Archive for the "Accessories" Category

NAMM 2014: Planet Waves Guitar Dock

D’Addario/Planet Waves have introduced an interesting new product called the Guitar Dock:

Built with safety and convenience in mind, featuring an adjustable clamp, Planet Waves’ Guitar Dock is a portable, leg-free, lock-on guitar stand that turns any flat surface with an edge into a safe place to set your prized guitar. By utilizing a 360 degree rotatable neck cradle, it allows mounting at any angle, while the durable overmold protects the instrument and mounting surface.

“The Guitar Dock eliminates hassle and worry,” beams Rob Cunningham, Planet Waves Product Manager. “It’s perfect for instances where a conventional stand is not available or convenient.”

The Guitar Dock is available now and retails for $43.85.

With the Guitar Dock’s lightweight, compact, and portable capability, D’Addario continues to inspire creativity and innovate performance.

For more information, please visit www.planetwaves.com.

When I’m working at home, I like having a guitar within arms reach of my desk, and this looks like it’d be a great solution for that application.

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PW-GD-01_detail2

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NAMM 2014: Tortex Jazz III XL and Ultex Jazz III XL

I’ve become a big fan of the Dunlop Jazz III picks, and it looks like Dunlop is expanding that line of picks by adding the Tortex Jazz III XL and the Ultex Jazz III XL. I actually like the smaller size of the regular Jazz III picks, but many people don’t, and these new picks would be a good option for those people. Here are the details from Dunlop’s site:

Tortex Jazz III XL

tortex-jazziii-xl

The Tortex Jazz III XL combines the bright tone and snappy, aggressive attack of Tortex with the superior control, speed, and definition provided by the Jazz III XL shape. Available in five gauges: .73, .88, 1.0, 1.35, 1.5.

Ultex Jazz III XL

ultex-jazziii-xl

The Cult of Jazz III has just inducted its newest member. Long requested by Jazz III disciples, the Ultex Jazz III XL combines the light weight and smooth feel of Ultex with the superior control, speed, and definition provided by the Jazz III XL shape. The larger XL profile is perfect for players who prefer a more standard-sized pick. Features a molded edge for a super quick release. Gauge 1.38.

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NAMM 2014: Elixir Strings Introduces New HD Light Set Co-Designed With Taylor Guitars

Elixir Strings let me know about a new series of strings that they designed in conjunction with Taylor Guitars, the HD Light set:

Anaheim, CA (January 23, 2014), NAMM Show stand #4272, Hall C — Elixir® Strings (www.elixirstrings.com), the pioneer in coated guitar string technology, is taking advantage of Winter NAMM this year to launch its latest string set, HD Light. The product is the result of a deepening collaboration with Taylor Guitars—and, more specifically, master luthier Andy Powers—who wanted to create a custom string set that would bring a bolder, stronger high end and fuller, warmer low end to the revered guitar maker’s newly-redesigned Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium instruments.

Powers felt he could achieve this articulation by creating a unique tension profile at the bridge that allowed greater articulation of the treble strings without overloading the soundboard. “We talked with our friends at Elixir Strings about how the tone of these body shapes could be enhanced by experimenting with string tension,” notes Powers.

The resulting Phosphor Bronze with NANOWEB® Coating set—known as HD Light—beautifully complements the construction of the Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium. “The increased tension of the treble strings improves their articulation, balancing their voice within the mix,” describes Elixir Strings Engineer Justin Fogleman. “What was unexpected is that the interaction of the tension profile with the soundboard also adds to the harmonic content of the bass strings creating a warmer, fuller sound. The articulation of the treble strings, while adding harmonic content at the bass end, provides a bold, well defined voice across all the strings, hence the name, HD Light.”

After experimenting with blending heavier medium gauge strings for the top three (treble) strings with the bass strings of regular light set, Fogleman adds that they found that the optimum gauging for the HD Light set to be .013, .017, .025, .032, .042 and .053.

“The new HD Light sets are perfect for these narrow body style guitars,” Powers adds. “The hand feel is incredibly balanced. Knowing that I was going to get to use this string set actually influenced the way I braced and voiced the guitars because I knew that they would create a unique tension profile.”

In tandem with the launch of the new string set, Taylor has officially announced that all of its most popular steel-string acoustic guitars are now being factory-strung with Elixir Phosphor Bronze Strings with NANOWEB Coating—including HD Light sets on the 300 to 800 Series Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium models—as Taylor’s recommended string of choice.

Offered in both Phosphor Bronze and 80/20 versions, Elixir Strings HD Light sets are now available for any acoustic guitar and priced at $15.99 and $14.99, respectively.

Elixir_HD_Light

 

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NAMM 2014: ProCo Fat Rat

The Rat line of pedals have been popular for years, and it looks like ProCo is adding another new pedal to the line:

ANAHEIM, JANUARY 24, 2014 – RAT, an RHC Holdings Brand, is unveiling its new FAT RAT Guitar Pedal at the 2014 NAMM Show (Booth 4558). Building off the popularity and foundation of the original RAT Pedals, this new model is entirely built in the United States and features complete tonal flexibility through a choice of original or MOSFET clipping circuits.

The MOSFET clipping section in the new pedal provides a subtle smoothing in the upper mids and a more amp-like tone throughout the range of the RAT, without loss of the basic feel of the classic pedal. The new FAT RAT Pedal also features a bass enhancement that increases the bass response, which is perfect for bassists and guitar players who tune down their instruments.  The new pedal will now run on nine- to 18-volts of DC power, for users looking for the best headroom and audio fidelity.  Lastly, the FAT RAT also includes a socketed op-amp, which allows users to easily change between the stock OP07DP and other popular chips.

I’ve read some complaints about the size of the pedal and putting it on a pedalboard, but I suspect that if it sounds good those complaints will go away.

proco-fatrat

Posted in: Accessories, NAMM

NAMM 2014: Ibanez TS808DX

This is an interesting new pedal from Ibanez, the TS808DX:

For over 30 years the Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer has been one of the most popular overdrive pedals in the world. The unmistakable little green stomp box has been a perennial favorite, cherished by rocks most celebrated guitarists for it’s warm, creamy tone and unequivocal responsiveness. Now Ibanez has expanded the palette of “The Screamer” with the new TS808DX.

Simply put, this new version is two pedals in one: A true TS808 Overdrive, featuring the JRC4558D IC for that signature soft, subtle clipping sound, and a boost circuit, capable of adding up to 20db at the tap of a switch. The pedal incorporates two individual, true bypass switches for total independent control, allowing the Overdrive and the Booster to be used separately or in conjunction with each other. Add the Boost for a few extra db while playing through the Overdrive circuit, or just engage the booster on its own for that little extra lift while playing clean.

A toggle switch allows for the choice of placing the Boost Pre or Post the Overdrive section and a rear panel switch offers the option of 9-volt or 18-volt operation, It’s the Screamer you know and love, taken to a whole new level.

•Overdrive and Booster in one box
•Overdrive : Overdrive, Tone and Level controls
•Booster : Boost, Switch for Pre Overdrive / Post Overdrive
•True Bypass
•Voltage Switch : 9volt / 18volt
•Power Supply: One 9 Volt Battery or external AC adapter AC509 (sold separately)

A TS808 and a boost pedal in one? I think this pedal will have a future home on my pedalboard.

TS808DX

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NAMM 2014: Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz Dirty Donny Edition

Another new entry by Dunlop: the Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz Dirty Donny Edition:

The Swollen Pickle™ Jumbo Fuzz Dirty Donny Edition serves up the same burly high-gain fuzz as the full-sized Swollen Pickle but in a more petite package, featuring a simplified control set up and a corpulently cool new paint job.

The Dirty Donny Edition retains six of the Mark II’s seven controls, and they’re all on the front of the pedal, so you can tune the portly saturation to your mad heart’s content without any fuss. The Sustain control takes you from mild crunch to burning Armageddon, while the Filter control lets you finely sculpt your fuzz tone, and the Loudness control has enough volume on tap to force the surrender of a Panamanian dictator. The Scoop control can elicit the classic Swollen Pickle mid scoop or a flat mid-frequency sweep, the Crunch knob adjusts the compression intensity of the fuzz, and the Clip control varies between two sets of clipping diodes for smooth or opened fuzz sustain.

To top it off, this pedal is emblazoned with limited edition artwork from legendary rock artist Dirty Donny.

I like that this limited edition moves the internal trim pots to the outside to make it easier to shape the tone.

SwollenPickleJumboFuzzDirtyDonnyEdition-11

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NAMM 2014: MXR FET Driver

Dunlop has announced an interesting new pedal called the MXR FET Driver:

Featuring a unique circuit design, the MXR FET Driver captures the rich, creamy sound of an overdriven tube amplifier by cascading an op-amp gain stage into a FET stage. The FET Driver thickens up lead tones with musical, amp-like distortion and sustain without the fragility and inconsistency associated with tubes.

The FET Driver features a simple but responsive set of controls. Set your volume level with the Output control, and then use the Drive control to dial in the grit, from subtle soft-clipping to early stage distortion. Fine tune the FET Driver’s sound by tweaking Hi and Lo boost/cut controls, and push the Hi Cut switch to roll off high end frequencies when playing in high volume situations where excess noise is apparent.

The FET Driver features true bypass switching and comes in a heavy duty metal housing that’s ready for the road.

Dunlop released a Joe Bonamassa signature version of this pedal last year, which got good reviews. I’m glad to see they’ve decided to release it as a non-signature version as well. I’m looking forward to checking this one out.

FETDriver

Posted in: Accessories, NAMM

Review: Ampendage Amp Stands

Kevin Wagg, the owner of Ampendage Industries, contacted me several weeks ago to let me know about his line of amp stands. I’ve long thought about getting an amp stand, but I never really liked the ones that I saw in guitar stores. As a result, I’ve never really used one. Kevin was kind enough to send me a review unit, and I’m really impressed with what he’s building.

Ampendage offers three different models, two of which are solid hardwood and one is made of 3/4″ density MDF. As you can see below, the solid wood models look fantastic. The picture below shows the Teak model, which looks really nice in my music room; a Maple model is also available. The MDF stand has a black finish.

One of the nice things about amp stands is that they angle the speaker more towards your ear, which can be nice if you’re on a stage and want a more direct sound from your amp. I, however, don’t gig, but wanted a way to decouple the speaker from the floor. The angle of the stand pushes the sound right at my head, so I get a clearer picture of my tone.

Kevin advertises a small footprint with these stands, and I can agree. With a width of 14″ and a height of 12″, the amp stand stays out of the way enough to make it usable even in relatively small spaces. Yet, it’s also big enough to handle not only a 12″ combo, but my Mesa TA-15 lunchbox head/12″ cab configuration. I wouldn’t put a large head/cab configuration on the stand, but if you have a small one like the Mesa TA-15, I think a stand like this would work fine.

One downside of the Ampendage stands is that they don’t fold up like other stands. Kevin includes a built-in handle to make it easier to lug around. However, since the stand doesn’t fold up, carrying around the stand can be a bit of a hassle if you’ve got a bunch of other gear to carry.

The stand seems pretty durable, but I can’t attest to how gig-worthy it is. The pieces connect together well and are held together with some solid screws, so I would be surprised if it couldn’t stand up to most types of gigs.

If you’re looking for an amp stand, I think Ampendage is worth a look. Starting at $59.95 and going up to $89.95 for the solid wood models, they aren’t the cheapest stands around, but they are some of the nicest looking ones I’ve seen and seem to be solidly built.

ampendage

Posted in: Accessories, Amps

Pedal Labels

I’m a fan of clever solutions to problems, and I think the Pedal Label System is just such a solution. No doubt you’ve either added a strip of masking tape to your pedals or have seen someone else do so in order to “remember” the settings that you like for your pedals. However, using masking tape can sometimes lead to residue, or goop, left on the pedals, which can be annoying. Pedal Labels aim to solve this problem by providing easy stick labels that you can use to mark the settings for your pedals.

Above you can see the four knob Boss pedal version, but there are also versions for 1, 2, and 3 knob pedals. They’ve also included some labels for marking settings for toggle switches that come on some pedals.

A mini pack (2 sheets) of labels costs $2.95, while a full pack (6 sheets) costs $7.95. You can get more information on the Pedal Labels website.

Posted in: Accessories, General

Guitar Interfaces for IOS Devices

Mark Crump has a nice rundown on GigaOm of several audio interfaces for plugging your guitar into your IOS device. (via Jim Dalrymple)

Posted in: Accessories, General