This month we continue to bust some rampant pedal myths. Let’s get started. --> Myth: TS9s with no “CE” mark on the label are originals. The original Ibanez TS9 Tube
This month we continue to bust some
rampant pedal myths. Let’s get started.
Myth: TS9s with no “CE” mark on the label are originals.
The original Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer was made from 1982 to 1984. The earliest of these had a black label on the bottom plate, which easily identifies it as original. But the labels were changed to silver with black writing at some point during the original production, and when Ibanez reissued the TS9 in the early ’90s they continued to use the silver label. The CE marking, indicating compliance with EU safety directives, started to appear sometime after 1993. With regard to the TS9, this would lead to the logical assumption that a silver label with no CE mark must be original, but this isn’t necessarily so, since the TS9 reissue dates back to at least 1992. Analog Mike thinks that starting with the serial number is a better indicator:
“The 1st digit of the serial number helps in determining the year of manufacture; a “3” indicates 1983, and you will see a lot of these starting with “4” for 1984. These can have the earlier JRC chips, but they sometimes have the TA75558 chip as used in the reissues. These are almost impossible to tell from the first reissue TS9. But the reissue TS9 will usually not have a serial number starting with 3 or 4. I have reissues from the early ’90s with the serial numbers 206XXX and 207XXX that are probably very early reissues from 1992. They have silver labels, whereas an original from 1982 would have had a black label. I also see a lot of silver label TS9s with serial numbers starting with 1. These are all reissues, as a 1981 would be a TS808 or a very early TS9 with a black label. All reissues and late originals have the TA75558 chip.”
Myth: You can use a line level 25k volume pedal if it’s after a buffered effect.
No, you still have a low impedance guitar level signal, not a line level signal, and using the wrong pedal will hurt your tone. A 25k pedal is meant for line level signals such as keyboards or for send/return loops. Use a 250k volume pedal with guitar level signals.
Myth: A pedal is true bypass if you can hear the dry signal when off, without power. This myth probably started because when using a pedal with a buffered bypass, such as Ibanez or Boss, it’s actually true. When these pedals are without power, they will not even pass a dry signal. But this test only works on pedals using an electronic bypass. Most older pedals like the original MXR, Electro-Harmonix, and old wah pedals used an SPDT – single-pole, doublethrow – switch to send either the direct signal from the input jack, or the output of the circuit, to the output jack. This will pass the above test, but it doesn’t mean the pedal is true bypass. The input signal from your guitar is still connected to the circuit when the pedal is off, which can cause tone suck and loss of high-end and even volume. This is especially noticeable in old wah pedals and vintage Big Muffs. Other pedals, like some MXRs, have less noticeable loss, even though they are not true bypass.
Never use a power supply that has AC voltage output in a pedal that is designed for DC power.
Myth: A 9V Line 6 power supply will work with a battery-powered pedal.
Not really a myth, but more of a mistake. Guitarists see a plug and a matching jack, put one and one together and end up with zero. We feel Line 6 has done us a disservice by making their AC power supplies with the same size plug as standard DC powered Boss pedals; thousands of pedals have been blown due to this. Most guitar pedals, including nearly all batterypowered pedals, are DC. However, there are some effects that use AC voltage. Never use a power supply that has AC voltage output in a pedal that is designed for DC power.
Myth: Digital effects digitize your sound, even the dry sound.
This may be true with some effects but most, like a Boss digital delay with a separate dry signal and added wet signal, keep the dry sound purely analog.
We have even more myths to bust at a later date, but that’s a wrap for now. Remember, the Internet is a great source of information, but there are way more opinions out there than real facts. And opinions are like bellybuttons – everyone’s got one! Check back with us next month and we’ll help you define your dirt. Until then, keep on stompin’!
Tom Hughes (a.k.a. Analog Tom) is the owner and proprietor of For Musicians Only (formusiciansonly.com) and author of Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects. For Musicians Only is also the home of the FMO Gear Shop.
Analog Man (analogman.com) is one of the largest boutique effects manufacturers and retailers in the business, established by “Analog” Mike Piera in 1993. Mike can be reached at AnalogMike@aol.com
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!