Friday, January 29, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Jensen Jet Series

Jensen really needs no introduction of any kind, they walk the walk and have been doing so for quite some time now. Many of the first amps I fell in love with had Jensen speakers in them. No one can deny these people know what they're doing when it comes to loudspeakers and great tone. As the years go by and things change Jensen follows close beside, always on top of the changes in music, and always building innovative and special speaker models. One of these unique and amazing products Jensen has produced in the last couple years is the Jet Series, a collection of pure tone pushing speakers with a killer look that says "Here I am!" The one thing I love the most about the Jet Series is that Jensen decided to build some 10" models. I have always been a lover of 2x10 and 4x10 cabs and combos. There is a punch and definition you get from a 10" speaker that you won't hear in many other speakers. We will take a look a few of the Jet Series speakers, put them through their paces, and push them to the limit. Come along and ride with us the speakers won't bite.... or will they?

Jensen Speakers
Ce Distribution
Tempe, AZ

Jensen Jet Series



* Nominal Overall Diameter: 10 in
* Magnet Type: Alnico
* Magnet Weight: 29oz
* Voice Coil Winding: Aluminum
* Cone: Paper
* Basket: Pressed Sheet Steel
* Nominal Impedance: 8Ω
* Rated Power: 100 W


If you've never taken the time and performed a speaker mod on your amp you are missing out. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to enhance your sound and bring some life into your tone. All in all the guitar speaker is a huge part of your tone's end result, of course there are many more elements that make up one's overall tone, but with just a little investigating the right speaker choice will get you closer to that dream sound you've always wanted. A few month's back I swapped out two of my 4x10 Deville's stock speakers for two Jensen Blackbirds, I wanted to see just how much of a difference the speakers would make. Well, the difference was noticeable instantly! As is the Fender Deville is actually a really decent amplifier, you'd be surprised how many professionals choose this as their stage and studio amp. You can get the cleanest most beautiful guitar tones from this amplifier. With the Jensen Blackbirds the whole picture just got that much better. I'm the type of player that relies on overdrive pedals for his grit and distortion tones, which means I have to have the best sounding clean tone to get the best results. This means I have to have the correct balance between highs, mids, and lows. I noticed tight away that Blackbirds added this rich, punchy, and dynamic sound to my overall eq that gave my root tone a boost of character and articulation. The bass frequencies somehow jumped in size but didn't become muddy or overpowering. I was able to dial in much more bass from amp without the fear of drowning the rest of the tones underneath it. The highs were also a real treat to listen to out of these speakers. I got that bell-like tone from the highs but with a modern type clarity that created a perfect balance between the old and the new. Both clean and dirty tones rang out in a springy, sparkling howl which made my tone stand out beautifully. It is like having the best of both the vintage and modern feel all wrapped into one. The absolute magic in the sound of the speakers lay in the mids though. Many stock speakers get this area of the frequency spectrum wrong. Either they use speakers that dish out mids that are too sharp, or mids that clash with the lows. The midrange in a sound is a tone that has to be able to separate itself without getting lost or sounding weak. You want your mids to hit you in the gut and snap back with authority. Jensen's Blackbirds handed me this vibe and much more.

Before the Blackbirds landed in my 4x10 Deville we had them in a beautiful 2x10 cabinet. This gave us the chance to run the speakers through a bunch of different amp heads. We tried everything from low to high watt amps, and used a handful of different guitars, pedals, and guitar cables. Along with this we also tried a bunch of different microphones and mic techniques. One of our favorite combos of gear was an Orange Rockerverb 50 watt head (on loan to us from our good buddy Rich), a custom Tele, and couple of Bullet Cables. We started with the amp's clean channel, kept the treble at noon, bass at 1'o'clock, just a hint of reverb, and volume up to a nice practice level. The sound that came out of the cabinet shot out like a cannon, full of attitude, power, and clarity. The richness in the speakers delivery was enough to keep me stuck ringing out of beautiful jangly chords. Each guitar string came through evenly and full of sparkle. I went ahead and picked out a few big, fat harmonics and just like I expected they rang out wonderfully. While dialed into this great sounding clean tone I pulled out a few dirt boxes and put them through their paces. First I grabbed a typical 808 style overdriver and dialed it in to take the clean tone and push it into a healthy overdrive. First I knocked on a bunch of thick'n'meaty barre chords. The Blackbirds took to the overdrive pedal's grit like a kid to candy. There's point when a tone sounds so good that it is nearly impossible to get it to sound bad. Every setting I put the overdrive pedal in hung onto the speakers and created a huge sounding tone. It was time to put the speakers through some naturally overdriven tube-grit. I flipped the amp into it's dirty channel and started turning things up. I wanted to test the Blackbirds frequency range so I started with some intense eq settings. I rolled the treble back close to zero, mids at noon, lows close to 100%, gain at 75%, and volume at about 30%. Believe me, things got loud real quickly. The Jensen's were able to handle the huge amount of lows and lack of treble without creating an ugly, muddy tone. The Blackbirds were able to adapt to the setting just beautifully! I set the Tele in it's neck pickup, rolled off some of the guitar's tone, and BOOM! I was swimming in the most monstrous woman tone you could ever hear. Kicking in the lead pickup made things even sweeter. I created a mix between a Gilmore lead tone and Clapton rhythm sound, a stunning work of great speakers and amps. I also played my semi-hollow body and Strat through a 7/15 head. We pulled out some of our favorite fuzz pedals and put the speakers to the test. The first combo was a mighty silicon fuzz, semi-hollow body, and amp set in it's 7 watts. Cables were our trusty pair of coily Bullet Cables. I cranked the amp as loud as I could get it before it started getting dirty. Once I added in the fuzz things got very very interesting. The Blackbirds became creamy, boomy, and became loaded with gobs of sustain. It didn't matter how much or how little gain I threw at them, the articulation of the notes all came through full of character and definition. I had mic'd a few of the guitar tones and recorded them to hear how they were coming through for session purposes. I was stunned I didn't need to give them any compression and very little if any equalization. Through the 15 watt setting I plugged the Strat in and pulled a germanium fuzz box. It made no difference what I plugged into, the speakers did their magic and came through like champs. I got all the pop, spank, and bounce one would expect from a set of Strat single coils. The warmth of the germanium fuzz box worked wonders with the clarity of the Blackbirds. There are guitar speakers and then there are guitar SPEAKERS. The Jensen Blackbird 10's are definitely a professional grade speaker and work wonderful in all settings. Anyone looking for an upgrade or quick mod job would benefit highly from a pair of these badboys. As someone who gigs regularly the Blackbirds have given me a much tighter, brighter, stronger, and wider range set of tones. I don't see these speakers going anywhere for a long long time. Unless they wear out and them it will be time for more. Go black!


For more info on the Jensen Jet Series Blackbird's go to or You can also click the direct link in our sidebar. The Jensen website has a bunch of great info, audio demos, and speaker models to choose from. Analog War Cry will be taking a look at more of these awesome speakers in the near future so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Top Finds of 2009 / Guyatone Mighty Micro Series

Some of the absolute best sounding, easiest to use, and best bang for your buck stompboxes we came across last year were Guyatone's Mighty Micro Series effect pedals. This wide range of tuff as nails little guitar boxes absolutely blew us away with their huge sound and never ending capabilities. Guyatone has always been known for knocking out some of the world's best sounding and most interesting gear. With the Mighty Micro Series they have taken all of the skill, expertise, and experience they could muster to create one of the most interesting collection of stompboxes to ever hit the pedal scene. Analog War Cry had a chance to take a close look at each and every one of these little boxes. We dissected them, tweaked them beyond belief, and ran them till no end. In the end we were left with the most massive collection of guitar sounds you could ever imagine. Guyatone definitely thought of everything and left no stone unturned when they designed these pedals. We're gonna be sharing with you what ended up being our most favorite pedals of the entire bunch. We had a blast with each and every single one of these little demons. Here are a few we think you'll really enjoy, so dig in!

Clifton, NJ

Mighty Micro Series
Effect Pedals

* Cast aluminum "Stomp Guard" protects controls and settings
* Ultra bright status LED is easily visible on dark stages
* Mechanical true bypass switching via custom Guyatone switch
* Glow-in-the-dark washer offers improved visibility on dark stages
* Battery "Load Scope" allows user to see into battery compartment
* Additional controls with improved functionality provide greater tonal options
* Top mounted jacks save space on crowded pedalboards
* Lightweight, ultra-durable cast-aluminum chassis reduces noise level
* "Smart Screw"= less turns and stays connected to the battery lid
* Top-mounted, no-tools battery compartment allows battery change without removing pedal from pedalboard



This little monster was designed after the award-winning OD-2, offering the same intensity, feel, and tube-like grit. Only the ODm5 Overdrive is loaded with a wider amount of capabilities which makes it one of the most versatile little OD boxes to ever hit pedal world. The ODm5's knob layout is Level-Tone-Gain-Mode (switch)-and Input Attenuator. We ran the ODm5 through 7/15 watt head and 1x10 cabinet. We set the amp at 7 watts and dialed it in semi-clean. I set the ODm5's Level slightly higher than the amp's, set the Tone straight up, Gain at about 15%, Mode switch at 1., and rolled the Attenuator knob all the way up. The sound was a dead-smack, perfectly overdriven tube tone. Brushing down on the strings gave me a mellow semi-clean sound full of clarity and slight crunch. The harder I pushed the more grit I would get, and the more I dug in the longer the notes would hang in the air. I pushed the Gain up to about half way, rolled the Tone back to 3'o'clock, and switched the Mode switch to it's second position. Here the ODm5 produced a smooth, hairier overdrive which sounded really nice through blues and mellow rock. Taking the Gain knob up all the way produced a great all-out rhythm overdrive tone which stayed rich and creamy. This setting also worked great with the guitar's volume knob. I was easily able to get another handful of great sounding usable rock tones by rocking the volume back and fourth. To get a screaming lead tone out of the ODm5 I switched into the pedal's third Mode setting, took the Attenuator knob back half way, Tone up 75%, and rolled the Gain up full blast. All of a sudden this little 7 watt amp sounded like a massive 100 watt plexi. The sustain was thick'n'rich, and grit amount just an inch before distortion. I switched the amp into 15 watts got the perfect recording and small gig overdrive sound. Along with the handful of other amps and guitars we ran this pedal through we ended up with a pretty massive amount of dirt tones. With the pedal's three dirt modes, sensitive tone knob, and attenuation knob you can plug this pedal into whatever guitar or amp you want and surely end up with whatever tone you want. These Micro Mighty pedals also save on much needed pedalboard space which is always a big plus for anyone suffering from G.A.S. Check one of these pedals out, I promise you'll be surprisingly pleased.


Slow Volume

Anyone familiar with the unique and lovely sound of the Slow Volume effect knows that once mastered can be one of the most useful tools of all the different effects out there. Guyatone's SVm5 takes this all-time favorite effect even further and to the extreme. For a long time I was stuck to dialing in delay pedals, reverb units, and volume pedals in order to get this sound. The work that one has to put into perfecting the art of volume swells is not an easy one, I say this from experience. The SVm5 makes this a thing of past and puts it back where it belongs, into an authentic, great sounding slow volume pedal. The SVm5's control layout is Level-Threshold-Rising-Attenuator (switch)-and Release. You can get everything from violin sounds, eerie ghost howls, and subtle/intense volume swells. The SVm5 works great with other pedals, and sounds stunning through a big'n'bright clean tone. For this demo we used a Twin Reverb and Hagstrom semi-hollow body guitar. I set the amp to the most sparkling clean amp tone I could get from it and added in a nice helping of reverb. I set the SVm5's volume output at noon, set the Threshold between 11-12, Rising knob at noon, Attenuator at unity, and release at 3'o'clock. This produced a great sounding universal slow volume sound that worked great with everything. I picked out a handful of favorite chords and they bloomed out softly and beautifully. Single notes whispered out, rose then fell. I also added a bit of delay to make the effect hold a bit longer which sounded killer. The SVm5 also works great with overdrive and fuzz. I threw one of my favorite fuzz pedals before it and cerated these great synth-like sounds. There were a handful of other settings that sounded equally as good as this one did but the best way to get this pedal with you is by diving in and playing with the knobs. Everyone has a different touch, and once you master how to strum and set the pedal to your liking you will be in Slow Volume heaven. I was able to get extremely dramatic volume swells, subtle, and everything in between. This probably became my favorite of the Mighty Micro pedals, you don't know how long I have been on the hunt for a great sounding SV pedal. Go out and try to find and original Slow Gear and see where that lands you. You'll end up forking over close to half a grand or more. Of all the many similar effects I have had a chance to try this is by far one of the best sounding and most versatile.



The tremolo. It is one of the most useful and sweetest sounding effects of all the stompbox world. Having a good sounding, versatile tremolo unit on your pedalboard can not only provide you with a handful of great uses, but can also dish out some of classic rock's most memorable tones. I was able to take the Guyatone VTm5 from vintage to modern tones, and everything in between. Of all the tremolo pedals I have come across this past year this was by far one of most versatile. With all the features the VTm5 has on board finding the exact sound you're looking for is a cinch. The control layout is Level-Intensity-Speed-Wave Switch- and High Roll Off. Inside this pedal is also an Input Attenuator which is controlled by a -14db and 0db DIP switch. The attenuation option lets you adjust the correct input from the output level of different instruments. This means you can use the VTm5 with bass guitars, keyboards, and a handful of other gadgets. We went for a straight up vintage voiced, warm, and lush tremolo tone at first. For this demo we pulled out the Twin Reverb once again. I set the amp with it's Bass and Treble at 7, and pulled my Tele out and flipped it into it's neck humbucker. The tremolo was set with it's Intensity at noon, Speed between 1/2'o'clock, High Roll Off at 11'o'clock, Wave in it's triangle settings, and Level nice and loud to help push the amp a little bit. The result was a genuine vintage tube amp tremolo tone. The beating of the tremolo was smooth'n'lush, not too powerful, and just behind the amp's root tone. This setting worked great as a universal tremolo tone. Chords lightly rose and fell giving the overall feel just the right amount accent and character. Licks and bends also sounded absolutely beautiful. With a bit of overdrive mixed in to the sound I was in blues rock heaven. The sound of the Twin's bright/clear clean tone mixed with the VTm5's tremolo created a pretty cool sound, but now it was time to take this little pedal into more extreme settings. To get a sharp, cutting tremolo effect I had to do was turn the Intensity up a bit, and flip the Wave Switch to square wave. To give the sound a little extra bite I just set the High Roll Off knob back to about 9'o'clock. I started with the Speed at a slow setting and moved up from there. I was able to get perfectly mellow choppy sounds to insanely crazy helicopter sound effects. For a pedal this tiny the VTm5 will absolutely blow your mind. It was able to produce both classic and modern tremolo tones with absolute ease. This is a great tremolo unit for gigging or lugging around from spot to spot, and it's size will do your pedalboard right nice.


Sonic Shaper

Here we have a pedal that has become one of the most useful stompboxes we have ever come across. So what exactly is the Sonic Shaper? Well, Guyatone had produced a pedal called the EX-2 Exciter pedal that was only released across seas. The pedal was designed to take certain frequencies and bump them to create a finely tuned, spic'n'span guitar tone. The SSm5 takes this idea and pushes it even further. With the Sonic Shaper you can zone in on that one frequency that makes your tone magical, and enhance it to make the sound even greater. This helps your guitar stand out from the mix, helps you separate guitar from others, and makes dialing in the exact eq feel you're looking for an easy task. The control layout on this puppy is Level-Color-Shape-Color (switch)-and Input Attenuator. I dialed in a few of my favorite guitar tones, both clean and dirty, and tested them to see if I could make them better. We pretty much stuck to the Twin Reverb for testing all the Mighty Micro pedals. I broke out the Les Paul, tweaked the amp into a naturally overdriven dirt tone (which means things got loud), and rang out a few lick and chords. I payed close attention to what made the tone sound special and got to working in the SSm5. I matched the pedal's level out put to the amp's, rolled the Color until I found a spot I dug, and once I found a setting I was happy with I took the pedal's Shape to fine tune exactly what I needed. really the best way to jumped into this baby is to hear it for yourself. It's hard to explain what it does, but here I go. The pedal was able to take my favorite spot of the tone's character and brighten up by making it stand out but not actually boosting the level of it. It's a pretty cool effect pedal if you ask me. It's like the next level in EQ stompboxes. I gotta give it up to Guyatone for coming up with such a killer idea and making it such a useful tone tool, literally. Another awesome use for this pedal is puling out sounds from your other pedals that you have a hard time getting. Ever get close to that perfect overdrive tone? You have the right amount grit, right level, and perfect response. Only there's a spot on the tone knob that the pedal won't let you dial in. This is a nightmare. With the Sonic Shaper this is no longer an issue. I worked it into my favorite overdrive, fuzz, and distortion pedals. I was able to get an handful of other tones I didn't think were possible. The SSm5 is by far one of the coolest of all the Mighty Micros. If you get a chance to rock these pedals make sure you plug into this badboy, you'll be glad you did.



Every can use a good sounding compressor or sustainer in their setup. Not too long ago I was alien to the world of compression and left it up to friend's, engineers, and presets to get the sounds I wanted. All that came to an end when I finally had enough and just jumped in, educated myself, and got my feet wet. Now compression has become one of my favorite effects and is one of the key ingredients of my sound. The Guyatone STm5 absolutely blew my mind! Everyone knows that compression units can round up to be some of the most expensive of all stompboxes. I have played lots of vintage, boutique, modern, studio, and even DIY comp pedals. I think it's safe to say I have payed my dues and can separate the good sounding units from the not so good. The STm5 consists of a Level-Sustain-Attack-Color-and Input Attenuator. I was able to dial in spanky country tones, violin-like long sustain, and smooth overall great sounding compression effects. For the squashed comp tones we of course broke out the Tele and dialed in the Twin Reverb to a holy grail clean tone with lots of reverb and balance. I struck down on the few chickin' pickin' links I knew how to play and got an awesome sounding compression sound. With a bit of delay thrown into the mix things got even better. The notes all stayed tight, defined, and beautifully bright. Next I took one of my favorite OD pedals and dialed in a fat sounding overdrive tone. Alone the sound was already lush and spot-on. With the STm dialed at just the right setting I was able to take the sound and stretch it out into a lovely, balanced, singing sustain. With my fingers I would dig into fretboard, hold a note in mid air, and let it loose when I wanted. The further I pushed the overdrive sound the more intense the sustain became. I grabbed the Les Paul, plugged into a Super Lead, and dialed in the pedal for perfect balance between spank and sustain. I rolled out some of my favorite Santana licks and was stuck in rock and roll heaven. Compared to the many expensive and vintage compression units I have tried the STm5 definitely held it's own. Anyone looking for a great priced, great sounding, versatile and easy to use compressor will dig plugging into the Guyatone Stm5 compressor/sustainer. This makes for one of the best ways to achieve the sound you're looking for. Whether it be an all-out smashed compression or subtle universal sustain.


Micro Delay

I saved the best for last. Nothing beats a great sounding, versatile, and easy to use delay pedal. I was able to use this pedal at the end of my board, in my amp's FX Loop, and as a studio tool. In every application we used this little delay box in we were able to get awesome sounding delay tones. The delay is one of those effects that has to be used the in the right light in order to get a good sound. Getting a quick, professional delay tone from the MDm5 proved to be one of the easiest I've ever experienced. I was able to get similar delay tones from this pedal than I was from other more expensive, and bigger effect pedals. This goes to show all you need is a killer design to get you some awesome sounding delay. The MDm5's layout is actually pretty simple, and closer to a traditional layout than the rest of the pedals. From left to right you have a Level-Time-Repeat-Mode Switch-High Roll Off-and internal Input Attenuator DIP switch. We rocked out to this pedal with just about every guitar we had and plugged it into a handful of different wattage amps. The first sound we were able to get from this pedal was a universal delay sound that worked great with everything. I rolled the pedal's Level just underneath the amp's, Time at around noon, Repeats to about 3-4, Mode Switch to medium delay, and High Roll Off pretty sharp. We left the Input Attenuator at it's stock setting and went to work. This produced a perfect delay sound that worked great with chords, leads, and licks. The delay hung on just long enough to make itself known, and trailed off at the perfect moment to let the next lick or chords come through. We also dialed in one of the baddest sounding slapback delay tones we've ever heard. I took down some big fat country licks and listened as the delay quickly slapped the notes back and fourth. To make the sound a bit warmer and give it a more vintage tone I just rolled off some of the highs, and took the pedal's volume level back a bit to hide in the mix a bit more. Before we moved onto another setting I plugged the MDm5 Delay into a keyboard and got some really interesting sounds from it. Set correctly I was also able to get some mellow reverb tones from the MDm5. This gave me the idea to plug the pedal into a Rhodes keyboard and switch the delay into a longer, much more intense setting. Quickly I got some of the trippiest, most psychedelic delay tones I have ever heard. In no time at all I was able to go from mellow slapbacks, subtle delays, and all-out space madness. All through a handful of different instruments. Once you get your chance to try out the Mighty Micros make sure you get your hands on one of the MDm5's, you will quickly be drawn into it's wild collection of awesome delay tones. Again, this pedal makes for a great delay for the gigging cat, studio cat, and bedroom rocker. Like the rest of the pedals it saves much needed pedalboard space and looks killer. MDm5 baby!


Those were the few of our favorite of the Mighty Micro Series line. There are a bunch more equally cool sounding models you must try out for yourselves. For more info on the rest of the Mighty Micro line go to or There is a handful of great info and audio demos of all the pedals on both websites. We will stay close to Guyatone's future creations and make sure to bring you all their updates. Stay tunes ya'll.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Godlyke: Charity Raffle for Haitian Disaster


Our good friends at Godlyke Distribution are doing their part to help with the Hatian disaster by holding a charity raffle the next few weeks. Every dollar you donate will buy you a ticket for the chance to win a brand spanking new Hao Effects Omega Drive-16. There is no limit to the amount of tickets you can buy so make sure to give generously, our neighbors in Haiti desperately need the help. You can send your donations via Paypal to Please make sure to include "Relief Raffle" in the notes of your payment, and your name/address if they are not updated in your Paypal information. If you do not have Payal and would still like to support contact for assistance. The winner of the Omega Drive-16 will chosen on 2/07/10.

For more info go to or click the Godlyke logo in our sidebar or at the bottom of our website. You can also visit


Top Finds of 2009 / BMF Effects

Los Angeles as far back as I can remember has always been quite generous when it comes to supplying us with great guitar shops. It doesn't matter if you live down by the beach or up towards hollywood or downtown, LA has got it covered. It was in one of these shops that I first came across the BMF Effects line. Right there in my favorite shop's display case was a handful of simple looking guitar pedals I had never seen before. I looked over at the cat behind the counter as if to ask "How are these?" He gave me a nod as if to say "Oh yeah, very very nice." I pulled out the first BMF pedal, then the next, and so on and so fourth. One after the other they all blew me away. Then the shop clerk says "You ain't seen nothing yet, check out this prototype that BMF just sent us..." I took the pedal, grabbed a Custom Les Paul off the wall, plugged into a kickass amp, and let her rip. The most lovely rock distortion I could have ever dreamed of flew out from the amp and punctured my soul. I went home that day and emailed BMF Effects letting them know just how impressed I was with their gear. Later that night Scott Kiraly (builder/owner of BMF Effects) introduced himself and thanked me for my kind words. A few weeks later there's a package at my door, and what do you think that package was? That's right, the same magical distortion box that had knocked me on my ass back at the shop. Only now it was no longer a prototype, now that pedal had a name.

BMF Effects
Hermosa Beach, CA
Builder: Scott Kiraly
Years in the Game: 6

The Great Wide Open

This simple little stompbox is by far one of the most exciting effect pedals I have come across not just in the last year, but in my entire life. Looking at The Great Wide Open you wouldn't think there'd be much to it, or that it'd be capable of much at all. This is exactly what makes this guitar pedal so freakin' cool. The tones possible from this pedal will not only stun you, but turn your amplifier into a rich, harmonically charged raging box of grit and distortion. I don't know what kind of wizardry Scott Kiraly pulled to put together such a great sounding pedal, but whatever combination of components he did use they most cfertainly are the right ones. The Great Wide Open consists of a solo Volume knob, a true bypass footswitch, LED, and a heavy-duty enclosure sporting a killer looking yellow finish. "So how does this pedal work? ", you must be wondering. The Great Wide Open's single knob works by adding a beautifully balanced, thick'n'gritty rock distortion to your amp's root tone, all without eating away any it's natural character or feel. The eq projection all the way across the tone spectrum perfectly meshes together to create a full, even, and lush distortion sound. This eliminates the need for any bass, mids, or treble controls on this pedal which leaves all the tone shaping in your amp and guitar. The level of distortion that the Great Wide Open produces is fairly strong, living somewhere between a high overdrive and mid sized distortion tone. The pedal's sound can be used for both rhythm guitar or lead work, and can easily be manipulated by your guitar or other booster/dirt pedals. My favorite way to work this pedal was on it's own and using the guitar's volume to bring things down or blow them back up. All in all not one application we threw at this pedal sounded bad. It dug every pickup combo we played it through, and sounded swell with high, mid, and low watt amplifiers.

I happened to be doing some tone hunting for my band's next recording session when the Great Wide Open first arrived on our doorstep. If you only knew the mess of stompboxes, cables, and mic techniques that I was tangled in, it was like looking down on a sonic labyrinth. The gear created a maze made up of different colored dirt pedals, different styles and lengths of guitar cables, and every guitar we had. Everything leading to an amp in just about every room I thought would give me a good sound. If you've ever worked in the recording studio environment you know how much of a pain in the ass working out guitar tones can be. My partner says "Why don't we take a break and play around with this new pedal. It might even help us out with our little project here." I tell you, it was like one of those moments in rock & roll history that you hear about, where some killer piece of gear magically appears and saves the day. I took the Great Wide Open out of it's box and plugged it into the only amp still in the room, a '65 Deluxe Reverb reissue that was on loan to us from a good buddy. The first guitar to put the Great Wide Open through it's paces was a great sounding stock Les Paul Studio. The only thing besides the Great Wide Open, guitar, and Deluxe Reverb were a pair of coily Bullet Cables from Core One. I started with the guitar's rhythm pickup, plugged into the amp's Normal channel with everything set at 7, and dialed the Great Wide Open straight up the middle. I smashed down on a handful of huge sounding rock chords, and next thing you know an epic distortion sound came tumbling out of the speakers. I wanted to cry, literally wanted to weep like a little baby. The dirt tone had power, character, and most importantly a wonderful feel. The sound was spot-on exactly what I was looking for and hearing in my crazy head. The Les Paul and Deluxe Reverb alone already sounded pretty damn good. Without the pedal engaged I could easily get some naturally pushed thick/rich tube grit. Stepping down on the pedal in conjunction with the Les Paul and it's pickups was an entirely new beast though. The lows bellowed like ghosts, mids rang out like engines, and highs sliced through the air to let the distortion cut through clearly and evenly. It's as if Scott took a great sounding tube amp, dialed it in to the hottest sounding dirt tone he could think of, and somehow took it and shoved it into a little yellow box. Everything about the pedal's sound played and felt right, just like a overdriven vacuum tube. It doesn't end there though, there's more to the Great Wide Open than just a great sounding tone. The pedal has a character all it's own which separates it from other stompboxes. This is called a signature sound, something not easily achieved. This is a distortion pedal strictly for the tone purist, tone hunter, and tone hound. The more I played the better the sound got. I think it's safe to say this pedal works beautifully with humbuckers, I couldn't have gotten a bad sound if I tried. Another guitar that got to taste the Great Wide Open's fury was a Strat we had put together ourselves. For this we switched into the amplifier's other channel to have the option of using some reverb and vibrato. I dialed in a cleaner a tone, shaved off some treble, bumped up the bass, and flipped the reverb up to 3/4. I had the perfect signature blackface clean tone, a perfect starting point for a great sounding dirt box. Just like expected the sound of the Great Wide Open through the single coils was equally as exciting. All of the richness, chime, and bounce of the amp's natural sound, mixed in and blended with the pedal's distortion to create an explosion of rock and roll heaven. I was getting tones perfect for cutting through any mix, tones that bloomed with animation, and tones that made blues licks shake your spine and tickle your bones. The distortion had the same amount of grit'n'grime through the single coil as they did through humbuckers, only with an entirely different feel. I was able to play with the same intensity and attitude, only with a much more stinging and biting sound. I was getting this almost cocked wah color to the tone when playing up at the higher frets, maybe it's just the natural touch of my playing but I definitely heard it loud and clear. Even when playing softly and picking lightly the Great Wide Open delivers a strong amount grit. I was getting the same clarity I would have gotten from a clean tone only with a nice dose of overdrive and distortion. In the hour or so that had passed since I plugged in the Great Wide Open, I had more distortion tones than I needed to get started with our recording session. I mean it was all too easy, all I needed to do to get a good sound out of the pedal was turn it up. There was one sound in particular that really got my blood pumping, a sound that has become one of my main guitar tones. It wasn't a sound played through humbuckers or Strat single coils though... P90's was the starting point for this tone. It was by pure mistake that I came across this sound too, I had left certain things on when I went to step on the Great Wide Open. I had a A/B box that was switching In & Out two different amps. One amp being a Super Lead and the other being a dingy little Silvertone 1482 amp that we like to use in small closets and isolation cabs. The Silvertone has two channels, one labeled Microphone, the other Instruments. The amp's secret weapon and what gives it it's unique sound is it's cool sounding tremolo circuit. I went to step on the Great Wide Open when I heard what sounded like the most insane Robin Trower sound. At first I couldn't figure out what the hell was doing what, you have to remember I had a sea of gear laid out on the floor. The pedal's distortion along with the crushed sound of the little amp being in a iso-cab created this enormous sound. The tremolo from the amp pumped the Great Wide Open's furious sound in and out, making this monstrous breathing effects that sat perfectly through our monitors. I had the sound I wanted, and all it took was this one-knob little wonder. I can't imagine anyone not digging this pedal, not pros, bedroom rockers, or working players. It's just one of those pedals that creates a sound for everyone and every type of music. BMF Effects has landed way up on my favorite pedal companies of all time and it's all because of this little yellow box. Analog War Cry has more from this awesome company coming in the next few weeks so I suggest you keep an eye out and check out what we have coming up. Scott also has a new pedal in the works, a low to med gain overdriver called "El Jefe". We will make sure to try and bring some more news on this pedal and anything else BMF has in store. For now the name of the game is called the Great Wide Open, and oh what a tasty game it is.


For more info on BMF Effects go to There is a bunch of info on where you guys can find their pedals and audio/video demos as well. Analog War Cry does have a some more killer sounding features from this stunning pedal company in the near future so please stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Son of Bee

Next up to bat is new comer Stomp Under Foot, a top quality, hand built effects pedal company with some very interesting little boxes. If you haven't heard of this talented little one-man operation.... well then it's time you did. The designer and builder of the Stomp Under Foot collection is Matt Pasquerella. Like many of the cats out in the stompbox scene Matt also came to be from a love and passion for gear. Today there is so much information one can take from the world wide web that will help them learn how to build and modify musical gear. It is those few heart driven and imaginative builders that end with the talent to create memorable, usable, and great sounding products. Matt most definitely falls into that category of builder, and boy does he have a knack for the fuzz game. Some cats dig the grit, others modulation. Matt? He's all about the fuzz, fizzy, and furry.

Stomp Under Foot
Builder: Matt Pasquerella
Years in the Game: 4

Son of Bee
Fuzz Pedal

* Works great with both lead and chord work
* Massive amounts of rich sustain
* Huge variety of tones
* Extremely responsive/sensitive to the touch
* Runs of 9V battery or 9Vdc power adapter
* Heavy-duty enclosure
* Top quality components

* Level: Controls overall stompbox ouput
* Mids: Works to dial in/out amount of midrange bite
* Tone: Shapes frequency color of effect
* Gain: Controls fuzz amount. From gritty to massive


Stomp Under Foot, here we go baby! The name of the pedal is the Son of Bee, and the name of game is fuzz, fuzz , and more fuzz. The Son of Bee's ability to knock out a world of different fuzz tones is stunning. We sat and were able to dial in everything from classic/vintage fuzz sounds to modern, and everything in between. The mojo of this pedal lies from it's control layout. At first look the controls don't seem like anything all that special, that is until you dig in. From left to right you'll find Level - Mids - Tone - Gain. The amount of output from the Level control alone is enough to send your amp into a wild dance of grit'n'gravel. The Gain can take the pedal from an overdrive type fuzz to an all-out storm of sonic assaults. The Tone control on this pedal I found to be very usable. I've found tone controls on other fuzz boxes to only have one, two at the most usable tone settings. On the Son of Bee you'll discover that the entire range of the Tone knob is capable of delivering a great collection of sounds. The Mids knob, this little knob is where things really got interesting for me. The Mids work to further shape the fuzz's character into whatever animal you need. The combination of the Tone and Mids together is where you'll find fuzz beasts of this world or beyond.

The first order of business was to see how many different fuzz tones we could get from the Son of Bee. We set it up at it's lowest gain setting and went from there. We broke out the mini-humbuckers and Deville amp for this first demo. I thought the mini's along with a powerful fuzz box like the SOB would make for a great combo. I set the amp to a spanking clean, with a taste of reverb for a bit of ambiance, and started with the guitar's rhythm pickup. I dialed the Son of Bee's Gain knob all the way back, set the Tone just behind noon, Mids at about 3'o'clock, and matched the pedal's output to the amp's. I reached back, struck down on a E5 power chord, and man was I stoked at the sound that came tumbling from the amp. It lived somewhere between a rich'n'lush distortion and classic rock fuzz. It was a dead-on Pete Townshend Isle of Wight guitar sound. That honking, screaming guitar tone that he played through his SG was staring at me dead in the face. What a great place to start right? I took the guitar's volume back less than a quarter and there it was... the "Young Man Blues" rock tone. The sound was that of a gritty/rich overdrive, and fat/bloomy fuzz tone. Perfect for heavier rock blues and traditional classic rock sounds. I was also able to tame the fuzz into that subtle, dying battery overdrive type sound. To get back into a straight out fuzz sound or lead tone I just rolled the guitar volume all the way back up. That's a lot of tone from one setting if you ask me. I noticed something unique when I rolled the volume back though, something that really appealed to me. You get a mellower version of the fuzz you have dialed in, only none of it's aggression or attitude goes away. It's kind of hard to explain. You still feel all of the same intensity only without as much of rumble and growl. These are my favorite types of sounds, the one's you can't explain and feel riding in your gut. Next I took the pedal's Gain up to about a quarter of the way, set the Tone and Mids both at noon, and left the Level where it was. Quickly everything became much more intense, the bite, the character, the projection, everything. I got this rounded out, warm, and fizzy undertone from the fuzz that sounded great with chords and even better as I slid into the higher frets. With chords all of the strings came through evenly and clearly. I was able to from triads to more complex chords without loss of definition, a huge plus there. Lead runs, riffs, and licks all sounded tuff as nails. Shaking the notes into a wild vibrato pushed the fuzz even further into a more exciting vibe. All the soul and signature touch of my pick attack came through beautifully through the Son of Bee. I could easily take my fretting hand and control the dynamics of the sound by digging or lightly massaging the notes. From here I began experimenting with the different combos of Mids and Tone settings. Rolling the Mids off all the way with the Gain about half way up, and Tone at noon created these great Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and early Soundgarden tones. It was that cross between distortion and fuzz tone that many cats back in the "Grunge" (boy I hate that word) days were using. Again I could easily manipulate the fuzz into warm and crunchy overdrive by shaving off some guitar tone and volume. Just for the heck of it I threw in some delay, and a volume pedal for some extra fun. The Son of Bee combined with the other pedals created a beautiful swell effect full of sustain and violin-like character. I could literally hold on to the notes as long as I wanted by turning up the SOB's gain and digging into the strings with some nice vibrato. This is something I really dug, I love me some vibrato and would say I have a pretty powerful B.B. King type style. A great sounding fuzz and a strong vibrato can take you a long way. It was time to break out the Strat and 100 watt Super Lead, and here things got a bit dangerous. I cranked the Marshall up to a steady helping of natural tube grit, fed it the Son of Bee with all it's knobs at noon, and set the Strat in it's bridge pickup. A sound that Hendrix would have drooled over came booming out from the speakers. The combination of the natural tube grit and pedal's fuzz assault created a sound so big it had the walls shaking. Everything I played through this setup sounded epic. Dive bombs moaned like wounded tigers, string slides sliced the invincible air, bends pushed and pulled magic from the pickups, and chords sat perfectly in my soul pushing and driving me to play more and more. That is the true definition of Rock & Roll my friends. For an encore we went ahead and dime'd the pedal's Gain and Mids knobs, left the Tone at noon, and pushed the Level up to about 75%. Unless you have some decent soundproofing I would not suggest you attempt this. A sound so vile and enhancing was what the pedal created when turned to an extreme level. Even at this knarly setting the Son of Bee still help it's own and sounded off like a true professional piece of gear. I couldn't find anything negative to say about this pedal. It sounded stunning, covers lots of ground, it's easy to dial in, plays well with other pedals, sounds killer through all pickups, and let's you create sounds that will inspire you. If Stomp Under Foot continues to knock-out more tone tools like these I easily see them becoming one of the elite boutique companies of the world. I am super stoked to have had the chance to bring you guys this pedal and hope you take the time to check one out. There are some new boxes on the Stomp Under Foot horizon for those of you who are curious. Matt has just released two new pedals, the Halo Bender, and the Hellephant. We will stay in touch with Stomp Under Foot and try and bring you guys some reviews on these pedals and anything else in the coming future. For now I say do some investigating of your own and if you get a chance dip into the world of the Son of Bee.

For more info on Stomp Under Foot go to There are a bunch of killer pedals on the site with audio demos for you to drool over. Matt is always building killer deals and so make sure to check in with the site from time to time. We will be back with more news from Stomp Under Foot shortly. Thanks and keep rocking!

Top Finds of 2009 / Double Drive 3X

Tech 21 NYC. One of the heavyweights of our time and true innovators of the gear world. I will never forget the first time I had a chance to try the Tech 21 SansAmp. It was about 20 years ago while rocking out in a garage playing Metallica and Slayer covers. My friend had always used a SansAmp pedal as part of the massive sound he would get from his dingy little setup. It wasn't until I took a close look that I realized it wasn't just some ordinary distortion pedal. I took the SansAmp, plugged it in to my solid state Fender amp, then low and behold the heavens opened up. I couldn't believe I didn't have one of my own, and couldn't believe what sound was coming from my amp. Today Tech 21 continues their mission to create awesome product after awesome product. In the last few years alone Tech 21 has delivered some of the most spectacular gadgets to ever hit the gear scene, and I don't see them slowing down anytime soon. From their entire new line of guitar and bass pedals, to their amps, midi gear, cabs, and studio equipment. Tech 21 is on top of it, and taking it beyond.


Tech 21
New York, NY
Creator: Andrew Barta
Years in the Game: 21
Double Drive 3X
Programmable Overdrive/Distortion

* 3 Channel, fully programmable OD/Dist
* Captures Class A and Class A/B amp tones
* 100% Analog
* Use channels in any combo for limitless tone variations
* Features active 3-band EQ
* Capable of up to 10db of boost
* Input: 1megOhm high impedance/Same as tube amps
* Output: kOhm low impedance
* Drives long cables without loss of signal integrity
* LED is highly efficient and low power consuming
* Power: Standard 9V battery or Tech 21 #DC2 power adapter
* Power Consumption: Approx. 5ma


The Double Drive 3X can only be described in one way, and that is as an absolute monster of a tone machine. The build quality is top notch, it is extremely user friendly, and it sounds like a touch of amp heaven. After all, if there's one company that knows how to build a product that can get a great sound out of your amp it's Tech 21. Dialing in and programming your own sound with this pedal is as easy as turning the knobs to your liking, then if you really dig those settings you can keep them forever more. Ok so here's how the pedal works. The Double Drive 3X's controls from left to right are Drive A, Drive A/B, Bass, Mid, Treble, and Level. At the heart of this pedal you will find two different overdrive/distortion flavors, but there's more, a lot more! Along with the two different OD/Dist flavors that there are three footswitches which can be dialed in/programmed to your liking to give you three different custom tones from one pedal. The way you work the two different OD/Dist flavors is very easy. On the pedal you will find a Drive A which emulates Class A type amplifiers, and a Drive A/B which emulates Class A/B amps. Along with the Drive knobs there is also a traditional tone stack of Treble/Mids/Bass and a Level. Each knob's settting can be assigned to a footswitch by holding down the footswitch for a couple seconds. You can do this from switch to switch without worry of disturbing any of the different settings. The really cool thing about the Drive knobs is you can use them one at a time or blended to create a symphony of different dirt tones. Here's an example on how to run this badboy so you can get an idea: You can use the first footswitch with only Drive A to get a mild gritty rhythm tone. Then set the eq warm by rolling the Bass and Mids slightly higher than the Treble, and keep the Level knob at unity. Last hold down the switch and you're done with the first setting. Next move on to the second footswitch (middle switch) and use Drive A/B to get a more aggressive rhythm sound, something for chorus's and build ups. Take the eq stack and turn everything just part noon for a more biting tone, and set the Level a bit higher. Set it by holding down the switch again. Last you got your last footswitch and what will be the lead tone. Now you can take Drive A and Drive A/B to create an in your face, balls to the wall, screaming lead tone. Jump the Mids to a snarl, set the Treble at about 3'o'clock, Bass at noon, and Level knob to ride just above everything else. That's that, easy as pie. Here is another super awesome feature to this pedal. Once you have a tone programmed you can always get back to it by having the LED's guide your way. If you move a knob the LED assigned to that switch will start to blink. The further you get away from the programmed setting the slower the blinking gets, as you get closer to the programmed setting the blinking speeds up until you're back to your sound. If you decide you like what you changed simply hold down the switch and you have a new setting. You can do this with each knob all across the pedal.

We rocked the Double Drive 3X through two different amps and with two of our favorite guitars. I'll tell you, the first time I heard of this pedal I thought to myself, "It has to be too good to be true." Boy is it soooo good and soooo true. Both my partner and I were stunned and the capabilities of this pedal. The first week we had it we shot it out to one of our gigs and put it to the test....... It passed with flying colors. The first setup we used (which was the studio setup) was a Twin Reverb and Lady, my red custom Tele. Straight from the box it took no longer than a few minutes to dial in and program the exact tones I wanted. I went ahead and worked in a good universal grit tone, a strong OD/Dist rhythm tone, and a rockin lead sound. The first switch produced a beautifully warm and lush overdrive sound that worked great as an all around sound. The character and dynamics of the dirt were that of a slightly pushed tube amp. With all the crumbles and crunchy whispers. I banged out on some chords and the results were magnificent. Moving on to the next footswitch I dialed in a thicker and much dirtier overdrive sound. I took the Drive A/B to about noon, rolled the mids and bass past my amp's so that I'd get more accents in the notes. Left the Treble matched to the amp's, and rolled the Level up a bit to help push the amp's tubes a bit further into natural overdrive. Here I was able to knock out huge sounding, fat'n'creamy, hard rock tones. The articulation in the strings sounded wonderful, everything stayed string and defined, and it worked great when rolling off a bit of the guitar's volume knob. With the second switch setting I was able to actually get a few different sounds by manipulating the guitar's controls. Last but not least was the third switch and my howling lead tone. I started by setting the Drive A/B knob into a healthy mass of saturated grime, then pushed the Drive A knob through it to give it warmth and richness. In the end the lead was a perfect balance between overdrive and distortion. Again I was able to get back to more subtle drive tones by working the guitar's tone and volume knobs. I found the Double Drive 3X to work great with both of Lady's single coil and humbucker pickups. With the single coil pickup I got a great collection of blues, classic rock, and dirty country tones. The humbuckers obviously had more size to them, producing some hard classic rock, alternative, and even metal tones. Then there was all the in-between tones that were possible, an endless sea of grit and grime. The DD 3X is also a very touch responsive/sensitive effect pedal. You can take the attack of your pick and control how much rumble you want to come through. The next amp and guitar we used was the gear we rocked at the gig, a 15/7 watt amp and Junior copy. The settings I set up for the gig we played were pretty much the same only I did have to tweak them just a tad to compliment the room. Here's where this pedal's capabilities and magic came into play. Since I already had my settings programmed it was much easier to dial in the sound I needed. This makes for some quick and easy tone sculpting. In the live setup I was able to get a great subtle gritty tone, a n aggressive rhythm tone, and a scorching lead. I was able to keep every tone in check which helped with dynamics and level changes. The quality of the overdrive and distortion of the Double Drive 3X sounds brilliant, it sits in the mix nicely and works great with the other frequencies that jump around from other instruments. Tech 21 deserves an award for this stunning effect pedal and I hope to see more and more like these. The Double Drive 3X makes for the perfect gigging pedal, hands you a wide range of usable tones, and it's a great pedal for saving pedalboard space or cats that only use a few pedals on stage. Both professionals and everyday players can benefit from this stompbox. I am definitely going to stay in touch with the good people at Tech 21 and try to bring you guys some more unique, innovative, and great sounding tone tools. Keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for more, I'm sure Tech 21 has some treats in store for 2010.


For more info on Tech 21 NYC go to There is a huge collection of killer pedals on their site and for those of you who aren't aware Tech 21 has released a classic version of the original SansAmp. We'll be back!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / DenTone Bolthead Fuzz

DenTone Pedals

Some cats build effect pedals as a hobby, some for themselves and friends, and then there's cats like Dennis Menard who do it full force and straight from the soul. Dennis is the mastermind behind the Fuzz Box World websites and DenTone pedal line. I had been keeping a close eye on Dennis's work for about a good year or so when I said to myself, "That's it, I've gotta get my hands on some of these stompboxes". Every time I came across a new review of one of his pedals it was the same thing, either someone commented on the sound, build quality, or wide range of tones that were possible. Another source of information on the DenTone pedal line was Dennis's fuzzboxworld's Youtube channel. Every few weeks a new video demo of one of his creations would show up and blow my mind. You may have seen these demos for pedals such as the Ana Nicole Fuzz, Freaktone Fuzz, 900 Pound Violin, Alien Hate Fuzz, and Pamela Anderson Fuzz. Besides a stunning collection of original DenTone designs Dennis also delves into some of the past's most favored gems, like the Tone Bender Pro mkII, Burns Buzzaround, Marshall Supa Fuzz, Fuzz Face, and Sola Sound Tone Bender. If you're a pedal freak like myself a pedal company like DenTone is an absolute dream. Along with guitar pedals you'll also find cigar box guitars, cigar box guitar preamps, cigar box amps, and an array of stompbox DIY kits. When the tickle begins and has you running out looking for killer gear, the Fuzz Box World website and DenTone Pedals line are a perfect remedy for the itch.

DenTone Pedals
Barre, VT
Builder: Dennis Menard
Years in the Game: 5

Fuzz Pedal

* Silicon transistor design
* 1/4 inch Neutrik audio jacks
* EHX 3PDT blue footswitch
* Alpha 16mm potentiometer
* High grade tubular metalized polymer capacitors
* Low noise gain selected transistors
* Stranded and solid core pvc insulated wires
* Point to point
* Hard plastic 9V battery snap
* Heavy duty aluminum pointer knob
* Made in the USA on verboard
* Diecast aluminum bulletproof box
* Custom drawstring cloth storage bag


This pedal has been an absolute treat! For a long long time we had been super curious to put some of the DenTone pedals through their, now we got the chance. My dear readers I introduce to you the DenTone Pedals Bolthead Fuzz Pedal. This hand built, high quality, tone monster of a box was easily one of the baddest stompboxes to come through here in 09. The reason for this? It's insanely crazy good sound, killer live use ability, and simple layout/number of tones. Taking a close look at the Bolthead you'll notice there is nothing about it that doesn't scream boutique quality and class. The Bolthead is of the silicon species fuzz box, this helps give the pedal a cleaner, clearer, and more aggressive fuzz tone. The pedal uses only the best components possible and is all assembled by hand in the good ol' USA. The carefully and slickly spec'd out design of this pedal assures the fuzz sound will be loud'n'tasty. For a pedal with only one knob I was surprised to find how many different charactered fuzz sounds were possible. One of the ways this pedal is so versatile is how it works with different pickup models. Playing the Bolthead through a pair of buckers was totally different from the way it sounded through a stack of Strat single coils. Every guitar I ran the pedal through worked beautifully, and every level setting I dished out produced great quality, highly usable tones. All fuzz pedals have that one sweet spot we love to hunt down, that one sound that just shines from the your amp creating a invincible wave of soul and vision. The Bolthead is not this breed of fuzz box. You won't find just one sweet spot on this pedal, instead you'll come across many. I think this was Dennis's plan when he designed this one knob monster.

Our first goal with the Bolthead was to get some old school, screaming at gods, "lord have mercy" lead tones. In the description of the Bolthead on the Fuzz Box World website it says this pedal works wonders for live, high volume, lead work. We found this to be exactly this type of pedal. We set up a Super Lead with a flat eq, bridged the channels, and dialed it in slightly dirty. Oh momma mia! The sound that came blowing out of the amp was pure rock & roll heaven. What was before the amp's natural crunchy overdrive sound was now a razor sharp beast from beyond. It was like being thrown back in time, the notes all screaming and howling like psychedelic rock demons. If you dig the sounds of all the 60's and 70's greats (which I'm sure you do) you will dig this pedal to no end. I could easily take any string/note, shake it, and morph it into whatever deranged fuzz sound I wanted it to be. The sound of the fuzz from this pedal bleeds out just perfectly not ever becoming too brittle or over the top, and hanging in the air just long enough to let the next coming note, riff, or chord jolt the player into a rush of inspiration. What more could you want from a lead tone? This is exactly what I look for when bringing you guys these articles and exactly what I need as a player and performer. Nothing goes past a product that can produce the want to create. I turned up the Bolthead's single knob and things got louder, more extreme, and dead smack in your face. The stayed intact, not getting too harsh, and letting the dynamics of my playing come through evenly. Dennis's goal to create a pedal that could cut through any mix was definitely achieved with this badboy. A lot of the time I like to demo pedals while jamming with the band or with friends, especially when it's a fuzz box. The boys and I kicked into a meaty heavy blues jam and let the Bolthead do it's thing. The thick overdrive tone of the other guitar laid back in the mix while the Bolthead when to town pushing out a war of sound. You get this image of biting teeth when you play through this pedal, aggression like no other. But unlike other aggressive fuzz pedals that can become ugly when pushed into high levels, the Bolthead holds it's own. There is still beautiful quality to the timbre of the fuzz even when pushed, spanked, and played loud. I was even able to get some semi-clean notes out of this pedal by just brushing the pick along the strings. This is a sign of great work and great components. It is very clear how Dennis built this pedal to work. The one knob on board let's you work your hands and guitar around how the fuzz effect reacts. It's the way fuzz should work, as a tool to shape what's brewing in your mind. With the guitar's tone knob at full blast, which is how most cats play their guitars, the fuzz tone is full sparkling highs and brutal mids. To warm things up and get a rounder sound you just shave off some highs by using your guitar's tone knob. I was even able to get some badass 70's punk/alternative rock tones by rolling down the guitar's volume. What does this mean? This means this is the perfect fuzz pedal for live use, rhythm guitar tones, and gritty overdrive sounds. You can set the pedal for your lead tone, roll it back and play your rhythms, then when you're ready to howl just flip that volume knob to 100%. This first run I played the Bolthead through a Stratocaster, which as you just read sounded wonderful with it. Now it was time for some humbucker city madness, to see just powerful a sound I could get. I strapped on the semi-hollow body, switched into the Deville amp set to a sparkling clean, and let the pedal work it's magic. I started by strumming down on some pretty guitar chords, listening to all of the clarity and shimmer. Once I engaged the pedal I was stunned at how the it could transform a perfectly squeaky clean tone into a roaring wall of guitar string screams and wails. All of this without loss of the character in the clean tone. I could still hear my highs, mids, and bass without any drop in feel. To my ears the quality in the fuzz was just as wonderful as it was played through a overdriven sound. There was a difference there but the actual richness and clarity in the effect was the same. I kicked into some complex chord work which the pedal handled fine, and flying up and down the neck slamming down on blues licks created as violent a lead tone as Buddy Guy's. All the while the Bolthead kept it's sound in the right place of the mix. It is rare to come across a fuzz pedal that works so well with both chords and lead runs. Usually you get one or the other, and most of the time it's single note work that fuzz pedals like most. If you do get a fuzz box that's gonna cover a lot ground you're usually in for a box with a ton of knobs that you have to spend hours trying to figure out how to use. I think it's safe to say this is by far one of the best sounding, easiest to use, and most versatile fuzz boxes that has ever crossed my path. The gigging musician will absolutely love this pedal, the classic rock and hard rock guitarist will drool, and the punk/alternative cats will also have their day. Dennis Menard is by far one of the most talented cats I have ever come across, his wicked good imagination and delivery is something everyone will appreciate. I pray we get to put some more of his boxes through their paces, or any of his other cool tools. Those in need of a great gigging fuzz box will find gold in the Bolthead, I highly recommend it. Analog War Cry will now sit back patiently and wait to see what else Dennis's tripped out mind will come up with. Stay tuned for another DenTone fix.

For more info on DenTone Pedals or any of the Fuzz Box World websites check out the following website. - and for Dennis's Youtibe channel go to Click on our Youtube search engine at the bottom of our site for some killer DenTone pedal demos.