Stompbox Gear Finds: Feb 2022
Need a new Stompbox? Find your next effect in this month's Gear Finds!
Inspired by the classic Tri-Stereo Chorus and stompbox choruses of the 1970s and early 1980s, the TriceraChorus pedal pairs rich Bucket Brigade-style chorusing with Eventide’s legendary MicroPitch detuning for a lushness that rivals the jungles of the late Cretaceous Period. TriceraChorus features three chorus voices and three unique chorus effects which can be used to create a wide stereo spread with pulsing waves of modulation. The innovative “Swirl” footswitch adds psychedelic flanging, phasing, and Univibe-style tones. It has never been easier to dial in syrupy smooth, deep modulation on guitar, bass, synths, strings, vocals, and more.
To be called “legendary” is to have shaped music as we know it. From the Rolling Stones to the Raconteurs. From Pete Townshend to George Harrison and from Clapton to Frampton. They strived to coax the truest expression from their instruments - the sound they heard in their heads and their hearts. Their signature sound - so uniquely shaped by effects that it changed everything. It’s the Fuzz-Tone FZ-1 that fuels the groundbreaking riff in the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and the funky wah filter that anchors the “Theme from Shaft.” While the impact they had on the lineage of music is also unique, many have one thing in common—Maestro. So, while not everyone has heard of Maestro, everyone has heard Maestro.
Maestro, the “Founder of Effects,” is back with an all-new line of effect pedals - the Maestro Original Collection. Five new pedals, designed, voiced, and styled for the musician looking to shape their unique sound. A tribute to the sound and style of the brand’s much-beloved classic models of the 60s and 70s, with modern features, expanded versatility, and advanced tone-tweaking capabilities. Each function as an innovative “two-in-one” pedal, with a single toggle that switches between two distinct modes. Each features a straightforward three-knob setup, true bypass switching, and an ergonomic, pedalboard-friendly wedge profile.
It doesn’t matter what you play. As long as there are sounds being made, new legends will emerge. Maestro is back to help you SHAPE YOUR SOUND.
The EHX Intelligent Harmony Machine instantly creates matching harmonies to what you play. It’s like having one – or even two – guitarists jamming with you at the same time and always in perfect sync. The Intelligent Harmony Machine opens a door to the music of great multi-lead guitar bands and multi-part harmonized solos. Plus, its ability to apply harmonies ranging from simple to sophisticated will totally transform what you play. Of course, it also boasts EHX’s renowned impeccable tracking and genuine musical tone.
MESA® Drive Pedals are built by the same artisans that create the award-winning Mark Five™ and the legendary Dual and Triple Rectifier® amps. They stand ready to serve up all rock genres with cut and aggression while retaining much of the signature warmth and organic sonic quality found in our amplifiers. Ranging from high to lower gain applications, including classic rock or howling blues, we have a drive pedal that will help you achieve the sounds that so many artists have employed in our amps to create the world’s heaviest guitar tones!
Progressing along the gain spectrum, the transparent boost/overdrive CLEO™ is joined by the vintage-inspired, medium gain DYNAPLEX™ and the higher gain GOLD MINE™. The CLEO is a transparent boost/overdrive design focusing on vintage-inspired low to medium gain overdrive sounds packed with dynamic nuance, lively attack, and a wide variety of essential clip sounds. Moving on to medium gain, the DYNAPLEX is all about the “British Crunch” style with classic mid punch, chirping harmonics, and the chime players desire for classic rock sounds and beyond. Progressing to the higher end of the gain spectrum, the GOLD MINE is focused on mid to high gain sounds, classic heavy chunk, and rich gain with harmonic complexity, soaring single note sounds, and the liquid gain and girth that gain lovers expect from MESA.
Like every MESA product, our pedals are built using the same quality components, craftsmanship, and inspiring performance as our custom amplifiers...all hand-built in Petaluma, California, USA!
Dual engine pitch shifting with nearly endless possibilities and expansive control options! The EHX Pitch Fork®+ features two independent pitch shifting engines with full control over each. Both will transpose your pitch up or down over a +/- three octave range and detune +/-99 cents. With rock solid tracking, an organic, musical tone and extensive control, it’s your ultimate harmonizer.
Pedal Pad pedalboards are hand-built for YOU in Coatesville, Pennsylvania! Our boards feature an ALL-IN-ONE solution where the board is also the case. Just pop the top and PLAY! Our ordering interface allows you to configure any board with a plethora of options. More options or requests? Just email or call and we'll make it happen! Most custom orders ship within 2-3 weeks!
EHX took the Big Muff Pi circuit and simply shrunk it without changing its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain and sound. The EHX Nano Big Muff Pi works and sounds identical in every way to our classic NYC Big Muff Pi. Get a piece of the pi for yourself!
Implementing the HD digital modeling technology accumulated throughout years of the Valeton team's diligent efforts, the GP-200 delivers hundreds of re-editions of tones from world-classic amplifiers and stompboxes with a comprehensive upgraded algorithm. Combining 140 legendary amplifiers and cabinets simulations and 100 renowned stompbox effect pedals, plus 20 factory cab IR slots, the GP-200 will guarantee your consistently great sound on stage.
Transform your electric guitar into a sitar! Very few instruments offer as much harmonic and dynamic flexibility as a sitar. Electro-Harmonix has streamlined the essence of the sitar into a compact enclosure that offers a polyphonic lead voice and tunable sympathetic string drones that dynamically react to your playing. With the EHX Ravish Sitar Emulator, you can create your own custom scales for the sympathetic strings while you set the decay time for the lead voice.
Two expression pedal inputs allow you to bend the pitch of the lead voice and control the volume of the sympathetic strings simultaneously. These unique controls offer the player the ability to program the Ravish to become a totally unique and organic instrument unto itself.
The Ravish is truly a design with the flexibility to be a crossover tonal wonder.
Iconic amp sounds for your pedalboard. The Valvenergy series valve distortion pedals offer the warmth and harmonics of amp distortion in a compact pedal format. The all-analog signal path and Nutube allow for genuine overdrive and distortion tones with the feel of a real tube amp, while internally boosted voltage gives greater headroom and dynamics. Three output modes allow you to use this as a standard pedal, a line-level preamp, and a direct amp-sim using the built-in analog cabinet simulator.
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The F#%k Face is a triple gain stage fuzz with thick and meaty sustain that sounds huge in front of a slightly cranked tube amp. Baseball card collectors from the late 80’s will immediately recognize the infamous ‘error card’ graphics of the same name. The circuit is based on the legendary Fuzz with a different Face, but with an additional silicon transistor gain stage and voiced to retain more useable and dynamic fuzz tones all along the sweep of the two controls. In the front of your pedal chain, the F#%k Face will add dynamic interactivity to the volume controls on your guitar which enable a sweep from slight grit to full ripping-velcro breakup.
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Brought to you by Blackstar’s R&D division responsible for blue-sky innovation and design, Dept. 10 are the most advanced valve pedals in the world. Meticulously designed and engineered by a team of musicians for musicians. At the heart of each Dept. 10 pedal is an ECC83 triode valve, running at more than 200V internally like a valve amp, which allows them to deliver organic tone, dynamics and break up. Dual Drive and Dual Distortion include Cab Rig, our next-generation DSP speaker simulator that reproduces the sound and feel of a mic’d up guitar cab in incredible detail. Deep-dive using our free software and capture the incredible tones via low latency USB, XLR D.I. out or headphones. Choose from Boost, Dual Drive or Dual Distortion to help you craft your perfect tone.
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The ODR-mini delivers creamy, natural overdrive – Everything from pushed clean amp tones to gain filled stacks! It has the same tones as its legendary brother – the ODR-1. You‘ll love the warm mid-gain tones for rock and blues, and the screaming hard rock sounds from the ODR-1 Mini. Plus the mini features true-bypass switching, the SPECTRUM pot with mid-click, fluorescent pointers on the “GitD“ – knobs (Glow-in-the-Dark). Guaranteed to be a BIG part of your sound while a small part of your pedal board.
Mono/Stereo: Mono In, Mono Out
Control: Drive, Tone, Level
Bypass Modus: True Bypass
9-18 Volt, center negative
Consumption 25 mA
Dimensions (WxLxH / mm): 42 x 93 x 50
Weight: 175 gr
Country of origin: China
Solid metal housing
Low current consumption
Requires stabilized power supply 9-18 Volt DC, with min 100 mA, 2.1 mm plug, center negative, (not included)
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Versatility, empowerment, limitless options, and ever-demanding tools at the disposal of every musician and composer are today on demand. A call for inventive devices continues to make musicians more inspired, clever and connected. The Alpha·Omega Photon combines Darkglass' signature Alpha·Omega parallel distortion with the versatile format of the Aggressively Distorting Advanced Machine. In addition to powerful distortion and studio-quality compression, the Alpha·Omega Photon is capable as an audio interface via USB-C or an amp replacement using cab sim IRs and XLR DI output.
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Enhance the tone and clarity of your pedalboard with award winning sound.
The George L’s effects kit.
The kit comes with 10’ of cable, 10 right angle plugs and 10 stress relief jackets.
Available in black, vintage red and purple.
As easy as 1, 2, 3 no soldering!
Cut, poke and screw your way to 47 years of sound excellence.
The Holy Grail of guitar reverb effects, the Fender®-style spring reverb, has been finally revisited with modern features!
Try it and discover why most surf guitarists and the truly reverb addicted are turning to SurfyBear.
★ exclusive SurfyPan type-4 spring reverb pan by Accutronics® and Surfy Industries
★ aluminium body with removable feet on the bottom side for better positioning on pedalboards
★ clean boost to adjust the volume when the effect is on
★ innovative dual-LED on/off button
★ true bypass functionality to keep your signal intact when the effect is off
★ external footswitch possibility though the dedicated 1/4" jack (footswitch not included)
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Eight ways to add excitement to your blues rhythms.
- Learn classic shuffle and walking bass lines.
- Explore chord voicings that can be combined with bass lines.
- Develop the ability to combine different patterns to create variation in accompaniment.
Combining bass lines with chords can be an effective way to perform solo or accompany a singer or other instrumentalist. This technique is often employed to thicken up parts in a setting where there's space to fill. While common among jazz guitar players, it is equally suitable in other styles of music, and lends itself very nicely to blues playing.
Ex. 1 consists of a common blues bass line. This line can be heard on many classic recordings and is a simple way to outline a basic 12-bar blues. We are going to use this line as our foundation as we begin to add chords in the next example. Some examples in the repertoire of this type of bass line can be heard on Albert King's recording of "Blues Power" and "Personal Manager." Another example of this type of line can be heard in Tommy Shannon's bass playing on the recording of the Elmore James' classic "The Sky Is Crying" on the Stevie Ray Vaughan album, The Sky Is Crying.
The Sky is Crying - Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky is Crying - 1991 (HD)
In Ex. 2, we start to combine this classic line with double-stops that outline the essential notes, or guide tones, of the chord. (Most often those are the 3 and b7 in dominant chords.) As you play these chords, work on getting the articulation of the chord tones to punch through while you continue to hold down the fort with the bass line.
We play a classic shuffle bassline based almost entirely out of A minor pentatonic (A–C–D–E–G) in Ex. 3. This is a simple way to outline the chords on either a major or a minor blues since this line does not contain the 3 that determines the quality of the chord. Listen to "So Excited" by Stevie Ray Vaughn on his album The Sky Is Crying to hear this type of line in action.
Stevie Ray Vaughan - So Excited (from Live at the El Mocambo)Music video by Stevie Ray Vaughan performing So Excited. © 1991 Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainmenthttp://vevo.ly/hNrWkF
In Ex. 4, we apply this line to a major blues by using thirds and fifths to outline the harmony. For example, in measure 1, we play the 3 of an A major triad (C#) triad on beat 2 to punch the harmony through and outline the chord. Notice how we develop the line and add subtle variation by incorporating a "call and response" figure to this idea by slightly altering the line in measure 4. This type of variation can be effective when developing your own musical ideas. Remember when you create your arrangements that slight and subtle can go a long way!
It might help you to think of these double-stops as horn hits or stabs. Check out B.B. King's Live at the Regal for a textbook example of this. The horns on this recording play essential chord tones as a way to outline the harmonies and give evolving texture and forward motion to the rhythm section.
B.B. KING - Live At The Regal (Full Album 1964)
Ex. 5 takes this idea a step further by adding more double-stops. On beat 3 of measure 1, we outline the b7 and 9 of the chord, giving us an A9 harmony. We answer this harmony in measure 4 when the I chord returns with the b7 and 3 (G–C#) on the last part of beat 3. We play with these ideas throughout the rest of the song form.
In Ex. 6, we take a look at a simple walking line. It contains a few different examples of how one might connect the harmonies and serves as a springboard for developing other lines later on should you so desire. Notice the turnaround has been changed to I–IV–I–V in order to add some variety and to propel the music forward.
In Ex. 7, we start to mine for gold! We begin to add some chord inversions to match the walking bass line with harmony. For example, in measure 3, we play a third-inversion A7, and in measure 5, we play a third-inversion D13. Also, we begin to alter the V7 chord by using the E7(#9) chord to add further color, and pay tribute to one of my favorite blues players, Jimi Hendrix! As you initially play this example, make sure you work at getting the chords to ring throughout while you keep the bass line walking. Notice the fingering used in the notation to help you get this harmony to ring out.
In the recording for Ex. 8, I improvise two choruses on a blues using the above ideas and extrapolate on the ideas a bit further. I combined lines from the previous examples and played with rhythmic variation to mix things up. Also, I outlined the harmony with Roman numerals only to give you a better idea of how you can extract pieces and transpose them to other keys. A good way to dive deeper into this type of playing is to analyze and transcribe classic bass lines and horn section hits on your favorite blues recordings.
As you continue to work on your playing, I suggest listening to and watching Charlie Hunter videos. His ability to play fluid bass lines, comp chords, and solo simultaneously in a multitude of styles is a true embodiment of mastery. It might also be worth checking out some jazz guitar duet recordings that are regarded as exceptional examples of this style of playing. Although these albums are in the jazz tradition, many ideas about conception, feel, and approach can be gleaned and directly applied to blues guitar playing. The album Solar by John Abercrombie and John Scofield features some blazing playing as they cover both bass lines and chordal comping while trading solos. Another excellent example of this type of interaction and playing can be heard on the Jim Hall and Pat Metheny album.
This article was updated on September 20, 2021
Jared James Nichols joins us in setting goals for our guitar playing in 2023. Plus, current obsessions!
Q: What is your New Year’s guitar resolution for 2023?
Jared James Nichols—Guest Picker
Photo by David McClister
A: I have one! It’s something I’ve been thinking about a ton. I want to slow down and be more in the moment with my playing. Now, don’t take me wrong, I don’t mean “slow down” in terms of speed or my career. I wanna live in my performances, treating every single note with focus, power, and intent. 2023 will be the year for me to sing through my guitar.
Jared James Nichols' Current Obsession:
My current obsession is listening and jamming along with bootlegs from my favorite band, Mountain. I recently unearthed a treasure trove of bootleg concerts from 1969-1974. SO KILLER. I’ve been into Leslie West’s playing forever, but these shows have literally blown my mind. His playing, tone, and attitude are on a different level in this era. So inspiring!
Dominic De La Cerda—Reader of the Month
A: One of my guitar New Year’s resolutions for 2023 is finally being able to start recording my guitar tracks on a new laptop. I bought a Scarlett Solo 3rd Gen interface in January this year and used it once. I also want to get into the 8-string world. I just found out that Harley Benton finally has a warehouse in the U.S. I watched a video about how you can order Harley Benton guitars from Reverb, to get them from the U.S. warehouse. If anyone has ever played the R-458, how comfortable is it?
Dominic De La Cerda's Current Obsession:
I bought a new rig back in July: a Line 6 Spider V 60 MkII. Almost bought the Catalyst 60, but wanted the Spider V 60 MkII, due to its built-in looper, drum loops, 128 presets, and more than 200 cab and amp models.
Kate Koenig—Associate Editor
Photo by Seva Jagat
A: It’s my goal for 2023 (or, as soon as possible) to become comfortable with playing more elaborate fingerpicking songs onstage, which basically means getting over some fingerpicking-specific stage fright. I’ve been a lifelong fingerpicker, but don’t normally feature fast-paced, thoroughly picked songs in my performances, so I’ll be onstage and get so in my head that it’s like I’ve never done it before. That would be a nice thing to get over … but I think I’m making progress!
Kate Koenig's Current Obsession:
My current obsession is a perennial one for me: Nick Drake’s C–G–C–F–C–E tuning. It’s been my ambition recently to write enough songs in this tuning that it would justify preparing a second guitar to be used in a set. I’ve also been trying to implement the fingerpicking pattern Drake uses on his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”—just a simple, handy picking template. However, I want to avoid overusing it, so I’ve been trying to research and possibly invent alternatives!
Jason Shadrick—Associate Editor
A: Around this time each year I really try and recommit myself to the fundamentals: tone, time, taste, and touch. Those are the common threads that connect our favorite guitarists. I spend time quietly relaxing as much as I can while playing simple phrases where I can really connect with the notes. Maybe it’s more of a musical meditation, but it works for me.
Jason Shadrick's Current Obsession:
While preparing to teach at Joe Satriani’s guitar camp, I went back through his catalog and rediscovered his self-titled album, which is about as close to a blues album as Satch has ever made. For years I would watch the documentary about this album before school. The band was incredible: Nathan East, Andy Fairweather Low, Manu Katché, and Glyn Johns producing. I learned a lot and still hear little nuggets that inspire me.
Following a long road from Saskatchewan to California, this master builder lands in Corona, to painstakingly reproduce Jerry Garcia’s “Alligator’ and other gems.
Like everything in the Grateful Dead’s orbit, each of Jerry Garcia’s stage guitars has been pored over by Deadheads, with data on their usage rivalling baseball-stat-level analysis. Dedicated fans can hear the differences between each of these iconic instruments—not just because of their tones, but in the type of music and playing they inspired. So, it’s only natural that each 6-string has its own subset of fans. Some love to hear and see Wolf and Tiger—custom instruments built by Doug Irwin, both of which have their own merch, including T-shirts, hats, and miniature replicas. And some prefer Garcia’s deep-cut Travis Bean era. A large cadre of others prefer Alligator, the Stratocaster that Graham Nash gave to Garcia as the Dead embraced cleaner, country- and folk-inspired sounds.
Oddly enough, until now, some of the finer details about Alligator and its extensive modifications remained improbably unknown. A quick visual inspection will catch the brass control plate and unique bridge assembly, and maybe even the brass nut. The details of what lies inside, however, have been less reported. So, when Fender set out to create a Custom Shop Jerry Garcia Alligator Stratocaster, master builder Austin MacNutt took on the monumental task of analyzing the finest nuances of the original in order to painstakingly recreate each and every one.
Master builder Austin MacNutt joined the Fender Custom Shop team in March 2022.
Photo by Han-Su Kim
When he took on the project, MacNutt was already familiar with Alligator and some of its unique attributes. “I’ve seen pictures of it,” he says, “but not detailed shots. There’s not a lot of great pictures of it from back in the day.” MacNutt was given one day to spend with the guitar and collect all the necessary data. “That day when we brought it in,” he recalls, “we opened it, and the room was just silent—everyone taking it in for a good minute or two before anyone even touched it. We pulled it out, put it on the table, and started taking it apart. To get to disassemble it is such an honor.”
MacNutt knew he had his work cut out for him. “There’s a lot of strange stuff on it,” he says. “It’s one of a kind, for sure. It was definitely a work in progress, like a test bed, where they’re trying out different things.” He took extensive notes and photos on everything from the guitar’s boost circuit and the unique metal bar that serves as a string retainer, to more refined details, like the scalloping on the brass nut and unique hammer-pattern on the control plate. “I was writing down how thick this thing is, what size this screw is, how long is this screw,” he explains. Surprisingly, when he disconnected the neck joint, MacNutt discovered that Alligator—believed to be a 1957 Strat—was actually assembled by ground-floor Fender employee Tadeo Gomez back in 1955.
“That day when we brought it in, we opened it, and the room was just silent—everyone taking it in for a good minute or two before anyone even touched it.”
Over the course of a couple months, MacNutt set about creating a prototype for a limited edition run of instruments. When we talked in mid-November, the production of those guitars was under way, and MacNutt sat at his computer with a rack of six in-progress Alligator builds behind him. When MacNutt talks about the process, his face lights up. It’s not lost on him that the Alligator model is a full-circle project with deep personal roots.
Growing up in a musical family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, both of MacNutt’s parents played country music. His older brother is also a guitarist and helped Austin find his way to classic rock when he got started playing around the age of 11. While MacNutt’s first guitar was a Hondo Paul Dean II, it wasn’t the Loverboy guitarist’s signature model that really inspired him. It was his dad’s 1963 Fender Jaguar that was often laying around the house. He says he felt that the Jaguar was special even before he started playing.
MacNutt’s first build was a Tele copy with a Jerry Garcia-style flourish. Here, he works on an actual Fender Telecaster.
Photo by Han-Su Kim
“My dad tinkered on his stuff a lot,” he reminisces. “He worked in a music store. When I was real little, I have faint memories of being in the basement where all the parts are. It was always fascinating to me.” Austin took to tinkering at a young age and, after high school, he decided to attend the Guitar Craft Academy in Hollywood.
During the program, he built his first guitar, a Telecaster-style instrument with some auspicious modifications. He explains, “The bottom horn was kind of like some of Jerry Garcia’s Alembic builds, with the little thumb. Three P-90s, a wraparound bridge, the big Strat headstock on it, ebony build with no face dots. It was a lot of weird stuff. A lot of times, people’s first guitars are filled with strange choices.”
The folks at the Guitar Craft Academy must have noticed something special in Austin’s work, because once he finished the program, they offered him a job. “Before, I was working at a grocery store, saving up money to go there, and I didn’t know what I was gonna do next,” he explains. “At the end of it—honestly, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna stay in L.A.—they offered me a job.”
The painstakingly detailed Custom Shop Jerry Garcia Alligator Stratocaster prototype.
Photo by Han-Su Kim
He found teaching to be a great experience. “It was a perfect opportunity,” he says with a warm, appreciative tone. “Not only did I get to work there, I kind of got to continue my education by continuing to keep the rate at which I was doing all that stuff up.” But that wasn’t the only opportunity that came from working at the Academy.
“We brought Ron Thorn [of L.A.’s Thorn Custom Guitars] in for a day, and he’d go over inlay work—he’s a master of inlay,” he says of the esteemed luthier. The two hit it off and Thorn invited the up-and-comer to join him at his shop. Starting first as a part-time employee, MacNutt eventually moved on after five years of teaching to join Thorn Custom Guitars full time. In the small, dedicated shop, MacNutt gained loads of new experience. “I was resawing wood, fretting, truing boards, picking the wood, gluing body blanks, whatever needed to get done,” he says. “I got to learn a lot of skills under the whole umbrella of guitar building.”
But in 2018, Ron Thorn took a job at Fender and closed his shop. MacNutt moved on to Xotic and also began running his own shop, where he focused on repair work. Along the way, he stayed in touch with his old boss. And when there was a position available in the shop, Thorn gave him a call. “I jumped at the chance,” MacNutt says.
“A lot of times, people’s first guitars are filled with strange choices.”
Last March, MacNutt joined Fender as a master builder and says there have been “whirlwind aspects of it, definitely diving in and just getting the lay of the land.” It’s not lost on him that, like many builders, his first build was a Telecaster copy, and now he gets to build the real thing. “The first one I put my signature on the back of the headstock,” he says, “I had to sit and look at it for a little bit, taking it in.”
By the time we spoke, about eight months later, MacNutt estimated he’d built about 100 Fenders. In the shop, he spends his days bouncing between various builds and says he gets to work on a nice variety of instruments. “It’s a good mix between spec pieces—things I want to build—and something a customer or a dealer has ordered,” he points out.
His favorite spec piece so far was a special one: a copy of his dad’s ’63 Jaguar. “I pitched it to a dealer, and they loved it,” he enthuses, “and they wanted me to go ahead and do it. I had my dad take pictures and send them to me. Nobody else knows that guitar, but it was special to be able to do that.” He adds that it was weird to play a copy of the guitar he’s admired for his entire life. “There’s a few paint chips on the back that I remember noticing when I was a kid. To see the paint chips on there, they’re strange.”
MacNutt and longtime Grateful Dead crewmember Steve Parish take a close look at the Alligator prototype.
Photo by Han-Su Kim
The Alligator project drew on the same inspired, detail-oriented skills. “When that opportunity came up, I knew the guitar,” he exclaims. “Ron pitched it to me, and immediately, I was on board.” While MacNutt was the expert on his dad’s Jaguar, he turned to former Grateful Dead crew member Steve Parish—who made some of the guitar’s modifications—to give his Alligator prototype an enthusiastic thumbs up (and there’s a video to prove it).
Re-creating the iconic Alligator has a unique angle. “To see a vintage Strat like that heavily modified, you’d never see that now,” he says, shaking his head. “But in the early ’70s, it was just an old guitar—‘Let’s hack it up, let’s customize it.’” And reproducing his reproduction is another endeavor. “Up until this point,” he says, “I’ve been building different guitars, and I relic them however I want them to look. Whereas with these, I’ve got a template that I stick to. That’s been a new experience. It’s fun the whole way through.”
Looking ahead, MacNutt sees a lot of builds in his future and is plotting out some new spec pieces. But he feels like the Alligator will loom large for quite some time. “I know that guitar pretty well at this point. I’ll come across a picture of it on a random Instagram post now, and it’s like, ‘Hey, there it is!’ It feels strangely like a part of me now.”