Archive for the ‘Guitar Accessories’ Category

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Smashing Pumpkins singer and bass player Billy Corgan has announced plans to sell almost all of the rare music equipment he used throughout his career.

Partnering with online music gear marketplace Reverb, Corgan plans to place up to 150 listings which includes a a Stratocaster and a pair of Marshall JMP-1 amps that featured on iconic records Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

“Of all the artist-owned gear we’ve been fortunate to sell on Reverb, this collection of gear from Billy Corgan has arguably the most historic prominence – you can feel it when you pick up any one piece,” Reverb’s Jim Tuerk said in a statement issued to Rolling stone. “These are the tools that not only defined one of the all-time greats, but an entire generation of music.”

Corgan, who will also sell his 1969 Gibson EB-3 Bass, described the instrument as having “a very Jack Bruce sound.”

“I used this on everything from Mellon Collie to Machina,” he added. “It’s one of those secret-weapon recording basses.”

 

 

Here are a handful of things on offer, according to Reverb:

  • Corgan’s #2 Stratocaster. A modified, star–covered 1988 Fender AVRI Strat that recorded most of Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie, including “Today,” the solo of “Cherub Rock,” and many more.
  • A pair of Marshall JMP-1s that were the main preamps for Mellon Collie album and the tour.
  • Two Alesis drum machines, one used for the loops on “1979” and another that was used to record many early Pumpkins‘ demos before Jimmy Chamberlin joined the band.
  • The modified 1990s Les Paul Special used to record much of the Machina album and played regularly on that tour, and the two backup LP Specials from the tours.
  • The rackmount ADA MP-1 preamps used to record Gish.
  • A Fender Subsonic Stratocaster in Sonic Blue from the Zeitgeist era signed “This is what true freedom looks like. Billy Corgan.” One of the few items in the shop signed by the guitarist, it was originally set to go to auction in 2008 before Corgan decided against it.
  • The Fernandes sustainer guitar used in the studio and on tour for most of Adore.
  • A 1969 Gibson EB–3 Bass in Walnut dubbed the Mountain Bass used as a “secret weapon” on everything from Mellon Collie to Machina.
  • The small Crate combo amps used to get the distortion sounds on Machina.
  • The arsenal of Diezel and Bogner amps used to record and tour for Zeitgeist.
  • Dozens of collector–grade vintage guitars, including two ’58 Strats, a ’63 Candy Apple Red Strat, a 1953 Gibson Super 400, and a ’66 Rickenbacker 360.
  • A vintage 1950s accordion and an autoharp used on the Mellon Collie tune “We Only Come Out at Night.”
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Through 10 studio albums and 23 years of world-spanning tours, Wilco has always been a band that’s covered a lot of musical ground. The Chicago outfit’s output has touched everything from country to noise rock, earning them a diverse legion of fans along the way.

Next Thursday, you’ll have the chance to buy some of Wilco’s gear. Jeff Tweedy and company will be opening up a shop on Reverb.com called “The Wilco Loft Shop,” named after their Chicago studio/”safe haven for making music” where much of the gear currently resides, and selling off various items from their collections.

The instruments range from insanely valuable, including a 1958 Gretsch 6021 and two 1940’s Gibson flattop acoustics, all owned by Tweedy, to more collector-focused, like an assortment of guest passes from past Wilco tours. Tweedy discusses the decision to open up the online shop, stating, “Every once in a while we look around the loft and say ‘Geez, there’s just too much stuff up here,’” adding, “We hate to see it go, but we’re sure you’ll put it to good use!”.

A canon this versatile requires an extensive collection of gear. On Thursday, March 16th, the sextet is set to release some of their arsenal back into the wild of Reverb as part of the official Wilco Loft Shop.

This latest batch of Wilco gear reflects the particular tastes of each member of the band. Nels Cline is parting with an experimental offset from Bilt Guitars, while the always eclectic Glenn Kotche has bundled together various lots of percussive odds and ends from his personal stash. Keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen is selling a couple of analog synths, while multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone is passing along a pair of road-tested Telecasters.

The lion’s share of the sale comes from noted gear shepherd, Jeff Tweedy. Choice pieces include a pristine 1958 Gretsch 6120 hollowbody, a modified ’70s Gibson Explorer, a Bigsby-loaded ’67 Tele, and two original banner-era Gibson flattops.

It’s not all collector-grade fodder, though. Also included in this sale are historical oddballs, like a set of Czech-made Jolana guitars from the ’60s, as well as instruments from Harmony, Ovation, and Burns, among many others.

The Wilco Loft Shop will be live on Thursday, March 16th on Reverb.com All items have been used by members of the band on tour and in the studio, and each item will ship with signed certificates of authenticity..

From his beat-up Les Paul to his battered amps and vintage effect pedals, Neil Young’s stage rig is a road-worn tribute to his timeless sounds. “When it comes to equipment, the idea with Neil is that you don’t change anything,” says guitar tech Larry Cragg. “You don’t even think about it.”

Cragg is himself among the many constants in Neil Young’s gear universe, having worked for the musician since 1973. A respected guitar repairman—he’s been Carlos Santana’s go-to guy for 40 years—who also owns his own vintage instrument rental company, Cragg first met Young while at Prune Music, a guitar shop in Mill Valley, California.

“At first I was just fixing his guitars,” says Cragg. “But a few years in, he was on the road in Japan when I got a call from his people saying, ‘Get on an airplane!’ And I’ve done every tour since.”

Neil Young brought his standard rig out on the road for his 2009 tour, a mostly electric guitar-dominated jaunt. True to Cragg’s word, his setup has remained largely the same over the years. But if Young is consistent in the equipment he uses to create his sound, the various pieces of gear also tend to be as idiosyncratic and susceptible to change as the man himself.

At the center of it all is the volatile 1953 Gibson Les Paul goldtop Young calls Old Black. A brutal and battered beast, the guitar is responsible for the legendary gritty tones heard on countless Young classics, including “Cinnamon Girl,” “Down By the River” and “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).”

The Les Paul, which features a Bigsby tremolo and a P90 pickup in the neck position, received the black paint job that inspired its nickname prior to being acquired by Young. Since then, it’s undergone several further modifications, including the addition of a “chrome-on-brass” pickguard and back plates, a bridge-position Firebird pickup and a toggle switch, installed between the two volume and two tone knobs, that acts as a bypass. “You flip that,” says Cragg, “and the Firebird goes straight to the amp.”

Cragg installed the Firebird pickup back in 1973. “Originally there was a P90 in there,” he explains. “But in the early Seventies the guitar was lost, and when Neil recovered it a few years later the bridge pickup was gone. He put a Gretsch DeArmond in there for a while, but when I came onboard I replaced that with the Firebird, which has been there ever since. Everyone calls it a mini humbucker, but it’s not. It’s a humbucker, and it’s very microphonic—you can speak into it. It’s really piercing and high and a big part of his sound.”

Old Black remains Young’s primary electric for both studio and live work, but he has also of late been making ample use of his 1961 Gretsch White Falcon onstage. Cragg says, “That’s the real deal. Neil’s had it forever. It’s kind of green-looking and really stunning. There’s probably only 10 or 11 of those around.” The guitar, a stereo, single-cutaway model, figured prominently in Young’s work with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY, as well as on solo songs like “Words (Between the Lines of Age).”

Other electric guitars used by Young on his recent tour include a 1956 Les Paul Junior of Cragg’s that he calls a “really rude, in-your-face killer,” and a second ’53 goldtop that the tech assembled as a stand-in for Old Black.

Cragg says, “I put that together around the time of [1990’s] Ragged Glory, and Neil used it on about half that album. It’s not black, but it’s got the metal pickguard and covers, the Firebird pickup, everything. It feels different, but it still kicks butt. It’s a little more powerful and a little less piercing than the original.”

For his touring acoustics, Young has been relying on a trio of Martins, all equipped with Cragg’s stereo FRAP (Flat Audio Response Pickup) transducers: the 1968 D-45 used to record much of 1972’s Harvest; “Hank,” an early Forties D-28 formerly owned by Hank Williams; and a second D-28 that Cragg tunes to what Young calls “A# modal” [low to high: A# F A# D# G A#].

“That one’s a ’62,” Cragg says of the detuned guitar. “It’s also been shot. There’s a mark on the bottom where the bullet went in.”

Neil Young: Ragged Glory

Cragg uses D’Angelico 80/20 Brass strings (.012–.054) on Young’s acoustics, and Dean Markley Super V’s (.010–.046) on his electrics. Picks are nylon Herco Gold Flex 50s. “Neil used those when I first started working for him, and he still does today.”

At the core of Young’s amplifier setup is a piece of gear as essential to his sound as Old Black: the 1959 tweed Fender Deluxe he’s used since the late Sixties. A small, 15-watt unit, with just two volume knobs and a shared tone control, this amp, says Cragg, “makes all the sound. Onstage, as loud as everything gets, that’s what you hear. And it’s totally stock except for two 6L6’s in place of the original tubes. That boosts the output from 15 to 19 watts, and it kills.” An added consequence of this rebiasing is that the amp runs extremely hot; Cragg has high-powered fans trained on the back of the Deluxe to “keep it from blowing up.”

Young derives his distortion entirely from the Deluxe’s output-tube saturation. He coaxes various gain stages from the amp using a device called the Whizzer, a custom-made switching system he and his late amp tech, Sal Trentino, developed around the time of the Rust Never Sleeps tour in 1978. A high-tech concept housed in a rudimentary box, the Whizzer boasts four preset buttons, each corresponding to one volume/tone configuration on the Deluxe. Young accesses the presets through footswitches on his pedal board, which, in turn, command the Whizzer to mechanically twist the Deluxe’s tone and volume controls to the programmed positions.

All four of the Whizzer’s presets dial in distorted tones on the Deluxe. “The first one,” says Cragg, “is still clean enough that Neil can get really nice dynamics, depending on the way he picks. The second setting is the one he uses on songs like ‘Hey Hey, My My,’ and the third one is really distorted.” The final setting, which moves the Deluxe’s main volume and tone knobs to 12 and the second volume control to roughly 9.9, produces a sound that, says Cragg, “is basically a woooaaarrr type of thing.”

Cragg pads down the output from the Deluxe and feeds it into a Magnatone 280 with stereo vibrato combo amp, and a Mesa/Boogie Bass 400 head with the highs EQ’d out. The latter amplifier is run through a massive Magnatone speaker cabinet that sports “eight horns, four 10-inch speakers, four 15-inch speakers and two 15-inch passive radiators.” The stage rig is rounded out by a 25-watt tweed Fender Tremolux of Cragg’s that the tech rebiased to run at 40 watts, as well as a “high-powered, four-6L6” tweed Fender Twin. Cragg uses a combination of Sennheiser 409 and Shure SM57 microphones on the amps. Young’s reverb unit, a stock, brown-tolex-covered Fender model, is stationed behind the wall of amplifiers. “We have three plates for that,” says Cragg. “We only use one at a time, but they all sound different.”

Young controls everything from an oversized, red wood pedalboard at the front of the stage. The slanted portion features five buttons: one for each of the four Whizzer presets, as well as a reverb kill. Across the top panel are switches for, variously, a Mu-Tron octave divider; an old, AC-powered MXR analog delay; a Boss Flanger in a “blue, cast-metal box”; and an Echoplex. All are housed inside the board. There is also an effect-loop bypass and mute/tune option, as well as a switch that Cragg refers to as the “ugly button.”

“That’s a very strange thing, and Neil only hits it when he wants to go to the next level,” he says. “It activates a unit that’s just totally freaked out.” Cragg laughs. “It’s adjusted how it definitely should not be adjusted. But Neil seems to like that.”

10.4 guitarlington

The world’s largest consumer guitar trade show being held Oct. 15th & 16th at the Arlington Convention Center. Buy, sell or trade new and vintage guitars, amps, banjos, mandolins, memorabilia, sound gear, records, drum kits, accessories and lots more from over 100 different vendors

Meet The Pedal That Makes Your Guitar Sound Like An Orchestra

Check out the MEL9, its the latest creation from the creative folks at Electro-Harmonix.

This peda will extend your imagination as it simulates those classic sounds of the Mellotron, the early synthesiser which used rows of tapes to emulate sounds like orchestra strings.

You know those flutes at the beginning of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ by The Beatles? Yeah, that’s the sound of a Mellotron. You’ve likely heard similar types of sounds all throughout rock and roll and pop music. particulary the sounds of Genesis and the Moody Blues.


Mellotrons are quite a coveted item amongst studio and recording geeks, but they’re pretty pricey and require regular maintenance. Since people well-versed in Mellotron maintenance are hard to find these days, that’s also expensive. But Electro-Harmonix have put a Mellotron in the palm of the hand of any guitarist. As Mixdown reports, the MEL9 has settings for nine different sounds inspired by the Mellotron, including orchestra, cello, flute, and strings.

No modifications or special pickups are necessary for the MEL9 to work, you just plug in, and it can even track bends and slides, so you can actually make your orchestra rock a sweet shredding solo.

One of the best ways to improve as a musician is to record your own playing. Sure, it can be frustrating and disappointing when you hear that you’re out of tempo, out of key, or out of tune. But knowing your weaknesses is the first step to improvement, and hearing a well-played number is its own reward.

I can remember when decent-quality recording was complicated and expensive, but today inexpensive flash-memory recorders—at most every price point and with any feature set—are capable of remarkable fidelity. Every music recorder I’ve researched can capture in so-called high-resolution formats, using sample rates and bit depth greater than the CD standard of 44.1 kHz and 16-bit depth, although it’s hotly debated whether these formats offer any improvement in audio quality. All of these recorders can record compressed audio using the MP3 format and uncompressed audio in WAV format. Compressed formats take up less room and are handy for passing around on the internet, while uncompressed formats provide higher quality and are preferred if you plan to process your recordings to create audio CDs or add such effects as equalization, reverb, and compression.

In addition to sound quality, you’ll also want to consider ease of use (the navigation of settings can vary considerably), storage capacity, and battery life.

The Memory Game

The devices discussed here all use solid-state memory in the form of standardized flash cards. Flash cards come in three sizes: CF (compact flash), SD (secure digital), and micro SD. The capacity of these cards has increased over the years, along with improvements in read and write speed. The original SD card had a maximum capacity of only 2 GB (gigabytes). The SDHC (secure digital high capacity) standard increased the maximum size to 32 GB, and the newer SDXC (secure digital extended capacity) can reach a maximum of 2 terabytes, or 2,000 GB. Some recorders are limited in the class of SD card they can use, so check carefully when purchasing a recorder and flash card. (Manufacturers generally provide a list of confirmed compatible cards with the documentation for their recorders.)

Large capacity cards are great for video and even high-end photography, but for audio recording, even the smaller flash cards store a lot of music. CD-standard WAV files take up about 10 MB per minute, so a 2 GB card will hold more than three hours of music in uncompressed WAV format. Compressed MP3 formats are even smaller, and the size can be adjusted by selecting different compression levels, specified as bit rate in kilobits per second (kbps). For instance, five minutes of music would create a 50 MB WAV file, while a 128-kbps MP3 file would be only 5 MB; at the highest bit rate of 320 kbps, the compressed file will be about 10 MB. There’s a quality tradeoff for smaller file sizes, of course. In general, the 320-kbps MP3 is audibly the same as a WAV file, while the 128-kbps file may have audible artifacts.

Budget Constraints

With so many recorders and a wide array of features available, finding the right tool for your job can be a challenge. Your first step in filtering the choices is to determine your budget, then evaluate the features you need for your recording goals. Most of the recorders have built-in mics, but most also allow you to attach external microphones. Most portable recorders have a stereo 1/8-inch jack that uses a microphone powering system called plug-in power, and there are a wide variety of mics that can be connected in this way; however, the usual stage and studio mics will not work with this connection because they require an XLR input, and condenser microphones additionally need phantom power to operate.

The least expensive recorders designed for music have a street price of less than $100. Both Tascam and Zoom make high-quality, affordable flash recorders in this segment that record in stereo using built-in mics or external mics through the 1/8-inch stereo jacks. The Tascam DR-05 offers features including a limiter and clip editing, while the Zoom H1 is equipped with directional mics for an improved stereo image.

If your budget extends to $200, the choices really expand. In this range, you can find recorders like the Zoom H4n and Tascam DR-40 that support condenser mics requiring XLR connections and 48-volt phantom power. Only a short time ago, these features were limited to professional studios, but today they’re in the palm of your hand. Other features in this segment include overdubbing and multitrack recording, although the user interface for such features in a compact recorder can be a bit challenging. Zoom offers surround recording in their H2n with a combination of XY and mid-side mic arrays, while Tascam has recently released the DR-22WL with Wi-Fi control and file transfer using your smartphone.

When you look at the next segment, up to $300, there are some very interesting tools. The Zoom H5 lets you swap attached mics among XY, mid-side, and shotgun modules, along with two XLR inputs and four-channel recording. TheTascam DR44-WL adds Wi-Fi control along with four-channel recording using attached stereo mics and dual XLR inputs. The Sony PCM-M10 is known for its amazing battery life and low self-noise.

Above $300, you get to some real powerhouse recorders. The Zoom H6 andRoland R-26 are six-track handheld recorders, great for capturing small groups. The Marantz PMD661 MKII, Fostex FR-2LE, and Sony PCM-D100 capture two channels of pristine audio. Only the Sony includes built-in mics in this group, but the other two are worthy of the finest external condenser mics and offer XLR inputs and phantom power to operate them.

In this golden age of compact recorders, you can buy an impressive device for the price of a nice instrument case—one that fits in your hand and captures every nuance of your playing.

POST ROCK PEDALBOARD

Posted: December 23, 2015 in Guitar Accessories, Guitar Pedals

Post-rock normally is associated with instrumental bands that deviate from popular song structure by building soundscapes and textures that reach crescendos and invoke emotions — without vocals or even speaking a word. The instruments are their voices.

Pioneered by bands like Mogwai, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, and expanded upon by giants like Caspian and This Will Destroy You, post-rock has become a popular and distinct subsection of the musical landscape.

The amp of choice for this genre is usually a high-headroom clean amp, such as the Fender Twin, so that players have a clean platform to run their pedals through. Here’s a look at putting together a pedalboard specifically for this genre, including the essentials, and presented in a suggested signal-chain order. And don’t forget your Ebow!

Overdrive

Mostly used as a boost or for a pushed-clean sound, an overdrive pedal lets the player stand out on tremolo-picked or lead lines, as well as cut through the band mix, especially if using a mid-boosted type overdrive. Any type of Tube Screamer, like the Ibanez TS-9, TS-808, Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive Mod, or something more transparent, like the Walrus Audio Voyager or Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive Pedal, is a solid option to fill this spot. The choice is up to the player, depending on the sound they’re looking for.

Ibanez TS-9

Voodoo Sparkle Drive Mod

Walrus Audio Voyager

Paul Cochrane Timmy

Distortion

Distortion is an essential part of post-rock, particularly when sounds need to erupt from the song and appeal to the listeners’ emotions. Since post-rock is not typically known for being tight and defined, you should look for a distortion pedal that will ensure the opposite. It must be raw and aggressive. Some post-rock bands use metal type distortions like the EHX Metal Muff or MXR M116 Fullbore Metal Distortion for that sputtery and destructive sound.

One of the most popular distortion pedals, found on countless pro pedalboards, is the ProCo Rat. This pedal can cover all of your dirt needs, from mild overdrive to searing distortion, all the way up to amp-exploding fuzz territory. There are countless choices out there for this category, but it is essential to find a more in-your-face type distortion than a tight and focused pedal.

Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff

MXR M116 Fullbore Metal

ProCo Rat

Volume Pedal

Volume pedals are used for ambient swells, in which the player will strike a note and then “swell” it in with the pedal bringing it up to full volume. Volume pedals usually are used in conjunction with delays and reverbs to achieve ambient textures and soundscapes. The most popular choice on pedalboards everywhere is the Ernie Ball VP Jr., but other popular choices are the newer Dunlop Volume (X), or the seasoned Goodrich Volume Pedal.

Ernie Ball VP Jr.

Dunlop Volume (X)

Goodrich

Delay

This is where we get into the real meat and potatoes of the post-rock sound. All players of the genre should have delay on their pedalboards. Whether analog or digital, delays add texture to the sound and the ambient wash for which the genre is known. One can achieve a multitude of sounds through note variations, modulation, vibrato, pitch shifting, chorus, and the list goes on. If you are one to keep an arsenal of different sounds, then a delay with presets like the Strymon Timeline or new Boss DD-500would fit the bill just fine with their abundance of features and sounds. Single analog and digital delay pedals like the MXR Carbon Copy or Boss DD-7 are also suitable. Another awesome feature of analog delays is their ability to create noise on their own by cranking the repeats and regen knobs and then slowly turning them back. This produces a “whooshing” sound that will get the listeners’ attention.

Strymon Timeline

Boss DD-7

MXR Carbon Copy

Boss DD-500

Reverb

From splashy springs to long hallways to cavernous cathedrals, reverb adds infinite space to the guitar’s sound. Adding this sound to your tremolo-picked or lead lines creates a depth that can extend to the far reaches of the cosmos or the bottom of the ocean. Like the delay pedal, you’ll need to choose one that you can either use as a standalone box, or if presets are essential, enables you to go that route. Great standalone boxes range from the Boss RV series, from the revered RV-3 to the new RV-6, as well as theTC Electronic Hall of Fame and Trinity reverbs. All of these pedals have different modes that range from spring to infinitely long reverbs. If choosing one sound isn’t enough, then a reverb unit with presets may be right for you. Strymon makes a few that feature a regular mode and then a preset sound that can be saved, such as the Flint and the Blue Sky. Larger preset reverbs like the Strymon BigSky and Eventide Space feature hundreds of sounds to quench your reverb thirst.

Strymon BigSky

Boss RV-6

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame

Eventide Space

Loopers

Live looping is an essential part of creating dense soundscapes and ambient pads that produce an atmospheric sound. Easy to use single loopers like the TC Electronic Ditto and Ditto X2 will suit the minimalist, but for those who want complex looping with the ability to use samples, there are a few to check out. Boss has a reliable line of loopers, like the RC-30 Loop Station, that can loop on the fly as well as save up to 99 presets to recall instantly.

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

TC Electronic Ditto X2

Boss RC-30 Loop Station