Catalinbread Tremolo8 Giveaway!
You could WIN a Tremolo8 from Catalinbread in this week's giveaway. Enter before June 6, 2023 for your chance to win!
Catalinbread Tremolo 8 Pedal
In a past life, this project started as a pedal for our personal enjoyment; a digitized model of the Fender Showman’s "harmonic vibrato". The experiment was a resounding success, so we started experimenting with more LFOs and more tremolo styles. We really like the sound of tremolo splashing against a reverb like Magnatones or Vibro Champs and our previous work on the Topanga Burnside reflects this. At the same time, we are suckers for bigger ethereal reverbs so we decided to add some trem-specific reverb algorithms and a subtle tone control. After researching and implementing them to exhaustion, we discovered that not all LFOs are created equal and some are much more equal than others. A sawtooth LFO leads to wild reverse-esque sonic manipulation and a fluttery compressed sound when set low. A square wave with a duty cycle control ("on" time) leads to a thumping, stuttering reverb sound, so why not turbocharge the square wave to a few kilohertz and churn out some wacky sum and difference frequencies? In a completely different program, trem modulation with chorus floating on top sounded too good to leave out. When working on the Many Worlds we had so much fun with the envelope-controlled phase angle that we wanted something like that in here, so we crafted an envelope-controlled trem rate with adjustable sensitivity and attack/decay, leading to head-spinning effects when letting chords ring out or when cranking some touch-sensitive solos.
Rodrigo y Gabriela’s Brave New World
On their new album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, the acoustic duo goes half-electric, plumbs programmed beats, adds slide guitar, and explores nondualism—following a creative path that opened due to the Covid shutdown.
Grammy Award-winning guitar virtuosi Rodrigo y Gabriela started recording what would become their latest album, In Between Thoughts… A New World, in February 2021. At the time, crafting a new album wasn’t the catalyst for making new music. They really just wanted to write, jam, and record without an agenda while locked down during the pandemic.
“It was just something to kill time,” admits Gabriela Quintero, one half of the Mexican guitar duo. “Just to be in the moment and not to think too much about it, even though here in Zihuatanejo it was more like the tropical version of the apocalypse [laughs].”
The other half of the duo, Rodrigo Sánchez, concurs that the pandemic presented a unique set of circumstances that allowed them to be creative without the added pressure of making a record, going on tour, or meeting a deadline. “Musically speaking, it was a very unusual process for us,” he says. “We weren’t really thinking about recording a new Rod and Gab record, and we didn’t really know what was going to happen. It was a really detailed process we never had done before, because we never had this amount of time to record an album.”
Rodrigo y Gabriela - True Nature (Official Audio)"True Nature" is off Rodrigo y Gabriela's first album in 4 years. The album 'In Between Thoughts...A New World’ is available now on limited edition vinyl, CD...
Guided by spiritual practices like Buddhism and nondualism, Rodrigo y Gabriela’s presence-of-mind approach to the guitar has led them on a fantastic, fulfilling journey from their humble heavy metal beginnings in Mexico City, to busking on the streets of Ireland, to performing in front of tens of thousands of people on the world’s biggest stages, opening for Muse and others.
Formed in 1998 out of the ashes of their heavy metal band, Tierra Ácida, Rodrigo y Gabriela left their hometown of Mexico City to pursue their musical ambitions in Dublin, Ireland, where they first began busking with their acoustic guitars on tourist-heavy Grafton Street, mixing elements of flamenco, rock, and heavy metal. In 2002, they released re-Foc, showcasing their virtuosity on guitar and their unique fusion of musical styles—even incorporating elements of the Irish folk music they had immersed themselves in while living abroad. In 2006, the duo released Rodrigo y Gabriela, a mix of original compositions and covers of classic songs by early influences Led Zeppelin and Metallica. The album was a commercial success, reaching the top of the Irish album charts and earning them a nomination for the Mercury Prize, awarded for the best album released in the United Kingdom by a British or Irish act. In 2008, they released 11:11, which featured 11 original compositions—each dedicated to a different musician who had influenced their music. In January 2020, Mettavolution, their fifth album, won Best Contemporary Instrumental Album at the Grammy Awards, cementing Rodrigo y Gabriela’s status as one of the most innovative and exciting guitar duos in the world.
“Gab has seven piezos inside her guitar, and everything is very tight. And I have five piezos.”—Rodrigo Sánchez
Gabriela Quintero’s Gear
Lead guitar provides the flash, but Gabriela Quintero’s right hand is what keeps the party jumping, with a driving, uncommon approach drawn more from traditional Irish music than flamenco.
Photo by Jim Bennett
- Yamaha NCX5 Signature Model
- Boss FV-500L Volume Pedal
- Boss OC-3 Super Octave
- Boss TU-3S Chromatic Tuner
- Dunlop Cry Baby Standard Wah
- Dunlop DVP4 Volume (X) Mini Pedal
- Lehle P-Split III Box
- D’Addario Pro-Arté EJ45 Normal Tension
Self-produced by Rodrigo y Gabriela at their studio in the resort city of Ixtapa, Mexico, In Between Thoughts… A New World reasserts their seemingly innate ability for cultivating a musical repertoire that captures the zeitgeist. And while it may have begun without intention, that doesn’t mean In Between Thoughts lacks direction. Like its predecessors, there’s a familiar and explosive display of virtuosic guitar craft, including all of the hallmarks one would expect from Rodrigo y Gabriela. The powerful, percussive playing of Quintero and the deft melodicism of Sánchez remain the duo’s calling cards. But new, unexpected sonic elements abound as well, including the reverb-drenched slide guitar on “Egoland,” the energetic percussion on “Descending to Nowhere,” the kinetic electronic beats on “The Ride of the Mind,” the passionately chanted vocals of “Broken Rage,” and the dreamy mystique of the robotic vocal effects embedded within “Finding Myself Leads Me to You.”
In fall 2020, while recovering from Covid, Sánchez stumbled upon an online video on nondualism—the notion that there is a “single, infinite, and indivisible reality, whose nature is pure consciousness, from which all objects and selves derive their apparently independent existence,” as defined by author/teacher Rupert Spira. “Advaita Vedanta, or nonduality, is often called the direct path—accepting what is,” explains Sánchez. “We’re not saying that everything in this structure of the body/mind we live in is right. It is just what is, and we cannot really argue with that.”
“The beauty about music is that it’s always expanding.”—Gabriela Quintero
During the early stages of the pandemic, Rodrigo y Gabriela did what many other artists did: They turned to social media, posting short anecdotal performances from their studio. But when they finally got bored of that, they started to write music based on the concept of nondualism without really thinking it would become their new album. “It was just a project,” emphasizes Sánchez. “We were just here in the studio doing things that we would never dofor Rod and Gab. I started to work with electronics, I left my acoustic guitar [at home] and just took my electric guitars [into the studio]. We started writing the music at the same time as we were writing a story based on this philosophy that we were so much attracted to. If we had known that it was going to become the Rod and Gab album, we probably would’ve limited ourselves in terms of not using electronics, or not using too much electric guitar. But we didn’t really think that way. That’s how the album came about.”
Their new album began as a pandemic songwriting and recording project, and took shape almost by accident as they accumulated tracks and tunes.
As for Quintero, she took a slightly more pragmatic approach to the endeavor, particularly regarding nondualism. “I think me and Rod, we share a lot of things that we like, and we feel attracted to, but we process differently,” she explains. “That’s where the nondualism becomes dual [laughs]. I discovered these teachings through a book called The Power of Now [byEckhart Tolle]. To me, that book was incredibly insightful and practical, and such a ‘no rules’ type of thing. I tried to meditate but there was too much discipline with some of the spiritual teachings. I remember when Rod was into Buddhism, and he was meditating a lot of hours a day and learning some mantras that were very strict. And for me, it was too much of a discipline. When I discovered The Power of Now, it was like, ‘Oh great, you don’t have to basically do anything [laughs].’ And then, when the pandemic came in and Rod discovered these videos about nondualism, the way he presented them to me sounded super confusing and too much like nihilism. So, we were constantly having friendly debates here in the studio. And I was going, ‘This is too crazy.’ It felt to me that it was denying this existence. But then we discovered these are the same teachings as The Power of Now, but in different words, in a different way. Then we stopped the debates.”
Quintero, very late into their writing and recording process, asked Sánchez if they were, in fact, writing their next record. “And then she asked, ‘When are we going to record it?’” says Sánchez. “We’d been recording [what we were writing] from day one with quality, and so I went back to the studio that afternoon and I checked all the recordings and all the levels, and we had produced the album already. We had the record.”
“We love flamenco. My best friend in that scene, Vicente Amigo, is one of the best. But no, we never play flamenco.”—Rodrigo Sánchez
As for how they record, Sánchez says it happens all sorts of ways—sometimes tracking together, sometimes individually. Sánchez says the acoustic guitars get picked up by German-made Schoeps MK 4 mics, recommended to him by his close friend, Spanish guitar maestro Vicente Amigo. They also adopted some of what he calls his “old-school metal techniques” for recording. “Knowing that we were going to have orchestra and electronics and all that, I used room mics for Gabs—and instead of just copying her track, I have her record two guitars exactly the same,” he explains, noting he did not use the copy/paste shortcut many musicians use nowadays. “She would do one guitar rhythm and then she would double that to make it sound bigger. Overdubbing the same rhythms and the same parts actually give her much more presence on top of the electronics. And she’s so good at it.”
Due in large part to Quintero’s right-hand technique, which Sánchez recorded so well on In Between Thoughts, “heavy metal flamenco” is a label often applied to the duo. “Ah, the ‘F’ word,” laughs Sánchez. “We love flamenco. My best friend in that scene, Vicente Amigo, is one of the best. But no, we never play flamenco. I understand some people are confused because of Gab’s rasgueado[gesture to invoke her right-hand technique], but actually she’s not doing the flamenco technique at all. She learned most of these techniques from an Irish bodhrán player, Robbie Harris.”
Rodrigo Sánchez’s Gear
Rodrigo Sánchez wears his musical roots on his chest,
in a t-shirt proclaiming his fan status for the Bay Area metal band Testament.
Photo by Dan Locke/Frank White Photo Agency
- Yamaha NTX5 Signature Model
- Fender Jaguar
- Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II XL+
- Marshall JCM900 4100 Hi Gain Dual Reverb
- Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
- Boss FV-500L Volume Pedal
- Boss OC-3 Super Octave
- Ibanez WH10 V3 Wah Pedal
- Lehle P-Split III DI Box
- MXR M133 Micro Amp
- MXR M234 Analog Chorus
- One Control Minimal Series AB Box
- TC Electronic Ditto X2 Looper
- Truetone 1 Spot Pro CS7 Power Supply
- TWA WR-03 Wah Rocker
Strings & Picks
- D’Addario EXL115 (.011–.049
- D’Addario Pro-Arté EJ46 Hard Tension
- Jim Dunlop Jazz III Black Stiffo
The bodhrán is a frame drum used in traditional Irish music that Quintero learned about when they moved to Ireland. “At the time, I was trying to imagine how flamenco players played their rhythms,” she explains. “I couldn’t figure it out, because back then there was not YouTube—there was nothing. Nowadays, you can go and say, ‘How to play rasgueado flamenco, how to play rhumba,’ and you’ll find something, but not back then. And I always got it wrong. And then I discovered the bodhrán.”
In the old days, the bodhrán was played with hands, not with a stick, as is often seen presently, and she says the Irish kept telling her she actually exhibited the movements of a bodhrán player, but on guitar. “They encouraged me to do certain rhythms. So, just watching them, it was easy to emulate a lot of the movements—it just came organically. The beauty about music is that it’s always expanding.”
“If I came back to a solo bit or something, there was not that beat—people were not jumping anymore, and it was like, ‘Ah, we’re losing the audience,’ so I tried to become more the drummer of the band.”—Gabriela Quintero
After weaning his guitar craft on West Coast thrash metal bands Testament, Megadeth, and Slayer, and New Yorkers Anthrax, Sánchez’s nylon-string style was originally grounded in a lot of the palm-muting he carried over from that style of electric playing. “First of all, I had to translate my palm muting [from electric to nylon string],” he explains. “Then, I used a little bit more of Al Di Meola’s technique, but he was playing steel-strings, right? So, I was like, ‘Okay, how can I translate this into nylon?’ And then I started to listen to Strunz & Farah, and they are incredible. I listened to the way they played, especially Jorge Strunz, who is so clean and so fast. And I started to learn some of his licks here and there, so I was in that zone already.”
They want a whole lotta folk! Rodrigo y Gabriela get down on the Newport Folk Festival’s Harbor Stage in 2014.
Photo by Tim Bugbee/Tinnitus Photography
It’s worth noting that the nylon-string guitars Rodrigo y Gabriela play live are the result of years of practical research and application in collaboration with Yamaha and are not models or designs your average nylon-string player would use, nor are they commercially available. “It’s not like any nylon-string guitar can just go and play in the middle of a festival of 40,000 people,” explains Sánchez. Originally, they were using guitars made by Irish luthier Frank Tate, which they still use at home and in the studio. But the guitars they now use live were specially designed over a 14-year period by Yamaha’s Japan-based Custom Shop for arena-concert environments. “These guitars have a very special system for us to sound the way they sound live,” he says. “Gab has seven piezos inside her guitar, and everything is very tight. And I have five piezos, which is really important for those kinds of shows.”
Within the duo, both players are very melodic and very rhythmical, but Quintero did gravitate to doing more of the beats, simply out of necessity, once they started playing bigger shows. “At the beginning when we used to play together, we swapped all the time—solos, arpeggios, and all of this,” she explains. “Eventually, when we started playing rock festivals, because I was the one who played the chords and the beat, if I came back to a solo bit or something, there was not that beat—people were not jumping anymore, and it was like, ‘Ah, we’re losing the audience,’ so I tried to become more the drummer of the band.”
Jumping from a metal band in Mexico City to an acoustic guitar duo busking the streets of Ireland seems quite serendipitous and grounded in the kind of ideology they eventually discovered via nondualism. Circling back to Quintero’s The Power of Now-influenced, pragmatic approach, she jokes that the decision was really quite simple. “Eventually, we were so internationally non-famous and miserable, we decided we’re going to quit the band,” she chuckles. “But we’re not going to quit music. We wanted to travel the world. So, our new goal was to travel and play guitar.”
While this live performance doesn’t capture the duo’s current blend of acoustic and electric sounds, it does afford a close-up look at their playing technique. In particular, check out Gabriela’s right-hand approach, which is based on the traditional Irish instrument called the bodhrán.
You could WIN a Guild Surfliner Deluxe!
Get your chance to win below! Giveaway ends June 19, 2023.
Guild Surfliner Deluxe Solidbody Electric Guitar - Black Metallic
Roasted maple neck with bound rosewood fingerboard and block inlays
The Surfliner Deluxe elevates the Surfliner platform with all new appointments. Introducing Guild’s first-ever roasted maple neck, for a dark aged appearance with added stiffness and stability. A bound rosewood fingerboard with block inlays compliments the satin finished C-shaped 25.5” scale neck providing a smooth playing experience.
New guild floating vibrato tailpiece (gfvt)
Developed for the Surfliner Deluxe – the new Guild Floating Vibrato Tailpiece (GFVT) opens the Surfliner platform to new playing styles, capable of a broad range of vibrato effects, from subtle flutters to deep swells. The GFVT is equipped with a nylon insert and easily accessible tension screw for ultimate control of bar tension. Featuring an embossed “G” for classic Guild DNA.
HSS pickup configuration featuring dearmond aerosonic single coil and guild hb-2 humbucker pickups
Outfitted with a bridge HB-2 Humbucker with Alnico II magnets, the HB-2 was developed to recreate the rich, warm tone of vintage Guild humbuckers in a standard size format. The HB-2 is paired perfectly with the chiming single-coil tones of the two DeArmond Aerosonic middle and neck pickups.
The Surfliner Deluxe debuts a classic 5-way blade switch. This instantly recognizable pickup switching offers quick access from rhythm to solo tones at the flick of a switch.
Solid poplar body with vintage-inspired offset appeal
Built with a lightweight Poplar solid body, the new Surfliner Deluxe features a gloss finish and matching headstock, available in Evergreen Metallic, Rose Quartz Metallic and Black Metallic.
Empress Effects Heavy Menace Giveaway
You could WIN an Empress Effects Heavy Menace Distortion pedal in this week's giveaway! Enter by May 30, 2023 for your chance to win!
Empress Heavy Menace Distortion Pedal
The Heavy Menace is the most versatile distortion pedal we’ve ever created. It’s an evolution of our original Heavy with new features and a compact enclosure.
In addition to the original Heavy and Heavier modes, the Heavy Menace adds a new Lite(ish) mode, covering any high-gain sound from classic hard rock to searing modern metal.
MOD Madness is here!
This week you could win gear from EMG, Fishman, Grover Jackson, Lundgren Pickups, Mod® Electronics, or StewMac! Enter before May 22, 2023.
Enter here! Be sure to see details on the prizes below.MOD Madness
EMG Pickups JMaster Set or Pickguard
Fishman Fluence Tim Henson Signature Series Pickup Set
Tim Henson is known for being the lead guitarist of the progressive band Polyphia and is widely considered one of the hottest guitarists in the world. Unafraid of new technology and forging new paths, Tim has quickly established his legacy as a guitar hero.
His new signature pickup set is no exception. The wide array of tones available from this set spans the entire range of aggressive lead and rhythm tones to the cleanest of clean single coil combinations, even touching on sounds Tim was previously only able to produce with his acoustic guitars.
Tim Henson Signature Series Neck Pickup features:
Three extremely diverse and unique voices in the same pickup. Thick neck humbucker tones from Voice 1, a quasi-acoustic in Voice 2, and fluid and precise neck single coil tones in Voice 3, all packed into the same pickup.
Tim Henson Signature Series Bridge Pickup features:
A solid hot passive bridge lead tone in Voice 1, combined with Tim’s idealized bridge humbucker tone in Voice 2, and a single coil combination tone that, when combined with one coil from the neck humbucker, produces Tim’s signature single coil combination tone.
Lundgren Black Heaven humbucker SET
New for 2018, Johan Lundgren's newest recreation may be his finest yet! The Black Heaven combines the power, aggression and tight response of the legendary M6, but with more refined, organic character that lends itself to more diverse tonal applications.
The Black Heaven® bridge model boasts crisp attack, meaty growl, and punchy lows accompanied by rich harmonics and excellent dynamics. There is plenty of power here, but with less compression and more of a wide frequency response. The Neck model is both articulate and juicy, so lead players will appreciate its depth and sonic complexity. Whether you're into modern down-tuned progressive metal, old school thrash, hard rock, punk or anything in between- the Black Heaven has you covered! Neck pickup AlNiCo. Bridge pickup Ceramic. BIG AlNiCo optional. Black adjustable poles. Short legs, 4-lead cable for all switching options. Available in 6,7 and 8 stringed versions. 6 stringed versions are available in open, black nickel cover or Drop-Top/Open Black nickel cover.
Habanero Pickups by Grover Jackson Poblano PAF Humbucker Pickup Set - Black
The Habanero Poblano PAF is Grover Jackson's personal take on the Patent Applied For-style pickups that graced the very first Gibsons back in the 1950's. With a warm bottom end and open, bell-like top, the Grover version features alnico V magnets for a slightly sharper output than the alnico II’s yet is still slightly underwound like the originals. This results in more flavorful harmonics while keeping the clarity that the classic design is renowned for.
As with all Habanero Pickups, the Poblano PAF is handmade in California with all top-shelf alnico V magnets, bobbins, and wire. The 4-conductor lead wire leaves options for many different wiring configurations (split coil, series / parallel).
Mod® Electronics, Phase / Off, Modulation - Phaser
The Phase / Off is a four-stage phaser based around the Sound Semiconductor SSI2140 voltage-controlled multi-mode filter. This pedal offers classic phasing effects along with plenty of control to dial in the perfect amount of modulation using the Depth, Rate, and Regen knobs. The Stages switch can change the Phase / Off from four-stage phaser to a two-stage phaser providing a wide variety of different phasing sounds. Change the Mode switch from LFO to Manual to use the Phase / Off in fixed phase mode controlled by the Depth knob for unique filtering effects.
The Phase / Off pedal kit is the second entry in the Nexus Series from Mod® Electronics. This series features a PCB base rather than the Mod® Electronics’ traditional point-to-point wiring kits to offer builders an even wider variety of effects to build. The Phase / Off is a great pedal for intermediate skill sets. It features an all through-hole build with pre-soldered SMT SSI2140.
The pedal operates on 9VDC. A center negative power supply is required for use (not included with kit). There is no battery connection. The pedal draws ~50mA. The enclosure size is a standard 1590BB (4.7" x 3.7" x 1.34").
StewMac Parson Street Humbuckers (Set A2 Neck / A5 Bridge)
StewMac Parson's Street Humbucker Set
(Alnico 2 Neck Pickup / Alnico 5 Bridge Pickup)
StewMac Parsons Street Humbucker Pickups are straight-up raw vintage tone! Closely modeled after outstanding original P.A.F.s, these humbuckers capture the tone that changed music forever.
Crafted by tone experts
StewMac's own Erick Coleman tracked down priceless original P.A.F. humbucker sets and meticulously studied the materials and construction that gives these pickups their truly timeless tone. Once he cracked the code, that tone was undeniable!
We christened these exceptional humbuckers in tribute to the famous Kalamazoo address where the holy grail of pickups, the legendary P.A.F. (Patent Applied For), was born.
We build them like they used to!
Just like the originals, the slug coil has more windings than the polepiece coil, and both coils are unpotted. Old P.A.F.s weren't made in separate neck and bridge-position models, and their DC resistance varied from 7-9K ohms. We give you a choice: Parsons Street neck position pickups are wound to mid 7K range, and bridge position models to low 8K range.