An affordable, dynamic OD inspired by one of the most legendary overdrives ever.
Any garage rocker that’s bathed in the power of an open E chord in front of a sweetly overdriven amp can attest to the harmonic beauty that this combo can produce. Hell, with just the right amount of grit, that sound can pretty much make you feel like you rule the world. But sometimes you want to push your amp just a little bit more and that is where the never-ending realm of dirt boxes comes into play.
Since the late '60s, the brain trust at Electro-Harmonix has churned out nearly every flavor of overdrive, distortion, and fuzz imaginable. One of their latest creations, the Soul Food, is an unabashed attempt to deliver an affordable version at one of the most mythical and hyped pedals ever created, the Klon Centaur. Although the Centaur is technically discontinued, it isn't uncommon to find a used on eBay for around $2,000, which is well out of reach of most mortals. The Centaur became legend for organic, transparent, detailed overdrive tones, and you can hear Electro Harmonix’ emphasis on those qualities in the Soul Food—a pedal that can be had for the price of a pair of sneakers.
Under The Hood
Before I dug into the Soul Food, I popped open the back of the sturdy enclosure to see what made this little bugger tick. Like the Centaur, the Soul Food uses a TL072 op-amp and a dual-gang Gain control, which makes the gain and volume controls more interactive.
There’s also a switchable buffer that’s a help if you use fuzz pedals ahead of the Soul Food in you signal chain. When the buffer is switched off, the pedal functions as any standard true bypass pedal. Overall, the build quality is exactly what you would expect from Electro Harmonix—rugged, and built for real-world gigging. Meanwhile, the Soul Food’s controls mimic the minimalist set on the Centaur: gain, treble, and output.
Much like the Centaur, the Soul Food works great as a clean boost or a down-and-dirty overdrive. Luckily, the Premier Guitar office happens to have a Klon Centaur laying around, so I had the perfect benchmark to see how close Electro Harmonix got to their mark. I grabbed my Mexican-made Stratocaster loaded with Rio Grande pickups and plugged both pedals into my Fender Deluxe Reverb reissue, which is a great canvas for overdrive pedals.
With the controls set at noon, the Soul Food gave the Deluxe a little extra punch and grit without coloring the tone at all. Compared to identical settings on the Centaur, I found the Soul Food a bit brighter, but with some slight tweaking to the Treble and Gain controls I was able to dial in a tone that would make a blind test pretty tough. Digging in coaxed a lot more dirt and color out of the Soul Food but it just took a little less pick attack to restore the Soul Food’s basic transparency.
The amount of available gain is very similar to the Centaur. With the Gain knob maxed out I coaxed rich, harmonic overdrive tones out of single-coils that evoked thoughts of Eric Johnson and vintage Larry Carlton. And unlike many TS-style ODs at high-gain settings, the Soul Food’s low end was defined full of presence.
The interactive nature of the dual-gang gain control is another important differentiating factor. It almost seems to work like a wet/dry mix knob. Turn it all the way down and you have an honest, albeit louder, representation of your guitar and amp. Move the Gain knob past 2 o’ clock, however, and the output becomes both saturated and full of blossoming harmonics—a perfect tone for hot hard rock lead tones.
To me, the real magic of the Soul Food is the amount of clean boost that it puts at your fingertips. With the gain all the way down, I could tweak the output and treble controls to get more volume with less breakup. To see how the Soul Food could handle slightly hotter pickups, I grabbed a Gibson 1961 SG Reissue with P-90 pickups. The Soul Food was a great match for the P-90s, and with the treble knob on the Soul Food set to tame the P-90’s more sizzling side, I got a very big and robust clean sound.
With the right setting, the Soul Food is the kind of tone shaping tool you can keep on all the time. It’s relatively transparent, it’s got plenty of headroom, but it will generate colorful dirty tones as well as many of the best low-to-mid gain stomps out there. Electro Harmonix has delivered a well-made and affordable alternative to drinking the Klon Kool-Aid. And with the thousands of dollars you have left over, you can turn your attention to the pursuit of other mythical beasts.
Watch the Review Demo:
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Looking for a compact, “noiseless” way to plug in and play guitar? Check out the brand-new Gibson Digital Amp, available only in the Gibson App.
The new Gibson App simplifies the learning process and brings guitar playing to life for the current and next generation of guitarists in a modern, comprehensive, and intuitive way. The Gibson App is the place to take your guitar playing to the next level. New to the Gibson App is the Gibson Digital Amp, the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediate players and pros to get their sound anywhere. The Gibson Digital Amp is an accessible amplifier for both acoustic and electric guitars, and is currently available for Apple/iOS users--an Android version will debut next year.
Use the Gibson Digital Amp’s jamming guide to get started and transform your sound with built-in effects and pedals, jam to backing tracks, or use it in lessons and songs. The Gibson Digital Amp only requires your phone, and wired headphones for the best playing experience, no cables are needed. The amp features 3 acoustic mic presets, 4 electric amp presets, and 6 effects pedals.
The Gibson Digital Amp is the ultimate starting amplifier for beginners and a flexible amp on-the-go for intermediates and pros.
The Gibson App uses a unique two-way, interactive platform to teach guitar students how to do everything from playing their first note to shredding loads of songs. The Gibson App features interactive lessons with thousands of lessons and songs. Learn the songs step-by-step with video tutorials from superstar artists and pro guitarists in the “Gibson App Guide.” The Gibson App also includes the new Digital Amp, a built-in tuner, a metronome, Gibson TV, and new songs are added every week. New Gibson App Guides are added regularly and include Tommy “Spaceman” Thayer’s favorite iconic KISS guitar solos, Richie Faulkner’s (Judas Priest) “Guide to Metal,” Jared James Nichols’ “Guide to Blues,” CELISSE’s “Guide to Songwriting,” and more.
The Gibson App uses “audio augmented reality” to provide dynamic feedback to students as they learn and play. As you pluck a note or strum a chord, the Gibson App listens to your guitar and gives you real-time feedback on your playing. It also gives students a more contextual learning experience: Instead of learning chords and scales in a vacuum, you’re able to practice on a scrolling tablature that lets you hear how you sound with the backing of a virtual band. That means you can load up “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “American Girl" by Tom Petty, “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, “Where is My Mind" by Pixies, “Country Roads” by John Denver, “I Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, “Heaven” by Kane Brown, “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Killer Queen” by Queen,“ Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns ‘N Roses, “Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden, “Roxanne” by The Police, and “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Man Who Sold the World” by Nirvana, “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and “Don't Look Back In Anger” by Oasis and hundreds more songs in a wide range of genres, to see how your play matches up with such seminal tracks.
As you’re playing, the Gibson App gives you feedback on timing and tone, ensuring that students are getting active input on how their play is developing. The Gibson App appeals to players of all levels, it’s not just for beginners looking to learn a few chords; the app can assist seasoned guitarists who are working their way through difficult riffs, want to learn their favorite songs, or polish their advanced techniques.
Players can also challenge themselves by speeding up or slowing the tabs. Like having a full-time guitar teacher, the Gibson App keeps track of all your progress and adjusts lesson plans accordingly. The Gibson App released a “backing track mode” which supports both lesson and song playback without headphones, so users can self-select what works best for their current environment. And that’s not all: the Gibson App also packs in a fully-featured digital tuner for guitar first-timers, there’s even a detailed lesson on how to tune your instrument, a multi-function metronome, players can connect to free one-on-one consultations with Gibson’s Virtual Guitar Tech team, and to direct links to the Gibson, Epiphone, and Kramer online stores for easy shopping for guitars, gear, apparel, and accessories.
Learn Guitar With The Gibson App
The Gibson App is more than a pocket-sized guitar teacher, it’s loaded with an archive of exclusive content and original programming from its premium and accessible award-winning online network, Gibson TV, featuring music icons telling their best guitar stories, with more episodes and installments added regularly. Users can watch Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi share insights and tales from his decades-long career on the series “Icons,” dive into Joe Bonamassa’s assortment of legendary Les Paul guitars on “The Collection,” or see how Gibson’s iconic instruments are made in their Nashville factory from body to binding on “The Process.” There’s even a series called “The Scene” that focuses on backstage stories from hallowed music venues from coast to coast like The Troubadour and Grand Ole Opry.
The Gibson App free version features a few lessons a day; the premium version of the Gibson App offers full access and a 14-day free trial, then costs $19.99/£16.49 monthly or $119.99/£98.99 yearly.
For more information, please visit gibson.com.
This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
Belltone Guitars, as part of their Custom-Select System curated offering of pickups, has partnered McNelly pickups to create a one-of-a-kind retro-vibe P-90 pickup in the standard Filtertron size format. This pickup captures the clear, bell-like single-coil chime of a classic P-90 when played clean and retains the tight mids and articulate low-end vintage growl, and smooth sustain saturation when pushed into overdrive.
The McNelly P-90 Foil-Coil comes housed in a ‘raw’ nickel outer casing with a dull nickel foil face with metal mount screw gromets to complete the ‘new-vintage’ aesthetic, making it a perfect choice for your signature Belltone custom build. Available exclusively through Belltone Guitars.
Check out the Custom-Select System belltoneguitars.com to preview the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons and all our standard and selectable components available to create your own signature Belltone. Then visit the Dream Lab on our website and select either model B-Classic ONE with its top binding or B-Classic TWO with its arm and body contours select your body color from our wide range of offerings, select your neck profile of either standard ‘C’ or thicker ’59 Round Back and either Maple or Rosewood fingerboard followed by your tuners, pickguard, and strings. Finally, review our curated custom-designed, and unique pickup selection to locate the McNelly P-90 Foil-Trons to complete your signature build.
Builds start at just over $2,300.00 with a custom case and shipping included.
For more information, please visit belltoneguitars.com.
McNelly P 90 Foil Tron video Sep27
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.