each channel. There is also a Master Volume control for each channel and global Depth and Presence for added control. The Archon’s 6L6/EL34 tube option is replaced here with 5881’s, which offer extended high end while maintaining the Archon’s signature crunch.

PRS Artist Emil Werstler on the Archon 25 Combo, “It’s a pretty surprising amp. One of the main reasons I play this amp is that it has a rare feature for a high gain amp, and that is that it actually has a clean channel. It’s very lightweight, and you can drive external cabinets with it. It feels the same [as the original Archon]. The only difference is it’s obviously very small and you can’t complain about carting it upstairs anymore.”

Visit www.prsguitars.com/archon25 for more info.

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EVH 5150 III 1×12 50 Watt Combo amp

EVH 5150 III 1x12 combo
The Eddie Van Halen signature model 5150 amp has had more success than I ever imagined it would when it was first released in the early 90’s. It has become one of the most recorded amps for metal in history but the 100 watt head is a beast and the original was not exactly that versatile. The EVH 5150 III aimed to achieve the versatility required by many modern guitar players and the mini 50 watt head meant that the amp could be used in smaller venues. Now to make life even easier EVH have announced a 50 watt 1×12 combo version of the 5150 III amp.

Press release
The EVH 5150III® 1×12 is an all-tube combo amp, featuring three channels of pure 5150-III high performance tone (clean, crunch and lead). Fitted with a single 12-inch Celestion®, 16-ohm speaker and powered by seven JJ ECC83 (12AX7) preamp tubes and two JJ 6L6 power tubes, it also features front-panel adjustable power output from 50 watts down to one watt. The adjustable power feature is especially useful in achieving “fully cranked” sounds while maintaining reasonable overall volume levels.

Features include a single input, rear-panel selectable output impedance (4, 8 or 16 ohms), versatile controls (gain, low, mid, high, volume, master presence, rear-panel master resonance, power level, reverb), built-in DSP reverb, rear-panel MIDI input and preamp output, two rear-panel parallel speaker outputs, rear-panel effects loop and headphone jack (mutes power amp), and four-button footswitch (controls all three channels and reverb).

Top-notch construction features a custom-shaped birch cabinet with special and exclusive internal baffling, vintage-style chicken-head control knobs, red jewel, plastic top strap handle and casters. A fitted cover is optional. Available in Black and Ivory.

For more information, go to evhgrar.com

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