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Positive Grid Add Amp Match Support To BIAS iOS

BIAS iOS Amp Match
“Positive Grid have announced the addition of Amp Match™ download support for its JamUp and BIAS Mobile guitar amp and effects processors for iOS devices as a free update. With Amp Match support, mobile users will now be able to download any amp match profiles available from ToneCloud, Positive Grid’s amp-sharing platform. While JamUp and BIAS Mobile users now will have no limitation to download any amp match models, the amp match process will remain exclusive to BIAS Professional only.”

Originally released for BIAS Professional only, Amp Match accurately captures the tone of any tube amplifier by analyzing and compare a currently designed BIAS amp model with the sound of a real mic’d amp or file source. It then executes the tonal compensation and enhancement needed to make this current amp model accurately match the target amplifier. There are already hundreds of Amp Match models available created by users, producers, and engineers, as well as artists such as Mark Holcomb from Periphery, Ola Englund, Rusty Cooley, among others.

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Radial JDX 48 Amplifier Direct Box now shipping

I have recently been searching for some kind of load box for silent recording with my MI Audio Megalith and The Duchess amps and came across a few Radial Engineering products including the JDX 48. The JDX 48 isn’t exactly what I require (I would need the Headload or upcoming Headload Prodigy) but I wanted to post about it because it sounds like a cool product. If you are looking to record a D.I. out of your amp but also hear your amp while you record through your speaker cab this little red box captures sound of both the head and the cabinet by using the electromagnetic impulse from the loudspeaker. The signal is then processed via a carefully designed multi-stage filter to emulate the tone of a 4×12 half stack cabinet creating a consistent tone every time you use it making it great for live use or in a studio.

If you play live and use in-ear monitors this will simplify your setup immensely and the signal from the JDX 48 with a Mic on your speaker cabinet for extra tonal possibilities.

For more info head over to the Radial Engineering website –

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Epiphone Introduce The Joe Pass Emperor-II PRO

I’m not a big Jazz guitar fan but one name that I remember seeing mentioned time and time again when I was learning guitar back in the 90’s was Joe Pass, I was, and still am, a huge Joe Satriani fan and he mentioned in an interview that he learned all the chords in a Joe Pass book. Joe Pass, considered as one of the Jazz Guitar greats, was famous for his chord-melody style of playing and walking basslines and played predominately fingerstyle. The Epiphone Emperor-II was originally created just before Joe Pass died in 1994 and he endorsed the model that was based off of the Gibson ES-175 he had played throughout his career with some specific changes such as Gold hardware and Gibson Byrdland style tailpiece.

The updated Joe Pass Emperor-II Pro features ProBucker™ pickups with coil-tapping, a Graphtech® NuBone XL™ nut and hand-scalloped bracing and sound post. The guitar is also available in a new Wine Red finish.

For more information on the Epiphone Joe pass Emperor-II Pro head over to

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PRS Guitars Reintroduce the McCarty Model

prs mccarty
While I’m not particularly a fan of the finish in the video below I think the photos of the burst look absolutely stunning. The McCarty model features classic styling with the Mahogany body & neck combined with the tobacco burst (actually called Black Gold Burst) flame maple top. The updated version of this guitar adds some of PRS’s recent modern appointments as additions to the vintage vibe such as the Pattern neck profile, PRS Phase III Locking Tuners and PRS 58/15 humbuckers.

“The PRS McCarty model pays homage to a legacy of innovation. As the President of Gibson during a true golden era of guitar building (1950-1966), Ted McCarty was a pioneer of the electric guitar and musical instrument industry. In the late 1980’s, Paul Reed Smith called on Ted to consult with him on guitar design and production techniques. He not only served as Paul’s mentor but became a great friend of Paul and everyone he met at PRS.”

“Ted’s instruments and patented parts came across my bench when I was in my West Street shop, so I knew who he was. I asked him to consult because he had made such an impact on the industry – think about it the Flying V, the ES 335. He was a real champion,”, “When we started working together, it was very apparent that he loved being back in the industry. I am proud that he helped establish our legacy and that we were able to help highlight his,” Paul Reed Smith.

mccarty on bench

The PRS McCarty model features a slightly thicker back for enhanced tone and sustain and the new 58/15 treble and bass pickups, which were personally designed by Paul Reed Smith. 58/15’s are a vintage style pickup with exceptional clarity and focused midrange. Additional appointments include a push/pull tone control with a 3-way toggle pickup switch for a complete palette of tones, a bound rosewood fretboard, and PRS stoptail bridge. For full specifications and to hear the McCarty in action, please visit

Also check out this demo of the PRS McCarty in action.

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Jennifer Batten Announces Summer 2015 Creative Seminar Tour Dates

jennifer batten
When I was younger I remember seeing Jennifer Batten playing with Michael Jackson in the Dirty Diana video with the huge wig ripping on a flying V and later an Ibanez S Series guitar. Jennifer also had a column in a guitar mag I subscribed to for years called ‘Guitar For The Practicing Musician‘ which was pretty awesome too. Batten also played guitar with Jeff Beck, check out this video of their appearance on Letterman playing Mama Said.

Jennifer Batten announced a series of U.S. dates for seminars this summer, which will teach musicians how to stay mentally centered and how to maintain creativity in a technology-driven world.

Press Release
Keeping the constantly evolving nature of the music business in mind, Batten, along with co-host Jesse Solomon (founder of music school Academy of Guitar), will help harness audience members’ inner focus. Batten will provide insights from her 30-year career, including do’s and don’ts, lessons learned, and will give special attention to energizing the mind and body to their utmost potential. Each event concludes with giveaways and a mini concert by Batten and Solomon.

“Musicians are unaware of some of the newest powerful tools available to them to help skyrocket their progress as creative beings. I’m excited and eager to help attendees focus and energize, and to share knowledge on practices that have worked extremely well for me,” said Batten.

In this seminar, Batten will teach attendees:
How their brain works and ways to optimally energize the mind and body
New tools to help unlock creativity and optimize practice habits
Practical information about domestic and foreign touring
How to enhance their abilities to focus and learn time management skills with proven techniques
Supportive techniques in building self-confidence and creating unstoppable motivation
How to dig into the newest models of building a personal brand and enhanced income
How to conquer powerful, intuitive, and life-enhancing free or cheap software

Beginning July 12, Batten will tour 18 locations throughout the United States, tickets are only $49 and space is limited. For more information including dates and venues and to sign up, visit

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Learn Blues With Andy Timmons – ‘Electric Expression: Blues’

I had no idea True Fire were planning on doing multiple guitar instruction courses with Andy Timmons, this looks as awesome as the first course released.

Press Release
One of the truly gifted guitar players, across a variety of styles, that can also play the blues really well is Andy Timmons. He rocked your world with his first TrueFire course, Electric Expression. We’re pretty confident that he will now blow your mind with his educational take on the blues, here in Electric Expression: Blues. At the very least, we’ll guarantee you a fresh collection of head-turning blues moves and improvisational approaches to take to your next blues jam.

“Blues is a great place to start playing guitar because the basics are easy, however it takes a lifetime to master. I’ve found that the journey has been the most amazing part! There’s several players that have been a huge influence on my playing from all different genres; rock guitarists like Ace Frehley and Joe Satriani, blues and jazz players such as Robben Ford and Larry Carlton, as well as country players like Danny Gatton and Albert Lee. They’ve all influenced my approach to the blues and I’m excited to have this opportunity to share it with you!”

Andy organized the course into two sections. In the first section, he presents and demonstrates 14 key concepts and techniques: Blues Comping Approaches, Bluesy Double Stops, Finding Roots & Going Home, Expressive Blues Note Ideas, Focusing on 3rds and 7ths, Power Of The Sixth, Modal Blues Playing, Open String Lines & Drones, Passing Tones & Outlining Chords, Expressive Bending & Vibrato , Building Blues Motifs, Using Rhythm In Your Leads, Single & Two String Groups, and Blues Influences.

In the second section, you’ll put everything you learned from the first section to work over 6 Blues Performance Studies: Comping In G, Sixths & Thirds, A.T. Home Tone, Get Ready To Rhumba, A Modal Blues and Floydian Slip. After each performance, Andy steps you through the key concepts, techniques and creative approaches he used to improvise the solo in the Performance Study. It’s here where you’ll glean the most impactful insights for crafting interesting and engaging blues solos of your own.

All of the key demonstrations, performances and examples are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can loop and/or slow any section down as you work through the lessons. Plus, Andy generously includes all of the rhythm tracks for you to work with on your own.

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Seymour Duncan Mark Holcomb Signature Alpha/Omega Pickups

During NAMM 2015 I posted about an announcement of a new set of signature Seymour Duncan pickups that had been announced for Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb called the Alpha/Omega set (named after their latest double album release). These pickups will be available direct from the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop for 6 string guitars. Each pickup is signed by Mark and will come with some special bonuses in the form of a unique USB drive with the albums Juggernaut: Alpha and Juggernaut: Omega as well as a new video from Mark, some collectable picks, a sticker and more.

Seymour Duncan say that the Alpha neck pickup is unlike most traditional neck models. “It was voiced to combine the best qualities of a neck and a bridge pickup, with some of that fat glassy sound but also plenty of your pick attack and fretting-hand phrasing.”

“The bridge pickup came out super cool,” says Mark Holcomb. “It’s very, very aggressive and snarling, with that very percussive quality that I like in the low mids. My style is based on really big chords with a lot of voicings and I didn’t want to sacrifice any of that in the bridge pickup. And the neck pickup has lots of pick attack – probably the most pick attack of any neck pickup I’ve ever played. But it’s still very fat and glassy.”

Check out this demo and interview with Mark:

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Howling Monkey Guitar Picks

I was recently contacted by a US company called Howling Monkey who make and sell handmade guitar picks, they had obviously heard of my infatuation with my triangular buddies. Now there are lots of companies out there that make picks so what made me so interested in Howling Monkey that I asked them to send me some samples? Well it was two things, the first it the material used to craft their picks, Tagua. What on earth is Tagua I hear you ask? Allow me to quote Howling Monkey to explain:

“Tagua is a unique vegetable grown primarily in Ecuador and Colombia, the nuts of this palm tree form in large clusters and hang much like a coconut. These clusters then fall to the ground or are cut from the tree. Each cluster contains many tagua nuts that are about the size of a potato. When they initially are harvested, the inside of these nuts have a very gelatinus texture and are semi transparent. The nuts are then dried for up to 4 weeks where this gelatatinus material hardens and takes on the properties of ivory.”

My selection of picks, note the custom pick sporting the Guitar Noize logo that Howling Monkey surprised me with, you can design your own custom Howling Monkey picks or let them do it for you! Check out this link for more info –

As Tagua is a fruit of a tree they naturally regenerate, which makes these picks environmentally friendly. So that was the first thing that interested me, the second was the pistol grip. As you can see in the photo above there are couple of picks that have a cross-hatch pattern, this diamond of raised diamonds creates a great grip which helps hold the pick firmly, which in turn makes playing easier as you can relax your fingers more. The alternative grip available is called the classic grip which is a pair of diagonal cut grooves but for me that didn’t really offer much extra grip.

Howling Monkey picks range from 1.8mm – 2mm in thickness, they do not guarantee exact thickness but all of my picks were pretty similar and they are extremely rigid so if you like picks with a bit of flex in them I would suggest that these are not for you. The tone of the picks is as they state on their site quite similar to Ebony picks (of which I have a selection) but the feel is quite different. On the one hand I like the almost chalky feel and love the pistol grips but on the other hand I did feel that the picks needed to wear in a little to lose a bit of the scratchy feel on initial attack. Bear in mind I have been using Ultex and Cellulose picks for the past few months so I am used to a very smooth attack. Of course you could pre-wear the edges of the pick a little by rubbing the tip on a piece of carpet if you don’t like the scratchy feel of a brand new Tagua nut pick.

The picks arrived in this very cool little bag which I thought was a nice touch:

For more information about the various picks available and to purchase picks head over to

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Pre-Order Mr. Fastfinger new album ‘Spirit Rising’

spirit rising
Mr. Fastfinger a.k.a. Mika Tyyskä has just announced that his new album ‘Spirit Rising’ is available for pre-order over at IndieGoGo. There is a standard version of the album available as well as a Deluxe version which includes 12 extra songs (that’s a whole album’s worth!), backing tracks, TAB book and guitar picks. Along with album release of the album Mika has also been working on a film called ‘The Spirit Of The Guitar Hunt’ which is the story of how Mr. Fastfinger got his new guitar, which by the way is by Finnish Luthier Juha Ruokangas.

Mika Tyyskä – guitar
Thomas Törnroos – drums
Lasse Rantanen – bass

Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) – keyboards leads on Spirit Hunt.
Michael Angelo Batio – demonic guitar solo on Bad Breath.
Kai Hahto (Nightwish, Wintersun) – drums on Great Blue Waves, Bad Breath and Spirit Hunt.
Jan-Olof Strandberg (Strandberg Project) – bass and groove on Rising Feel and Moonwaxer. Also a bass solo on Arise.
Kristoffer Gildenlöw (Solo, ex-Pain of Salvation) – fretless bass on Spirit Hunt.
Kalle Katz (Mr. Fastfinger Band) – kung-fu synth on Be Wind My Friend.
Sami Tupala – musical saw on Jump Like a Frog.
Andrey Sazonov – underwater ocean synths on Great Blue Waves.

Produced and Composed by Mika Tyyskä.

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Magnetic Effects Solar Bender Fuzz Pedal

The Solar Bender is an enhanced clone of the famous Tonebender MK II fuzz complete with NOS PNP germanium transistors, Bias control and Reverse Polarity Circuit.

Take it away Gearmandude!

Press release
Magnetic Effects are pleased to release the MK 2 version of their take on the classic Tone Bender MKII. The new version includes stunning new artwork and top mounted Jacks and DC socket. To allow for easier integration into modern guitar set ups, the Solar Bender is fitted with a charge pump acting as a polarity reverse circuit. This enables the pedal to be powered on a standard 9V centre negative adapter and even daisy chained with other pedals while using PNP germanium transistors.

To further enhance usability, the Solar Bender is fitted with a bias control to compensate for temperature drift that can sometime affect germanium transistors. Also, a Fat switch has been fitted which enhances the bass response of the pedal to allow for greater tonal possibilities.

All these features add up to make the Solar Bender a great sounding AND easy to use fuzz that integrates well into a modern pedal board.


  • Level, Attack and Bias controls
  • Fat switch
  • Reverse polarity circuit
  • True bypass switching
  • 9V DC adapter or battery powered
  • Top mounted Jacks and DC socket
  • Three NOS PNP germanium transistors
  • RETAIL PRICE: $179 US plus shipping.

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