At the end of 2022, I said that I want to revisit some gear that I used to have. Completely by coincidence, I managed to pick up both pedals (one of them pretty rare) this month – along with another pedal off my bucket list, a pedal that I’ve been asked about … and pretty sweet guitar that I plan to gig with.
Read on to see what’s arrived this month.
Boss HM-2w Heavy Metal Waza Craft Distortion Pedal
I have a (possibly very wrong) memory that I used to have an original HM-2 back in the day. I think I sold it to get the Digital Metalizer pedal? It was a very long time ago, and I don’t remember too well. I’m curious to revisit it, and see if I can make it work with the music that I do today.
Why do I think that might be possible? Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour used to use a Boss HM-2 for his lead guitar sound. So it might work for me. And, if not, second-hand copies hold their value extremely well. I won’t lose much if this experiment ends in failure.
Tone City King of Blues Dual Overdrive Pedal
I’ve got plans to do a new blog post series, looking at how the Marshall Bluesbreaker compares to a whole heap of pedals based on the bluesbreaker circuit. When I was putting together the list of pedals I wanted to include, Tone City’s King of Blues was one of the pedals that I didn’t have access to.
As soon as I told my friends that I’ve picked one of these up, they only had one question for me: is it a King of Tone clone? So the First Impressions post has ended up being as much about the King of Tone as it is the King of Blues. Click here to hear for yourself. (Yes – audio examples are now back!)
MXR Custom Shop Shin-Juku Overdrive Pedal
I’ve picked this up because I don’t know when I’ll see another one.
I’m not exactly sure why this pedal’s on my gear bucket list. I really don’t remember. I couldn’t even remember what kind of pedal it was [it’s a Dumble-style pedal – Ed]. And I’ve found MXR Custom Shop pedals to be very hit and miss for me. So I was a bit nervous waiting for it to arrive.
Now that it’s here, I’m digging it. I’ll eventually get round to a full First Impressions. For now, I’ll just say this … it seems to suit my Paul’s Guitar pretty nicely. It’s got more clarity than YouTube demos led me to expect, and there’s a fuzzy character to the overdrive tone that is catching my interest.
Rockbox Boiling Point Overdrive Pedal
I used to have one of these, many years ago. I sold it back in 2015 for £88, because it didn’t suit my rig or my style at the time. These days, it’s not unusual to see them listed for up to £250 🤦♂️ Thankfully, I didn’t pay quite that much for this one.
Why have I bought another one? Curiosity for one. I don’t remember it too well. Mostly, all I remember is flipping it because it didn’t sound magical. Now that my rig is no longer the problem, I wanted to give it another go.
The other reason is that I’m on the lookout for pedals that go really well with my PRS Paul’s Guitar. Paul Reed Smith himself seems to love vintage Marshall tones, so I figured the Boiling Point might pair well with the Paul’s Guitar.
Oh yes. It suits the Paul’s Guitar very well indeed. If there’s a word for this pedal, it’s “clarity”. I plugged it into my rig, and right off the bat it just worked for me. More details and an audio demo coming in a future First Impressions blog post.
Cordoba Stage Nylon-String Guitar in Natural Amber
I played one of these last year when they first hit the stores, and while I was intrigued, it didn’t quite sound convincing enough for me. (They’re a thin-body guitar with electronics to make them sound like a regular classical guitar.) I don’t know what’s changed since then, but this one does.
The timing was great, too, coming just a day or two after Tess and I agreed that we’re both keen to start gigging again. We’ve got a couple of finger-style songs in our old setlist, and if we can start landing more 30 minute opening slots, this guitar will be perfect for that.
And, to be honest, it’s just great to have a quiet guitar lying around that I can use to practice finger-style on. My gigging acoustic is too loud to practice on at night, and none of my electric guitars feature a wider nut suitable for finger-style play.
Schaller Strap Locks & Right-On Guitar Straps
In case you’re not aware, strap locks are a different way of securing a strap to a guitar. They often feature a physical release pin to hold the strap securely to the guitar, so that the strap cannot fall off.
I started using Schaller strap locks because that’s what Fender used to ship guitars with. Fender’s now switched over to Dunlop’s strap locks, but I’d prefer to stick with the one system on all my guitars, so that I can easily switch straps over if I want or need to.
Why did I buy these this month?
I was in the shop buying the Cordoba, and they happened to have some Right-On guitar straps that were a great visual match for a couple of my nicer guitars. I’ve always loved Right-On guitar straps for my gigging guitars. They look great, are very comfortable, and they’re really sturdy.
Earlier in the week, I’d put a strap onto my PRS Paul’s Guitar. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of the strap buttons on PRS guitars. They’re so wide, regular straps just don’t fit onto the PRS strap buttons without modification – which always (maybe wrongly) leaves me worried that the strap isn’t going to be secure.
I was already in the mood to make a change there, and when I saw that the Right-On straps would be perfect, I just snapped and decided the PRS strap buttons had to go. The PRS strap buttons will not be missed.