With the ability to dial in transparent boost or use the active EQ to summon radically voiced overdrive, what’s not to love?



Active EQ yields wonderful array of tones, from powerful transparent boost to low- and medium-gain dirt.

Dedicated midrange control might enable faster, more precise dialing of tones.


EarthQuaker Devices Westwood


Ease of Use:



For years now it’s seemed a day can’t pass without at least five companies debuting a supposedly transparent overdrive. Plenty of them are good, but most have very linear (and passive) tone, gain, and level controls that offer limited palettes—which is fine, if that’s all you need. What’s tantalizing about EarthQuaker Devices’ Westwood is that it ignores the notion that radical and invisible must be mutually exclusive.

Not only does Westwood bust the usual one-tone-knob approach into two frequency bands, but its active treble and bass controls also offer up to 20 dB of boost or cut from their flat, handily detented center points.

Westwood is a wonder for myriad applications where you don’t need mondo saturation—though it’s got more than enough
for aggressive rock.

That means the controls are highly interactive with each other. For example, middling level and gain settings are much tamer with treble and bass at noon than they are with higher EQ settings.

This makes Westwood a wonder for myriad applications where you don’t need mondo saturation—though it’s got more than enough for aggressive rock—or for instantaneously giving your axe a highly contrasted personality, from skanky thin and toothy to grodily girthy, but its powerful EQ also makes it killer for, say, making a lower-output guitar viable in a rig tailored to higher-gain pickups.

Test gear: Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup, Squier Vintage Modified Tele with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, Fender ’76 Vibro Champ, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21, MXR Reverb.

On Black Midi's Cavalcade, Geordie Greep’s fretwork is an example of the 6-string as a capable component as much as a solo instrument, never completely stealing the show.

Popular music and mainstream tastes may be more fractured than ever, but the guitar continues to thrive.

As we soft launch into the new year, I’m not waiting for the requisite guitar obituary in the news. It’s not going to happen again anytime soon. Why? Because as far as the mainstream media is concerned, our beloved instrument is not only dead, it's irrelevant to the point of not even being an afterthought. When the New York Times published their most recent albums of the year list, there was barely a guitar-based recording to be found. Still, there is not only hope, but also cause for jubilation.

Read More Show less

Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

{u'media': u'[rebelmouse-document-pdf 13574 site_id=20368559 original_filename="7Shred-Jan22.pdf"]', u'file_original_url': u'https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/documents/13574/7Shred-Jan22.pdf', u'type': u'pdf', u'id': 13574, u'media_html': u'7Shred-Jan22.pdf'}
Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
Read More Show less