This Echoplex preamp in stompbox form can enhance dynamics and adds organic-sounding dirt.

One bonus of using an original Maestro Echoplex EP-3 tape delay is the added color and bite of its preamp. MXR’s new Echoplex Preamp delivers this sound in a sturdy, elegant, and stupidly simple stompbox that even a pedal hater can love. Like the preamp it replicates, the pedal delivers relatively subtle overdrive. I used it on a session with an old Fender Vibro Champ for Crazy Horse-style grind on a rhythm guitar track. (It sounded fantastic cranked all the way, or almost there.) The Echoplex Preamp’s range and potency were more apparent with a bigger amp. Through a 30-watt, 2x10 blackface Tremolux, it enhanced picking dynamics and added organic-sounding dirt.

Test Gear: Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster, ’80s ’52 Reissue Fender Telecaster, ’64 Fender Tremolux, ’70s Fender Vibro Champ

Ratings

Pros:
Incredibly easy to use. Natural sounding overdrive. Sturdy construction. Responsive to picking dynamics at high gain.

Cons:
Lacks some range with smaller amps.

Street:
$119

Company
jimdunlop.com

Tones:

Ease of Use:

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Value:

A compact pedal format preamp designed to offer classic, natural bass tone with increased tonal control and extended headroom.

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Fig. 1

Here’s a different way to unleash the beast within your tracks.

Welcome to another Dojo. Last month I explained in detail how to set up and use sidechain compression techniques to get that classic pop/EDM pumping sound on your rhythm guitar parts and other instruments in your mix. This time, we’ll use the same setup techniques but, instead of sidechaining a compressor, I’m going to show you the benefits of using a gate.

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In high cotton: Charlie Musselwhite is thoroughly content with his return to the Delta. “We love living here,” he says. “It just makes sense, and it feels like the blues is alive and well in the Delta and you can just feel it rising up from the earth, it’s so present.”

Photo by Rory Doyle

On his new album, Mississippi Son, the harmonica giant steps out on guitar, evoking the legends of country blues 6-string and earning his place among them.

For Charlie Musselwhite, the blues isn’t just a style of music. It’s a sacrament. And Musselwhite is one of its high priests. With a palmful of bent notes on the harmonica—the instrument on which he’s been an acknowledged master for more than a half-century—or the fat snap of a guitar string, he has the power to summon not only the blues’ great spirits, but the places they rose from. If you listen closely, you can envision the Mississippi Delta’s plantation lands, where the summer sun forms a shimmering belt on the low horizon and even a slight breeze can paint your face red with clay dust. It’s a place both old and eternal—full of mystery and history and magic. And the music from that place, as Musselwhite sings in his new song “Blues Gave Me a Ride,” “tells the truth in a world full of lies.”

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