Load Box Shootout – Vintage Tones

Another one from Michael Nielsen tonight. He’s done a great video looking at how several popular load boxes sound for vintage tones.

Around the 7 minute mark, he talks about a surprising aspect of load boxes – that they drive the amp harder than the real cab does. He then goes on to show the captured waveforms side by side. There’s a few surprises hiding in there too.

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5 Way Amp Recording Shootout

Check this out. Michael Nielsen has posted a video comparing a real mic + cab setup vs 5 different ways to record silently at home. And he’s picked a great way to do it too.

He’s recorded the best sound he could with each approach, and used them in a mix so that you can hear the kind of final results you might be able to get. Best of all: the guitar is soloed to begin with, to give you a taste of what it’s like to simply noodle through each setup.

It isn’t a straight comparison. The real cab has V30s in it, and is mic’d using an SM57. The impulse responses used are of G12M Creambacks with a couple of different mics, and I’d swear that the OX is emulating G12Hs not G12Ms. But that’s kinda the point. He’s gone and done exactly what we’d do ourselves – dial in what he thinks sounds the best.

Do have a read of the comments people have been leaving on his video. It’s clear that not only do people have different tastes, but that different people actually hear different things too.

The other thing that’s interesting? Play it back to back a few times. Once ear fatigue kicks in, just how much difference can you hear any more?

(And just how good does that BE-100 sound?!? Me want …!)

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Initial Thoughts On The Santa Ana Overdrive

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to play the new Fender Santa Ana Overdrive for myself. AStrings’ recent demo had left me unsure what this pedal actually was, so I thought I’d go and find out for myself.

And I’m glad that I did.

I ran the Santa Ana into the vibrato channel of a Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue (DRRI). I went for that amp partly because it’s the clean tone that I’m into right now, and partly because I know that particular DRRI is a very sweet-sounding amp. (If only I had the space for it, it would have come home with me a long time ago!)

For guitars, I used two very different beasts: a single-cut PRS 594, and a certain green Fender Special Telecaster. I’m not sure how I managed to leave the store without the Telecaster …

I haven’t come across another drive pedal that sounds quite like the Santa Ana Overdrive does. To my ears, it does offer something different.

I really liked how it sounded through the DRRI. Roll back the treble and presence a bit, wind up the drive and mids, and there’s a really sweet creamy lead tone there. Roll back the volume on the guitar, and you’re in ZZ-Top-ish Texas tones for rhythm.

There’s a softness to the initial attack that I particularly liked. Along with the pedal’s natural compression, it certainly made me sound a lot more fluid than I really am! I really enjoyed how it tamed the natural spikiness of the Tele’s bridge pickup. I had a hard job handing the Tele back after that 🙂

You can hear an example of what I mean in the jam at the end of this video:

The jam starts just after the 32 minute mark. The tone that Danish Pete gets out his Les Paul is very similar to what I was getting myself today.

Also, check out the earlier jam around the 25 minute mark. Very impressed with how well the Pugulist Distortion pedal worked over the top of the Santa Ana Overdrive in that.

Other thoughts …

The light-up knobs aren’t a gimmick. Even in a well-lit shop, I found they made it quicker to see how the pedal was dialled in. I wonder if we’ll see them catch on with other brands.

The two voices were different, but not drastically so. A bit like how a Tweed is different to a Deluxe, I guess. One was a bit more in your face than the other. Both were very usable.

The boost/extra drive circuit doesn’t change the tone at all. It’s just either a volume gain or increased saturation. I’m not sure that I’d make any use of it personally. I’m more inclined to either ride the volume knob of my guitar, or kick on a second pedal to change the tone.

It’s an interesting pedal, and I’m sure I’ll be picking one up at some point.

Fender Pedals Demo

We’ve already seen AStrings demo the new Fender pedals, and now it’s the turn of Andertons. Watch the Captain and Danish Pete give you their thoughts on them here:

They’ve got all six pedals out, running them into a Victory V40 Deluxe and a Hot Rod Deluxe v4. These two amps sound very different to the Bassbreaker that AStrings used in their demos, so even if you watched all the excellent AStrings demos, the Andertons’ video offers a different look at these new pedals.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed their video.

Pre-CBS Strat Copy w/ Abigail Ybarra Pickups

Burgs has posted a video of him noodling on a copy of a pre-CBS Strat. What makes this particular copy extra-special is that it’s fitted with a set of pickups wound by Abigail Ybarra.

Everyone has “the one that got away” – a guitar they couldn’t get, didn’t get, or had to sell on. Mine is a Fender 2012 Custom Deluxe Strat, fitted with Abigail Ybarra pickups. It was the best sounding Strat that I’ve ever played.

If you’ve never heard of her, Abigail Ybarra has been winding pickups since the early days. I believe that she retired from Fender a few years ago. There’s something about the pickups she made in her career that just works. They’re highly sought after as a result, especially as it appears that she wasn’t able to pass on her technique to the next generation of pickup winders.

The pickups aren’t the only star in this video. Burgs is noodling a long through his AxeFX, and it sounds really good too. Close your eyes, and see if you can tell it’s digital modelling.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Burgs’ video.

Fender’s Stan Cotey On The New Pedals

This popped up in my Twitter feed of all places this morning. Fender has posted a video interview with Stan Cotey, who heads up the new pedal team inside Fender.

There’s a couple of things in the interview that really caught my attention.

These new Fender pedals aren’t clones of existing circuits; they’re all designed from scratch. That makes me even more interested in trying out the Santa Ana Overdrive for myself now.

Stan also talks about there being more pedals in the pipeline. I wonder what we’ll see next from them?

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Fender’s video.

Fender Santa Ana Overdrive Demo

The lovely folks over at AStrings have posted their third video on Fender’s new pedal lineup. This one looks at the Santa Ana Overdrive pedal.

The Santa Ana is a dual-voiced overdrive with an additional boost circuit if you want it. You can switch between the two voices using a toggle switch on the front panel.

After watching the video, I’m not sure how I’d describe the tone of the Santa Ana Overdrive. I think Adam hit the nail on the head when he said that this is a pedal you need to try for yourself, through the amp of your choice. I’d certainly like to hear it through something like a Hot Rod Deluxe to get a better idea of what this pedal is.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed their video.

Fender Pugilist Distortion Pedal Demo

Tom and Adam from AStrings have just uploaded another demo of one of Fender’s new 2018 pedals: the Pugilist Distortion. This one has some serious chunk to it!

There’s two separate gain circuits in the Pugilist. You’ve got the option of running a blend of them together, or stacking one into the other in series. Either one results in very thick and meaty tone.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed the video.

Fender Marine Layer Reverb Pedal

My local guitar shop AStrings have just posted a demo of Fender’s new Marine Layer Reverb pedal. Check it out.

It looks like the Marine Layer Reverb is a mono pedal, best suited either to go into the front of an amp, or into the FX loop of an amp lacking reverb of its own. Those are two situations where a stereo pedal offers nothing extra that you can use.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed AString’s video.

One Marshall Is All You Need

Continuing this afternoon’s Marshall theme (yeah, the Metro Plex module has made quite the impression this morning 🙂 ), here’s a video from Johan Segeborn looking at a modded Marshall 1987X.

This particular Marshall has been modded so that it can be switched between something like half a dozen classic Marshall circuits. Very cool, if that’s your kind of sound.

It’s also worth a watch just to see how different two guitarists sound, even through the exact same amp and speaker cab.

Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Johan’s video.