Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Checklist

Nels Cline of Wilco (et al.) has a tech talk section on his site that's been making the rounds on the guitar blogs. I guess its a bit peculiar that an artist expounds in detail on his pedal board (although John Frusciante did recently in GP Mag, listing each effect, song by song through the entirety of Stadium Arcadium ad naseum that had even me glazing over, and I like his solo albums and this sort of guitar geekery).

But I think some are missing Cline's point. Scroll down and check the Amp du Jour section to see how he fared touring without his own amp. He's definitely in the "plug in and play" camp and sees effects as gravy. Yummy, yummy gravy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Axiom & Ableton

Picked up a new midi keyboard a few weeks back and have been exploring Ableton Live with it; running the tutorials and laying down some simple rhythm tracks and loops (or clips, should I say). It's brilliant. The touch of the keys and especially drum pads are phenomenal. And the inclusion of the (nearly) full featured Ableton Live Lite is a boon. I'm just thinking I should got the 49 or 61 key version and some piano lessons.

But I don't want to focus too much on the bleep-bloop music and take time away from the guitar rocking. As much as I like Radiohead, and The Chemical Brothers, and Aphex Twin, and ... where was I? Oh, yeah, guitars rock! But so do midi-keyboards and live-looping-beat-syncing DAWs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Echo Drive

I got asked recently about delay pedals, so here's my two cents.

I've been playing through the Big Green Monster for over a year and I still love the beast. Initially it was the looping function that sold me. Fourteen seconds so it says, but really it can do 28 when you record on half time. Not enough for a slow 12 bar blues but still adequate to get a nice rhythm line down. And the looping is dead easy to use, and has that nice fade out overdub thing. Check the manual to see how easy it is.

I thought once I got the Jamman I'd phase out the DL4 maybe sell it and replace it with a sweet analog delay. EH Deluxe Memory Man is the standard, used famously by the Edge (although you'd need two to get his sound, for one slow and one fast delay - or just one DL4 set to stereo). The Fulltone tape delay would be really ostentatious, but it was Diamond's Memory Lane that I thought was really sweet. Analog, but with tap tempo (I haven't found that anywhere else), and modulation depth and speed, to get the chorus like effects.

But I haven't turfed the DL4 yet, and don't know that I will. It's still really handy as a looper, nice to do something really quick, but also as an additional track on top of the Jamman's infinite overdub, but linear undo/redo capability. And also its a smorgasbord of delay flavors. Granted I'm not sure I can even tell the difference between four types of tube/tape delay, but they sound cool. And its the other functions that you can't really get without multiple pedals, to get say the Edge's stereo setup or the one I was playing with recently I liked, the auto-volume echo, for sweet sweeping swells.

Side note: if the looper is of no use to you (but frankly I'd find that hard to believe) you can get the Echo Drive scaled down version for a fraction of the cost. And check out the video demo and sound samples for a feel for its capabilities.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Dave Hunter's guitar book raved about Yamaha's SG 2000, what at first glance looks like a nice Les Paul/SG knockoff, but really is a rock machine, the progression and development of the instrument. Neck-thru body and a brass bridge sustain plate? Hellsyeah! Especially considering Gibson's lackluster quality in the late 70s and 80s, and the inflated price they demand, this axe is the shit.

And there's even one in 'Town. I wonder how it'd look with a gold Bigsby.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I didn't get a passing nod in a NY news montage (new cabinet for the 18watt looks great by the way), but my questions do get answered.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Only a couple weeks late, the Bluesfest higlight: The Chris Duarte Group. En route to a bland main event I got side tracked by a smaller stage and this guys mad howls from a ratty old Strat. Hendrix and SRV influences are obvious but Duarte has a sound all his own, and can live up to the praise. He's even got an instructional DVD.

The KR

Guitar Player Mag has my number: tight-bottomed grind at lower settings (think of Keef on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?”) in the recent review of the Louis KR M12. Dammnit! How did they know I want to sound like the mummified father of an effete pirate? I've been outed!

Still, a Keith Richards signature boutique amp. Pretty sweet, if only it wasn't 40 watts with no effects loop. Its exactly what I don't need. But "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"? That is the tone.

Monday, June 26, 2006

DCFC gear update

Someone took some snaps of a recent show and posted it on guitargeek.

Notably cool: Chris Walla has a Malcolm Young Signature.