Making your amp work for you in any situation.
So you've found your dream amp—kind of. It sounds like a million bucks when it's cranked to its sweet spot, but everyone always tells you to turn it down. And you really want to capture your amp's glorious tone when recording, but you don't want to invest in microphones and preamps, and you don't have an acoustically perfect space to track either. It's an old problem: Guitar amps can be unruly beasts, hard to tame and difficult to mic live and in the studio. Luckily for guitarists, there's a bevy of devices designed to control, capture, and sculpt the tone of any amp.
Load boxes. When using a tube amp, a speaker is usually connected. The speaker dissipates energy from the amp as sound. But what if you want to use your tube amp with no speaker(s) connected, perhaps for late-night silent recording or practice?
You must always have a load of some sort connected to your speaker-out jack, or you can severely damage the amp. This is where load boxes come in: They safely load your guitar amp and allow you to use it in numerous ways with no speakers. Examples of load boxes include the Suhr Reactive Load, Koch Dummybox Studio/PA, and the Two Notes Torpedo Live.
Think of a load box as the most basic form of attenuator, one that lowers your amp's output to line level. Also called “dummy loads," such devices let you take that line out into a computer-recording interface so you can capture and process your amp's sound.
Because guitar speakers are an important component of guitar tone, you usually want to add speaker simulation. Some load boxes have onboard speaker simulations, but if not, you can use an analog speaker simulator like the Palmer PDI09, or a software plug-in that hosts impulse responses. (Such impulse responses digitally mimic the sounds various speaker/microphone combinations.) There are large libraries of IRs on the market, and you can find many more free online. Good IRs sound startlingly close to the real miked cabs.
A load box can also send the loaded-down line-level amp signal to a second power amp, giving you total control over your tone and volume. Crank your amp to the sweet spot, knock it down to line level, add effects if desired, and then “reamp" the whole thing to any volume through a power amp and cab of your choice.
Reamp devices. Some devices let you load down an amp and then reamp it with a second power amp—all in one unit. The Bad Cat Unleash, Fryette Power Station, and Two Notes Torpedo Reload are all good examples. The Unleash and Torpedo Reload perform the reamp function via solid-state power amps, while the Fryette unit features 50 watts of all-tube power. All three units are designed for sonic purity and tonal integrity. But anytime you such introduce devices into your signal chain, tone and feel changes can occur, so try before you buy.
Attenuators. Attenuators passively reduce your amp's volume by absorbing some of the amp's output and passing the rest on to the speaker cabinet. Some attenuators also function as load boxes and feature a output that sends a line-level signal to a recording interface or another power amp for reamping. Examples include the THD Hotplate, the Jim Kelley Power Attenuator, and the Rivera RockCrusher. The RockCrusher load box/attenuator even has a sophisticated analog speaker-simulator with line out, and a graphic EQ to fine-tune the simulated speaker's tonal response.
Reactive versus resistive. When a speaker—let's say in an open-back 1x12 cab—is connected to a tube amp, it has a unique relationship with the amp. Think of it as a back-and-forth conversation between the amp and speaker/cab. Your particular amp, cab, speaker, and what you play influence this dialog. This is called the impedance curve, and it's a measurable variable. Take the same speaker and load it into a closed-back 4x12 cab, and that impedance curve changes. The amp reacts differently than it did with the 1x12. So multiple things affect the tone and feel: amp, cabinet, speakers, and impedance curve.
A reactive load or reactive attenuator lowers or completely loads down an amp's output while maintaining the impedance curve, making the amp feel, sound, and respond similarly to when it's connected directly to a cabinet. Resistive attenuators and loads eliminate that impedance curve. As a result, the tone and feel of the whole rig changes. Most players find that as attenuation increases on a resistive attenuator, the tone is affected, usually becoming more compressed and dark. Transparency is a big plus for me, so I'm a fan of reactive attenuators.
I hope I've helped clarify some of the uses for and differences between load boxes, attenuators, and reamp boxes. Until next month, I wish you good tone!
- Two Notes Torpedo Captor X Reactive Load Box DI and Attenuator - Premier Guitar ›
- No Mics, No Cab, No Problem! - Premier Guitar ›
- The Amplifier Wars - Premier Guitar ›
- The Amplifier Wars - Premier Guitar ›
- DIY: Amp Safety 101 - Premier Guitar ›
- Tone Tips: Getting Heard, Not Buried - Premier Guitar ›
- Why You Should Try Reamping - Premier Guitar ›
- What Is Reamping and Why to Use It with Your Guitar ›
- How to Reamp Your Electric Guitar Tone - Premier Guitar ›
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.