Archive for March, 2017

Behringer set to release a budget Minimoog clone

Affordable music gear company Behringer is planning to release a budget version of the Minimoog Eurorack module, founder Uli Behringer has revealed.

With plans to role out a series of affordable synths, Behringer also defended plans to mimic the iconic Moog synth.

Genuine Minimoog’s, which can sell for well over £3000, remain unaffordable to most musicians and, according to Behringer, their new range is aimed at solving that problem.

“The general rule and the law clearly describe that technology is free for everyone to use, provided it is not protected,” he said . “You may have a different personal view, but that’s how our society and every industry works – again why the law has been designed the way it is.

“In case of the MiniMoog there is no IP (Intellectual Property) involved as the technology is more than 40 years old and all patents have long expired. As a result, the property is now in the public domain, free for everyone to use. Without this principle there would only be one car or synthesizer manufacturer in the world.




Posted: March 25, 2017 in Guitars
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With his glam-rock looks and pop-metal hooks, Marc Bolan led his band T. Rex into the stratosphere in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and his customized Gibson Les Paul was the fuel that propelled it all skyward. Dressed in a simplicity that gave them a broad and infectious appeal, songs like “Ride a White Swan,” “Get It On (Bang a Gong),” “Jeepster,” “Metal Guru,” “Children of the Revolution” and “20th Century Boy” were laced through with addictive riffs and crunching rhythm guitar that sounded consistently massive—and hooked burgeoning metal-heads and teeny-boppers alike. Bolan’s star burned out far too soon when he died in a car accident in Southwest London in 1977 shortly before his 30th birthday, but his music and its influence have remained strong over the intervening decades.

The flamboyant Glam Rock hero Marc Bolan certainly fueled his playing more with passion than technical ability, though he was never shy about letting his Les Paul roar—witness the brazen, beefy saturation pouring out of his Orange half-stack here in this 1973 live clip of the tune “Buick McKane”, (originally from 1972’s studio album The Slider ).

Ironically, given the raw energy meted out here, Bolan’s song-supportive passing figures and chunky rhythm figures on record are surprisingly tasteful and tight; listen to the studio versions of The Slider and “Mambo Sun” for a sample of his ability to orchestrate lines around the rhythm section. Still, it’s no wonder that Bolan was one of the few early ’70s rock gods that the punk generation worshipped: the sheer joy and abandon, and fat sonics, of his live guitar playing wouldn’t be out of place on a Sex Pistols album.

#TBT Zvex Fuzz Factory

The ZVex Vexter Series Fuzz Factory is the same as the original hand-painted Fuzz Factory pedal, only without the hand-painting. A hand silk-screened graphic is used in order to put the Vexter Fuzz Factory in reach of everyone’s budget. The electronics are the exact same, still using the highest quality components and meticulous hand-assembly process for each Vexter Fuzz Factory. Now you can get two!

The ZVex Fuzz Factory is one of the earliest pedals invented by Zachary Vex and continues to be his most popular. It is the heir to the throne of the classic Germanium fuzz boxes of the past, even using New Old Stock Germanium transistors from the sixties. From this basic concept Mr. Vex went nuts and added an unheard of level of control over all aspects of the tone, including a Gate knob to control noise and tune feedback pitch, Compression control, and a Stability (or “Stab”) knob that can send the Fuzz Factory into delicious squeals and oscillations, opening up a pallete of fresh sounds for any adventurous guitar lunatic. The controls are highly interactive and encourage hours of sonic exploration. The Z.Vex Vexter Series Fuzz Factory also features a Green ON / OFF LED, 9VDC power jack, 2-Year Warranty, and lovely silk screened graphics.

ZVex Vexter Series Fuzz Factory users:

  • Nels Cline of Wilco
  • Matthew Bellamy of Muse
  • Robert Fripp
  • Steven Drozd and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips
  • John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Trent Reznor
  • David Torn
  • J. Mascis

JangleBox® began as an idea to try to capture a sound: the bright ringing chime that was popularized by the Beatles, enhanced by the Byrds, and has since worked its way into the sonic palettes of scores of artists and rock bands including Tom Petty, R.E.M., the Pretenders, Counting Crows, the Church, Teenage Fanclub, the Smiths, and many others. It’s a timeless sound that has transcended its origins. That sound is what our name is about.
This simple plug-in/play compression pedal creates a bold sustain that will give your Ric, Tele, Gretsch, Strat — whatever the guitar remarkable presence. Unlike other units that clip or distort the original signal, JangleBox expands the compression “sweet spot” to maintain a clean, even tone, with true bypass.

Compact and powerful, JangleBox is ruggedly constructed for demanding pros and aspiring artists alike. Whether you’re looking to capture that magic jangle, or want to more fully develop your own unique sound, JangleBox delivers the distinctive compression edge.

Janglebox Compressor Guitar Pedal – Available at

To honor the 50th Anniversary of The Byrds‘ debut 1965 albums, Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! — as well as Byrds‘ founder and long-time JangleBox endorser Roger McGuinn — we created this distinctive limited edition model.
The Byrds 50th Anniversary Tribute

This is the award-winning, flagship JangleBox compressor with a beautiful gold powder coating and special graphic appointments. What is it about the 1965 compressed jangle of the Beatles, Byrds, and so many others that continues to captivate guitar players everywhere? It seems as if every band, regardless of musical genre, employs that sound for at least a few tunes in their repertoire. Who doesn’t love jamming on “So You Want to be A Rock ‘N Roll Star?” The sound is timeless.

Compact and powerful, the Byrds 50th Anniversary Tribute JangleBox is ruggedly constructed for demanding pros and inspired amateurs alike. No other stomp box compressor will give you the Byrds/McGuinn chime, sustain, and jangle like this one. Just ask any of our thousands of satisfied customers. Or, ask Roger himself.

TC Ditto X4 Looper

A floor-based looper unit which enables you to run two loops simultaneously and add effects, without confusing the hell out of you.

Many guitarists happily go about their business without ever feeling the need to employ a looper during a gig. But the sound of some bands is built around the looper’s ability to create an evolving wall of sound, while solo artists such as KT Tunstall (who brought the effect into the mainstream) and Ed Sheeran have relied on loop manipulation to fill stadia.

Whatever your requirements, however, you don’t want to be spending potential looping time thumbing through the manual working out how to use a unit, and TC Electronic has ensured that simplicity is the watchword with its Ditto range. The X4 is the sixth release in the line, and while it packs a lot of functionality, on the face of it, it looks disarmingly like a couple of Dittos housed in the same box – which it is, but there’s more to it than that.

Chief among its strengths is the ability to run the X4’s dual loops in either Serial mode or Sync mode, combining both at the same time, in time: something that wouldn’t be possible with two Dittos. Once your loops are up and running, a master decay control regulates the fade duration of older loops as new ones are recorded, and a seven-way rotary pot accesses a selection of loop effects that can be turned on and off via footswitch – and once you’re familiar, you can add tape stops, reverse, half-speed effects and more with ease.

The X4 is also a useful songwriting ally, with a range of I/O options, including the ability to import and export your loops to work on in a DAW, to drag-and-drop audio files to be looped, to sync to MIDI and more. Overall, the cleverly designed interface makes this a simple-to-use tool that’s both a good place to start for newcomers and a creatively rewarding tool for experienced players, which teems with sonic possibilities.

Key features
PRICE £189
DESCRIPTION True-bypass, dual-track looper pedal with effects, serial and sync modes, MIDI sync, USB MINI B connection and audio input, 9v power supply

Fulltone OCD

An overtone-rich overdrive that preserves highs and lows while offering dynamic touch sensitivity – there’s no wonder the OCD remains an obsession for tonehounds the world over.


California-based Fulltone, created by company founder Michael Fuller, debuted the Obsessive Compulsive Drive back in 1994. It has since become one of the biggest-selling overdrives on the market (and the best-selling hand-built) and a go-to choice for players across many genres, but back then, this was one of the instigators of what eventually became the ‘boutique’ pedal market we’re now all hopelessly in thrall to.

Its party trick, both back then and now – and it’s an ingenious trick – is to essentially create the sound and (importantly) the feel and response of an amplifier in a pedal. The OCD has a large dynamic range, and offers a continuum of usable sounds – from transparent clean boost to gritty, harmonic-laden fuzzy distortion. And all the while, it responds to the intensity of your playing style, with impressive sensitivity to changes in your pick attack and lightness of touch.

Roll back your volume control and you’ll reveal a world of subtle tonal colourations – Fulltone claims no other pedal cleans up like an OCD. And while the triumvirate of Drive, Volume and Tone controls might seem simplistic, the HP (think ‘high gain’) and LP (think ‘drive and boost’) settings – together with the aforementioned dynamics reproduction – give you access to a whole world of tones to manipulate.

The OCD’s clarity means your Tele still sounds like a Tele and Les Paul sounds like a Les Paul in the LP mode, with little colouration; and its famed punch and sustain makes you feel as though you’re playing a cranked amp in full bloom even at bedroom-volume levels. Pro players as varied as Robin Trower, Keith Urban, Joey Santiago and Paul Gilbert have all been attracted to its addictive charm and chime – we’re pretty sure you will be, too.

Key features
PRICE £145
DESCRIPTION True-bypass overdrive pedal with High Peak/Low Peak switch powered by 9v to 18v power supply or 9v battery

Caroline Kilobyte Lo-Fi Delay

A lo-fi sounding digital delay with a gritty preamp and a secret weapon that enables you to create sonic Havoc.

The Caroline Guitar Company, founded in Columbia, South Carolina, turned to crowdfunding to make the vision for the initial run of the Kilobyte a reality, and we sure are glad it succeeded. No member of the G&B team proved immune to this lo-fi pedal’s charms when it arrived in the office earlier this year and it’s one of our favourite delays of recent times.

This gritty-sounding digital delay takes your original dry signal path, keeps it analogue, and then smashes it via a +21dB overdrive preamp into the sort of lo-fi digital delay chip found in kids’ toys. The result is gloriously scuzzy repeats with subtle warbly modulation. Fans of Electro-Harmonix’s classic Deluxe Memory Man will find plenty to enjoy, with the tasty-sounding modulation circuit designed by Jack DeVille lending a sweet warble to the repeats, which have a maxmium delay time just short of a second.

The Kilobyte’s attack control, represented by a cheery-looking space invader, governs the gain in the repeater preamp, and turning it up lends a dirty, overdriven edge to the repeats. However, this retro-sounding pedal has a sting in the trails, in the shape of the aptly-named Havoc control. Holding down this sturdy stomp switch cranks the feedback level set by the sum control up to maximum and results in epic high-pass filtered self-oscillation.

It’s enormous fun, but also very musical, as G&B reviewer Richard Purvis noted: “You can ride this switch through chord progressions like an accelerator, letting the noisy ambience build then lifting off just long enough to get round the corners.” The Kilobyte shows lo-fi doesn’t have to mean analogue. Give it a try.

Key features
PRICE £199
DESCRIPTION True-bypass digital delay pedal, made in USA; Level, Attack, Sum, Clock & Modulation controls; Havoc switch; powered by 9V DC adaptor

ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud

A major fuzz pedal based on the classic ‘Triangle’ Big Muff from UK maker ThorpyFX, the Fallout Cloud may prove to be the last fuzzword for Muff addicts everywhere.

ThorpyFX came into being in 2014 when British Army Major Adrian Thorpe turned his attention to stompbox building in order to relieve the stress of his high-pressure day job as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist. After his first pedal, the Gunshot overdrive, proved to be a big hit with players, he turned his attention to a different kind of drive pedal – the early Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi fuzz pedals built between 1969 and 1973.

Nicknamed ‘Triangle’ Big Muffs due to the orientation of the pedal’s three control knobs, there were approximately 17 variations on the circuit of the first production Big Muffs developed by Mike Matthews and Bob Myer. However, there was one particular vintage unit that Thorpe set out to beat, and the Fallout Cloud (previously named the Muffroom Cloud) is the result.

Because it doesn’t suffer from the over-cooked distortion levels of some modern Big Muffs and Muff-derived circuits, the Fallout Cloud makes it possible to retain a great deal more control, and stays responsive to picking-hand dynamics.

The presence of separate, active treble and bass controls is a real asset, allowing you to dial in the cutting high frequencies you need to be heard in the mix and then sculpt the body of the sound beneath; with a single tone control, most Muffs simply get thinner as you wind up the treble, but here you get to fine-tune the balance of girth and grit.

The Fallout Cloud stacks well, and in action, it’s capable of a great range of familiar fuzz tones, from Pink Floyd to Queens Of The Stone Age and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys – and it cuts through a band mix better than many fuzzy equivalents, too.

Key features
PRICE £185
DESCRIPTION True-bypass analogue fuzz pedal with active EQ, with Volume, Sustain, Treble and Bass controls, powered by 9v battery or adaptor

Z.Vex Fuzz Factory 7

The original is 21 years old, and the latest iteration is Z.Vex’s best product yet – but it’s not going to be around forever.

Minneapolis effects company Z.Vex releases hand-painted boxes of sonic sorcery from the inventive and unique mind of founder Zachary Vex. Many of them take your guitar into uncharted territory, and their ranks include such oddities as the Lo-Fi Loop Junky analogue looper, the Seek Trem step-sequenced tremolo and the Probe range (which you control by hovering your foot over them, like a theremin).

One of the company’s most successful effects is the Fuzz Factory, originally released in 1995. It’s beloved of experimental luminaries such as Matt Bellamy, Steven Malkmus, Nels Cline and J Mascis for its ability to warp the classic fuzz effect via a series of highly interactive controls, and combine them to conjure up unique and unholy chimeras of greasy oscillating demonic distortion into the bargain. Despite its popularity, Z.Vex has released relatively few variations on the pedal; the latest was 2013’s Fat Fuzz Factory, with a three-way toggle to increase sub-harmonic options.

But when Mr Vex found a stash of old Amperex germanium transistors, he decided to build the Fuzz Factory 7 to showcase them (literally – there they are in the pedal’s circular viewing porthole). The FF7 extends on the Fat Fuzz Factory’s sub switch with a nine-position version, and there’s a new footswitchable Tone control you can bring into play to tame excess brightness or treble.

Bringing your guitar’s volume control into play reveals a further range of sounds, and sound-wise, there’s practically nothing it can’t have a stab at – from greasy, Octavia-esque gnarl to singing sustain, to gated octave-down crunch to self-oscillation, pitch-bending harmonic squeal and more.

Key features
PRICE £439 (hand-painted version)
DESCRIPTION True-bypass germanium-transistor-based fuzz pedal with 9-position Fat knob, footswitchable Tone control, Volume, Gate, Comp, Drive and Stab. Powered by 9v battery or power adaptor

Electro-Harmonix Super Pulsar Stereo Tap Tremolo

The prolific New York brand takes one of the oldest guitar effect types to another level with this feature-packed stereo tremolo.

The Super Pulsar builds on EHX’s popular Stereo Pulsar pedal, cramming in more sounds and adjustable controls than any trem had previously dared to incorporate. It’s a phenomenally creative and musical tool that may change the way you think about one of guitar’s staple effects.

Offering stereo inputs and outputs and analogue circuitry, the Pulsar is insanely versatile. Subtle amp-style sounds, optical trem, stereo panning, rhythmic patterns with up to 16 steps and reverse effects are all at your disposal. Whether you want to emulate the glorious sound of four Fender Twins on Johnny Marr’s How Soon Is Now? riff, the stuttering amp tremolo of Keef’s Gimme Shelter, optical trem for that Twin Peaks sound, or more deeply effected pulsating ambient washes, the Pulsar has the range of controls to do it.

The waveforms include sine, triangle and pulse, and you have control over rate, depth, shape, phase and volume. It also comes with a mesmerising blue light show – eight blue LEDs that pulse in time to the rate of the tremolo, and indicate which of the eight presets you have selected. Those presets are another highly useful feature for live performance, allowing you to save your favourite sounds to an SD card.

There are also tap tempo and tap divide switches to ensure your tremolo is locked in time with the rest of the band, as well as an xRate button that halves or doubles the selected tempo, which can take things into the mysterious world of the ring mod.
The Pulsar’s envelope depth and rate controls enable you to link the effect speed to your picking dynamics – strum a chord and the tremolo slows or speeds up as the sound dies away. Enormous fun.

Key features
PRICE £219
DESCRIPTION Stereo tap tremolo pedal with analogue circuitry, Volume, Rt. Phase, Wave, Shape, Depth, Wave Invert, Tap Divide, Exp mode, Envelope Depth, Envelope Rate, xRate, tap tempo, mode preset and bypass controls; stereo ins/outs; powered by 9V DC/AC adaptor