NAMM: The Coolest Thing At NAMM: The Peacekeeper

IMG_3517Designed by one Mr. Markus Hummel, The Peacekeeper is a patent pending quick change effects system that uses actual rifle parts to integrate guitar effects into a guitar. That’s right, the effects modules are built right into rifle magazines. Hummel showed off various effect-loaded magazines including a tube preamp and an analog delay. Want distortion? Chk-chk – boom. Echo? Chk-chk – boomoomoom. Easy and cool. Hummel, perhaps the most enthusiastically eloquent guy ever to point a rifle/guitar at me, says the invention has many advantages, starting with superior sonic performance, as the effect is now located closer to the sound generation: the pickup. “Secondly the player now has the ability to manipulate the control knobs of the effects in real time adding creativity to their play. Thirdly, using battle proven magazines, effects can be interchanged quickly – especially live on stage!” It is truly a thing of beauty, and ironically (given that Hummel was born in Germany) the most American guitar at NAMM. Check out these pics… Read More …

REVIEW: Roger Mayer Voodoo TC Octavia

The Octavia is a classic yet mysterious effect, and one that’s particularly hard to describe with the written word. It produces an overtone an octave above whatever you play, but it doesn’t sound like a harmonizer or a 12-string guitar. Instead, imagine fuzz combined with the sound that you hear when you run your finger around the rim of a crystal wine glass, except the pitch of the glass follows that of the guitar. It can be hauntingly beautiful when combined with a clean tone or it can add a harmonic, fixed-wah-like quality to distorted ones.

The Voodoo TC Octavia is Roger Mayer’s latest iteration of his historic invention. The intention is very much the same as when Jimi Hendrix used Mayer’s Octavia on “Purple Haze” and “Fire,” but the Voodoo TC range offers many advantages. Read More …

REVIEW: TC-Helicon VoiceLive Play GTX

Vocal effects and harmonies can really add to the professionalism of a live performance, but they’re hard to implement, especially for the singing guitarist. It’s difficult to get harmonies happening between band members sometimes: bad monitor mix, one or more vocalists having an off night – and that’s before you start to think about how this will all sound to the audience. Well just like on one of those infomercials that show someone struggling with some particularly mundane and cumbersome housework chore, TC-Helicon has taken the idea of the singing guitarist and simplified it so even a so-so singer like myself can make listenable music with it.

VoiceLive Play GTX is a multi-effects unit dedicated the singing guitarist, whether they play electric or acoustic guitar, solo or in a band or duo. It features professional-level TC-Helicon effects, including state-of-the-art harmony processing. And let’s not forget that TC-Helicon is associated with TC Electronic, one of the finest guitar effect makers in the business and the company behind legendary units like Stereo Chorus Flanger, TC 2290 Digital Delay and G-System. So Play GTX is also overflowing with guitar effects and amp simulations. It features more than 200 presets which include both a vocal and a guitar component, many of which are inspired by popular songs (with subtle and not-so-subtle preset names to hint at what songs they’re based on). And every preset can be enhanced with the dedicated HIT button, which adds additional vocal effects as you need them. For instance, if you only need a harmony in the chorus, or if you need a megaphone effect for three words in a verse, you can add those effects to your existing sound via the HIT button without having to dial in an entirely new preset. And you can store selected presets as ‘favorites’ to make setup easy.

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NAMM 2012: Jim Dunlop Zakk Wylde Rotovibe

Zakk Wylde has been a great ambassador for the Rotovibe for many, many years now – it steals the show at several points on the one and only Pride & Glory album – and he has now been honoured with his own signature Rotovibe courtesy of Jim Dunlop. The ZW357 is a limited run which features the same intensity and speed controls and rotating speaker sound as the classic Rotovibe but in Zakk-approved livery. And frankly it looks freaking cool. “I’ve had a Dunlop Rotovibe on my pedalboard since 1988,” Zakk says. “Whether it’s to spice up a solo, add an overdubbed colour, or just as a sound to inspire songwriting.” And I’ve gotta agree – it’s one of those effects where once you turn it on it’s hard to force yourself to turn it off again.

NAMM 2012: Fender Mustang Floor multi effects unit

Fender is a pioneer of effects – their old spring reverb tanks, the Fender Blender fuzz – but here’s something they’ve never done before: the first ever Fender multi-effect unit. Check it out!



Floor unit offers pro-level amp modeling, effects and artist preset sounds

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.  (Jan. 17, 2012) — Fender is proud to announce the debut of its first-ever multi-effects unit, 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.

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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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REVIEW: Digitech BP355

Bass players often seem to be given the short end of the stick when it comes to multieffects and recording-friendly products. There have been a few cool units over the years, but more often than not bass players are criminally short-changed when it comes to under-foot processing power. No more! DigiTech’s BP355 is going to change all that. Part preamp, part multi-effects unit, part looper, part recording interface, it’s an innovative piece of kit that covers a lot of basses… uh, bases.

Amp models? It has 21, based on – you ready for this? – Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, Fender Tweed Deluxe, ’63 Vox AC30 Top Boost, ’65 Fender Blackface Twin Reverb, ’77 Marshall Master Volume, Ampeg B15, Ampeg SVT, Ashdown Bass Magnifer, Demeter VTBP-201S, DigiTech Clean Tube, DigiTech High Gain, DigiTech Solo, Fender Bassman, Fender Dual Showman, Hiwatt Custom 50, Mesa Boogie 400+, SWR Basic Black, SWR Interstellar Overdrive, Sunn 200S and Trace-Elliot Commando (as well as a Direct voicing with no amp model to speak of).

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