NEWS: Fire destroys Keeley Electronics facility

Fire has destroyed the entire inventory and workspace of Oklahoma-based pedal guru Robert Keeley’s Keeley Electronics. File this under News That Freaking Sucks. 

According to this news report, the fire occurred on Thursday afternoon and it is believed to have wiped out all parts and inventory. 
Thankfully there were no injuries.
Keeley lead technician Dusty Wayne Nelson says the company expects to be up and running again in no less than two months. 
I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing Robert Keeley and all his staff a speedy return to business.

NEW GEAR DAY: AxeTrak

This morning my 2-year-old and I climbed into the car to zoom across town to Billy Hyde Music in Blackburn to pick up my latest toy, a JLH AxeTrak. I bought the AxeTrak after reading about it on Harmony Central and posting about it here on my blog.

The AxeTrak is a speaker and microphone inside a soundproofed box, and with it I’ll finally be able to record my Marshall DSL50 amp in a controlled environment – which means I’ll now be able to record audio and video reviews of various products for I Heart Guitar. I’ve already planned the first few pedal reviews, which will be the Roger Mayer Spitfire X and Mongoose X, and the MXR EVH Phase 90. It might take me a couple of weeks to post them while I mess around with video editing programs (used to edit video for a living but I’m a bit out of practice now) and try to figure out the best way to do it. But at the very least I should have audio samples of the Roger Mayer pedals finished some time this week.

NAMM 2009: New Ibanez Jem saves planet

So it seems there’s more to the now infamous VAI/Earth graphic that adorns the new Ibanez JEM7EAFXBK than originally thought.

The display accompanying the guitar at NAMM reads:

The newest member of the JEM family of Steve Vai signature guitars is the first JEM to feature a fixed bridge, which alone makes it a modern guitar milestone. But as Steve Vai’s own global graphic design on the body indicates, the JEM7EAFXBK is the first of Ibanez’s World Wood Program dedicated to increased utilisation of sustainable hardwoods in guitar making. Basswood is used in the body not only because of its tone, light weight and ability to work well with effects, but also because basswood has long been recognised by progressive guitar makers as a sustainable hardwood with a fast growing cycle. The maple used in making the neck is verified as a sustainable wood by the United States Forestry Service and the Indiana DNR Division of forestry.

Ibanez and its artists and designers believe that the use of renewable resources in musical instruments is a necessary and important contribution to the livable world.

As Steve Vai himself says, “This guitar will give you wood forever.”

Photo courtesey of Rich Harris’ Ibanez Rules. CLICK HERE to buy a JEM7EAFXBK from Rich.

NAMM 2009: Radial introduces 4 new pedals

Radial Engineering pedals have been high on my lust-list ever since I heard Eric Johnson using them, but I’ve not had a chance to try them yet. At NAMM this year they’ve introduced four new models, the London, Hollywood, Texas, and Twin City. I wonder if they’ll change the names for Australian release to the Melbourne, Sydney, Dubbo and Albury/Wodonga.

Here’s the press release.

Radial Engineering Ltd. is pleased to announce the launch of four new Tonebone® pedals, the London, the Hollywood, the Texas, and the Twin-City. All of the Bones features dual-mode functionality in a compact enclosure and employ standard Boss-type 9V power supply.

According to Tonebone President Peter Janis: “Today, the trend with guitar players is all about using effects pedals… they want to access all kinds of tones and make creative decisions on the fly. They also want to use pedalboards and eliminate the problems associated with batteries. This is what the Bones are all about.”

Bones™ Hollywood Distortion
The Hollywood is a dual channel distortion pedal that features three drive settings for low, medium and high drive tones. At low distortion settings, the sonic signature is reminiscent of old American made amplifiers while at higher gain levels, it encompasses the type of tones reminiscent on would expect from Carlos Santana and Steve Lukather. The Hollywood is very dynamic which means that it cleans up just like a real tube amplifier when the guitar level is turned down. Each channel features separate level settings for rhythm and lead and is enhanced with a mid control called ‘cut’ designed to cut through the mix and increase sustain for solos. Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ London Distortion
The London follows the tradition of the British half stack by employing three gain stages to produce huge bottom end and fat sizzling tones. Even when driven to extreme, the bottom end stays clean and distinct. It features a variable drive control with independent level control on each channel for crunch rhythm and lead. A very powerful EQ, combines with the ‘bite’ switch that sets the overall character plus a ‘kick’ switch that adds midrange to produce a huge array of tones than span 40 years of British rock. Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ Texas Overdrive
The Texas is high-performance overdrive pedal that delivers ‘vintage’ style TS9 tones reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan all the way up to the ‘metal madness’ of today’s extreme players. Because of the dual channel configuration, one can set the first channel for a smooth rhythm and the second to extreme scream for soloing by setting the bite switches to suit. Each channel features individual tone control and level controls. Like having two pedals in one! Requires standard 9V power supply.

Bones™ Twin-City ABY Amp Selector
The Twin City is a superior quality ABY amp selector that allows the player to select between two amplifiers and combine them without any loss of signal or without any of the clicking or popping switch noise that is common in most pedals. This starts with Radial’s unique Drag™ control load correction circuitry which counteracts the effect of the internal buffering circuit to deliver a natural tone. To eliminate buzz and hum from ground loops, output B is transformer isolated and equipped with a ground lift switch. To ‘phase align’ the amplifiers, output B also features a 180° polarity reverse switch. Easy to see bright LEDs make amp selection easy. Requires standard 9V power supply.

For more information, contact Radial Engineering:1588 Kebet Way, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 5M5. Tel: 604-942-1001 Fax 604-942-1010

For more information, visit their web site at www.radialeng.com.

NAMM 2009: gig-fx ‘better than true bypass’ technology

Midway through last year, the Australian Dollar started kickin’ ass. It was up to about 98 UC cents at one point. So I did what any self-respecting guitarist would do: bought a whole bunch of pedals online. Hehe. In researching what to buy, I stumbled upon the debate between true bypass and buffered switching, and while that’s for another article and another time, I mention it here because gig-fx has introduced another option, which they call ‘Better than True Bypass,’ in new updates of its Megawah and Chopper pedals.

Here’s the press release:

gig-fx inc. has released second generation versions of the Megawah and Chopper that feature ‘Better than True Bypass’ circuitry. The technology will be incorporated into all gig-fx pedals in the future.

Unlike True Bypass, there is no loud pop when the pedal circuits are engaged. gig-fx pedals use optical switching and are noiselessly by-passed when the pedal is all the way back. The bypass circuitry preserves signal harmonics better than a True Bypass by driving cable lengths at the optimum impedance value with open frequency response circuitry. In comparison, True Bypass pedals are audibly less transparent with losses of high frequencies into instrument cables, even expensive cables. Spectrum Analyzer test results of the gig-fx bypass v True Bypass are to be published on the company’s web site and provide definitive results. The tests were performed with cooperation from Dimarzio.

For more information, visit their web site at www.gig-fx.com.

NAMM 2009: Peavey Amplifier Custom Shop

What to Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde have in common (apart from having big hair in the 80s)? Custom-designed signature amps, through Peavey, Carvin and Marshall respectively. Peavey’s Custom Shop is now opening its doors to the average punter, offering three hand-built models which can be customized as little or as much as you like, provided you have a bunch of money, essentially equating to a signature amp for any player who has the money.

Here’s the press release:

Winter NAMM: Peavey Expands Award-Winning Custom Shop to Debut Hand-Built Amplifiers

January 15, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Peavey proudly announces it has expanded its award-winning, USA-based Peavey Custom Shop to include custom-built amplifiers based on three all-new, hand-wired models, the Studio Special™, Sensation™ and Masterpiece™.
Based on Peavey’s foundation of 44 years of amplifier design and building experience and more than 180 patents, the Peavey Custom Shop builds amplifiers to spec based on point-to-point, hand-wired models that range from a single watt to a 50-watt in combo or head configurations. Cosmetics and components can be customized from pre-selected options or specified on a per-project basis, allowing customers to design the perfect complement to their playing styles.

The Peavey Masterpiece is a 50-watt, two-channel, all tube amplifier designed to provide players with a variety of tones in head or combo configurations. The Clean channel layout features volume, treble, middle and bass controls with a bright switch, while the Overdrive channel uses the Clean channel and adds two stages of gain to achieve a very smooth, musical overdrive that ranges from slightly overdriven to thick overdrive tones. Gain trim, gain and gain level controls add more even tone shaping.

The Sensation is a 20-watt amplifier available as a head or combo and based on three 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 cathode-biased output tubes. Standard front-panel features include pre gain, treble, middle, bass and post (master volume) controls, with optional reverb. The rear panel consists of two speaker outputs with an impedance selector. Effects send and return jacks are included on models equipped with the effects loop option.

Ideal for recording studios and small rooms, the 1.5-watt Peavey Studio Special allows players to achieve “cranked” amp tones at a very manageable volume level. The straightforward, single-channel layout includes volume, treble, middle and bass controls and a Fat switch to boost the midrange, with two 12AX7 preamp tubes and one 12AU7 tube configured in class AB for the power section.

The Peavey Studio Special, Sensation and Masterpiece will be available in Q2 2009 from authorized Peavey Custom Shop retailers.

Masterpiece
· Hand-wired in the USA at the Peavey 19th Street Custom Shop
· 50 watts
· Class AB
· Two-channel design
· 2 x 6L6GC output tubes, fixed biased
· 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
· Effects loop
· Rear-panel bias test points
· 4, 8, 16 ohm impedance selector
· Custom hardwood front (optional)
· Optional speakers available
· Custom color tolex (optional)
· Available with reverb (optional)
· Available as a head, 1×12 combo or 2×12 combo
· Solid pine finger-jointed construction on all combo cabs and extension cabs
· U.S. MSRP $TBA

Sensation
· Hand-wired in the USA at the Peavey 19th Street Custom Shop
· 20 watts
· Class AB
· Single-channel design
· 2 x EL84 output tubes, cathode biased
· 3 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
· 4, 8, 16 ohm impedance selector
· Custom hardwood front (optional)
· Optional speakers available
· Custom color tolex (optional)
· Available with reverb (optional)
· Effects loop (optional)
· Available as a head, 1×12 combo or 2×12 combo
· Solid pine finger-jointed construction on all combo cabs and extension cab
· U.S. MSRP $TBA

Studio Special
· Hand-wired in the USA at the Peavey 19th Street Custom Shop
· 1.5 watts at 8 ohms
· Single-channel design
· Volume, treble, middle and bass controls
· Fat switch to boosts mids
· 1 x 12AU7 output stage configured in Class AB
· 6CG7 output configuration optional
· 2 x 12AX7 preamp tubes
· Custom tolex optional
· Available as a head only
· U.S. MSRP $TBA