Holiday Gift Guide
Looking for this year's hottest guitar gifts? Look no further than the 2021 Holiday Gift Guide!
Premier Bedford SH
The Bedford SH—previously only offered as a Deluxe Limited Edition model—is now available in the Premier Series. Featuring a sleek, modern f-hole design on the upper bout, the Bedford SH integrates a warm acoustic element into a three-pickup electronics configuration that offers a bold variety of tones. The combination of two Duncan Designed single-coils in the neck and middle positions followed by a Duncan Designed mini-humbucker in the bridge creates a uniquely bold, but familiarly spanky tonal palette while a 5-way blade makes tone selection simple. Available in Oxblood, Black Flake and Sky Blue with a six-point tremolo.
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D'Addario XS Acoustic Phosphor Bronze strings combine our most popular acoustic alloy with our most advanced string coating technology, resulting in clear tone, smooth feel, and superior tuning stability – all with the longest possible string life. With its ultra-thin film coating on every wound string and a unique polymer treatment on the plain steels, XS offers our highest level of protection for maximum life. XS also features NY Steel high carbon core and plain string wire, and our exclusive Fusion Twist, for incomparable break strength and tuning stability.
MicroPitch Delay is the 'secret sauce' heard on countless hit records. The pedal features dual pitch-shifters with fine-resolution de-tuning and modulation combined with delay in a delicious red package. Popularized in the H3000 Harmonizer®, MicroPitch Delay allows musicians to achieve subtle tone fattening, lush stereo widening, rich detuned delays, thick modulation, and tempo-synced special effects. It also features onboard tone controls with mono or stereo operation, MIDI, preset storing, and most importantly a new compact, easy-to-use interface.
Soul Press II
Soul Press II is a next-gen product in the Hotone Press series pedal line. It's new-designed upgrade based on the popular concepts of both the Soul Press and Vow Press. It integrates up to four function modes (volume, wah, volume/wah, expression), taking playability to new heights. The pedal position indicator shows the pedal position in real time. The TONE mode selection and Q value adjustment represent an absolute improvement in tone and functionality. Multiple I/O options provide more diverse access. The reimagined pedal size maintains portability while delivering an optimal ergonomic experience. Soul Press II is a truly versatile wah pedal.
Blackstar Dept. 10 Pedals
Dept. 10 is the Blackstar R&D team responsible for blue sky innovation and design; they have developed the world's most advanced valve pedals. Dept. 10 pedals all use an ECC83 triode valve at their heart, running at more than 200V internally which allows them to deliver organic tone, dynamics and break up. Innovative design, premium components and our advanced Cab Rig D.I. technology, create the ultimate valve pedals. The Dept. 10 Dual Drive and Dual Distortion pedals both offer two channels, each with two available voices, as well as important features for modern guitarists such as USB audio out for direct recording. And the Dept. 10 Boost's built-in buffer / line driver is perfect for preserving your tone when using long cables, or large pedalboards, or for pushing your amp into further saturation.
Floating Guitar Stand
PRS Guitars floating guitar stand is the perfect way to display your favorite guitar. Its sleek, minimalist design lets the stand disappear allowing your favorite guitar to take center stage!
Our Engineers have carefully helped in the design of this stand to make sure it is stable and safe for your favorite instrument.
• Heavy Duty Construction
• Fits most acoustic and electric guitars
• Heavy weighted base ensures the stand will not tip over
• Three-pointed base engineered for maximum stability
• Nitro-friendly foam head stock cradle
Zelzah is a multidimensional phaser capable of conjuring up everything from classic vintage phaser tones to authentic lush chorusing, flanging, and vibrato. The dual layout gives you individual 4- and 6-stage phasers that can be used on their own or combined for added flexibility, and the phaser circuits are handcrafted to sound great at any setting, so dialing in tones is easy. Full control over all functions and up to 300 presets via MIDI make this the last phaser you'll ever need!
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Builder’s Edition 912ce
Taylor's Builder's Edition guitars set a high bar for performance, comfort and sound, and the Builder's Edition 912ce offers all the playability and sonic texture a player would expect from a top-tier acoustic guitar. Back and sides of solid Indian rosewood serve up warmth and sparkle in equal measure, balancing a rich low-end response with clear, pristine highs and a slightly scooped midrange. A Lutz spruce top adds projection and articulation along with a touch of extra headroom for players who really like to dig in, and the V-Class bracing inside enhances the volume and sustain. Comfort features such as a beveled armrest and cutaway, chamfered edges and the noise-reducing Silent Satin finish finish off the package, which also sports beautiful abalone and mother-of-pearl inlays in Taylor's new Bellefleur design.
TAD 6L6GCM-STR REDBASE™ PREMIUM Selected
As the first tube of the new TAD REDBASE™ series, the TAD 6L6GCM-STR REDBASE™ has a powerful but always well-defined bass range, with clear, silky and transparent highs - offering plenty of headroom.
In every setting, the TAD 6L6GCM-STR REDBASE™ responds directly and with great dynamics, from soft and warm to punchy and powerful, without ever losing detail or depth.
An effective upgrade
The TAD 6L6GCM-STR REDBASE™ is the recommendation for lively clean sounds as well as powerful broadband multi-channel amps. This makes the TAD 6L6GCM-STR REDBASE™ an effective upgrade for virtually any amp that uses 6L6GC or 5881 tubes.
Amonito Guitar Amplifier
Amonito is a guitar amplification system that brings together boutique guitar effects, an incredible sounding tube analog circuit, instant switching between presets, and a quality loud sound monitoring system all in one extremely light package.
At the heart of Amonito is the main analog circuit, a combination of 12AX7 and 12AU7 tubes and MOSFETS all running on 300 V for ultimate dynamic range and feel. A powerful DSP gives you effects like reverb, delay, chorus and tremolo. For ultimate versatility, DSP is also placed before the tube circuit, and dozens of relays transform it into one of the most versatile tube circuits on the market.
Given how complex the system is, it is remarkably simple to use. Amonito features a custom user interface that offers versatility and programmability without the need to read the manual.
A new concept of guitar speaker placement gets you incredible sound on stage, and with dedicated outputs for the PA, the audience will enjoy great sound too. Carbon fiber or aluminum cabinet and one of the best 8inch speakers on the market make heavy amps a thing of the past.
You no longer need to choose between the quality, warmth, and ease of use of a tube amplifier and the versatility and lightness of modern guitar systems. With Amonito, you get an all-in-one system that not only makes your pains go away, but lets you enjoy your instrument the way you should – with an amazing sound.
G7th Performance 3 Capo
The G7th Performance 3 Capo is the culmination of years of designing, tweaking, and improving - but most importantly, listening to guitarists and their views on what a capo SHOULD do. Now, coupling our Unique Tension Control system with the groundbreaking ART string pad mechanism gives a near-perfect capo experience.
Adaptive Radius Technology
The Performance 3 capos are outfitted with the patented Adaptive Radius Technology (ART) string pad — a feature found exclusively in G7th capos. The string pad adapts to the curvature of the radius, letting you enjoy unparalleled tuning stability on virtually any guitar. With ART, a single capo gives you the confidence to play without string buzz or tuning issues. But you should still probably get one for every guitar case.
Unique Tension Control
The patented Unique Tension Control system has won the praise of guitarists since the launch of the first Performance capo in 2004. Easy and intuitive, you simply squeeze with minimum pressure to attach the capo and squeeze the lever to release the capo. And you'll only find this exclusive feature on the G7th Performance capo line.
And to back all of this up, every G7th capo is covered by a Free Lifetime Warranty.
"...the Performance 3 is one of the rare capos that makes me forget I'm even using a capo—which is kinda the point, right?"
Jason Shadrick, August 2, 2019. Premier Guitar Gold Gear Award
That's why we say – G7th is The Future of Capos.
ICON Gig Bag By Gator Gases
The new Gator Cases ICON gig bag provides the protection you need in a beautifully sleek form that travels easily and comes packed with everything you need.
Equipped with a highly durable, semi-rigid construction, the ICON bags can withstand extreme pressure and mishandling and have endured multiple stress tests.
These feature-packed showstopper bags come fitted with multiple layers of protection and plenty of accessory pockets, handles, and adjustable, stowaway backpack straps to ensure comfortable transport. Every detail has been thought through, from the hidden secret pocket for your travel documents to the custom-fit rain cover and a convenient bottle opener where you need it most. This bag is your ultimate travel companion.
Inside the bag, you'll find adjustable neck and body blocks to keep your instrument safe during movement and a QR code for quick product registration and tracking so it won't get lost.
Give your guitar the protection it deserves with the ICON Series by Gator.
In the quest for great musical tone there is always the potential to create something great. Here at Greedtone the mission is to make the best sounding equipment.
The Greedtone Overdrive II is different to the millions of other overdrives on the market because it's designed around the professionally trained ears of Greg Williamson, a sound engineer for some of the worlds largest bands (Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate).
This pedal has plenty of volume on tap (4 Volts) in order to push your amp into its natural happy place. This is one of the loudest overdrives ever made.
The gain stage is designed to not just clip the signal giving great rock through to metal tones, it's also designed to bring out the sparkle and harmonics of your guitars natural tone. This is due, in part, to the extremely high end hi-fi audio components used.
The "Greed" control is where things start becoming crazy, this beast of a control begins feeding extra bass into the gain section of the pedal. This essentially allows you to shape which frequencies receive more attention from the gain stage.
The results are so extremely wide ranging as turned right down you have yourself a great rocking overdrive pedal BUT when you start diming this knob into an overdriving amp you enter a world of Sludge and Doom as yet unheard of.
With the MORE switch a second stage of distortion is at your disposal. The Greedtone OD is considered a double drive pedal.
Celebrate 10 years of Island Instruments with luthier Nic Delisle and the commemorative Decade Edition Forty-Four. This limited edition of 5 instruments recalls the spirit and aesthetics of the initial run of guitars that launched the company. Built from domestic and reclaimed woods, and with a powerhouse of a blade P90 custom-wound by Mojo Pickups UK. This time it's on the flagship Forty Four model, featuring a compact comfortable body and a beefy flamed maple neck with buttery feeling hybrid soft V-C carve. Subtle details like custom-machined raw brass hardware, brass nut, EVO frets and ivoroid binding complete the package. Island Instruments is a one-man operation and you can get in touch with Nic directly via his website, Facebook or Instagram to inquire about the remaining guitars or for all your custom-crafted desires.
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Voice DC30 Guitar Amplifier Plugin
Voice DC30 Custom Valve Guitar Amplifier plugin is modelled after a vintage VOX AC30 Top Boost Reverb characterised by its "jangly" high-end sound that's become widely recognized by British musicians and others.
Voice DC30 Custom Valve is capable of both enchanting clean and raucous overdriven sounds, the signature chime of the Voice DC30 Custom Valve pairs seamlessly with the intricacies of your playing style, resulting in a sound that is truly your own.
The Voice DC30 has a separate brilliant channel. This has been achieved by adding a gain stage and a 'cathode follower´ stage, thereby dropping the impedance and bringing up the current and adding Bass/Treble controls to this channel.
The brilliant channel with optional top boost is placed after the volume control section and before the phase inverter. This means you can shape the sound after the distortion.
The Vib-Trem channel offers a choice between vibrato (wavering pitch) and tremolo (wavering amplitude). A rotary, three position Speed switch adjusts modulation rate.
The String Sling
The String Sling not only protects your guitar strings, but it also turns into a comfy guitar strap in seconds!
Reinforced loopholes and top of the line fabric provide stable and secure attachment to your guitar when used as a strap.
Our capo pouch is measured to snuggly hold all standard guitar capos, whether in the strap or protection configuration.
Premium Japanese elastic adds that extra sling that makes this strap stand out while offering the best strength on the market.
Triple fastening layers under the featured button, lock the strap attachment firmly into place.
Extra-wide Velcro® allows for a tight wrap around all standard guitar necks. We suggest keeping it tight to prevent the oxidation of your strings. You'll be able to see how well it protects your strings after taking it off for the first time and seeing the outlines.
String Sling's premium microfiber cloth, used by companies like Fender, are used not only because they are made for this but because it's so versatile. We just happened to find one more use – perhaps its best!
That same microfiber cloth that makes up String Sling's belly, can be used to wipe down and dust off your guitar. It's the perfect buffing cloth you'll never lose or need to replace.
The hidden pick pouch is both sturdy and large enough to hold your picks, yet tight enough that you're not digging.
Pursuit Exotic S Concertina Tiger’s Eye CE
Myrtlewood, while native to Oregon's Pacific coast, might just be the most 'exotic' of all tonewoods, capturing the deep bass of rosewood, the pure warmth of mahogany and the sweet, glassy treble of maple in one exquisite, visually enchanting package—here under an equally captivating tortoise-bound Tiger's Eye gloss finish. This sustainable acoustic-electric Pursuit Exotic S Concertina has all the charm of a vintage short-scale 12-fret parlor guitar, but with a full, punchy modern sound and maximum playing comfort. A fast, slim neck and soft cutaway access to every fret let your fingers, and your heart, have their say. Sound better than ever with Breedlove's earth-conscious, sonically superior EcoTonewood technology. Get fierce with a Tiger's Eye!
ACS1 Amp + Cab Simulator
The [ACS1]™ is an amplifier and speaker cab simulator delivering the sound and feel of world-class amplifiers, complimentary speaker cabinets, and controllable room size. With the ACS1, players have expansive options to deliver their tone whether it's on stage, in the studio, or practicing at home. Simple controls, stereo in and out, onboard presets, and MIDI support make the ACS1 an immeasurable tool in a guitarist's arsenal.
The ACS1 models three vintage amp styles crucial to music industry history designated by their places of origin. When running the ACS1 in stereo, one amp can be used through both channels or mix and match amps and cabinets on the left and right channels with the L + R switch.
Players can also load in their own IRs and update firmware at walrusaudio.io
Foxy Tone Box
What do the guitar stylings of Billy Gibbons, Peter Frampton, Adrian Belew, and Beck all have in common? A small but mighty fuzz pedal that goes from mellow to mayhem real quick. The Warm Audio Foxy Tone Box is the most accurate reintroduction of one of the most sought after and beloved fuzz pedals of all time. Covered in thick velvet just like the vintage pedal, the Warm Audio Foxy Tone Box faithfully recreates the vintage circuit and brings you the huge tone, octave-up sounds and look of the original plus true bypass for the purest signal flow on modern boards. Foxy Tone Box uses NOS2 N3565 Fairchild Transistors, carbon resistors, Germanium 1N34A diodes, and premium film capacitors to bring the fury of the vintage pedal to the present day. Foxy Tone Box houses a very workable fuzz circuit with controls for volume, sustain, and "fuzz" (tone) which runs from mellow to brite. The tone control makes it easy to switch from single coil to humbucking pickups without missing a beat. The sustain control turns your solos from choppy bitcrushing madness to liquid metal that would make Tony Iommi proud. To get the full experience of Foxy Tone Box, engage the octave effect and channel your inner Hendrix to wake up the neighbors and melt faces. Electric guitar is the obvious application, but try it on synthesizers, drum machines, bass, acoustic/electric, and more. Get or give the gift of fuzz this holiday.
Are you ready for a roaring call back to an earlier time where one pedal delivered fuzz, phaser, and a jet-engine swirl together in perfect harmony? Countless performances from people named Gilmour, Van Halen, and Isely plus iconic recordings from Kool and the Gang, Steely Dan, and Herbie Hancock put this pedal sound on the map. The Warm Audio Jet Phaser is a true reproduction of this famous pedal. This six-mode pedal gives you phaser, fuzz, and boost - all in one enclosure with true bypass. Use "phase" modes 1 or 2 to get traditional phase sounds with depth controls. For the bold, use "Jet" modes 1-4 to add fuzz, with bright and dark fuzz controls combined with deep and shallow controls for phase. This faithful recreation uses premium components throughout, including carbon film resistors and film capacitors. Living up to the sonic legacy, Jet Phaser delivers the infamous 'Jet' phase sound resembling a jet engine during takeoff. Your solos will have your band mates, fans, and engineers asking - "who's that pedal?" If you've ever chased this mythical sound for stage or studio, there's only one way to get there this holiday - the Warm Audio Jet Phaser.
Mod Electronics Seismic Shift
The Seismic / Shift is a JFET boost based on one of the earliest effects to ever be used on stage. This pedal adds subtle color to a guitar's sound while maintaining the natural tone of the guitar. It packs a serious punch that can cut through any mix when soloing or whenever some extra "umph" is required. The Seismic Shift pairs nicely with amps and other pedals. Place it ahead of tubes, preamps, overdrives, distortions, and fuzz pedals to shift your gear onto a new level.
The Seismic / Shift pedal kit is the introduction to the Nexus Series from Mod® Electronics. This series features a PCB base rather than the Mod® Electronics' traditional point-to-point wiring kits to offer builders an even wider variety of effects to build. The Seismic Shift kit is designed for all skill sets and is the perfect first build for those unfamiliar with PCB construction.
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Volt Power Supply
Don't step on stage without the Ernie Ball Volt Power Supply. For musicians on the move, this ultra-compact, road-ready unit puts a complete powering solution in the palm of your hand. Connect all your favorite digital and analog pedals to multiple high-current DC outputs for clean, regulated power. Relax and rely on thermally protected, short-circuit-proof design with ultra-low noise operation. When the road calls, the Volt demands a place on your pedalboard.
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Lindy Fralin's Customizable Prewired Pickguard
Don't just settle for some one-size-fits-all generic pickguard. Instead, design your own! Lindy Fralin's Prewired Strat Pickguard line features the highest quality parts - and pickups - in the industry. Built to order and wired by hand by experienced craftsmen, these Prewired Pickguards are available in SSS and HSS combinations. In addition, each pickguard is fully customizable - from appearance to pickups to the wiring. With hundreds of options available, you can fully customize your tone - from our award-winning pickups to cutting-edge push-pull mods. So treat your Strat® to something special this holiday season with a Lindy Fralin Prewired Pickguard - exclusively available at fralinpickups.com.
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Guitar Slip No More
Guitar Slip No More, GSNM is the new electric and bass guitar accessory designed for the seated guitarist. GSNM is form fit to the bottom rail of your guitar and prevents the guitar from slipping and improves guitar balance. Anytime a guitar is in your lap is the right time for a GSNM! Buy yours today!
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Kingston Super and Kingston Z
For the discerning player in search of a handmade look and sound, we have the MTD Super and Z Series, which incorporates many of the superior design elements present in MTD Handmade instruments, into a production model. Powerful electronics, premium finishes, and a sleek carved body, make the Kingston Super and Z models the perfect combination of beauty, brawn, and tonal flexibility.
Kingston Z5(Tobacco Sunburst): $1800, Kingston Super5(Dr.Brown's Burst or Matte Black): $1525
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Oliver Mahogany Jr.
Looking for your next travel guitar? With a comfortable, ¾ size grand concert body, the Oliver Jr. is the perfect accompaniment for your next big adventure. Oliver Jr. sports a solid mahogany top with layered mahogany back & sides for a warm, balanced tone. Every Orangewood comes professionally set up before delivery, so your guitar is ready to play right out of the gift box. Plus, the Oliver Jr. includes a premium gig bag, so you can play anywhere inspiration strikes.
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With an iconic dreadnought acoustic shape, Echo's resonant voice is the perfect gift for your favorite singer-songwriter. Topped with a solid Sitka spruce top for a bold, crisp sound that delivers on stage, the Echo also features a natural gloss finish and stunning abalone detailing for a sophisticated aesthetic. The Echo Live comes equipped with a Fishman Flex Plus-T EQ System, featuring a built-in tuner and onboard volume/tone controls, to round out this acoustic-electric model that's perfect for performance. Plus, a premium gig bag and professional setup come included.
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Shubb Capo Royale Pāua Pearl C1P for steel string guitar
Shubb's latest endeavor is a continuation of their Capo Royale Series, utilizing their titanium-based PVD finish. Pāua is the Maori (native New Zealand) name for a species of abalone whose shells are the most beautiful and colorful. Luthiers often use Pāua shells for the inlays on their most special guitars. Fine jewelry crafted from the shells are known as Pāua Pearls.
When the R & D Department at Shubb came up with this new finish, its dazzling iridescence reminded them of Pāua pearls, and so that became its name. It uses the same durable titanium process as their other Capo Royale models, so its eye-popping, color-shifting
beauty will last practically forever. The renowned and reputable Shubb cam lever capo design has gotten a good dose of peacocking just in time for the holidays !
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i5 Professional Dynamic Instrument Microphone
You owe it to yourself — and your tone — to use a mic that will faithfully capture your guitar amp's sound. The Audix i5 Professional Dynamic Instrument Microphone is the perfect mic for guitar cabinets — on stage or in the studio.
Designed with a smooth cardioid pickup pattern for isolation and feedback control, the i5 microphone features a VLM™ diaphragm for natural, accurate sound reproduction. Sturdy, compact, and easy to position, the i5 has a wide frequency response of 50 Hz – 16 kHz. Clearly capture your sound without having to rely on EQ.
Take it up a notch by adding an optional CabGrabber™ mic clamp. The CabGrabber allows you to position the i5 easily and exactly where you want it on your cabinet.
Designed, assembled, and tested by Audix in the USA.
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The Vidami Blue is a revolutionary multi-modal tool that gives you hands-free control of today's most popular music and education technology. We've combined everything our customers love about the original Vidami with Bluetooth technology and iOS Safari 15 compatibility to give you hands-free, wireless control. Experience the freedom to learn and create at home, in the studio, or on the go.
Effortlessly Loop and Slow Down songs and riffs on more than *35 compatible Online Video learning platforms including: YouTube, FenderPlay, TrueFire, MartyMusic, Pickup Music and more.
Page Turning/TAB Mode
Easily Turn Pages, Scroll Tabs, Lyrics, and other functions on your favorite Digital Sheet Music apps and Tab sites like: OnSong, Ultimate Guitar Tabs, forScore, and others.
Free your creative spirit as you Record, Loop, Add Tracks, Set Markers, and more on today's most popular Digital Audio Workstations including: GarageBand, Logic Pro, Reaper, Pro Tools, Studio One, Cubase & Ableton Live.
The Vidami Blue is currently compatible with iPhone and iPad on iOS 15 and Desktop Computers, Laptops & ChromeBooks
Tone Weal EG/EB-Series Guitar/Bass Amp
EG10 is compact, small, and loud, with a simple-to-use practice amplifier. It delivers great
tone for electric guitar with 10 watts RMS power and 5” speakers. Classic preamp circuit
and 2-band EQ with a clean tone and drive switch to add great overdrive sound.
Professional headphone socket for private practice.
EG15 is a compact, simple-to-use practice amplifier delivering great tone for electric guitar, with 15
watts RMS power and 6.5” speakers. Classic preamp circuit and 3-band EQ with
a clean tone and drive switch to add great overdrive sound.
The mini-jack AUX input allows for connection of a playback device such as
MP3/iPod/CD for jamming backing tracks, the headphone socket for private practice.
EB10 bass amp is astoundingly compact, portable, and lightweight, with great bass tone for
home studio and travel. The diminutive EB10 delivers 10 watts of pure bass tone. Small
and loud, its features include Tone Weal amp design with classic 5" speaker and three-band EQ,
making it a great practice amp.
The EB20 bass amp is ideal for practice or home studio play, with its great fat and warm tone, and
ease-to-use controls. The 20W bass amp features a 1x8" speaker and includes an aux. input,
headphone output, and three-band EQ in addition to standard volume and EQ controls. This unique
bass power amplifier is lightweight and easy to carry, suitable for small performances with 20W of
EG10 $89 USD
EG15 $129 USD
EB10 $108 USD
EB20 $165 USD
Ibanez Pentatone Preamp Review
This feature-rich distortion palette will sculpt shred with precision.
Lots of range. Easy and intuitive to use, despite a detailed control set.
Even with the gain set to zero, it stays crunchy, so you can’t use the EQ and noise gate for cleaner sounds.
Ibanez Pentatone Preamp
During a long-ago brief dalliance with shredderism, I bought a Boss Metal Zone. Although that phase didn’t quite stick, my affinity for the iconic distortion pedal did. There’s something about that EQ section that’s always felt so appealing. When I plugged in the Ibanez Pentatone, I felt like I was reliving that first dive into the high-gain zone.
I easily conjured tones from Zeppelin I-style high-mid screech to Danzig-inspired low-end-forward/scooped-mid crunch, and easily accessed ’80s thrash tones.
Of course, the Pentatone is a much more feature-rich offering. The main business here is the distortion circuit—which has bass and treble controls, plus a bright switch, pre-boost, and post-gain boost—and the 5-band graphic EQ. While the Pentatone is definitively targeted toward heavy sounds, the switchable EQ—consisting of blue LED-enhanced sliders that look way cool, each of which has a knob to control the frequency being tweaked—boasts a ton of range. I easily conjured tones from Zeppelin I-style high-mid screech to Danzig-inspired low-end-forward/scooped-mid crunch, and dove headfirst into ’80s thrash tones. A switchable noise gate—which has a 1-knob sensitivity control set—keeps things super tight.
In short, the Pentatone is a versatile distortion unit with welcome, deep functionality. It will likely appeal to heavy-minded guitarists, but it’s a useful tool for anyone that may need to turn a Deluxe Reverb into a fire-breathing beast.
Ibanez Pentatone Preamp and Equalizer Pedal
Catalinbread Tremolo8 Giveaway!
You could WIN a Tremolo8 from Catalinbread in this week's giveaway. Enter before June 6, 2023 for your chance to win!
Catalinbread Tremolo 8 Pedal
In a past life, this project started as a pedal for our personal enjoyment; a digitized model of the Fender Showman’s "harmonic vibrato". The experiment was a resounding success, so we started experimenting with more LFOs and more tremolo styles. We really like the sound of tremolo splashing against a reverb like Magnatones or Vibro Champs and our previous work on the Topanga Burnside reflects this. At the same time, we are suckers for bigger ethereal reverbs so we decided to add some trem-specific reverb algorithms and a subtle tone control. After researching and implementing them to exhaustion, we discovered that not all LFOs are created equal and some are much more equal than others. A sawtooth LFO leads to wild reverse-esque sonic manipulation and a fluttery compressed sound when set low. A square wave with a duty cycle control ("on" time) leads to a thumping, stuttering reverb sound, so why not turbocharge the square wave to a few kilohertz and churn out some wacky sum and difference frequencies? In a completely different program, trem modulation with chorus floating on top sounded too good to leave out. When working on the Many Worlds we had so much fun with the envelope-controlled phase angle that we wanted something like that in here, so we crafted an envelope-controlled trem rate with adjustable sensitivity and attack/decay, leading to head-spinning effects when letting chords ring out or when cranking some touch-sensitive solos.
Looking back on their latest releases, the two bluegrass phenoms and friends sit down with one another to talk musical heritage, stage fright, gear, and more.
In any music scene, it’s natural that talented contemporaries will find each other and form fast, harmonious fraternity. It’s no surprise, then, that Nashville-based bluegrass virtuosos Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle became close friends and collaborators as early as 2017—when they were both just 24—and, as is now somewhat common knowledge, were one-time roommates. Tuttle was first featured on Strings’ full-length release, Turmoil & Tinfoil, and a few years later, Strings guested on Tuttle’s Grammy-winning 2022 album, Crooked Tree, on the track “Dooley’s Farm,” while performing together often in the interim.
The pair have a lot in common, and we thought it would be a great idea to put them together to interview one another. “Billy and I, we both grew up playing with our dads,” Tuttle shares at the very beginning of the conversation. Tuttle made her first professional appearance as a recording artist at 13, when she and her father, Jack Tuttle, released The Old Apple Tree. Since her 2019 solo debut, When You’re Ready, Tuttle has evolved through both warm and peppery country tones and her original, adventurous approach to bluegrass, circling back to the genre’s traditional homey twang on Crooked Tree. A new album, City of Gold, is due July 21—and, inspired by her constant touring over the last few years, will offer 13 new tracks that capture the electric energy of the band's live shows.
More recently, Strings felt a sudden sense of urgency to record with his father, Terry Barber, and in November 2022, he put out Me/And/Dad, on which the two play 14 classic bluegrass tunes. As Tuttle comments with fondness below, Strings has a distinctive Doc Watson-esque attack, something that gets flavored by a death metal edge—heard in the every-so-often spectral chord and touch of grimness—thanks to his background in that scene. He recorded his latest single, “California Sober,” with Willie Nelson, and can be heard in duet with Tommy Emmanuel on the Australian guitarist’s new single, “Doc’s Guitar/Black Mountain Rag.”
Dooley's Farm (feat. Billy Strings)
While Strings grew up in Michigan and Tuttle the San Francisco Bay Area, much of their upbringing happened in parallel. Both musicians experienced turning-point moments in their teenage years, where they discovered that not only did their peers accept them for their bluegrass aptitude but celebrated them. For Strings, it happened when he excited his “hipster” friends with a performance of “Black Mountain Rag” at a house party, and for Tuttle, around the time Mumford & Sons was gaining popularity, her classmates discovered her banjo talents—and she became the “banjo girl.”
“Bluegrass is the music that can make me laugh or cry, that I really feel in my soul, and so my electric guitar started collecting dust.”—Billy Strings
Now deep into their discographies, the 30-year-old phenoms took a pause before (and amidst) tour dates to reconnect and discuss the many experiences they’ve shared in modern Americana music. The following conversation offers a view into that world, as well as unique insights into why the two get along so well as both musicians and people.
Molly Tuttle: Billy, you made that awesome new record with your dad. When you were growing up playing music with your dad, did you ever feel like there was a disconnect between the bluegrass side of what you did and other music you played with your peers, or listened to with your peers?
Billy Strings: Yeah, I remember it was probably around the time I was in middle school—I was a skateboarder, and I was playing video games and just hangin’ out with friends. I was getting too cool to be hanging out with my dad’s old friends playing bluegrass. I was like, “Man, I want to play music with people with common interests, not just sitting here talking about Gunsmoke or something.”
But I joined metal bands and got that out of my system, and eventually, I came back around full circle and just had this realization that bluegrass is what I cut my teeth on and what I was spoon-fed as a boy, and it’s really where my heart truly is. Bluegrass is the music that can make me laugh or cry, that I really feel in my soul, and so my electric guitar started collecting dust.
Tuttle: I really resonate with that, because I’ve gone through so many phases of trying to figure out who I am musically, and it took me longer to accept bluegrass as part of who I am. And it really is what makes me, me. But how do I tell my own story through bluegrass? ’Cause there are those two ends of the spectrum. I feel like I’ve gone the other way and been like, “Well, I’m not just a bluegrass musician, I play all this other stuff too.” And then I’ve also felt like, I want to play bluegrass and make it authentic to the genre. It kind of came down to songwriting, to me—like, how do I tell my story through this music and show how it came to be such a big part of my life?
The two bluegrass virtuosos both grew up learning how to play from their fathers, one in California (Tuttle), the other in Michigan (Strings).
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Strings: What are some of your earliest memories of playing with your dad? Do you have any big moments as a child that you were like, “This is what I’m doing—I’m a guitar player”?
Tuttle: I remember as a kid, I played a lot with my dad and we would play around the area where I grew up, in the Bay Area—play different local shows. One big moment for me, when I was like 12 or 13, was getting to go to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco and seeing Earl Scruggs, Hazel Dickens…. Me and my dad somehow finagled backstage passes and got to go to this afterparty, and Hazel was there. It was just so cool. Gillian Welch was there, and Dave Rawlings. He was like, my guitar hero. I remember going into the greenroom to put my stuff down and seeing him just sitting there with a guitar, and that blew my mind. Just seeing people like that up close was like, “Whoa, I could actually do this, and this world feels like where I belong. I could see myself doing this for a long time.” I realized I just wanted to play music as much as possible.
What was the Michigan music scene like for you growing up? Were there festivals or anything that was really important to you?
Strings: Well, I didn’t go to many festivals. At least, when I was young and growing up and first learning how to play, it was more just like me and my dad, my uncle Brad Lasko, and a couple buddies sittin’ around picking by the creek. But all these years later…. I watch other people on stage and I’m like, “How the fuck do they do that? How do they get up there and just play and sing?” I do that too, but I don’t think I do it like other people do. I was at this festival in Texas [South by Southwest], and I was nervous watching other performers! I was nervous for them, like, “Oh my gosh, she’s just up there singing and laying her heart out there! That is terrifying!”
Billy Strings' Gear
On String’s latest single, “California Sober,” he plays with the inimitable Willie Nelson.
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Guitars & Banjo
- 2017 Preston Thompson DBA Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought, “Frankenstein”
- 2019 Preston Thompson DBA Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought, “The Bride”
- 1944 Martin D-28
- Rickard Open-Back Banjo
- Grace Design BiX Preamp
- Strymon Lex Rotary
- Electro-Harmonix Micro Pog
- Electro-Harmonix Freeze
- Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork
- Electro-Harmonix Intelligent Harmony Machine
- MXR Bass Envelope Filter
- Red Panda Raster
- Source Audio C4 Synth
- Source Audio Nemesis Delay
- Source Audio EQ2
- Boss DC-2W Waza Craft Dimension C
- Boss DD-8Boss SY-1
- NativeAudio Pretty Bird Woman
- Chase Bliss Wombtone MKII
- Chase Bliss Mood
- Chase Bliss CXM 1978
- DigiTech Polara
- Peterson StroboStomp HD Pedal Tuner
- Ernie Ball 40th Anniversary Volume Pedal
- Mission Engineering Expression Pedals
Strings & Picks
- D'Addario Medium, XS Coated Phosphor Bronze (.013–.056)
- Blue Chip TP48 Speed Bevel Right Hand
Strings: It’s definitely a weird thing. I still just do not understand how we can get up on stage and do whatever it is that we do.
Tuttle: Do you get any sort of stage fright ever? For me it comes and goes. If you think about it too much.… Sometimes I’m like, what if I don’t remember a single word to any of my songs? [Laughs.]
Strings: I just am always in a state of anxiety because of my career [laughs]. There’s all this pressure. But I’m usually fine once I get out there. It’s leading up to it. Even right now. I’ve been home for two or three weeks, and I’m leaving the day after tomorrow to go back on tour, and I’m scared that I don’t remember how to do it! I don’t know if I remember how to make a set list. I don’t know if I remember if I can still perform a show. But once you get back out there, you just throw yourself into the ring and it’s kind of like them guys that ride them bulls or something. You just kind of strap on, like, “Fuck it, here we go—8 seconds, hold on!”
Tuttle: [Laughs.] I feel like it’s this third thing, like your subconscious takes over and then you remember how to do it. But if you start thinking about it in advance…. We took some time off over the winter break and I had the same feeling, like, “Whoa, how did I do that before?” It really is kind of an extreme thing that we do: traveling all over the place, playing in front of a lot of people.
Strings: But shit, what the hell else are we going to do? Heavy lifting?
PG: Molly, I know Crooked Tree came out about a year ago now. For your earlier recordings, you said that you were trying to experiment musically, whereas this one was more traditional. Is that right?
Tuttle: Yeah, I kind of went back to the bluegrass sound that I grew up with. My first full record, When You’re Ready, I’d just gotten to Nashville. I was writing a bunch of songs where I didn’t know what category they fit into genre-wise. I had so much fun making that record; I really got to experiment with a different style. But then I think something happened in the pandemic lockdown. I got so nostalgic for that music I grew up with, and I missed my family; I missed the community aspect of bluegrass. I love this kind of music; it is folk music, in a way, where it gets passed down from generation to generation. It’s such an organic style of music that brings people together.
So, I started writing bluegrass songs for fun. I was like, “What I feel like I hear bluegrass missing these days, when I turn on the radio, is songs that sound original.” So, I wanted to write songs that could be sung in a bluegrass band, but also told my point-of-view and my story. Once I started, it was hard to stop, and I realized, “I have a full album of songs now, I might as well go into the studio this summer and try to knock out a record.”
Molly Tuttle's Gear
Tuttle has been performing professionally since the age of 13 but didn’t blow her bluegrass cover in school until her later teens.
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
- Prewar Guitar Company Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought
- Grace Design FELiX
- Audio Sprockets ToneDexter Acoustic Instrument Preamp
Strings & Picks
- D’Addario Medium Coated Phosphor Bronze
- Dunlop JD Jazztone 207
Strings: And you won a Grammy for it. And I was so happy, because I was just like, she deserves this so much. Obviously, this always gets brought up, but we used to live in the same house—we used to be roommates. And I would always hear Molly practicing and shit, and I’d be like, “Fuck, man, I suck!” [Laughs.]
Tuttle: [Laughs.] I get that feeling when I hear you play, because I feel like we have such different styles. I’m like, “I could never do what Billy is doing.” The way you attack the guitar—I hear Doc Watson, but then there’s also your metal influence as well. I’m just in awe of your playing.
Strings: I’m just fakin’ it. I’m just wingin’ it the whole time, constantly. But are you still usin’ the same pick? Those little black things? What are those?
“Sometimes it may not look like I’m tensing up from someone watching me playing, but inside, I am kind of tense. But I think it is almost meditative, where you have to let go and let yourself play.”—Molly Tuttle
Tuttle: Dunlop Jazztone picks. I feel like I should switch. They’re not fancy picks, and sometimes I’ll try out other picks and people will be like, “That sounds really good.” [Laughs.] I’m just so used to them; I’ve used the same picks since I was 10 years old. They’re pretty heavy picks.
Strings: Well, that’s your sound, where you’re comfortable. I’m finding that that’s what it’s all about, for me anyways, is trying to make it comfortable to play. When I watch other people play, like you, or [Bryan] Sutton, it looks like almost kind of effortless in a way. There’s not all this tension, there’s not veins popping out [laughs]. I’m straining, but some people I see play and there’s just wonderful technique.
Tuttle: I have that too. Sometimes it may not look like I’m tensing up from someone watching me playing, but inside, I am kind of tense. And that’s when I feel like my playing doesn’t come through as well. But I think it is almost meditative, where you have to let go and let yourself play.
When Strings and Tuttle lived together in Nashville, they both felt intimidated when overhearing the other practicing.
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Strings: What kind of strings do you use?
Tuttle: I use D’Addario medium gauge [phosphor bronze]. I use the coated ones because my hands are very acidic.
Strings: Me too! I use the same ones! Shout-out to D’Addario .013–.056 medium gauge phosphor bronze, right? Gotta have that medium gauge, gotta have that coated, ’cause we sweat like crazy. And they don’t break! What guitar are you playing mostly on stage? Which one is the one that’s doin’ it for ya?
Tuttle: Right now, I’m using my Prewar Guitar Company. It’s a Brazilian rosewood D-28 style. I feel like the action and setup stay pretty even on tour, and I love the tone of it. That’s my current fave—what about you?
Strings: Still my [Preston] Thompson that I’ve been using forever. Brazilian, spruce-top dreadnought. I’ve been playing it for several years and that’s the guitar that I play on stage. It’s been through hell. It’s been smashed and it’s been put back together. But it always sounds the best plugged in. I use a K&K pickup and I run it through a [Grace Design BiX]. Also, I have a ’45 Martin that I just put a pickup in. I just wanted to have an old one that I can play on stage. But every time, I go back to Old Faithful. I started calling that guitar “Frankenstein” originally because I put all those different pickups in it, and the switch, and it’s got a microphone installed on the inside that goes to my in-ears. And I had them make me another one just like it, and that’s “The Bride.”
This isn’t guitar nerdy stuff, but I have this song, “Away from the Mire.” I wrote it when I got into a fight with my brother. Then, one night when I was on stage singin’ it, I realized that I wrote that song for myself; I was the one that needed to hear it. Do you have a song like that?
Tuttle: Definitely. I think the first therapeutic song that I remember recording of mine was “Good Enough,” that I recorded on my first ever EP. It’s about accepting yourself. I think I was struggling at the time with anxiety, and just getting started in my career and not knowing where things were going. I was trying to help myself stay in the moment. And I feel like that’s still a theme that I still write about. It means different things to me throughout my life.
“I think our duty is just to bring a little joy to people’s day. And sometimes they can give it back to us by accepting our audible diaries that we pour into our songs.”—Billy Strings
Strings: Well, just keep doing the work, because it’s beautiful stuff and we all need it! I think our duty is just to bring a little joy to people’s day. And sometimes they can give it back to us by accepting our audible diaries that we pour into our songs. We’re lucky to be able to do what we do, and I’m stoked watching you and your band out there kicking ass. It’s just fuckin’ awesome.
Tuttle: Likewise! I just love how you’re bringing this music to the masses, really educating people too about where it came from and your heroes and why it’s so important to you.Strings: I guess we just gotta keep our sticks on the ice and keep truckin’. ’Cause I think we’re both doing good, and if we just keep our heads down and keep playing guitar, I think we’re going to be alright.
It doesn’t take a trained eye to appreciate the wild shredding energy of Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle, seen in this live performance of Strings’ “Billy in the Lowground.”