The HOF-er regales Cory with legendary classic rock guitar tales, gives his simple recipe for a good tone, and shares his reasons for trying to make a difference in the world.
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Joe Walsh Sold Jimmy Page His #1 Les Paul | Wong Notes Podcast
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Having gained access to a specimen from Seattle's Museum of Pop Culture, Paul Reed Smith takes aim at the tones of Hendrix's modified Woodstock head.
Fantastic range of Marshall-esque tones, from clean and lovely to tough, mean, and singing.
No standby switch. Minor cab rattling audible at moderate volumes. Head may need securing at high volume and bass settings.
$899 (2x12 Stealth)
PRS HX 50
Just as PRS's 2012 HXDA was inspired by firsthand looks at one of slide legend Duane Allman's amps from his seminal At Fillmore East performance, the brand-new HX 50 is the result of Paul Reed Smith and PRS amp guru Doug Sewell getting extensive access to a Marshall head reportedly used by Jimi Hendrix during his iconic performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival.
That amp—a circa-'68/'69, 100-watt Super Lead modified for Hendrix by Dave Weyer of West Coast Organ and Amp—currently resides at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington, and Smith and Sewell's perusing of the circuit was made possible by the museum's proprietor, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. Lending additional credence to the original amp's provenance and pedigree, a small stenciling of the "Authentic Hendrix" badge appears on the HX 50's rear panel to indicate endorsement by the late guitarist's estate.
Under the Hood
The HX 50 reviewed here is powered by a pair of New Sensor EL34s and it uses a custom power supply whose rectification and capacitor arrangements are exactly like the 100's. Ostensibly, this avails more reasonable volumes and easier breakup while helping to imbue the amp with headroom and responsiveness more like the 100. The circuit is meticulously handwired on a thick (2 mm), 2-sided, through-hole printed circuit board—which, in a nice homage, is purple rather than the typical green. A trio of 12AX7s drives a preamp with presence, bass, middle, treble, treble volume, and bass volume knobs, as well as an off/on high-mid toggle and a 3-position brightness selector. While vintage Super Leads like Hendrix's Weyer-modified Marshall feature four inputs—which many famous players have "jumpered" (connected in series using a 1/4" patch cable) to tap more gain from the circuit, the HX 50 and 100 have a single input that's internally jumpered to the same effect.
By way of explaining the deviations from vintage-plexi architecture, Sewell says, "This is not a painstakingly historical recreation of the amplifier Hendrix used, but a snapshot in the development of a series of modified amps he came to use on tour and in the studio. Consideration was given to reliability, compatibility with his effects and guitars, the tones he achieved, and the feel and response of the amp."
In most cases I found myself turning outboard boost or gain pedals off before long, preferring the HX 50's beautifully articulate and open-feeling power-amp distortion—although a vintage-voiced germanium fuzz sounded as Hendrix-y wonderful as I could've hoped.
Castles Made of Sound
I tested the HX 50 (through the accompanying PRS cab featuring two Celestion G12H-75s) using a Strat, a Jazzmaster with Curtis Novak JM-V and JM-Fat pickups, a '57 Classic-loaded Les Paul, and a Schecter Ultra III equipped with a TV Jones Magna'Tron. From the outset I was impressed with the low noise floor, even at very loud and saturated settings. I didn't really hear any hum or squealing unless I was very close to the amp and using single-coils or slathering on gain from a stompbox. (On the latter point, in most cases I found myself turning outboard boost or gain pedals off before long, preferring the HX 50's beautifully articulate and open-feeling power-amp distortion—although a vintage-voiced germanium fuzz sounded as Hendrix-y wonderful as I could've hoped.)
As you'd expect from an amp inspired by a vintage classic, the range of tones available from the HX 50's EQ is moderate compared to some modern designs, but in terms of what you'd expect from a procured plexi, it's impressively wide ranging. With humbuckers or single-coils, I had no trouble making any guitar chime, sing, or sting—or the other way around—using just the knobs. The presence and mid controls can either sharpen your guitars' teeth or imbue them with a more "American," scooped-mid cushiness. Meanwhile, facile combinations of the treble and bass channel volumes—or even dialing one out completely—further the lean-and-clean(-ish) to velvety-thick possibilities. (Interestingly, even as a favorer of bright-ish single-coil tones, I rarely felt the need to engage the high-mid or bright toggles—neither of which were featured on the reference Marshall, although players of darker-sounding instruments or users of extensive outboard effects might appreciate their inclusion.)
Further, while the HX 50 certainly won't pummel like, say, a Mesa Rectifier or a Diezel through a Rivera sub, for its size and power, it's impressively punishing in the lower registers. Enough so that, at more aggressive settings, even the middle position on my Jazzmaster threatened to vibrate the head toward its cab-diving demise (thank you, Gorilla Tape!). Meanwhile, even at low channel volumes (treble volume at 2 and bass volume at 1, with presence and bass dimed, made for a lovely pedal platform), the HX 50 sounds virile and open, yet is also loud enough to hang with a reasonably volumed band.
In terms of construction, tones, and versatility, the PRS HX 50 is a lovely brute of an amp worth trying regardless of your affinity for Hendrix or his tones. Sure, it can help you get to hazy-purple realms if you're so inclined, but for me it was even more fun to discover a slew of sounds that work for what I do. Whichever way you dial it, it's a damn good-sounding vintage British-style specimen.
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June 22, 2021
The punk-rocking ripper extensively details how East Bay Ray's "smacky, bouncy" delays, "sour" dissonant chords, and suspense-and-release playing sideswiped them into the guitar universe.
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Don't miss the latest and greatest gear finds for your acoustic!
<p>The Cole Clark CCFL2ECRDBL Acoustic-Electric Guitar is designed for the guitarist who demands the highest standards in an instrument. The 2 Series FL Dreadnought guitar is the go-to choice for every player looking to have ultimate control of both the acoustic and plugged-in performance environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.</p>
"I love this thing, I can't put it down. It's kind of like having a piano in your lap, you got all the low end for bass lines, and you got chords that you can strum on top, even alternating simple bass lines. There's all kinds of fun you can have with this thing!" ~ Sean Harkness, NYC
Typically tuned to B, the Baritone provides a clear low end response perfect for soloists, singer-songwriters, percussive finger-style players, or guitarists who crave a walking bass line while comping chords.
With its offset soundhole, side-port, and solid Sitka spruce top with innovative low-mass bracing, the Walden B1E sounds sonically excellent while incorporating the more comfortable Grand Auditorium body shape. A graphite reinforced Mahogany neck contribute to stability and its 27″ scale length and 1-13/16″ nut width contribute to the B1E Baritone's transparent playability.
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<p>The PRS SE P20E is a parlor-sized acoustic with a big voice. Features include all-mahogany construction and PRS hybrid "X"/Classical bracing, which allows the top to freely vibrate, the SE P20E projects with even, bold tone. Its smaller size makes playing for hours fun and comfortable and allows for more convenient transport.<br>Plug in the Fishman GT1 pickup system, and it delivers dynamic, organic tone. This electronics system features an undersaddle pickup and soundhole mounted preamp with easy-to-access volume and tone controls, which essentially transforms what some may consider a "couch guitar" into a workhorse stage instrument.<br>Available in three satin finishes with herringbone rosettes and accents. Other high-quality features include a solid mahogany top, ebony fretboard and bridge, and bone nut and saddle. Gig bag included.</p>
<p>Inspired by the guitars made in the 1930s, the Tanglewood Blackbird series evoke traditional values, yet offer the benefits a guitar manufactured in the modern era. These guitars feature hand-selected tone woods and a unique bracing pattern. The Blackbird Orchestra electro-acoustic guitar is carefully braced to environments, with Cole Clark's signature 3-way pickup system and beautiful, sustainably-sourced, natural Redwood and Blackwood timbers.<br><a href="https://www.tanglewoodguitars.co.uk/product/twbboe/" target="_blank">Click here to learn more</a></p>
<p>Taylor's popular, compact GS Mini has brought countless hours of guitar-playing joy to musicians of all stripes, and the GS Mini-e Koa Plus takes the fun to a new level with elevated aesthetic details. Back and sides of layered Hawaiian koa pair with a solid koa top for a punchy, bold sound with surprising power and volume for a small-bodied guitar with a scale length of 23-½ inches, while the 1-11/16-inch nut width makes forming chords a breeze. A dusky edgeburst accentuates koa's natural grain and luster around the top, back and sides, while other notable features include nickel tuners, a three-ring rosette, and a genuine West African ebony fretboard. It includes onboard ES2 electronics and Taylor's new AeroCase®, a soft yet sturdy case with all the protection of a hardshell case at one-third the weight.</p>
Adding to the company's line of premium capos, Shubb has introduced the new Capo Royale Series, featuring durable gold finishes that deliver long-lasting beauty.
Available in two lustrous finishes – Gold and Rose Gold – the Capo Royale Series brings a distinctive visual flair to Shubb's famed capo design, revered since 1980 for its ability to provide flawlessly clean fretting while keeping the instrument in tune.
For many years Shubb has received requests for a gold plated Shubb Capo. While gold is undeniably beautiful, it is not at all durable; it will wear off far too easily and quickly. It is also famously expensive. Now, Shubb has developed a high-tech technique for creating a gold-toned titanium finish. It possesses all the beauty of real gold, but is as durable as any metal finish in the world.
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Guild's most affordable jumbo yet! The F-240E is a tone cannon at a player's price. Built with a solid spruce top, mahogany sides, and an arched mahogany back, the full-bodied and powerful voice of this Guild Jumbo provides guitarists with historically-Guild acoustic tone and voicing. Guild's signature arched back design allows for enhanced volume and projection, long sustain, and a lush, full sound. The F-240E features Guild's Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics, a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge, bone nut and saddle, mother-of-pearl rosette, period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, and a satin polyurethane finish.
<p>The Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 was designed to give singer/songwriters the ability to get a professional sound without any sound engineering expertise, then share it via live streaming or recording, or live performance. All in a compact easily portable combo with the option of battery power. This take-anywhere acoustic amp is designed for the way you play today: streaming, recording, practice or live.</p>
<p>Santa Cruz Guitar Company has made it even easier to order the custom acoustic you've always wanted. They invite you to email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to be walked through the design process, where they will take the time needed to answer all your questions about models, tonewoods, structural options and aesthetics to ensure you will receive the heirloom acoustic that is right for you.</p>
The New MH8P Series Vegan Hemp Series guitar straps by Levy's come in four new beautiful motifs and measure 2"/51mm in width. These organic straps are cruelty-free using sustainable materials and extend from 37"/940mm to 62"/1572mm via silver-colored tri-glide sliding adjustment. Natural hemp webbing and durable 2-ply cork ends safely support your instrument, along with pinhole stitching on both ends to prevent stretching. To address the issue of pick dropping encountered by almost every gigging guitarist, the MH8P Series comes equipped with a convenient 2.5"/64mm inside pocket to provide quick access to extra picks. Hand-crafted in Novia Scotia.
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<p>The product of nearly 3 years of intensive research and collaboration with a team of PhDs, LR Baggs is thrilled to introduce Voiceprint DI, the next breakthrough chapter in acoustic amplification. Voiceprint DI measures the acoustic response of your guitar by leveraging the processing power of your iPhone® to accurately capture your guitar's one-of-a-kind voice. A Voiceprint is created, transforming your pickup into the most authentic sound we have engineered in our 40+ years.</p>
<p>Raise your hand if you only own one guitar… that's what we thought. But do you need a different amplifier for each one? The Bud from Henriksen is no ordinary amplifier; it sounds just as amazing with your acoustic guitars as it does with your electric guitars, regardless of style. The Bud is just 13 lbs and 9"x9"x9" but packs 120 watts of power and a pro-grade feature set that you can truly gig with, record, teach, or just practice.</p>
<p>Powerful and responsive like a dreadnought, tonally the acoustic electric Breedlove Jeff Bridges' Signature Model emphasizes the unique qualities of myrtlewood, with a deep rosewood-like bass, the fundamental clarity of mahogany and the enchanting shimmer of koa. The Breedlove Jeff Bridges signature "All in this Together" project benefits Amazon Conservation Team, which works in partnership with indigenous colleagues to protect rainforests.</p>
NUX Stageman II Battery-Powered Acoustic Guitar Amplifier features a pure analog preamp with NUX's iconic Core-Image post-effects. It has specific EQ scenes for finger-style as well as strum-style in channel 1, and you can engage built-in Acoustic IRs with a dedicated mobile APP. Acoustic IR is the new trend to make your acoustic sound as natural as micing. Stageman II keeps Drum & Loop, you can control by the original NUX NMP-2 foot-controller. And the built-in rechargeable battery can let you busk on the street for 4 hours.
- 80-watt rich warm sound acoustic amp with 6.5" premium speaker and 1" tweeter
- Rechargeable battery for 4.5 hours outdoor performing
- Built-in Acoustic Impulse Response
- 2 independent channels with routing adjustable post-effects
- Mobile APP for editing and control
- Drum & Loop (60s phrase loop)
- Bluetooth Audio Stream
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A two-in-one overdrive that offers a wealth of options.
Designed between 2012 and 2014, and released in late 2015, The 1959 Doubledecker along with the Echosex 2°, were our flagship products. Our goal was to make a pedal that sounds like an amp, in term of dynamics, velocity, and harmonic content. The result is the latest iteration of the Doubledecker.
-Tube Preamp working at high voltage 150/300V
-Two independent channels (that can be used together)
-New tone stack made of Tone and Presence control
-Two separate on/off Footswitches
-True Bypass assisted by golden pin relays
-"Jose" Clipping mode switches on both channels
-4 input/output connectors
-Up to 10 different sounds.
-Small size: 3.5"x5"
-Size: the new enclosure make it one of the smallest double pedals on the market, considering it's a Tube powered pedal.. only 3,5" x 5"!!
-Connections: the smart double connections set, lets you use it as a standard pedal with one main input and one main output, or split to two separate pedals to be used into two different loops of your looper/switcher.. or even to invert the order of the channels chain for infinite boosting options.
-Switching: Now you have only 2 footswitches to handle, but the two channels can be stacked together and boost each other. Thanks to the Clipping option switch, plus the 4 controls of each channels, you can obtain a huge palette of colors for your tone, up to 10 different combinations.
-Engineering: It has been very hard work to design this innovative pedal, trying to make it sound like a real overdriven amplifier. We used a different approach from all other well known circuits that mimic the "Marshall Tone". We started from an Hi-Voltage (150-300Volts) Tube preamp section, assisted by our secret weapon Op-Amp to tailor the tone. The rich harmonic content, the dynamic and touch response, the velocity and richness of details is typical of a real tube amp pushed to its max. Plus we worked with some Artists who had the luck to have their amps modded by the famous Jose Arredondo., the popular "Jose Mod" used by big pro like EVH, Steve Vai, Doug Aldrich, Peter Frampton, Metallica, George Lynch and many, many others. We wanted to pay Jose a little tribute by adding two different Clipping sections to fine tune the sound when using the channels as two independent pedals, make everything easy to play and sounding great.
-Clipping: The two channels together sounds incredible without any clipping, however we wanted to give you options, we made two different clipping sections for the two channels, in order to expand the combinations for virtually infinite possibility: Germanium NOS Diodes for Floor1 channel, very suitable for all the soft OD stuff and mimic to perfection the behavior of a tube amp on the edge of clipping, LED diodes for the Floor2 in Symmetrical configuration for the smoothest, complex, and compressed amazing lead tone.
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