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Green Day Ukulele Play-Along Volume 25

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 07:49

By: Russ

Aloha! Let’s talk briefly about the human brain: It has a marvelous flexibility and one of the coolest things that it does all on its own is, over time, it diminishes not only the painful, but the mundane as well and at the same time embellishes what you think is great. This is what makes people think the past (pick whatever period you want) was some sort of golden era unlike today. But thirty years from now, we’ll probably look back and say it actually wasn’t all that bad.


Anyway, this is where nostalgia comes from. The food that wasn’t anything special – just food you ate as a kid – became comfort food as an adult, the TV shows that had all sorts of flaws became genius, and the music was the best ever offered.

Personally, I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Regardless of the psychology behind it, it brings a pleasant, warm feeling with it. A familiar feeling where you’re comfortable with whatever you’re thinking of.

This is especially true with music – just ask people what the greatest decade was for music and it’ll probably line up with when they were young.

Even though the only correct answer is the 1990s.

The 1990s was the BEST decade for music because no decade featured so much music from different genres getting so much attention from different audiences. There were still songwriters playing their own material in the pop world, metal went through changes from hair to heavy to nu, punk became accepted by the masses, hip hop went from crying for social justice to bragging about personal wealth (and even included its own small civil rights movement), and we even had a popular shock artist in the middle of it to freak out the parents.

And when my daughter was just a baby, I would play her songs from the 90s when she was crawling around on the floor, or to try to calm her down in the evenings. Today, even though she has her own music, she still knows the words to some of the songs and loves to sing along with them. And since she’s learning the ukulele, she wanted to play the songs I used to play on guitar on her own ukulele.

I decided that this can’t possibly be an isolated incident and would make a fun writing topic anyway, so I decided to get some books from Hal Leonard and indulge her (and my own) nostalgia.

So let’s start with what might be my favorite band of the 1990s: Green Day

Green Day is one of a handful of bands/groups/artists that not only have hits that span decades, but have hooked in fans from different generations. My kids would love to see a Green Day show, but so would I because I remember seeing them when I was fourteen and loving every minute of it.

They were pop punk before pop punk was a thing, and they were never scared to experiment with their music or sound and they’ve used this to grab different people for different reasons, but all finding something in the music be it fun, energy, stories, or something more personal.

And Green Day translates well to ukulele! The book I received is from Hal Leonard’s “Play-Along” series which aims to have you playing the songs quickly and easily. They aren’t making the songs any more intricate or difficult than they need to be in the transcriptions (music notation with chord boxes and TAB for solos), and they also include a CD to hear how the songs should sound (complete with a backing band), and then you can play with different tracks sans ukulele so you’re the star (and so you can get the timing down). You can use the CD in any CD player, but if you use it in your PC or Mac, you can also slow it down without changing pitch so you can work your way through any parts you may be having trouble with. That’s a pretty handy tool to have at your disposal.

The songs are easy to learn and fun to play. Most punk is. But unlike a lot of punk, Green Day’s songs always seemed to be filled with more hooks and melodies than a lot of either the screaming punk popular in the 80s or repetitive pop punk of the late 90s. They’ve always been a great compromise between punk rock tone and energy and pop melodies and this means the songs are fun to play, fun to sing along with, and fun to learn. People are quick to sing along with Green Day when you start playing.

The book features 12 songs that span just about their whole career from Dookie to 21st Century Breakdown. Personally, I’d love to see a more fleshed-out Green Day offering more songs, but these 12 will certainly get your foot in the door for the style of this fun band to play along with for $14.99!

Until next time!


Categories: General Interest

Brian Fallon’s Painkillers

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 09:12


By: Russ


Let’s talk about Bruce Springsteen. I’m not a huge fan, myself, but I always find Springsteen fans to be an interesting bunch. Have you ever noticed how they usually say the same things? They talk about how Springsteen is a voice of the people – that he sings their songs, not necessarily his own. Isn’t that interesting? Instead of listening to his music and seeing a window into his soul, it’s like they’re using his music as a window into their OWN souls.

I tell you, it’s beyond interesting, this Myth of Bruce. And, because of it, I have tried repeatedly to get into his music but most of it just doesn’t do anything for me. He may sing the songs of millions of souls, but mine is left out and there is just way too much saxophone.

Recently, though, I began to wonder if I’ve EVER felt that sort of connection and I came to the conclusion that I have not. I have listened to music that I found poetic and appropriate for the subject. I could follow and grasp the social unrest of punk rock, the anger of metal, the avant-garde nature of experimental jazz, and love it all, but through every bit of it I failed to see myself through the music. It’s always been looking at the artist and not using the artist as a mirror to myself.

I don’t think this makes me lacking in some serious manner – I can still appreciate music – but I just haven’t gone to that other level.

Or, I should say, I hadn’t because recently I have in a big way.

I have a playlist on my phone filled with music I don’t have any experience with. I’ll see someone on a late night show or get a recommendation from someone and download an album or two from Apple Music and give it a shot. The good stuff gets dumped into my catch-all “Awesome” playlist and everything else falls away.

On a long trip away from home, I decided to listen to something new and pulled up my experimental playlist and listened to Brian Fallon’s Painkillers, and that was it. I instantly fell in love with it on that new level. The folksy rock sound that flows throughout the album gives it a raw feel even though there are layers of instruments and back-up vocals and the prevalence of acoustic guitars gives the whole thing an intimate vibe. It isn’t a folk album by any means, but it has that folk feel where people are usually more honest with themselves and the audience about what they’re feeling – where there’s less pretense and showmanship to convey an image rather than the real person. There’s more dimension to the songs and Fallon moves around from bouncier offerings to heartbreaking songs with ease and he’s definitely bringing you along for the ride.

I listened to it all and felt like he was singing my songs or my soul. There was just a feeling to it that is tough to describe. The weirdest part is that I couldn’t point to any one area of my life that was a good example of whatever song and draw a connecting line like “this song reminds me of when I…” No, the situations were all alien to me, but through Fallon’s writing and playing they all felt like I had lived them at some point and had come away wiser if a bit more jaded.

And what a testament to his writing and performing when he moves beyond getting your feet to tap – beyond even painting a picture for you to admire from afar and say “I understand,” – and move with ease from the first song to the last bringing you on a trip and you feeling like you had done these things, lived these lives, and learned these lessons. The stories don’t show the song’s subjects as a heroes or villains, but rather just people and sometimes people do good things and bad things. It’s just part of being human and it’s nice to hear stories that back that up.

The playing is something to really sit down and listen to as well. Most of the songs feature a comfortable strum and familiar chords, but the accents that Fallon places on top of them with different licks, solos, and other instruments make everything feel like something you’ve never heard, but something that is still familiar. Like sitting in someone else’s comfortable chair. Yes, it’s not the same chair you’re used to, but it’s still comfortable and you can delight in the differences instead of them distracting you too badly.

I am NOT saying that Painkillers sounds like a Bruce Springsteen record, but the immediate attachment that it made me feel – that closeness that spread like wildfire inside me – is so similar to what I hear when Springsteen fans talk about the Boss that I get it now. I understand why his fans are so devoted. Springsteen, despite his success, still manages to convey a “one of us” vibe. He never comes across as above his fans, or more elite. He feels like a neighbor down the road – an old friend from school – and you want to support that. Brian Fallon does the same thing: Through his excellent songwriting and performing, Painkillers comes across as intimate and vulnerable, but still something you can shout along with in your car. His songs are anthems of the every-man and nowhere does he imply that he’s above you.

Painkillers is, without a doubt, my favorite album I’ve ever listened to and I had to come here and gush about it even though I focus on ukuleles and instruction materials. I feel like it’s my duty to proselytize and tell you about it because I haven’t seen enough press about it or t-shirts on the streets. I have no doubt that Fallon’s album would be appreciated by a ton of people if they gave it a shot so I implore you to check it out. The worst case is you feel like he doesn’t speak directly to you, but what if he could if you gave him the opportunity?

Categories: General Interest

Boss JB-2 Angry Driver

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 13:58


Boss recently surprised the pedal industry by collaborating with JHS Pedals to create the JB-2 Angry Driver:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of BOSS compact pedals, BOSS and JHS Pedals have come together in a historic creative collaboration between the two industry leaders. Housed in the classic BOSS compact design, the JB-2 Angry Driver pairs the tones of the iconic BOSS BD-2 Blues Driver with JHS Pedals’ popular Angry Charlie. Working closely together, the two pedal innovators have developed an all-new combined circuit with refined sound and performance perfectly tuned for dual-mode drive operation.

The JB-2 Angry Driver features three dual-concentric knobs that provide independent drive, tone, and level control for each overdrive type. Via a six-position mode selector, you can use each overdrive independently, or combine them together in series and parallel configurations. With the ability to blend the Blues Driver’s famously expressive low-to-mid gain tones with the Angry Charlie’s aggressive rock voice in any combination, the JB-2 Angry Driver delivers unmatched range and versatility from a single overdrive pedal.

This is quite an interesting pairing. Even though it’s fairly ubiquitous and has been for years, I have not played through a Blues Driver before, but I have played through the Angry Charlie and I really liked it. It’s a great Marshall sound.

I like the switching options that the JB-2 comes with. It’s interesting that you can run the two sides in so many different combinations, including running both in Parallel Mode. It’s clear Boss really thought through this pedal, and it looks like they’ve done a solid job.

Dan and Mick at That Pedal Show recently did a feature of this pedal where they detail a lot of the options. They also compared it to the pedals it’s based on as well as a Marshall Guv’nor pedal:

Categories: General Interest

Gibson Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 07:17

gary clark sg

Gibson and Gary Clark Jr. have collaborated once again to create a new signature guitar, the Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG:

The all new Gibson Limited Edition Gary Clark Jr. Signature SG guitar captures the spirit of creative inspiration. Finished in an exciting, vibrant Gloss Yellow and featuring a trio of aggressive Gibson P90 pickups, this guitar embodies the organic and sonorous sounds of one of this generation’s most influential guitarists, vocalists and songwriters.

Gary Clark Jr. is perhaps more widely associated with the Epiphone Casino, which Epiphone celebrated in the Blak & Blu Casino Signature model they made for him in 2015. However, he has been playing an SG quite a bit since collaborating with the Foo Fighters on their Sonic Highways album in 2014. Clark has stated that Foo Fighters’ guitarist Pat Smear gave him an SG during those sessions.

Earlier this year, Clark was seen playing a new SG at the Grammys show. It turns out that it was a new signature model.

This model differs quite a bit from the typical SG in that it has three P90 pickups. Gibson SGs have had P90s before, of course, but you rarely see them in a three pickup configuration. It also differs from other SG models in that it is gloss yellow, has 24 frets, and the controls are laid out in a three volume + one tone configuration.

Everything else appears to be fairly standard for SGs:

  • mahogany body
  • slim-taper neck
  • 24 3/4″ scale
  • rosewood fingerboard
  • nitro finish
  • ABR bridge

The street price of $1499 seems pretty reasonable for an American-made signature guitar. The guitar is currently (as of this writing) available at Zzounds while other retailers are taking pre-orders.

Categories: General Interest

The 1990s (The Ukulele Decade Series)

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 14:02

1990s uke

By: Russ

Aloha! Let’s say that, for some CRAZY reason, you’ve never heard any music from the 1990 but because people love it so much, or request it so often, or reference it in some way, you’re looking for a crash course in it.

Or, alternatively, you’re a sucker for 1990s music and want a treasure trove of offerings from the decade.

Either way, The 1990s (from The Ukulele Decade Series) is the book for you. It’s a pretty massive tome of 80 songs with chord boxes, musical notations, and verses written out. It’s a full-size music book with about 312 pages of music and, because of this, it’s a little cumbersome. But once you get over the fact that it’s not meant to be traveled with but rather used to pull individual songs from to learn, the content really shines.

The music included is just about everything you could love from the 1990s when it comes to instrumentation. It’s got early 90s cheese (“I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”) to meaningful alternative (“Runaway Train”), odd-duck music that would have a tough time surviving in any other decade (“Santeria”), one-hit wonders (“She’s So High,” “Sex and Candy”), to songs from movies (“My Heart Will Go On”).

While Meatloaf would be an interesting pick for ukulele, most of the songs in the book seem like a natural fit and be fun to play – especially for someone who’s really into the decade. If you think about all the different offerings from all the different genres and sub-genres, you could use this book alone and put together a pretty interesting show with enough variety to be plenty interesting and enough of a theme to be fun.

Personally, this is one of the first uke books that I ever wanted. I thought that it was awesome to take a greatest-hits approach to a music book, and this one fits me so perfectly that I couldn’t NOT enjoy it. It’s my desert-island music book – the one book that I would grab and bring along if I knew it was going to be the only uke book I could have because it’s more than just the song count, it’s the quality of those songs and how much they mean to me. This book is the soundtrack to my childhood and the songs mean a lot to me. I’m sure we all feel the same way about the music we grew up with (even if you didn’t grow up in the 90s) so it’s nice to have so many fantastic songs to pull from.

And with a list price of $22.99 (and a cheaper street price), it’s a steal. I think that, as my daughter gets a better grip on the ukulele, she’ll be looking to learn some of the songs she grew up with me singing and playing to her and this is going to be appreciated like crazy. True, it doesn’t have TAB or CDs you can play along with, but I think the quantity and quality of songs makes up for it.

Overall, I couldn’t recommend it more.

You can buy direct from Hal Leonard, from Amazon, or from you favorite book store.

Until next time!

Categories: General Interest

MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 13:22


MXR has updated and expanded their popular Carbon Copy delay to create the Carbon Copy Deluxe:

The Carbon Copy Deluxe Analog Delay features extended delay time with tap tempo functionality, optional modulation, a switch to toggle between the warm sound of the original pedal and vibrant sound of the Bright version, and much more.

A few of the high points:

  • Delay times extended to up to 1.2 seconds
  • Select between original Carbon Copy and Carbon Copy Bright delays
  • Modulation controls on top of the pedal
  • Tap Tempo
  • Expression jack
  • Programmable presets

This looks like a great upgrade to a very popular delay pedal. And, at a street price of around $230, it seems like it should be fairly accessible to delay fans.

Categories: General Interest

JHS Double Barrel v4

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 09:49


JHS Pedals has also updated their popular Double Barrel pedal:

This is our “Everything low-to-medium gain” pedal and it just got better!

The Double Barrel V4 is for the player who needs a versatile but transparent overdrive at medium and light gain levels. You won’t find face melting distortion here, but you will find overdrive with the character and stacking abilities to cover almost any tonal need.

The right side is our brand new Moonshine V2 which is a highly unique and massively tweaked version of the most famous overdrive ever created housed in a little green enclosure. The Moonshine V2 has the classic mid-heavy tones that you’d expect but with more gain, volume, and tones available than you ever thought possible. The Moonshine V2 has the same core tone as the Version 1 but we have added a new “Clean” knob to blend in the perfect amount of clean signal with your overdrive signal.

The left side of the Double Barrel is our best-selling Morning Glory V4 overdrive. Transparent and open tones are what lurk inside this circuit as well as the new hi-gain toggle with Red Remote capability. Just plug in the JHS Pedals Red Remote into the “Remote Gain” jack with a standard patch cable and you can switch the “Gain” toggle on the fly for even more tonal options. You now have five on-the-fly overdrive options to choose from in the Double Barrel V4!

When these two circuits are stacked, something magic happens. Tones that are original and fresh come with ease, as well as added exibility, due to the “order switching” toggle that lets you decide what pedal comes rst in the signal chain.

We are convinced that this is one of the greatest 2-in-1 pedals ever made… seriously. If you’re having problems getting the tones you want, just grab the Double Barrel V4 and you’ll find out how easy it is to hit the target!

Like on the Sweet Tea, it looks like the 808 circuit has been replaced by the Moonshine circuit. The 808 was discontinued several years ago, so this isn’t a big surprise. The left side of the pedal is still the Morning Glory circuit.

Categories: General Interest

Fender EOB Sustainer Stratocaster

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 09:08


Another new entry into Fender’s artist line of guitars is the Ed O’Brien Sustainer Stratocaster:

Ed O’Brien’s ambient, ethereal and orchestral guitar style is an essential part of the sonic identity of Radiohead. Fender partnered with the groundbreaking player to create the EOB Sustainer Stratocaster — an instrument as unique as his sound. The EOB Sustainer Stratocaster offers a wide palette of tones thanks to its Seymour Duncan® JB Jr. humbucking bridge pickup, Texas Special™ single-coil middle pickup and Fernandes® SustainerTM unit in the neck position. The Sustainer works some technical magic to create near-infinite sustain on one or more strings, making it easy to achieve thick, textured sounds. The Sustainer’s controls include an on/off switch, intensity control and three-position switch to select the mode: Fundamental-only, Harmonic-only or Blend. A mix of modern and classic, this Stratocaster features a 6-saddle vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, vintage-style tuning machines, a “10/56 V” neck profile, 21 narrow-jumbo frets, a synthetic bone nut and a special neck plate engraved with a custom “Flower of Life” emblem.

I never got into Radiohead that much so I’m not very familiar with Ed O’Brien, but this looks like an interesting and versatile Strat.

Categories: General Interest

Supro 1699R Statesman

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 08:39

1699r head

KMC Music is introducing the Supro 1699R Statesman:

“The Supro 1699R is a stunning combination of vintage tone and state-of-the-art technology that delivers sound quality that is worthy of the largest arenas and stages,” Hart said today. “David Koltai and designer Thomas Elliott have created a new modern masterpiece that is going to set the industry on its ear. We are thrilled to bring this remarkable new amp to our customers. We are fully stocked and ready to ship!”

The 1699R Statesman is a two-channel, 50W amplifier that unites vintage Supro tone with modern channel switching functionality, tube-driven reverb and a multi-purpose, all-tube effects loop. The red channel found in the Statesman uses the two-knob preamp from the legendary Supro Thunderbolt amplifier for high-headroom rock & roll power. The Statesman’s blue channel contains the high-gain preamp, 2-band EQ and all-tube reverb section of Supro’s acclaimed Comet model.

The Statesman provides A/B/Both channel switching operation, allowing the two channels to be run in parallel, creating a massive, dual-preamp sound where each channel contributes part of the overall texture. In addition to the tube-driven spring reverb, the Statesman’s blue channel contains an all-tube, switchable effects loop that provides a set of useful functions — including wet only reverb effects, which can be independently dialed in and blended with the dry sound from the red channel. The variable send-and-return levels allow the effects loop to function as a level and/or gain boost when engaged, even when nothing is plugged into the loop. The effects loop can also act as a master volume for the blue channel when bedroom levels are desired.

As a final touch, both the effects loop and the reverb on the Statesman feature a relay-controlled spill-over effect, allowing reverb and delay trails to decay naturally when switching between channels. The 50-watt power amp in the Statesman is switchable between Class A and Class AB operation. The Class-A (cathode bias) setting provides the distinctive midrange growl that has been the cornerstone of the Supro sound since the company was founded in 1935. The Class AB (grid bias) configuration presents less compression along with additional headroom, more punch and faster attack. The Statesman comes loaded with military-grade Sovtek power tubes that are precision-matched at the Supro factory in Port Jefferson, New York.

The Supro Statesman is available in a 1×12 combo format or as a compact head, covered in black rhino hide tolex and sized to sit perfectly atop the 1×12 and 1×15 Black Magick speaker cabinets, as well as the new, 2×12 Statesman speaker cabinet. Designed by Thomas Elliott, this all-tube masterpiece is equipped with 16-ohm, 8-ohm, and 4-ohm speaker outputs with enough power to drive up to four 2×12 cabs simultaneously for a look and sound worthy of the biggest stadiums and arena stages.

Here’s a video of Mark Lettieri playing through the amp:

Categories: General Interest

Peavey HP2 Guitar

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 08:27


Peavey has announced that it is re-entering the American-made guitar market with their new release, the HP2:

Building upon the legacy of its award-winning, USA made guitars, Peavey Electronics® proudly introduces the HP™2 Guitar at the 2017 Summer NAMM Show in Nashville. The HP2 is constructed with leading-edge technology, traditional handcrafted methods, professional-quality upgrades, and customizations. When a USA-made guitar bears the initials of Peavey founder and CEO Hartley Peavey, players can expect an iconic design with its own unique flair.

While the esthetic is classic, the HP2 undoubtedly stands out with its carved top and offset, asymmetrical body design that offers comfort, proper balance, and maximum playing ease. Maple was chosen for the top and basswood for the back; solid basswood construction is also available. Peavey selected these hardwoods not only for their natural beauty and weight characteristics, but also for their specific tonal qualities. Cream or black-edge binding accents the body.

At the select birdseye maple neck and fingerboard, players will find unmatched stability and playability. Dual graphite reinforcement bars and an easy-access, adjustable steel torsion rod provide additional strength, as does the bolt-on construction with contoured neck heel. The oil-finished fingerboard is cut from the same piece of wood as the single-piece neck, keeping the color and grain patterns consistent. The stress-relieved lamination also adds increased stability. The HP2 has a 25 ½’’ scale length, 22 jumbo frets and 15’’ fingerboard radius. The 10-degree tilt-back headstock has a 3+3 tuning machine configuration featuring Schaller® tuning machines with pearloid or cream buttons. The chrome-plated hardware finish completes the look.

The HP2’s construction and electronics work in harmony. Two custom-wound Peavey humbucking pickups supply optimal output and tonal response. They’re made using a two-step wax-dipping process that provides ultra-low noise operation and resistance to microphonic feedback. The pickups are mounted directly to the body, further reducing feedback at high volume levels and enhancing response. A Switchcraft® 3-way toggle switch allows selection of pickups in up, center and down configurations. Players will also find either a Peavey/Floyd Rose® licensed, double-locking tremolo assembly or tune-o-matic/stop tailpiece fixed-bridge to complete the guitar. Finishing off the guitar are two push-pull knobs for volume and tone, with the ability to split the pickups individually.

Given that EVH took this design with him to his own company, it will be interesting to see how well Peavey is able to compete with such a similar design. I’ve heard good things about the old Peavey Wolfgangs, though. I’m curious how these will be received.

Categories: General Interest

JHS Sweet Tea v3

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:59


JHS Pedals have announced an update to their Sweet Tea pedal:

The Sweet Tea V3 is JHS Pedals’ “Everything medium-to-high gain 2-in-1” pedal and it covers all the bases from light breakup, blues, rock, heavy grind and more.

The Sweet Tea V3 is for anyone who wants a versatile overdrive/distortion that covers all the bases you need plus more. You’ll find medium-to-high gain tones and the ability to stack for the perfect way to melt faces.

The right side is the brand new Moonshine V2 which is a unique and massively tweaked version of the most famous overdrive ever created housed in a little green enclosure. The Moonshine V2 has the classic mid-heavy tones that you’d expect but with more gain, volume, and tones available than you ever thought possible. The Moonshine V2 has the same core tone as the Moonshine Version 1 but we have added a new “Clean” knob to blend in the perfect amount of clean signal with your overdrive signal.

On the left side is the newest version of the Angry Charlie which is the Angry Charlie V3, one of JHS Pedals’ most popular pedals of the last few years. High gain JCM 800 type “Brown” sound tone that we believe is the most accurate Marshall tone ever put in a stomp box! It has volume, drive, and the full bass, mid, treble tone stack like you’d find on the amp. With the full tone stack and the amazingly accurate amp tones in this circuit you’ll be begging for more!

The Sweet Tea V3 features JHS Pedals’ classic order switching toggle so that you can choose which circuit is first in the chain for the perfect stacking tones you’ve been searching for.

With these tones combined or used separately, the Sweet Tea V3 is a gallon-and-a-half of overdrive that goes down easy on a summer night!

I’ve owned a Sweet Tea v2 for quite a while, and it’s one of my favorite Marshall-style overdrives. The Angry Charlie circuit can go from medium-to-high gain and it sounds good all the way along the spectrum. I suspect the new version will be even better since it has expanded tone shaping capabilities.

I also really like the JHS 808 circuit used in the previous version, so I’m curious how different the Moonshine circuit will sound in comparison. The “Clean” knob should also add some interesting new sounds.

It looks like the Sweet Tea v3 will start shipping in August with a retail price of $315.

Categories: General Interest

Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:35


Introduced a number of months ago, Catalinbread has finally released the Belle Epoch Deluxe, an updated version of their Belle Epoch pedal.

The first units sold out almost immediately from Pro Guitar Shop, so it looks like they’re still backordered at the moment. Here’s PGS’s description of the pedal:

The original Belle Epoch was, to put it bluntly, a triumph. It was an all-digital recreation of the Maestro Echoplex that sounded, by and large, like the original unit. But it was digital! Gasp! How can that be? Well, noted tone snob Eric Johnson had not one, but two on his board, set slightly differently. If it’s good enough for EJ, it’s good enough for just about anybody, and so it was.

However, there’s still some room for improvement: How about that legendary preamp that exists within the Echoplex? How about the original’s odd operating voltage of 22 volts? What about an expression pedal? Well, friends, your prayers have been answered in the form of the Belle Epoch Deluxe.

Starting with the Echo Program control, you’re presented with six individual modes. Mode 1 is the stock EP-3 setting, but there’s so much more. Modes 2 through 6 give you a dark analog delay, rotary-speaker affected repeats, resonant filtered repeats, and two separate Deluxe Memory Man settings with different modulation effects on each mode. Each mode has a specific function that is controlled by the Depth knob, as well as one that is controlled by expression pedal when the toggle is set to the left.

The Delay Time ranges from 80 to 800 milliseconds, just like a real EP-3. And in the quest for EP-3 authenticity, not a detail was spared. The preamp of the Belle Epoch Deluxe is no slouch. Everyone knows that the Echoplex preamp makes up half the magic, and it’s all here, using high-quality parts and the original 22-volt operating voltage for real EP-3 preamp tones with no corners cut. The Record Level control on the front adjusts the heat of this preamp.

No special adapters are needed to convert the voltage to 22, it’s all taken care of by the internal circuitry. Just plug in your standard nine volts and away you go. Have an expression pedal? The V/D toggle on the front changes whether or not it controls the Delay Time control, or the special function outlined on each mode. Want true bypass or trails? How about both? A special slide switch on the inside lets you choose.

An internal trimpot lets you set the oscillation rate, for use with the Echo Osc[illation] footswitch on the front. Holding this switch down lets the repeats run away for some expressive blasts of feedback that really show off the tone of the Belle Epoch Deluxe.

Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe features:

  • Ultra-realistic recreation of the Maestro EP-3 with 5 other modes
  • Original preamp operating voltage of 22 volts with period-correct parts
  • Expression jack and toggle let you change between hands-free parameters
  • Made in USA
  • Standard 9v center-negative power operation (adapter not included)

I owned the original Belle Epoch and really liked it. I don’t use much delay, so I sold it, but this has piqued my interest.

The pedal retails for $329.99 and hopefully a second batch will be produced soon.

Categories: General Interest

Fender George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 14:49


Fender is introducing the George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster today:

To honor Harrison’s venerable career, Fender has created the George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster, a limited edition commemoration that embodies Harrison’s elegantly restrained playing style and sound. Based on the original Telecaster created for Harrison by guitar luthier, Roger Rossmeisl, this model remains true to its heritage with a classic look and the unique tone only an all-rosewood guitar can produce. The body is chambered for reduced weight and increased resonance. Other features include a rosewood neck with a laminated 9.5″ radius rosewood fingerboard and a custom neck plate engraved with an Om symbol. A classic in every way, this refined instrument was born in the era that defined rock n’ roll. George Harrison’s legacy is one of innovation and creativity, and the rosewood Telecaster became one of his primary instruments of choice. Only 1,000 units will be available worldwide.

The Harrison Telecaster will be available on August 22, 2017 and will retail for $2499.99.

Categories: General Interest

Way Huge Doubleland Special

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 14:28


Way Huge have announced a new pedal based on the Overrated Special. This one was also created in conjunction with Joe Bonamassa and is called the Doubleland Special. (Note: it’s not on Way Huge’s site yet, so I linked to Sweetwater’s site.)

Here are some of the details:

The only thing better than getting Joe Bonamassa’s signature tone in a pedal is getting twice as much of it. And that’s just what the engineers at Way Huge give you with the limited-edition Doubleland Special dual overdrive. Onboard you’ll find two of Bonamassa’s signature Overrated Special overdrive circuits that you can use individually or for blending to taste. Joe prefers to have one set for humbuckers and one for single-coils. However you choose to push your Doubleland Special, you’ll want to make sure you grab this limited-edition pedal from Sweetwater.

Designed for Joe Bonamassa, the Way Huge Overrated Special overdrive pedal sounded bold and punchy. A 500Hz control allows you to beef up your midrange tone, while Volume, Tone, and Drive controls give you a wide sonic range to explore. Use it to add some boost and grit to a clean amplifier, or put it in front of an already overdriven amp for epic lead tones. And Way Huge crammed two of these sweet-sounding overdrives into the Doubleland Special, giving you instant access to a variety of gain levels.

The Overrated Special was $199, so getting two of them in one container with additional tweak-ability for $299 isn’t a bad deal. No official release date yet, but I suspect they’ll be available soon.

Categories: General Interest

Friedman ASC-12 Powered Monitor

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:40


Friedman Amplication have recently introduced a new powered monitor to their lineup, the ASC-12:

The Friedman ASC-12 powered monitor was designed and voiced for use with today’s guitar amp modelers and profilers including Fractal Audio Axe-Fx, Kemper Profiler, Line 6 HD Series and others. The ASC-12 delivers rich authentic tones, allowing you get the most out of these systems in live use and playback applications. The ASC-12 is identical to the ASM-12 electronically, the only difference being that the ASC-12’s shape makes it more useable as a regular rectangular speaker cabinet (IE: with your amp modeler on top the cabinet it looks like any other amp head/speaker cab set-up), whereas the ASM-12 functions more like an angled floor monitor or mounts to a pole.

The ASC-12 features a Celestion 12″ loudspeaker with a 2.5″ edge wound voce coil and a premium Celestion high frequency compression driver. At the heart of the ASC-12 is a robust 500w Bi-Amp Class-G amplifier that is anything but digital. This proprietary amplifier design delivers rich, full tone and a wide frequency response making it suited for backline, stage monitoring or even as your main PA speaker.

Key features include: Bi-Amp power module with high efficiency Class G low frequency amplification with a high current output stage and custom signal processing; clip/limit, thermal, and short circuit protection; line level output for linking multiple speakers ; optimized acoustic designs using a PETP film compression driver diaphragm; heat vented low frequency drivers; and a hand crafted in the USA, sturdy Baltic birch construction. Controls include level knob, low-cut filter switch, ground lift and power switches.

The Friedman ASC-12 powered loudspeaker was designed using advanced acoustic and audio techniques with premium components, comprehensive protection circuitry, and robust construction to provide years of consistent, reliable performance.

I haven’t delved that much into amp modeling yet, but I’m getting more curious about it. This looks like a nice way to use a modeler, but still get a great sound from a monitor.

Categories: General Interest

Fender ’64 Hand-wired Custom Deluxe Reverb

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:06


Per Music Radar, Fender is announcing a hand-wired ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb amp:

As per the original, the ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb offers Bright and Normal channels (with tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo on both), hand-wired AB763 circuitry and 20 watts of output.

The amp’s pine cabinet boasts an extra-heavy textured vinyl covering and lightly aged silver grille cloth, and houses a 12” Jensen C-12Q speaker.

Also included are Fender Vintage Blue tone capacitors, four 12AX7 and two 12AT7 preamp tubes, a 5AR4/GZ34 rectifier tube, a matched pair of 6V6 output tubes, as well as a footswitch and amp cover.

This isn’t much other information available about this amp yet, but it looks like it will retail for around $2500.

Categories: General Interest

Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 09:37


Another Summer NAMM introduction by Fender is the new Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster:

It’s been 50 years since Jimi Hendrix took the world by storm with his incredible Monterey Pop Festival performance, which he concluded with the sacrificial burning of his now-iconic hand-painted Stratocaster. Destroyed during the fiery culmination of his set, this one-of-a-kind guitar survived only in photos and film. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this milestone in music history, Fender created the limited-edition Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster. A trio of vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups give this Strat® its classic Fender sound. Bell-like and articulate, it has plenty of singing sustain for soloing. The “C”-shaped maple neck bears a vintage-style 7.25”-radius pau ferro fingerboard with 21 vintage-sized frets for a playing feel just like the original. The six-screw synchronized tremolo is perfect for unleashing dive-bombs and other sonic expression. An homage to Hendrix’s spectacular Strat, right down to the hand-painted nail-polish artwork that burned its way into our memories, the Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster also features an exclusive etched Hendrix neck plate.

Like the regular Hendrix Strat, this model will be made in Mexico and will have a street price of $899.99. Not bad for an artist guitar these days. The guitar will debut on August 15, 2017.

Categories: General Interest

DigiTech SDRUM

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 09:00


DigiTech has announced a new drum machine pedal for guitarists and bassists called SDRUM:

SDRUM is the world’s first intelligent drum machine for guitarists and bassists. By simply scratching across your guitar strings, you teach the SDRUM a kick and snare pattern that forms the foundation of the beat you want to hear. Based on this pattern, the SDRUM supplies a professional sounding drum beat with different embellishments and variations to perfectly complement your beat. Gone are the days of having your creative flow disrupted by searching through lists in a frustrating attempt to find the beat you want.

The SDRUM stores up to 36 different songs. Beats are played from a choice of 5 different kits covering a wide range of genres. The pedal also supports three different parts (e.g. verse/chorus/bridge) for each song that can be switched on the fly for enhancing live performances and exploring song ideas.

SDRUM is the fastest way to go from a beat idea to a working drum track.


  • BeatScratch™ Technology creates drum patterns by strumming your strings
  • 5 kits and studio quality samples for professional sounding drums
  • 36 song memoriesVerse/Chorus/Bridge parts
  • 12 different hats/rides styles
  • Alternate instruments/voicings
  • Dedicated Amp and stereo Mixer outputs
  • Kick/Snare pads for tapping in a beat
  • External FS3X support
  • JamSync™ connectivity for interfacing with JamMan loopers

Here’s a video of how it works:

Categories: General Interest

Peterson StroboClip HD

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:36


Peterson has announced an upgraded version of their StroboClip tuner, which they’re calling the StroboClip HD:

This summer, Peterson Strobe Tuners will roll out its latest innovation, the StroboClip HD – a powerful, upgraded version of its revolutionary StroboClip clip-on tuner, released in 2009. The StroboClip HD features an ultra high-definition, real-time tuning display that sports nearly twice the pixel resolution of its predecessor. The SC-HD features the same .01 cent (1/1000th of a semitone or fret) tuning accuracy and comes complete with alternate temperaments for a vast array of string, brass, and wind instruments. Over 50 exclusive, preset Sweetened Tunings are onboard to help correct inherent tuning issues exhibited by many instruments. Soft, rubber lined jaws protect an instrument’s finish while offering a firm grip for maximum signal tracking. The wide viewing angle of the display is enhanced by the SC-HD’s three points of rotation that permits comfortable monitoring of your instrument’s tuning from a multitude of angles. Greatly increased battery life using a standard CR2032 battery makes sure you are always ready to enjoy pro-level grade tuning anywhere. A “stealthy” matte black finish blends in with many instruments finishes and doesn’t detract from your instruments beauty. The StroboClip HD will also support Peterson’s exclusive Peterson Connect online utility where users can connect via USB to update the latest firmware or create a custom configuration if desired.

At a street price of about $60 it’s not a cheap headstock tuner, but it is comparable in price to the TC Electronic Polytune Clip. Additionally, Peterson has a great reputation and this looks like a nice upgrade.

Categories: General Interest

EarthQuaker Day 2017

Wed, 07/12/2017 - 14:55


If you can’t make it to see EarthQuaker Devices here in Nashville this week at Summer NAMM, you can still see them at EarthQuaker Day 2017, to be held on August 5 in EarthQuaker’s hometown of Akron, Ohio. It looks like quite a party.

There will be live music, clinics, workshop tours, food & drinks, games, giveaways, and prizes. There will also be a Riff Contest to win a PRS SE Custom 24 guitar. Sounds like a lot of fun!

The event goes from 1:00 to 8:00 with an afterparty to be held at Annabell’s Bar & Lounge. Check out the EarthQuaker Devices site to learn more about the event and to register for the Riff Contest.

Categories: General Interest