Rig Rundowns, Gear Reviews, Lessons, Giveaways & More

A smart, potent boost that’s much more than meets the eye.

A well-built and truly great-sounding boost/line-driver pedal boasting a handful of clever bonus functions.

Some buyers might find it a little pricey.

$199

Source Audio ZIO
sourceaudio.net

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Source Audio nicknamed the new ZIO pedal “the Better Box,” which is a fair summation of what this thing will do for your tone. Purists may rant endlessly about the virtues of plugging straight into an amp. But many legendary players understood that a little extra “hot” between guitar and amp can add up to magic. From Jimmy Page’s Echoplex preamp to Brian May’s Rangemaster to Angus Young’s Schaffer-Vega wireless system, a lot of signature sounds have been shaped with a little extra kick—and often from unexpected sources that are something other than simple boosts. Source Audio’s first all-analog pedal is more than a conventional booster, too. And, to some degree, it celebrates these alternate paths to boosting tone.

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It’s hard to argue with an acrylic-top guitar when it looks this cool!

The Hagstrom F-11 was built with improbable tone materials, but it still sings with zing.

Growing up in the shadow of the Martin Guitar Factory, I learned a thing or two about tonewoods. Quite a few of my friends got jobs at the factory right out of high school, and over the years, I’ve seen how woods are cured, selected, and cared for. The Japanese factories I’ve visited really took this idea to the next level. I’ve seen curing rooms with classical music being played to stacks of wood. I’ve seen huge storerooms with different woods sorted by age (some well over 100 years old), country of origin, and quality of figuring. Hell, I've even seen logs that were dragged out of Mississippi swamps, shipped to Japan, and cured.

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A series of affordable true-bypass pedals designed to compliment each other.

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An essential skill that’s often overlooked.

Beginner

Beginner

• Learn how to add interest by “missing” strums.

• Create patterns influenced by drumbeats.

• Understand how to systematically improve your rhythm playing.

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Strumming great rhythm guitar is a core skill. It’s never too soon—or too late—to get a solid groove going. With a few simple chord shapes, you can be up and running rather quickly. (You can even tune your guitar’s open strings to a chord and simply strum the open strings.) Players like Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Noel Gallagher, and Jimmy Page all have an individualized approach to simple strums. Let’s dig in and tighten up our rhythm chops.

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