An inspired combination of drive and compression effects in a beauty of a pedal from a stompbox legend.
When the Stompbox Hall of Fame is built, the wing dedicated to Mike Beigel and Mu-Tron will be a place of pilgrimage to players and fellow builders alike. To enthusiasts who savor pedal aesthetics, the corridors of Mu-Tron will celebrate the coolest-looking stompboxes ever built. For builders, it will be a place to toast the inventive spirit of Beigel and his associates—engineers who combined strong musical sensibilities with ace, often irreverent engineering chops.
Stompbox fans from both camps will get a kick out of the Boston 3 from Beigel’s newer pedal-building concern, Mu-FX. Born of a collaborative effort with software specialist/working musician Rand Anderson and longtime Beigel design partner Richard Lingenberg, it's a cool amalgamation of Alembic Strat-o-Blaster-, Orange Squeezer-, and RAT-inspired circuits in an all-in-one drive that reflects the spirit of inspired recombination that defined Mu-Tron effects, from the Volume-Wah to the Bi-Phase. It might also be one of the sturdiest and handsomest effects boxes you ever stomp on.
Built for the Beyond
Although the Boostron 3 is beautiful, you can sense the function-is-king motivations behind the design from a cursory inspection. The hefty enclosure is crafted from heavy-gauge aluminum and steel and has the reassuring mass of a stone without feeling clunky. For a three-function pedal, it’s relatively compact. But what you take away most is that the pedal is likely to outlive the cockroaches in the event of an apocalypse. The jacks and switches all feel robust and securely fashioned. The small toggles—situated as they are below the top of each knob—are all safe from accidental switching and errant blows from a boot. Opening the pedal up reveals two tiered circuit boards that are as tidily wired as you’ll ever see. And while the jacks are board-mounted, the whole circuit board array feels well insulated from the shock of transport and stage blows by the rock-solid enclosure.
Operating the unit is intuitive and tactilely satisfying, thanks to the perfect resistance of the potentiometers and the rubber knobs' touch-sensitivity. It feels like a precision lab instrument more than a stompbox. And that multi-colored paint scheme that makes the Boostron 3 look like it was lifted from the deck of the original Starship Enterprise? It not only looks killer, but also visually groups the controls according to function, making an otherwise tricky control set a breeze to navigate. You’ll still need practice to sort out the precise function of some knobs and switches, and some labels are less than clear (the mode switch on the slacker effect is particularly confusing), but once you’re acquainted the pedal becomes a breeze to operate.
A Tasty Trio
There’s nothing earthshakingly revolutionary about the Boostron’s circuitry. The LM 308N-based RAT and Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer have been copied, with varying degrees of success, elsewhere. The most unusual component of the Boostron’s makeup is the blaster circuit, which is based on the jack-mounted Alembic Strat-o-Blaster preamp that helped define Jerry Garcia’s ’70s tones as installed in his famous “Alligator” Stratocaster. But it is the somewhat unlikely and inspired combination of the three effects—and the way they interact—that make the Boostron 3 so magical.
The booster is activated via a mini toggle, and the squeezer and slacker have dedicated footswitches. But Mu-FX may have understood how rarely you’ll want to turn this excellent boost off once it’s on. The boost control has scads of range—from a subtle bump that has a sweet thickening effect across the frequency spectrum to a significant kick in output that can sound downright (and delightfully) scathing when you add in generous doses of the bright control. Muddy neck humbuckers and thin single-coils can be transformed with the effect. It’s simple and satisfying to use and I turned it off infrequently.
The squeezer compression section, which is based on the celebrated but somewhat underrated Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer, is a beautiful study in simplicity. While not always subtle, it doesn’t impart a lot of extra color or squash every trace of dynamics in trade for sustain. Instead, the extra sustain and compression sound organic, touch sensitive, and even amp-like at lower compression settings. The available boost is significant. In fact, it makes a great second clean boost complement to the booster when set up right.
The slacker side of the pedal yields many great overdrive and distortion tones, though it isn’t always easy to wrangle. Where an old 3-knob RAT enables you to dial out harshness quickly via the filter knob—effectively replaced here by the 3-position bass switch—and fine tune using the volume and distortion controls, the slacker effect takes a bit more work. The big difference between the slacker and RAT is the switchable clipping, which yields profound differences in output and distortion characteristics depending on the setting. Depending on your guitar and amp, the single diode and LED diode modes (“exp” and “dist” respectively) can sound quite hot and explosive and you’ll have to be careful if you’re also using hotter booster and squeezer settings. Such extreme sounds can be enormous and rich with humbuckers and a tweed-style amp. With a Twin and a Stratocaster they were dangerously trebly. The upside? The Boostron gives you the range to explore a vast swatch of tones between harsh and mellow extremes. And when you get a feel for the more seamless interactions that are possible between the slacker and the other two circuits, you’ll start to discern an almost studio-like capacity to shape distortion tones.
Although it seems simple in many respects, the Boostron 3 is not exactly an immediately satisfying plug-and-play affair. It has a distinct hi-fidelity quality at many settings that punishes sloppy technique and ill-chosen guitar and amp combinations. That sensitivity can make it seem twitchy in live settings if you haven’t spent a lot of time with the pedal. In the end, though, the expansive range and resulting nuance make the Boostron 3 a remarkable and deeply satisfying cross of precision, science, and savagery that can make you feel like a tone surgeon.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
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.