The Infinity Driver overdrive emphasizes versatility and the ability to play nice with myriad amps and guitars.

If you’re a pedal manufacturer in these glory days of stompbox design, it’s not easy to find a unique sonic signature. But Larry Alan (of Lansing, Michigan’s Larry Alan Guitars) seems perfectly willing to put the power to shape unique sounds into the hands of the player.

The Infinity Driver overdrive emphasizes versatility and the ability to play nice with myriad amps and guitars. In part, this flexibility is derived from the pedal’s simple, smart layout and the inclusion of a boost circuit. But the box also benefits from a germanium diode in the clipping stage that adds a whole range of color to the pedal’s sound palate, and with a bass switch in the mix to help even out the midrange emphasis that’s inherent to overdrive use, the Infinity Driver shapes up as an overdrive of, well, almost infinite potential.

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Montrose influenced a generation of players with his visceral power-trio playing.

Photo by Jim Summaria

The guitar and music community suffered a great loss on March 3 with the passing of rock veteran Ronnie Montrose (November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012). Over the past few years Ronnie fought a difficult battle with prostate cancer, which he sadly succumbed to late last week. He was 64.

While best known for his 1973 debut album, Montrose, which featured a young Sammy Hagar on vocals, Montrose got his start recording with Van Morrison on Tupelo Honey and Edgar Winter on They Only Come out at Night (the latter of which featured the classics “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride” with Rick Derringer). Montrose’s eponymous band recorded five albums from 1973 to 1987, while Ronnie recorded nine solo albums and four albums with Gamma. His blistering tone, powerful riffs, and fearless approach set the ’70s on fire and inspired a generation of guitarists.

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Maxon has revamped and updated the Real Tube Series line with a family of pedals dubbed Real Tube II.

More than 20 years after the initial release of the tube-powered Real Tube Series pedals, Maxon has revamped and updated the line with a family of pedals dubbed Real Tube II. The RTD800 is the overdrive/distortion combination entry in the new line. By any standard it’s a very capable and flexible pedal. And with its Maxon pedigree it’s a beautifully built little machine that engenders a confidence in its quality and tone.

Built Like a Brick
The RTD800 is a beefy yet surprisingly light (1.5 lbs) pedal for its size (4.5”x 6”x 2”). Cast zinc construction makes it feel ultra solid and capable of protecting the tube within. The matte nickel finish and black and blue accents give the pedal an industrial down-to-business look, too. The power supply is a two-part assembly consisting of a 5’ 9-volt cable that ends in a brick that’s connected to a standard 2’ IEC power cord for 9 volts of power.

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The latest from MXR features a great range of subtle to extreme space effects for under $100.

The chorus effect is a classic sound that has been around for decades. It’s probably most associated with ’80s-era production, though it’s hard to ignore in any context. Syrupy and liquid, sparkly and lush, it just makes everything sound bigger. Now, MXR has brought back the classic sound of the analog chorus with the predictably named but lovely sounding Analog Chorus.

Underwater Colors
Decked out in aqua blue the Analog Chorus has a five-control layout featuring Low and High EQ controls, Level, Rate, and Depth for maximum flexibility. It adds up to access to just about every chorus effect conceivable in a compact, easy-to-operate unit. Though they should probably issue a warning to wear your sunglasses when engaging the pedal, because the blue LED must be one of the brightest on the planet!

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