Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Octave Drone

If there's one pedal company that never ever disappoints and always comes through with innovative, great sounding pedals it's Seppuku FX. Rhys Gillespie, mastermind behind the Seppuku name, has been steadily producing some of the music world's most exciting effect pedals for the last couple years now. As new to the game as Rhys is he has certainly proved himself and his talents with his unique and inspiring designs. This is a builder who's visions and creativity flow effortlessly and naturally. I can only imagine the future holds more of the same for the Seppuku FX line. For those of you looking to take your sound into the dark and bright spaces of psychedelic rock and roll, these are the pedals for you. For those of you looking to open your minds with swirling colors of sonic vibrations, these are the pedals for you. For those of you looking for something other than the norm......... these are the pedals for you.


Seppuku FX
Melbourne, Australia
Builder/Designer: Rhys Gillespie
Years in the Game: 2

Octave Drone
Octave Fuzz Pedal

* True Bypass Circuit
* Heavy Duty Aluminum Enclosure
* 9V Center - Adapter
* High Quality Parts & Components
* Hand Built in Australia

* Volume: Controls preamp volume
* Input Gain: Controls effect amount
* Input Filter: Controls frequencies amplified by preamp

(These is the control layout for the first generation Octave Drone which is the model I have and which is pictured above. Newer model is pictured below.)


One would think from the sounds capable out of this pedal that the control layout would be much more complex. Rhys somehow figured out how to keep this pedal simple and user friendly, while able to do the magic that it does. On board you find exactly what is needed to get the job done, no more no less. The pair of knobs and single toggle switch of the Octave Drone deliver more variety than I've seen from much more expensive and multi-featured stompboxes. You can always count on me to be a huge fan of cats that know how to keep it simple while at the same time able to dish out tons of tone. The Octave Drone's layout goes like so; Input Filter, Input Gain, and Volume. The Input Filter control on this pedal is really quite special as it is capable of not only giving you control over the frequency flavor but also the effect's size and weight. The possibilities can go anywhere from fizzy, sharp, thin'n'brutal, to wide, gooey, thick'n'creamy. The Input Gain controls the pedal's overall effect amount and aggression. Here you can dial in low-gain gritty fuzz tones all the way to "Time to sell the house because we killed the neighbors with noise." fuzz. The Volume sets your overall output and has enough power to push your amp even further. In both octave settings the Octave Drone is capable of maintaining a tight and focused sounds, or wild and unpredictable madness. Chords, lead runs, double stops, and massive bends all sound fantastic through this pedal. The pedal works well with many different pickups, amp settings, and playing styles. You will find yourself able to pull classic and modern rock vibes from this pedal, and also create wild and furious experimental effects.

As a pedal fiend and gear junky I've always found myself drawn to the mystical sounds of the fuzz effect. Fuzz throughout rock and roll's history has always been able create memorable and timeless music. Fuzz isn't distortion and it isn't overdrive, it lives in a category all it's own while at the same time capable of delivering subtle hints of it's close cousins. I found the Octave Drone to be exactly this type of fuzz, a fuzz sound you can take into a world of it's own while at the same time able to scratch at hints of both distortion and overdrive. It is this type of fuzz box that always pulls the creative side out of us players, and keeps things exciting and fresh. I started the Octave Drone's demo through a JCM 800 Lead Series combo (one of the best amps of all time if I do say so myself) and a self-built 70's spec Stratocaster. I started with the amp's Normal channel with Vol, Treb, and Bass all at noon. The Octave Drone was set with it's Volume unity to the amp's, Input Gain back at 3'0'clock, and in it's Input Filter in the more subtle 1-Octave down setting. Without the pedal engaged the JCM's tone was thick, creamy, and swimming in thumping richness. Blended with the pedal the overall sound became even more splendid! I got a subtle but edgy octave fuzz effect that worked nicely with both rhythm, riffs, and lead work. Most exciting was the ring modulation sounds I got when playing double stops and unison bends. The higher the fret the more intense the ring mod sound became, and the more fuzz added to the signal the more possibility for off-the-wall tones. In lower fuzz settings a nice amount of the clean signal is still present, this makes for a super cool 50/50 (clean/dirty) tone. Rolling up the gain amount made things much heavier and changed the character of the overall sound. The fuzz's behavior also became much more interesting. The Octave Drone's sound swirled and morphed into a bunch of futuristic and psychedelic rock sounds. In it's 1-octave down setting I was able to produce everything from traditional classic rock fuzz tones to sharp'n'violent modern sound effects. Just when I thought things couldn't possibly get better I flipped the Input Filter switch into it's more intense setting and OH MOMMA! This wasn't my first rodeo as far as Rhys's effect pedals go, I knew there was to be more to this badass little box. In this setting the Octave Drone created some of the wildest fuzz tones I'd ever heard. Even at low Input Gain levels I was able to get brutal sounding fuzz tones. The pedal turned chords into thunderous walls of modulated soaked fuzz tones, leads into screeching futuristic howls, and sounds impossible to describe. I found the Octave Drone to be one of the most useful and user friendly extreme fuzz boxes to ever cross my path. This isn't one of those wild fuzz boxes that only produces one usable sound, with the puppy you'll find your sound taking all kinds of killer shapes. It is my mission to try and bring ya'll all the models Seppuku FX releases, and share with you the ins and outs of each pedal. Ever since my discovery of this little pedal company I have been highly impressed by the designs. Seppuku always keeps things exciting and is always willing to push the envelope to the fullest. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more from my good brother Rhys.


For more info on Seppuku FX go to or click the direct link in our sidebar. I recently discovered a couple new designs from Seppuku FX, the Mind Warp and Repeater. We will try our best to bring you both these pedals. See ya soon!

(Second generation Octave Drone model)

Top Finds of 2009 / R&M Tone Technology

"Dynamic tone innovators" is damn right! R&M Tone Technology is the one of the few gear companies today that is thinking outside box. You look around today and see just about every major gear company building or designing something that will take things to next level. To be honest most of these gadgets are down right ridiculous! With R&M they have not only found a way to take things to the next level, but also found a simple way for it to work for us. It was a few months back that the R&M name was first planted in my head. One of my buddy's had heard of a guitar cable capable of taking your tone and boosting it into a 808 type overdrive. "What a killer idea!" I thought. How had someone not thought about this before? The first info I found on the cable was a video demo that Guitar World Magazine had done, they were featuring it as one of their Gear Spotlight's. The curious bug in me got the best of me and I went ahead and contacted R&M Tone Tech, I had to try one of these cables for myself. The cable went far and beyond my expectations, taking my tone into one of the thickest and creamiest overdrive tones to come from my amp. This cable did this all on it's own straight from the guitar to the amp, no effects, no nothing. Talk about instant gratification.

R&M Tone Technology
Sandy, UT
Builder: Michael Harney
Years in the Game: 4

Power Wire
Effect Cable

* Embedded low-noise amplifier in cable
* TS09 style soft-clip distortion
* Overall 3db of gain
* Other gain options include 0db and 6db
* 20hz - 20Khz Bandwidth w/0.5db flatness across spectrum
* THD is less than 0.05%
* Solid-strain relief and long life batteries


I thought I'd seen it all. In all my time playing music, recording, gigging, going on the road, and hunting down gear, never have I seen a product like this one. The Power Wire from R&M Tone Technology takes the overdrive concept and directly injects it into to your sound via a guitar cable. This has to be one of the quickest and easiest tools for achieving dirt'n'grit you will ever find. The Power Wire is a 20, 30, or 40 foot long guitar cable sporting a low-noise internal amplifier which is capable of producing any number of different boosts. R&M offers cables with clean 3db boost, clean 6db boost, TS09 style distortion w/6db gain, and clean no boost cables. We got to try out one of the 20 ft TS09 style cables. We were able to get everything from mild distortion, smooth overdrive, mild overdrive, semi-clean tones, and clean guitar tones. The Power Wire works great with other dirt pedals such as boost, overdrive, distortion , and fuzz boxes. The Power Wire gives your existing sound an extra edge and pushes it further creating a wider range of usable guitar tones. The cable runs on two mini long lasting batteries which deliver a clean untainted boost. We tried the cable with handful of different amps and guitars, pickups and pedals. We were able to get great results from everything we plugged it into, and found it much easier to achieve different guitar tones on the fly.

We started out by plugging the Power Wire directly into the amp and guitar without any other effects. Guitar of choice was Lady, my beautiful custom Telecaster, and amplifier was my modified 4x10 Deville. I dialed the amp into a sparkling, spanking clean tone, with lots of bass, mids, and enough treble to really let things shine. First I knocked out some bluesy licks and classic rock chords, the cable added a beefy mass of great sounding overdrive that enhanced and gave life to the overall sound. I have played many different versions of the Tube Screamer pedal, from vintage boxes and hand wired versions, to reissues and modern takes of it. R&M's TS09 style Power Wire is by far one of the best reincarnations of the TS sound I have ever heard. All of the good qualities you're able to get from a sweet sounding TS I got from this cable and much more. With my pick attack and touch I was able to easily control the crunch and dirt output. Getting lush/thick dirt when digging hard and light semi-clean tones when holding back. For playing blues, funk, country, and other styles of music that rely heavy on feel and dynamics the Power Wire works beautifully. Adding a little natural tube grit from the amp and thickening up the sound with bass and mids really made for some rockin' good classic rock tones. By rolling my Telecaster's volume down and switching to the neck humbucker I was able to dial in some super sweet rhythm guitar tones. The grit still being present only laid back, subtle, and warm. Then by rolling things back up and switching into the Tele's bridge pickup I was able to get a heavier, and harder biting tone which made for a killer lead tone. This is the type of tool which is perfect for the seasoned player, those of us who flip our tones on the fly, and cats looking to beef up their sound without difficulty, time or space. Talk about saving space on your pedalboard. Here you can get your overdrive sound and control it from your guitar's volume knob all without an actual dirt box. Things get even more interesting once you start adding clean boosters and other overdrive circuits into the signal chain. I swapped the cable into a lower watt amp, 15 watts to be exact, and added a clean booster for further power and size. The 15 watter was rolled up to a nice/fat natural overdrive with plenty of bass, mids, and treble. One thing I must say about the Power Wire before I forget is that it takes beautifully to whatever eq you push through it. The cable doesn't eat or degrade any of the root tone's character, instead it blends with it creating a very desirable guitar tone. Along with the 15 watts of grit the Power Wire produced a smooth but aggressive overdrive sound, stunning for classic rock and vintage guitar tones. It reminded me of an overdriven Plexi sound only much quieter, perfect for recording if you ask me. Next I pushed everything with a beast of a clean booster and got some pretty awesome sounding distortion tones. The booster clung to Power Wire and amp's drive and handed the lows boom, gave the mids thickness, and highs brightness and clarity. It was really cool being able to get a badass sounding distortion tone without the need of an actual distortion pedal. With overdrive pedals, distortion pedals, and fuzz boxes I also got great results, always able to produce usable and epic guitar tones. My favorite tones though were definitely the ones I got from the cable, amp, and guitar alone. Another great use for this cable is using it to keep your signal smooth and strong when chaining up long cable runs, lots of pedals, and other situation that can harm your natural tone. R&M Tone Technology has definitely hit a home room with this creation. I highly suggest you cats get your hands on one of these rare and stunning guitar cables. The Power Wire makes for one splendid and useful tone tool, having one of these pups around the studio or stage will hand you handfuls of pro quality guitar tones. R&M offers this cable in a handful of different styles and also produces a tone enhancing stompbox known as the Super Sizzle. We will try and get our hands on some more gadgets from our friends at R&M and keep ya'll up to date on any happenings. You can do a search of this product in our Analog War Cry Youtube search engine to check out a demo of the pedal. Dig it!


For more info on R&M Tone Technology go to There's a bunch of cool info and audio demos on the website for you to check out. We will keep you guys up to date on more from R&M in the near future.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CE Distribution Presents: The 2010 Tempe Guitar Show

Our good buddies at CE Distribution present the 2010 Tempe Guitar Show. The show goes down Saturday April 10th from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Come get your fill of amps, guitars, effects, and much much more. Admission will be free! Make sure and come check out Tempe's largest guitar show and get your chance at landing that special piece of gear you've always dreamed of.


When: Saturday April 10

Where: 6221 South Maple Avenue, Tempe, AZ, 85283

Hours: Open to the public 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

What better way to start out spring time than to check out the Tempe Guitar Show!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Jam Pedals

This was a no brainer for us, we took one look at these pedals and knew these were going to be some of the most splendid stompboxes we'd ever come across. Whenever anyone puts this much creativity into their work it's bound to touch the heart and soul of the player. Besides the fact that these pedals look insanely cool riding your pedalboard, they sound equally as amazing and deliver a vintage tone unmatched by anything other than a handful of originals. JAM Pedals builds their analog works of art with the highest quality components available, using rare NOS chips, carbon comp resistors, and hand selected matched transistors. I'm the kind of cat that can easily be satisfied with a blank box as long as it sounds good. Throw the right components into an enclosure, close her up, and I'm ready to go. With the cats at JAM Pedals it is apparent there's more going than just building a great sounding stompbox. These are people that are crawling with artistic fever. The vibe, look, and sound of their pedals all point to one thing and one thing only... Rock & Roll! JAM Pedals; Avant-gard, retro, classy, and lovely musical tools. All wrapped into a sound that will bring your soul onto it's knees.

Jam Pedals
Handmade in Greece

Fuzz Phrase
Vintage Germanium Fuzz

* Controls: Level, Gain, Internal Bias Trimmer
* High quality components
* Power: 9V battery or 9VDC adapter (positive ground)
* True Bypass Switching
* Uses only 5mA of power when On
* Custom artwork available
* Point-to-Point version available
* Bass version available
* Lifetime warranty


I come across and am probably most addicted to the all mighty fuzz box. It is the sound that was captured on classic rock albums that first planted the love for the sound. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge in rock and roll knows that a good fuzz tone can go a long way. When JAM Pedals took on the task of creating their version of the famous Fuzz Face they sure as hell made it a point to capture it's character and soul, but there's more. The Fuzz Phrase is well capable of producing the tones of any great sounding original, and can also take the sound to create a special voice of it's own. The collection of rare and high quality components that go into building the Fuzz Phrase have a lot to do with it's overall vintage sound, but it is the heart of this pedal that gives it the sound and feel of an original. At the heart of this pedal lies the almost magical Mil-spec OC44 germanium transistor. Hand picked for gain and leakage this transistor can shape it's sound into some of the smoothest, grittiest, and even cleanest fuzz tones possible. On the Fuzz Phrase you will find Level and Gain controls for dialing in the overall volume and fuzz amount, but there's more. On the inside of the pedal is a Bias trimmer for a wider range of tones, flavors, and colors. With these three controls I found the Fuzz Phrase capable of more than some pedals with twice the amount of knobs. The sound of this pedal can go anywhere from brutal screams to light'n'fluffy grunts. Incorporating your guitar's volume knob into the equation also helps to capture the exact sound you're looking for and will help with those on-the-fly dynamic changes in live situations. Easily one of the best fuzz boxes I have ever plugged into.

We put the Fuzz Phrase through a handful of different amps and guitars, lots of different volume levels and gain settings, and stacked it with a bunch of pedals. Each time the pedal came through with flying colors. I found the Fuzz Phrase's character changed when played through different pickups, which was a big help for achieving the most tones possible. I first plugged the pedal into a 70's spec Strat and Twin Reverb. I set the amp to a med level so that I could easily control the sound's grit with my pick attack. The Fuzz Phrase's Level was set at unity with the amp and Gain set just passed 9'o'clock. The snap and bounce of the Strat's pickups came through beautifully while the pedal produced a light to medium fuzz that rose and fell as I dug in and held back. This made for great semi-clean and gritty overdriven fuzz tones, great for blues, classic rock, and everything in-between. The sound brought me a spot-on Hendrix tone, like Castles in the Sand, Ain't no Telling, and Little Wing. Opening up the pedal and playing with the Bias control gave me the ability to match and dial in the exact feel I wanted. This led me to plugging the Fuzz Phrase into a Super Lead and 4x12 cabinet. I tell you, I couldn't have dialed in a better Hendrix tone if I tried. Cranking the Super Lead to a slight overdrive and pushing it with the pedal's light fuzz created an even hotter classic rock tone. The Marshall was able to go from a crunchy tube overdrive to wailing smooth lead tone. I could literally feel the thickness and creamy sustain shaking in my fingers, as if it were coming directly from my hands. Again the internal Bias control took the sound even further, giving me an entirely new playing field to roll around in. I noticed the higher I'd set the Fuzz Phrase's Gain the more control I had over the sound's sustain, and where I'd set the Bias control would help with my pick attack style. This is something you won't find possible with many modern style fuzz boxes. These days fuzz pedals have taken it to such an extreme that it is literally impossible to grab a hold of the sound, or even play chords through it. This was not an issue with this pedal, in fact I found every type of chord sounded wonderful through this baby. Next I plugged the Fuzz Phrase into a Hagstrom semi-hollow body and Les Paul Studio, both guitars sporting duel humbuckers. First on the scene was the Hagstrom plugged into a 7/15 watt head and 1x12 cab. The amp was set at 7 watts cranked to a healthy crunch, and pedal dialed in to take the sound to the most extreme level possible. Here I set the Fuzz Phrase's Level higher than the amp's and Gain at around 2'o'clock. What came out of that little head was to be one of the biggest sounding rock tone's I'd ever heard. This ended up being one of those few tones we jot down and store in our "tone book" for a later day. Hey, you can never have too many guitar sounds when it comes to recording. Imagine a 100 watt Marshall pushed to the limit with a fat vintage fuzz tone thrown on top of it. This is what came from the little amp only at a lower volume. With the rhythm pickup I got a thick and velvety fuzz tone. Chords rang out evenly with each string perfectly in sync with the next, creating a balanced and defined sound. Single note runs sounded huge and became more interesting the higher the fret number. Depending on where you set the Bias control would land you some mellow octave up effects, a very very cool option. Through the lead pickup I got all of the same characteristics only with much more bite and intensity. I was able to get that beautiful warmth that semi-hollow bodies produce only with all the sting and aggression of the bridge pup. With this pedal setting alone I was able to get just about every tone needed simply by rolling off some of the guitar's tone and volume levels. I could roll down the guitar's volume and get a mild hairy fuzz, or shave off some tone to warm up the overall sound. With the Les Paul I got just as amazing results only with a tighter, meatier sound. Cranked up to 15 watts I dialed the amp up to 10 on every knob. First I pushed the amp with a light fuzz, setting the Fuzz Phrase's Level to unity and Gain at about 10%. I got a fluffy, airy overdrive type fuzz that worked nicely with everything and all styles of playing. The higher gain setting I dialed the pedal with it Level almost maxed and Gain at around 80%. Here the Fuzz Phrase took the 15 watts into buck wild frenzy of fuzz overtones and undertones. In the end it was all about one thing, authentic vintage fuzz tones. Everything about this pedal bleeds the classic and mystical feel of an old time favorite. This is a pedal that can take any guitar or amp and turn it into a classic rock warrior. There is not one pedal from this company that I found to be shy from immaculate. JAM Pedals has a talent and passion not easily attainable or found in today's boutique market. If you're looking for something truly special, with vintage sound, and immense feel. Turn to these cats, your setup will thank you for it.


For more info on JAM Pedals go to or click the direct link in our sidebar. JAM Pedals also offers amazing custom artwork on their pedals which you can check out on their website. They offer a handful of stunning effect pedals that will leave you drooling! Stay tuned for more from this awesome pedal company, we are not done in the least. More to come soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / The Dark Echo

Again I am super duper stoked to have the chance to bring you another brilliant and extremely talented effect pedal company. Jack Deville Electronics is one of those special companies with well rounded skills all the way across the board. These cats are great at coming up with great ideas which they in turn take to create their unique and super slick looking stompboxes. Of all the pedals I have had the chance to check out these are by far some of the hippest I have ever seen. Each pedal is built into a black heavy duty enclosure, with straight-to-the-point artwork, and no-frills controls and features. What more could one ask for? Along with a dynamite line of effect pedals the Jack Deville Electronics crew are also some of the coolest and nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. These have quickly become some of my favorite stompboxes. I'm positive these pedals will be amongst the few that will become the next batch of collectibles and timeless classics. Sometimes cats just know what the players want, like, and need.

Jack Deville Electronics
Portland, OR
Design Team: Jack Deville/Cameron Morgan
Years in the Game: 4

Dark Echo
Delay Pedal

* Vintage Voiced Digital Delay
* Analog Signal Path/Analog Support Circuitry
* 50ms - 450ms Delay Time
* True Bypass Switching
* Switchcraft Jacks
* Compact CNC Machined Enclosure
* Standard 9VDC Center - Adapter or 9V Battery
* Internal Output Level Trim / -2db to +6db

* Blend: Mixes in desired amount of delayed signal
* Repeats: Controls feedback of the echo circuit
* Time: Affects the time duration between repeats
* Sway: Modulates the time control via a triangle wave


I was able to use this pedal in both live and studio situations, able to work into other instruments other than guitar, and able to create everything from subtle delay sounds to spaced-out psychedelic echoes. The Dark Echo has one of the most intelligently designed control layouts I have ever come across. The controls go like so; Blend, Repeats, Time, Sway, and a internal Level control for dialing in the delay's overall volume. With this mellow collection of controls the Dark Echo is able to perform like a champion. The Blend, Repeats, and Time all do exactly what they say they do. It is the Sway knob and quality in the echoes that separate this delay unit from the rest. At lower Sway settings the modulation becomes faster but stays subtle and light. As you turn the Sway up to higher levels the modulation becomes slower but becomes more intense. Giving you a wide variety of chorusing, vibrato, and leslie effects right into your delay sound. This means you can add a light, almost non-existent chorus to your echoes, or a downright warbling, pitch shifting effect to your delay. Without much work at all I was able to dial in some pretty convincing tape echo delay sounds. I was also able to get a much easier, quicker, and more accurate delay setting with the Dark Echo than I was with a vintage Memory Man. For a pedal freak like myself that is a pretty bold statement. Let's take a closer look shall we?

To get the purest and cleanest delay sound from the Dark Echo I started out by plugging it into a Twin Reverb. I set the amp straight up the middle without any vibrato or verb. I left the Dark Echo's internal Level control as is, rolled the repeats back to a couple, set the time short, blend to a subtle mix, and left the sway at zero. The pedal's delay sound mixed in with the Telecaster and Twin Reverb blended to create one of the sweetest sounding slapback delay's I have ever heard. The echoes were just loud enough to be heard and trailed off perfectly without stacking up on on another or disturbing the next pair of notes. The warmth in the echoes produced a classic/vintage vibe, and being that this pedal also dishes out digital characteristics I was able to get the right mount of clarity and bite. Any country slangin' and chikin' pickin' riff swinger will absolutely dig the quality and sound of this pedal's delay. Next I dialed in mellow, medium length universal delay tone with a hint of chorusing. I wanted to dial in something that would work with everything and all styles of playing. I blended in the delay effect a bit stronger, rolled up the repeats to about 4-5, and set the sway control to about 15%. Every lick and chord run I played lit up and came to life. The Dark Echo's delays bloomed behind my playing which made everything sound much more interesting and colorful. This setting also worked great with a bit of overdrive and lead distortion thrown on top of it. I was easily able to make my lead runs much more epic by stomping on the Dark Echo and letting it do it's thing. Rolling up the Blend, Repeats, and internal Level control made for some killer in-your-face delay sounds. This is when I broke out my trusty volume pedal and began hitting some swells. The delay sound was so clear, warm, and crisp that it made for some beautiful and interesting sound effects. With the right touch I was able to create a spot-on lap steel tone. Adding in the pedal's Sway definitely made things even more interesting, and things got even better when I played the delay and volume pedal with my brass slide. The sound came out of the amp floated out into thin air and whispered something really beautiful. I was even able to get some pretty convincing violin sounds with the Dark Echo and volume pedal. Next I added in a fuzz box and set the delay sound to an extreme setting. I worked the Time to a med slow setting, Blend fairly strong, Time nice and slow, and Sway dead center. This setting reminding me of a vintage EHX MM delay tone. I was able to get all the trippy and psychedelic sounds I wanted but also able to maintain the warmth and clarity one would expect from a high quality delay unit. The fuzz tone adapted to the Dark Echo nicely, without overpowering my tone or becoming out of control. It really didn't matter what setting I dialed the Dark Echo to, everything sounded wonderful. The overall tone is a perfect combo between vintage warmth and modern clarity. With this pedal you get spot-on definition in your delays and that rugged feel that everyone loves from vintage units. Adding the Sway knob to any of your delay setting makes the playing fields endless, keeps things fresh, and gives it a sounds of it's own. I have seen lots of compact delay units in my time, many of them great sounding or with great features, but rarely is there one with both of these qualities. This pedal takes care of it all without the confusion of a 10 knob, 4 fotswitch delay unit. When it comes to delay I don't want something that's going to take me a year to figure out, nor do I want something that's going to bore me. This is where a pedal like the Dark Echo comes in handy.


For more info on Jack Deville Electronics go to There is a lot of cool info and lots of awesome pedals to check out from this killer company. We will try are best to keep'em coming and keep ya'll posted.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / OnoMATOpoeia

I knew from the second I first head of this company that the music world was going to be in for a real treat. For those of you not hip on Emma Electronic's pedals get out there and get your hands dirty, some of the best stompboxes you will ever play. These aren't pedals with just funny, catchy sounding names. Play any of the Emma pedals and you will quickly discover these boxes speak for themselves, producing rich, quality tones, and providing you with an endless amount of possibilities. I had a chance to try just about every one of the Emma pedals last year and was impressed by each and every one. Choosing a pedal to feature in our Top Finds was not easy, I must have gone back and fourth a dozen times. When the cloud of brilliant and massive tones cleared we were left with something we thought everyone would benefit from, an overdriver. But this isn't just any old overdriver pedal...

Emma Electronic
Aarhus, Denmark


* Level: Controls the output level of the pedal.
* Tone: Controls the overall clarity of the sound.
* Saturation: Capable of vintage/modern distortion tones.
* Gain: Controls the amount of drive.


The special qualities in this pedal lie in it's combination of unique controls. The controls may be labeled with everyday ordinary names, but I assure you they come with a bit of a surprise. The Onomatopoeia is built is a solid, heavy duty enclosure. It's simple artwork and design give it a sleek and cool look. From left to right the pedal's controls are Level, Tone, Saturation, and Gain. With these four controls the Onomatopoeia is capable of taking your amp from clean boost setting all the way to rich'n'thick, fully saturated distortion tones. The Level knob works to dial in the pedal's overall level, this knob alone has enough output to push your amp into a screaming, natural tube grit. When combined with the Gain control the Level knob becomes even more flexible. The Tone knob works to set the overall character of the pedal's sound, whether it be a clean or dirty setting. You will notice when rolling back the Tone knob into darker tone settings that you will not loose any of your sounds mojo. The Tone knob is sensitive to the slightest of touches and works great in all situations. Next we have the Saturation control which defines what your overdrive's vibe is going to sound like. It is well known that before the use of dirt boxes players would experiment with their amps by removing tubes to achieve their distortion tones. This is the purpose behind the Onomatopoeia's Saturation control. Turning the Saturation counter-clockwise produces a warmer, fluffier, vintage style drive. Turning it clockwise gets you a more modern sharper tone. Last we have the Gain knob, this controls the amount of dirt you want in your sound, it can go from clean to mean and everything in between. All of the pedal's controls work great together giving you a mountain of rock and roll tones.

We put the Onomatopoeia through two main settings, a classic bright'n'punchy American clean tone, and an overdriven British dirt tone. We tested the pedal behind and in front of other pedals, with different pickups, and different level settings. We started with a big/rich clean tone, dialing in lots of lows and mids, and just the right amount of treble. Once we had the setting we wanted we matched the pedal's output to the amp's and got to steppin'. I set the Tone right at the amp's sound, Saturation at noon, and Gain close to zero. Once engaged the pedal pushed the amp into a big/bright light overdrive. The sound had lots of clarity, a smooth layer of grit, and a beautiful attack. The lightest of picking would produce chiming, clean notes, and the harder I strummed the more intense the sound became. It was a great sounding blues tone, something like a spanky Texas SRV tone. To darken up the tone and give it a more classic rock feel I bumped the Level up a bit louder to help push the tubes, set the Tone just below 11'o'clock, Saturation at 9'o'clock, and Gain at noon. The Strat we had plugged in sounded wonderful with the Onomatopoeia. The overdrive had a medium level of aggression, and lots of bounce and warmth. Chords took well to this setting as well as single note runs and licks. From here we took it further, creating two extreme, and very cool sounding tones. First we maxed out the Gain, kicked the Tone knob back 10'o'clock, set the Saturation fully anti-clockwise, and Level at 3'o'clcok. This created a thunderous, classic rock lead tone. The combination of the Level control pushing the amp and maxed out Gain gave the amp a woofy, hairy, distortion sound. I was able to make the sound even warmer by rolling off some of the guitar's tone, and able to clean it up a tad by shaving off some volume. The next extreme setting we dialed in was a more modern tone. The pedal's Volume and Gain stayed the same, only we switched the Tone between 2-3'o'clock, and set the Saturation fully clockwise. The difference was uncanny, like we had two completely different stompboxes in front of us. This tone was meaner, edgier, and much sharper. The character of the distortion let me shake and manipulate notes into a bunch of wild shapes. This tone also made for a great lead tone and could easily be mellowed out by rolling down the guitar's volume. I was able to go from a warm, crunchy rhythm tone, to an all out screaming lead just by playing with the Strat's volume and tone. The Onomatopoeia proved to work wonders through a killer sounding clean tone. Definitely two thumbs up!

Now it was time for some already overdriven amp tones, tones with lots of grit'n'grime. We used two different amps and a couple different guitars. First setup was a Les Paul, 15 watt head, and a 2x10 cab. The amp was pushed as far as we could get it and pedal set the a blazing loud clean tone. We started with the Gain all the way down, both Tone and Saturation at noon, and Level close to 100%. The natural sound of the overdriven amp was beefy, warm, and thick. The Onomatopoeia was able to give the sound a bit more clarity, lots more hair, and a more defined tonal spectrum. This worked great for going from a rhythm's to lead's. Slowly we introduced the pedal's Gain control which gave the tone these great fuzzy, treble booster type sounds. At about 25% percent the Gain created at perfect blend of overdrive and distortion. The amp's natural grit was still very present and just behind you could hear the unique sound of the Onomatopoeia. Half way up the gain started creating these massive classic rock tones. Something that really impressed me was how well the pedal's drive would respond to playing no matter what level of gain I had coming out of it. Some pedals you get them loud and aggressive and there is no dynamics in the tone. With the Onomatopoeia the overdrive and distortion acts just like that of a tube amp's. Having the ability to change the character of the grit with the Saturation knob is a huge plus here. This means you get all the control over the dynamics you want and not have to be stuck to one sound. With this pedal you can use the same guitar to layer your guitar tracks, or use it for tons of different tones live. Dialing it in is quick and easy, there aren't a ton of knobs to worry about, and the quality of each sound is always right on point. Using this pedal with other boxes is also something you'll find comes in handy. You can use the Onomatopoeia to push other overdrivers, boosters, fuzz boxes, or add color to other effects. It never overpowers the root tone you have dialed in and can easily be controlled with just the lightest touch. Before we called it quits we broke out our Marshall and cranked it to some searing rock tones. First we set a nice, evenly balanced crunch tone, and used the pedal to push it further. The pedal worked just as nicely through our 100 watt badboy as it did through the rest of gear. I was able to dial in a dark'n'warm dirt tone and with the pedal push it into a bright'n'defined lead sound. Or I could do the opposite. The Onomatopoeia was capable of clean boosts, subtle overdrives, thick grit, lead tones, and everything in-between. The pedal can be used for modern or vintage style tones, which is always a plus. Then there's the magic is can work with both clean and dirty tones. All in all this ended up being one of the sweetest and most versatile overdrivers we've ever come across. I really hope you guys get a chance to explore this awesome company for yourselves, every one of their pedals kicks much ass. We will for sure be bringing you guys more from Emma in the near future so keep them eyes peeled.


For more info on Emma's cool line of pedals go to or visit our friends at Godlyke Distribution at Remember yo can always click the logos in the sidebar for direct links. We will work at bringing you more from Emma real soon so hang tight. Peace!!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / Way Huge Pork Loin

One of the coolest things to hit the pedal scene last year was the return of the Way Huge pedal line. Anyone who's hip on hip stompboxes knows the name of Way Huge and the man behind the plan, Mr. George Tripp. I had a chance to put the first three Way Huge pedal releases through their paces and was impressed by each and every one of them. I was able to pull a huge number of tones from all three pedals and found them to work beautifully through everything I ran them through. These new pedals are a great way for those who didn't have a chance to get their hands on the first run, and a perfect way to get inside the mind of electronics madman Mr. Tripp. Anyone looking to downsize their pedalboards while maintaining a wide variety of sounds would benefit highly from these pedals. Or if you're just looking to take your sound to the level, looking for something new and exciting, or are in need of a tonal facelift. The Way Huge pedals will hand over exactly what you're looking for. Hold on tight, we're going in.

Way Huge Electronics
Benicia, CA
Designer: George Tripp
Years in the Game: Plenty

Pork Loin
Soft Clip Injection

Top Controls
* Volume: Controls the pedal's overall output level
* Tone: LPF used to roll-off high end.
* Overdrive: Used to dial-in grit amount
* Clean: Blends in clean preamp signal
* Curve: Used to fine-tune overdrive's character

Internal Controls
* Filter: Adjusts the clean preamp tonal spectrum
* Presence: Tweaks the high-end on the overdrive
* Drive Mix: Controls the mix of the overdrive.


So there you have it, another genius control layout making up one of the baddest stompboxes to ever hit the stompbox world. It's definitely the tuffest purple stompbox I've ever come across. Again I was dumbfounded by the ability of another Way Huge pedal, dumbfounded and left out to dry. I felt as if the Pork Loin had taken my overdrive virginity, showing me overdrive tones I never knew I could hit. I must have ran this damn pedal through every amp and guitar imaginable and ended up highly impressed each time. The Pork Loin loved single coils and humbuckers the same, dug huge/fat clean settings, and thrived in over saturated drive tones. The Pork Loin's magic lies in the clean "british style" premp sound and smooth overdrive that it pushes into your root tone. The outcome is one of the richest, fattest, and most harmonic driven overdrive tones you will ever hear. On the pedal's face you'll find what may seem like not too special of a control layout, a Volume/Tone/and Overdrive. Then you look a little closer and realize there's more, like internal controls that consist of a Filter/Presence/and Drive Mix. Thhhhen you look even closer and realize the controls are not your typical run-of-the-mill control pedal features. How slick a man that George Tripp is, an absolute madman of the game. I had no problems pairing up the Pork Loin with other pedals, and even got great results using it through other instruments such as bass guitars, Rhodes keyboards, and lap steels. Oh what a good time I had, and absolute great time if you really want to know.

Live Situation
The first setup I plugged the Pork Loin into was my modified 4x10 Deville and beautiful custom Tele otherwise known as "Lady". I was to sit in with a buddy's band the day the pedal arrived and was told to bring a mellow setup, "There ain't much room on the stage we're goin to be playing on so make sure to keep it simple brother.", is what my friend said to me. I did need something loud, something capable of mucho tones, and most important a decent tone. What I ended up with that night was more than a decent tone. I figured I'd take the pedal along for the ride and test it out in a live situation first, whatever the outcome was up to fate. Other than the Pork Loin, the Deville, and Tele I also had a tuner, clean booster, vibe, and delay pedal. When I was dialing in my root tones for the night I set my amp like I always do for live setups, everything at 7, reverb at 2-3, and volume to fit the room. Then I kicked in the Way Huge pedal, I had no idea what to expect. I had faith in the pedal because of my prior experiences with the Fat Sandwich and Swollen Pickle. I started by cutting the pedal's volume all the way down then turning it up to match my root tone. I worked each of the pedal's knobs from the middle into the desired settings and went from there. In fact, with everything at noon I was able to get a killer tone! For my semi-dirty tones I ended up setting the pedal with it's Overdrive at 10'o'clock, Tone at 1'o'clock, Curve at noon, and Clean signal just passed noon. The internal settings were set at their stock position, getting to them was going to be tuff while playing a show. The sound ended up being a perfect blend between gritty and sparkling clean. The two sounds combined created something of a Kieth Richards meets a blackface amp tone, it worked wonders for my rhythm parts. I had all the clarity and sparkle I needed, and just the right amount of grit and grime thanks to the Pork Loin. All it took to get back to a semi-clean tone was rolling the guitar's volume back a bit. Once I had that setting marked off I moved onto the next setting, which was to be a more intense medium to high overdrive. For this setting I set the Pork Loin with it's Overdrive at 3'o'clock, Tone at noon, Curve at 2'o'clock, and with a hint of the Clean signal. The sound that came from the amp was that of a tube amp being pushed to the fullest. I had a ton of richness in the drive, the right amount of warmth so as not to come off too brittle, and a sweet balance of clarity and aggression. This ended up being the tone I used that night the most, I was able to take this setting back into a mellower grit, and push it further by using the clean booster in front of it. I switched back and fourth from humbucker to single coil throughout the night, getting these rumbling, thick overdrive tones when in the bucker, and banshee lead tones when in the Tele bridge pickup. All in all I would say it was a great night, with this one pedal I was able to handle all of the dirt tones I needed. What was even more impressive was that it was the first time I had ever used it. The Pork Loin was user friendly, provided a wide range of tones, and adapted to my picking and playing beautifully.

"A bunch of amps & guitars"
Back in the studio I was able to look deeper into the Pork Loin's capabilities, really get inside of it to see what made it tick. I was eager to hear how well it would work with lower watt amps, amps ranging from 7-22 watts. The Pork Loin handled the 4x10 Deville's output and character just wonderfully and I had a feeling it would do the same for the little amps. I took out the 7/15 watt head and 1x12 cab for this demo. The guitar of choice was my Hagstrom Viking 335 style semi-hollow body. The combination of the pedal's smooth, defined overdrive, with the guitar's warmth, and vintage voiced pickups made for some real champion guitar tones. The amp was set to a naturally tube driven overdrive, and guitar set in the neck pickup. Now here is where the Pork Loin really started working it's wonders. I dialed a subtle crunch out of the pedal but dialed in a bunch of the clean signal. The already overdriven amp being pushed by the subtle grit of the pedal and clean signal flowing into it all created a complex, wonderful color of tones. Up front you could hear a steady amount of grit and crunch, while just behind this was a bright'n'tight clean guitar tone. Everything I played through this tone sounded sweet, but it was chords that really sounded amazing. To darken up and make the sound more intense I just opened the pedal and added more of the Drive Mix, and throttled back on both the Filter and Presence controls. The internal controls really make it easy for matching the Pork Loin to whatever amp you're playing through. I switched the 7 watt setting for it's 15 watts and pushed some clean boost and higher gain sounds through it. To achieve a clean boost setting from the Pork Loin we matched the Tone knob to the amp's, Clean Signal 100%, Curve at noon, just a hint of Overdrive, Drive Mix rolled back, and all other internal knobs at noon. The pedal had more than enough juice to push the amp's tubes into a roaring, howling, natural overdrive. I was able to maintain my root tone's characteristic's with a booming thrust of British flavor. The overdrive had lots of high-end spank and definition. We rocked this setting through a Tele, Strat, Les Paul, and Junior, and all of the different pickups worked wonderfully through the Pork Loin. We also setup a Super Lead to a massive classic rock overdrive, turned it up nice and loud then fed it the Way Huge Pork Loin. For this I matched all of the controls to the amp's sound, and started with the Overdrive knob at zero. The pedal took the Super Lead from clean boosts, gritty overdrives, fuzzy overdrive tones, brown sounds, and woman tones. Way Huge absolutely hit a homerun with this pedal. The Pork Loin is capable of so much and through a little time spent with it you can really nail just about any rock tone imaginable. For those who dig the "Blackface" type amplifier the Pork Loin is perfect, it add a lush, howling British style sound to your overall tone that meshes to create something really special. The pedal sounded great through low watt amp, high watters, and even solid state amps. I am super excited to check out the next run of Way Huge pedals and you guys can be sure we will be bringing you all the tasty info as soon as possible. Keep it huge and stay tuned for more!


For more info on Way Huge products go to or click the direct link in our sidebar. You can also visit the Dunlop website at Keep your eyes peeled we have more coming soon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Top Finds of 2009 / BilT Guitars

There are a lot of cats playing their card at designing unique and interesting guitars these days. I can't remember ever coming across so many exciting and talented luthiers in all the time I've been a musician. The last couple years has been a wonderful explosion of original and innovative guitar designs. If you look you can find a guitar of just about every style and flavor, from vintage vibed to modern space age creations. For me there are a few things that have to come into play in order for me to be attracted to an instrument. 1. The instrument has to have a high level of playability. 2. Great tone. 3. It must have something all it's own. 4. Must have class. and 5. It has to be cooler than cool. Masterminds behind the BilT Guitars line Bill Henns and Tim Thelen have not only taken all these factors into play, but have gone far and wide into the realms of creativity to build what is now one of the most spectacular guitar designs to ever hit the music scene. Bilt offers one model with a more traditional vibe to it, a classic style guitar with great looks and great quality. The other guitar is something really special though, a guitar with on board effects consisting of a analog delay and fuzz circuit. With cats stacking their boards with endless amount of pedals these days what better tool to have than a guitar capable of dishing out some killer effects. The Bilt guitars are guitars fit for the everyday player, the professional, and the experimentation freak. Vintage freaks and modern cats alike will find an ultimate level of satisfaction from these amazing instruments, and find themselves swimming in a sea of stunning possibilities. Analog War Cry gives Bilt Guitars two thumbs up, a solid 5 stars, and all the props in the world.... with a cherry on top!

BilT Guitars
Des Moines, IA
Crew: Bill Henss & Tim Thelen



What She's Made Of

* Neck: Hard Maple w/bound rosewood fingerboard. A 7 1/4 to 91/2 inch compound radius. Kluson tuners. Bone nut. A 2-way truss rod with slot head heel adjustment.

* Body: Alder in custom colors with the standard range of pickguard options.

* Hardware: The Mastery Bridge!! A modified USA Jazzmaster style tremolo.

* Pickups: Seymour Duncan Antiquities, Jazzmaster bridge/neck, Jaguar middle. Open to custom combos and variations.

* Color Options: Lake Placid Blue, Sonic Blue, Dakota Red, Olympic White, 3-Tone Burst, Ice Blue Metallic, Sherwood Green, Seafoam Green, Black. Open to color suggestions.


Controls & Onboard Effects

* 3-Position Toggle Switch
* Master Volume
* Master Tone
* Input Jack: Cuts Power to Effects when Unplugged
* Neck Preset Circuit: Preset Volume/Preset Tone

Fuzz Circuit
* On/Off Power Switch
* On/Off Oscillate Switch
* Fuzz Drive

Analog Delay
* On/Off Power Switch
* On/Off Modulation Switch
* Feedback Knob
* Mix Knob
* Delay Time Knob


I don't even know where to start, everything about this guitar left me with my jaw on the floor. T
he entire build design from headstock to bottom strap button is absolute eye candy. The Relevator plays like a dream, sounds stunning, and it's looks are cool as ice. Just holding the guitar in your hands you'll notice it's a top quality, remarkable instrument. The neck shape is a perfect blend between the best of both the vintage and modern worlds. I was able to get around the frets comfortably, never found my hand cramping, and didn't have a problem with fretting out. The beauty of the neck's design is topped off with cream/white binding and lovely rosewood fretboard that gives it an elegant vibe. The alder body feels perfectly balanced and is carved with both arm and tummy cuts. The body is fitted with the highest quality hardware and sports an array different controls which give the Relevator an enormously wide range of sounds and possibilities. The Relevator we got to demo came equipped with Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups, Jazzmaster style pickups for the neck/bridge, and Jaguar style pickup middle. The guitar's bridge consists of the super cool and dead-on accurate Mastery Bridge, if you guys aren't hip on these do some homework, you'll be glad you did. The pop-in tremolo arm makes for a user friendly feature and also works and feels great. There are master Tone and Volume knobs, 3-way toggle switch, and pickup slider selector which lets you choose every pickup combo imaginable. There is also a Neck Preset Circuit which consists of an on/off switch, Volume slider, and Tone Slider. When the Neck Preset is on it shuts off all other pickups, which works great for being able to switch into a mellower/warmer tone on the fly. The Relevator's fuzz circuit is simple, on/off switch, oscillation on/off switch, and fuzz drive slider which controls the amount of fuzz. The analog delay circuit (and probably my favorite part of the guitar) is built with on/off power switch, modulation switch, feedback, mix, and delay controls. Last the cats at Bilt Guitars provide you with a power supply that runs power to the onboard effects via a stereo guitar cable. The power supply also comes with two extra DC power outputs for powering other effect pedals. WOW! Now that's what I call a well rounded tone machine.

"Nice and Clean"
We started out by testing the Relevator just as a normal guitar, no effects, no nothing. Just the actual guitar itself played through all of it's pickups and pickups combinations. Amp of choice was going to be tuff, so we just pulled them all out. The first amp to dance with the Relevator was my modified 4x10 Deville, clean channel, eq at 7, reverb at 2, guitar in it's neck pickup position. I began with some simple chord work and blues riffs, started digging in, then let loose and hammered away like a mad man. The neck felt great, tremolo arm reacted beautifully to my touch, and the sound that came out of the amp was just stunning. It had a nice vintage vibe, full of warmth and clarity. The pickup created a nice bouncy tone that reminded me of bands like Television, The Jam, Sonic Youth, and Nirvana. The combination of both outer pickup made things even more interesting. With both neck and bridge pickup I was able to cover much more ground, get more bite from the sound, and lots more jangle. With just the right touch I was able to get bit of hair out of the sound, perfect for clean, aggressive rhythm work. While in this pickup setting I rolled off a bit of the tone and actually was able to dial in a pretty sweet sounding jazz tone. This was a nice surprise, nice jazz tones always make up great blues tones once a bit of overdrive is added into the mix. Next I kicked in the bridge pickup alone. The sound stayed just as defined as before only with more bell-like tones and midrange honk. In fact, I got some killer rhythm guitar tones form the bridge pickup as well. Two thumbs up for Bilt choice of Antiquity's.

"A Bit of Grit"
Round two for the Relevator consisted of more of the same, only this time through overdriven amps and some of our favorite dirt boxes. We started with a Princeton reissue we had on loan that week, set it loud enough to get it to break up, and threw a TS808 style pedal on top of it. I switched into the guitar's neck pickup and let her rip, first without the TS808 engaged. I was able to get as much or as little grit from the amp as I wanted just by the level of my pick attack. I could from a natural, semi-crunchy amp tone, to a straight out balls to the wall overdrive. Next I kicked in the Tube Screamer. The sound that came flying out of the amp stood the hairs up on my arm and pulled the breath out of my lungs. It was one of the most massive sounds I had ever heard come from such a little amp. The 15 watts of tube grit, dirt box, and Relevator ended up probably being my favorite sound of the entire demo. The natural beauty of the guitar's sound mixed with the amp and pedal created the perfect rhythm rock tone. The harder the pedal pushed the amp, and the more I dug into the strings, the better the overall sound. I hit the guitar with bends, double stops, and harmonics and got great sounds each and every time. The sound was rich, full of character, and very woody. Next on the menu was plugging the Relevator into something a bit more power, something that would shake the walls and the floor. What better amp for the job than a 100 watt Super Lead? My partner did his little magic setup of jumping the amp's channels, mixing them to his liking, and setting the output level to a ground shaking volume. The outcome was a loud'n'proud, rock and roll sound. The combo of the bridge and neck pickup once again came through beautifully. The guitar created a smooth, creamy overdrive tone with great string balance, and lots of variety. The tremolo also delivered magnificent results, and Mastery bridge kept intonation spot-on. No matter how much I pulled or wiggled the tremolo arm, or how hard I played the guitar. The Relevator was able to stay in tune beautifully. Sign of high quality, great build, and hard work. I also rolled back the guitar's volume and was able to dial in some mellow, warm overdrive tones. Another option for getting a mellower tone from the guitar was it's Neck Preset Circuit. With the Neck Preset Circuit you can roll off both volume and tone, and switch it in and out via it's own on/off switch. Leaving the rest of the guitar's controls free from change and giving you a winder range of sounds. Next we dialed back the amp's tone to a subtle crunch and fed it a bunch of different fuzz boxes. We took out vintage boxes, extreme fuzz pedals, and boutique pieces. All of them sounded great with the guitar and sounded wonderful with each pickup combo. One of the pickup settings that really stood to me was the middle Jaguar style pickup. The sound of the middle pickup through a nice, fat, vintage style fuzz created one of the most intense fuzz tones I've ever heard. In the end the Relevator proved to be a great playing, great sounding, and extremely versatile guitar.

"Onboard Effects"
Now here is where things got super duper fun. For this we broke out the Twin Reverb and dialed it in to the most sparkling clean tone possible. I gave the tone a hint of verb, cranked the volume to 4, and set all eq knobs at 7. The sound of the Twin Reverb and Relevator alone was immaculate. The root tone had everything I wanted in it to be able to build off of. Each pickup position produced it's own special tone, full of richness, clarity, and versatility. Then we kicked in the Relevator's onboard fuzz circuit and the sound turned into a fuzzy, furry, wall of class A tone. We set the fuzz circuit to a mild, gritty growl, without the oscillation switch engaged. The sound was a pure, spot-on authentic vintage fuzz sound. Some of the fuzz tones I was getting from the guitar were better than some of the pedals I have. The more I gain I fed the fuzz the hairier and nastier it got, just as good and responsive as any fuzz box I'd ever played. I'll be honest, at first I thought the onboard fuzz was going to be janky and generic. This was not the case, not-at-all. Fully cranked the Relevator's fuzz turned into a screaming force of complex harmonics and undertones. It sounded great with single note runs and chords. The sound of the Relevator's fuzz is somewhere between a blend of a thick treble booster and vintage fuzz box. I could dig into a note, hold it for as long as I wanted, or shake it and manipulate it a wild and aggressive howl. Once the oscillation was introduced to the sound things became even cooler. To control the oscillation's sound you just take the drive knob and turn this way and that. The fuzz circuit's control does not end there though, no sir. On the back of the guitar inside the back panel you will find not one, or two, or even three, but five thumb wheels used for shaping and tailoring your fuzz tone to your liking. That's more tonal control than some pedals are capable of! This assures you'll be able to match or dial in the fuzz tone of your liking.

The analog delay circuit on the Relevator is also top notch and great sounding. It reminded me of a great sounding vintage tape-echo machine. All of the cool tones and sounds you can get from a great quality analog delay are possible with the Relevator's delay circuit. The delay is controlled by a on/off power switch, on/off oscillation switch, feedback knob, mix knob, and delay knob. Inside the back panel of the guitar are also width and speed controls for the modulation sound. All of these controls together make up for one of the most versatile delay units you will ever come across, and the best part is it lives on your guitar not your pedalboard! First I dialed a short, slapback style delay sound without any modulation. With the mix knob I was able to make the delay sound as present or laid back as I wanted. This is great for those subtle delay tones you want more as a little layer and not so much an effect. Next I dialed in a medium length delay tone, mellow mix, and a subtle amount of modulation. I was able to get just the right amount of delay effects with nice pristine, and warm repeats. The possibilities were endless. The guitar;s delay was capable of subtle delay, long delay tones, country slapback tones, spaced out delay sounds, and everything in between each of these. The guitar's delay circuit sounded and worked great with overdrivers, fuzz tones, and distortions. Setting in a delay sound of your if your liking is as easy as reaching down and fiddling with a few controls, all without the need of fussing with a pedalboard. For those of you looking for a versatile guitar with effect capabilities and great tone, the Relevator is a great choice. Even for those of you just looking for a killer quality guitar Bilt makes a version of the Relevator without the onboard effects. Either way the guitar plays great which is the most important thing. Bilt Guitars is open to different pickup cobmbinations and types, and willing to work with you on the color of your guitar. It doesn't get much better than that. For those of you curious to get more info on the Relevator we have posted some demo video from Bilt Guitars at the bottom of this article, check them out and enjoy!

For more info on Bilt Guitars go to You will find a ton of great information, more video demos, and a bunch of great pics of different colors and pickup styles. We highly suggest anyone looking for something new, exciting, or outside the norm to look into Bilt Guitars Relevator's. Dig it!!