New Arrivals – February 2021

It’s been a quiet month.

The second hand market … is a bit weird right now. It’s become all-too common for asking prices to be close to (or even above!) the original retail price. It isn’t just rare or vintage gear that’s seeing high prices, either.

Instead, I’ve focused on trying to make the most of what I’ve already got – especially my Telecasters. I think it’s been a month well spent.

Rode Stereo Bar

I can’t believe how cheap these are. I think I paid just over £20 for this off Amazon.

I’ve bought this to go with the Neumann KM184s that I bought last month. It means that I can mount both microphones on a single mic stand – perfect for X/Y stereo capture. Should be a handy piece of gear.

Callahan Telecaster Brass Saddles

I’m a big believer that the classic Telecaster ashtray bridge – with its 3 brass saddles – is an important part of the Telecaster sound and experience. Unfortunately, all too often, part of that experience is having my hand ripped open by the grub screws sticking out of the saddles.

Ouch.

There’s probably a cheaper option, but I decided to solve this by switching out Fender’s brass saddles for a set of Callahan’s. For a start, the Callahan saddles don’t have grub screws sticking out. My hand is very grateful for that. They’re also compensated, which results in better intonated. My ears are equally grateful for that.

Callahan Telecaster Steel Saddles

Do you remember the Squier Esquire I bought last year? It originally came with steel saddles. I liked the guitar so much, I upgraded the ash tray bridge with a Callahan bridge and compensated brass saddles.

I’ve decided to go back to steel saddles on the Esquire, at least for now.

I’m not sure which I prefer. It’s going to take me some time to figure that out.

Fender Locking Tuners

One of the things I don’t like about the neck on my Vintera Modified 60s Telecaster are the tuners. To string the guitar, I have to poke the end of the string down into the tuner, and then wind the string around the post. On the lighter-gauge strings, I find that the strings slip off the post a lot. Not fun.

I’ve got locking tuners on other guitars, and I find them a godsend for changing strings quickly. So, I thought that a set of Fender locking tuners would be the perfect upgrade for a Fender Telecaster, right?

Wrong. They don’t fit. That’s right – Fender locking tuners don’t fit a Fender Telecaster. I’m going to have to get the holes for the tuners routed so that they will fit.

Notched Fret Rule Set

One of the things I did in February was start learning how to do my own guitar setups. Nothing crazy, just learning how to set the neck relief and bridge height.

To help with that, I picked up a set of notched fret rules off eBay. The basic idea is that the frets sit in the notches, so that the rule itself can touch the fretboard directly. Assuming the rule is straight, it should help me see how straight the neck is.

I found it instantly useful, and well worth the £25 or so it cost me.

Toadwords Leo Jr Overdrive Pedal

The Leo Jr is a long-discontinued tweed-tone pedal from Toadworks USA. I’ve been keeping an eye out for one for ages, and finally managed to snag one at a reasonable price.

It’s a really simple pedal, with just two controls – level and gain. Definitely a set-and-forget kind of drive pedal.

How does it compare to other tweed-tone pedals that I’ve tried? I’ll post my First Impressions soon.

Okko Diablo Overdrive Pedal

Gregor Hilden is a (largely 2nd hand) guitar dealer – and great musician! – over in Germany. He posts demos of all the guitars over on his YouTube channel. Along with Greg himself and his looper pedal, another constant in all his videos has been the Okko Diablo overdrive pedal.

I didn’t know what to expect from this pedal. Sure, I’ve heard it on hundreds of videos by Greg. It isn’t a common pedal though, which is why it’s taken me years to find a second hand one at a nice price.

I’ll post a First Impressions soon. If you can’t wait, I posted a Twitter thread about the pedal at the weekend. Click the Twitter icon to see the whole thread over on Twitter. (Spoiler alert: it’s another tweed-tone pedal, which I did not expect!)

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