Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Monthly Pick/Mod Amp Kits

What is it about gear that drives us musicians to hunt down whatever it takes to get our tones? Some of us are content with just going out and finding gear that is already built and packaged perfectly for us. Then there is that breed of player that takes it to the next level, the cat that builds his own gear, mods his own guitars, and experiments till the walls fall down. All of these cats started in the same place, tinkering and learning through trial and error. Mod Amp Kits has taken it upon themselves to provide for us build junkies some really cool sounding, really great project builds. Builds that are not only for learning and getting your feet wet. This is actually gear you can use, gig, and sessions with. I had a chance to throw together of their pedal kits. When I was done I blown away! I thought there was no way a build so simple could ever sound so good. I learned more than just putting together a pedal that day. These kits rock and have their own signature sound, a sound good enough to land on my pedalboard.

Mod Amp Kits
"The Rattler"
Effects Pedal Kit

Out of all the kits I have had the pleasure to put together this was by far one of my favorites, landing our October Monthly Pick is something The Rattler more than deserves and is a pedal I know you guys are going to love. I don't know if you cats have ever heard what an amp with sliced speakers sounds like, it is a trick that has been used in rock and blues for quite some time now. The blues cats from days gone by would do this to get overdriven tones from their amps. Players soon discovered that by doing this the were able to achieve a sound all it's own and by doing this they landed some killer signature tones. As a matter of fact the first song that was recognized as being rock and roll was recorded with a damaged speaker. The song is "Rocket 88" by Ike Turner and is credited as being on of the first songs to use distorion/fuzz. Pretty cool right? The sound is exactly what you would imagine it to be, a muffled, buzzy, bee-like distortion tone that makes for some wild fuzz tones when blended with a booster. I don't know if this was the idea behind The Rattler but going by the name I'm almost certain this was the plan. Either way they nailed this unique sound and took it even further. The pedal overall is a very simple design but can produce some huge sounds. If you've never built a pedal and are looking to get your hands dirty this is the perfect place to start. You'll end up with some knowledge in the game and awesome new tool to add to your arsenal. The directions are simple to follow, there aren't many components to get confused with, and the end result is something that will inspire you and push you to take it even further. There's nothing like the feeling of having just built your own piece of gear, the last year has been one of the most rewarding and this is all due to jumping into the experience of taking control of my gear. or even if you're just curious to see what goes into building a pedal this kit will be a blast. The kit comes neatly packaged, each component is labeled and numbered, the layout is old school point-to-point, and the overall pedal is of good quality parts. The pedal comes with chicken head knobs! I was stoked when I saw that, nothing looks cooler than an amp or pedal with chicken head knobs. From start to finish I was able to get through the entire build within an hour or so and had no problems whatsoever. If you take at the picture below of the guts you will see that it is pretty straight forward and not complicated looking at all. If this is your first time building a pedal kit might take you a little longer but as far as trouble goes I am 99% positive you won't have any problems with this kit. The control layout is simple, one overall volume control and one fuzz/effect knob. There are a handful of components, wires, a battery clip, 2 jacks, and 2 pots. This is pretty much all there is to it. Once we got it up and running we started out by plugging the Rattler into a clean amp tone with no other stompboxes in the chain. The sound is unlike any other overdriven tone you will ever hear, it's definitely part of the overdrive family but just barely falls short of being a fuzz tone. With both knobs set at noon we were able to get the perfect rhythm rock sound. All those killer early Rolling Stones, Beatles, Electric Prunes, Country Joe and the Fish, and awesome Velvet Uunderground sounds were possible with just a bit of fiddling and turning of the knobs. I'm telling you guys if you've had a chance to hear what a set of sliced up speakers sounds like you will be amazed at what this pedal can do. It's a sound that's a bit tuff to explain. If I had to try I would say it sounds like a combination of the Rolling Stones Satisfaction fuzz tone only much warmer, a dying battery, and a hint of natural tube grit. Sounds pretty cool doesn't it? I have a drawer full of old and almost dead batteries. I like to save these when we're experimenting with dirty tones in the studio. The Rattler has made doing this much much easier and is much more reliable. I could never drag along a bunch of old batteries to gig, if one of them gives that's the end of my pedal tone. With this pedal you don't have to worry about that and can actually fly between some mellow to extreme fuzz sounds. Combined with either a great dirty amp tone or booster/overdrive pedal you can hit everything from crunchy rhythm sounds to hardcore lead tones. One thing that does stand out is the crazy wah wah sounds I was able to get through this pedal. I'm not big on traditional settings and right/wrong pedal orders, or anything of that sort. I use what works for me and what sounds best to my ears. To be honest I have always enjoyed the sound of a wah last in chain compared to it right up front. That is what attracts me to the Rattler and why it works to great. It is all about being unpredictable with your music, this is what keeps things fresh, new, and, exciting. We are super stoked to see what else MOD Mod Amp Kits has in store for us. Keep your eyes and ears peeled cause I have a feeling there's more where this came from.

For more info on MOD/Mod Amp Kits you can go to Look our for more features from these cats in the near future. Rock rock rock rock rock and roll high school!

1 comment:

  1. I just blogged a step-by-step phot guide of building the Mod Amp Kits reverb pedal kit - see