Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hello, his name is FELIX!

Gear of this quality is always a blessing to come across, especially when one is an acoustic guitar player. Years and years of trial and error have tuned me to the do's and don't of playing acoustic instruments live on stage. While there are many amazing mic preamps out there designed to give you great microphone sounds both in and out of the studio - And rack mount gadgets, pedals, and amps for building just about every sound imaginable for your electric instrument needs. The same does not fly when speaking on acoustical platforms. When out hunting for great sounding gear that is truly built for your acoustic needs the pickings can be slim. As a acoustic guitar player and mainly singer/song writer the past decade I have personally had trouble finding great sounding and simple to use preamps to gig with live. What if all we acoustic playing cats could get something in a pedal format that doesn't act like just any other pedal, but instead like a proper pro level piece of gear? Thanks to the minds at Grace Design the game has just changed and this answer has been made clear. May I introduce you to FELIX - the best buddy your acoustic tone will ever have.


2-Channel Acoustic Preamplifier 

Features/Controls (Top Panel)
  • Gain Controls (ch 1 & 2)
  • Signal/Clip LED Indicator (ch 1 & 2)
  • High Pass Filter / Notch Filter (ch 1 & 2)
  • Low Frequency Shelving Cut and Boost (ch 1 & 2)
  • Parametric Midrange Cut and Boost (ch 1 & 2)
  • Parametric Midrange Frequency Select (ch 1 & 2)
  • Parametric Midrange Q Factor (ch 1 & 2)
  • High Frequency Shelving Cut and Boost (ch 1 & 2)
  • Boost Level (Global)
  •  Mix Control
  • A/B Footswitch
  • Boost Footswitch
  • Amp/Tuner/Headphones - Output Level
  • Mute/Tune - Footswitch

Features/Controls (Back Panel)

  •  Universal 100-240VAC Power Input
  • Ground Lift Switch
  • DI Output (ch 1 & 2)
  • DI Output Source Select (ch 1 & 2)
  • DI Output Line/Mic Level Select (ch 1 & 2)
  • External Footswitch Input
  • Amp Out
  • Tuner Out
  • Effects Insert
  • Amp Source Select Switch
  • Ch 1 Input Mic/Line Switch
  • Ch 1 Mic Input
  • Line Inputs (ch 1 & 2)
  • Input Impedance Select (ch 1 & 2)


Features/Controls (Side Panel)

  • Dip Switch Location Diagram
  • Ch 1 48V Phantom Power
  • Phase Reverse (ch 1 & 2)
  • DIP Switch Controls
  • 1/8 Mini Headphone Jack


Just looking at this masterpiece of a pedal can be intimidating. I found myself stunned at the shear beauty of the FELIX! Honestly I had no idea what to expect at first, and once I made up my mind to just plug in and go, the picture of what this little baby was capable of was very clear. Anyone with a little know how and bit of patience will quickly find themselves mastering the very unique and superbly beneficial qualities of this pedal. I chose to run the FELIX through it's paces in a couple different scenarios - One being out in a live setting where was able to hear what the pedal was capable of from an audience standpoint - Also from a studio arena where I was able to really dig in and fiddle around with every knob, button, and switch. I also plugged in for some recording sessions but more on that later. As I mentioned before, a little noodling around with the FELIX and you find yourself in acoustic tone heaven. Let's get into just how this pedal was able to bring us sheer tonal heaven.

First I tried the Felix at home both through my little studio setup and monitors, then later had it tested in a live on stage. My go-to acoustic guitar is my Alvarez DY-38, an amazing under rated acoustic that has always delivered in more ways than one. On board my guitar has an LR Baggs I-Beam saddle pickup and at the moment I'm using a DiMarzio DP-136 Super Natural soundhole pickup. I also ran the pedal without the soundhole pickup and switched it for a couple different microphones. I began with one channel at a time to get myself too overwhelmed with the pedal. Learning one section of the pedal at a time is how I recommend anyone should learn what the Felix can offer and is capable of. I began with channel one carefully adjusting my gain control. The clip led was really helpful with letting me find my sweet spot. Next I dove into the amazing eq system onboard. With the cut and boost features for both the high and low, I was able to get a quick and great sounding foundation for where I was to take the overall tone. I found both these controls capable of delivering many different types of sounds, but most important able to shape the natural tone of my guitar where it needed to and sounded best. I then began fiddling with the mid controls of the pedal, and this is where I found so much magic! Having a high quality parametric midrange section I could control at my fingertips was like something out of a fairy tale. I had the option to cut or boost my basic midrange tone, then with the find which midrange frequency worked best with my pickup and guitar through the pedal's frequency select switch, and last dial in my high mids with the Q factor control. You might be saying to yourselves right now, "Wow, all that, really?" Yes all that control and it didn't end there. I moved on to the next channel where I was able to dial in an entirely different and equally as stunning sound for my acoustic. The feature works great for many reasons. 1. To simply have a different tone for your guitar, which gives you access to another sound at the stomp of a switch. This came in handy when I layered some guitar recordings. 2. It's great for when you have more than one guitar with you on stage and each one needs it's own special attention. And 3. If you're an experimental cat like myself, can set the second channel with effects to switch in and out of for your guitar. All in all very cool stuff. The quality of a couple quick recordings is what keeps coming into mind, I couldn't write enough good things about how easy it was for me to get my guitar sounding top notch. I've played with so many different pedals, rack equipment, plugins, mics, preamps, etc... And this little pedal was by far the easiest and quickest way to achieve high quality tone all in a compact stompbox format. Genius if you ask me! And still it isn't over yet, the pedal still delivered in many more ways. Another great feature the Felix delivers on is it's ability to blend channels A & B for an ultimate supermondo "who's your daddy?" acoustic sound. Here is where I began messing with my soundhole pickup and B3 microphone. Having landed on a tone I was happy with in channel 1 for my saddle pickup, I know focused the 2nd channel into shaping something for the soundhole pickup to deliver on. Here I once again discovered how useful the highpass filter feature came in handy. For those for those of you who play with or have played with soundhole pickups you know how much of a nightmare dialing in and cutting out certain frequencies can be. My DiMarzio is great, don't get me wrong. But on certain stages, when playing with certain instruments, sometimes it can start acting funny. The amazingly kickass quality of this pedal's preamps and it's insanely cool eq system made my little soundhhole pickup sound like a million bucks. When blended with the first channel I got out of my guitar a sound so huge and beautiful I was blown back into disbelief. Setting the pedal from A/B mode, to Mix Mode, and so on was super easy too. With the dip switches on the side on the Felix I was able to move back and fourth without any confusion. For some more flavor I finally ended my man handling of this pedal by running the 2nd channel through a Studio Projects B3 mic and a SM-81 Sure mic. Both mics sounded great. The pedal is extremely user friendly and played well with every piece of gear I through at it. I was able to get crisp'n'clean acoustic tones great for that shiny bright guitar sound - boomy punchy acoustic tones for some more country, blues, and folk sounds - and some really impressive in your face chunky'n'fat tones for completely rocking my butt off. Recorded it sounded killer, mixed with other instruments you can really hear where this pedal/preamp separates itself from the rest. It gave me a wide range of options to play with and sounded fantastic through every guitar I've plugged into it.

 My next encounter with the Felix was through listening to it's beauty from the standpoint of the audience. I was able to accompany my friend and his band to their sound check which gave me an idea of how easy and quickly a good tone is attainable live on stage. The venue itself had a decent sized room and my buddy had a proper sized band behind him. The band consisted of electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, keys, and acoustic guitar. I played in a band of this exact makeup back some years ago and always had such a bitch of a time finding simple ways to achieve really good onstage sound for my acoustic guitar. At the sound check I could very easily hear just how high quality the preamps in this pedal were. The guitar used was a D-15 series Martin dreadnought with a LR Baggs pickup system. My partner also used the second channel to blend in a SM-57 microphone for the ultimate sound. With the pickup system alone we were able to dial in a really good acoustic sound - the Felix's high quality preamp and EQ system made it pretty easy to quickly find a great overall root tone. The capabilities of the pedal's EQ system is unlike anything I've ever seen before on a piece of gear this compact. On stage my buddy Steve was quick to dial in an impressive sound that stayed with him for the entire night. Song after song I enjoyed hearing the clarity the Felix was able to push, and amazed at how loud the guitar was capable of rising without feedback or unwanted frequencies. Here is where we tested out the boost option, which was so cool and so necessary! How many times have you been playing a gig when you suddenly realize your band is going into a 5 minute exit jam? Both Steve and I were impressed from the beginning of the sound check to the end of the gig.

Anyone who has gigged as an acoustic guitar player or has had acoustic guitars in their band knows the trouble of dialing in a great tone. Either the house/club/venue you're playing just doesn't have proper preamps, the sound guy isn't very friendly, your acoustics pickups won't play nicely, and the list goes on an on. With an electric guitar you simply plug in and play, and if any adjustments need to made you just reach back at your amp and tweak away. Same with guitar pedals. With the Felix I was able to get the simplicity of a stompbox and the quality of a professional piece of equipment. This is what makes the Felix such a kickass piece of gear. The only other thing I can say about listening to the Felix live from a stage is that it kicked major ass. I could definitely hear the difference and my buddy was absolutely sold. Not only did the rest of my friends band agree that they were able to hear their acoustic guitar more clearly, but the it made the sound guy's job easier which had him singing the pedal's praises as well. Since having the Felix I have played around with putting it through bass guitars, stand-up bass guitars, keyboards, and have played around with using it to mic up different instruments. It doesn't fail to deliver in any area so far and I doubt it ever will. It's a no brainer with this baby. I'm yet to see anything like it on the market and nothing like it has every come into the blog's hands. I give you guys at Grave Design two thumbs up for sure. Keep on rocking the crazy cool gear and please keep on letting us at AWC run it through it's paces.


For more info on the Felix or Grace Designs go to

Friday, November 6, 2015

Xotic Effects New Limited Edition Pedals

Contact your nearest Xotic dealer to order: 

Xotic Effects announces the release of the new Limited Edition RC Booster Scott Henderson model.  This package will be limited to only 1,500 chrome and 1,500 copper pieces worldwide! 
Designed in conjunction with jazz fusion and blues guitarist Scott Henderson, the RC Booster will come with a free download card of Scott's new CD "Vibe Station" and certificate of authenticity along with special packaging.
Same as a regular RC Booster
Chrome editions will ship on 11/20 and Copper editions will ship in December to Xotic dealers all over the world.
  • Channel 1 Gain, Channel 2 Gain, Treble, Bass and Volume configuration
  • True Bypass Switching
  • Can be powered with Battery or 9/18 volts power adapter
  • Gain 1 or 2 footswitch, Bypass footswitch
  • Compact chrome or copper case
  • LED Indicators

Thursday, October 1, 2015

News and Updates. Oct 2015

New from CE Distribution 
ApexTM Tube MatchingTM

CE Distribution is pleased to announce Apex Tube Matching - a new proprietary state-of-the-art power tube matching system. ApexTM Tube Matching is performed entirely in-house on our brand new custom-built tube matching system using our custom-designed software testing and matching methodology. What this means is we are not matching your tubes on inferior matching hardware or using outdated equipment. Rather, we are using state-of-the-art equipment designed and built to our specifications using our years of experience in the music industry. Our systems are highly robust and extremely accurate, measuring current and voltage to provide the best possible matching for our tubes. These systems are a result of many, many years of experience and an incredible amount of planning, design, prototyping and testing, resulting in the best tube matching available in the entire industry. We know you'll find our tube matching exceeds your expectations in every way! Power tubes are electrically matched so each tube will have the same amount of “idle” plate current and amplification characteristics when plugged into an amplifier. This is done so the tubes can work together in your amp giving you optimal sound quality and tube longevity. Matched tubes also receive extra quality checks to reduce the possibility of getting a faulty power tube that may have slipped by the manufacturer. ApexTM Matched Tubes are a product of CE Distribution, LLC and are available exclusively through CE Distribution and its authorized retailers. For more detailed information, please visit.


New From MOD tm Kits DIY
The Suspended Chime

The Suspended Chime pedal kit is the first multiprocessor kit offered by MOD tm Kits DIY. The Suspended Chime has two effects in one pedal - chorus and chorus/delay. 

The Suspended Chime features a blend knob which allows you to go from subtle to lush chorus effect in either setup. Using the selector switch, you can add a 190 millisecond delay to the chorus introducing special depth to your tone. Varying the dry/wet mix can fatten your rhythms or produce a shimmering 12-string sound. The Suspended Chime kit comes equipped with an LED indicator and industry standard 9 volt center negative power jack.

MOD tm Kits and Assemblies are designed to give novice and experienced musicians the opportunity to build or modify their own amps, effects pedals and guitars. All kits come with easy to follow instructions and use pint to point wiring. All effect oedaks abd amplifiers come with a pre-drilled enclosure and all necessary parts are included. All you need to provide are hand tools, a soldering iron and solder. The effect pedal operates on a 9V battery for longer lasting option. A 9V adapter can be purchased separately.

For  a complete listing of kits available and sound samples from MOD tm Kits DIY go to the link below.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Who Said Fuzzing Wasn't Easy?

Vintage FX is one of the first pedal companies I got friendly with when I first started my blog. It quickly became a favorite and I even served on their artist roster back when I was still gigging religiously. Dave Archer has a passion for building these little boxes that rivals anyone in the scene. I mean anyone who's down to work with The Warlocks (Heavy Deavy Skull Fuzz) is way too cool for school! Below is his take on the very popular and super hip Mosrite Fuzzrite, a pedal that dates back to the psychedelic days of the 60's. I've used this pedal on my boards for heavy gigs and every time it's turned heads and popped cherries. When plugging into a fuzz box it's got to be serious biz and even more serious fuzz... this pedal meets those qualifications with flying colors.



  • Machined aluminum knobs
  • Sturdy 1590BB style enclosure
  • Super bright LED indication
  • True bypass - 3PDT switch
  • Third stage added for increased volume/sustain
  • Silicon/Germanium hybrid
  • 9vdc Standard style adapter jack
  • Based of the Mosrite Fuzzrite of the 60's


There's nothing like a simple great sounding fuzz pedal. One without complex or odd controls, simple to use, and delivers when it counts the most. The Fuzzriot is probably one the easiest plug-in-and-go fuzz pedals I've ever encountered. It's as easy as grabbing your favorite guitar and finding the amount of grit'n'grime you want, dial in the tone, and match levels to your jam session or show. I was fortunate to have had the chance to gig with this pedal a number of times and used it in some recording sessions as well. My go-to guitar is and always has been my Tele with neck humbucker, but the Fuzzriot really sounded amazing through Strat's, Les Paul's, and P90 style guitars! Going through the controls you'll notice it's pretty freaking easy to figure this pedal. The Volume knob regulates the amount of output you want from the overall sound of the pedal. The Tone knob is actually really special! Sometimes fuzz boxes can slightly color your tone both in the bright and low areas, sometimes this is wanted and sometimes not. The tone control on this pedal gets you right where you need to be without stealing the tone you've worked so hard to get, but it can send you off into new adventures with just a twist of the knob, matching or making your tone something different. The Depth knob is superbly killer. Dave created this pedal as a germanium/silicon hybrid, meaning the fuzz effect is tight and blurty as hell. I enjoyed using this pedal in low depth levels already in some sort of mild overdrive. This gave me the perfect rhythm guitar sound for kickass rock and roll tones. It sounds great in a band setting pushing the bass player's sound and doesn't cut through the vocals or drowns out the drums. In higher fuzz levels this pedal can hijack a room and send jam sessions and gigs into a spiral of psychedelic bliss. There's a sustain you get from this pedal that seems top last forever, blend it in the right and you got something really epic. Higher fuzz levels can be easily manipulated and can be bent to create the strangest undertones, screeches, and howls. It's all good! Grab your favorite guitar and amp, plug in and play, enjoy and create. God bless this silver little box. 

For more info on the Fuzzriot and Vintage FX go to or just click the banner!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Green Forrest Comp - Making the world a better place

There's a reason why the Mad Professor has been around so long. I imagine some long white haired old man sitting behind a collection of giant fluorescent tubes and lightening, creating taboo music devices for the masses. With every new invention he'd hoop, jump, and click his heels as if to have lost his mind. Then presto! The perfect pedal. And it's that easy my dear readers.


Forrest Green Compressor

* Supply Voltage Range: 9 to 18VDC 
* Current Consumption @ 9VDC: 14ma
* Input Inpedance: 1 M Ohm's
* Output Impedance: 20K Ohm's
* True Bypass: Max input -10dBV Ohm's - Hardwired true bypass
* Level: Comp Mode controls overall level and can be used as booster. Sustain Mode controls sustain
* Compr: Sets the amount of compression and sustain
* Tone: Used to fine-tune compressed sound with great transparency
* Comp/Sustain Switch: Comp Mode standard compressor - Sustain Mode attack sustained for great dynamics


So any compressor addict is gonna know the origins of the magnificent pedal, but for those of you a little newer to the game the Forrest Green Compressor is the cousin of the super popular and limited numbered BJFE Pine Green Comp. Like the it's kin the FGC is very transparent and packs the ability to deliver insanely cool dynamics. You can get boost capabilities with this pedal but where it really shines is in it's compression talents. I got to put this pedal through a few of my favorite amps and guitars, the outcome was short of perfection!

By far the best combo was a my modded Fender Deville and Tele with neck humbucker. I'm a big fan of the spanky Tele sound and this pedal was able to take it to another level. Most compressors will drain your sound of dynamic and feel, which makes your playing suffer. The FGC beautifully kept my dynamics intact while at the same time tightening and creating blooming chords. Another area this pedal thrives in is in it's ability to keep your original tone transparent and true to the core. A lot of compressors tend to eat away at your tone when cranking them up or blending them with certain amps tones and other pedals. I have a sound I've created called The Screaming Banshee which consists of a great compressor and a few others pedals I won't give up,. The Forrest Green Compressor gets along in that situation like gold. Guitars players forget how much they an actually get out of a great compressor, and this why I always try and push my buddies into experimenting with as many combinations as possible. You find a good comp to throw on your board and the results are like having a new pedalboard, capable of new heights. Then we come to the boost capabilities of this pedal. By cranking the Level knob the FGC will hand you close to 100% untainted boosts, and it does this without very little noise even at really high levels. Finally there's my favorite feature, the Compression/Sustain Switch. This little buddy of a switch kicks the pedal into two different modes; In Comp mode the pedal dishes out high ration levels. This lets you smash your notes into the pavement, creating really amazing tones and sounds! The sustain in this setting also thrives helping you get the most out of any note or chord. In Sustain mode the pedal creates more subtle compression effects which work great for just about any situation. Overall the pedal just does a great job, like all Mad Professor pedals they sound nice and play well with others. Do yourself a favor and go out and try this little gem!


For more info on Mad Professor go to the links below or just click the banner on the site.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

News: Analog Alien releasing new pedal!

Analog Alien is proud to announce the release of it's first single effect guitar pedal in the Fall of 2015. The Bucket Seat is the junior version of the already released and supremely popular Rumble Seat. The official release of the Bucket Seat will be on October 15, 2015. MSRP will be at a super affordable $199 USD.

The Bucket is the same Rumble Drive circuit that is found in our 5-star pedal the Rumble Seat - which is herald by artists like James Burton (Elvis Presley), Stevie Wonder, and Joe Walsh (James Gang, The Eagles, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band). Everything from mild overdrive to a full on high assault is possible with the Bucket Seat.
The sound of the Bucket Seat is never harsh or brittle. It has a smooth break up and retains a lot of the guitar's dynamics even at high overdrive settings. Adjustments can be made on the output, tone, and gain controls.

For more info on Analog Alien please follow the links below. 
Twitter/Instagram: @analogalien
Hashtags: #fuzzbuble45 #alientwister #rumbleseat #analogABS #JWDC #bucketseat

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Staying True to your Tone

I'm stoked to be back and super stoked to do so with this awesome and very popular pedal from our friends at Xotic Effects. I'm sure many of you have had experience with the "Tremendous Trio" that is the BB Preamp, AC Booster, and this here champ of a stompbox the RC Booster. The Reason behind these pedals success is simple - great tone! I have been fortunate to have had the chance to try just about every Xotic Effects pedal out there, and to this day I can honestly say I have not been disappointed. What makes these pedals such winners isn't a ton of bells and whistles, it's their simplicity and straight to the point control layout. Combine any of these pedals with a proper amp, your favorite guitar, and they will make your already cherished tone that much better. The RC Booster does exactly this and does it with it's own heavenly tonal touch. Let's take a closer look shall we? 


RC Booster

  • Active Treble, Bass, Gain, and Volume controls allow for limitless tone shaping.
  • 20dB+ of transparent clean boost, with +- 15db 2 band active EQ.
  • Solution to sound degradation caused instrument cables and/or long effect chains.
  • True bypass for eliminating any signal interference when switched off.
  • Can be used with AC adaptor (optional) or 9V Battery.


So what does the "RC" stand for you ask? It stands for "Real Clean", meaning this pedal will keep your sound pure and sweet. This isn't to say the RC Booster isn't capable of some gritty goodness cause it is. Whether it's boosting your already spanking clean tone to a higher level or taking that clean tone to the next plateau - the RC Booster will do it and do beautifully. On board this pedal you will find controls for Gain, Volume, Bass, and Treble. The gain on this pedal being splendid! The RC Booster makes it easy to boost your clean signals, boost those slightly gritty tube amp tones, or use it to straight out slam the front-end of any amp or already overdriven tone to get some even hairier tones, all with no problem. The volume control will keep your tone in it's original state from the lowest of settings to it's highest levels. You can dish out anywhere up to 20dB's of juice, and with it's bass and treble controls the RC Booster gives you the choice to either boost or tame your high and low frequencies, helping adapt this pedal to any room or venue. 

I went ahead and tested this pedal through everything from very clean tones, crunchy'n'grimy rhythms, and through allout overdriven tube amps. Each time was a gift. I began with a clean AC 15 based amp and a Stratocaster. I first set my amp to a punchy thick clean sound then carefully matched the pedal's character to the tone. I set the pedal with it's gain as low as possible, it's volume slightly hotter to the amp's output, and the treble and bass controls just a hint more pronounced than the amp's root tone. I played through some licks with the pedal off - then with it engaged. Engaged my tone stayed perfectly intact and came through with more power and attitude. The feeling of my tone while playing through the RC Booster is what stood out the most. I could feel my little amp thumping at my back, feet, and at the walls. Some boosters and overdrive pedals can deaden your sound, or even worse take it in a completely different direction. This pedal does not do this. What it does instead is enhances all the natural amp and guitar's character already existing in your sound. If your thing is big'n'boomy - it gets bigger and boomier. If you like that silky smooth spank - you get mucho more. And if you like slamming your favorite amp into ear drum slpitting goodness - this is the perfect pedal. The super spanky and bouncy Strat characteristics flowing from my guitar only became that much sweeter when stacked up with the RC Booster. I went from pickup setting to pickup setting and got great results each time. All across the guitar's settings the pedal was able to pull from them their very best. Rolling up the gain control the pedal began to heat up the amp's signal creating more grit and more grime. By tapering back the treble control and adding in some of the bass - the pedal was able to give my Stratocaster a warmer thicker tone. This worked nicely when playing through overdriven and high gain tones, making lead tones much more powerful. I also cranked my little 15 watt amp to a beautiful creamy crunch. I began using the RC Booster as a typical booster, but as I rolled up the pedal's volume and gain I started noticing I was able to get some very new and interesting sounds from my amp. The fully overdriven on it's own really only gets me so far, which is a perfect classic low/med driven sound. With the pedal boosting the signal I could get some really over the top grit. But one of my favorite tricks this pedal does well is it's ability to act as a buffer. For those of you who run long cables and lots of pedals you simply leave this pedal at the front of your chain with it's bass and treble controls at noon and wahlah! Overall the RC Booster is a great simple pedal perfect for pushing our tight, neat, transparent tones. If you're looking for something quick and simple to get the job done outright, go with this puppy, you won't be sorry.


For more info on the RC Booster or Xotic Effects go to or click the Xotic logo in our links section. Stay tuned for some more on Xotic and it's current line of effects.