Tuning Up

My board’s path: Buffered AB/Y input box that combines guitar and keyboard signals (top right), Catalinbread Cloak reverb, Crybaby Mini 535Q wah, SoundBrut DrVa MkII drive/boost, Ground Control Tsukuyomi mid boost, Gamechanger LIGHT Pedal, DryBell Vibe Machine controlled by a Dunlop Volume (X), TC Electronic PolyTune Mini, SolidgoldFX Electroman MkII, Ibanez Analog Delay Mini, Radial BigShot ABY (underside).

It’s like showing your bedroom to a stranger after a crap workweek. Don’t judge me!

Every year when the PG Pedal Issue rolls around, I don’t necessarily feel compelled to dedicate my column to guitar pedals, but I often do. With so many cool new stompboxes rolling through the office, it’s hard not to.

Read MoreShow less

Oh no—it finally happened! Now the big question: How long before my verve for guitar recovers from Covid?

This past Sunday I awoke to a very un-Sunday sensation. Hovering on the edge of consciousness, as yet still incapable of contemplating what Sunday mornings are for (lounging in bed till coffee’s made and lunch plans are set, of course!), I was suddenly struck by a godawful stench. As one does, I wrinkled up my nose, lifted my head to look around in disgust, and took a couple more sniffs to see if … I don’t know—maybe I’d dreamt it? Or woke up incontinent? Then I tasted the putrescence. Then … nothing.


Read MoreShow less

My years-long search for the “right” Bigsby-outfitted box finally paid off. Now how do I make this sumbitch work in my band?

Considering the amount of time I’ve spent (here and elsewhere) talking about and lusting after Gretsch hollowbody guitars, it’s taken me a remarkably long time to end up with a big Bigsby-outfitted box I truly love. High-end Gretsches are pricey enough that, for a long time, I just couldn’t swing it. Years ago I had an Electromatic for a while, and it looked and played lovely, but didn’t have the open, blooming acoustic resonance I hoped for. A while later, I reviewed the stellar Players Edition Broadkaster semi-hollow, and it was so great in so many ways that I set my sights on it, eventually got one, and adore it to this day. Yet the full-hollowbody lust remained.

Read MoreShow less

Could this be why “serious guitarists” often sound so … boring?

It seems the more passionate you are about an artistic pursuit, the more pressure there is to be not just physically proficient at it, but—especially if you create your own material—to come up with something “new.” I suppose this mindset must go back centuries, if not millennia. That said, the ongoing internet/social-media experiment—still a tiny-ass blip on humanity’s psychosocial evolutionary timeline—has also conditioned us to put those tendencies into blazing overdrive over the course of a single generation.

Read MoreShow less