Last Thursday, I had the honor of test-driving the world’s first antimatter guitar pickup.
I just got back from a trip to
Switzerland and, boy, what
a trip it was! I usually avoid
writing about gear or technical
stuff, but this time I can’t help
it. Last Thursday, I had the
honor of test-driving the world’s
first antimatter guitar pickup.
That’s right, folks, antimatter
technology is here!
The pickup is being made by Uniglo, and it’s pretty incredible. It just blows my mind to think that inside the “lipstick” aluminum cylinder is a mini universe ... and it’s being used as a guitar pickup!
So how does it sound? Spectacular! It has a warm, organic tone, and I found myself loving every note and getting giddy like a 12-year-old who has just discovered distortion for the first time.
The pickup’s magnetic field is so strange. If you move your picking hand over it just right, you can increase the sustain— and, if you really get close and cover it up a bit, the sound almost takes on an EBow-like quality. It certainly will require learning new techniques to master all that this pickup can offer, but if you’re like me, you’ll simply think, bring it on.
Installing this bad boy does require some skill, as some pickup cavities may need a touch of routing work. The wires terminate in easy-to-attach connectors (no soldering needed). However, your guitar’s potentiometers will need to be replaced with Uniglo components. So, although it’s not a big deal, I’d recommend that you hire a professional luthier to do the installation.
What is antimatter exactly? Antimatter is the opposite of everything that is. It’s actually moving backward in time ... it’s ... okay, I still don’t really know exactly what it is, except that it makes black holes, time travel, and Star Trek episodes possible. Apparently, antimatter can destroy the earth—and possibly the entire universe—if not handled properly. So, again, hiring a professional luthier to do the installation would be a wise move.
So how did we get here? How did we actually get to the point of harnessing antimatter for products such as guitar pickups? Well, there’s this huge underground tunnel in Switzerland that forms a perfect circle—I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s called the Large Hadron Collider or CERN. Governments have spent billions of dollars on it in hopes of finding the secrets of the universe and new technologies that can be used to solve the world’s energy problem. Last year, the scientists at CERN discovered how to capture and control antimatter. They also discovered hundreds of cool uses for it and have started selling patent rights to several companies.
I’m told that antimatter cannot come into contact with matter, so how do we safely contain it? It’s easy, actually. I watched as scientists crashed two atoms together at the speed of light and—bam!—there it was, a tiny black hole contained inside an invisible magnetic field. (That’s the key, a magnetic field.) Then, technicians carefully placed another magnetic field inside the Uniglo pickup cylinder and slowly placed the cylinder over the antimatter. When the two magnetic fields come into contact with each other, they become one. The techs explained that this was like two drops of water that touch each other. Then the antimatter just follows the magnetic field up into the pickup cylinder. The cylinder is then permanently sealed and that’s it. It’s really entertaining to watch the whole operation—it’s quite ritualistic, almost like a dance. You can check out the process at uniqlo.jp/uniqlock/. I highly recommend it.
True—the pickup only has a two-year life span, but Uniglo is offering an exchange program. For a small service fee, they will recharge the pickup with antimatter. The cost of the pickup is rumored to be near the $500 mark. But, as with anything else, I’m sure in time that price will come down.
Uniglo has bought patent rights to this technology and is planning to release the UNI-QLOCK guitar pickup on April 1st, 2012, permits permitting. They are also working on other products like the Waste-to-Aqua toilet filter for good tasting H20 and a portable cat washer called Cat in the Box. The company currently sells oceanfront property in Utah, and I suggest you buy some! I’m digging mine.
Randy Parsons builds guitars for Jack White, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, and other adventurous players using out-of-the-box materials like bone, flowers, copper, and solid ebony.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.