Friday, January 25, 2013

Effect Pedal News From NAMM

Since I'm trapped at a desk in the suddenly frigid mid-Atlantic, Nathan Sousa has offered to play the P90Noir "man on the street" at NAMM 2013. Nate spent the day strolling through the Anaheim Convention Center and visiting with the biggest and best names in guitar gear.

From our friends at Cusack, Earthquaker Devices, Empress, VFE, Zvex, Reverend, Wampler, and Mojo Hand, to Dunlop, Marshall, and EHX - Nate took some great photos and shared some comments on the new gear we'll all be craving in the coming months.

Mojo Hand Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
What's posted here is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out this thread on TGP to see even more.

Nathan Sousa Reporting:

Day 1 at NAMM 2013 has been a success, and I wanted to report my findings and thoughts here.

First, I headed over to Mojo Hand Effects. Tried out basically their whole line, and my favorite box was the Iron Bell. Sort of a fuzzy distortion, Brad explained it as a Gilmourish fuzz that is meant to stack well with overdrives. I was also really impressed with the Rook Royale -- the normal Rook side being an awesome drive with a few clipping options, but then you add in the EP-type boost with a treble control. The Xotic EP was always too woofy for me, so this is a nice "fix."
Mojo Hand Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa

Next,  I went by Caroline Guitar and tried out the new Kilobyte Delay. This thing is RAD, man. I love Caroline for their Wave Cannon, but this is another reason to pay attention to what Phillipe and the gang are up to. Really cool control over the gain of the repeats-- you are able to get some great saturation and grit. This is what I wanted the Supa Puss to do but didn't. And there is also the switch to have runaway repeats, which is great for on-the-fly spurts of craziness. I had a ton of fun playing with this one.

Wampler Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
After Caroline, I swung by the Wampler booth. I got to chat with them a bit about their new pedal, the Dual Fusion. It's a great idea for a pedal- mixing the Paisley and the Euphoria together. They mentioned that it still needs some tweaks in the EQ sections, but it's getting close. The proto also does not have a way to quickly change the order of the effects-- you just have to move the ins/outs around. But perhaps this will change on the production model. It sounded great, and even though you lose a few controls (bass on Euphoria, counter on Paisley), it was super super versatile, and of course the stack was great. 

Rockett Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
After that I headed over to Rockett. I was chatting with them about their new Mark Sampson line, when up walks Mark Sampson! That was cool to shake his hand and meet him briefly. They started chatting about their new pedals, and got to hear each of them. They all sounded great, but the two that really stood out were the High Top and the unmarked Klon-esque pedal. The High Top really took your amp into Matchless/AC territory and had a great EQ and glassiness to it. Truly a DC30 sound in a box. The Klon-esque pedal (not sure I heard a name) is two sides: one has simple volume/tone, and the other has more control-- one switch toggles the two sides, the other switch is bypass. Really cool sounding, and is more appealing to me than the Klon for the added gain stage and more EQ control. Don't know when this will be out but I hope I can afford it! The other Sampson pedals should be out in March.

Cusack Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
My next stop was Cusack Effects. Really fun trying out their line since I had not had much experience with it. The drive section was cool- and the way they tweaked the Screamer Fuzz (a P90Noir favorite) to have a little OD and a little Fuzz is very cool. Their switching system was really great, including a tap tempo, presets, and soft switches. Seemed like a great option if you're looking for a looper with options. And their delay: wow! I had never heard one, but the tone of the repeats was fantastic. And it's got tap subdivisions plus tons of other options. Sounded killer. They also get the award for most colorful booth. A.J. mentioned it was like working in a kid's playground! The most exciting item at Cusack was the Goblin amplifier. This is the 15 watt little brother to the Kingsnake, and it's a ridiculous amount of amp in a small and affordable package.

VFE Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
After Cusack, I went over and checked out VFE next. Peter was there and walked through his whole line. All very cool sounding, and the new addition of simpler pedals (Junior Series) was a cool add. If you have not yet joined the Kickstarter campaign for the Junior pedals, get in now. It's a great deal with the benefit of supporting a great builder. For $80 you get the Junior of your choice, a t-shirt, and a sticker. But act fast. There are only about 20 slot of the $80 early-bird option left. After that, it's $100 for a pedal, shirt, and sticker. It's still an amazing deal for such quality effects.

Earthquaker Devices Pedals - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
Then I was off to Earthquaker Devices. I love these guys! Their Talons and Dispatch Master were two of my favorite pedals I got in 2012. And the Organizer and Dirt Transmitter are P90Noir favorites. This year they were showing off the new compressor, the Warden -- and also their new reverb/delay monster, the Disaster Transport Sr. The Warden was cool, I didn't play it-- just heard it. It sounded like a good comp should, but I didn't personally get the feel of it. The DTSR has two sides: one has modulation, one has reverb. You can use them separately or together, and the combination is hypnotizing - amazing ambiance and tons of options abound.

Dunlop Fuzz Face Minis - Photo Courtesy of Nathan Sousa
The Dunlop booth was buzzing over their new Mini Fuzz Face pedals. I got to plug in myself and give them a try. They had the old ones in line with the new ones, and I got to try them all out. Granted I was on a set of headphones… so I can't say much. BUT, the new ones sounded great-- I will say a little different than the old ones. I noticed the old ones were powered off batteries, but the new ones had a power supply… is this really a fair comparison? Anyways, I also wanted to check out the Echo-Puss, since I was so disappointed with the Supa-Puss that I bought last year. I was surprised by the Echo-Puss! It sounded really different, and more to my liking than the Supa-Puss. The modulation did not seem as crazy, and the tone of the repeats was a little "fuller" and not as filtered out. Wish it had tap tempo, but was also glad they had a version without the bling graphics on it. Cool stuff at Dunlop.

Cusack Goblin

Photo courtesy of Nathan Sousa
Goblin - A goblin is a legendary evil or mischievous creature; a grotesquely evil or evil-like phantom. They are attributed with various abilities, temperaments and appearances depending on the story and country of origin.

Goblin - An insanely good 15 watt 6V6-powered guitar amp originally manufactured by Reverend Guitars. The Reverend Goblin was produced in small numbers (roughly 200) and I'm lucky to own one of those. Thanks to our friends at Cusack Music, the Goblin is back, and better than ever. The Cusack amps are hand-made in the US and built to withstand the rigors of the road.

If you haven't had the pleasure of playing a Goblin, start saving now. With wattage switchable between 5 and 15 watts and the brilliant 3-way Schizo switch, the Goblin is an amazing recording amp that has enough power on tap to keep up with a pounding drummer.

This Goblin isn't a grotesque creature. But it does offer various temperaments and abilities and delivers everything from pristine cleans to glorious power-tube distortion at less than ear-bleeding levels. I can't wait to try one out.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

IM Wine and Wine Bin to Start Growler Programs for Beer

Beginning on Friday, February 1st, 2013, IM Wine will begin filling growlers. And beginning this Friday (the 25th) Wine Bin in Ellicott City will start.

I've been patiently waiting for IM Wine to offer growlers. I know they've been trying for a while to get this going and I'm thrilled that they finally are.

It sounds like they will launch with a six-tap system. I can't wait to see what they have on tap!

IM doesn't say what size growlers they will offer, but they state that by law, they must be branded as IM Wine. I'm hopeful that they will offer 32 and 64 oz, but I'll be happy with anything.

Thanks to a commenter I've been alerted that the Wine Bin in Ellicott City is rolling out Growlers as well. The picture above shows what's on tap and prices. And note that they are offering 32 oz and 64 oz. The prices are pretty good as well. hocoblogs@@@

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Coolest. Amp. Ever!

I think I've already made abundantly clear in this blog, that I pray at the alter of Reverend when it comes to guitars and amps. But about two years ago, I came across someone selling a custom made Mojotone 1x12 cabinet designed for a Reverend Goblin. I loved my Goblin as is, and I certainly loved the light weight of the 1x10 cab with the Jensen Neo. But I was eager to push a little more air.

I got the cab, loaded my head, switched the Mojo greenback-style speaker for an Eminences Wizard that I had lying around and had my mind blown. Words can't describe how much I love this new setup.

More recently, I switched to an Eminence Cannabis Rex, and I'm in love all over again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Faded Sticker - Track By Track Gear Run Down

Over the summer, my band recorded our debut album. You can find it on iTunes and Amazon. Or feel free to comment if you want an actual CD.

Being the gear head that I am, I took pretty meticulous notes on what we used for each track. For some overdubs, we did so many takes that we lost track, but here's the bulk of it.

We were lucky to record at Invisible Sound Studios in Baltimore, MD where we had a ton of vintage and boutique amps to choose from.And of course, thanks to my pedal addiction, we had plenty of options on that front as well.

GSRS - Reverend Roundhouse HB, into HBE Germania44, into Tweed Deluxe.

The highlight of the sessions was slamming a '58 Tweed Deluxe with an HBE Germania44 Treble Booster. Grunge is the only way to describe it. It's how we got the main rhythm tone used on GSRS.The lead guitar is a home-made 25.5 scale bolt-neck with filtertrons into the "Marshall" side of a 65 Amps London. 


For this one, the rhythm part was a Malden Mozak, into a Fulltone '69 MKII (with the volume rolled off), into a vintage Blackface Deluxe Reverb. The lead part was a 25.5 scale bolt-neck with filtertrons into one of the hand-wired AC30 reissues. The echo is a Cusack Tap-a-Delay. Even crazier, the synth and piano sounds are all from the iPad version of GarageBand.


I covered part of recording this song in a previous post. I discussed how I used the Cusack Tap-A-Scream to transition into the noisy coda. But the tools used for the main rhythm part were also pretty cool. Live, I've been using a Micro POG and the Leslie setting on a Line 6 M9 to do a faux B3 kind of thing. When Dave (our engineer) heard it, he said "Are you doing a rotating speaker thing there? We have a Chord-a-Vox, you know!" So we grabbed the Chord-a-Vox a fed the signal from my Reverend Goblin into it. Swirly-wirly goodness. The lead parts are the custom guitar into the '65 London.

And then the outro is a whole lot of tracks of oscillating Fuzz Factory, a theremin app, etc.