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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The new guitars feature a hand-painted tobacco sunburst top, firestripe faux tortoiseshell pickguard and 4mm Italian acrylic dot fretboard inlays for a rootsy, vintage look.
The award-winning American Dream Series was first introduced in 2020 during the pandemic. The solid-wood, U.S.-made acoustic guitars were designed to deliver all the essentials of a premium acoustic guitar, with a thoughtfully streamlined appointment package to make the guitars more accessible during a time of economic uncertainty and increased consumer demand. Each American Dream guitar is voiced with Taylor’s tone-enhancing V-Class® bracing system (and new C-Class® bracing for the AD11e-SB). Appointments on the new sunburst American Dream guitars support the rootsy, organic vibe, with black top purfling, a black/maple/black rosette, black satin tuners and a thin matte finish. Chamfered body edges add additional playing comfort alongside Taylor’s ultra-playable necks.
The all-new AD11e-SB features the new Taylor Grand Theater (GT) body shape, which sports a comfortably downsized frame and scale length. Tonally, it’s voiced with C-Class bracing (a variation on V-Class bracing) that enhances the low-end response to give the guitar the tonal depth of a full-size guitar. The new model includes a special 24-1/8” scale length and is strung with light-gauge D’Addario XS coated phosphor bronze strings. Starting at $1799.
The AD12e-SB brings the first spruce-top Grand Concert to the American Dream Series. Powered by V-Class bracing, the clarity, responsiveness, and note-to-note definition of the compact body makes the AD12e-SB perfect for fingerstyle guitarists, nimble flatpickers, and recording applications. The guitar is strung with light-gauge D’Addario XS-coated phosphor bronze strings. Starting at $1999.
The AD17e-SB features Taylor’s Grand Pacific body shape, a round-shoulder dreadnought inspired by classic acoustic guitar recordings. With a 25-½” scale length and medium-gauge, D’Addario XS coated phosphor bronze strings, this guitar is a midrange powerhouse that serves up seasoned tone without sacrificing balance or articulation. Starting at $1999.
Introducing New Sunburst American Dream Acoustic Guitars
The new sunburst American Dream guitars include Taylor’s onboard ES2 electronics and a brown or gray AeroCase for convenient transportation.
For more information, please visit taylorguitars.com.
The Gibson acoustic division’s head dreamer studied with Christopher Parkening, toured, played, taught, and has collaborated with many artists on signature models in his three-decade career.
Bozeman is known as the Sweet Pea City, a reference to the prolific flower that put this colorful Montana burgh on the map in the early 1900s. But most of us know it as the home of the Gibson Acoustic Craftory, where the brand makes guitars ranging from historic models like the L-00, J-45, Hummingbird, Dove, and J-200 to signature guitars for Jerry Cantrell, Orianthi, and Keb’ Mo’ to the company’s budget-priced Generation Collection, which offers updates on Gibson’s slope-, broad-shouldered, and cutaway models, all with sound ports. Turns out the region’s stable, dry climate is good for building guitars as well as raising blossoms.
When Robi Johns arrived at Gibson’s Bozeman location in 1990, “it was a small cinder block building. It was relatively crowded, dusty, and noisy, but safe, and we had this little office area with one fax machine—the key communication tool back in the day. Now, I’m sitting in an office that’s quiet, clean, and well-lit. We have meeting areas and beautiful showroom and event areas. And the plant is spacious and quiet in most areas, and certainly very clean and very modern.”
How modern and spacious? Gibson unveiled an expansion at the facility in November, more than doubling its size from 21,000 to 48,000 square feet, updating and enlarging the machine shop, the Custom Shop, and overall guitar-building space. It’s a testament to both the durability of Gibson’s long-established models as well as the success of new instruments like the Generation Collection.
“We put the very lightest, thinnest neck on it possible—we couldn’t go any thinner, quite frankly. It’s thin as a Les Paul from the 1960s.”
Johns’ title is senior product development manager, Gibson acoustics, but he’s also one of the Craftory’s key guitar designers and an accomplished player. As a young man, he studied with classical-guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening and became an adjunct professor in classical guitar at Montana State University, also in Bozeman. In addition to the aforementioned guitarists, he’s designed instruments for Sheryl Crow (a signature Southern Jumbo Supreme), Jackson Brown (a 10-year process that culminated in the Model 1 that bears Brown’s name), Slash, and Eric Church, among many others.
“If I had to summarize the qualities that each player desires,” he says of the artists he’s created instruments for, “number one is tone of the acoustic guitar, because that reflects the sound of the music that artist makes, and inspires them. They are looking for a response from the instrument—response and tone affects how you’re playing and causes a different emotional state. They are also searching for a certain look or design that reflects their persona and helps define how they look on stage. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the artist and model.”
A J-45 Deluxe Rosewood guitar gets its neck set with one of the company’s trademark dovetail neck-to-body joints.
Johns’ latest signature project is a collaboration for Americana/country darling Brandi Carlile, for release this year. “Brandi loves 1940s small-body LG-2s, so about three years ago she came to us and said, ‘Would you build me one of these ... like the one I use normally, but, you know, new?’ So, I had the honor of designing a historic-based LG-2 for her that she fell in love with. Recently, she asked us to do a model for her, so I was able to take the qualities of her LG-2 and put them into a guitar that would be suitable for consumers. In other words, we made it so it wasn’t so expensive to build, like her original, but I was able to include the sound and the feel of what she loved. I had to please the artist and people who love our guitars with the new Brandi Carlile LG-2 Custom.”
Johns was also involved in the creation of the Generation Collection, a new line of five acoustics—the G-Writer, the G-Bird, the G-45, G-200, and G-00—inspired by legacy designs but updated with sound ports and alternative neck woods, like utile (an African hardwood), and slim neck profiles, among other features. The idea was to create a fleet priced between $999 and $1,999 street—more easily affordable instruments targeted at less experienced players. For Johns, the project was both a strategic and a design challenge.
“The acoustic guitar is more introverted, and the electric guitar is more for an extroverted experience.”
“We thought about this for a couple years,” says Johns. “‘What do new guitarists, that aren’t necessarily Gibson fans, want?’ So, we gave them a guitar at a lower price point, relative to our other guitars, that is really easy to play. We put the very lightest, thinnest neck on it possible—we couldn’t go any thinner, quite frankly. It’s thin as a Les Paul from the 1960s. And we flattened out the fretboards so you can bend notes really easily. We also include all of the benefits of how we build guitars: a dovetail neck-to-body joint, a radius top or curved top with curved bracing, and a very light lacquer finish. We took the best of Gibson construction features and put them in this lower-price-point instrument.”
The Generation Collection are also the first Gibsons to feature a sound port, which the company calls a “Player Port,” following boutique builders and Taylor, Breedlove, and other well-respected acoustic guitar makers into this terrain.
“Response and tone affects how you’re playing and causes a different emotional state.”
Here’s an upper-deck view of the finishing area in Gibson’s Acoustic Craftory.
Besides its lovely climbing flowers and the Gibson Craftory, Bozeman is also known as a railroad town. A modest freight yard is nestled in its center, and there’s even an old beanery where railroad workers for the Northern Pacific grabbed a bite during that line’s heyday. Johns also comes from a place famous for the rails—Altoona, Pennsylvania. “It’s a very blue-collar coal mining and railroad town, so that kind of forced me into loving the expressive arts, in contrast. I became a lover of painting and music, so that led me into going to music school. I got a couple of degrees in guitar performance, and later became a recording artist, and I had interest in many diverse musical styles. I practiced, practiced, practiced the guitar, every day, to the Nth degree. So, I’ve spent all my life on a guitar.”
Johns was teaching and running a music store in Bozeman when he was invited to Gibson. “The president of this division called me up and said, ‘We need an artist here. We have everything but a real musician.’ So, I became the sales and marketing director for acoustic guitars in 1990 and have been here ever since. I had a lot to learn. Gibson was such a big brand, and initially, I was going all over the world promoting the guitars and helping with the marketing and sales of them. And then, I started working here with the best luthiers in the music industry, so that’s how it morphed into my work with designing guitars.”
An SJ-200 reaches the final stage of its building process—a meticulous setup.
Johns’ creative patch was interrupted, gravely, in 2012, when he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. “I was told I was not going to live, I was not going to walk again, I was not going to use my arm again,” he recounts. “That is not what I decided was my fate. I had this strong wish to continue to use all that I’ve learned in my life’s experience—to contribute to what I love in music and arts and particularly the guitar. That kept me going and drove me to take on all these therapies. I still do therapy every day, because I want that quality of life back, and I’m enjoying doing what I’m doing with Gibson. It’s stopped me from being a player for a period of time, but it did not stop me from being a dreamer, or that I get to dream these guitars up with the artists and the great builders here.” Johns is working to reclaim his former playing prowess with the help of his current favorite guitars: a Gibson ES-175, which he praises for its acoustic-like tone—“I was a fan of Steve Howe in the ’70s”—and an acoustic Gibson Songwriter, along with a nylon-string instrument custom-built in Madrid.
If fate hadn’t lured Johns into the guitar life, he thinks that perhaps he might have chased his creative pursuits into film. “Sometimes I feel like a movie director,” he says. “I work with an artist and he or she creates a plot, and I get to direct the movie—analogous to designing the guitar, the most joyous part of my work. This is not just patronizing my own company, but I love Gibson. I get to work with the most absolutely brilliant people, highly skilled and inspiring, which nurtures me as a human being. I’m not playing guitar and being a performer anymore, but, metaphorically, I’m still reaching people all over the world—not with my music, but with the guitars that we build. And that fulfills me. That really is true.”
The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.
KingTone’s The Duellist is currently Ariel Posen’s most-used pedal. One side of the dual drive (the Bluesbreaker voicing) is always on. But there’s another duality at play when Posen plugs in—the balance between songwriter and guitarist.
“These days, I like listening to songs and the story and the total package,” Posen told PG back in 2019, when talking about his solo debut, How Long, after departing from his sideman slot for the Bros. Landreth. “Obviously, I’m known as a guitar player, but my music and the music I write is not guitar music. It’s songs, and it goes back to the Beatles. I love songs, and I love story and melody and singing, and there was a lot of detail and attention put into the guitar sound and the playing and the parts—almost more than I’ve ever done.”
And in 2021, he found himself equally expressing his yin-and-yang artistry by releasing two albums that represented both sides of his musicality. First, Headway continued the sultry sizzle of songwriting featured on How Long. Then he surprised everyone, especially guitarists, by dropping Mile End, which is a 6-string buffet of solo dishes with nothing but Ariel and his instrument of choice.
But what should fans expect when they see him perform live? “I just trust my gut. I can reach more people by playing songs, and I get moved more by a story and lyrics and harmony, so that’s where I naturally go. The live show is a lot more guitar centric. If you want to hear me stretch out on some solos, come see a show. I want the record and the live show to be two separate things.”
The afternoon ahead of Posen’s headlining performance at Nashville’s Basement East, the guitar-playing musical force invited PG’s Chris Kies on stage for a robust chat about gear. The 30-minute conversation covers Posen’s potent pair of moody blue bombshells—a hollow, metal-bodied Mule Resophonic and a Fender Custom Shop Jazzmaster—and why any Two-Rock is his go-to amp. He also shares his reasoning behind avoiding effects loops and volume pedals.
Brought to you by D’Addario XPND Pedalboard.
Blue the Mule III
If you’ve spent any time with Ariel Posen’s first solo record, How Long, you know that the ripping, raunchy slide solo packed within “Get You Back” is an aural high mark. As explained in a 2019 PG interview, Posen’s pairing for that song were two cheapos: a $50 Teisco Del Rey into a Kay combo. However, when he took the pawnshop prize onstage, the magic was gone. “It wouldn’t stay in tune and wouldn’t stop feeding back—it was unbearable [laughs].”
Posen was familiar with Matt Eich of Mule Resophonic—who specializes in building metal-body resonators—so he approached the luthier to construct him a steel-bodied, Strat-style baritone. Eich was reluctant at first (he typically builds roundneck resos and T-style baritones), but after seeing a clip of Posen playing live, the partnership was started.
The above steel-bodied Strat-style guitar is Posen’s third custom 25"-scale baritone. (On Mule Resophonic’s website, it’s affectionately named the “Posencaster.”) The gold-foil-looking pickups are handwound by Eich, and are actually mini humbuckers. He employs a custom Stringjoy set (.017–.064 with a wound G) and typically tunes to B standard. The massive strings allow the shorter-scale baritone to maintain a regular-tension feel. And when he gigs, he tours light (usually with two guitars), so he’ll use a capo to morph into D or E standard.
Another one that saw recording time for Headway and Mile End was the above Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt ’60s Jazzmaster, made by Carlos Lopez. To make it work better for him, he had the treble-bleed circuit removed, so that when the guitar’s volume is lowered it actually gets warmer.
"Clean and Loud"
Last time we spoke with Posen, he plugged into a Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature. It’s typically his live amp. However, since this winter’s U.S. run was a batch of fly dates, he packed light and rented backlines. Being in Music City, he didn’t need to go too deep into his phone’s contacts to find a guitar-playing friend that owned a Two-Rock. This Bloomfield Drive was loaned to Ariel by occasional PG contributor Corey Congilio. On the brand’s consistent tone monsters, Posen said, “To be honest, put a blindfold on me and make one of Two-Rock’s amps clean and loud—I don’t care what one it is.”
The loaner vertical 2x12 cab was stocked with a pair of Two-Rock 12-65B speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers.
Ariel Posen’s Pedalboard
There are a handful of carryovers from Ariel’s previous pedalboard that was featured in our 2021 tone talk: a TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Noir, a Morningstar MC3 MIDI Controller, an Eventide H9, a Mythos Pedals Argonaut Mini Octave Up, and a KingTone miniFUZZ Ge. His additions include a custom edition Keeley Hydra Stereo Reverb & Tremolo (featuring Headway artwork), an Old Blood Noise Endeavors Black Fountain oil can delay, Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Analog Delay and Pitch Shifter, and a KingTone The Duellist overdrive.
Another big piece of the tonal pie for Posen is his signature brass Rock Slide. He worked alongside Rock Slide’s Danny Songhurst to develop his namesake slide that features a round-tip end that helps Posen avoid dead spots or unwanted scratching. While he prefers polished brass, you can see above that it’s also available in a nickel-plated finish and an aged brass.