january 2014

This affordable, battery- or DC-powered multi-effector is a sonic smorgasbord for guitarists on the go.

A lot of old-school guitarists will turn tail and run at the sight of a multi-effects unit. But multi-effect fear isn’t altogether irrational, because, let’s face it, a lot of multi-effect pedals and rack units are bears to work with, especially when time is short and you just want to plug in and play.

With the new ME-80, however, Boss clearly prioritized ease of use, and this surprisingly utilitarian, powerful, and portable unit is relatively simple to operate, a lot of fun, and great for home demo studios, small, informal gigs, and even unorthodox tinkerers who like the straightest possible line to the most possible sounds.

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Essential for Bloomfield freaks, Head, Heart, Hands will also move anyone fascinated with the collision of rock, blues, and folk music in the turbulent 1960s.

CD/DVD Box Set

Michael Bloomfield
From His Head to His Heart to His Hands
Sony Legacy

By 1981, when Michael Bloomfield was found dead in his ’65 Chevy from a drug overdose in San Francisco, the 37-year-old blues guitarist had been largely forgotten. Popular music had moved far away from the gritty, high-octane sounds Bloomfield helped pioneer in the ’60s as the lead guitarist in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and the screaming Telecaster licks he’d played behind Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival—that infamous event that split the folk-music community into acoustic and electric camps—had faded into history.

But between 1964 and 1970, Bloomfield was one of the most revered electric guitarists of the day—an inspiration to Carlos Santana, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jerry Garcia, who saw Bloomfield as the 6-string master of their generation. In 1966, Eric Clapton said, “Mike Bloomfield is music on two legs.” And Dylan claimed Bloomfield was the “best guitar player I ever heard.”

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An octave fuzz that makes even humble rigs sound monstrous.

Some fuzz players are so mired in pursuit of classic tones they forget that, above all, a fuzz should be able to scream like a banshee and stand out like a rabid, fanged rhino on jet roller skates. This forgotten knowledge—the loss of the essential fuzz spirit, some might say—has found us swimming in a Great Lakes’ worth of same-sounding fuzz riffs while a panoply of dirty, unique fuzz tones goes largely ignored.

The coolest thing about Crazy Tube Circuits’ Pin Up octave fuzz is how readily it sends you down those less-trodden paths. But the other best thing is that there are copious classic tones on tap, if you want them. The Pin Up does fuzz a lot of different ways. It’s not the most outlandish, radical, or deviant fuzz out there, but its ability to accommodate weirdoes and classicists equally—and so effortlessly—makes it a very powerful tool when you’re trying to quickly carve out a fuzz sound that’s not so run-of-the-mill.

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