This fall, two major manufacturers’ forums played host to some of the most heartwarming displays of generosity from strangers that we’ve seen recently.

This fall, two major manufacturers’ forums played host to some of the most heartwarming displays of generosity from strangers that we’ve seen recently.

Ernie Ball/Music Man
On August 12 at 9:12 a.m., one of Ernie Ball’s forum members, Erin Payne (a.k.a. stingray96191), made a post about selling a special order DDII Big Al bass he had saved up to buy—one that hadn’t even come in the mail yet. The 25-year-old had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and his accumulating medical bills were forcing him to sell this and a few other basses he owned.

By 12:40 p.m. that same day, Sterling Ball had stepped in with a challenge. He said that if the forums could raise the $2400 Erin needed to pay his bills and keep his basses, he would give him the Big Al at no charge. Sterling put the first $100 in and the special PayPal account hit its goal in less than six hours.

The generosity of forum members didn’t stop there; and 12 days later, the grand total was just under $9000. Erin is currently in recovery and gigging with the DDII Big Al bass he almost sold.

Seymour Duncan
Over on Seymour Duncan’s forums, forum member Lewguitar was similarly struggling with the expenses of cancer. After selling most of his guitar collection to pay for his insurance deductible and premiums, he learned that his insurance company stopped covering the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center he had been receiving treatment with, and he would have to foot the full cost to continue with his doctors beginning in January.

Again, the forum started pouring out support. As mentioned in our “On/Off/Standby” section last month, another forum member (Newking) won a custom guitar setup by Jol Danzig and pickup replacements from Seymour Duncan and donated it to Lewguitar.

Forum member sosomething began a PayPal fund for Lew on October 19, BigJoe77 began a benefit auction of his gear, and ratherdashing offered to mod and repair pedals in exchange for donations to the fund. Forum members even set up a Facebook page to promote donations. As of press time, the forum had raised around $2000 for Lew’s medical expenses.

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

Read MoreShow less

Presets extend the flexibility of an already expansive and easy-to-use reverb.

Intuitive. Great range in all controls. Well-built.

Some digital artifacts at long decay times.


Walrus Audio Slötvå


Walrus Audio is a prolific builder, but, as the five reverb pedals in their lineup suggest, they have a real affinity for manipulating time and space. The beauty of the Slötvå reverb (which is derived from the company’s very similar Spin FV-1 chip-based Slö reverb) is how satisfying and simple it makes dramatic shifts between time/space textures.

Read MoreShow less

With such a flashy flame top, the Silvertone 1445 was built to catch the eyes of department store shoppers.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m breaking down all over and my shoulder is the latest to crumble. When I was a kid I would practice guitar in my bedroom near a radiator with an ungrounded amp plug and I’d get a zap right through my guitar and into my hands. Well, my shoulder pain is like that now, only without the cool story of rock ’n’ roll survival. I simply woke up one day like this. After a few weeks of discomfort, I figured I’d try out a new pillow, since mine are flattened like a wafer. I ventured out to the mall and, much to my sadness, saw the local Sears store shuttered, with weeds growing up from the sidewalks and concrete barriers blocking the large glass doors. I know I don’t get out much, but, man, was I sad to see the Sears store I’d known since childhood closed-up like that. My wife was laughing at me because apparently it had been closed for some time. But since I seem to exist on a separate timeline than most folks, it was all news to me.

Read MoreShow less