It’s been such a long time… it’s been such a loooong time!

May 13, 2011 7 comments

Ah good ol Boston!

WOW! It’s been months since my last post! I apologize to you all. I’ve been completely swamped with life (CPA exams, working overtime, a car project) and I’ve neglected my newly formed child, this blog.

Just a few updates. The 65 amps London is one of the most glorious amplifiers I’ve ever heard. So many highly experienced ears that have heard this amp through my rig have been amazed at its tone. Our worship director who is about as picky and fickle when it comes to tone as it gets, was really impressed. That says a lot to me!

My board has a few changes:

A Lovepedal Amp 50: absolutely love the tone of this pedal! Especially with my Les Paul. Lately it seems to be acting a little funny; I’m gonna do some more looking into it. Aside from that, it just has this gorgeous natural overdrive/boost to it that is just perfect! It only has a gain knob, and I’ve never desired a tone knob on it, which is amazing in and of itself.

Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2: one of the best choices I’ve made in a long time. Finally got rid of the annoying tap tempo led “pop” in my signal chain. It powers virtually any pedal. It’s dead quiet. Well worth the price of admission.

HBE Powerscreamer is gone: honestly, I miss that pedal a bit. It was a really nice TS808 style pedal. But it paid for my Tim pedal, that should be arriving in the next week or two.

Tim to come: as mentioned above, I ordered a Tim last December. I was supposed to be in the March shipment, that turned to April, now May. However, I just found out that Paul Cochrane’s mother passed away and that has put him behind on orders. I pray for peace and comfort for him and his family. That is never an easy thing to deal with.

In other news…

I’ve noticed that everytime I play my Les Paul, and then play my strats, I pretty much HAVE to turn the compressor on. Lesson learned: don’t play the Les before the strat. Haha.

Another thing to share: I had a wonderful worship refresher in my soul about a month ago. I was asked at the last minute, to play at the city wide first friday worship service our church holds. Typically, the same team plays that service, due to the fact that it’s about an hour and a half of worship and a great deal is on the fly. Because of that, the teams have to be super tight in the way they operate. Anywho, it was just so refreshing and rejuvenating to play that night. It’s hard to explain, but I’m sure you know where I’m coming from. It was one of those times when you just feel like you got to return to that pure, raw, powerful worship, where you just played and adored God and didn’t really even think. Just played for Him. It was a very blessed time.

Well, its back to work for me. I will be better about keeping my blog updated, I promise!

PS… wondering what that picture of Yosemite has anything to do with my post? Yosemite was my backyard growing up. It’s my home. This post, as well as that worship night, feels like a bit of a homecoming. So there you have it 😉

Categories: Uncategorized

65 Amps London… in my room…

January 5, 2011 11 comments

So I just got rid of the Orange last night and picked up a 65 Amps London… LIFE. CHANGING. TONE.

More to follow…

Categories: Amps

HBE Powerscreamer Demo and Review with Video

January 3, 2011 7 comments

Happy New Year all!

I just got a Canon t1i DSLR camera that shoots video so I’m starting up my video posts!

First video is a review of the HBE Powerscreamer. It is a TS-808 (tubescreamer) based overdrive pedal. It’s very versatile as a tubescreamer should be. Anything from cleanish boost to nice crunchy overdrive. Really great pedal if you are in a TS mood. Highly recommend. Enjoy the video and thanks for the love!

Cheers.

Marc

Categories: Pedals

Updates coming very soon!

December 17, 2010 8 comments

Hello all! I’ve been redoing my pedalboard and I will be posting the changes as well as reviews of new pieces I’ve added.

New gear:
Lovepedal Babyface Tremolo
T1M Buffer- w/two outputs (one to tuner)
JHS Crybaby Mod – True bypass, volume and Q knobs, new inductor, new pot
Got rid of Planet Waves pedal cables, George L’s on the way… very excited, they take up much less space!

I will also be doing reviews and videos (hopefully) of my guitars, pedals, and my amp (Orange Rockerverb 50)

Stay tuned!

Cheers

Categories: Misc. Rants

Rock N’ Roll Relics Stratocaster

November 28, 2010 8 comments


The most unique guitar I own would definitely be my custom made, reliced strat. The story behind this guitar is this: my parents bought me my first electric guitar, a lake placid blue MIM Fender Standard Stratocaster. It served me well over the years, however, once I got my Gibson Les Paul, the strat got left behind for most gigs. I wasn’t a fan of the pickups and the neck left much to be desired in the “playability” department. So I decided to do a custom reliced strat using as many parts as I could from my blue strat. In my search for relicing information, I found out that a phenomenal relic guitar maker lives not too far from me. That man is Billy Rowe, of Rock N’ Roll Relics in San Francisco.

Let me first say that I am in no way “sponsored” or “compensated” by RnR. I get a lot of questions about this guitar and I like to spread the word about good gear, especially when it’s handmade stuff from really cool, good people.

Billy is just that. One amazing builder, super nice, down to earth, and very humble. He’s a one man shop and definitely “boutique.” He has some very well known clients, but he treats you and the work he does for you, like you are a VIP. To top it off, his prices are very reasonable, especially considering the quality. He sells reliced strats and teles for about $1,000 less than a Fender Custom Shop relic, and he makes it to your exact specs.

So for my guitar I ordered an unfinished birdseye maple neck from Warmoth. It has a 10-16″ compound radius, 6105 frets and a Graphtech TUSQ nut. I took my guitar completely apart and brought him the neck, all of my hardwear (except for the tuners, those I ordered straight from him), and my pickguard (knobs and pup covers too). I reliced the body myself, as it was poly finished and I figured I’d give it a shot. If you don’t know yet, poly finished guitars are a bear to relic, let alone relic properly. Eventually I may strip the body and have him finish it with nitro and relic it properly.

I wanted to go for a heavy relic with this guitar. So Billy shot the neck with nitro and did an unreal job of relicing it. All of these pictures where shot with my iPhone 4 in poor room lighting, so it’s hard to see the detail, but nothing gets over looked. One of the main reasons I wanted a reliced strat, was for the broken in feel of the neck. This neck feels amazing in your hand. Smooth and worn in all the right places. Hand rolled edges and hand filed fret ends make it play and feel like a dream. Perfection.

The hardwear came out great as well. I will be adding a Callaham trem block soon. Better tone and a better tremolo bar, with a more precise and solid feel.

As far as pickups and electronics go, I handwired this guitar using parts strictly from Callaham Guitars, including cryo pots, five way selector, wire and an orange drop cap. The pickups are Seymour Duncan Custom Shop, with a reverse wound/reverse polarity middle pickup.

Thanks for reading and check out Billy’s work at http://www.rocknrollrelics.net

Cheers!

Categories: Guitars

Tuner Placement and Buffers

November 22, 2010 3 comments

Alrighty…
So it was suggested to me on a previous post, that I put my Boss TU-2 directly before my volume pedal instead of using my volume pedal’s “tuner out” jack. I tried it and I’m a believer.

Before I talk about what differences I noticed, let me back up a bit and explain why I didn’t have it there to begin with. When I got my Ernie Ball VP Jr, I tested the tuner out for tone loss. I tried plugging my tuner in… played a little bit and listened, and then unplugged it… played a little bit and listened. I honestly didn’t notice a significant different in tone. So I stopped there, plugged it in to the tuner out, and never looked back.

But I forgot one thing… I never tried it with the tuner in between my guitar and the “instrument in” jack (the regular input jack). I figured that it would be better to have it isolated from my signal chain, especially being that I found no major tonal difference using the “tuner in.” Now this is where I think I may differ from popular opinion. I don’t really think there is much of a difference in tone “tuner in” or no tuner at all. Everyone says it splits your signal… then they mention a reference to ohms and speakers, yada yada yada.

I think the biggest tonal difference is the fact that a good tuner will have a good bypass buffer, and by plugging in directly to the tuner, you get all of the wonderful advantages of a buffer in your signal chain. With a bunch of true bypass pedals and lots of cable like I have, a buffer can make a HUGE tonal difference.

I won’t go into detail on how a buffer works. Suffice it to say that a buffer generally makes your signal more “alive” and really helps out with signal loss due to lots of pedals and long cables. Buffers are much more common than you may realize. Anytime you see an artist with pedals mounted in a rack, using a special floorboard footswitching system, guaranteed they have at least one and probably more than one buffer built into their switching system. This “alive” feeling is what the TU-2 in front of my volume pedal seemed to do. My signal seemed stronger and my mids and highs seemed to have more definition and clarity.

This leads me to my quest for a buffer for my board. Currently I’m contemplating the Toad Works Big Banana and the Carl Martin Buff Deluxe. The advantage of the Buff Deluxe is you can run the beginning and the end of your chain through it, whereas the Big Banana only buffers at one point.

Thanks for reading and comment away!

Cheers

Categories: Pedals

A Disclaimer on Tone

November 19, 2010 8 comments

Something I was thinking about that might be something you’ve struggled with.  It’s the struggle we have with tone and gear.  Today it seems like the current trend of tone is “boutique” everything.  And I mean everything

If I want good tone, I’d better have a custom built guitar, with pickups from this one guy who lives in the forest… who learned how to wind pickups from Seth Lover and Abigail Ybarra… at the same time!  And I have  to have pedals made from people who only make 100 or less of each pedal the have.  And it better be true bypass!  Because true bypass doesn’t suck tone!  Well, actually it does suck some tone, and that is why I have true bypass loopers, handmand by virgin Swedish housemades (okay… what does that even mean???) and buffers at the beginning and end of my signal chain.  And I know I better not be plugging into any amp made anywhere but England or the USA, let alone one that is PCB board based! Handwired only… duh!  Being that we are talking about worship, I better not show up to church with a non EL-84, non tube rectifier based amp.

You see, we have become OCD about our gear (no not Fulltone OCD.. because they are sold at Guitar Center now, and so I must dislike them).  The funny thing is, what I wrote above is not to make fun of other people… it’s to make fun of myself!  My tone may become significantly better with each “boutique” component I add… but my playing doesn’t.  I’ve seen so many players with ridiculously expensive rigs, everything handmade, and they don’t even know what the pentatonic scale is let alone modal scales.  In contrast, I’ve seen some of the best players use some of the cheapest gear ever.

Along those same lines, remember that tone is in the ear of the beholder.  Look at Lincoln Brewster.  He plugs a few Boss pedals into a Line 6 X3 Live and goes direct!  Granted he plugs into an Avalon preamp (so I hear).  But still, you get the picture.  Boutique gear has brought out the “consumer” and “materialist” in all of us… or a least me, and more than I’d like to admit. 

Ahhhhh… that’s better.  Thank you readers, this counseling session was great. 

Cheers

Categories: Misc. Rants