New Arrivals: March 2020

This will be the last regular “New Arrivals” for the time being.

Partly thanks to the UK Government following scientific advice that was based on an outdated model of the wrong disease, Britain has failed to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus before it became widespread. We’re heading for a lengthy social lockdown (at best), with the serious economic hardship that inevitably follows.

Don’t worry, the blog’s not going anywhere. It’s just that there’s more important things right now than buying guitar gear.

Anasounds Element Spring Reverb

I didn’t have the best of success with spring reverb pedals last year. The Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb turned out to be a huge tone suck, and I just couldn’t dial in the blend that I wanted from the Fender Tre-Verb. I’m still using the Neunaber Slate’s spring reverb mode, but I’d love to free that pedal up for some of the other amazing things it can do. (The Slate’s one and only weakness is that it’s a major pain to switch it between roles frequently).

I admit, I was very excited when I saw that Anasounds were going to have a booth at this year’s UK Guitar Show. They make a pedal called the Element, which uses real springs, which I’ve been interested in ever since Danish Pete’s demo. Anasounds pedals aren’t easy to find in the UK, so the Guitar Show seemed to be my best chance to get my hands on one.

On the day, it was just too noisy to be able to evaluate any gear critically. I spoke to the guys on the stand (hi Alex!), and ordered one from them instead. It took 5 working days to arrive, which I thought was excellent.

Now that it’s here, was my excitement justified? Read my First Impressions blog post to find out.

Danelectro Big Spender Spinning Speaker

Shock, horror! Something that isn’t a dirt pedal of some description 😉

I’ve really been enjoying this series of pedals. I think they’re high quality pedals, with great sounds in them that I can’t get from anything else I’ve tried. I’ve certainly enjoyed them enough to want to complete my collection. Well, almost. I’m not a tremolo player, so I’m going to pretend that pedal doesn’t exist 🙂

The whole rotary speaker sound is a classic 70s sound. I’m hoping that it’ll find a place for rhythm work. (See, I haven’t even tried it yet, and I’m already sure it’ll be another great pedal.)

How did I get on with it?

Xvive Golden Brownie Distortion

Yes, I hate mini-pedals. But it’s another Marshall-in-a-box (MIAB for short), and I picked it up on eBay for less than a meal-for-two at Nando’s. I figured it was worth a punt.

Turns out, it really was.

Xvive Sweet Leo Overdrive

I still hate mini-pedals. I liked the Golden Brownie a lot, and my local guitar store happened to have the Sweet Leo in stock. I figured, what the heck, let’s complete the collection while I can.

I’m very glad that I did. This one’s a very interesting addition to my collection of tweed-like pedals.

Wampler Paisley Deluxe

Wampler’s Underdog Drive is one of the rarer pedals out there. An initial batch of 100 was made, with the profits going to help the medical bills of one of Brian’s friends. It appears that a few more were made after that – again, to help Brian’s friend. And then he retired it as a standalone pedal.

A couple of years ago, he put out a 2-in-1 drive pedal for Brad Paisley, called the Paisley Deluxe. The pedal has Brad’s signature Paisley Drive on one side … and v2 of the Underdog Drive circuit on the other.

I’ve finally managed to get a second hand example off eBay to explore. Is the Underdog a winner, or is it a loser?

Fender Smoulder Acoustic Overdrive

Fender’s Smoulder Acoustic Overdrive was announced as part of the same wave of pedals that included the MTG, MTG:LA and The Trapper. While those pedals have been in the shops for months, the first Smoulder units have only just arrived.

This one is a birthday present from my wife, and I’m hoping to use it for a song or two in the band. We’ve got a couple of numbers where we’d like to rock out, and if this pedal works out, that’s exactly what I’ll be using it for.

Thanks to the lockdown, we haven’t been able to do any rehearsals for the band, so I haven’t actually spent any time with it yet. Once I do, I’ll update this post with a link to my First Impressions blog post.

Kinman Pickups For My Strat

Back in November, Kristi and I drove up to the Knighton Music Centre. We both enjoy visiting guitar shops, especially ones we’ve never been to before. You just never know what you’ll find.

In this case, I found something very unexpected: Kinman pickups here in the UK.

I’ve been watching Brett Kingman’s pedal, amp and guitar demos for more years than I can remember. If you want to know just how good a piece of gear can sound, he’s one of the go-to people (along with Mike Hermans and Shawn Tubbs). Burgs used to feature Strats with Kinman pickups a lot, and they always sounded so, so good.

I bought them to go in my Elite Strat. Only problem is, I really love the N4 pickups in that guitar, and honestly, I didn’t want to swap them out. Now it’s done, how do I feel about it? These pickups sound even better than traditional single-coil pickups.

Earthquaker Devices Dunes Overdrive Pedal

This one’s a purchase that was brought forward because of the current pandemic. It’s a pedal that I’ve previously tried, and originally planned to pick up later this year. With music shops forced to close their physical doors in order to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, I wanted to buy it now just to put a little bit more money through the tills of my local shop while I could.

It’s the best drive pedal out of the whole bunch this month.

EBS Patch Cables

As part of writing up the First Impressions posts this month, I’ve been doing quite a bit of swapping pedals on and off my little board. By the time I got to the Big Spender, things were getting a bit noisy.

I suspect that it’s the patch cables I’m using. (Please don’t let it be the amp. Please don’t let it be the amp!) Unfortunately, I don’t have any spares to swap in and test with – and I’m not exactly in love with my current patch cables anyway.

I’d love to use the new Ernie Ball flat patch cables that were announced at Winter NAMM 2020, but they’re not available yet. I’ve gone for the EBS flat patch cables instead.

They’re not cheap, but they’re worth it.

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