A hot-rodded TS-style box that scores high in versatility.


You need not be a Kirk Hammett fan to appreciate or use the KHDK Ghoul Screamer. But its versatility hints at Hammett’s multifaceted tastes and abilities, as well as the wide-open potential of a TS-style circuit in the hands of a creative circuit tweaker.

I used the Ghoul with the fat, twangy, and rather un-Hammett-like setup of a humbucker-equipped Telecaster and a ’60s Bassman. But even with this rig the Ghoul’s lively, eager-to-please malleability shines. The Ghoul is more airy and hotter-sounding than my vintage TS-9 at equivalent settings, but I suspect the wide-spectrum harmonic profile will appeal to most—not least those who like fast picking response. The five switches that complement the wide-ranging tone, volume, and gain controls add true versatility. Bass and body switches were especially transformative at mid-to-high gain settings, generating burly, sustain-heavy lead tones and silky but massive rhythm. Taking bass and body out and activating the treble makes the pedal cut like a laser.

Though not especially transparent, the Ghoul isn’t heavy-handed either, and I never found the extra coloration jarring. It’s a potential lifesaver in changing backline situations, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more versatile OD.

Test gear: Fender Telecaster Custom, silverface Fender Bassman, 2x12 cab

Fender Champ and Fender Telecaster Deluxe. Pedal drive at one o’ clock, tone at two o’clock, volume at ten o’clock. Clips are clean, followed by all voice switches off, bass switch on, treble switch on, then body switch on.

Ratings

Pros:
The killer overdrive equivalent of a utility belt for changing backlines. A fantastic match for tube amps that live at the verge of breakup. Great range in controls.

Cons:
Might have a bit too much color and heat for TS users interested in clean boost potential.

Street:
$229

KHDK Ghoul Screamer
khdkelectronics.com

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Rig Rundown: Adam Shoenfeld

Whether in the studio or on solo gigs, the Nashville session-guitar star holds a lotta cards, with guitars and amps for everything he’s dealt.

Adam Shoenfeld has helped shape the tone of modern country guitar. How? Well, the Nashville-based session star, producer, and frontman has played on hundreds of albums and 45 No. 1 country hits, starting with Jason Aldean’s “Hicktown,” since 2005. Plus, he’s found time for several bands of his own as well as the first studio album under his own name, All the Birds Sing, which drops January 28.

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

Advanced

Beginner

• 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.

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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.
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