Chorus is kind of a weird effect. Sometimes it can be sweet, delicate and organic. Sometimes it can be bold, crisp and hi-fi. It’s difficult to find something new to do with the effect after all these years, especially something that honours the established chorus sound we’ve all grown to love, but Seymour Duncan has taken a particularly unique approach with a new dynamic feature. Now, in the interests of transparency I actually wrote the manual for this pedal and was able to play an early prototype in California in early 2015, but this review is totally unbiased: I have no reason to persuade you to buy the Catalina if it’s not what you’re after.
The Catalina Dynamic Chorus is made using Bucket Brigade Devices (BBDs) and it has stereo outputs for sending the output to two amps or signal chains. It has controls for Delay (ie: you can select between .5Ms to 50Ms distance between the dry and effected sounds), Mix (which lets you dial in anything from very subtle background chorus to a 3dB boost for the effected signal compared to the dry sound), Depth and Rate controls, plus a smaller Tone control which rolls off up to 10dB at 5kHZ (in other words, you can keep plenty of air in your tone with the control all the way open, or roll it right back for a darker, more subtle effect). There’s a True Bypass footswitch and a separate Expression switch which engages the Dynamic feature; there’s also a Threshold control which lights up blue or green depending on the setting of the Hard/Soft mini-toggle.
So what’s all this ‘dynamic’ business? Well when you stomp on the Expression switch you can set the Catalina so that the mix – and therefore the effect depth – gets louder gets broader or more subtle depending on how hard or soft you play. For instance, you can set it up so there’s plenty of shimmery chorus when you’re playing soft, but as soon as you pick above your preset threshold, the chorusing effect disappears. Or you can do it the other way around: plenty of deep chorus when you’re picking hard, fading back to progressively shallower depth when you pick softly.
My go-to song to try this out is Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” where those big bold stabs seem to sound best when there’s no chorus on them, but the softer, gentler chord melodies become super-sweet when there’s a wavery, tremolo-like chorus on top of them. Or I can crank up the Delay control and unleash my inner Andy Summers with wide chorus coming in when I’m picking hard, reigning back in as the notes fade out. It’s a very intuitive, interactive experience. I’ve always shied away from using chorus for lead guitar because I never liked the way it messed around with the clarity of a high, sustained note. But the Catalina completely eliminates that issue: just whack the string a little harder and the warble goes away.
The Threshold setting does take a bit of time to get right for the particular guitar you’re using it with; you’ll need to set it differently for high-output humbuckers verses single coils, for instance. One thing you won’t find from the Catalina is that really wild, wobbly, seasick chorus sound. It never gets that extreme, so if you’re after those particularly out-there tones then this probably isn’t the pedal for you.
Likewise if you’re into the processed 80s chorus sound or modern digital choruses with all sorts of pitch-shifty tricks, the Catalina may be a bit more organic than what you seek. It can be subtle enough to use as a ‘leave on all the time’ effect, especially with the Dynamic Expression mode engaged, but if you just want your chorus effect to stay at the same depth all the time you can use it without the Dynamic Expression feature and it’ll sound great!
Unless you’re looking for a really exaggerated chorus effect, the Catalina has a lot of power and flexibility for all sorts of uses. It can go from subtle to pretty bold, and it works with your playing in a way that feels completely natural and yet is unlike any other chorus I’ve used.
You dream it and the Martin Custom Shop will build it!
The Martin Custom Shop will use the finest materials to make your dream a reality, ensuring the bond you have with your guitar is extremely personal. Your style will come through on every decision including tone woods, neck shape, guitar shape and size, and inlay. You can even test these decisions on the Martin Custom Shop Builder here.
When talking to a customer about their custom Martin guitar, Jeff Allen, the General Manager of the Custom Shop, often says "this guitar will be enjoyed today and by the next generation."
Ready to make your guitar dream a reality? Contact your authorized Martin dealer today to begin. You can find a list of authorized Martin dealers here. You can also view the limited edition Martin Custom Shop book here.
You can also experience one of a kind custom Martin guitars during Martin Experience events. Find a Martin Experience happening near you here.
Ted McCarty, the man who guided Gibson Guitars through its “Golden Era” and increased their sales from 5,000 units a year to over 100,000, studied engineering at the University of Cincinnati and worked for the Wurlitzer Piano and Organ Company before joining Gibson Guitars.
|Flying Vee, Explorer, Moderne patents dated January 7, 1958|
|Ray Dietrich - Auto Designer|
|Ray Dietrich 1975|
Dietrich has a very interesting story you can read here. Suffice to say he designed the bodies of Packard, Studebaker, Ford and Lincoln automobiles. He was even responsible for the design of Checker Cabs, which were based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is the town where Dietrich lived after his retirement.
|1963 Gibson Reverse Firebird V|
Dietrich took the tail fin design that was popular with mid-1950’s cars and modified the design of the 1958 Gibson Explorer to create the body shape.
Because the lower horn extended father out than the upper one, this was a very unorthodox look for that era, when compared to Fender’s Jazzmaster guitar. Therefore it has come to be known as the “reverse” Firebird.
|From 1965 Gibson Catalog|
The other unique feature was the Gibson Firebird was the first solidbody guitar produced with neck-through body construction. Perhaps Dietrich took a hint from Les Paul’s “Log”.
|Mini humbuckers with chrome covers|
|Reverse Firebird headstock|
The pickups on this instrument were also unusual for 1963. These were Gibson mini-humbucking pickups that were enclosed in a solid chromed case.
The Firebird came with different pickup configurations and styles which were noted by Roman numerals.
|1964 Firebird I|
|1964 Firebird III|
Model III was indicative of a twin pickup guitar, with or without a Maestro tremolo, a bound neck with dot markers.
|1964 Firebird V|
|1964 Firebird VII|
The top-of-the-line Firebird VII was similar in accouterments as the V model, but it had three chrome-covered mini-humbucking pickups. I might note that Ray Dietrich was 66 years old when he designed the Reverse Firebird. Perhaps one of the first notable users of this guitar was a 22 year-old Brian Jones on the Rolling Stones first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on October 25th of 1964.
Another automotive designer, did not work for a major automotive company. Rather he became very famous for customizing cars; at first for himself and other and later in his career for vehicles used by celebrities and in movies and on TV shows.
George Barris and his brother was sent from Greece to live in Chicago with relatives. At age 7 he was building model cars out of balsa wood.
|George and Sam Barris|
George and his brother Sam worked in the family’s Greek restaurant. At a young age the brothers were given a 1925 Buick in lieu of a paycheck. They restored it and this turned into their life’s work.
|The Barris Kustom Shop|
They sold that car and even before the boys had graduated from high school they started Barris Brothers Kustom Shop in Los Angeles.
Their work came to the attention of the motion picture industry and they were asked to create customized cars for studio executives, movie stars and vehicles to be used as movie props. This lead to a meeting with the owner/founder of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines.
In 1950 Sam left the business and George Barris ran the company with the help of his wife. Model car building was popular in those days and Barris’ designs were licensed by the major model kit companies. By the 1960’s Barris, along with other automobile customizers did their magic on production cars for Ford and Lincoln/Mercury’s traveling exhibits, designed to attract young buyers. This caught the eye of author Tom Wolfe and inspired his first best selling book; The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.
|George Barris movie cars|
|The TV Batmobile|
He leased the car to that show and sold it in 2013 for over four million dollars.
|KiTT from Knightrider TV Show|
|Family Vacation Wagon|
Barris was also responsible for the "Wagon Queen Family Truckster", based on a 1979 Ford Country Squire station wagon, for the 1983 movie "National Lampoon's Vacation".
|The Vox Mobile|
|Back to the Future - Barris modded Delorean|
It was Barris who designed this for the Jennings Company. Barris also rebuilt the Back to the Future DeLorean for the movie of the same name.
|Hallmark Barris Guitars.|
Bob Shade of Hallmark Guitars called upon Barris’ design firm to create limited runs of several Hallmark instruments.
|Barris Krest Guitar|
This Fender model was a 1999 limited run of 25 Fender Custom Shop designers made exclusively for the automotive company. Twenty of these guitars were given to fortunate Jaguar dealers as an incentive to customers purchasing the luxury car and it was a beautiful guitar.
|Fender XK-50 Strat|
And though, Burgess, the Jaguar designer never built a guitar, the XK-50 Jaguar Stratocaster is a thing of beauty. The finish is custom colour Jaguar green. The pickguard is made of burled walnut, as is the headstock. The pickups are enclosed in gold-plated covers.
In fact all of the hardware, the knobs, the switch cap, the bridge/saddle unit, the tremolo bar, the input and the tuning machines are all gold-plated. It even came with a gold-plated bridge cover. Inlaid in the headstock is the face of a jaguar, and image of the Jaguar hood ornament and the Fender logo in gold trim.
Recently, Ford’s global designers were given the task of putting the 2017 Ford GT design into everyday objects. Design teams created a racing sailboat, a foosball table and a guitar.
|Ford GT Guitar|
The guitar design team was lead by senior designer Tyler Blake. The guitar they came up with utilized a conventional fretboard, but everything else was meant to reflect the GT modern design.
|Ford GT Guitar|
|Ford GT Guitar|
The guitar’s tuning machines are mounted to the bottom of the headstock, reducing visual clutter and creating a clean, precise order to the strings.
|Ford GT Guitar|
24-year-old progressive Sydney guitarist/musician PLINI released his highly anticipated debut full-length album, Handmade Cities today! The self-produced and self-managed sensation has developed a worldwide following after 3 highly successful and independently released EPs, a corresponding transcription book, numerous endorsements and a string of sold-out shows in the USA with Intervals; amassing over 5 million views on YouTube, with tens of thousands of fans on Facebook in all corners of the internet.
The record features world-class performances from Australian drummer phenomenon Troy Wright and bassist Simon Grove (The Helix Nebula) and artwork by long-time collaborator Alex Pryle. From PLINI, “I imagine each of these pieces as soundtracks to different narratives and urban spaces. Some are real, some are imaginary, some are both. When we were recording drums, there were many moments where Troy was interpreting certain rhythms completely differently to me. In the same way, I had a very specific concept for this collection of tunes and artwork, but I find it exciting that, being instrumental music, where it takes the listener could be completely different to what I intended.”
Catch PLINI on tour: with Intervals in SEPTEMBER
Thu 1st Brisbane @ BRIGHTSIDE
Fri 2nd Sydney @ OXFORD ART FACTORY
Sat 3rd Melbourne @ MAX WATTS
Fri 9th Adelaide @ FAT CONTROLLER
Sat 10th Perth @ AMPLIFIER
The post PLINI’s ‘Handmade Cities’ Out Now! Hear The Title Track appeared first on I Heart Guitar.
I really love Reverend Guitars’ design aesthetic. They capture that whole retro-futuristic vibe that got me excited about guitar in the first place when I was a kid, but with a distinctive, instantly identifiable style. Their fall Limited Edition model for 2016 is a blinged-out Sensei HB model which looks utterly gorgeous. Here’s the press release.
ANNOUNCING THE REVEREND LE FOR 2016
Flame Maple, Lots of Colors, and a Bigsby!
TOLEDO, OH (August 23, 2016) – Each Fall, Reverend Guitars releases a Limited Edition model. This year, the Reverend Sensei HB got the all-star treatment with the addition of a Bigsby and colored flame maple tops on Reverend’s classic Korina body. Loaded with the company’s Special H pickups, the Reverend Sensei HB LE also features a bound headstock and a 2016 LE Medallion on the back. Reverend CEO, Ken Haas, calls the guitar “the sexiest Sensei ever built.”
On all Reverend Guitars, there is a graphite nut and locking tuners, Reverend’s Bass Contour Control, and a dual-action truss rod – all for maximum performance. You can’t be different if you’re playing what everyone else is. Visit www.reverendguitars.com to start your journey towards being an individual.
This afternoon I was planing some cherry dulcimer fretboard blanks flat and true. These pieces of cherry had been rough-sawn, squared up and left a little oversized quite some time ago. The wood has had plenty of time to release stresses and further season before becoming part of a dulcimer.
Wood is designed to keep trees alive and trees don’t always think of how they will be used after they die. This can be annoying because sometimes a perfect piece of wood will be difficult to work. “Take that!” says the dead tree.
These cherry fretboards had some interlocking grain. This means there are areas on the board where grain direction is almost irrelevant. These areas are hard to plane smooth without some spots of grain tearing out.
To the rescue comes an old #12 scraper plane.
This tool holds a scraper square and true and allows for fine adjustment of the angle and depth of cut. This scraper plane will take off fine shavings regardless of grain direction and leaves a smooth, flat surface in it’s wake.
Here’s a shot of the setup I use for planing or scraping fretboard and fingerboard stock. The heart of the setup is an oak beam that is planed true and flat. It has a bench stop at one end and clamps to the bench top. This gives me a true surface for planing and also raises the height of the work a few inches to make planing more comfortable.
Currently listed at $1600 Canadian.
Edit: I knew I'd seen a similar guitar before. Check out this red Bartolini.
© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
A Martin Guitar with tremolo and reverb? It can happen with the Strymon Flint Tremolo & Reverb Pedal.
The Flint brings together a studio effects pedal with a class combination. When you pair a Martin guitar with it, you'll get soothing, pulsating, and hypnotic effects that you never thought would be possible with an acoustic. You can see the Flint in action alongside a Martin OMC-28E and a DC-18E here.
For more information on Strymon's Flint Tremolo & Reverb Pedal, click here.
We've looked at this awesome made in Japan Norma before on Guitarz, but I thought it was worth another look since this one recently popped up on eBay.
I love the pickup selector on this split pickup guitar. I think every option is there, including All Off. And that tremolo is, for lack of a better word, epic.
© 2016, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.
View Simonz’s special appearance at the clinic below.
George Ellis, Modern Practical Joinery, 1902
Miter joints in classical guitar making are purely decorative.
Most joints are butt joints. The sides are joined to the heel of the neck in slots, a scarf joint is used to make the head/neck union, some makers use a fancy "V" joint for that union. Click here to read more about the "V" joint.
The only place where I use a miter joint is where the bindings meet the end graft.
The binding runs over the top of the end graft...
...and a miter joint is used to join the side binding purfling to the purfling in the end graft.
As you can see in this photo, the bindings are butted together. Some makers use a scarf joint to join the ends of the binding.
Fancy binding and purfling schemes don't make a guitar sound good, that sound comes from how the wood is worked.
Pretty binding makes for a visually pretty guitar.
My goal is to make a guitar that sings so well your heart melts.
Titanium makes for a brillant metal for guitar hardware. The combination of the light weight, and it’s resonant, bright, articulate tone makes it a great choice for guitar bridges. I’ve previously reviewed Hantug Custom Guitars & Parts gear in the past, and been thoroughly impressed with the build quality and tonal upgrades. The differences found between a standard 6 hole vintage style Stratocaster-style bridge and the custom Hantug strat-style vintage tremolo was astounding, and really sold me on the idea of using titanium for guitar parts. Switching the sustain block on an Ibanez Edge to a titanium type turned the Edge from a reasonable sounding bridge to an amazing one. The next step was to try a double locking tremolo made from predominately titanium, and Hantug once again came to the party with their Titanium Locking Tremolo, providing me with one to review.
I installed the tremolo in my custom Musikraft Charvel San Dimas style guitar. It has a flame maple topped alder body, maple neck and fretboard, stainless steel frets, and a Seymour Duncan Custom Shop hot-rodded IM1 in the bridge, and Little ’59 Strat sized humbucker in the neck.
When I received the tremolo I was impressed with the way in which it was packaged. A beautiful wooden box, etched with the Hantug Custom Guitars logo, and everything neatly placed in a molded interior lined with felt. Hantug provide pretty much everything required for a custom guitar installation, including titamium spring claw, springs and screws, as well as a titanium locking nut. If a part cannot be made from titanium stainless steel is used.
Design-wise, the Hantug Titanium Locking Tremolo takes elements from both the original Floyd Rose and Gotoh licenced Floyd Rose designs. The base design centres around the Floyd Rose, and then adds enhancements like the straight bass-side knife edge and push-in tremolo arm design found on the Gotoh units.
Upon inspecting the tremolo it is clear to see how well made it is. Each component is beautifully crafted and finished, and the etched logo on the bass-side wing is a nice touch. All moving parts work smoothly, and the unit as a whole feels like it will withstand a beating for many years.
This guitar was originally installed with a Floyd Rose 1000 series, which is a Korean-made unit, built to be on par with the original German-made Floyd Rose. The Hantug unit’s titanium tremolo studs were an exact fit for the Floyd Rose unit’s anchors, so there was no need to pull, or plug and re-drill to install the Hantug anchors. The supplied spring claw was a narrower screw spacing than the one originally installed in my guitar, so I had to stick to the original claw. The nut was an R2 Floyd Rose sized locking nut, and since my neck was designed to take an R3 I had to stick with my original Floyd Rose one.
As expected, once installed I found that the Hantug Titanium Locking Tremolo provided great, clear, articulate tones. The knife edges and studs are cut nicely, and with a good setup help keep the guitar in tune just as well as any other quality double-locking tremolo-style bridge. Dives and pullups are nice and smooth, and like the Gotoh units, the whammy bar can be set up perfectly to a player’s needs.
Badly finished or rough saddles can cause premature string breakages and endless frustration. The Hantug locking saddles are nicely finished with no sharp edges to cause premature wear to the string. All other parts feel strong and solid, and ready to provide years of fuss-free use.
Overall the Hantug Double Locking Tremolo is a brilliantly built piece of equipment. Hantug are on to another winner with this design. It’s combination of quality build and excellent tone make it an excellent proposition for those looking to go the whole-hog with their double-locking tremolo equipped guitar. Hantug have also made all of the tremolo parts available separately, so if you’re just looking to upgrade certain parts Hantug have you covered too.
Only thing that makes Martin Monday better is when we are featuring new models!
Three new Martin Guitar models will be popping up at authorized Martin dealers this fall. These new models include: the D-15 Special, 000-15 Special, and the DR Centennial. All of these models will be limited edition- so act fast once we release them! More news and a list of authorized Martin dealers that will be carrying the new models to come in a few weeks. We know- the suspense is going to kill you!
Don't forget you can experience Martin guitars at an authorized dealer near you. Find one here.
You can also find a list of Martin Experience events here.