Yes, there's a lot of value variance, but there's an upside, too.
In your guitar pedal dealings, you may have heard the phrase “component tolerances.” Nearly every component in a pedal is marked with a value, and ideally every component in your pedal would be that exact value, not one bit more and not one bit less. So, every 1k-ohm resistor would be exactly 1.0000000000000k ohm and every 10 µF capacitor would be exactly 10.0000000000000 µF. In this supernatural circuit situation, every pedal would sound identical. There would be no deviations from each component’s intended value, and there would be no deviations from the effect’s intended sound (all other things being equal). Unfortunately, we cannot hope to achieve this sort of metric perfection in the real world. While perfection may not ever be attained, it is also not often required, and all the circuits we interact with day in and day out can tolerate some sort of variation in their components’ value.
Your pedal’s designer specifies every component value in a design to result in a particular timbre or function and needs to know how much each component employed might vary from that specified value. When manufacturers make parts, they specify the nominal value and a particular tolerance value. Often, this tolerance is specified as a percentage of the nominal value. So, a 10-percent tolerance in a 1k-ohm resistor could be anywhere from 900 ohms and 1100 ohms. The higher the tolerance figure, the more variation you can expect in the value of a given component.
While more variation may seem like strictly bad news at first blush, it does have some benefits—principally, cost. The machines and processes required to make a one-percent resistor are cheaper and faster than those required to make a resistor of arbitrarily higher precision. Consequently, a run-of-the-mill one-percent tolerance resistor may cost five cents while its 0.005-percent laser-trimmed counterpart costs $12. If vintage pedal prices are starting to make you queasy, know that it could be much worse. Demand plays a major role in cost as well, as it is pretty rare that you need a 0.005-percent resistor.
So, what difference does tolerance make and how do we know when we need to splurge for the caviar components? Without getting too far into the mathematical weeds, here’s a couple examples. Take Fig. 1, where a very simple resistor/capacitor low-pass filter is shown. This filter’s corner frequency [Fig. 2] is determined by the value of the resistor and capacitor, and that frequency has a certain sensitivity to variations of those values. [Note: The corner frequency is also known as the cut-off frequency—frequencies above this point will be attenuated by the low-pass filter.] In this particular circuit, if we wiggle the capacitance value by 10 percent, the corner frequency will move by approximately 10 percent.
The corner frequency of the inductor/capacitor low-pass filter in Fig. 3 has a different sensitivity to changes in the value of the capacitor. If we increase the value of the capacitor by 10 percent, the corner frequency of the filter moves by approximately five percent. So, we can say that the corner frequency of the Fig. 3 circuit is less sensitive to changes in the capacitance than the Fig. 1 circuit. If you want to build circuits that are more forgiving of changes in component values, you can make some design decisions that will help!
You can also quantify what difference component variation will make in the context of your particular application. Let’s assume we’re employing the circuit in Fig. 1 as a pedal power supply filter. Let’s set resistance at 470 ohms and capacitance at 220 µF. We know we’re primarily wanting to filter 60 Hz hum from our power line, and at this nominal value of R (resistance) and C (capacitance), we can attenuate 60 Hz by approximately 32 dB. If we choose a 20-percent capacitor, in the worst case, our C drops 20 percent to 176 µF and we only reduce that 60 Hz noise by 30 dB. In practice, that difference of 2 dB probably won’t result in a dramatic difference in performance. This tolerance to higher tolerance parts is one of the reasons why we see 20-percent capacitors in big power supplies. When bigger is better, some amount of overkill can make variations in value a non-issue, practically.
Whether you’re bending your own circuits or just trying to figure out why you can’t find a backup that’s quite as good as your No. 1 dirtbox, you might consider how the imperfections in those little devices inside our devices add up to make something special.
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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.
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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.
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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
Belltone P-90 Foil-Tron Pickup
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.