GIBSON.COM: Tour riders of the stars

Gibson LP Junior DC Bass – click the pic for more info

Here’s my latest for Gibson.com:

Life on the road is hard. You’re away from your loved ones, your neighborhood and all your stuff! When you’re far from home for so long, little familiarities backstage can be the only link to home and normal life that you have, so bands can be forgiven for requesting the occasional unusual or specific comfort item – anything to bring some sanity to those weeks or months away. Backstage riders – the contract document that spells out a band’s backstage requirements – are notorious for diva-like demands, but when you get to the heart of it, most rider requests are just about making the artist feel a little more at home.

10. Ted Nugent
Ted Nugent’s 2002 rider stipulates that the tour is very environmentally conscious, and as such, no Styrofoam or polystyrene cups, plates or containers are to be used. Catering requirements include one box of MAN SIZED KLEENEX (yes, it’s written in uppercase in the rider for emphasis), and although the Nuge requests a carving knife, carving fork and cutting board for roasted chicken, that chicken is to be supplied by the concert booker rather than caught by Ted’s own bare hands.

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REVIEW: MI Amplification Megalith Beta

Australia’s MI Amplification has a small stable of top-quality tube amps – currently the Megalith, the Revelation and the Iron Duke. The Megalith is the meanest-looking of the bunch, with understated but decidedly tough-looking cosmetics and an imposing ‘none-more-black’ colour scheme. I tested the Megalith Beta with a matching MI Amplification speaker cabinet with four US-made, 12-inch, 8 Ohm Eminence Wizard speakers in an 18mm void-free plywood enclosure.

The preamp features two independent channels (Clean and Overdrive), each with Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Volume and Contour controls, as well as a three-position EQ Shift switch. The Contour control works in the phase inverter, and its effect can particularly be heard in the tightness or looseness of the sound and attack. When turned to the left it emphasises fat mids, while increasing travels to the right scoop out the mids and increase the bass.

The EQ Shift switch selects between three voicings – 0 shifts the midrange frequency upwards and adds more low mids as well; 1 offers a more ‘British’ tone, with a more even frequency spread; and 2 is more scooped and ‘American.’ The Clean channel also includes a three-position Attack switch which further adjusts the tightness and response, while the Overdrive channel has a three-way Mode switch for low, medium and high gain voicings.

In the power amp, things get even more interesting. With four tubes in a push-pull configuration, you can install KT100, KT90, KT88, KT77, 6550 (this is what was in the test model), EL34 or 6CA7 power tubes for between 150 and 200 watts of output power. If that’s too much for you though, you can drop the output power to 40% by selecting the low power mode on the Standby switch.

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COOL GEAR ALERT: DigiTech iPB-10


Check out the latest programmable pedalboard from Digitech. Nice display, huh? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a multi effects unit with a display that big. Wait a minute, is that… nah, it couldn’t be… wait, it is! Yup, the iPB-10 actually holds an iPad, clutching the groundbreaking Apple device to its bosom like, well, like I did when I got my iPad a few weeks ago. The iPB-10 also includes an effects loop and an amp loop with ground switch, so you don’t need to sacrifice the loop feature to the ‘four cable method’ – you can hook your preamp into the unit via the amp loop while also using the effects loop as it was intended. Nice touch!

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NEWS: New songs on Rock Prodigy

Rock Prodigy – the killer scrolling tab app that lets you jam along using the actual backing tracks of classic songs – has just added a few more tracks: Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” a new original Rock Prodigy song, and a lesson on Minor 7th flat 5 chord voicings. They’ve also fixed a bug in Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line.”

LINK: rockprodigy.com