Thursday, October 29, 2009

The One Knob Wonder

The clean booster, probably the most important stompbox behind the overdrive pedal. There are many out there and yet it seems like it's still the one pedal that is hard to pin down onto your pedalboard. When we're hunting for a clean booster we look for something that won't hide and blemish our key tone. This is the one pedal that needs to be on point or else everything after it will be affected, from your tone on down to your dirt boxes. Lizard Leg Effects is a name I have been hearing for a couple years now and a brand that seems to have sparked up some interest amongst the gear loving community. Lizard Leg Effects is the brain child of Steve Miller, he designs all the pedals, his wife Brandi handles the artwork, and their son John helps out around the shop making sure we get our pedals. It was time for AWC to get their hands on one of these pedals, put it to the test and report the outcome to the masses.

Lizard Leg Effects
Flying Dragon

* 9-18v DC Operation or 9v Battery Powered w/heavy duty ABS battery snaps
* Gold Plated Molex Battery Connections
* True Bypass
* 100% Noiseless Designs with Star Grounding
* Vishay/Sprague Orange Drop Caps
* 1% Vishay/Dale Metal Film Resistors
* Switchcraft or Neutrik Jacks
* Mil Spec'd Wire used exclusively
* Standard LED - UV Purple/other LED colors available
* Reverse Polarity Protection
* 4 Different Knobs to choose from
* 18-8 Stainless Steel Enclosure Screws
* Custom Labeled for each player
* 2 Year Guarantee
* Custom Configurations Available
* Hand Built in the USA

Now that is a list of features that screams quality, class, and customer service. These are pedals that are part of that elite group gear companies building us tone junkies the awesome gear we love so much. I have never been so entertained by such a simple pedal. One really cool thing that stood out to me was how these pedals are shipped. Other than the box it comes in you also get a velvet pouch to keep your pedal from scratches and dings, and to top it off you also get a little toy dragon, collect them all!!! The graphics are killer and the finish is just stunning, you can feel the quality in your hands. The Flying Dragon can be powered in a number of different ways, 1. By a 9v DC adapter, 2. By a 18v DC adapter, or 3. A good old 9v battery. Being that you have the 18 volt option gives you insanely good quality and headroom, which I think is a great idea for a clean booster. The sweeter you can keep your boosted tone the better your overall sound will fly out of your amp. It was time to plug the Dragon into our 15 watt little gem. We started with some clean tones and low volumes to see just how much the pedal could push the signal. Set the pedal's knob to about noon for unity gain, from noon on down the tone stayed perfectly intact and added that little bit of grunt that works great for blues and classic rock. Through single coil pickups it delivered a slight but powerful grit, definitely enough to solo with once engaged. Played through buckers the pedal handed over everything from a subtle dirt to an massive hairy drive. We pushed our 15 watt amp into a tone we have never been able to get out of it, it was beautiful! Lots of boosters once you max them out they tend to blanket your tone and start either jumping the EQ or stealing your root sound. This is honestly one of the only clean boosters I have ever played that kept my sound intact from the lowest to the highest settings. Even when using it to lower your tone it did it's job stunningly. We also plugged it into my modified 4x10 Deville, don't mean to brag but probably the best sounding Deville on the planet. I worked so hard to get the sound I wanted from this amp, from having the EQ reworked, making the volume roll easier, swapping out the speakers, and some other secrets I won't share just yet. I have always been a huge fan of 4x10 setups, I like the sound they produce much more than 4x12 any day. This was the true test, to see if the Flying Dragon could keep my sound pure and intact. I set it at noon/unity gain to see if it would change my root tone. It passed with flying colors, the tone stayed just as I set it. Next I rolled up the knob slowly listening along the way and boosting it until I maxed it out. From around 3'o'clock down you start to hear a sweet and rich natural overdrive, my amp loved and ate it up. It seemed to bring my pickups to life, every little touch was heard perfectly and all my licks clean and transparent. Next I set up my rhythm tone, my absolute baby. This is the sound I have worked the hardest to get, you all know what goes into dialing in a great dirty tone. I set the Flying Dragon just passed noon and got the greatest Neil Young tone I have ever heard come singing from my amp. You know that sound, that gritty, chunky sound Neil plays that sports that hint of clean in it. It was lovely! Every setting I dialed in and all the pedals I stacked up against it sounded great. This is easily one of the best pedals I have had the pleasure of playing this year. This isn't the only way to use a clean booster no sir. Stack it up with a single overdrive pedal and you can hit up to four different tones, let me explain. To keep things simple I pulled out a TS808 style pedal, set the Flying Dragon first then the overdrive. Here is a great way to save on pedalboard space. Tone number one is your root tone, unaffected, no pedals, no nothing. The next tone is your boosted root signal, slap on the Flying Dragon and you have your exact tone only louder. Next slap off the Dragon while stepping on your overdrive at the same time (not as hard at it seems). Last throw on your booster and you have a killer tone for soloing, and if you're a cat that rides his guitar's volume knob you can even get even more sounds. I was very very impressed with how well the Flying Dragon worked with other pedals, especially overdrive, distortion, and fuzz boxes. The boosted signal really brings other pedals to life and adds the perfect amount of harmonics and juice. A few days after having this pedal I had to write Steve to let him know how killer his pedal was, I haven't been impressed like this my a clean booster in a long long time. The work Steve put into this pedal can really be heard and felt from your amp. Other than using with guitars we also plugged it into some keyboards, bass guitars, lap steels (which worked wonders), some oscillators, and used it to boost weak overall weak signals from odd little toy instruments we have laying around and other cool gadgets. This simple design kept us busy for quite a while, a true keeper. I can only imagine what the rest of Steve line sounds like, he has definitely mastered the art of boosting signals.

For more info on Lizard Leg Effects and the rest of the line check out their website at Look for more to come from this killer company!



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Sound Worth a Thousand Words

One thing I'm extremely greatful for and have been blessed with is the ability to play music and the gift of picking up many different instruments, I play nine instruments to be exact. It all started with the violin when I just a pup, years later I would discover the discovered the guitar, the bass came next, drums followed, then the piano/keys, the harp snuck in, I hit the sax, a handful of different percussion instruments, and the most recent instruments to enter my life has been the lap steel. Learning how to play the lap steel actually came pretty naturally, not that I'm some pro but I can definitely hold my own and lay down some pretty cool stuff. This is one instrument I highly suggest you try and learn, especially for you studio rat cats. The lap steel produces some great soundscapes, layers up your tracks something beautiful, and is a blast to play. With all the killer effects and devices out there the possibilities are endless. I decided a few months ago that it was time to hunt down a decent sounding and playing lap steel, the one in our studio just wasn't cutting it anymore. I came across the Joe Morrel Lap Steels while surfing the web and let me just tell you, these are some serious sounding, affordable, and great playing lap steels. I went with one of their Pro Model 6-String models... The outcome has been a whole new world of sonic possibilities. Check it out.

Joe Morrell

Pro Model 6 String Lap Steel

When I think of a great sounding song there are a certain set of instruments that must be in the mix, a guitar, bass, drums, keys, and of course vocals. I like to call these the fab-5, the fundamentals of a great sounding track. These instruments are all fine and dandy have worked and will always continue to work for as long as good rock is around, but lately it seems more and more cats have been into learning and playing more unique, old style, and off-the-wall instruments. I must say it feels great when I go out to see a band play and notice that someone in the band is playing something outside of the fab-5. The lap steel isn't necessarily anything new to the music world, in fact it has been around since the late 1800's. This wonderful instrument has been providing beautiful tones for blues, rock, funk, country, and lots more styles of music for many many years. I have been blessed and am extremely greatful for the gift of playing music and the number of different instruments I can play. I'm at number nine right now and looking to throw in a tenth instrument by the end of the year. The newest to join the family has been the lap steel, a beautiful and simple instrument full of soul and sound. We have had the same old busted lap steel laying around the studio for quite some time now, something was telling us it was time to step up our game. When we finally did decide to up our game we went ahead and did some research, I am big on doing my homework and like to see what the masses have to say about gear before I go ahead and try it. Then I remembered someone had mentioed Joe Morrell lap steels while working a session. We landed on the Morrell Music website and were very very impressed with their line of killer lap steels. Their website is very informative and provides you with a handful of great demo videos. We went with the JM Pro Model 6 String Lap Steel, an absolute beast of a tone machine. The Morrell lap steel is made of a skillfully crafted maple body which gives it a rich and defined tone, you can literally feel the sound come flowing through your bones. Holding these instruments in your hand will let you know right off the bat they are quality all the way. There is a full 3 octave range fretboard for an endless run of licks, sounds, and experimental fun. The 3 octave fretboard will hand everything from low'n'chunky bluesy licks to high'n'screaming banshee madness. It sports a slotted peghead which gives it a classic look, and individual tuners that stay in tune and perform wonderfully. One tone knob and one volume knob control a single Kent Armstrong Hot Rail pickup, a single coil sized humbucking pickup with lots of balls and lots of heart. These pickups are perfect for this lap steel if you ask me, the range of tones you can get from this one pickup is amazing. They deliver every kind of tone from clean'n'crisp, dirty'n'gritty, and even some extreme high gain stuff. The 6 String Pro Model JM lap steel is hand crafted in east Tennessee, the "birthplace of country music". Straight from the box these badboys are ready to play, they are armed with a set of Joe Morrell JMLS-G Lap steel strings which really do it justice. The strings sounded perfect and really work great for us G tuning freaks. First up to bat was running the Morrell lap steel through a low watt amp, our little 15/7 watt head was perfect (we'll let you in on exactly what 15/7 watt amp we used in a later review). The tone and feel of the lap steel for some reason always sounds so damn good to me through low wattage amps. I hooked up a few of my favorite pedals and let her rip. At low volumes every little slide and lick comes through with ease and complete clarity, something about the maple used and design of this lap steel really brings out a sweet milky tone. As we cranked the amp things only got better, the notes flew out like violin-like chants. We added in the almighty Janglebox 2 for a bit of compression and boost, this leveled everything and accented the notes exactly as I wanted. It really is surprising just how responsive this Morrell lap steel is, for the price you can not beat this. Next up to bat was a blackface type amp with some vibrato goodness, the holy grail of all amps the '65 Twin. Being that the pickup could handle some higher gain levels worked perfectly with this amp. This is where this lap steel really stepped it up and impressed me. I have played many lap steels through loud amps and most of the time things for some reason always get too muddy or grimy. The 6 String Pro Model JM handled this amp with complete clarity and class. Every push and pass of the slide howled through the amp with strength and fullness. We couldn't truly say we had put this instrument through it's paces until we played it through what kind of guitar?.... Any guesses? That's right a Telecaster. My custom bucker in the neck Tele was perfect for the job. There is something about playing a great sounding lap steel through a Tele that just sounds freakin amazing! It's like they were made for each other. Now I'm gonna share a trick I learned from one of my old school musician buddy's with you. I have a friend who once told me to try the lap steel through a bass amp, mids cranked, lows and highs at noon, through a TS808 style pedal, and clean booster. We just happened to have all these things available right in the studio. One word..... WOW!!! You have to try this out, I promise you have never heard such a chunky, rich, and defined sound come from a lap steel. We were all stoked to have discovered these Joe Morrell lap steel and are really looking forward to seeing what their 8 string models have to offer. If you're looking for a great place to start and want something that will deliver some awesome playability and sound this is the way to go. The price is right, the quality is right, and the people are super cool. There a few other models you can choose from, different colors, and vibes. This Morrell lap steel has been the key to some of the killer sounds we've been getting for our band. Jump in and see what you can get.

For more info in these killer lap steels, demos, and much more go to We will be looking into reviewing some more of their models so please stay tunes for more cool gear from Morrell Music. Go on and dig it!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Got The Blues?... Good.

If you've been on top of your game the last few years you know that Canada has been responsible for delivering some of the coolest and best sounding pedals to be seen in a long time. The last few years has shown some great boutique, one-man, and even big-time gear companies, all coming at you from The True North. One of these awesome pedal companies that I've had the pleasure of getting to know is Goudie FX, a great quality, super service operation run by the hard working and always pleasant Russel Goudie. These are effects pedals that any seasoned and tone conscience player will appreciate. They are extremely well built, tuned for every style of rock, and capable of adding some life to any setup. For those about to rock I say "Get your hands on some of these."

Goudie FX
Blue Daddy

Product Features:
* True Bypass Switching
* 9V DC - Pin 2.1 mm Adapter Jack/Battery Clip
* 5mm Bright Blue LED
* 1% Metal Film Resistors
* Polyester Metal Film Caps
* Socketed IC/ to allow experimentaion
* PCB Securely Mounted Using PEM Standoffs
* Two Year Warranty

When you dig gear as much as I do and tone is something you live and die by there is nothing better than the discovery of a great pedal company. I'm not exactly sure just how long Goudie FX has been in the scene but if I were to go on the sound of their pedals I'd say they've been doing this for quite some time. Their pedals are built extremely well, sound wonderful, and perform on the professional level. The first Goudie design we had the pleasure to run through was the Blue Daddy, a mellow, natural sounding overdrive pedal with the characteristics of mild tube distortion. Goudie FX got the inspiration to build the Blue Daddy from one of the best overdrivers of all time and one of my personal favorites...the original Bluesbreaker. The Bluesbreaker was a pedal that was around in the early 1990's and was known for it's great low to mid overdrive tone. Goudie FX not only improved this pedal but out of it came a design all their own. The Blue Daddy pushes your tone just far enough to create some sweet break-up, that grit we hunt for when we're pushing our favorite tube amps. If I had to throw this pedal into a musical category I'd say it is the perfect pedal for Blues Rock, Classic Rock, and all around Rock Rock Rock. The Blue Daddy is hands down one of the best mild overdrive pedals I have ever come across. The sound is mellow enough to live in the blues sound and just dirty enough to produce some great chunky rhythm/lead tones. Right from the get-go you're able to get a great sounding, solid, usable tone. In just about every position was I able to dial in something I'd be proud to play with. Let's face it not all pedals produce tones that can actually be usable on records, stages, and sessions. I have plugged in many 'o' pedals that sound interesting coming out of an amp, but once you mix them with a band setting or mic them everything goes to hell. This is not so with the Blue Daddy, it's design was aimed at producing some of the most organic drive tones which gives this pedal the ability to be used live and in recording sessions. Some cats dig digital, amp modeled, and overly processed guitar tones, not I. Not that there aren't some great devices out there that are capable of creating some pretty interesting sounds. It's just that when it comes to getting my guitar tones, especially my rhythm overdriven tones I like to use the most natural tube or tube-like sound as possible. One great example of pulling a killer overdrive tone from a pedal is Stevie Ray's double Tubescreamer tone. Something about feeding one TS into another just sounds really freakin great, it hands you a thick and rich overdrive that screams rock and blues. I've never been a huge fan of the TS style stompbox, the midrange pump and throaty sound has never worked for me, use two though and it's a whole different story. The Blue Daddy can get you that killer open, transparent, and well balanced drive tone that some get by stacking drive pedals or get by running clean boosters to drive tube amps. You get an overdrive sound that works perfectly for both chords and lead runs, sounds great for gigging and session work. I noticed that even with the Blue Daddy's three knobs I was able to get a wide range of different sounds. By using different guitar pickups I got some great tones that worked great for layering rhythm guitar tracks. The pedal adapts wonderfully to humbuckers and single alike. My favorite I would have to say was definitely running it through a Stratocaster, I got some spot-on classic rock and blues tones and with a flip of the knobs was able to get some more modern blues/rock sounds. You really bring your Strat pups to life with this pedal especially your neck pickup, which we all know can be a tuff pickup to control and shape. So who is the driving force and creator behind these fantastic pedals? It is no other than the very talented Russell Goudie. Russell really went to town testing and putting this design through it's paces making sure that in the end he was going to deliver a great sounding and performing overdriver. With this pedal he has solved many of the issues that come with vintage ovedrivers, the problems of inconsistency and one-trick pony pedals that come from the past. Every one of his Blue Daddy's will deliver great sound and is capable of producing more than just one usuable sound. These are pedals that work great with many different guitars, situations, and styles of music. Like all the overdrive pedal that come through here I had to run it through my baby, my custom Tele and favorite gigging, recording, and all around guitar. The Blue Daddy more than handled the neck humbucker and custom bridge pickup I had built for it. Even when engaging the Rothwell CLK switch that installed for splitting and manipulating the humbucker did it deliver some killer tones. I was able to get everything from meaty bucker sounds to tight'n'springy Strat drive, and rich'n'full P90 grit to light country rock twang dirt. Try that with an old TS808, not gonna happen. I've officially labeled the Blue Daddy the TS Killer, something you have to experience for yourself, you will absolutely love it. I also did run a clean booster in front of this pedal to see how well it handled some more power. Some pedals can tend to loose their character, tones fall apart, and eq becomes all out of wack when boosters are thrown into the mix. Not here my friends, again the Blue Daddy stood it's ground and did what I expected it would do. I can only imagine what stacking two of these badboys would sound like, maybe I can get Russell to shoot another one down...hehehehe. Seasoned players and tone freaks alike will love this pedal. You cats that love to keep it close to the tube arena will dig it, and anyone for a true love of tone will appreciate it. This is one of those pedals that let's your hands do all the talking, that really brings out the style you've worked so hard to get, and tone that loves in your bones.

For more info on Goudie FX you can go to Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more info on these killer pedals. We are super stoked to have discovered Goudie FX and can't wait to report back with more of their awesome designs.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ted Weber/Visionary, Legend, and Artist

Ted Weber
Jan 31 1951 - Aug 14 2009

Ted Weber... We all the know the name, we all know the work, and we will all miss him dearly. If you play music or work in the music industry it's most likely you've played or used Weber gear. The first amp I ever modified (which was the first piece of gear I ever hot-rodded) I upgraded with a set of Ted Weber's speakers. I'll never forget how stoked I was when I flipped the switch and heard how much sweeter my amp sounded, and for those of you who aren't on top of things it doesn't end with just speakers. There's much more than speakers, Weber offers everything from attenuators, custom cabinets, and amp kits, to amp tech tools, impendance correctors, amp switchers, and custom amp covering/tolex. It doesn't end there either, there are many more great quality products. So what drives a man to take it to this level? Simple, love and passion for tone, music, and sound. Recently I had a chance to chat with Ted's son about his father and his work. He shared some great stories on his father, and some insight on the life Ted Weber lived working to bring us players the amazing tools that are now available. Let's take a moment to look into the life of a visionary, legend, and artist. Ladies and gents, the life and times of Ted Weber.

Ted it seemed was curious cat at even a very young age. At the age of 5 he wired a telephone into his treehouse. Around 6th-7th grade he put together a hover craft as a science project, made of a lawn mower and sled. By the time Ted reached his teens he had neighbors, friends, family members, and strangers bringing him broken radios, toasters, and many many other random electronics. He would repair these gadgets and most of the time happy to do it in exchange for a candy bar or soda pop. As the years went on Ted would pick up skills here and there, pick up different hobbies and learn new ones. Another thing many people don't know about Ted Weber is that he played in a bunch of psychedelic and experimental rock garage bands. Pretty cool right? They would play shows that consisted of everything from school dances to university campus's. The little bit of money made from these band adventures was used to fuel the may projects that Ted had laying around or dreamt up. After high school Ted would attend technical school in Louisville, KY and graduated first in his class. He even ended up getting the highest exam score in the entire school's history. He would then be questioned on his scores only to retake them and blow them away a second time. If there's one thing that's for sure it's that the electronic bug was burrowed deep inside this cat. Later Ted would enlist in the Air Force, where he would have his first encounter with tinkering with speaker systems, and probably where his love for speakers was born. He was primarily assigned to work on communication lines, he would learn the ropes and take everything he could from the rules of sound. One time while on base he installed a series of speakers so that the fellas would have music to listen to while still on base. In 1976 Ted finished his Air Force duties and moved him and his family back to the town of Kokomo Indiana, where he had once resided. Once home he would land a job at Delco Electronics, work many different within the outfit, and eventually land a position as manager of research labs. It was at this time that he also worked a handful of side projects and small family business's from his home. It must have been great to get his feet wet and taste the thrill of running a family biz. It was around this time Ted's sister would marry a cat who's family owned and ran a speaker business. By this time the business was already 3 generations old. Of course Ted would end up working for this company and and up once again putting his ideas to work in the research lab. He would begin to put together his first speaker designs around this time, working both in the lab and in his home. It's obvious just how much of a passion he must have had, and the reason why he ended up building such killer products. His first speaker designs would go to friends, local bands, and cats that would find out by word of mouth. Everyone who had a chance to put one of his speakers through it's paces was always amazed with the feel and sound they produced. Once Ted had his solid following he would ask his son TA to join him in Kokomo. At first TA didn't dig the idea of leaving sunny Hollywood, California. Once he got a taste of his father's passion and work he moved back to join him and start Weber Vintage Sound Technology. This was in 1996, it started small, slow, ruff, and tuff. There was no way Ted was going to quite now, not after all he'd put into his passion and work. The next few years would pass and it would be lots of work, more learning, and more awesome creations. Five years into the business the paychecks would come rolling in, they were on their way. I can only imagine how great that must have felt. We all have dreams and all have that one little bug that pokes at us and pushes us to keep moving. That's what Ted had in him and this is what kept him going. You can call it what you will but in the end it is the love for the game that brings about our best work. Whether we're musicians, painters, singers, design effects, or build speakers, it is the love for these passions that makes us what we are. Ted was and his gear is innovative, influential, and inspiring. There aren't many cats out there in the last few years who have taken their dreams this far, and who knows why. maybe it's the technology or the competition. We must take a person like Ted Weber and let him be some drive for us, let his work show us that hard work pays off. Being able to turn his talent from hobby to business was a thrill for Ted. Even after retiring Ted would answer every email and be of assistance to his customers. If you did business with Weber chances are you got one of those late night or early morning emails. Customer service was always a huge part of Ted's way, this is how he liked it and hwo he became so popular. Lord knows I always appreciate it when I get a reply from the owner, designer, or builder of a product I use. Up until his last days Ted was still dreaming up and stirring ideas in his head, he felt he wasn't ready and that he needed to show us these creations. "Ted my friend, wherever you are, don't sweat it brother you did more than your part to deliver to us players an awesome collection of gear and musical products." This is only the tip of the iceberg, it would take a lot more to tell Ted Weber's story. If I've been able to show you some of what this man did for us, and a bit on how he lived that rocks. You guys cab always check out the Weber website to get a deeper insight on all the killer gear that he has brought us. Keep on rocking and may we remember those who give us the tools to create our musical voices. Rest in Peace Ted Weber.

For more info on Weber Speakers go to or visit the direct link in our sidebar. Stay tuned for some great reviews of Weber Speakers to come in the near future. Keep on rockin!



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!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the Heavens to You

If I can say one thing that's for sure it is that my entire life as a musician has been one of learning, great experience, and more learning. Through trial and error I have found what works for me and what sounds best. Every once and when we come across those few pieces of gear that just sound and work great from the get-go. Whether it be some great sounding compressor you use in the studio, a dirty old little amp you use to record with, or that magic pair of pickups in your favorite guitar. This has always been the gear that has made our music special. Ken of Angeltone Electronics has taken it upon himself to build us some pickups that deliver some of the most unforgettable and immaculate tones from the golden era of rock, country, soul, and everything in between. Angeltone's pickups have been one of treasure finds for us here at Analog War Cry and as a musician has brought me some of the signature tones I have been seeking since day one. Out of an obsession and passion for great tone has Ken brought us these amazing musical tools. Because sometimes it takes more than just the love of sound to get the job done.

Angeltone Electronics
V Series
Model: 50b Pickup
Alnico III Flatpole Magnets
43 Gauge Plain Enamel Wire
Real Black Wax Potting
Original Spec Cloth Covered Hookup Wire

In order for a guitar to sound great it needs the 3 key ingredients, a good player, a sweet sounding amp to play it through, and a killer set of guitar pickups. It has been my experience that even the most flimsiest of guitars can sound great when equipped with some decent sounding pickups. Throw in a great set, a bit of skill and you're on your way to rocking in the free world. When I discovered Ken's Angeltone pickups I was in the middle of putting together a clone of a custom Tele I had lost. This was probably my all-time favorite guitar (being that I am a big-time Tele player) and putting together a clone of this guitar was proving to be one tuff task. His name was Black Dog, an all black Tele with a humbucker in the neck, single coil in the bridge, 5-way switch, and some sexy dings and scratches. Reproducing the sound of the neck pickup was easy, I had opened up Black Dog and discovered it was a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbucker, not too hard to find. I never learned what the single coil Tele pickup was, it had no markings of any kind other than what looked like some vintage specs. I had explained what kind of pickup I was interested in checking out when I spoke to Ken, he suggested his Broadcaster 50B lead pickup, I was game. The pickup came in the mail a few weeks later looking more beautiful than I had imagined it would. Something happened to my Tele that day, it came to life and took the shape I was going for. Yet there was something more in the sound, it felt more open and in your face. As I dug in and began to play with my tones, pedals, and volume settings I noticed how transparent the 50B pickup was. There were some great rhythm pickup characteristics in it and also a projection in the sound I don't come across very often. Building a great sounding Tele bridge pickup is something many cats have told me is not an easy task. I've been fortunate enough to play some very early Broadcasters/Telecasters, Ken nailed that early 50's tone spot-on and with absolute authenticity. From this one bridge pickup I am now able to get all the tones I got from my lost guitar, and at the same time some of my favorite rock, country, and funk guitar tones. Combined with a good sounding tube amp these pickups are a dream, they hold and release the notes like a true vintage guitar does. That warm yet slightly aggressive tone you can get form digging in to the strings, that sound that works great with any type of music. Played through a completely clean amp tone the sound is full, spanky, and fills the air just right. Almost like they've been hit with a hint of compression and eq. It really is something special to listen to. The response is instant and hits hard enough to dish out some great naturally sounding overdriven sounds. Lots of rhythm guitar parts I play in my band are played with my Tele. With a bit of tube amp grit I was able to get some of the most perfect sounding rhythm guitar tones. Adding in a booster or drive pedal made things even better! To every sound I needed for a gig all I had to do was lay back on the guitar's volume knob and that was that. For those of you who love your pedals and mostly use pedals to get your crunch you will absolutely love these pickups. There is great dymanics, depth, and attitude in these pickups, because of this each note is well balanced and comes across clearly. We all know how much it can suck when you dial in a great sounding dirty tone only to discover that the pickups you're using can't handle and deliver the sound they way you want it to. These pups won't disappoint. Next I went through some of my favorite fuzz boxes, there aren't many cats who are known for using fuzz with Tele's. This is kind of my thing and I've discovered mixing Tele pickups with fuzz can produce some insanely cool and original tones. Just like I expected the pickup sounded great through all the classic voiced fuzz boxes. But what really surprised me was how well it took to some of the more extreme fuzz pedals I have. This is where I saw just how great of a lead pickup the 50B really is. Imagine all those killer Jimi lead tones blended in with some of Jason Simon of Dead Meadow's tone, absolute psychedelic rock heaven. Last just to see how well they handled high distortion we went ahead and plugged it into the hot-rodded Marshall. Again it came through with flying colors. We all know how hard it is to get those sounds we love, those sounds we work so hard to get. When we're able to dial-in a tone that's been floating around in our heads it's like magic, like pulling something out of thin air. Every once and while we need a little help to get the job done and that's where cats like Ken and his fabulous Angeltone pickups come in to play. Everything you do and play as a musician lives and speaks through your tone, make sure you're speaking clearly and with the right voice.

For more info on Angeltone Electronic pickups go to or click the Angeltone logo in our links for direct access to their website. Look for more info and Angeltone features to come in the near future.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


My friend Tanaka of Ovaltone Handmade Effects Pedals has informed me that he will be reducing his pedal line and replacing the discontinued pedals with some new models. You can still get the MAGS (Marsh Additional Gain Stage) pedal, this is a very unique and awesome sounding pedal, check one out while you can. There is also one new pedal already in the horizon, the Terminus Overdrive. We will be doing a review of the Terminus Overdrive real soon so keep your eyes out for that. For more info on the Ovaltone pedal line change and to read up on exactly which pedals were discontinued go to for more info. We did a review of the White Tiger Overdrive very early in our reviews, you can find that review in the Feb posts. Stay tuned for more news on Ovaltone pedals.


Ah yes! It's one of my all-time favorites, Dwarfcraft Devices. Can I get a "Rock to the Roll"?! It seems Ben Hinz has been up to some mischievous pedal designing of his own. If you guys aren't up on these pedals get with it and try one out, any one of the designs will keep you busy for a long long time. Below is the Dwarfcraft Devices latest press release, enjoy!

:New "Hair of the Dog" pedal:

Dwarfcraft Devices is excited to announce the release of another radical pedal. Hair of the Dog is a bass heavy super fuzzy distortion suited for bass, guitar, and baritone! Includes a noise gate, as well as a "clean/low" blend, allowing undistorted low frequencies through to your amp. Turning down your instrument's volume allows you to create a nice overdrive, too!

Featuring four sticker designs by Tom Ryan and cool top mounted jacks. Check out the video for the full effect! (You can also use the Youtube Analog War Cry video search at the bottom of our site for more cool pedal videos).


* Fuzzy distortion made for deep voiced instruments

* Noise gate stops between note hissing, can also shorten decay

* Clean/low blend

* Printed Circuit Boards

* Rad art work

* Standard aluminum enclosure

* Pretty LEDs

* Price- $180


For those of you who have tried Evidence Audio cables you know how insanely great they sound. Analog War Cry recently had a chance to demo the Lyric HG instrument cable and Monorail patch cable, I must say we were highly impressed. The build quality is outstanding, the design solid, and most important the sound was crisp, full, perfectly balanced, and clean (no noise or hiss whatsoever). We will be writing an article on Evidence Audio and reviewing both the Lyric HG and Monorail cables later this month. For now here is an update on Evidence Audio's latest happenings.


San Juan Capistrano, California (October 1, 2009) – Evidence Audio, award-winning supplier of performance-based cable products to the Music Instrument and Studio market, introduces the Forte Instrument cable. The Forte offers a musician the best in flexibility, performance and reliability in one package. The Forte’s innovative design provides the quality of sound we are known for while maintaining the flexibility of common cables. One of the largest contributing factors to audio performance is the negative effect of conductor strand interaction. While the best way to eliminate strand interaction is to use solid-core conductors inside a cable, these conductors can reduce the overall flexibility of the cable. The Forte’s design greatly reduces the problems created by strand interaction. IGL-ECS™ conductors are used made from many individually insulated strands of high-purity copper to minimize electrical interaction, electromechanical modulation and skin-effect anomalies. The Forte additionally benefits from a semi-balanced geometry which avoids using the shield to carry the audio signal. The sound is powerful, dynamic and articulate, and ensures faithful transmission of your signal without coloration or dynamic compression. Designer Tony Farinella states “Where musicians demand the sound quality offered by Evidence Audio, without giving up the flexibility and feel they are accustomed to with traditional cables, the Forte is the logical solution.” The Forte is available in available from dealers prepared in 10, 15 and 20 foot lengths. A 10 foot Forte Cable has a United States MSRP of $105.00. The Forte is also available in custom lengths through authorized Evidence Audio Custom Shops. Photographs of The Forte for Print and Web can be found at:


My good buddies at Effectrode have also been busy and continuing to build some of the best effects available today. Here's some news for ya'll...

4 things you should know about Effectrode Audiophile Pedals

1. Effectrode now has a Facebook, make sure to stop by and check it out. Here's the link,
Do watch this space as they will be putting information on their new
Raytheon subminiature tube pedals, the ongoing hi-fidelity stereo Binson project, tips, tube data and other useful stuff. They hope that customers will also contribute and let them know their favorite settings, pictures of pedalboards, etc...

2. The discussion forum is also back after many months of downtime. I had been experiencing severe technical difficulties which are still being resolved, so let me know if it gives you any trouble.

3. Ed Oleszko of Queensbury is now using the Effectrode Tube-Vibe pedal! These
guys create powerful melodies and crushing riffs and are heading right to the top - fast! Check them out at:
"Thank you again for your support Ed"

4. "Recently I had an email from a customer who had concerns that Effectrode was going the same way as many other big companies out there, losing the personal touch and not looking after it's customers. This is just to let you guys know that I'm 100% committed to dealing with any technical questions or issues you may have, even if it's not specific to my pedals. Effectrode is not a huge corporation, it's me (Phil), my wife Sam and a small team of enthusiastic professional engineers and musicians (Matt, Ron and John) doing everything to build the best effects pedals possible. We take a lot of pride in our work which is built, tested and hand assembled in Oregon, USA. I'd also like to add that customer satisfaction is important to me and I stand by every pedal we build. So if anything is bugging you (about my pedals - I can't accept responsibility for climate change, politicians, etc) let me know and we can work to "iron out" any
issues. Again, I'd like to thank our customers for their continuous support of Effectrode, your enthusiasm, suggestions and feedback are essential to drive the development effort forward."



My good friend Andrew of Rothwell Audio Products has been one busy busy bee. Here is a little info on what's happening with Rothwell right now. Can you dig it?

Love Squeeze continues to wow British press:
The Love Squeeze has had another two great reviews in British guitar mags. Guitar Buyer said “...this is one of the most tonally transparent compressor pedals we have come across.” The full review can be seen here
and Guitarist said “... the Love Squeeze oozes quality tone” full review here
Analog War Cry is still waiting for their shot at putting this pedal through it's paces, stay patient kids we will have one soon.

Hellbenders back in stock soon
The Hellbender has become very popular and demand has outstripped supply in the last couple of months so apologies to anyone who has been waiting for one. However, the good news is that we expect to have Hellbenders available for shipping again within the next two weeks.

New Videos
Pro Guitar Shop has been busy making more videos.
Here are a couple which are useful because they show clearly how the Atomic Booster and F1 Booster do different jobs.

For more info on new dealers, products, and more news go to the Rothwell website, you can click the Rothwell direct link in our sidebar.