Sheptone Pickups are builders of vintage and boutique electric guitar pickups and they have just unveiled the Alnico Blues single coil pickups. There are some samples of these new pickups in action on the Sheptone website and they sound great.
“Based on their very popular AB Custom Stratocaster pickups, the Alnico Blues set is for players wanting a fuller, less aggressive pickup with all of the tone and character of their popular AB Customs. The Alnico’s are wound in the late 60’s spec range using 42 enamel wire, beveled Alnico 2 magnets, and are available in vintage, modern, and flat stagger versions. With an average DCR in the mid 6K range, and each pickup wound for its specific position, this set is a great choice for maple necks or those wanting a brighter sounding guitar.”
To learn more about Sheptone and the new Alnico Blues pickups, please visit www.sheptone.com.
Retail: $160 USD per set of three or $60 USD each.
The DigiTech TRIO pedal certainly made waves at NAMM 2015 winning the best in show award and you can see why it certainly is very clever, even if it has kind of taken some of the wind out of the sails of the recent Kickstarter success BeatBuddy. Where TRIO differs from BeatBuddy is that is more than just a drum machine, it includes bass lines as well with individual bass and drum volume controls. I can see that Buskers and guitarists who want to perform at open mic sessions etc. will love this pedal.
“The new DigiTech TRIO utilizes breakthrough technology, cutting-edge polyphonic pitch-detection and advanced rhythm/beat detection to create bass and drum accompaniment on the fly!
The TRIO listens to the way you play and automatically generates bass and drum parts that match your song. Just plug your guitar into the TRIO, press the footswitch to teach the TRIO your chords and rhythm, then press the footswitch again to start playing with your own personal band!”
As always Andy from ProGuitarShop.com does an amazing job of demonstrating exactly what this pedal can do and I have to say it is very impressive especially when you consider that DigiTech pedals usually cost no more than $200.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen any news from Q-tuner but I did post about the Q2.0 Neodymium magnet humbuckers back in May 2012 which look really cool. Now Q-tuner have announced a single coil sized version of the humbucker called the Q2.0 SC priced at $125 each (or a set of 3 for $350).
The Q2.0 SC is designed to be noiseless and powerful, engineered to deliver a pronounced dynamic bass response and the “near-magical” clarity, covering a frequency range from 10 Hz up to 10 kHz. Q-tuner say that Q2.0 SC is the cleanest sounding passive mini-humbucker available.
There are a couple of audio examples on the Q-tuner website which illustrate the extraordinary clean tones possible from the Q2.0 SC but I’m not sure that this is exactly the tone that most people will be looking for so I think it would be great to hear more examples of tones, which hopefully Q-tuner will post up on YouTube soon. I’d particularly like to hear crunch and high gain tones.
The MXR Sub Machine Fuzz features the La Machine Fuzz’s circuitry and all of its functions, from its Volume, Tone, and Fuzz controls to its electrifying octave up mode. The MXR Custom Shop team upped the ante by adding an old school sub octave circuit with its own level control, so you can dial in just the right mix of fuzz and sub octave signals.
To further broaden the Sub Machine Fuzz’s thunderous tonal palette, the Custom Shop team added a Series switch so you can run the sub octave signal straight into the fuzz for subterranean saturation, or alongside the fuzz for a split channel effect.
The Sub Machine Fuzz features true bypass switching and comes in a sturdy, road-ready housing with components to match.
Combines La Machine Fuzz with old school Sub-Octave signal;
Separate volume levels for Fuzz and Sub-Octave signals;
Toggle between Series/Parallel modes;
Octave switch kicks Fuzz signal into searing Octave Up mode;
I have to warn you before you read any further, if you are a gear lover like me this website is highly addictive. ShootOut.fm have created a website that allows you to compare pedals, but the way it works is fantastic. You should watch the intro video below which will explain how it all works but basically you choose
a pedal category such as Chorus or Delay and a grid of pedals from various manufacturers appears. You can search for a particular pedal to see if it is available or you can select a manufacturer, or just scroll through all of the available pedals in the category. By clicking the add button the pedal is added to the bottom section of the site which is where you can compare up to 5 pedals at a time, you simply select one of the 14 available tracks and whether you want to hear it played on a Stratocaster or a Les Paul and then simply switch seamlessly between pedals by clicking on the photo. You can also chose blind test mode which randomises the order and hides which is which so you can choose which you prefer the sound of without being influenced by manufacturer! Another cool feature is that you can create a Poll and share it among your guitar playing friends to see which they prefer. One other clever feature is that if you choose a pedal such as the TC Electronic Alter Ego which has different types of delays there is a dropdown menu so you can actually select each one!
Now I have only spoken about effect pedals but actually there are a couple of other categories which are also relevant to guitar players too, the first is Microphones and then there are two sets of DAW Plugins, EQ & Compressors. For all three of these categories you can audition the product in the same way as the effect pedals but this time you can select from a number of recorded tracks and from different instruments within the tracks, Female and Male vocals to Snare Drum, Kick Drum and Acoustic Guitar. With the EQ plugins you can select from a huge number of EQ presets such as 10dB cut at 80hz or 5dB Boost at 1K. And finally with the Compressors there are some presets to choose from such as 4:1 4-7 dB Reduction Fast Attack Fast Release.
This site is brilliant if you just want a quick overview of some different products, obviously you can’t tweak the effects yourself so you have to just accept that the guys at ShootOut.fm have matched settings in order to give a clear indication of difference in sound. Obviously some pedals need to be tweaked to find the best settings but at least you get a rough idea.
Anyway enough waffling from me, checkout the intro video below to see the site in action and then visit shootout.fm yourself and don’t say I didn’t warn you about how addictive the site is.
I have to admit I don’t know much about Brian Setzer or his signature model Gretsch guitars but I seem to remember him playing pretty standard Gretsch guitar colours like the red and Chet Atkins style orange. For 2015 Gretsch are introducing a whole load of new colour options and I think they look pretty great such as the G6120SH Brian Setzer Hot Rod above in Harbor Blue 2-Tone with a Flame Maple top and the Green Sparkle finish below:
“Gretsch® Brian Setzer Hot Rod Models are stripped down and built to Brian’s exacting specs. Now featuring a striking assortment of new colors over a flame maple body. The single-cutaway bound hollow body has an arched top, 1959-style trestle bracing and f-holes; the maple neck has a bound ebony fingerboard with Neo-Classic™ thumbnail inlays. Other features include dual Brian Setzer “Signature” TV Jones® pickups, three-position pickup switch, single master volume control, Schaller® locking tuners, pinned Adjusto-Matic™ bridge and Bigsby® B6C vibrato tailpiece.”
February 16, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Posted by Jon in Guitar Books
Joe Bonamassa released “Different Shades of Blue” last September and to date it is my favourite Bonamassa album. It features all original tracks and as the title suggests covers all styles of Blues music from the B.B. King style slow ballad “So, What Would I do”, to the Blues Funk “Love Ain’t A Love Song” and the Zeppelin inspired “Oh Beautiful”. Hal Leonard recently released a authentic transcription TAB book which also includes standard music notation and music for the vocal parts too and they were kind enough to send me a copy via Hal Leonard Australia. Each song from the album is accurately transcribed and includes harmony parts and multiple rhythm parts where necessary which makes learning each song easy… well, except for the super fast pentatonic licks, I guess I need to spend a bit more time practicing to get those down!
If you are a fan of Joe Bonamassa and want to learn tracks from his albums I recommend checking out the ‘Guitar Record Versions’ series of TAB books from Hal Leonard, they are excellent. You can find a retailer in Australia to purchase the ‘Different Shades of Blue’ book (or one of his other albums) by using the Hal Leonard Find a Retailer section of their website.
A small crowd were lucky enough to experience an interview with the legend himself and personal guitar inspiration Eddie Van Halen at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as part of ‘What it means to be an American‘. EVH fans will have heard many of the stories before but Eddie was open and honest more so than I’ve seen him in many interviews and he also hinted that his son Wolfgang is going to release an album later this year, “It blew my mind”, I hope it is a solo record! though he may be referring to the new Tremonti album that he has just finished recording Bass parts for.
I thought it was particularly interesting hearing how a 16 year old Wolfgang touring with Van Halen inspired Eddie to finally quit drinking, “…he gave me the strength to be able to do that”, says Eddie, “I got sober during that first tour and I was so nervous and everytime I looked at my son I thought ok if my 16 year old son can be kicking ass like that I better suck it up!” I hope that people who keep saying that they want the original VH lineup can now understand exactly what it means to Eddie to have Wolfgang in the band.
While at the National Museum of American History Eddie donated an exact replica of his original black and white Frankenstein guitar, an EVH Stealth Guitar, and an EVH 5150III Head & Cab during a closed ceremony, which took place right before his speech/interview.
February 12, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Posted by Jon in Cool Guitars
Ibanez announced the Roadcore RC320 guitar back in 2012 and it seems it must be popular as they have just announced two new Ibanez Roadcore models, the Prestige RC1320-DBS pictured above and the Premium RC720-CNF pictured below. There is one catch however, I saw these guitars on the Ibanez UK Facebook page and it seems they are showing on the EU Ibanez site, but not on the US site which is still only showing the Roadcore standard, as is the Australian site.
The Ibanez Prestige Roadcore RC1320-DBS features a Maple neck, Mahogany body, Rosewood fretboard w/Acrylic block inlay, an Ibanez Tight-Tune bridge, a Seymour Duncan® ’59 model humbucker in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan JB Model™ humbucker in the bridge position.
The Ibanez Premium Roadcore RC720-CNF features a 3pc Maple neck, a Rosewood top/back on Mahogany body, a Rosewood fretboard w/White dot inlay, Tight-Tune bridge, an Ibanez Core Tone (H) neck pickup and an Ibanez Core Tone (H) bridge pickup.
So if you are in the UK and you love the Roadcore, you are in luck. Everyone else you might have to import the premium or prestige versions.
I don’t understand why I’m not reading more about this amp on other guitar sites, this is the coolest looking amp I’ve seen released in a long time but I have to say I had no idea Duesenberg were even working on a new amp! Now I’m sure you’re all aware of Duesenberg Guitars with their retro cool styling, well they took that design philosophy and created a stunning new amp head and cabinet called the Berlin.
“The frame of this amp is made from wood which we then painted with a thin layer of metal particles. The metal coat is then processed and aged by hand, giving it the distinctive rusty patina which makes each build completely unique.”
The cabinet is made from lightweight multi-ply birch and is painted and processed the same way as the amp itself. It has a semi open back and houses a Celestion Alnico Gold 8 Ohm Speaker with 50W power handling.
Here are the amp specs:
45W tube amplifier (2 x 6L6WGC-STR matched power amp tubes, 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes)
Custom wound transformers (made in Germany)
Dual channel amplifier with a cascading gain structure
high dynamic clean channel, adjustable in Volume, Bass, Mid & Treble
Boost channel extends clean channel, adjustable in Gain, Contour & Level
Two preselectable Boost gain levels on the rear pannel (hi/low gain)