A fantastically colorful and expressive bucket brigade analog delay at a ridiculously low price.
Curiously, TC Electronic never gave a name to the line of affordable, metal-enclosure stompboxes they announced late last year. That leaves it to the stompbox nerd community to contribute a label. And given how many of these pedals seem like budget classics in the making, we suspect a new handle—and a cult following—is fast forthcoming.
The Echobrain analog bucket brigade delay has a memorable enough name. But it’s the resonant, colorful, and occasionally haunting lo-fi sounds it produces and its sensitive, tactile control set that make using it so addictive.
Echo Regeneration Redux
In the wake of Behringer’s purchase of TC Electronic, it’s quite likely the Echobrain is an improvement and update of the Behringer VD400 (Behringer designs are the heart of many new, affordable TC pedals). But the improvements are significant, and the upgrades to the controls and pots are enough to make this an altogether different and much more musical pedal.
The metal enclosure is robust and attractive with more than a hint of ’60s transistor radio influence in the design. Some will lament the relatively large enclosure, but it probably facilitates use of the single PCB used to mount all the components, jacks, pots, and the footswitch. The enclosure seems sturdy enough that the board mounted jacks and pots won’t be a problem. But the footswitch is of the type that activates the effect upon release, creating mechanical latency when you switch the effect on. Replacing the switch should be an easy mod, but mounting the switch on the board makes the procedure tricky to impossible. The upside? The manufacturing costs saved by the process are a huge part of the rock bottom price.
Tasty Time Tinkering
Echobrain’s controls have great range and sensitivity, which enables very precise delay times, repeat rates, and mix levels. Better still, the large knobs and firm but smooth resistance of the pots enable and encourage highly expressive interactions. Mix swells have a smooth curve, and the tactile sensitivity and control over repeat rates and delay times are superb. That means you can creatively ride the feedback and resonant peaks that occur at the verge of self-oscillation, perform radical or gentle accelerations and decelerations of repeat rates, or create terrifying echo swells. Few contemporary delays are as fun to use for these creative effects (the Ibanez Echo Shifter is one exception), and the Echobrain can rival classics like the Deluxe Memory Man and Echoplex in terms of hands-on musical malleability.
At the fastest repeat settings, Echobrain twitches at hummingbird heart rates, and as you move through these speedy echo rates you can hear traces of ring modulation, ADT, and tile reverb. Some of the repeats are close enough to create a sort of phase cancellation—achieving a cool EQ filtering effect not miles away from a cocked wah. As the output veers gradually toward oscillation, cool metallic high-mid overtones appear prominently in the repeats, evoking spring reverb and some of the clanging tones of oil can delays, without the modulation.
Though most pronounced at high repeat rates and mix levels, those overtones are a fundamental part of the pedal’s voice. And they lend transportive vintage color to the slapback-style repeats, which occur with the time knob between 9 o’clock and noon. (I won’t be surprised if Echobrain becomes standard issue for the lead-sled-and-Gretsch set, in time).
Longer echoes (with a 300 millisecond ceiling, they only get so long) have just as much color and provide ample space for early Pink Floyd sojourns, lo-fi psychedelic trips, deep dub skanking, and Joe Meek sci-fi textures.
As colorful as Echobrain can be, the high-end content in the repeats can be tricky with fuzz or the wrong amp. I might be hesitant, for instance, to tinker with Echobrain’s most resonant tones with a Tone Bender Mk II and Twin Reverb on either side. (Actually I wasn’t hesitant to try this formula at all, but it was hairy business!)
Echobrain is just about the most fun you can have for 60 bucks. The footswitch is annoying, but that shortcoming is offset by a superb and sensitive control set, and echo tones that you may never want to play without for certain songs. Echobrain can enliven the dreariest guitar and amp tones. (In fact, it sounds especially amazing with cheap, solid-state rigs, if you have such lo-fi proclivities.) I could even see using this pedal at a mixing desk for adding bold vintage colors and performing radical effects during a mix. Indeed, Echobrain is everything that’s great about analog delay at a price you almost can’t refuse.
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.