Other Equipment

Your 2016 PEDALS in review…

26

I hadn't bought a pedal in years until two years ago when I picked up the Alter Ego v2. It's been a great delay but it hasn't replaced my old Dan echo. I find I only use the Echo Rec setting which I love for the modulation. Using two delays at once is a lot of fun.

This year I have added two more pedals. The first is a Hartman dial fuzz with a germanium and silicon circuit. I have never been a fuzz or even distortion guy, but the boys in wilco inspired me to branch out. The guy I bought this pedal from only liked the silicon side, but I find the germanium side is more for me. The option of stacking two fuzzes is a lot of fun too!

I am still considering picking up a zvex fuzz factory before the year is out because of its ability to make insane noise beyond the usual fuzz.

My other pedal this year is a line 6 m13 which is my first modelling pedal. When I bought my Dan echo way back when, I couldn't afford the dl-4. This box has all four of line 6's modelers (delay, modulation, filters, distortion) in one plus a ton of other features. I know many are against digital modellers, but this box is pure fun. I could play with this thing forever, but my early revelations have been using compression for the first time, the amazing replica of the old four button boss chorus ensemble ( say goodbye to my twenty year old super chorus) and some amazing experimentation with filters.

27

Hey Gen. Lee thanks for the shout out. The cables you are referencing are made by lava. You can cut them to whatever length you like. They supply a trim tool so that you can trim the leads inside each of the connectors. There are other options but I liked these the best at the time.

28

Season's Greeting, General. Hope you are doing great.

Not really much of a pedal fellow but the Strymon Flint and Deco have always been something of a temptation to just try. Went to the store, asked the man to open the deluxe glass cabinet. Tried the Flint- it does everything it's supposed to do, extraordinarily well. Tried the Deco- just dazzling, a shockingly powerful device.

I went home with both, together they function as a single one-stop rock 'n' roll palette. Everything I ever seem to want to play seems bigger, better, faster, stronger and easier with these on the team. I'm quite amazed at their sonic strength.

All the lights are on for show. The sauce gets used sparingly, keeps it piquant.

29

You know, with all this talk of nerdy digital boxes and hipster transparent overdrives MKVIIIb, the single most exciting piece of guitar effects gear I bought this year (and in years..) is this, a late 70's silverface Fender reverb unit :

We all know and love the classic Fender 6G15 "Dick Dale" reverb tanks from the early 60's that came in brown, blonde and black. And the reverb on those IS glorious. Until you turn it off, and you realize that those boxes turn your shiny beautiful guitar tone into a lifeless turd. Dynamics and life pretty much gone.

Enter the silverface tank : apart from having a different design in the reverb circuit, it has an extra 12AX7 tube post-reverb that acts as a unity gain buffer, and counteracts the impedance mess and resulting guitar-tone-massacre typical for the 6G15 circuit. I knew they existed, but was never all that interested until I played one in a Studio in Hamburg about two or three years ago and went "WHOA!!! Where have you been all my life?!?"

I started actively looking for one, cursed myself I passed on the one that GDP'er Danman sold a few years ago, and told a number of fellow geeks in my neck of the woods to keep an eye open for one of these.

And now I have one. Price I paid was on the high side, but it was one owner, and when my tech opened it up to put fresh filter caps in it, he called me on the phone and said I didn't really over-pay, because it was "virgin" : he said he was fairly sure he was the first one inside the chassis since it left the factory. Factory tubes even, and they all measured out as new.

One tiny little mod to make it a hair brighter than stock, and it's perfect. It doesn't get quite as over-the-top splashy as a 6G15, almost though, and then I'm not in a surf band. But from really subtle reverb to almost Dick Dale is all in there, the buffer stage does what it's supposed to do, if anything the guitar is just slightly more macho coming out than going in, hang an 18 foot footswitch cable on it, switch it on or off - no problem whatsoever. Awesomeness.

With all the clone and booteek builders cloning 6G15's and stuffing them full of expensive transformers, paper in oil unobtanium NOS caps, pre-historic carbon comps, solid core platinum coated directional wire, and modified grass fed and tweaked reverb pans - they should all take a look at this circuit, or at least parts of it, because it rocks, and it has a 6G15 for breakfast as far as I'm concerned.

So as long as it's not a fly-in gig, no digital reverb for me, thanks!

30

You sound so cynical today Walter. Have you run out of wax for your hipster moustache? Mine is looking great. Like Dick Dastardly.

Billy Z has been saying how nice the silver Fender reverb is and I'm really pleased you've got one after so much searching. The real deal, enjoy.

31

Cynical, moi? I work at a guitar shop these days Ade. One would become slightly cynical about effects pedals and the serieux about them even from less exposure to them.....

32

Cynical, moi? I work at a guitar shop these days Ade. One would become slightly cynical about effects pedals and the serieux about them even from less exposure to them.....

– WB

Cynical is good when you are so funny with it. Serieux, that one word got me! Always a fun and knowledgeable post from WB, Esquire.

For me, it's quite a rare day to go into a guitar shop. A novelty to go, an even bigger novelty to buy anything at all beyond strings. The two new machines I bought will get to 90+% of where I like to be sonically, 100% of the time, travelling light and easily replaceable at a day's notice. That's what I need, that's why I do it this way.

It must surely be fun dealing in sonic boutiquerie with a straight face on a daily basis. I always though germaniums were those flowers my mum grows in the kitchen.

The old gear is still better, more fun and interactive, but the gap is definitely getting narrower.

33

Walter, you have a gut shot on that tank? Schematics I can find, but I'd be interested in seeing how FMI did the layout.

34

I don't actually - I'll try to think of taking one. It's fairly typical of the era - quite sloppy, bit of a rat's nest. Quiet as a mouse though.

35

Speaking of geraniums, I just made my version of a DAM Red Rooster treble booster. Wow - this is IT for treble boosters! One knob for boost, one for range. You can get the classic honk if you want, or a full range (and then some!) boost. There is some honk in it up to full range, which is what I love about treble boosters, but it's not obnoxious. And for a "geranium" booster it's very quiet. Runs off my regular power supply too.

GREAT booster. Mine has a low gain AC127 in it, so doesn't produce much in the way of dirt by itself. But it has enough level in it to push whatever is in front of it a bit. And if I use it in front of a regular OD pedal I can use the guitar's volume pot to clean it up. Such a simple, basic circuit. But what it does is wonderful. Smitten!

36

@ Jim Krause. Hey Jim, what's the lowdown on the Xotic SP compressor? What other comp(s) might you compare it to?

– General_Lee

I have but two other compressors, both of which are Jangle Boxes; the original 1st model black JB, and the JB 2.

I tried the Xotic with my Ric 12 string and was a little underwhelmed. But with the Gretsch it just sings. In reverse, I tried the Gretsch with both the Jangle Boxes, and again thought that the sound just wasn't there.

Interesting thing is, I tried both the JB black box and the Xotic with a Telecaster clone, and I thought either one does just fine. I did fiddle with the little slider buttons in the back of the Xotic with all three guitars.

I tried out an MXR Dynacomp and the Keeley at Mass. Street Music here in Lawrence. I seem to recall that the Dynacomp was a bit noisy with Rickenbacker single coils. And I felt like the Keeley was too....how shall I put this....fiddley. I felt like I could spend days adjusting the four knobs and never get a satisfactory sound.

The thing I like about the Xotic is its simplicity. Set the slider tabs in back to your liking, and leave 'em alone. Then set the compression switch low, medium, or high, and finally adjust the gain and mix knobs. With my Gretsch, I finally decided to leave the slider tabs at the factory default settings. I leave the compression switch on Mid, and the mix knob at 12:00. Gain is set at whatever level seems appropriate to the circumstances. And the same settings seem to be quite acceptable with the Tele, too. The Xotic also plays quite nicely with my MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal.

37

Hey Gen. Lee thanks for the shout out. The cables you are referencing are made by lava. You can cut them to whatever length you like. They supply a trim tool so that you can trim the leads inside each of the connectors. There are other options but I liked these the best at the time.

– bamboobast

Thanks for the info bamboobast. I will definitely see if I can track a lava kit down. Haven't seen one in the city (Winnipeg) but perhaps I can find one on line somewhere. Looks like the cat's meow re pedal cables. Have a great New Year and continued success with your career as illustrator...

38

Enter the silverface tank : apart from having a different design in the reverb circuit, it has an extra 12AX7 tube post-reverb that acts as a unity gain buffer, and counteracts the impedance mess and resulting guitar-tone-massacre typical for the 6G15 circuit. I knew they existed, but was never all that interested until I played one in a Studio in Hamburg about two or three years ago and went "WHOA!!! Where have you been all my life?!?" - WB<

Fascinating. I never knew about this incarnation of the Fender reverb tank. Looks like another piece gets added to the pedal bucket list! Damn you WB. Damn you all to hell...

39

Tried the Flint- it does everything it's supposed to do, extraordinarily well. Tried the Deco- just dazzling, a shockingly powerful device. I went home with both, together they function as a single one-stop rock 'n' roll palette. Everything I ever seem to want to play seems bigger, better, faster, stronger and easier with these on the team. I'm quite amazed at their sonic strength. All the lights are on for show. The sauce gets used sparingly, keeps it piquant. - ade<

You've got a way with words Ade! Another great success story. Rock on my friend. Rock on...

40

I actually toyed with the idea of using just a Flint and a Deco as the all-you-need-buffet for rockabilly, and it would work tremendously. Quite an investment though! I still have the Flint. Can't find a better digi reverb just yet.

41

...all-you-need-buffet for rockabilly... I'm cackling at that one, reaching for another salmon mousseline.

True, it's not a remotely cheap option. But it's just two little boxes. Rental backline?- no problem. Flight?- no problem.

And... this is the time of year when I spend January in the orchestra pit, reading music, playing in the pantomime. Lovely to be able to walk to work for a change in the inevitable crunchy snow. And it's fresh, different music too.

It's proving to be very useful for that too- it can do the swirly thing with the Deco set to chorus, a lurching flange by holding the Doubler button down, long mysterioso twin echoes on the Bounce setting, ambient reverb vapour trails on the Flint for musique concrete magic spells and manifestations, crunch it up with the Deco's (really knockout) preamp saturation, the threatening throb of tremolo for a bit of jeopardy reinforcement.

Very impressed at the range and intuitive ease of these two in tandem.

42

Enter the silverface tank : apart from having a different design in the reverb circuit, it has an extra 12AX7 tube post-reverb that acts as a unity gain buffer, and counteracts the impedance mess and resulting guitar-tone-massacre typical for the 6G15 circuit. I knew they existed, but was never all that interested until I played one in a Studio in Hamburg about two or three years ago and went "WHOA!!! Where have you been all my life?!?" - WB<

Fascinating. I never knew about this incarnation of the Fender reverb tank. Looks like another piece gets added to the pedal bucket list! Damn you WB. Damn you all to hell...

– General_Lee

Another reverb tank that doesn't destroy your guitar tone, and that adds tremolo, is of course Mr Zoom's "Little Kahuna" - but they're not cheap, add the extra $ for a Euro power transformer, ànd shipping and customs fee to get it to Europe, and it would cost as much as an amp in my case. That's the main and almost only reason I didn't get one of those instead.

43

Relatively quiet on the pedal front for me this year. A major step I took was that I finally realised that I do not like the Timmy. Had it in position 1 on my board for a few years and could never believe the raves. It just didn't sound like I wanted it (and what people described). The overdrive - especially in lower settings - was way too grainy. But I soooo much wanted to like it. Finally I bought a Rockett Blue Note and sold the Timmy. No regrets. The Blue Note does what I was looking for. The Fat switch is a useful tool when I change from my Tele to my 335 or Gretsch. And the whole setup sounds great now.

Oh, I nearly forgot. For the rare upcoming craziness I have a 3rd drive pedal on the board. It's been an OCD for a while but I found the Fulltone PlimSoul to be nicer. It has got the edginess if I want but the mix option of those 2 sounds is nice.

44

You know, with all this talk of nerdy digital boxes and hipster transparent overdrives MKVIIIb, the single most exciting piece of guitar effects gear I bought this year (and in years..) is this, a late 70's silverface Fender reverb unit :

We all know and love the classic Fender 6G15 "Dick Dale" reverb tanks from the early 60's that came in brown, blonde and black. And the reverb on those IS glorious. Until you turn it off, and you realize that those boxes turn your shiny beautiful guitar tone into a lifeless turd. Dynamics and life pretty much gone.

Enter the silverface tank : apart from having a different design in the reverb circuit, it has an extra 12AX7 tube post-reverb that acts as a unity gain buffer, and counteracts the impedance mess and resulting guitar-tone-massacre typical for the 6G15 circuit. I knew they existed, but was never all that interested until I played one in a Studio in Hamburg about two or three years ago and went "WHOA!!! Where have you been all my life?!?"

I started actively looking for one, cursed myself I passed on the one that GDP'er Danman sold a few years ago, and told a number of fellow geeks in my neck of the woods to keep an eye open for one of these.

And now I have one. Price I paid was on the high side, but it was one owner, and when my tech opened it up to put fresh filter caps in it, he called me on the phone and said I didn't really over-pay, because it was "virgin" : he said he was fairly sure he was the first one inside the chassis since it left the factory. Factory tubes even, and they all measured out as new.

One tiny little mod to make it a hair brighter than stock, and it's perfect. It doesn't get quite as over-the-top splashy as a 6G15, almost though, and then I'm not in a surf band. But from really subtle reverb to almost Dick Dale is all in there, the buffer stage does what it's supposed to do, if anything the guitar is just slightly more macho coming out than going in, hang an 18 foot footswitch cable on it, switch it on or off - no problem whatsoever. Awesomeness.

With all the clone and booteek builders cloning 6G15's and stuffing them full of expensive transformers, paper in oil unobtanium NOS caps, pre-historic carbon comps, solid core platinum coated directional wire, and modified grass fed and tweaked reverb pans - they should all take a look at this circuit, or at least parts of it, because it rocks, and it has a 6G15 for breakfast as far as I'm concerned.

So as long as it's not a fly-in gig, no digital reverb for me, thanks!

– WB

What I find funny about this is that the need to track down a vintage silverface reverb tank, is in of itself a very hipster thing to do. I dont say this to sound like a jerk, rather I say it to make the point that Billy Zoom's Little Kahuna is giving you this and its available now.
https://store.tvjones.com/l...

There is a reason too, that builders use a lot of really nice "Sum" of quality components to garner the sound of vintage iron and vintage "unobtanium" parts. It makes their products available to customers now, instead of going on a hunt for possessing an actual vintage item be it a camera, turntable, beard trimmer, franz pickups or silverface reverb. Ok, that was being cheeky right there haha :)

ps. Dont put all digi verbs down.. ya maybe on spring reverbs you can point a nose at em in comparison to the real deal..but you simply cannot carry around vintage Plate reverb, which I LOVE!! The Dr Scientist Plate reverbs on his Reverburator are so damn cool for old R&B.

6 different vintage plate reverb settings!

(Scroll past 2:40 and 3:37)

45

Tavo, see my post above from eight hours ago, I actually posted about the BZ Kahuna before you did. thing is that it would have cost me twice what I have invested in the Fender tank, and I have no way of trying before I buy.

And there's more than a little irony in my post - I'm a horrible, terrible gear snob. My main guitars are a good decade older than I am, I play vintage amps, or expensive boutique amps, and I'm very, very fussy about gear. And you know I have (and even like, to an extent) a Topanga pedal for those times I can't bring my own gear. I might even buy one of those Dunlop echoplex pedals, because I draw the line at shlepping my echoplex to gigs - I do record with it though.

But I'm allowed to chuckle at young mustacchio'd dudes wearing their sisters' skinny jeans giving me long explanations about the latest digital delay and why it sounds exactly like a Binson, or an oil can, or an echoplex, while they've never even seen the real thing in person, let alone played through one, no?

46

Tavo, see my post above from eight hours ago, I actually posted about the BZ Kahuna before you did. thing is that it would have cost me twice what I have invested in the Fender tank, and I have no way of trying before I buy.

And there's more than a little irony in my post - I'm a horrible, terrible gear snob. My main guitars are a good decade older than I am, I play vintage amps, or expensive boutique amps, and I'm very, very fussy about gear. And you know I have (and even like, to an extent) a Topanga pedal for those times I can't bring my own gear. I might even buy one of those Dunlop echoplex pedals, because I draw the line at shlepping my echoplex to gigs - I do record with it though.

But I'm allowed to chuckle at young mustacchio'd dudes wearing their sisters' skinny jeans giving me long explanations about the latest digital delay and why it sounds exactly like a Binson, or an oil can, or an echoplex, while they've never even seen the real thing in person, let alone played through one, no?

– WB

ah just saw that.. and yes I forget what you are subject to in a music store.

47

Nothing very exciting here — just an Xotic SP compressor, which I find is a fine thing to have at the start of my modest pedal set-up, and a Boo Instruments tremolo. These two replaced the Rocktron Surf dual trem/comp unit I've been using for years. I love the Boo trem — handmade in the UK and it can really throb!

http://www.booinstruments.c...

I could do with a second delay pedal, primarily to avoid bending down and fiddling with the knobs on the Carbon Copy when I want to switch between slapback and something a little more 'spacey'.

48

Dammit Tavo - you are making me want to buy another Dr Scientist reverb pedal! (Repeat to self: The Flint is fine...The Flint is fine...)

49

It's not a pedal really but I love the Fender Reverb clone (chassis by Winnie Thomas) I bought from Charlie, which I repainted in Klein Blue - I finally was able to dial in surfy reverb without sounding like I was playing at the bottom of a well.

50

Sascha the Rockett Blue Note is very good, isn't it? I found the Blue Note because I had a Rockett Animal, and the circuits are extremely similar. I really liked the Animal but I think the Blue Note is even better.

If you get the chance, try a Wampler Euphoria. I believe Mr Wampler designed the original Animal and Rockett but then the Rockett fellas changed a lot of details with the circuits. Whatever they did works! The Euphoria is in a similar ballpark to those pedals. I'd be interested in what you thought of it. In general I am not a fan of Wampler pedals but I like the Euphoria.

FWIW a lot of my player friends rave about the Timmy. I don't get it either. Bland bland bland. A lot of the Gear Page crowd got their knickers in a knot when Lovepedal produced the Amp 11 which is a very slightly modified Timmy. I think it sounds better than the Timmy! Not good enough to keep it though.


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