Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Killer Guitar Components

You want to see quality, class, and killer looks? Look no further my fellow gear junkies. For those of you not hip on them, let me introduce you to Killer Guitar Components. KGC specializes in the building of exquisitely high quality, top notch tremolo blocks. If you've ever heard the sound of a proper, cream of the crop Stratocaster. You know that a lot of it's golden tone comes from it's components, attention to detail, and overall build quality. Now, in today's gear market there are lots and lots of insane products claiming to do this, that, and everything under the sun to improve your sound. As players our guitar's sound is the first thing we pay attention to, and the one thing thing we spend most of our time trying to perfect. Like many of you I'm sure have done throughout your entire lives as musicians, I too have been on a hunt to seek out as many great guitar tones as possible. I've tried many different amps, pedals, pickups, guitars, speakers, components, and tons of so called magical electronics. When I took on the task to put together my own 60's style strat, the job turned out to be a lot tuffer than I thought it would be. Finding the right parts and components to get an authentic vintage Strat tone is definitely an art form not easily mastered. Then I swapped in one of KGC's tremolo blocks, and things started falling into place. It became the perfect starting point for mapping out the rest of the guitar's tone. It's funny, sometimes the things you least think will make a difference end up being the most important.

Killer Guitar Components
Gloucester, MA
Design Team: Rick & Sandy Peek

Tremolo Block
Customized for Vintage & Vintage Reissues

* Maximized Vibration and Sustain
* Less Harshness and Improved Tonality
* Dramatically Improved String to String Definition/Clarity
* Powerful Lows/Clearer Midrange/Detailed Highs
* Increased Sensitivity and Stability when Playing
* Detailed/Focused Note Projection
* Purer Intonation
* Mirror-Polished Finish


So here I am, absolutely stunned at how beautiful these tremolo blocks are. Never in a million years did I think such a random piece of gear would be so important, but here I am, and this has been one of the best moves I have ever made. The difference in my guitar's tone was instant! I noticed my clean tone was brighter, richer, and much more focused. As if I'd fine tuned a nice eq layer over my root tone. The guitar's lows became stronger and tighter, midrange sat smoothly in the mix, and highs became glassy and bell-like. My overdriven sounds also became a lot sweeter, with tons of bite and definition, and no muddiness or harsh corners. I've had good results from using brass parts on my guitars before, but never anything like this. Even when unplugged the guitar rang out with lots of character and power. You can literally feel the strength of the strings vibrating through the guitar's body. With most stock parts you get trem blocks made up of low quality pot/zinc or crappy molded steel. This causes a dead, flat, and not too exciting guitar sound. KGC on the other hand took it to the maximum when designing their trem blocks. To make sure their products produce the best sound possible they use the most musical brass alloy available. Through spectrum analysis KGC sonically tests all of the brass alloy used to build their tremolo blocks. The end result is brass alloy capable of filtering out undesirable harmonics and frequencies. You might hear some cats claim that things like this don't make much of a difference, but once you have a go at something built from high quality love I promise you'll never turn back to the norm.

For our KGC demo we broke out every amp and pedal we could muster, and a bone stock MIM Strat for comparing to. To keep things strictly on the trem block side of things we equipped both guitars with a set of boutique quality pickups. The first setup we rigged up was a 4x10 Deville, a handful of Core One Bullet Cables, and a A/B splitter with both guitars feeding into it. The amp was set straight up the middle, with the volume at about 4-5, and reverb 100% dry. First up to bat was the MIM Strat in it's bridge pickup, both tone and volume knobs all the way up. I rang out a handful of big chords, ran through some blues licks, and really dug into the strings as hard as I could. The sound was all there, good highs, nice mids, and beefy lows. Everything you would expect from a solid, nice sounding Strat. Then we switched into the KGC equipped Strat and did the same thing. I played the same chords and licks, and dug in to get an idea of what kind of natural grow I could get from the guitar. I was stunned at how much of a difference there was, this was the first time I had a chance to plug-in and play and it was beautiful. There wasn't just a change in the tonal quality, the sustain and resonance of the notes was also much more intense. Notes rang-out and held on to the wind as if they were equipped with hands. It was having a subtle amount of high quality compression on the sound, the kind you can barely notice is there until you start hammering away and notice everything sounds much nicer. I played out a handful of different position harmonics and also got some lovely results. Everything I played through the clean tone became clearer and more defined. I knew I was in for a real treat once a little overdrive was thrown into the mix. For the next test I pulled out a few different dirt boxes that ranged from boosters, overdrivers, distortions, and fuzz pedals. Again we started with the action with the MIM Strat, only this time flipping into the bridge pickup position. The pedal we kicked into the mix was a simple 15db clean booster, enough to send the amp into a subtle, natural overdrive. I rode the neck up and down, strumming here and there, and pulling off double stops along the way. The sound again was pretty damn sweet, nice and full with a healthy amount of under/overtones. Then it was the KGC guitar's turn and everything became much clearer, literally. Again my string projection was much tighter, even ,and more defined. The quality of the overdrive seemed to take on an entirely different light. The kind of difference in tone you get when you've mastered your guitar tracks and put all the finishing touched on them. Next I kicked in a bit more grit by plugging in the overdriver and putting down a strong attack unto the strings. I could feel my guitar shaking violently against my body and left hand. The string transfer you get from these trem blocks are like nothing I have ever experienced. The character of the KGC trem block's sound adapts itself to whatever you throw at it. Creating a root tone that works beautifully at any level, through any amp, and with any stompbox. I reached down and switched out the overdriver for a distortion pedal with a ton of gain and grit, set it to a howling lead tone and got to work. The air exploded with thick/rich harmonics, overtones, and undertones. Every little nuance in my playing came through sublimely! I rolled off a bit of the guitar's volume and noticed it was still full of sparkle and pop. Last I plugged in the loudest, baddest fuzz box I could find, and still I heard a positive difference in the sound. Even when I maxed out the fuzz's gain level I could hear the trem block doing it's thing. I could take my guitar's tone knob all the way back and still get a sweet'n'rich sound. We did this through a handful of other amps and got the same results with each one. It was damn near impossible to get a bad sound through the KGC tremolo block. I highly recommend anyone looking to upgrade their guitar start with one of these first. It make everything standout to the max, which makes even tuning and setting your guitar' intonation a spot-on job. To top everything off, make everything just that much sweeter. All of the cats at Killer Guitar Components provide some of the best customer service you will ever come across. I want to take this time to and say thanks to Kevin and everyone else at KGC for being so cool and taking the time to work with us on this. You guys gotta take the time to check out their website, they offer a bunch of different tremolo block models for different style guitars and appointments. Besides their own trem blocks KGC is also an authorized dealer of Graph Tech products, another awesome product make to enhance and give life to your strings. We're gonna stay close to all the progress and updates from our friends at KGC, and make sure to bring you guys all the info. AWC is diggin' on the KGC products big-time and hopes everyone else gets a chance to experience the same lovely results we had.


For more info on Killer Guitar Components products you can go to www.killerguitarcomponents.com or click the KGC logo in our sidebar for a direct link. We will try to bring you guys some more awesome features from this killer new company so make sure to stay tuned. Keep on rockin'!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a truly exiting, life changing experience..