#CoffeeAndKlon 16: Boosting With A Graphic Equaliser Pedal

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I hope you’re having a great weekend. Got another #CoffeeAndKlon for you this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Today’s Coffee

Coffee this morning is an Ethiopian wild coffee from the Yayu Forest Reserve. It’s the kind of mild coffee that’s perfect if you’ve got guests who are occasional coffee drinkers.

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I was hoping to be drinking Sumatra coffee this morning – my absolute favourite – but the Yayu Forest didn’t run out yesterday as I’d hoped.

I could have just had a 2nd cup, I know. I’m finding that one cup of coffee a day is the best way for me to enjoy it. The Sumatran will still be there tomorrow 🙂

So pedals. What do I have for you this week?

#DesertIslandRig

The #DesertIslandRig is still on hold. I will return to it. It’s just that those two Wampler pedals have really got me rethinking it. So far, in the room, everything sounds better when one of those pedals is last in the chain.

It’s important to change your mind when you learn something new.

My final opinion is on hold until I’ve recorded with this signal chain. I’ve got some work to do to get my home recording setup wired up again. I unwired it all last September when I bought some new furniture for the room … and I haven’t wired it back up yet.

(That’s also what’s holding up the Marshall Origin 1 Year Review. At this rate, it’ll be the 2 Year Review!)

Anyway, I’ve got another boost pedal to talk about today.

I Picked Up A New Boost Pedal

When it comes to boosts, I’ve talked about Klon, klones, treble boosters, and clean boosts. There’s another type of boost that deserves a mention: the equaliser pedal. Like the venerable Boss GE-7:

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I picked one up last week, for my #PlayAlternative guitar challenge. I’m using it to help the Vintage Lemon Drop sound closer to my Les Paul.

By cutting the lows in the right place, and boosting the mids in the right place, I can crudely* make the Lemon Drop sound a little more vintage-voiced.

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*I say crudely because there’s only 7 bands to adjust. By necessity, they’re quite broad, and it makes for a bit of a blunt tool.

To my ears, “vintage-voiced” means prominent mids, with the energy firmly in the upper-mid range of the tone. Does the GE-7 achieve that for the Lemon Drop? I’ll let you know when I do my write up for the guitar 😉

Btw, That Pedal Show has done several shows on using EQ pedals to shape the tone. Find them on YouTube 🙂

The GE-7 is on the board for another reason.

The Eighth Slider

I’m also using it as an overall boost pedal too. Because there’s an eighth slider on the Boss GE-7. It controls the overall signal volume:

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In this case, I’m using that eighth slider to turn DOWN the guitar volume, just a little bit. An anti-boost, if you like. There are two good reasons why.

I’m using the GE-7 to boost the mids of the guitar signal. That gives the tone a little more of a vintage character. It also has the effect of making the guitar sound louder, and that needs to be balanced out.

My rig is voiced for vintage-output pickups. Turning the Lemon Drop down just a little bit makes it sound much sweeter through my rig. The effect is to present a cleaner signal to the first drive pedal.

Compared to other boosts, a graphic equaliser gives you more control – if you want to shape your guitar signal.

Other boosts are a better choice IMHO if you want to affect how your dirt pedals or amp react to your guitar tone. They’re more musical than a GE pedal in that role.

What Do You Use?

So that’s my thoughts on using a graphic equaliser pedal as a boost pedal. What are your experiences with one? Good? Bad? Do you use a different EQ pedal? Share your experiences, so we can all learn 🙂

Hope you have a great rest of your weekend! Catch you next weekend for another #CoffeeAndKlon, and checkout the hometoneblog.com for more home guitar playing talk 🙂

#CoffeeAndKlon 15: First Impressions Can Be Wrong

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. What’s on my mind for this week’s #CoffeeAndKlon? I want to talk about how a first impression doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny.

Today’s Coffee

I’m already most of the way through my coffee. It’s the last of the Jamaican Blue Mountain. If you normally drink darker roasts, esp ones with that delicious burnt after taste, give Blue Mountain a go. It’s a complete contrast, in a good way IMHO.

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We’ve been shopping for coffee during the week. Found a couple of roasts we haven’t tried before. And then, when we were putting the coffee away in the cupboard, we found a bag of beans hidden away at the back that we’d forgotten about 🙂

On The Board Atm

Here’s my practice / test board atm. I’m still using the Tweed 57 and Black 65 as tone shapers. One or the other has been on the board ever since they arrived in August. I’m currently trying them with other drive pedals, and I’m still loving the results.

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It’s not pedals that I want to talk about this week though. There’s a story behind my decision to buy a Vintage guitar, and I think it’s worth sharing.

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I’ll Begin …

Yesterday, I bought a new guitar for my #PlayAlternative challenge: a Vintage Lemon Drop. It’s a (very) budget / shafordable Les Paul knock-off. Over here, it’s probably the cheapest singlecut guitar you’ll find in the stores.

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I first played a selection of these guitars what – about two months ago? – when they first came into stock. I really didn’t like them.

Then, just over a week ago, we were listening to the @astringsuk podcast in the car. They did a blind tone challenge, between Adam’s Blues Master Les Paul and one of these Vintage guitars.

And I got it wrong.

In a blind tone comparison, I couldn’t identify the (lush!) Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul from the shafordable Vintage Lemon Drop. That convinced me that my first impression of these guitars was wrong, plain and simple.

It also reminded me of a piece of advice that Brian Wampler had shared up on his YouTube channel.

Brian Wampler put out a video recently where he tried to make a great point: get the gear in your own hands and find out for yourself. Because recordings aren’t the same as your guitar through your rig, played by you.

The interesting thing here is that it was the recording that convinced me to get this guitar – NOT trying one in person.

Isn’t that the exact opposite of what Brian said?

I don’t think Brian’s advice is wrong. It’s just that sometimes there’s a gap between what you can get out of a piece of gear in a shop, and what that gear can actually do. Sometimes, you need a recorded demo to show you the potential.

So that’s the backstory to how I came to buy a Vintage Lemon Drop for my #PlayAlternative challenge. And why it’s going to be a few months before I talk about how I’m getting on with it.

I hope you enjoyed it.

#CoffeeAndKlon 14: Sans Klon

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I hope you’re having a great weekend. And, if you’re here in the UK, enjoying the unseasonable bank holiday weather. Got another #CoffeeAndKlon for you this morning. Only there’s no Klon today …

Today’s Coffee

Before I get into pedals: coffee. We’re just drinking the last of this Vietnam coffee this morning. It’s pretty mild, easy to drink, with a nice burnt aftertaste. The kind of thing it’s nice to have as a break from more distinct coffees, I feel.

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We’ve got to go shopping for coffee again soon. Local supermarkets, for whatever reason, have almost stopped stocking whole-bean coffee these days. We’re lucky to have Cortile Coffee here in the market.

Anyways – pedals.

Why No Klon?

And this week, I have a confession to make: my Klon’s sat on the shelf gathering dust atm. Because I’m *still* exploring these two Wampler pedals I got at the start of the month. And because I stuck the Amber Drive in front of them.

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This is my second Amber Drive.

The Pedal That Inspired #SecondBite

Years ago, I was looking for a pedal that would help me get a great lead tone. The demo Mike Herman did of this is still one of the best tones I’ve ever heard in a pedal demo.

In person, I couldn’t get *close* to that tone. Probably could have done with Brian Wampler’s advice on pedal demos back then:

Disappointed, I moved it on … but that failure nagged at me.

When the chance came to get another one at a great price, I decided to try again. It became my very first #SecondBite pedal. But the results were no better second time around … until a week ago.

Using The Wamplers To Shape The Tone

In Mike Herman’s demo, the Amber Drive has this thick, raspy mid range thing going on. Into any of my amps, the mid range is thin and disappointing. And it has a nasty top-end that I don’t want to listen to – ever.

Messing about with the Tumnus in front of the two Wampler pedals, I noticed how the EQ was being shaped. More mids, and a loss of high end. Sounds like just what the tone doctor ordered for the Amber Drive 🙂

And there it is. If I run the Amber Drive into the Tweed 57, I get pretty close to the tone from Mike Herman’s demo. As close as a hack like me can hope for, anyways 🙂

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And it’s dead quiet too. Two pedals stacked into each other, and practically no noise to speak of. Even with single coils.

Given how noisy and crappy our domestic electricity is here in the valleys, that’s a big win for me.

Pairing With Guitars

It’s a bit clichéd perhaps, but right now I’m preferring Amber Drive into Tweed 57 for a Telecaster, and Amber Drive into Black 65 for a Stratocaster. And the Black 65 on its own for great clean tones.

But what about a Les Paul? The La Grange sound – the classic ZZ Top guitar sound – is Strat into a cranked plexi, right?

Les Paul > Amber Drive > Black 65 > Blackstar Studio 10 6L6 gets you right there.

With the caveat that I haven’t tried this yet, I think I’d use this rig w/ the Black 65 for recording rhythm, and swap to the Tweed 57 for lead tones. To my ears, that’s what would work best if you went with a Les Paul.

One of the things I love about both these tone stacks is how percussive it is. Palm-mute the low strings, and there’s none of that hard rock/metal attack. It’s pretty blunt, in a good way.

And that gives me a bit of a dilemma.

What Happened To The #DesertIslandRig?

I thought I had my desert island rig nailed down. And I still do, for guitar and amp. But the pedals in between? I’m going to have to spend some serious time comparing the Amber Drive stack w/ my original choice now. Never thought I’d be saying that a month ago!

So there you have it. That’s why there’s currently no Klon on my little practice board. Have you had an experience where a pedal you’d given up on suddenly came to life, all because you plugged it into something different? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

#CoffeeAndKlon 13: Where To Get Advice From

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I’ve got something on my mind that I want to share with you, in this week’s #CoffeeAndKlon.

But first, coffee. Because coffee always makes my day better. I’m drinking Jamaican Blue Mountain today. It’s got absolutely no bitterness to it at all. A special coffee as a rare treat.

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So, what’s on my mind this morning? I want to share my opinion on where to get advice from, both about guitars and gear, and about how to use them. It’s been bugging me for awhile now.

I think that the best people to get advice from about guitars and gear are professional musicians who also do their own recording and producing. There’s a wonderful community of them on YouTube.

Folks like Pete Thorn, Shawn Tubbs, Rhett Shull, Tim Pierce to name but four to get you started. Alongside folks like Henning Pauly, Shane from In The Blues, and of course That Pedal Show.

That list is very much just the tip of the iceberg. If you start there, you’ll come across so many others who you can learn from. It’s a great time to be into guitars and music.

Internet forums and Facebook groups can be great sources of learning too. I learned a lot about the Les Paul from there, and it really helped me discover that low output, vintage-voiced pickups are my thing.

Forums and groups are a mixed bag. It can be difficult to tell the good advice from the posturing, and you need a thick skin to deal with the pros who really don’t like home players at all.

It takes ego to perform on stage, and it’s not always accompanied by kindness.

Guitar shops can great places for advice too. There are some great shops out there, where they don’t care why you want a guitar or how well you can play. They want you to walk out with what’s right for you, even if that means you walk out empty-handed.

These are exactly the shops I’ll tweet about, and give shoutouts to whenever I can. Not just because I think they’re fantastic and deserving, but because I’ve had more than my fair share of the other types of shop too.

On the flip side, you also get:

  • shops where the sales staff have targets to hit and specific gear to shift, and
  • shops who treat home players very differently to gigging musicians

Thankfully, they’re dying out, and not a moment too soon.

And don’t overlook product demos from manufacturers either. They’re often showing you how they intended a piece of gear to be used. That’s important. A lot of gear disappoints because folks try to use it for something it was never designed for.

All this has been on my mind because of where the HomeToneBlog.com fits into the landscape. Because I’ve realised that I’m uncomfortable when I’m asked for advice about gear.

Like the vast majority of people who play guitar, I play at home for fun. I have a day job, and this is one of my hobbies. I have recently started gigging, but again it’s just for fun. I’m definitely not a pro at all.

I’m very much a confidence player. If I’m not happy with the sound, my playing goes to pot. Always has. Even from the very early days of playing, I’ve always been after guitar tones that help me deal with that.

When I started sharing my experiences with gear here on Twitter, I realised that I know a lot of people just like me. Only difference between us is the variety of gear that I get to spend time with.

People started asking me questions about gear, because they saw me talking about it. And that became the HomeToneBlog.com. A community specifically for us home players.

The blog’s all about opinions formed from hands-on experience with guitars and gear. Not trying to review gear for anyone else other than me.

It’s personal, and it’s meant to be.

And if it helps you, that’s great 🙂

But if I am talking about a piece of gear that you’re interested in, please use what I’ve said about it as a starting point only. Go to the folks I’ve mentioned earlier in this conversation. Look at what they can make the gear do, and how they would use it.

And if you want to do what I do, and share your experiences with your fellow home players, I’d love to have other people also writing blog posts for the HomeToneBlog.com.

If you’ve made it to the end, do let me know. And I hope you have a great rest of your weekend.

#CoffeeAndKlon 12: The Tumnus As Drive For Early Wampler Pedals

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Sorry that I didn’t do a #CoffeeAndKlon this morning. I had the coffee, and then had to go out to run an errand that couldn’t wait.

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Here’s one of the two pedals that I’ve been teasing you about this week: the Wampler Tweed 57. Currently being boosted by the Tumnus mini-klone. Thanks to @matthew_darcy for recommending the Tweed 57 to me.

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Too soon for me to say a lot about this pedal. I need to A/B it against the Sweet Honey Overdrive (SHOD for short), the Little Tweedy Drive, and the Honey Bee too. And I need to find out what I can stick in front of it as a boost.

Tell you what, it sounds great with the Tumnus in front of it. The Tumnus is a klone that’s become popular as an outright drive pedal – which is how I’m using it here.

I’ve gone for both pedals with just a small amount of breakup, and the Tumnus at unity volume to avoid slamming the front of the Tweed 57. Together, the result is a nice crunchy rhythm tone with a pleasing amount of dynamics.

I’m running this into the Blackstar Studio 10 6L6, which is currently basking in the evening sunlight.

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This is the amp that was playing up a couple of weeks ago.

“Bring it back to the shop,” said Andrew on Thursday, “and we’ll send it back to Blackstar if we can’t fix it ourselves.” The amp must have overheard, because it has worked PERFECTLY since he said it.

As long as it continues to behave, it’s staying put for now. As much as I love the Marshall Origin, I’m currently on a run of pedals that work best into a blackface-voiced amp. Speaking of which …

Here’s the other pedal: the Wampler Black 65. Once again, being boosted by the Tumnus with the exact same settings as before.

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It’s fascinating how differently this reacts to the Tumnus. Unlike with the Tweed 57, the Tumnus isn’t producing more drive out of the Black 65. All it’s really doing is shaping the EQ.

If I try to use the Tumnus to boost the Black 65, the Black 65 just farts out. It seems to have sod all input headroom. A common characteristic of all of Brian’s early designs that I’ve tried.

That doesn’t mean that these early Wampler pedals are to avoided.

All the ones I’ve tried sound great, esp with the bridge pickup of a Tele. Just need to accept how they seem to work, and go with it instead of fighting it.

With the Tweed 57 and Black 65, I’m hoping that I’ve got two great drive voices for the Blackstar. It’s a nice little rig, and I’m going to have a lot of fun exploring it further all this week 🙂

#CoffeeAndKlon 11: Tuners Are Interesting After All

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Hello, and thank you for reading this. I’ve got another #CoffeeAndKlon for you today, as I continue to walk through my desert island guitar rig.

Coffee this morning is Monsoon Malabar, from our local shop Corrine Coffee. It’s very smooth, very mild. Kinda similar to Costa Coffee’s regular coffee, I’d say.

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Before I go any further, I just want to let you know that all my conversations about guitar gear are all archived up on hometoneblog.com. If you like this kind of stuff, there’s plenty more up on there for you 🙂

t’s going to be quite a short #CoffeeAndKlon today, because I’m going to be talking about tuners. Drive, fuzz and modulation pedals get all the love, all the attention. Without a good tuner, though, it’d all sound horrible.

The pinnacle of guitar tuners are those made by Peterson. Folks like Wampler have said they don’t see the point in making a tuner, because of just how good the Peterson tuners are. Until recently, though, they weren’t that easy to get here.

If you are interested in one, Andertons currently has one in stock. Here’s the link: https://andertons.co.uk/peterson-strobostomp-hd-compact-strobe-pedal-tuner-pt-stomphd… (It’s not an affiliate link.)

So what about headstock tuners? The kind you just clip onto a guitar’s headstock when you need to tune up? They’re really convenient.

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If I’m thinking of buying a guitar, I’ll normally have one of these in my pocket when I go into a store. Guitars go out of tune when they’re sat in a store. I’ve found you can’t rely on staff tuning the guitar for you, or even having a tuner available for you.

If I’m gigging, I’ll have my headstock tuner with me … as a backup.

We use a couple of alternate tunings in our set, and we found that it took longer to retune with a headstock tuner.

That’s why I use a tuner pedal these days.

I prefer this Korg tuner pedal. It’s called the Korg Pitchblack Advance. It’s fast, accurate enough, true bypass, with a really big display. I’ve used it on a dark stage for a gig, and was very happy with it.

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It also runs off a battery for *months* at a time – great for gigging with. I practice pretty much every day, got band rehearsals most weeks, I never unplug the lead when I’m not using the guitar, and the battery has just started its 5th month in the pedal.

The battery thing is important to me. Because we do small gigs with an acoustic guitar, I can’t guarantee that there’s convenient power available for a pedal board. I don’t have to worry about that with this pedal 🙂

Let’s quickly go back to the true bypass thing. It matters to me for two reasons.

First off, when I’m gigging, I’m playing an acoustic guitar. I’ve found that a surprising number of guitar pedals suck tone from an acoustic guitar, even though there’s no audible problem with an electric guitar. True bypass seems to avoid that.

Secondly, when I’m at home using an electric guitar, some of the pedals I use don’t like being behind any sort of buffer pedal. Electrically, they want to interact directly with the guitar’s pickups and pots. A true bypass pedal definitely sorts that out.

So yeah, I’m delighted with this pedal. Had it since the start of April, and it’s been great for me. The Korg Pitchblack Advance is the tuner that I’ll use in my desert island rig.

That ended up being much longer than I thought it would 🙂 What do you use for a tuner? And why? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so that I can learn from them. Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of the weekend!

#CoffeeAndKlon 10: My Desert Island Guitar

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I hope you’re all having a great weekend so far. I’m still buzzing from playing all those PRS Guitars over @astringsuk on Friday night. Or is it just the coffee? #CoffeeAndKlon

Coffee this morning is the very last of the Sumatran that I was drinking last week. I forgot that the machine was almost out of beans. It’s got about half the coffee it should have. I might have second coffee in a bit.

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Last week, I started talking about my Desert Island rig. One thing I didn’t do was establish any rules or constraints on what could be in the rig.

I’ve been thinking that over, and I’m feeling torn about that.

An #AnythingGoesDreamRig, where the only limit is your imagination, has its own appeal for sure. I’d love to learn what kind of gear you’d choose if you could – and why you’d go for that gear in particular.

So that could be a thing.

The rig I’ve been thinking about though is more of a #MySoundMyRig kind of thing … the gear that gives me ‘my’ sound, whatever that is. I don’t know about you, but if I was stuck on a desert island, I’d be happier with that than any other kind of rig.

My rig starts at the guitar. And it’s not a Les Paul. It’s my PRS McCarty 594, in the only colour they should ever be made in.

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I’ve got two stories to share about this guitar, which is affectionately named Deadnote. I’ll save the story behind its name for another time 🙂

When I bought this guitar, I had two 594s to choose between: this, or a Private Stock model. The Private Stock model was an amazing instrument. It rang like a bell, with a clarity that I loved. It very nearly came home with me.

But it was actually this one that I bonded with, right there and then in the shop. This one’s got a bit more bark to it. Stick it in front of some dirt, and it does the growl thing that I love.

I had the same experience Friday night, playing some gorgeous Private Stock guitars. As instruments, they were perfect for highly technical players who could make use of that extra clarity. But the tier below had that bark, that attitude that works better for me.

The second story?

I’ve been collaborating musically with Tess on and off since 92. The moment she heard me playing this guitar, she told me that this gives me the sound I’ve been searching for all that time. When others hear it, you know you’ve found it.

The 594 gives me what I love about the Les Paul – the scale length, the control layout and location, the vintage voicing. It also has tuning stability, intonation, and usable coil split sounds that I haven’t found on any Les Paul.

I would gig a 594 over a Les Paul every time.

So yeah, the first piece of #MySoundMyRig for the desert island is the PRS McCarty 594. What guitar would you be shipwrecked with? I’d love to hear how you found the guitar that gives you ‘your’ sound.

Have a great weekend, and next week I’ll talk about the next piece of my signal chain for this rig: the tuner 🙂

#CoffeeAndKlon 9: Would You Take A Klon To A Desert Island?

This conversation was originally published on my Twitter feed.

Good morning! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. This week, I’ve been thinking about my Desert Island rig … and whether or not a Klon / klone would be part of it. #CoffeeAndKlon

Coffee this morning is my absolute favourite: Sumatran. It has a stronger flavour, and tastes quite bitter, compared to most coffees that I have tried.

It would be my Desert Island coffee choice 🙂

The whole Desert Island rig concept always amuses me. It’s such a contradictory premise. You’re stranded alone on an uninhabited island, presumably with only your wits to sustain you. And yet somehow there’s electricity to run your guitar rig of choice *shrugs*

Even ignoring the logical fallacy for a moment … who, in their right mind, would bring the gear they love the most to an environment that it won’t survive in?

Oh, the joys of hypotheticals 😀

That brings up an important point. For many many people, the gear they use is simply a tool. It’s a commodity, and ultimately a consumable for them. They use it, and when it’s worn out, they replace it.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked there …

Why have I been thinking about my Desert Island rig this week?

Normally, I’ve got a new (to me) pedal on my little pedal board, and I’m trying it with different stuff to work out what I think of it. No new pedals this week, so instead I’m using the guitar, pedals, and amp that together give me “my” sound.

I’ll break down all the different parts of my Desert Island rig – the what, and the why – over the next few #CoffeeAndKlon threads / posts. There’s a lot to discuss, and discussing it will help me understand it for myself. I wonder if I’ll change my mind as a result?

Will a Klon / klone be part of it? Let’s deal with the klone question first.

I’ve tried a number of klones – not all, by any means – and I always come back to my Klon KTR. I’m not even sure I can say why, or that I could pick it out in a blind test. (That could be fun to try!)

I know there’s a lot of folks out there who don’t rate the KTR. If there’s a klone that you prefer, I think “good on you.” If we all liked the same thing, and all sounded the same, the world would be a very dull place.

The whole Klon thing isn’t so much about making my guitar sound better, it’s about making my guitar standout in a band / mix setting. If it’s just me, on my own, on a Desert Island, is the Klon thing going to matter?

And I think that’s one reason why so many #HomeTone players either don’t get the Klon thing, or are disappointed with it. If it’s just you noodling alone, you don’t get to hear what (IMHO) the Klon does like no other.

The Klon isn’t the only kind of boost pedal in town. Regular readers will have seen me use the Brit Blue, the OverZoid od1, and the Forest Green Compressor as boost pedals too. They all have their sweet spot.

Will the KTR make it into my Desert Island rig? I’ll tell you soon, as I work through the signal chain of my choice of Desert Island rig. Follow me here, or come and read the http://hometoneblog.com  if you prefer 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Would you take a Klon or klone with you to a desert island? Tell me why – or why not. And have a great weekend!

#CoffeeAndKlon 8: As The Main Drive Pedal?

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

Good morning! For this week’s #CoffeeAndKlon, I’m going to talk about using a Klone as your main drive pedal. It’s something that comes up regularly on Wampler’s Facebook group.

Why does it come up there?

  • it’s a group that’s very friendly to new players
  • Wampler’s Tumnus is popular as a main drive pedal

I’m sure that there are folks out there using Klon Centaurs and KTRs as their main overdrive pedal. Maybe it is more popular than using it as a clean boost in front of pedals or a dirty amp? I wouldn’t know.

I think there’s a specific reason why the Tumnus has found an audience as a main overdrive pedal. It puts out a lot more low-end than my KTR.

To test this, I’m running it into the Boss Katana. Turns out the Katana’s clean channel is very useful for testing pedals. It doesn’t give the pedal any extra help, and any loss of bass or presence comes across very obviously.

And I’m playing the new Tele I bought yesterday. Partly because I’m still really enjoying it. Mostly because it puts out quite a bit of low-end too. Will the Tumnus turn that tone into mud?

No … not at all 🙂

For playing at home, the extra low-end actually sounds really nice. It makes the middle position on this Tele a lot of fun to play with.

That extra low-end doesn’t suit everything though.

If I switch over to a Strat (which has a lot less mid-range output than the Tele), it doesn’t work for me. The Strat sounds a little muffled, and borderline muddy. The mids aren’t strong enough to dominate the tone.

It also highlights a big difference between the kind of tone we love for #HomeTone, compared to what a professional musician would go for.

For #HomeTone, we like signals that have plenty of lows and highs – because it’s just us, and we’re right next to the speaker cab.

In a recording or a live band, those wider frequencies cause a guitar to get lost in the mix. I wonder how the Tumnus would fare in a full band?

If you’ve tried that, I’d love to know what happened, and how you got on. I’d love to learn from you 🙂

Can other klones be used as main drive pedals? If you’ve done that, let me know 🙂

Have a great day, and head on over to the http://hometoneblog.com  for more #HomeTone discussion!

#CoffeeAndKlon 7: Too Much Sparkle?

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

It’s #CoffeeAndKlon time again. And I want to talk about a pedal I think everyone should try – the TC Electronic Spark Booster. What, you didn’t think I’d forgotten I’d talk about this one, did you? 🙂

This boost pedal is arguably famous because it was a regular guest star in any Andertons YouTube vids. I know I got mine because of them 🙂

I guess they got tired of it? I can’t remember the last time they mentioned it in a video.

Anyway, every time I plug it back in, I think it sounds top-drawer. The ‘clean’ setting in the middle sounds flat, and I can dial in extra dirt or adjust the EQ – and keep the output volume down too.

But it’s what it does to the top-end of the frequency spectrum that I love the most.

I can’t stand guitar tones that sound like someone’s thrown a duvet over the speaker cab – or that sound like they’re coming through the wall from another room. I want a guitar tone that sounds like it’s right there in front of me.

It’s one reason (amongst many!) that I’ve gone from digital to tubes, when the trend is definitely going in the other direction.

There’s something about the presence from the Spark that sounds just right to me. I don’t know if it’s boosting the high frequencies or simply not filtering them, but I like whatever is going on.

Going back and forth between the Overzoid and the Spark, I’d say it’s the main difference between the two. The Spark has a … sparkle … that isn’t there with the Overzoid.

If I love the tone so much, why is the Spark rarely shown out on my practice board? Well, after about 10-15 minutes, that extra sparkle has caused ear fatigue for me. My ears just don’t like being blasted with sounds in the upper register 🙁

Maybe I could dial back that treble control and try and tame it? My ears need time to recover first!

I think it’s as bright as it is so that we can use it as a treble booster into an amp, where the saturated preamp should swallow up the extra frequencies? I’m guessing. I don’t know if that’s the case.

Anyway, when my ears recover, I’ll be putting the Overzoid back on the board for now.

As always, this is just personal preference. Try one for yourself. You might like what they do 🙂

So, what’s coming up next time? I haven’t talked about Tubescreamers, and I haven’t talked about the Klon’s legendary rival, the Timmy. They’re more for boosting amps than pedals though.

I’ve still got a few more alternative boost pedals to share with you before I break out a cranked amp or two. And I should talk about some more klones too 🙂