A safe space for savage fuzz.
Absolutely ripping fuzz sounds that balance sustain and chaos. Cool low-gain and volume-attenuated textures. Sturdy construction. Cool control layout.
High gain sounds rob pedal of some of its nuance
Pigtronix Star Eater
Though it feels sacrilegious to say, sometimes you need a break from fuzz—a chance to rest the ears, to bathe in the overtones of a little reverb, or just listen to the birds sing. That’s the place I was in when the Pigtronix Star Eater arrived. An hour later I wasn’t nearly as interested in the birds anymore.
It’s hard to pinpoint a classic fuzz touchstone that’s useful to describe the Star Eater. At many settings it has a lot of the chainsaw grind and piercing focus of a Shin-Ei Super Fuzz, but it’s thicker. At other settings it has some of the mass and wallop of a Rams Head Big Muff, but it’s less woofy and thick. Elsewhere you hear echoes of the Foxx Tone Machine and ZVex Fuzz Factory. But generally, such comparisons are pretty futile: The Star Eater shines in a galaxy all its own.
One reason the Star Eater’s personality is hard to pigeonhole is that it has a few. This multi-faceted character is attributable to the Star Eater’s big and snarly but malleable fundamental voice, which is controlled by a simple set of three knobs and two rocker switches. When the contour filter is off, the fuzz is shaped by the volume and gain knobs and the germanium/silicon clipping switch. That’s a simple set of controls, but there are many sounds to find within their respective ranges. Winding up the output volume and gain (called hunger) produces hot, trashy, and saturated tones that are killer for super-focused punk power chords and leads that rip and splatter. Sustain is impressive, too. But it’s not the vocal- or violin-like sustain you hear in a Big Muff. Instead, it’s reedy, cracked and fractured, particularly when holding deep pitch bends.
Sustain is not the vocal- or violin-like sustain you hear in a Big Muff. Instead, it’s reedy, cracked and fractured.
Low gain/high volume settings produce sounds that range from ’66-style germanium fuzz voices at full guitar volume to almost ring-modulated and electric-sitar-like voices at attenuated guitar volumes. These glitchier, messier fuzz sounds are some of the pedal’s coolest colors. The fuzz is plenty loud at these lower gain levels, too, which means you can explore these sounds in a live band without the fear of being rendered silent.
Filtered Fatness and Contoured Screech
The contour filter, controllable via the footswitch, rocker switch, and knob on the left side of the pedal, generates versions of the Star Eater voice that run from scooped and fat to raspy and cutting. Parking the sweep knob somewhere around noon and switching in the contour filter makes a given sound from the fuzz side fatter and fuller. You can also further shape the response and tonality with the contour rocker switch, which moves between a scooped and bumped midrange profile.
When you move the sweep knob a little in either direction, the sustain becomes more unstable and EQ emphasis shifts—usually with deliciously perverse results. The best of these sounds, at least in my demented estimation, are in the clockwise range with the mid-contour switch in scooped mode. Here, screaming notes quickly turn to shards of cracked octave overtones and harmonics that sound especially freaked-out and full of fangs when you move the rocker switch to the scooped setting.
While it was hard to determine any direct lineage between the Star Eater and any other classic fuzz (and what a treat that is), the Star Eater evoked many thrilling musical spaces: Mudhoney, Ghost’s Michio Kurihara, the manic buzz of a thousand aggro psych-punk bands, and the meaty, trucking riffage of 100 Sabbathoid sojourners.
What really sets the Star Eater apart for me, though, is attitude. It’s not the burliest fuzz or the weirdest. But by inhabiting a world between those poles, the Star Eater manages to be articulate and nasty—a poet assassin and a civilized brute. These are the kinds of tones that make a solo or driving rhythm part explode in a recorded mix or onstage. And if you like your guitar parts with a touch of chaos and the confrontational, you’ll find this stompbox beautiful.
- All-analog design delivers authentic old-school fuzz tones
- Dual footswitch setup, sporting a powerful fuzz side and a versatile Boost/Filter side to cover all of your fuzz needs
- Precision matched transistor pairs allow you to effortlessly dial in the “sweet spot”
- Voice rocker switch offers both smooth germanium sounds and wild silicon tones
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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.
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.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
For part two of our crash course in harmony for bassists, we’re talkin’ triads.
As bass players, our job is often to indicate and support what is happening rhythmically and harmonically in the music we’re playing. And to do that, it’s important for us to understand the basics of tonality and how it works. In fact, every bass player must have a strong knowledge of harmony to do their job correctly. This month, we’ll continue last month’s harmony crash course with some more ways to brush up on your ear skills, in italics below, so you can do your low-end job effectively.
The basic building block of harmony is the dyad, which gives us our basic intervals. But the basic building block of tonality is the triad, a grouping of three or more tones (root, 3rd, and 5th) that give us the four chord qualities—major, minor, diminished, and augmented—which you’re probably already familiar with.
Just as with intervals, we should train our ears to recognize chord qualities instantly. Start with two qualities (major and minor). Once you can identify those two correctly about 95 percent of the time, add another. Keep going until you can identify all four qualities consistently.
Another great exercise is to take a melody (either major or minor) and convert it to the opposite quality. Start out with something you know well, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” This may take a while at first, but the goal is to keep on doing these until you can convert most stuff on the fly instantly.
“This feeling of resolution, in some ways, is the whole point.”
Each chord quality has its own distinct sound, but major and minor are related, and both feel very grounded. Because of the 5th in each, our ears can easily hear which note in the chord is strongest (the root), which gives major and minor a sense of gravity. This feeling persists even if we change the order of the notes (invert the chord).
Have a friend or an app play inversions of major or minor triads. Find the root of each chord by singing it. Work towards being able to identify these triads in root position (root in the bass), first inversion (3rd in the bass), or second inversion (5th in the bass).
Pay attention to bass lines that land on a root, 3rd, or 5th on the first beat of the bar and then practice coming up with your own examples.
Diminished and augmented triads are much more ambiguous. Without a perfect fifth (diminished has a b5 and augmented has a #5), no tone in particular sounds strongest. Thus, both chords lack gravity. In fact, to most of us, every tone sounds equal, like being lost in the woods where every direction appears the same. Both seem to want to move towards something else more stable. When this occurs, it gives a sense of release, or resolution. This feeling of resolution, in some ways, is the whole point.
The top part of a dominant seventh or V7 chord is a diminished triad. For example, a C7 consists of the notes C–E–G–Bb. If you remove the C, we’re left with an E diminished triad. This is where the moving sound, or the desire to resolve, comes from. The important takeaway is that we’re making something very stable—a major chord—and making it less stable when we add the b7, because of the diminished sound, which in turn sets up the need to resolve.
Listening for V–I: On a guitar or keyboard play any major chord, then add a b7 (transforming I to V7) and try to hear where the progression “wants” to go next. Move to the new key (a fifth down) and repeat. After twelve V–I progressions you’ll arrive back at the original key.
The Dominant Gateway: On bass, try playing a walking bass pattern over the cycle of fifths, strategically using a b7 to move to the next key. This foreshadowing is a great voice-leading skill.
That's all for our crash course in harmony. If you take your time with these exercises, you should notice not only your ears improving, but your bass playing too!