A master of Big Muff-style circuits builds a Ram’s Head clone that’ll be tough to beat at any price.
Wide-open, airy, super-smooth, and ripping classic Ram's Head tones. Awesome for chords and rhythm playing. Crazy sustain. High quality.
Big if you're space conscious. Expensive.
Wren and Cuff Caprid Blue-Violet Special
Ease of Use:
Most Big Muff freaks agree that the Ram's Head pedals—a series of Muffs built by Electro-Harmonix in the early-to-mid-'70s—embody most of the breed's very best attributes. Not all Ram's Heads are amazing. Component inconsistencies mean some sound better than others. But devout Muff-heads insist that the very best of the best come from a run that coincided with Electro-Harmonix's use of blue and violet paint. This collision of sound and color birthed the legend of the Violet Ram's Head.
Wren and Cuff's Matt Holl knows much about these nuances. He chases authentic Big Muff sounds with fervor. And though Holl has built great Ram's Head clones before, his efforts have really reached an apex in the Caprid Blue-Violet Special.
All in for Authentic
The Blue-Violet Special is a feast for a vintage fiend's senses. It features the same dimensions, on/off switch, “backwards" tone control, and Arnold Böcklin typeface that distinguished the original. Even the hand-populated circuit board is a fastidious near-clone of the original “3003" EHX Big Muff board—right down to the shape of the solder traces.
But the real treats are the sounds. And the Caprid Blue-Violet Special underscores the fact that the magic behind the Ram's Head's wall of sound resides in the spaces in between. The source of this space is a perceptible mid-scoop that highlights the white-hot-but-smooth top end and gut-walloping bass. This is the classic formula behind any good Ram's Head. But the Blue-Violet Special adds perceptible extra airspace, even when the gain and tone controls are cranked to their feistiest levels. The result is more room for dynamics in both touch and composition. And it compelled me to play a lot of austere, melodic phrases where I could bask in the sweet cello- and violin-like overtones.
This signing quality can lead you down predictable alleys. It can be hard to avoid punctuating every lead phrase with an eternally sustaining David Gilmour or Ernie Isley bend. But there are many other benefits to the open, scooped, and super-detailed voice. Chunky punk/metal riffs sound huge, with a just-right compression on transients that excites fast staccato riffs. And if you stack drives and fuzzes, or like to leave room for modulation and delay echoes to bloom, the extra air gives these effects plenty of room.
Room to Range Outward
The impressive range in the Blue Violet's controls is a source of bountiful and colorful voices. The Caprid's ample headroom means you can use cool, buzzing lower-gain settings without sacrificing output. The volume control is a powerful tone shaper, too, inducing smooth but pronounced compression at extreme volume settings and more open, detailed tones at lower levels (which are still monstrously loud).
The tone and sustain controls also yield abundant and varied rhythm and lead tones—enabling super-precise coloration when overdubbing or arranging for multiple guitar parts. There are many incredible, dusky, no-highs fuzz sounds on tap here. But if you max the treble, keep the volume low, and the sustain right around the 2/3 mark, you have the recipe for spot-on Bosstone and Maestro-style “Satisfaction" buzz.
Picking at micro-nuances in basically similar fuzz pedals can get ridiculous. After all, a ripping, soulful solo will probably sound ripping and soulful regardless of the gain-stage transistor. But as a sum of many thoughtfully assembled parts, the Caprid Blue-Violet Special is an extraordinary, head-of-the-class Muff. It's audibly smoother and more effectively scooped in the midrange than less authentic Ram's Head clones. And its knack for sweet, unbroken sustain is extra-impressive—even by Big Muff standards—opening up possibilities for lyrical, spacious solos and extra-expressive finger vibrato.
If you're an entrenched Big Muff cultist, the Blue-Violet Caprid is a must-hear experience. But even if you can't tell a Ram's Head from a rooster, it's impossible not to be wooed by the smooth, sinister sounds from this ultra-authentic take on a legend.
Watch our First Look demo of the Wren and Cuff Caprid Blue-Violet Special
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.