Archive for the "Effects" Category

Keeley Electronics Seafoam Chorus

Keeley Electronics had a great reputation among guitarists, so I was interested to receive a press release detailing a new chorus pedal that they’re releasing. I don’t use much chorus myself, but it’s something that I think really adds a nice effect when used tastefully. I’ll definitely be interested in hearing how this one sounds. Plus, the seafoam green color looks great!

Keeley Electronics today announced it is now shipping its Seafoam Chorus effect pedal. The 100% hand-built Seafoam chorus is a new design built from the ground up that was created for the most demanding modulation effects connoisseurs. The Seafoam chorus offers a wealth of studio-quality musical tones, from pulsating vibrato pitch bending to shimmering chorus doubling effects, all in a compact pedal design.

With controls for modulation Rate, Depth, and Tone, the Seafoam Chorus makes it easy for players to dial in a wide palette of sounds. A unique Blend control was also added to enable players to toe the line between pure vibrato or chorus sounds – and explore countless variations at settings in between.

“Our design team focused on solving the challenges and shortcomings of other modulation effects and so the goal of the Seafoam Chorus was clear: create a best-in-class product that balances versatility, musical tone, and low noise in a compact effect,” said Robert Keeley, founder and chief engineer, Keeley Electronics. “To achieve this, we deployed several industry-first technical innovations to the design including using an opto-coupler enhanced LFO that contributes to the Seafoam’s low noise and smooth, natural chorusing. The end result is the Seafoam Chorus is a studio-quality effect we are extremely proud of and excited to offer to our customers.”

Like all of Keeley Electronic designs, the Seafoam Chorus is hand-built in the USA using the finest components and construction techniques. It is housed in a beautifully power-coated and rugged enclosure, includes true bypass switching, and features a 2-year limited warranty with world-class Keeley customer support.

The Keeley Electronics Seafoam Chorus is now shipping to dealers worldwide at a street price of $229. Visit www.rkfx.com for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.

keeley-chorus

Posted in: Effects

NAMM 2013: Fuzz Face Mini Models

Perhaps the cutest new products at NAMM were the Fuzz Face mini models introduced by Dunlop. These are pedalboard friendly versions of the traditional Fuzz Face style pedal. They look just look like the original model, but shrunk down. There are three mini models, a Hendrix model, a Germanium model, and a Silicon model. At a street price of $99, these will likely sell like hotcakes.

Premier Guitar met up with Dunlop during NAMM to get a demo of these pedals as well as a few more new products:

Posted in: Effects, Videos

Wampler Pedals Factory Tour

Jon over at Guitar Noize recently linked to this video of a tour of the Wampler Pedals factory. It’s interesting to see the combination of machinery and hand wiring that goes into their pedals.

Posted in: Effects, Videos

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Slash Octave Fuzz

As if Slash wasn’t already busy enough, he found time to work with Dunlop to create a signature pedal called the Slash Octave Fuzz. Here’s what he says about the pedal:

There are some octave fuzz tones on records that I love, but the pedals that created them are very unpredictable. They’re hard to use live and even hard to control in the studio. So I talked to the guys at Dunlop and I told them that there should be a pedal that can just nail those sounds reliably. That’s where the Slash Octave Fuzz comes in. I worked with them and we made a fuzz that’s controllable, with a low octave that didn’t warble too much—that took a bit of work—plus a vintage high octave fuzz and the ability to mix the two.

The pedal features:

  • Fuzz tone with a separate sub octave voice & and octave up fuzz
  • Internal gain & tone pots shape the octave up fuzz effect
  • All analog circuitry, true bypass

Here’s a demo video of the pedal:

Posted in: Artist News, Effects, Videos

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NAMM 2012: Fender Mustang Floor Multi-Effects Unit

Fender have introduced their first-ever floor-based effects unit, called the Mustang Floor:

The Mustang Floor is a user-friendly, versatile and high-performance floor unit that delivers professional caliber modeling and effects in a richly varied wealth of musical styles.

A natural offshoot of our Mustang series amplifiers (in essence, a Mustang amp without the power amp and speaker), the Mustang Floor is designed for a variety of applications, only one of which is a great multi-effects unit for any basic guitar amp that puts more than three dozen digital effects at your feet.

The Mustang Floor is also a modeling preamp with low-impedance speaker-emulated outputs for running direct to a PA system, a modeling preamp with line-level outputs for use with a power amp and speakers, a silent practice system with stereo headphone output and auxiliary input perfect for playing along with an iPod or other media player, and a fantastic tone machine for direct-to-digital USB recording.

Mustang Floor features include nine footswitches and a solid aluminum treadle-style control pedal, intuitive Mustang III control panel and LCD window, 12 amp models, 37 effects, 100 onboard factory and user presets, “individual stompbox” mode in which amp models can be bypassed, headphone output and auxiliary input, dual XLR and dual ¼” line outputs with level control (outputs can be programmed for optimal response with PA system, power amp or guitar amp), chromatic tuner, and easy USB connectivity for high-quality low-latency audio output and interface with free Fender FUSEÔ application.

The Fender FUSE software, included as a free download, offers on-screen parameter control, deep editing, “hidden” parameters, unlimited preset storage, easy firmware upgrades and additional free content from Fender, Fender artists and other users worldwide.

The Mustang Floor mates perfectly with the all-new EXP-1 Expression Pedal, an add-on accessory that also works great with Mustang III, IV, and V amplifiers. The EXP-1 Expression Pedal is a dynamic device that allows for increased control of volume and parameters such as the frequency of a wah effect, or the rate/time parameter of a modulation or delay effect.

Posted in: Effects, NAMM

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NAMM 2012: TC Electronic PolyTune Mini

The TC Electronic PolyTune Mini may be one of my favorite new products from NAMM so far:

We introduced polyphonic tuning to the world and since then guitarists everywhere have welcomed this next-generation way of tuning with open arms. PolyTune® Mini is the world’s smallest polyphonic tuner and it will fit on any pedal board. Sometimes size actually does matter and in such cases, PolyTune Mini is the perfect solution as no other pedal tuner in the world will take up so little space, which means more room for other pedals.

PolyTune Mini shows you the tuning state of all strings simultaneously by simply strumming your guitar, allowing you to get back to playing in a matter of seconds. PolyTune Mini is among the most precise tuners in the world, tuning with +/- 0.5 cent precision in chromatic mode and +/- 1 cent accuracy in polyphonic mode. Also, it automatically switches between chromatic and polyphonic modes depending on whether you strum all strings at once or pick each string individually.

Further, PolyTune Mini features Drop-D and Capo modes as well as True Bypass for zero tone coloration and a super-bright LED display.

If it works as well as the full size PolyTune (and why wouldn’t it?), I think this may very well replace the Boss tuner that’s currently on my board.

Posted in: Effects, NAMM

NAMM 2012: Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face


I first started hearing rumblings of an Eric Johnson Signature Fuzz Face several months ago, and then Johnson later confirmed it in several interviews. Now that NAMM is upon us, official information about the pedal has been released:

When you think about Eric Johnson, you think tone, and the tone he’s best known for is his sweet, singing, lead tone. His choice for getting that tone has always been the Fuzz Face. EJ worked closely with Fuzz Face guru Jeorge Tripps to create his signature pedal. It is inspired by EJ’s prized personal Fuzz Faces and is built to his incredibly strict specifications, featuring hand-selected BC183 silicon transistors (for higher gain), custom repro ’68-’69 knobs, and a vintage-style hammertone finish. The result: a beautifully dynamic, expressive, and powerful pedal. “I first heard the Fuzz Face when I was about 12 and loved playing through it,” he says. “It’s the classic tone used by Jimi Hendrix, one of my greatest influences. No other pedal gets this type of sound. It’s the pinnacle of psychedelic fuzz.”

To help promote the release of the pedal, Dunlop have made a video featuring Johnson discussing his love of the guitar:

Posted in: Effects, NAMM

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Marrs Pedals: Fuzz Light Year

Julian, from Marrs Pedals, a new pedal maker based in Vancouver, BC, recently let me know about a new pedal they’ve developed called the Fuzz Light Year:

Two fuzz types in one box – one channel consists of transistor gain staging and germanium diode clipping and the other using Op-amp gain staging and MOSFET clipping. This is the pedal you want if you are looking to add girth to your sound. It goes from velcro fuzz all the way up to distortion – and sounds fantastic on guitar and bass.

The price of the pedal is $200, and it comes with a 9V power supply. Check out a demo of the pedal:

Fuzz Light Year from Julian Marrs on Vimeo.

Posted in: Effects

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Gear Tour

Kenny Wayne Shepherd recently gave Music Radar a tour of his guitar gear. In the first video below, Shepherd talks about his collection of Strats:

In this next video, Shepherd gives us a tour of his effects:

(via fellow guitar blogger Jim)

Posted in: Artist News, Effects, Guitars, Videos

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Interview: Penfar FX: Tone Master at Work

Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted by Jim Woods. Check out Jim’s blog for more guitar-related articles, reviews, and interviews.

Penfar FX are handcrafted from start to finish by builder Chad J. Leavitt. Chad produces some of the very best effects pedals available in the market today. From Musictoyz to Prymaxe Vintage, Penfar FX pedals are now available in several retail outlets. You can also order pedals directly from Chad himself at his website. He takes pride in his customer service and offers five great pedals at affordable prices.

How did you get into building effects pedals?

At one point I had a 60w Fender Hot Rod DeVille amplifier with four 10” speakers. It was way too loud for the house and I couldn’t get a good tone from it at lower volumes. I started looking for effects pedals I could use so I could play at bedroom volumes and still get the tones I wanted. I looked for a long time. I found pedals I either didn’t care for, or if I did like them, they often cost more than I wanted to spend. I decided to save some money and look into building a pedal.

I remember watching a lot of Gearmanndude videos on Youtube and he mentioned a site called buildyourownclone.com. So I went there to see what it was about. I got the idea to buy a PCB and house it myself. I found a place that was selling some Wampler PCB’s and purchased and built a Wampler “Cranked AC”. After that I decided not to rely on someone else’s PCB and started looking into vero/stripboard.

Are effects pedals difficult to build for the complete beginner?

Well, at first I had no idea where to start. I had no electronics experience and had used a soldering iron maybe twice. I befriended Paul, a guy from England, at buildyourownclone.com. He helped me out a LOT! If it wasn’t for him and the help of some others I wouldn’t know a capacitor from a diode. Learning how to read schematics was something I did on my own; looking at well-known circuits and figuring out what all these lines and symbols mean. I did a lot of searching on the internet and fired lots of questions to Paul.

You currently have five pedals in the Penfar FX lineup. Most new builders don’t have such a diverse lineup, but rather focus on one or two pedals. How did you decide to build so many different pedals?

I didn’t decide to make more than a few effects; it just happened. I’m always drawing up ideas and thinking of something I want to try. I wanted to have something for everyone, I guess. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as just a fuzz builder or just an overdrive builder. Sometimes I come up with the name and graphic before I develop a circuit. I like to stick to simple circuits with a nice amount of versatility. I don’t like effects where you have all the bells and whistles, but when it comes down to it you only use half of what’s available. If I’m developing something and I find a part of it to be either not that effective or just something I’d set and forget then that’s exactly what I’ll do; figure out what sounds best to me and set that value in the circuit.

What is your favorite recorded tone? Is that what has inspired you to build some of the pedals that you have?

I don’t know if I could pick a favorite tone. I never set out to make my effects sound like anything specific. I just get an idea of something I want and work on it until I like what I hear. For example, the Aces High just started as me wanting a higher gain rock distortion pedal. I wasn’t trying to make it sound like anything specific. Most, if not all, the feedback I’ve gotten on it has been how much like a Marshall it sounds. Now, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Marshall and a Mesa by ear. I’ve never owned any well known, sought after amps. I figure if I set out to make something sound like “blank” it probably won’t and will get ridiculed by the gearheads.

How do you dial in effects pedals for both humbuckers and single coil guitars?

Lots and lots of hours huddled over a breadboard switching caps and resistors out until I’m satisfied with how it sounds with either kind of pickup. I can spend half my time developing a circuit swapping out components in a tonestack trying to get something I’m 100% happy with.

What kind of gear do you use to test your designs?

I don’t have a lot of gear to test different types of amps or guitars. I own two electric guitars; a Les Paul and a Tele. I have a small Blackheart Handsome Devil combo. If I want to hear something on a bigger rig I have a few friends that let me come over and use their equipment. I need more equipment! I’d like to get an oscilloscope and some decent recording gear. Right now everything is tuned to what my ear likes best without all the fancy technical stuff. That’s what it all boils down to anyway, right?

What have been your biggest hurdles to overcome when building pedals?

I’d have to say time and satisfaction. I’ve had several projects trashed because I was never 100% satisfied with how it sounded. So it gets trashed and I move on to the next. I say time because I have a family and a full time job along with running Penfar FX. Finding time for the family and the obligations that come with having a house along with everything else involved in building effects is tiresome sometimes. It’s worth it though when I get that email or see a comment somewhere from someone saying how much they like their Penfar FX pedal.

Will there be any new pedals added to the Penfar FX lineup soon?

Of course! Right now I am about to release a new overdrive; the RagnaRok. It’s got a Norse/Viking theme to it. Watch for demos for that soon. I went a different direction with the finish and etched the enclosure. I think it looks pretty sweet. After that I have at least 3 more ideas I want to try to develop. I’m always drawing something up. Very often you’ll see me on the floor at my house with my trusty graph paper and pencil scribbling an idea down. It’s actually become quite relaxing to do it. (Laughs.)

Any advice you can give to any future effects builders?

Knowing is half the battle? (Laughs.) Research, learn and experiment. If you don’t already have electronics experience find a good forum, like the one at buildyourownclone.com, and ask questions. Most people are happy to help. Find some electronics manuals for general electronics and effects pedals. There’s a few good ones out there. I know Brian Wampler has one or two, Craig Anderton does too and some of the forums usually have links to online manuals you can download.

Start small by building a Fuzz Face or a boost. Learn how to read the schematics and what each component does. Get a breadboard and experiment. Don’t be afraid to try things. I’ve fried a transistor and IC or two since starting to build. Live and learn.

Posted in: Effects, interviews