Tag Archive for: guitar

Atomic Amplifire


From Atomic’s news release in January of 2014:

Amplifire is an amp tone and multi-effects pedal years in the making. A powerful and portable device, it is small enough to fit in a gig bag pocket yet potent enough to fill up an arena with tonal bliss previously only achievable with bulky and much more expensive rigs.

We designed Amplifire as an instrument that we, as guitar players, wanted for ourselves. This meant it had to sound/feel authentic and amazing while being easy to use, transport and be road rugged.

Amplifire is equally capable of being a complete rig replacement or part of a larger pedal board and/or outboard processing rig.

A year later and it looks as though the product may finally come to market. It offers the following features:

  • Amp modeling based on Studio Devil’s patented technology
  • Dual-DSP powered hardware
  • Stereo 1024 point cabinet impulses with ability to upload 3rd party IRs
  • Effects including drive, modulation, delay, reverb, eq, gate
  • Dedicated, physical amp control knobs for tone adjustments
  • Various i/o options including ¼” Hi Z input with proprietary processing, separate stereo ¼” and XLR outputs and user programmable effects loop
  • 3 configurable footswitches
  • PC/Mac editor
  • 128 MIDI controllable presets
  • Field upgradeable firmware

Based on the above set of features, I had signed up for the reserve list. And it looks as though the invitations might finally be coming out over the next few weeks.

Digitech Trio


I came across the DigiTech Trio purely by chance. I was scanning some of the product news coming out of this year’s NAMM and I saw a YouTube demo by Jason Zerbin. Jason is part of a Canadian indie band called Zerbin. I love their website and their music. Definitely worth a look.

The Trio listens to your guitar and creates matching bass and drum parts. Jason’s video highlights how the pedal operates. Basically you press a footswitch to teach Trio the song part and then press it again to start playing with the drummer and bassist.

I’m not sure how well this pedal would work in a live situation. I don’t think the unit can store multiple songs for on-demand playback of backing tracks. However, for individual practice it looks like it would be a really dynamic tool for players.

1954 Black Beauty


From CNN:

The crusade to find a home for a sacred electric guitar is reverberating like a thundering encore through the music business as innovator Les Paul’s Black Beauty from the ’50s is going up for auction.

The Gibson-made instrument, called the Holy Grail of Guitars by some, is being sold by Tom Doyle, the late Paul’s longtime friend, engineer, co-inventor and guitar tech.

The story is being covered globally by the mainstream media. Guernsey’s auction house will present the guitar on February 19th at 7 p.m. at Arader Galleries on Madison Avenue. The guitar could sell for more than $2 million. We will find out in a few days time.

Lester William Polsfuss, widely known as Les Paul, was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar. He was also a pioneer in the use of many innovative recording techniques including overdubs, delays, phasers and multitracking.

Tom Doyle did a comprehensive review of Les Paul’s guitar on YouTube. He describes the Black Beauty as the guitar that started it all. The guitar left the Gibson factory in 1953 and Les Paul used it extensively for many years. Les Paul gave the guitar to Tom Doyle in 1976. And, I suppose, Tom believes it is now time to cash it in.

Jackson Soloist


A Jackson Custom Shop Limited Edition 30th Anniversary Soloist. Such a long, long name for a guitar. Perhaps we can just call it the pink guitar. Although not just any pink guitar. This is a master-built, limited-run guitar hand made by Mike Shannon.

The 30th Anniversary Soloist is made with a poplar body and a three-piece quartersawn through-body maple neck. It also features a compound-radius ebony fingerboard, EMG SA1 active single coils in the neck and middle positions and an EMG 81 active humbucker in the bridge. It looks like a great guitar although I’m not sure I would go with pink.

And why am I looking at Jackson guitars?

Well, it was this guy’s fault:


John Mayer was sitting in with Ed Sheeran at the Grammy Awards last night. And there he was, looking a bit like Buddy Holly, playing a pink Jackson guitar. I was so surprised that he was on a Jackson. Mayer tends to play Fender Stratocasters. Although Fender did purchase Jackson Guitars back in 2002. I think the Jackson Custom Select guitars are built in the same plant as the Fender Custom Shop guitars. Perhaps this was a way for Fender to get a bit of a promotion out to guys like me. You know, the ones who watch the Grammys to see what guitars are being used. Like Ed Sheeran’s guitar in the photo above. Was that a Crashocaster?

Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster


When it was first introduced in 1949, the ES-5 was meant for the Jazz player who needed a wider variety in pickup options, and the Switchmaster offered just that with a flick of the switch. The Switchmaster has volume and tone controls for each ’57 Classic humbucker, with an option to use all three pickups at once.

The retail list price for a new instrument runs about $6,000. In the 1950s, the original models sold for around $500.

Gary’s Classic Guitars has an original 1955 ES-5 Switchmaster up for sale at just under $14,000.

I suppose if I bought a new one now and held it for 55 years, it might be worth $170,000 if it compounds at the same rate as the original 1955 model. I wonder if Lorraine would consider such a purchase an investment? Probably not.

Gibson shares some history of the guitar here:

The Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster was truly a guitar ahead of its time. First introduced in 1949, the ES-5 Switchmaster was the first ES guitar to be fitted with three pickups, and was initially intended solely for jazz players. It was dubbed the “supreme electronic version” of Gibson”™s L-5 and offered a unique four-knob control circuitry that allowed players to manage pickup selection by adjusting the volume of each pickup, thus eliminating the pickup selector switch. Yet despite its pioneering circuitry and three-pickup layout, the ES-5 Switchmaster was not immediately embraced by jazz players while competing guitar manufacturers rushed to introduce their own similar models, including the Epiphone Zephyr Emperor of the early 1950s and the Fender Stratocaster in 1954.

Beat It

I was going through my iPhoto collection last night and I came across some interesting pictures and videos.

This one video I could not understand. We were closing out a rehearsal before an evening event. My son, who was 16 or 17 at the time was on bass.

And he started jamming on an MJ tune. Was it the hall? The balloons? What caused this bizarre behaviour?

What troubled me most is why I chose to encourage him by playing along. My amp never sounded the same after that song.

AdrenaLinn III

Roger Linn sent me an email yesterday. He has released the AdrenaLinn III. Hard to describe this little unit. The AdrenaLinn III is part guitar effects, amp simulator and drum machine all wrapped up into one box. Not the sturdiest device for a floor box but an interesting unit to have for studio work.

I can upgrade my existing AdrenaLinn II by switching out a few chips. More information about the AdrenaLinn III here.

AdrenaLinn III

G Sharp Diminished 7

There should be a law against the G sharp diminished 7 chord. I am playing acoustic guitar this coming Sunday. And I have to play that chord. Yuck. Other awkward fingerings for this chord can be found here.