Until recently using a pedal for heavy styles of music wasn’t a possibility for any serious guitarist. The only options available were thin, fizzy and just plain old cheap sounding. An amp was the only way to go. While some people will always swear by an amp for their heavy distortion tones, pedal designs have come a long way in recent years and there are now a number of great options for someone wanting to use a pedal for their heavy distortion tones. In this video I discuss and demonstrate a handful of of them. Among them are:
Each has its own sound, but all are worthwhile pedals to look into if you are looking for a high gain distortion pedal.
The MXR M-116 is the highest gain model of the four, while the HBE Full Metal Jacket is the lowest gain model. In my opinion the Full Metal Jacket is also the most versatile since it sounds great at virtually any setting and can cover a lot of genres. The Emma is in my opinion the best sounding of the bunch, but is also the priciest. As you might hear in the first set of clips, the Bloody Mary lacks much bite until the Gain knob is set past around 1 o clock/60%.
I’m not the greatest metal player in the world, so take the clips played at face value
For the demo’s all pedals have been set to be as flat as possible – all EQ’s are centered, level knobs are set to similar output levels, so we’re mostly demo-ing the gain controls. The point of this video is to compare and contrast metal pedals, not to give a thorough overview of each pedal.
The Keeley Electronics Overdrive was just released. In this video I highlight some of the features and demonstrate a number of different settings to help give a good overall idea of the tones you can get from the Keeley OD.
The Keeley Overdrive features two tone circuits, which doubles the amount of tones you can get out of it. One circuit (the Classic side) gives you Fender and Marshall type tones, while the other circuit (Modded side) gives you more modern sounding, higher gain OD tones. I’m unaware of an overdrive that’s this compact (the size of a small MXR pedal), with this wide of tonal range – everything from classic lower gain blues tones all the way to more classic rock and rock tones are possible.
If you’re looking for an overdrive that’s compact, versatile, transparent with virtually no excess noise, the Keeley OD is definitely one of the best options out there!
In this video, I’m sticking to just rhythm playing since I’m a rhythm guy – sorry in advance to those who want to hear solos.
You can use virtually any effect you’d like to with the Ebow to create your own sound. I also use overdrive, reverb and a volume pedal at times when playing the Ebow. Volume pedals are nice for controlling the dynamics as well as doing volume swells. The most fun comes with trying out different effects and combinations of effects together. Get creative and see what you can do!
Techniques: In the video below, I demonstrate a few different basic techniques to consider when playing the Ebow. You’ll almost always want to play the Ebow on the neck pickup since it’s the easiest to control. The proximity to the pickup will greatly affect the volume and dynamics of the Ebow. Be careful when getting close to the pickup – the volume can spike VERY fast! This is where a compressor comes in handy.
Just about any playing technique you use with your chording hand when playing with a pick can be used with Ebow. You can do hammer-on’s, pull-off’s, slides, bends (only about 1/2 note bends though due to the size of the Ebow’s rails).
I also demonstrate in the video the differences between the harmonic and standard modes on the Ebow (older versions of the Ebow only have the standard mode). Both are very useful and you can even switch between the two as you play. The harmonic mode will give very controllable amp-like feedback sounds. Another technique you can use for ambient type sounds is to gently push down on the Ebow so that the drive channel of the Ebow briefly touches the string. This causes some added noise and vibration that with a little bit of practice you may find quite useful.
For a fairly lengthy list of musicians and songs which use the Ebow check out Ebow’s Artists page.
The Ebow (short for electronic bow) is one of my favorite guitar effects. I’ve used one for years and nearly every time I use it people will ask me “what was that thing?!”
How it works:
The Ebow utilizes a 9v battery that creates a magnetic field which vibrates the string allowing you to get notes that will sustain endlessly. There are two “rails” on the outer edges of the Ebow that rest on the strings on either side of the string you want to play, so you can smoothly and easily move the Ebow back and forth closer and further away from the guitar pickup.
By doing this you can achieve sounds similar to a violin, use it as an ambient effect, use it for solos, and more. Check out www.ebow.com for more in depth information and demonstrations on the Ebow.
For a fairly lengthy list of musicians and songs which use the Ebow check out Ebow’s Artists page.
Also, check out my other video for more on playing techniques with the Ebow and also some effects that I like to use with the Ebow.
Anybody who’s played guitar for awhile knows that changing an old, worn set of strings to a new set makes your guitar sound like a new instrument. While this isn’t the most glamorous topic in the world, it’s one that’s often overlooked by guitarists of all experience levels. Putting a fresh set of strings on your guitar or bass is a very quick, easy and inexpensive way to make your guitar sound immensely better!
In this video I demonstrate the difference between an old set of strings (which had been on the guitar for about 5 to 6 months) and a new set. The strings used are Elixir Phosphor Bronze 11-52. You’ll hear a fuller and louder tone from the new strings as well as more high end, more presence and longer sustain on the new set.
If you’re unfamiliar with Elixir strings, they’re made with a protective coating that allows them to last 3-5 times longer than an average non-coated string. They also have a smoother feel to them when playing. Not everyone likes this, but most people do. While they do cost about 2 times more than the average non-coated string, they’re still a great value since they allow your guitar to sound great for a significantly longer time. And if you’re anything like me between being either busy or lazy (or a combination of both) you probably don’t change your strings nearly as often as you should.
If possible try to watch this video on a computer with good speakers as the differences aren’t nearly as obvious if listening with lesser quality speakers.
T-Rex Engineering has recently released a handful of new pedals that are a great addition to their already fantastic line. Check all of the links below for video demonstrations.
Mudhoney II Dual Distortion – The Mudhoney II is essentially two of T-Rex’s popular Mudhoney in a single pedal. Each with it’s own Tone, Gain, and Level controls as well as their own “Normal/Boost” switches. Price: $279 – free shipping in the USA!
Octavius Tri-Tone Generator – Use it as a traditional “Octave down” effect, add in an “Octave up” tone and mix both with the original guitar tone to your exact preference. Additionally there’s a boost switch for even more functionality and options in a single pedal. Price: $279 – free shipping in the USA!
Tonebug Chorus Flanger -One of the latest in T-Rex’s Tonebug series. As its name implies, it combines Chorus and Flanger into a single compact stompbox. And at a price that’s very competitive for a T-Rex product. Price: $149 – free shipping in the USA!
Tonebug Phaser – Just in the door in the last 48 hours, this is another great Tonebug pedal. Choose from “Modern” or “Vintage” with the flip of a switch for a huge variety in phase options. Price: $149 – free shipping in the USA!
I created a video awhile back touching on some of the differences between Phase & Flange effects. My intent was to give a basic view of these two effects (ie, not scientific). I’m using the MXR M-101 Phase 90 and the MXR M-152 Micro Flanger re-issue pedals to demonstrate the differences.
For more in depth information into some of the science behind the differences in phasing and flanging, check out the following articles:
The Red Witch Medusa is back! The Medusa was originally released in December 2004 as a very limited run. Since then there’s been a lot of demand and requests for the Medusa to be included in Red Witch’s line-up. As usual, Ben from Red Witch takes classic effects (in this case Chorus and Tremolo) and gives us a new twist. Check out the video below from Red Witch describing some of the Medusa’s features in more depth. Currently in stock with free shipping in the USA!
We’ve just added DLS Effects to our product line-up and I’m very excited to have them on board! DLS Effects are some of the best effects you can buy and that’s no exaggeration. They currently feature five models:
They’re well thought out, made with very high grade components and sound simply fantastic. All of their effects have stereo outputs which is a nice option, but the best part of their stereo outputs is that one is voiced slightly differently than the other. It’s a minimal difference, but when using the outs together the difference adds a warmth and dimension that you typically just don’t hear with other effects with stereo outs
If the features, design and build quality don’t convince you, maybe their list of Artists using their effects will push you over the edge.
We have all of their models except for the Chorus-Vib in stock (they’re releasing a new version of the Chorus-Vib that we’ll stock once it’s available). All models ship free in the USA!
Seymour Duncan Pickups Seymour Duncan pickups aren’t exactly a secret, but that said we just became a dealer in the past couple of weeks for them. Despite the fact that they’ve been around for a long time and have products that are as old as the company they’re also known for constantly designing new pickups, features, etc. that push the boundaries of the guitar and bass. A couple of my favorite models they’ve come out with:
SHPR-1 P-Rails pickup – this pickup fits in the route of a standard sized humbucker with no retrofitting. Here’s the cool part: it allows you to get authentic single coil tones, P-90 tones and humbucker tones all out of the one pickup. Amazing!
SPH90-1 Phat Cat Humbucker Replacement P-90 – as the name implies, this pickup is a true P-90 pickup, but it’s designed to drop in to a standard sized humbucker route with no modifications. It’s available with both gold and nickel covers. Also, if you’re using these in a pair it comes as a standard wound model and a reverse wound/reverse polarity (Rw/Rp) model. This eliminates the hum you typically get with P-90/single coil pickups, so you get all the P-90 tone in a humbucker size and without the noise!
Check out a full list of what we’ve got in stock here. We’ll be adding more and more of their line in the coming weeks, so if there’s something you’re interested in that we don’t have on hand let us know and we’ll have it in for you shortly. Also, ALL Seymour Duncan pickups ship free anywhere in the USA!