Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seeing Red

For so so long have I been trying to get my hands on these pedals. I can remember visiting the Heavy Electronics website telling myself "Wow! These have to be awesome boxes." In fact, Heavy Electronics was one of the first companies I contacted when I started the AWC weblog. Well, I am super duper stoked to say that Heavy Electronics have come through, and the pedals they sent for us to try out are absolutely mind blowing! These cats totally met and went beyond our expectations. The build quality, tone, versatility, and style that these pedals own make them some of the coolest I have ever tried. Analog War Cry will be spending some time looking into a handful of the Heavy Electronics stompboxes, and if we're lucky will be able to bring them all your way. Now a very special treat from us to you. Heavy Electronics.

Red Eyes

  • Handmade in Minneapolis, Mn by Musicans
  • Lifetime Warrenty (barring obvious abuse)
  • Upgrades, Repairs, and Mods Available for Life
  • Voiced Openly for Guitars, Bass, or any other Instrument
  • True Bypass Switching/Minimum Length Leads
  • PCB Design. Printed and Populated by HE
  • 1oz Copper1/16" Single Point Mounted PCB
  • 24mm Large Size Pots for Maximum Reliability
  • Flying Leads to all Pots and Jacks
  • Neutrik or Switchcraft 1/4 inch Single Jacks
  • Sealed Metal LED Housing w/ Flying Leads
  • 9V 200mA Power for Maximum Compatibility
  • Powder-Coated Diecast Aluminum Enclosure
  • Custom Option Available (graphics, colors, etc..)
  • Duel Quality Control Testing (Audio & Build)


First impression
Straight out of the box I was able to get magic from this pedal. I didn't even pay any attention to the setting at first. I just grabbed a couple cables, a guitar, and plugged into an amp set sparkling clean. I plowed down onto a handful of big rock chords and there came thundering out of my amp a huge gritty rock tone. It didn't take more than 5 minutes for the Red Eyes to have me hooked at the gills. The Red Eyes comes equipped with controls for gain and level, and voicing/tone. I will also mention that this is the latest version of the Red Eyes, sporting the super cool octopus graphics and powder coat finish. The Red Eyes also has two extra LED's (the octopus eyes) which work the pedal's clipping and work as a clipping indicators. Strum softly and the LED's fade in softly then fade out. Start to dig in and the LED's shine bright and angry. I was actually quite taken by how responsive and accurate the LED's were, a great tool for dark and loud stages.

Looking straight into the eyes
Once it was apparent that this pedal was going to be nothing but good times, I went ahead and grabbed the closest guitar to me and got to steppin'. I plugged in, and wallah. All around good stuff for everyone. The first setup I tested the Red Eyes through ended up being a Jazzmaster and a 22 watt 65' Deluxe reissue. The snappy feel of the amp and vintage vibe of the pedal matched up like a hand and glove. I was so surprised by the huge sound I was able to get from the 22 watts of Fender amp. The first thing really that stood out and impressed me was the tube-like grit and transparent nature of the pedal's sound. The midrange bit down beautifully, while the lows and highs touched off with a clarity and warmth. The Deluxe's tasty tone ended up being the perfect canvas for painting on top of. The first setting of fooled around with was - voice switch to the far left, gain set to about 15%, and level control matching the amp's output. Once engaged the pedal blew out a crunchy tube light overdrive that complimented the amp's woolfy vintage vibe. Just behind my amp's clean root tone I could hear and feel the Red Eyes' gritty character breaking through and helping the signal shout out with style. The subtle aggression and attitude of the Red Eyes' tone made for a very nice riffin' blues tone . Next I added in some more of the pedal's gain and rolled the voicing up 10%. Here the pedal did something really interesting. By playing lightly I could draw out a nice balanced overdrive from the pedal, then by digging in just a little harder the overdrive would go from smooth to broken up. This tone worked great for accenting lead runs and playing off of vocals and chorus sections. With the amp a little louder I was also able to get more out of the pedal's tone all together. Very nice nice stuff. From here I began cranking the amp into a light natural overdrive then stacking the pedal's grit on top of it. With a medium dirt setting I noticed the Red Eyes would give me an unbelievable amount of dynamics and range. This was possible due to how well it blended with the amp's dirt and how well it responded to using guitar's volume and tone controls. To simply get back to square one all I had to do was roll back the guitar's volume about 25-30% and I was in. The tone control on my guitar was also quite nice for working it into the pedal's character. In fact, it responded so well to the guitar's tone that it was like having another control on board the pedal. While in this same amp setting I turned up the Red Eyes' gain even more, then slammed down on some tasty rockin' power chords. The signal broke up even more creating a smooth and wonderful 100% rock and roll tone. This was a fantastic guitar tone that worked for just about every application I put it through. Next I worked the pedal's gain control just passed noon, voicing switch far left, and level slightly hot to help push the amp's signal even further. Without the pedal engaged the Deluxe amp pushed a sweet'n'warm vintage rock tone. With the pedal's help it was an entirely different story. The Red Eyes took the amp and converted it into a howling, riffing, hard rock machine. I dug in with some heavy blues licks, complex chords, leads, bends, and double stops. It all sounded like golden goodness. After running a handful of great tones through the 22 watter and Jazzmaster, it was time to break out the big guy - the 100 watt Super Lead. Along with this amp I also broke out my recently upgraded semi-hollow Viking. I first dialed in the Super Lead to a medium snarly overdrive and pushed the Red Eyes head first into it. The Red Eyes was set pretty high, with it's gain close to max, voicing switch in the middle, and level a bit hot to help push the tubes even hotter. The combination of the amp's natural grit, pedal's overdrive, and amount of output going into the amp, all worked together to create a giant sounding epic rock tone. The tone had plenty of harmonic richness, dynamics, and great picking response. The sound the Red Eyes creates is definitely voiced more towards the classic rock, hard rock, blues, alternative, and punk. Even when introduced to a screaming overdriven sound, the Red Eyes is capable of maintaining the amp's warm lush tone, while adding to it and making it even bigger. I found the pedal to work beautifully stacked with both tube and solid state amps. This is nice for those of us who still have a little faith in the solid state amp market, I in fact still have a great sounding solid state amp that I use for clean tones. It doesn't matter whether you use this pedal for light grit tones, as a tool to help push a clean tones, to stack up with dirt tones, or to use as your main lead or rhythm tone, it will always come through and deliver proper sound. Heavy Electronics through the few pedals has shown me that they're all about one thing and one thing only - Killer Tone! I highly recommend you guys seek out some of these boxes and run them through their paces yourselves... you'll be glad you did.


For more info on Heavy Electronics go to or click the direct link o our sidebar. We will be going down the Heavy Electronics line so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more killer tone madness. "Bow down to the tone..."



Friday, September 24, 2010

Jammin Till the Break of Dawn

Anyone who knows anything about high quality cables has heard the name Monster. Even before I had ever tried a pair of Monster guitar cables I knew they were great. Why? Because I had heard them on many o' stage, studio, and session. It doesn't end with just music cables either, no sir. Monster offers everything from home theater, pro-audio/video, and gaming accessories, to power conditioners, high performance car audio gear, and stage and pro studio products. Then last but not least, is the pro audio gear for us musicians. Amongst the Monster army of music making madmen you are bound to find everything from classic and hard rockers, to street rappers and hip hoppers. Cats like Santana, Ozzy, Dave Mustaine, Ludacris, Frampton, Slash, Tower of Power, Herbie Hancock, Akon, Bootsy, Dr. Dre, George Benson, Butch Vig, Too Short, Eddie Kramer, and the list goes on and on and on. Recently I discovered that Monster was even producing their own line of high quality headphones and in-ears. Analog War Cry started getting flooded with emails for us to try some of these phones. Well, here we are. The outcome?... Just read on.



  • In-ear Headphones for Extended Full Range Sound/Big time bass and clarity out of a small ear bud
  • Monster Sound Isolating Eartips/Advanced construction and multiple shapes and sizes give you a perfect fit/seal out external noise.
  • Solid, Precision-Machined Single-Billet Metal Housing/Cancels unwanted vibrations for the purest sound
  • Hard Chrome Finish/Tuff as nails so they keep shinning like they did day one. No polish needed
  • Rugged Strain Relief/Protects the cable withstands heavy-duty use. For long life and long use
  • Advanced Monster Cable/Patented technologies for accurate and clear audio. Delivers clear and defined sound.
  • 24K Gold Contacts/For maximum signal transfer and corrosion resistance. Provides clean, untampered signal.
  • Cable Management Clip/Controls and keeps weight off headphones so they stay put in your ears
  • Compact Protective Super Soft Clip Pouch/Protection and cable management for the rare moments you're not using them.

Lil' Jamz
In-Ear Headphones


Headphones, earphones, buds, in-ears, rockers, call them what you will. We all use them, especially us music playing, music addicted freaks. If you're like me you don't go anywhere without your music player. I honestly take mine everywhere. And if you love music as much as I do and have ever experienced a crap set of earphones, you know how much it can suck. For us who play and write music, having a good set of earphones is a must. It can help dial in to a song you're trying to learn, motivate you to write, and most important just provide you with great sounding tunes. The last couple years have been an awakening for the headphone/earphone market. Many companies are building and designing phones for comfort, with immaculate sound capabilities, and life long use. But there's a catch! These earphones always end up costing an arm and a leg. Don't get me wrong, they're well worth the bucks. If you've ever heard what these things are capable of you know what I'm saying. But not everyone can afford such things. And so.... Monster steps up to the plate and designs a line a killer sounding, great looking, beautifully built, and best of all, affordable earphones. I had a chance to rock a pair of Monster's Lil' Jamz and was blown away by them. I honestly thought something for the price couldn't possibly sound better than most average headphones. Brother, was I wrong!

The Lil' Jamz were such a golden find that I was able to use them in more than a couple applications. I'll start with basic listening first, which for me consists of a 16GB iTouch. Within that little touch screen wonder I keep all my favorite tunes, bands, music videos, and even some movies and documentaries (music based of course). Before the Lil' Jamz I was using a set of standard white earphones, which I'm sure many of have owned, owned, and owned again. The difference was like a moped and a chopper. Instantly I was able to get more clarity, sweeter richer lows, delicate but focused highs, and for the first time proper midrange frequencies. This made all the different styles of music that I listen to a dream. Rocking out to my favorite classic rock albums I was able to hear the warm and subtle distortions as if they were right there in front of me. Nice defined present bass was also quite a treat. Having an actual bass track to listen to in my ears while walking around doing everyday stuff was a delight of an entirely new breed. This was especially so when listening to jazz and old r&b. With these types of music it is always the bass that rides and carries the tunes. Without it you're lost! Having the bass separated from the rest of the frequencies helped in more ways than one. Not only did it provide me with a much more pleasurable listening experience. It also helped me pin-point guitar and keyboard tracks I needed to learn. I know you've been in a situation when you've sat there trying hour after hour to figure out an exact guitar riff or lick from your favorite guitar God. Only to go back, play along with it, and find out something is a miss. This happens because of crappy monitoring. You end up hearing something that's not a part of the track you're trying to learn, and therefore end up playing something that's not there. With a great set of phones like these it's much easier to hear what you need. Which takes me to watching movies and tv shows on my portable player. This really did catch me by surprise. I figured, "Ok, the music sounded great, so the movies will probably be a bit more entertaining with decent sound." It is better than just decent. When you're eyes are captured by an image and your brain is focusing on a story line or character, you're ears awaken even more. This means it will exaggerate your listening experience. The crappier the sound, the crappier the sound. The sweeter the sound, the SWEETER the sound. I found myself hunting down my favorite live performance dvd's, music docs, and music vids. Just so I could watch and listen to them with my Lil' Jamz. And it doesn't end here. All of this led me to try the earphones in the studio for monitoring and recording. I A/B'd with some of the headphones we had lying around, and to my surprise the Lil' Jamz were not only able to hold their own, but also surpassed a few head sets. For recording they were especially fun. Having the ability to completely isolate myself from everything else really put the mix in my ears and helped my overall performance. This was true with vocals, drumming, and other instruments. In fact, the amount of external noise these baby's cut out is so huge, that the first week I had them I had to be tapped on the shoulder a few times to grab my attention. Other than recording with the Jamz I also worked a few simple mix downs. Having all of the clarity and definition really helped in this area. Especially for EQing stuff, adding bits of compression, and mixing in and out. I was able to use them as a great reference, then would compare to my main monitors. I will tell you right now, a good set in headphones for mixing can most def come in handy. Last, I took the Lil' Jamz to band practice and plugged them into my in-ear monitor system. I ran some vocals and a bit of both guitars through them. You wouldn't think they'd do the job but they did it just fine. I may have not been able to dial in huge amounts of bass or drums. But in a situation like a small club or rehearsal space when all you need is some vocals or your own guitar in your in-ear mix these are perfect. You don't have to go out and spend a ton and you still get a proper sound when needed. It was really something how much thunder these little rockers had in them. I would highly recommend anyone who's looking a great sounding pair of earphones to look into these or any of the other in-ears in the Monster line. The Lil' Jamz are in fact at the bottom of the totem pole as far as the line goes too. And if they sound this good I can only imagine what the rest of the lot is capable of. We will try and bring more of Monster's killer ear and headphones in the near future. I am hooked and curious beyond belief, believe me! In closing I will say - Happy 30th Monster and keep up the killer work. Like we like to say around here "Let'em hear you scream!"


For more info on Monster Cable products go to There you will find a world of high quality cables for just about any need out there. Analog War Cry will continue to bring you guys more from our friends at Monster so make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Rock on and on and on!

Align Center


Amplified Parts: News announces

All bands have one thing in common - their music! Understanding how important
it is for musicians to get the word out about their bands, we sponsored the
creation of, an online community of musicians where
bands can be seen and heard. is a website dedicated to showcase bands and their
music. On you can create your own band profile, upload
pictures, music, and link to videos, as well as announce your upcoming shows.
Your profile acts as a hub for your fans to stay updated on what is new with your
band and for new fans to discover what your band is all about – all in one place
and completely free!

We believe it is important for all bands, regardless of fame or fortune, to have the
opportunity to be discovered, so whether you are a band or just a fan of bands,
come on – take a look - register today at


Brought to you

Working It Out

There is one thing all players agree on when it comes to their tone, and that is - "We can always do better". Throughout my many years of playing guitar I have tried and tried again just about everything under the sun that exists to improve one's tone. From playing different amps and guitars, to different pedals and effect setups. And don't get me wrong, all of these elements make a huge difference in what the outcome of your sound will be. But for me it wasn't until I learned about swapping out components, such as caps and high quality pots, that I was able to truly fine-tune the sounds I was after. To some this type of modification may not seem all that important, and I once thought this exact same way. After all, a part is just a part right? Wrong! There is nothing, and I mean nothing like a quick swapping of components to get your guitar sounding it's best. The cats at RS Guitarworks specialize in this area, offering a huge selection of parts, components, and kits for just about any guitar out there. It doesn't matter if your hunting down vintage or modern correct parts, or even reissue parts. RS has get them all. RS Guitarworks also runs their own repair shop, provides aging and refin services, and builds their own stunning line of guitars. I think it's safe to say these cats know more than a thing or two about killer sounding tone. Anyone looking for a quick and easy way to upgrade their sound must check out the insane collection of parts and components that RS Guitarworks has in their arsenal. Cause you never know when you'll need to be ready for war.

RS Guitarworks
Vintage 335 Upgrade Kit
(shown here with Luxe repro Bubblebee caps)

  • (2) Vol 500k RS SuperPots™ - Designed in conjunction with CTS
  • (2) Audio Taper 500k CTS Pots
  • (2) Your choice high quality caps
  • (1) Pre-wired toggle switch - Manufactured by Switchcraft
  • (1) Pre-wired input jack - Manufactured by Switchcraft
  • Includes pigtails for pickups
  • Gold hardware for toggle nut, jacks, nuts, and washers also available

A few years ago I got myself a reissue Hagstrom Viking semi-hollow body. All in all the guitar was pretty impressive straight out of the shop. It sounded decent, played ok, and looked great. But as time went by I started to look for ways to improve it's sound, and get myself a proper vintage 335 tone. I hunted down the perfect set of age period pickups, got myself a nice bridge and tailpiece, and had it setup something beautiful. The guitar was playing like a dream, but I still lacked the vibe and feel I was after. When I later learned about RS Guitarworks and said "what the heck", and gave them a try. I went ahead and contacted them, explained the sound I was going after, the layout of my guitar, and a few days later my custom pre-wired kit was designed. Ever since installing the kit my Viking has never sounded better. Oh, and the installation itself? A breeze. The 335 kit came so neatly put together that it was almost a shame to hide it in the guitar. The pots comes marked, you get two pigtails for wiring onto your pickups, and the RS Guitarworks Youtube channel has a great How-To video that helps you with anything you might need assistance with. What more could you ask for!?

Once the kit was installed the difference in my tone was undeniably noticeable. The quality went up up up like magic! I had more clarity, warmer lows topped off with a special "oomf", and my highs and mids were punchier but overpowering in any way. I was able to hear my guitar's natural woody tone, airy smoothness, and silky sound go diving into the pickups and out of the amp. I will just say right now - Out of all the parts and components I have ever tried in my Viking, this kit rules them all! The build quality to is second to none, and the variety of tones are mind numbing. A couple weeks after having the kit inside the guitar I played it for my partner who has a 2007 Gibson 335. He was truly envious and even a little jealous. I found him regularly picking up my guitar, stunned at how much mileage he was able to get from both volume and tone pots. For gigging and practicing it has been like day and night. it works with my setup like never before. I use a Deville for all my big sparkling clean tones, and a 15 watt head for the dirty goodness. I began testing the kit through my clean main tone first. Starting with the neck pickup and rolling up both tone and volume pots to 10. Right away my eq projection, harmonics, overtones, and undertones all sounded amazing. This made for an overall balanced root tone that gave me splendid note separation. This helped with big complex chords and everything I stacked on top of my root tone became easier to work with. The ultimate was definitely playing with the tone controls and getting tones I had no idea were there before. In fact, for the first time ever I was able to dial in a proper jazz tone from my semi-hollow guitar. I know that sounds crazy but you go ahead and try to get a jazz tone and see what happens. If ever you've tried to roll back the tone control on your guitar you know it just ends up giving you a muffled unpleasant sound. With this kit I was able to get a dark and beautiful sound that had me playing my favorite Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and Charlie Christian licks. I could roll back as far as I wanted without etching away at my clarity and snap. One thing you learn when you're able to get more from your tone pot is all the sounds that live between zero and ten. Doing this while in the lead pickup position also created some handy and useful tones. By rolling down some of my highs I was able to fine tune my lead tune to sit in the mix much nicer. This helped with gigs and band practice like you wouldn't imagine. I was also able to get more from my dirt pedals which was very very nice. Having a more forgiving root tone created many more sweet spots within my stompboxes, which was like having new pedals! I had always searched for that soft super smooth lead tone out of my semi but had trouble getting it. Before I would get close but not exact, and end up just being frustrated with my sound. This kit helped with that problem like you wouldn't imagine. The overall sound of my pickups was just way better, which let me hear the true quality of their sound. When I first swapped out the cheap humbuckers with proper ones, I was able to hear a bit of a difference. But it wasn't until I had the 335 kit stacked up with the buckers that I heard their true nature. I would imagine the stock pickups would have probably sounded amazing with this kit. A big part of the smooth vintage tone the kit got me has to do with the Grey Tiger caps. These things are like instant mojo injectors. They add a silky suave sound that just can't be beat. In the end I found I was able to fine tune all the sounds I imagined with knock out ease. If you've played enough gigs you know that the tone you get in your rehearsal space does not always work in the venue. These even work great for that application. All around just a super great choice. What else can I say? Grab yourself a kit and let it speak for itself.

RS Guitarworks offers a killer selection of parts and components perfect for upgrading any guitar. You'l find everything from Luxe repro Phonebook, Chicklet, Bumblebee, and Grey Tigers caps, to RS's own caps and RS by Jensen paper in oil caps. They have an array of high quality pots, switches, hardware, knobs, pickups and pickup covers, and wire for building your own setups. Then of course is the insanely cool line of RS Guitarworks guitars WHICH YOU MUST CHECK OUT! RS builds both traditional style guitars, both new style and relic'd. And a completely original design called the Sidestep which blew me away (one day I will own one!). Once you visit the RS website you'll instantly know the level of class in which these cats work in. We're gonna try and bring ya'll more kits for different style guitars in the near future so make sure and look out for that.


For more info on RS Guitarworks go to or visit their online shop at You can also check out s bunch of cool videos on RS Guitarworks doing refins, relic work, and other upgrades on Youtube. You can check out all the vids on our Youtube search engine at the bottom header of the site. Just type in "rs guitarworks" and you're good. Stay tuned for more from this awesome company

(Pictured is a RS Guitarworks "Sidestep JR.")



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MOD® Oil Capacitors

CE Distribution Announces MOD® Oil Capacitors

CE Distribution is pleased to announce the release of their new MOD® Oil

Vintage oil capacitors have been sought after for many years. Oil capacitors
enhance the ability to get true vintage sound, giving your guitar amp or high-end
audio equipment a natural and smooth tone. Now with the MOD® oil capacitors
they are available again!

The new MOD® caps are oil impregnated dielectric capacitors enclosed in an
aluminum “mug”. They are manufactured with quality materials for durability and
superior performance, and come in standard values for most audio equipment.

The MOD® products have been taking the world by storm with a full line of classic
reverb tanks, DIY pedal kits as well as the Jensen MOD® speaker line. These
new oil capacitors are just the latest addition of new MOD® products for
musicians and audiophiles interested in improving their sound.

CE Distribution is the world’s largest wholesale distributer of parts for your guitar,
guitar amp, and other audio related equipment, as well as the exclusive
distributor of all MOD® products.


Make sure to also check out the awesome collection of MOD DIY Kits.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Real Tube Goodness

ROD 880
Real Overdrive

Controls & Features
  • Powered by Hand Selected 12AY7EH Preamp Tube
  • Based on the TK999 Tube King
  • Switchable Noise Reduction Circuit w/Variable Threshold Control
  • Standard 9VDC Power Adapter
  • Heavy Duty Enclosure
  • Extremely Wide Range of Overdrive Tones

  • Bass: Controls boom and thump
  • Gain: Controls gain level
  • Mid-Boost: Controls punch and kick
  • Treble: Controls sparkle and brightness
  • Master: Controls effected output volume


To this this day I have never seen a Maxon effect pedal that didn't impress me in one way or another. And I have had experience with just about every type of Maxon pedal there is, from the vintage to the most modern. What's been impressive is that throughout all this time Maxon has always kept up to date on the gear scene, providing us with some of the most superb sounding effects a box can carry. A few months back I discovered and got to try the Maxon Real Tube Series, and again was blown away beyond belief. These pedals are built like tanks, sound like amps, and play like a dream. With the ROD-880 Real Overdrive I was able to dial in everything from classic Tubescreamer tones to some of the most insane snarling rock god lead sounds. The ROD-880 played off my pick attack and pickups just like a top notch tube amp, and gave me the same type of vibe and feel. The amount of flexibility this pedal owns should be against the law.

I first rocked and rolled the ROD-880 with a 15 watt amp and 1x12 cabinet. The guitar was a single Junior copy equipped with a single Lollar P90. I rolled up the amp to a subtle light crunch with the tone at noon and bright switch off. The P90 pickup spit out a tight punchy tone that sounded great for chord work. I set the ROD-880 with it's eq stack also at noon, gain at about 15%, and master unity to the amplifiers. The noise reduction circuit I kept off for now. With the pedal engaged I was able to take my tone just a little further, perfect for playing into a chorus and giving the overall sound a bit more life. I could hear and feel my notes hanging on a bit longer which was really nice for cutting through a mix. I also noticed a nice boost in my harmonics, which gave me more room and more grit to play with. By adding just a bit more of the pedal's mid-boost and lows I was able to get even more overdrive. Just like a sweet sounding tube amp. I then rocked the ROD-880's gain control up to about 30%, with the eq stack just past noon, and master control a bit louder to help push the amp even more. The combo of the tube amp's tone and pedal's preamp tube section worked together like a dream. The amp's tone already sounded pretty damn good on it's own. But with the pedal in it's path things became epic sounding. The medium crunch tone I was getting from the ROD-880 was great for all around work and all types of music. I played blues, classic rock, hard rock, alternative, and punk. Each and every style sounded killer! Next I took the amp to it's fullest, left the pedal as is, and let things fly. Here I got something really interesting. With the amp's tubes cooking it's full 15 watts and ROD-880 beautifully pushing it overboard. I was able to get these magnificent distortion/fuzz tones. Behind every chord and lick I played was a sizzling fuzzy tonal character that created a wild and creative dirt tone. A little analog delay thrown onto this tone and I was in solo champion arena. This motivated me to break out something with more power, something louder, and beastlier. My mind was on a 100 watt Marshall, but before going there I plugged into my modified 4x10 Deville and set is loud'n'clean. I wanted to hear just what kind of a tone I would get by playing through a completely squeaky clean guitar sound. In case ya'll don't know, my Deville sports four 100 watt 10"s speakers, two being Jensen Blackbirds, the other two Jensen Tornados. I am able to get all the clean headroom I want with these badboys, which lets me dial in the most precise clean tones at any volume level I wish. I started at around 3, with tone controls at noon, reverb at 2-3, and presence rolled off. The ROD-880 I had set with it's Mid-boost and Bass at 2'o'clock, Treble at 11'o'clock, gain at 50%, and master volume just a hint louder than unity. The result was mind blowing! The pedal kicked out a spot-on vintage tube amp crunch tone that had me grinning from ear to ear. The pedal's grit responded just like a tube amp, felt like a tube amp, and sung beautifully just like a tube amp. Rolling off the guitar's volume knob got me mellower tones which let me dial in multiple sounds on the fly. I also plugged in my buddy's Les Paul which also sounded quite nice through the pedal. The character in the sustain and overdrive's smoothness adapted perfectly to the guitar's thick'n'meaty humbucking pickups. Last I broke out the Super Lead, set it hot, and stacked the ROD-880 right up against it. I also wanted to hear what a clean booster in front of the pedal would sounded like so I also broke out my Xotic EP Booster. First I ran the 880 through Super Lead's crunchy sound. Instantly I got epic classic and heavy rock rhythm tones. The harmonic content, richness, and tonal quality all stood out beautifully. My chords were all balanced with every note coming off with killer clarity. I then stomped on the clean booster and watched the tone go from powerful rhythm, to powerful lead. I swam through a bunch of different licks and riffs and got nothing but grade A crunch and sustain. I also really dug how the pedal broke up the overdrive and created usable awesome sounding feedback. Really it was incredible just how much more size the ROD-880 was able to add the Super Lead. With a lot of these so called "tube pedals", you find out they get in the way more than they do good. This pedal worked with every sound I blended it with, and played off of my playing and dynamics. This is a pedal that sits in the "Last overdriver you will ever need" class. The possibilities are endless when you have a dirt pedal that can adapt to any amp, guitar, and pickup. Right before putting the ROD-880 away that first day I had it I decided to plug it into my Fender solid state amp. With a little eq adjustment and tailoring of the pedal I was able to get some damn impressive guitar tones. Now, what does that tell you? Get yours!!!

For more info on Maxon Pedals you can go to either or There you will find tons more info on all of the Maxon lines. Make sure and stay tuned for more from these cats. Like us, we're sure you also can't get enough of these pedals. We will be back with more killer features shortly.


T-Rex: "Who Are You???" Survey/Contest

Who Are You???

T-Rex has put together a survey to find out who is using their pedals, which ones are being used, and how those pedals are being rocked. You can participate in the survey by clicking the direct link below. Participants will be automatically entered in a T-Rex Replica giveaway. That's a Replica folks, one of the most awesome delay pedals to date. The survey/contest runs until October 11, 2010, where the winner will be announced on the T-Rex website. For more info on this awesome project visit the T-rex website. Good luck everyone!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Imagine it's 1967

I know it's been a while since we've featured any pickups here on Analog War Cry, but I assure you it was well worth the wait. This here is Chevalier Pickups, formally known as Copperhead Pickups. If ever you've had a chance to hear a set of these or own a set yourself, you know how fantastic they are. And if you're a newbie to the world of Chevalier pups you are in for a very special treat. Last year I set on a quest to put together a proper 60's style Straocaster. I went ahead and got myself a body, a neck, and got to work. Soon after I would discover it was easier said than done. I was able to find awesome vintage style tuners and trem setup, and great parts/components. Then it came to the pickups and I got stuck. I wanted to get as close to a 60's/Hendrix tone as humanly possible. Something that could push both stellar clean and dirty tones. While on my hunt I would come across a Copperhead Pickups review and to say the least, I was impressed and inspired by what I had read. A few weeks later a set of pickups would come knocking on my door and my search for the perfect tone would end. Now I am proud to say I own a guitar that is on a level that not many ever reach. All thanks to a cat named Jeff Chevalier.



  • Hand wound to typical 67' wind count
  • Plain enamel wire
  • Alinco 5 magnets/Period correct stagger
  • Grey vulcanized fibre flat work/Nod to Jimi
  • Cloth covered leads
  • Built for immaculate tone
  • Custom customer specs also available


I honest to God don't even know where to start with these pickups, they have been such a blessing and have gotten me more compliments on my tone than any other piece of gear I own. Every show I've played with them, recording I've done, friend who has heard them, and tech who has heard them has been blown away by them. The 67's are wound to exact 1960's specs and are built with period correct parts and components. The outcome? A spot-on unmistakable classic 60's tone. Later Jeff would inform me that these were his tribute to the sound found in Jimi's spectacular late 60's Strats. Boy did he nail it. What else can I say about these baby's? They are built beautifully and will never ever leave my guitar. Now for some tones.

I will never forget the moment after plugging into my Strat just after having wired in the set of 67 pickups. I plucked down on that first chord and there it was.... that unmistakable snappy, bright, warm, and edgy sound of a proper 60's era Stratocaster. And all it took to achieve the sound was a decent guitar cable and proper tube amp. From here things would only got better too. The amp I started testing the pickups through was a Super Lead cranked up to a healthy howling grit. What better amp to test these pickups with right? The 67's playing through the amp's natural crunch sounded like something out of a dream! Within the pickups tones I could easily identify all of my favorite Hendrix records and tunes. Mixed with the powerful Super Lead the pickups created an overdrive type distortion that was full of jumping harmonics and overtones. What really stood out though was the amount of definition I was getting. I could hear every note perfectly! If I'd chug down, play a double-stop, or bend a string. The 67's would pickup every detail and nuance, then dish it out with killer classic rock flavor. For me, finding usable med to high overdrive with a Strat has not been easy. Usually I get too much raspyness, brittle character, or too sharp of a vibe. This is no problem if every you've played a vintage Strat. Something about the way the pickups were wound back then really let Strat's hold their own. This is the sound and feeling projected when playing through the 67's. I slowly started adding in more gain, cutting highs, and adding lows and mids. Here I was able to get more of an aggressive sound. A tone perfect for cutting through any setup, perfect for stacking guitar parts, and a perfect root tone for building on top of. While in the neck pickup position I began to experiment with some of my guitar's tone and volume controls settings. I was able to roll back on the guitar's volume to get a subtle, airy, light grit. I was still able to hear the pickups vintage character perfectly, and even more importantly still had the amp's root tone intact. With some pickups if you roll back the volume you find out things get muddy or out of focus. Not here. I then switched pickup positions to the neck/middle and played away. This pickup position for some reason has always been difficult to pull great tones out of. The Chevalier 67's blew right through this pickup setting like nothing. I had a great combination of boomy lows and thick midrange honk. The pickups also adapted and responded to tweaking the amp's tone controls quite nicely. I was able to dial in not just one sweet spot, but several. My pick attack had a lot to do with how I was able to pull so many tones from these pickups. With the amp set to a light overdrive I was able to get completely clean and serene guitar tones, just by picking softly. Then by digging in I was able to get everything the amp was dishing out. The really nice thing about playing these pickups through a sweet sounding light crunch was the 50/50 clean/dirty tones I would get by alternating my picking strength. Boy do I love me a set of pickups that can do that. It's something I've heard in Tom Petty's playing that I've always loved. Pickups like these are perfect for accenting your vocals and chorus'. I then took the Super Lead to high/medium gain levels and switched to the middle/bridge pickup position. Here I heard many many possibilities. Depending on how I'd set the tone and volume control on my guitar I was able to get everything from classic rock and blues tones, to alternative rock and country rock tones. Something I discovered while in this pickup position was a kind of cocked wah sound. I don't know if it was the cap I had in the guitar or what. But by shaving off some of the guitar's tone I got this subtle throaty sound that was perfect for riffing, leads, and power chords. Then the time for adding in some booster, overdrivers, and fuzz boxes came. For me it is all fine and dandy if a pedal can work great with an amp. But I like to use pedals, and if a pickup can't get along with my pedals it's time for that pickup to go. This of course was not the case here. Every type of dirt box or booster I threw at the Chevalier 67's exploded with fierce tonality. Pushing a fuzz pedal and vibe through my partner's Super Lead never sounded so damn good. Spot-on Hendrix city all the way. Even when dialing insanely cruel fuzz tones the pickups held their own and pushed out clear and defined notes. Single note runs also sounded killer, which in fact didn't sound like single notes at all. The amount of size these pickups can push out makes even the smallest of notes sound like giants. Since having the 67's in my Strat I have played gigs, recorded, let some friends record with them, and best of all written with them. There is nothing like a great sounding set of pickups to get your juices flowing. I am all about the classic rock, psychedelic, blues rock thing. These pickup? Perfect for that job. And this isn't the only arena they're champions in. At one point I was running some jazz solo exercises with my Strat because my buddy had borrowed my semi-hollow guitar. All it took to get a sweet dark'n'beautiful tone was playing with the right amp and tweaking the guitar's tone knobs. In the end it's all about feel. If you don't feel it - you don't feel it, PERIOD! Dream up or think of the most awesome sounding Strat tone your mind will let you imagine. The mirror of that tone is the Chevalier 1967's.


For more info on these amazing pickups go to You can also reach the Chevalier Pickups site by clicking the direct link in our sidebar. I know Jeff is either int he works or already producing Tele pickups, which we will try are hardest to bring your way. Stay tuned


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Perfect Companion

These are the moments where digging and searching, and hoping and praying pay off. Us gear addicts, tone junkies, and guitar monkeys want one thing and one thing only... A great sound!!! Many times we find ourselves stuck and unable to move forward. Or we get close to how we want our tone to sound but never quite make it there. I personally think sometimes we tone maniacs over do it. We get so caught up in the whole "Holy Grail" tone thing that we end up sacrificing our guitar's and amp's true sound. If only you could see the things and combinations of things I've put together trying to achieve certain sounds. When I discovered El Musico Loco a few months ago something remarkable happened. Something that landed me back on planet earth and was able to give me instant gratification. As I sat there with my new little box, tweaking and turning it's knob, I discovered just how simple a killer tone could be achieved! Later I would email the head honcho (Chris Bradford) over at El Musico Loco to express my gratitude for creating such an amazing simple little box. That amazing simple little box?...

Honky Dong
Mosfet Booster


So now you have the perfect amp tone that you've worked so damn hard to dial in. You plug in your guitar, grab a pick, then strum the strings to hear a beautiful symphony of balanced, life-breathing tones. Or maybe you've worked out a killer amp/pedal relationship. One that gives you everything you've ever wanted. Now, what do you do when you want to take that tone to the next level? Usually we plug in some sort of dirt box and pray that it won't color or change the tone's feeling. But like any player will tell you, finding the right pedal isn't as easy as one might think. Then the Honky Dong steps up to bat, and makes this task a lot easier. With only one knob (labeled "Stiffy") this pedal will have your amp smiling and exploding with addicting overpowering tone. It's like having a Mojo knob on your amplifier or guitar. Every single amp, pedal, guitar, and tone I stacked the Honky Dong up instantly fell in love with it.

I began by using the Honky Dong up against completely sparkling clean tones. For this I broke out two different Fender's, a Twin Reverb and a Hot Rod Deville. I first plugged in the Hot Rod, setting it's eq and presence just past noon, bright switch off, and reverb at about 3-4. Guitar of choice? My 60's build Stratocaster. Without the pedal I got what you would imagine - A twinkling, thick, and defined tone. Then I stepped in the Honky Dong, and things became very quickly much more interesting. My hands were able to pull more variety from the root tone, and the pedal created a sound and feel that pumped life into my speakers. I still had the amp's pure uncut clean tone, with the same color and character. A swift hard striking of the strings and the pedal would deliver bits of grit and grime. With steady digging the pedal held it's own and dished out grade A crunch. I slid down the strings riffing out scales, occasionally digging into a note with violent attention. The pedal had the Strat's single coil pups pushing out a tone that jumped out and barked with subtle aggression. The sweet thing was that I could get this sound whenever I wanted, just by switching my pick attack. It was the same type of response you get when you push a great sounding vintage amp just to the point of breaking up. Something that really stood out was how I could hear both the pedal's inspired grit and amplifier's clean tone. The more of the Stiffy control I added in, the more saturation and aggression I would get. At about half way up, the Stiffy knob really started to cook up the amp's signal. I was able to convert the Deville's sparkling clean tone into a medium overdrive classic rock crunch. I will tell you right now playing double-stops and bending notes never sounded so damn good! Here I began to experiment with the guitar's volume and tone knobs. By shaving off some of the guitar's volume I could tame the tone back to a mellower state. With the tone knob pushed back the tone became bassier and boomier but without loosing it's clarity (Sign of a high quality stompbox). Next I tried the Honky Dong through a louder Twin Reverb tone. Not with the amp exactly breaking up, just with an overall louder sound. I left the Stiffy knob at noon and blew through some simple barre chords. Again, the tone was just like that of pushing a tube into natural overdrive. I got greater harmonic content, awesome break-up compression, and stellar overall tonal balance. I didn't matter if I struck down hard or soft, the Honky Dong dished out defined and clear notes every time. I then clicked the pedal off and went back to playing around with more amp settings. I dialed in the amp with more midrange honk, more bass, and less treble. I also rolled down on the reverb and added in the bright switch. I started with the pedal at a low setting first, then an extreme one. In both settings the Honky Dong left my tone be, and at the same time gave it killer sounding grit. The dry no verb signal sounded brilliant! Hands down one of the most attractive rhythm tones I had ever dialed in. I was clear this pedal was a champ at blending in with clean tones. Next came time for pushing the Honky Dong through some big'n'beautiful overdriven amp sounds. I took the Twin Reverb to an unbelievably loud crunch. At first I thought to myself "There is no way this tone is going to get any better." Boy was I wrong. Everything about the tone that made it rock just became bigger and livelier. Soon after this I began to nickname the Honky Dong "The Makes Everything Better" pedal. Seriously, this is the easiest way to explain what this pedal can do to a sound. I was able to convert my Twin Reverb into a scorching screaming Marshall type lead tone. The shaking and bending of notes exploded with second order harmonics, and morphed and changed into magical squeals and feedback. Absolute Rock God stuff. Really it didn't matter what level of overdrive I set the amp to. In the end the pedal just makes everything sound so much better!!! With a little analog delay thrown into the mix things got even better. It was really cool how I was able to go from a clean to a semi-clean, then a light overdrive to medium drive, then to this. It was time for another guitar. I figured my semi-hollow body and buddy's Jazzmaster would do nicely. First the humbucker equipped Hagstrom Viking. I rolled the amp back to a light grit and get the pedal up to push just a tiny bit further. The guitar's thick bucker sound attached itself to the Honky Dong's and created a truly magical sound. I thought of Jimmy Page right away. The more I'd push into the amp's light grit, the better the sound became. Then I set up the ultimate lead tone by switching amps to a Super Lead and using the pedal as the booster. With this setting alone I was able to get everything I needed. The pedal reacts to the guitar's controls so well that you can get everything from semi-cleans to the lead tone you originally set. It's perfect for gigging and for those who don't want many pedals on their boards. Here I also began to play the Honky Dong through some of my favorite overdrive pedals. Man what a treat that was!!! I instantly was able to take every pedal I stacked the Honky Dong up with and make it 10x's better. Then I got hooked and started breaking out all kinds of boxes, from boosters to fuzz. Even some of my not-so-good pedals. Ever plug in a pedal to find you just can't quite get it to do what you want it to? With this you can fix that problem. I plugged the Honky Dong up with an ok sounding overdrive, then put both pedals into an effect looper and used the tone as a preset. Now imagine what that would sound like with the Honky Dong blended with an amazing sounding box. Every type of driver and distortion, fuzz and freakout pedal. This pedal made every single one of them champions. Like I said "The Makes Everything Better" pedal. Really there is no better way to put it. Sometimes you just come across this type of pedal and you are damn lucky to do so. This will certainly become one of those pedals that players collect and hunt down religiously. The Honky Dong is a true timeless creation and a pedal built for the true tone shaping player. Have one of these stunning handmade pedals built for you and see just what I mean when I say "makes everything better".

For more info on these mind blowing little boxes go to You can also click on the El Musico Loco logo in our sidebar for a direct link to the site. We will be looking at more of Chris's pedals so make sure to keep an eye out for that. Until then go out and get a Honky Dong and tell them Analog War Cry sent you.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eminence for the Masses / Patriot Series Part 1

When one thinks "High quality guitar speakers" there are only a few places your mind will take you. Eminence being one of them. The reason for this? It's simple. Just listen to your favorite amplifiers, albums, and artists. You will be sure to find Eminence's stunning speaker designs in all of these places. The number of professional players, producers, amp manufacturers, studios, and everyday rock'n'rollers using Eminence's gear today is mind boggling. For those of you looking to spice'n up and improve your overall sound there is no quicker and easier way to do so than by swapping in a great set of speakers. It doesn't matter if you're hunting down the vintage thing, heavy thing, or all around thing. Eminence has a speaker that will fit your style perfectly. We're gonna be spending some time looking into a couple models from both the Eminence Patriot, and Red Coat series. Starting with two of the Patriot Series finest of the fine. These amazing speakers showed me again why Eminence sits way up high on the list. Now, like I always like to say,"Light'em up and fire away!"


Patriot Series
Canis Major

*Basket Diameter: 12"
*Impedance: 8Ohms
*Watts: 50W
*Frequency Range: 70Hz-4kHz
*Magnet Type: Alnico
*Basket: Pressed Steel
*Cone: Hemp
*Dustcap: Zurette
*Coil Construction: Copper
*Net Weight: 9.3lbs


When reading the description of the Canis Major speakers on the eminence website it says "Clean and full, with lots of body and sparkle. Smokey smooth with high-end definition." This is only the beginning I assure you. Once I got into this badboy, hooked it up and played it, it was clear that the Canis Major was in a class all it's own. This speaker was able to boost all of the little accents, harmonics, and sweet tonal hints that give my sound it's special and unique voicing. Everything about this Eminence speaker, from the construction and materials, to the output quality and versatility was impressive. Running my favorite guitars, pickups, pedals, and cables was an absolute treat through this monster. You can have all the awesome expensive gear in the world. But if you don't have the right tool to push it all out of it won't make a difference what you're playing.

I first hooked the speaker up to a 1x12 open back cabinet, played with a Strat and AC15 based head. I ran the amplifier clean first, with it's eq stack straight up the middle, no bright switch engaged. Right away I noticed lots of clarity and definition in my notes, and a huge sound I could feel in my bones. The quality in the sound of this speaker compared to any stock/factory speaker was like day and night. Eevry note was perfectly round, yet carried twinkling highs, and pushed out mean sounding mids. It was basically giving me the same clarity and smoothness that a 10" speaker would deliver. But with the size and attitude of a great playing 12". Good good stuff. Straight up through a clean tone I was able to hear each note perfectly and with an insane amount of definition. The Stratocaster was the perfect guitar for getting a feel for what the Canis Major was capable of through clean tones. Everything popped and bounced with life and attitude. No matter how soft or how hard I hit the strings, the Canis Major would deliver the same quality on sound and feel. If ever you've wanted one of those super spanky clean, yet super thick'n'heavy blues tones, this is the speaker for the job. You know the tone I mean... that Texas killin' tone. Here I turned up the amp into a slight grit. Right form the get-go I noticed everything I heard through the completely clean tone was still present in the gritty tone. I had the same amount of bass content, punchy mids, and crisp highs. The more I'd push the dirt level, the more rounder and crunchier the tone would become. As if the speaker were adapting to the settings I was dialing in. With the amp pushed full blast the Canis Major was able to hang right in there with no problem. I sliced through lead runs and riffs, played huge chords and chopping rhythms. Every time I got great results. Here I got an idea.... blending this speaker with another cab. So I grabbed something with two ceramic speaker and let them fly. I will say right now, there is nothing better than a good 12" speaker mixed in with another cabinet. This is a great trick for achieving perfectly eq settings. Instantly the Canis Major blended and got along beautifully with the other speaker's character. The pristine, clear tone of the Eminence speaker blended with the harsher ceramic tone did wonders in the overdrive department. This is perfect for on-stage tone blending and recording guitar tracks. I broke out a couple of overdrive pedals, first a TS-808, then a fuzz box. I slammed the amp's tubes with a huge blast of drive and heard the speaker break-up and give nothing but pure un-cut rock and roll. Harmonics, dynamics, and sweet sweet mojo came flying out of the 1x12 cab. The Canis Major handled the overdrive like a true champ! I was able to play any chord structures I felt like playing. From simple to the most complex, and each time I would get stunning results. It almost felt as if I had some eq and compression on the signal. How the speakers moved and pushed air made it seem as if the speaker were alive. Like it could read my thoughts and pick attack. This is literally how good it read my playing dynamics. Now, I don't know about ya'll, and maybe I just have never experienced a speaker of this level. But this was pure magic, and a pure joy. I next plugged into the fuzz pedal and set a mellow, gritty fuzz tone. I also switched guitars here to a Les Paul, and plugged into a 30 watt Matchless style amp that my buddy had put together. I started with the guitar's neck pickup, playing simple slow runs. The Canis Major adapted to the Les Paul like it was no thing at all. I was able to go from poppy, snappy Strat tones, to super smooth, round'n'boomy bucker sounds. In semi-clean settings the speaker delivered some of the coolest sounding low grit tones. The more I spanked the guitar's neck, the more the speaker would break up and deliver crunch. I slowly pushed more drive into the signal and began playing further up the neck. Here is where a lot of speakers and amps don't so well. I have found that when playing certain chords up high on the neck it doesn't sound as good as it does low. It definitely has something to do with how the speaker carries the upper range frequencies. For this speaker is was a walk in the park. I was able to get the same semi-clean and all out overdrive tones by simply striking the strings this way or that. Even with intense fuzz settings the Canis was able to give me tight, defined notes. I also blended in some chorus and vibe pedals to see how the speaker would react to this and got killer results. You may not think it makes a difference what speaker you're playing through certain effects. But I will say through years of playing with different setups and amps in studios I have found that it does matter. A well rounded speaker, something with lots of everything, will always sound best. My chorus, vibe, and tremolo effects all sounded super warm, and super bouncy through this speaker. The alnico magnet really shined here and delivered killer classic tone. In the end I had tried the Canis Major with both an open back and closed back cabinets, overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals, and blended with different cabs. The Canis Major made me smile, growl, and simply made me want to rock out. Finding a well balanced speaker is something that every guitar player hopes he lands in his career as a player. It doesn't matter if you're a pro or dreamer. We all want the best tone possible. None of us wants too much or too little of anything, right? It is only when all of the highs, lows, and mids are living in harmony that we can create a memorable or signature sound. This is what gives us multi-flavors, and how and when our signal will break up. A proper speaker swap is something I've learned that can be a quick and simple upgrade. I recently got into the habit of picking out my speakers the way I choose pickups, pedals, tubes, and strings. The speaker is the voice at the end of tunnel that filters and creates the voice that will be heard through every note struck. The Canis Major is the tool that will get you there.


For more info on the awesome world of Eminence speakers go to There you will find everything under the sun and moon to help you on your tone quest. Make sure to check back in with us for part two of our Patriot Series reviews. Rock on and on and on!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Xotic Effects Custom Shop

To me Xotic Effects has always been one of the few companies that has never needed an introduction. If ever there were a collection of pedals that speak for themselves it is the Xotic Effects line. Xotic's Tremendous Trio (BB Preamp, RC Booster, and AC Booster) are some of the world's most used and celebrated stompboxes available today. Pros, producers, and everyday players alike have taken to the awesome power that these three pedals own. Just about every player I know personally and otherwise sports one of the Tremendous Trio pedals in their rigs or setups. The reason for this is their tube-like feel, transparency, and wide range of dirt tones. I honestly thought there was no way to improve on these pedals. Then late last year Xotic announces the new addition of their Xotic Effects USA Custom Shop. The turnout has been an entirely new collection of superbly built, immaculate sounding stompboxes. The first of these Custom Shop champions? The BBP-MB.

BB Preamp w/Mid Boost

  • Capable of +30dB clean boost
  • Adjustable ±15dB two-band EQ
  • Mid Boost provides up to +12dB mid/treb boost
  • Utilizes pre-gain stage / From clean to overdriven
  • True bypass circuit
  • 9VDC power adapter or 9V battery
  • Laser-etched face plate
  • Hand buffed raw aluminum enclosure


Absolutely no frills and no hype here. All 100% pure tasty tone. This is the simplest and most precise way to define this pedal. For those of you who have had the honor of rocking out to the BB-Preamp, just imagine that same pedal's abilities, plus the use of a 12dB mid boost. Having the option of kicking in a great sounding mid boost makes this pedal an entirely new beast. I found the same amount of control in the BBP-MB that I experienced in the original BB-Preamp, and was able to harness the same awesome tones. On board the Custom Shop BBP-MB you will find Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, and Mid-Boost controls. The pedal's awesome design and true bypass circuit provide a top-notch untampered signal. The BBP-MB works great with all types of pickups and amplifier tones, and also gets along beautifully with other pedals.

Whenever demoing a pedal of this caliber it's almost damn near impossible to get bad sounding guitar tone. I started playing around with the BBP-MB through my modified Deville and 60's Strat build. I set the amp up clean, with lots of bass and treble, mids and presence at noon, and a hint of reverb. The root tone came through boomy and with lots of twinkle. I then set the pedal's output to match the amp's, ran the eq stack at noon, gain at around 15%, and mid-boost control rolled back all the way. I engaged the pedal and right away everything became bigger, rounder, and I was able to get a mellow natural sounding light grit. The single coil Strat sound really blossomed and rung out clearly through this pedal. With a little harder pick attack I was able to get more grit and more dynamics, something I always love about a pedal. Chords really sounded awesome through this setting. Each note was balanced, defined, and smooth. Even when I rang out complex chord structures I was able to hear each note and string perfectly. The sign of a great build. I slowly started adding in the mid boost control to see what kind of difference i would get from the original BB-Preamp. With the mid-range control I was able to dial in a much stronger and punchier tone. This control worked great for taking my amp into new frontiers. With the mid-range at about 20%, I could now dig in and really get a thick/medium overdrive tone. The amp kicked out more oohmf and flavor. Making everything overall sound that much better. Next I switched to some humbuckers and ran the Custom Shop BBP-MB with more output and more mids. The pedal's massive amount of output was able to oush my amp's tubes into some of the sweetest sounding grit tones I'd ever heard. Just like the standard BB-Preamp, the sound was smooth, organic, thick, and full of dynamics, harmonics, and response. At medium to high gain settings the pedal was able to deliver great hot-rodded Marshall tones. The mid-range control really helped to push out all the huge crunch and attitude I needed. Next I took the gain control to full blast, balanced out the eq to match my amp's, and dished out a healthy amount of volume. My Deville's clean signal was transformed into an entirely different beast. I am of the type of player that relies ask on pedals for his dirt tones, which if you go about the same way know it can be a tuff task to pull off. This custom shop version of the BB-Preamp is the perfect pedal for adding another channel to any clean amp. The pedal maintains all of your amp's natural character, while able to give everything more life.

After running the pedal through some clean tones I figured it would be a good idea to see what it sounded like through an already overdriven signal. I then plugged the BBP-MB into a slightly dirty Super Lead, and played it with a Les Paul. The amp on it's own was already pushing a quite handsome guitar tone. I started with the set straight up the middle, with just a little bit of gain and mids, and level matched to the amp's. It definitely made a huge difference! It took the amp's already awesome sounding tone and turned into an even better one. The sound reminded me that of a Jimmy Page rhythm tone. A tone that could easily be used for chord work as well as lead runs. The response of the pedal's grit is what really jumped out at me. It took all of the natural smooth grit and grime, and added another layer of complex harmonics and feel. I could strike down on chords and feel the sound exploding all around me. The higher I would go up the neck the more intense the dirt became. When I'd roll back on my guitar's volume control I would also get these pristine, super clear, semi-clean tones. By rolling down some of the tone I was able to take the sound from bright to beautifully dark. It was really something how well this pedal responded to my guitar's controls. Having treb, bass, and mids eq stack also provided me with dialing in some of my favorite classic rock tones. By taking the mids up, lows to about 75%, and treb to 15%. I was able to do the woman tone thing quite nicely. With my guitar's tone knob I was able to make the tone more dramatic and make the tone actually cry. Also by pushing the Super Lead's tubes into a higher crunch tone, then blending in the pedal's overdrive. I was able to get some sweet fuzzy/overdrive sounds. It was really magic how well the pedal compressed and broke up the amp's tone. Before I called it quits I also pushed the BBP-MB through a low watt amp. I plugged in my AC15 style amp and let it fly. The cool thing about my 15 watter is that you can also take it down to 7 watts, which makes for some interesting guitar sounds. I powered down to the 7 watts, cranked that little head a far as it would go, then stacked the pedal right on top of it. Pure rock and roll vibes flew all over the room, creating different toneal colors that exploded with every swing of my pick. The really awesome thing was that I was able to get such an intense rock tone at such a low volume. 7 watts isn't all that little, if you really wanted you could actually gig with 7 watts. It's what happens to a tone at this volume that sounds so cool. The better the pedal, the better the overall sound. At 15 watts is was more of the same only with more punch and versatility. In the end, the Custom Shop BBP-MB was able to provide me with some great recording levels, loud rockin' tones, semi-clean gritty tones, and smooth rhythm heaven. The pedal worked great through both clean and dirty signals, and it was able to provide me with the same quality of tone found in the first BB-Preamp, and able to take me even further. This is definitely not just another of the same pedal with a different paint job on the box. The BBP-MB is an entirely new beast. In no way in hell could you ever go wrong with this pedal. PERIOD!


For more info on Xotic Effects go to or click the direct link on our sidebar. We have lots more awesome features from this Xotic Effects so make sure to check in soon. We will be looking deeper into the Custom Shop stuff and rest of the Xotic line. Rock on!!!!