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New iOS Amp Modelling App “ToneStack” from Yonac


I know you’re probably thinking, “another amp sim app?!”, yes another and it’s good, really good! I’ve been testing ToneStack by Yonac Software on my iPad using my iRig HD interface and the first thing I noticed was how little noise you get from the amps, plus there is pretty much zero latency. I did change the audio settings to highest quality but left the buffer at 256ms as 128ms caused issues on my iPad with some of the more complex amp/effects chains. My iPad is a couple of years old, newer iPads with more grunt will no doubt not have a problem.

The UI will be pretty familiar if you have used amp sims before but even if you haven’t it is very simple to use, I suggest checking out the multitude of presets first which demonstrate all of the stock amps with various cabs, mics and effects and how they can be chained together. One of the most interesting effects is an splitter pedal which allows you to set up a stereo chain with 2 sets of amp/cab/effects panned however you wish. I haven’t seen this in an iOS Amp Modelling App before and it means you can go all Bonamassa with your rig!

There are heaps of great effects included but also a lot of extra effects available as in-app purchases should you wish to expand, this goes for Amps & Cabs too. The included amps will cover pretty much all bases but there may be a specific sound you are after that you get from one of their add ons. I will record a demo soon for the Guitar Noize YouTube channel to show you just how great this app sounds.

“Yonac Software is pleased to announce the release of ToneStack, now available on the iTunes App Store. ToneStack is the ultimate in signal processing: it brings the best variety of amps & FX, the latest advancements in modeling technology, and an unbelievably powerful yet simple interface to iOS.
“Because ToneStack uses our “Virtual Circuit” technology, each ToneStack unit is the digital mirror image of a real analog topology,” says engineer and guitar player Jim Yonac. “The result is a warm, responsive tone with the natural behavior you find in analog units.” ToneStack comes with 6 classic amps & cabs and 20 powerful FX (with over 68 additional units available for in-app purchase). ToneStack also offers the ultimate in signal chain versatility – use up to 64 units simultaneously (device CPU limitations apply). With ToneStack’s ABY units, the signal can be split anywhere in the chain. ToneStack is universal and available in the App Store for a limited- time introductory price of $4.99.”

$4.99 is an incredible deal by the way, I’d snap that up quick before the price rises. Here are some of the features of this app:

  • Units modeled after real-life topologies
  • ABY: split signal anywhere, use dual amp setups, blend, pan or switch FX chains & more
  • Complete collection: 24 amps & cabs, 70 FX, with stompboxes & rack-units and more!
  • 64 simultaneous amps & FX
  • Independent amps & cabs
  • 3 mics per cab w/ distance & position setting
  • 8-Track recorder w/ 2 tracks free
  • Tapedeck w/ punch looping, sample-accurate rec, pitch/time manipulation, FX send & more
  • Tuner w/ permanent & fullscreen modes
  • Metronome, tap tempo, settable time signature
  • BPM sync mods & LFOs
  • onSTAGE mode w/ quick preset load & FX toggle
  • Unlimited banks & presets; easy preset sharing & more
  • Extremely powerful MIDI: control any amp or FX parameter
  • Easy MIDI Learn
  • MIDI prog changes + bank & preset up/down
  • Audiobus: input, FX, output, state-saving
  • Inter-App Audio FX
  • Audio copy/paste, email, WiFi, iTunes sharing
  • iOS compatible USB or headphone jack interfaces (USB recommended for best audio quality)


I know you’re probably thinking, “another amp sim app?!”, yes another and it’s good, really good! I’ve been testing ToneStack by Yonac Software on my iPad using my iRig HD interface and the first thing I noticed was how little …

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Carl Verheyen Announces New Album ‘Mustang Run’

I’m really looking forward to checking out this record, I’ve been enjoying the teaser videos that Carl has been posting to YouTube for a while and the fact that he says this is the guitar album he has been meaning to make for a while is exciting news! In case you can’t read the title above, Carl Verheyen has released his new CD ‘Mustang Run’.

“My goal was to break out of the mould of Carl Verheyen Band CDs and do a progressive instrumental album. I wanted the opportunity to weave thick textures of sound using dozens of instruments and tones. My motivation was the sheer joy of hearing those sounds in the air!” says Verheyen.

carl verheyen mustang run

‘Mustang Run’ features performances by some extraordinary musicians, which includes Simon Phillips, Chad Wackerman, Jerry Goodman, Bill Evans, Jimmy Johnson, Stuart Hamm, and Gregg Bissonette. In regards to the assortment of legendary music artists that grace his new release, Carl explains, “My previous CD called ‘Trading 8s’ was a collaboration with some of my guitar player friends. I had Robben Ford, Joe Bonamassa, Steve Morse, Scott Henderson, Albert Lee and Rick Vito trading solos with me. On ‘Mustang Run’ I wanted that inspiration to come from the rhythm section, so I called different bass players and drummers to suit the songs. I love to play with musicians that I have a deep musical relationship with, because the studio scene in LA breeds hundreds of ‘casual’ musical relationships. The great players on ‘Mustang Run’ are all friends that I’ve known and performed with for years.”

In support of Carl’s new CD release, he will be touring Europe in the fall 2014. His band will feature bass virtuoso Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Ritchie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan, Jeff Berlin), who is featured on ‘Mustang Run’, and master drummer/percussionist John Mader (Joe Satriani, Booker T, Electronic Arts’ “The Sims”, Tony award winners “Rent”, “Lion King” and “Wicked”).

For more info: http://www.carlverheyen.com
http://www.carlverheyen.com/store-cds/

I’m really looking forward to checking out this record, I’ve been enjoying the teaser videos that Carl has been posting to YouTube for a while and the fact that he says this is the guitar album he has been meaning …

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Gear Matters

byline picby Pappy

Guitarists everywhere like to inform each other with condescending smiles that what younger guitarists are buying – the gear that they so strongly believe will make them better players – is all for naught.

“Gear doesn’t make the player.”

“Tone is in the fingers.”

“You’ll never sound like X, even if you played through their rig.”

And on and on and on.

Bull.

Well, perhaps not entirely bull, but there’s still a conversation that needs to happen here because all the black and white mentality is getting a little irritating.  There is OBVIOUSLY something to be said about gear and the quality of it if companies are depending on selling it in order to keep surviving in this tough economy.

Guitarists are saying that the gear doesn’t matter.  Companies are saying that it does.

Guitarists say that you can pick a great guitarist – whichever guitarist if your favorite, go ahead and fill in the blank – and put them in a room with a Squier Bullet Strat and some lame-o (almost always referenced as a solid state for some reason) amp and they would sound exactly like they do every time they play on stage in arenas.

So why don’t they do just that?

It would certainly save on the touring budget.  Imagine if, with the price of just one nice guitar (we’ll say $1,200.00) you can buy rigs for all four corners of the earth to tour with.

So how come that doesn’t happen?

Because gear matters.  How could it not?  Think about any boutique builder you’ve ever read about talking about wood.  They knock on it and listen to how it sings, they sift through piles for the magic piece, and then they lovingly take a raw hunk of timber and turn it into your instrument – your vessel of artistic expression – and why did they do all that work if none of it mattered?  Why not instead go to the local Home Depot, buy some thick plywood, and build a guitar from that?

Because it matters!

Now, I don’t mean to say guitarists aren’t right to some extent, but they’re going about it all wrong.  This whole “there is no magic bullet, and you’ll never sound like your inspiration,” is a real downer.  You know what other hard truths are out there for everyone?

1)  You aren’t owed a sexually attractive mate just because you’re a nice person.

2)  There is no Santa.

3)  The promotion will probably go to someone else, and it probably won’t be based on merit.

4)  There will probably be no windfall of karma turning your disappointing life toiling away doing the right things into something amazing like a modern day Count of Monte Cristo (minus the whole revenge thing).

But that doesn’t mean you just go around telling people these things.  These are depressing facts that nobody NEEDS to say because they serve zero purpose whatsoever.  All that matters is that right now someone’s happy and you hold the pin that could prick their balloon of happiness.  Popping the balloon serves no purpose and makes nobody any happier, so why even consider it?

So maybe the overdrive pedal that the person bought was ridiculously overpriced to you.  Did they use YOUR money to buy it?  Are you impacted by this transaction in ANY way? And yes, it probably is a ridiculously overhyped pedal that the player will probably give up on in three weeks when they realize it didn’t magically turn them into whoever they were trying to be.  Doesn’t that just mean they had three weeks of happiness?

Even if it was all a sham/racket/scam/shakedown/rip-off/sucker game, or just plain flim flam, what would be the point of telling someone that it doesn’t matter?

Consider the placebo effect: Placebos are drugs that aren’t drugs.  They’re fake drugs – sugar pills in most cases – that are given as a control in drug experiments, but they have been shown time and time again to WORK.  How crazy is that?  WebMD – the ultimate source for finding out you’re dying right this very second, and probably from cancer – says that placebos have been effective for depression, menopause, pain, sleep disorders, and even irritable bowel syndrome.  Real physical problems with real physical symptoms, yet fake drugs are sometimes able to shake the people free and give them back their normal life.

So say you have a friend who buys something that you know is just a placebo for guitar.  A signature guitar that you know won’t make them sound like the signature artist, or the pedal that was bought second-hand at 400% the original asking price (they would have bought direct, but there was a huge wait and the Internet says that the batch from #35 to number #300 were magical in some way and, wouldn’t you know it, they bought #299!).  You know because you’ve been around the block a time or two and know that it’s all smoke and mirrors and you want to tell your friend that they wasted their money and it doesn’t matter, but you pause and consider why.  Failing to figure out one solitary good reason to rain on someone you love’s parade, you let them go and they go crazy with the piece of gear.  It could be the missing link in their signal chain that makes them feel complete.  It could be used in a way not necessarily intended, like when someone plays reggae on a Dimebag Darrel ML.  It could make them experiment like crazy to find that hidden tone.  It could make them dive into guitar only to come up for air WEEKS later, but they were playing and having fun the whole time.  They may have even gotten a bit better with all that practice.  At the very least they learned a bit more about gear before they decided to turn the piece around on eBay.

My point is this: even if you know it’s a placebo – even if it really is all snake oil, who is getting harmed?  Nobody.  But who is benefiting?  Your pal, the guitarist, the people that make the gear, and anyone who benefits from people playing guitar more from crowds to the family members forced to endure their playing.

I’m not saying there isn’t such a thing as individual playing dynamics, nor am I saying that there is a magic substitute for practicing, but I am saying that, at the very least, gear is inspirational.  Wanting more gear keeps us working, wanting it to sound the best possible keeps us practicing, and not wanting to have wasted our money keeps us playing it.  We are inspired by aesthetics, we are inspired by sound, and we are inspired by hype.  As cool guitarists, we act jaded and unexcited about so many things, but this stuff is exciting!

Gear matters, people!  It may not matter in the way you think it does, but it matters.  There is no need to go around popping people’s balloons.  There is no reason to be that prick that ruins someone’s day.  Because chances are you are looked up to and you’ll take away any magic that the gear may have had.  Instead, when someone pulls you to their board, clicks on their pedal, or strums their open A and looks at you with that maniacal grin because they just know you’re going to hear the difference, embrace it!  Tell them you hear something!  Have they been practicing?  Oh, it’s JUST THE GEAR that made the improvement in tone?  Well rock on, guitarist friend!

So long as they keep playing, right?

byline picby Pappy

Guitarists everywhere like to inform each other with condescending smiles that what younger guitarists are buying – the gear that they so strongly believe will make them better players – is all for naught.

“Gear doesn’t make the …

Click here to comment

Van Weelden – Royal Overdrive pedal

van weelden royal overdrive
Where have I been to not know about the Van Weelden Royal Overdrive pedal? Not only did this pedal start shipping in January it has already won a best pedal of 2013 by Dutch Magazine Gitarist!

In case you haven’t heard of Van Weelden they are an Amplification company very popular with Joe Bonamassa. Here is a video of Joe talking about his Van Weelden Twinkleland which is a great sounding Dumble-esque amp.

Here is a little clip of Allen Hinds testing the pedal:

I don’t have any details but I think you can work it out from the photo above, it has 2 switchable modes, a 3 way bright switch and a gain boost switch then it has a foot-switchable Mid Boost and the same kind of controls you would see on an amp including Treble, Middle & Bass control and a Presence control.

The current Van Weelden website seems to be undergoing a transformation at the moment so keep an eye on their Facebook page for announcements.

van weelden royal overdrive
Where have I been to not know about the Van Weelden Royal Overdrive pedal? Not only did this pedal start shipping in January it has already won a best pedal of 2013 by Dutch Magazine Gitarist!

In case you haven’t …

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Eastman Thinline T486-RB Ray Benson Signature Model

Eastman Thinline T486-RB
Press Release
Pomona, CA – June 30, 2014 – Eastman Guitars has collaborated with legendary guitarist Ray Benson on a signature and custom model guitar, the Thinline T486-RB, faithfully built to his exact specifications. A nine-time Grammy Award winner, founder and frontman of the revered country western swing band Asleep At The Wheel, Benson has released more than 25 studio and live albums over the last four decades. As a producer, Benson has worked with an impressive who’s-who A-list including Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Merle Haggard, Carolyn Wonderland, and Vince Gill. His latest project, a solo album titled A Little Piece, was released earlier this year.

The T486-RB Ray Benson signature model is a double cutaway featuring deluxe laminate top, back and sides, with ivoroid binding throughout the body, neck and headstock. The maple neck features an ebony fingerboard adorned with standard pearl block inlays. The guitar is a 24¾” scale length between the 1¾” bone nut and nickel Gotoh tunomatic bridge. Additional nickel hardware includes Gotoh tuners. Handwound Lollar pickups include an El Rayo at the neck with a Low Wound Imperial at the bridge. Nickel control knobs feature one volume, one tone, and 3-way selector switch. The guitar is completed with a custom-sized black pickguard and is finished in a transparent red satin with a custom designed “RB” logo branded between the trapeze style tailpiece. D’Addario strings and hardshell case included.

Ray Benson will be visiting the Eastman Guitars booth (#1016) on Thursday, July 17 and Friday, July 18 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm during Summer NAMM in Nashville.

Eastman Thinline T486-RB
Press Release
Pomona, CA – June 30, 2014 – Eastman Guitars has collaborated with legendary guitarist Ray Benson on a signature and custom model guitar, the Thinline T486-RB, faithfully built to his exact specifications. A nine-time Grammy Award winner, founder …

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Guitar Fingers – Essential Technique in Pictures by Ashkan Mashhour

ashkan mashhour guitar fingers
Ashkan Mashhour, author of Intervallic Fretboard: Towards Improvising on the Guitar, has created his latest book “Guitar Fingers – Essential Technique in Pictures” to help guitarists develop good left and right hand technique through a collection of exercises both on and off the guitar, and that is where this book is quite unique. 

The book begins by discussing correct posture, something often overlooked and the reason many guitarists suffer from back pain and tendinitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. There are an abundant collection of photos throughout showing various seating positions, ideal arm and hand positions as well as correct fretting positions, fretting pressure and picking hand position for both playing with a pick and finger picking.

guitar-fingers-1

The next part of the book explores hand fitness, a set of exercises to help develop strength and stamina in your hands, finger independence, stretches and agility. All of this can be done without a guitar, you could even sneak them in while at work without anyone noticing, and if they do you can pretend you have a hand injury and have been told to do these exercises by your physio! Following on from these exercises are the first TAB examples, a series of challenging left hand workouts using chromatic lines, chords, intervals etc.  These supplemental exercises are great warm up routines.

guitar-fingers-3

The next 5 chapters deal with the different types of picking technique starting with the basic mechanics of up and downstrokes including illustrations and photographs and plenty of TAB examples. Next is alternate picking, followed by Economy picking, Sweep picking and finally Hybrid picking, all with pages and pages of exercises. There are enough examples in each section so that you can concentrate on a single technique each practice session.

guitar-fingers-2

The rest of the book takes various guitar techniques from string skipping, to bending, to vibrato, muting etc. as with the earlier chapters there are many pages of examples, close up left and right hand photos and illustrations. 

Guitar Fingers – Essential Technique in Pictures is a great book for developing a specific technique or two each time you pick up your guitar, or you can work through the entire book as your entire practice session. Just make sure you follow the instructions and don’t rush through otherwise you will not benefit fully from this book full of strength, dexterity and technique building exercises.

To purchase this book please visit Pelemeleworks.com.

ashkan mashhour guitar fingers
Ashkan Mashhour, author of Intervallic Fretboard: Towards Improvising on the Guitar, has created his latest book “Guitar Fingers – Essential Technique in Pictures” to help guitarists develop good left and right hand technique through a collection of exercises both …

Click here to comment

Tony MacAlpine US Tour 2014 Details

tmac2014
I don’t really need to say much as the flyer says it all above, Tony MacAlpine is heading out on a US tour with his talented band including the excellent 7 string shredstress Nili Brosh on guitar, Aquiles Priester on Drums and Bjorn Englen on Bass except for August 1 & 2 at the Baked Potato where Pete Griffin will be playing bass. I’m sorry but reading that name I can’t get this image out of my head.

This is Tony MacAlpine’s first tour of the USA in over a decade and the band will be playing the classic album Maximum Security in full as part of the set, along with a preview of MacAlpine’s upcoming solo album Concrete Gardens.

Dates
Aug 01, 2014: Studio City, CA – The Baked Potato (2 shows: 9:30 and 11:30)
Aug 02, 2014: Studio City, CA – The Baked Potato (2 shows: 9:30 and 11:30)
Aug 08, 2014: San Francisco, CA – Biscuits & Blues
Aug 09, 2014: Lebanon, OR – Guitars Under The Stars Festival
Aug 13, 2014: Hermosa Beach, CA – Saint Rocke
Aug 14, 2014: San Juan Capistrano, CA – The Coach House
Aug 15, 2014: Ramona, CA – Ramona Mainstage
Oct 10, 2014: Chicago, IL – Reggies
Oct 11, 2014: Westland, MI – Token Lounge
Oct 14, 2014: Philadelphia, PA – North Star Bar
Oct 16, 2014: New York, NY – The Iridium (2 shows: 8:30 and 10:30)
Oct 20, 2014: Raleigh, NC – The Pour House Music

For more tour date info check Tony’s site – http://www.tonymacalpine.com/tours/

tmac2014
I don’t really need to say much as the flyer says it all above, Tony MacAlpine is heading out on a US tour with his talented band including the excellent 7 string shredstress Nili Brosh on guitar, Aquiles Priester on …

Click here to comment

Seymour Duncan’s 805 Overdrive Pedal

seymour duncan 805
Seymour Duncan are extending their range of effects pedals after the recent release of the Dirty Deed Distortion and Vapor Trail Analog Delay with the 805 Overdrive, designed using the legendary 808 chip as a starting point but eventually ending with the MC33178, a chip Seymour Duncan felt had superior sonic characteristics along with a lower noise figure and longer battery life. The pedal has an expanded gain range and active 3 band EQ.

It’s so versatile that you can use it for a smooth, lyrical bluesy overdrive one minute and a modern metal crunch the next. We started with the classic overdrive tones we all know and love but we tightened up the bottom end and added more sparkle in the highs as well as more detailed note articulation. Whether you’re after ringing cleans, a subtle boost, fat crunch, or even screaming sustaining solo tones, it’s all in there. And unlike other overdrives that become thin when you refine the gain, the 805′s 3-band active EQ lets you take back control over the low end while also fine-tuning the mids and highs.

The 805, like the other new pedals are all assembled at the Seymour Duncan Factory in Santa Barbara, California.

Hear the Seymour Duncan 805 in action below:

seymour duncan 805
Seymour Duncan are extending their range of effects pedals after the recent release of the Dirty Deed Distortion and Vapor Trail Analog Delay with the 805 Overdrive, designed using the legendary 808 chip as a starting point but eventually …

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Gibson ES – Les Paul, the combination of two classic models

Gibson ES - Les Paul
As Gibson put it on their website, the ES – Les Paul is “the ultimate marriage of solid and semi”… Couldn’t have put it better myself! Ok so maybe that could have been phrased a little better but it sums up what this model is, a Gibson Les Paul combined with a Gibson ES-335. Hasn’t this ever been done before by Gibson? It seems quite obvious to me to create a hollow body Les Paul and yet it’s taken 60 years?

Also available in black:
image

“With its laminated maple top, back and sides in the semi-acoustic construction of the ES-335, and a solid mahogany center block for enhanced sustain and feedback reduction, the ES-Les Paul elegantly marries the major characteristics of these two great Gibson guitars. Take away the telltale f-holes and the look is pure Les Paul, as is the glued-in mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard and classic trapezoid inlays and LP-style headstock. Common to both—and carried through on the ES-Les Paul—are the traditional control section, toneful hardware, and dual humbucking pickups, a pair of MHS (Memphis Historic Spec) Humbuckers wound to accurately replicate the sonic glories of vintage PAFs. Get it in a your choice of Black top w/ historic walnut stained back and sides finish, or Light Burst finish with figured maple top and historic walnut stained Back and sides.”

Here is a video of Greg Koch checking out the light burst version:

Gibson ES - Les Paul
As Gibson put it on their website, the ES – Les Paul is “the ultimate marriage of solid and semi”… Couldn’t have put it better myself! Ok so maybe that could have been phrased a little better but it sums …

Click here to comment

Chris Hau Wakesurfs while playing guitar using Positive Grid’s JamUp App


Words can’t describe how awesome this video is, the ultimate surf guitar video! At first I thought Chris Hau is provably miming, but doing an excellent job of it, then he hits the open strings and I realised he isn’t miming, crazy. Chris has his Fender Telecaster plugged into an iPhone running Positive Grid’s most excellent app JamUp Pro which he has tweaked for classic surf guitar tones.

It’s hard enough to surf the wake of a boat without having to try and play a medley on guitar that has a GoPro strapped to the headstock, great work Chris!

You can see the making of thus video here http://youtu.be/C1iQy1L7t14.


Words can’t describe how awesome this video is, the ultimate surf guitar video! At first I thought Chris Hau is provably miming, but doing an excellent job of it, then he hits the open strings and I realised he isn’t …

Click here to comment

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