Christmas gift ideas for guitarists


PickBay is a great way of either framing a special pick to keep with you – the pick you caught at a Steve Vai gig, the promotional one that came with your copy of Paul Gilbert’s Alligator Farm CD, the one you used at your first gig, or whatever – or for just making sure you always have a pick or three handy when you need them.

Link: PickBay

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COOL GEAR ALERT: MXR Custom Badass Modified Overdrive

YES! One of my favourite pedals this year – earning itself an instant place in my live rig as the heart of my lead sound – is the MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion. You can see my review here. Well that little red monster now has a slightly tamer but no less rockworthy brother in the form of the Modified Overdrive. Check it out!


Last year, we unveiled the MXR Custom Badass line of classic circuits fine-tuned to deliver a wider tonal spectrum, more versatility and increased dynamic range. The ’78 Distortion debuted as the first Custom Badass offering and was an instant hit. Guitar World Magazine said it was “as wild and raunchy as music was back in hard rock’s glory days,” offering “the versatility and low-noise performance that today’s players demand.”

This year, the Custom Badass team brings you the MXR Custom Badass line is the Modified Overdrive—a classic overdrive circuit with modern modifications for improved performance and versatility.

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COOL GEAR ALERT: Universal Audio MXR Flanger/Doubler

Now this is cool. Universal Audio and Jim Dunlop have collaborated on an MXR Flanger/Doubler plug-in – the very same model of flanger/doubler that Dimebag Darrell used so awesomely on Far Beyond Driven.


—New Plug-Ins Accompany Enhancements to Pro Tools Workflow and ATR-102 Tape Recorder Plug-In in UAD Software v6.1—

SCOTTS VALLEY, CA • November 1, 2011 — Universal Audio (UA), a leading manufacturer of high-quality audio recording hardware and software, is proud to release UAD Software v6.1, featuring the new MXR® Flanger/Doubler Plug-In, the Little Labs® Voice of God (VOG) Bass Resonance Tool, plus enhancements to Pro Tools workflow and the Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In.

MXR Flanger/Doubler Plug-In

Developed in close collaboration with Dunlop Manufacturing, the MXR Flanger/Doubler plug-in for the UAD-2 platform replicates the legendary sound of this classic bucket-brigade flanging effect with unparalleled accuracy. Through its signature flanging, doubling, and delay effects, the MXR Flanger/Doubler imprints a unique stamp on guitars, bass, keys, drums, or just about any source. The MXR Flanger/Doubler Plug-In also includes additional “UAD Exclusive” features and artist presets from legendary engineers Vance Powell (The Dead Weather, Buddy Guy), Neil Dorfsman (Paul McCartney, Sting), and Chuck Zwicky (Prince, Jeff Beck).

“We knew there was only one company we could turn to when it came time to create a plug-in version of the classic MXR Flanger/Doubler,” says Jeorge Tripps, Dunlop’s Director of Product Development. “The UA emulation is spot-on, and we are looking forward to seeing the reaction from musicians and engineers.”

Little Labs Voice of God (VOG) Bass Resonance Tool

The Little Labs-authenticated Voice of God (VOG) plug-in for the UAD-2 platform accurately models the sonic characteristics of this unique 500-series hardware audio processor in every detail. The VOG is used to accurately target and accentuate low frequency material, from vocals to bass guitar and drums — adding both heft and precision far beyond a simple EQ.

“The VOG has been very well-received for its ability to quickly and easily manipulate low end like nothing before it,” says Jonathan Little of Little Labs Professional Audio. “Our hardware version was first available in the API 500-Series format, then as the i-VOG and a standalone unit. Now, UA has put the VOG live in the digital world as well, covering all the bases.”

“I’m excited about the MXR Flanger/Doubler plug-in, as I used to have a hardware unit in my rack and I still miss it. Our collaboration with Dunlop has resulted in an extremely faithful plug-in emulation,” says Matt Ward, President of Universal Audio. “Add in the Little Labs Voice of God, which is really a must-have tool, and UAD v6.1 offers a solid enhancement to the UAD-2 platform.”

Available for purchase via UA’s Online Store, the MXR Flanger/Doubler Plug-In sells for $199. The Little Labs VOG Bass Resonance Tool sells for $149.

These new plug-ins are available as part of the new UAD Software v6.1 release. In addition to the MXR Flanger/Doubler and Little Labs VOG plug-ins, v6.1 includes additional enhancements to Pro Tools workflow and the Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder plug-in.

More information on the MXR Flanger/Doubler Plug-In:

More information on the Little Labs VOG Bass Resonance Tool:

UAD Software v6.1 is available as a FREE download for Mac and PC users worldwide:

Learn more about the award-winning UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins platform here:

About Universal Audio Inc.
Founded in 1999 by Bill Putnam Jr. and based in Scotts Valley, California, Universal Audio is best known for its vintage analog reproductions and advanced Digital Signal Processing technology, including the award-winning UAD Powered Plug-Ins Platform. The company is focused on merging the best of classic analog and modern digital technology. UA is devoted to this endeavor, following its rich recording heritage and motto, “Analog Ears. Digital Minds.”

The Universal Audio name, the UA “Diamond” logo, “UAD”, “UAD-2”, and “Powered Plug-Ins” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Universal Audio Inc.



Dunlop announces the release of the MXR Analog Chorus.

This all-analog pedal uses bucket-brigade circuitry to create classically lush, liquid textures that you just can’t get with digital circuitry. Rate, Level, and Depth controls, as well as knobs for cutting High and Low frequencies allow ultimate tone control. Like all MXR pedals, the Analog Chorus comes in a heavy-duty housing with durable jacks and switches for a lifetime on the road.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]CLICK HERE to buy the MXR Analog Chorus from Musician’s Friend.[/geo-out]

Check out the official demo of the MXR Analog Chorus here. For more info, visit


REVIEW: MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

The MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion is the first product from the Custom Badass design team of Dunlop Director of New Products Jeorge Tripps (founder of Way Huge Electronics), Dunlop Senior Engineer Bob Cedro (who cut his teeth working with the legendary Tom Scholz of Boston) and Bryan Kehoe. The ’78 Distortion is described as a factory-modded pedal designed to give players the boutique vibe of an aftermarket-modded pedal without actually buying a pedal then paying for some dude to poke around in its innards.

Controls are your standard Output, Tone and Distortion knobs, along with a Crunch button (and accompanying blue LED which remains on when the button is depressed, whether the effect itself is on or not). There’s a red status LED, input and output jacks, and a 9v power supply jack. Battery access is via removing the bottom plate – kind of annoying and fiddly, especially if you keep your pedals attached to a pedalboard, but at least you don’t risk losing or breaking a battery door like some other pedals.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Standard at Guitar Center.[/geo-out]

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First there was the Smart Gate. Now they’re beefing up their noise suppression arsenal with the Noise Clamp. Jim Dunlop showcased this little baby at Winter NAMM (that’s where I took the pic you see above) and now it’s hitting the streets.


Dunlop announces the release of the MXR Noise Clamp.

Crank your stomp pedals to the extremes without the fear of any hiss or excess noise with the MXR Noise Clamp. By sensing your guitar’s dry signal, the Noise Clamp reduces the noise level within the effect loop, coming down hard on even the noisiest signals. At its highest settings, the Noise Clamp works more like an effect, working perfectly for super tight syncopated rhythms.

A single Trigger knob allows you to set the volume threshold at which the gate is active, and a green LED shows whether the gate is on/off. The Noise Clamp is capable of reducing noise up to 26dB, maintaining riff definition at extreme gain levels.

An internal switch toggles between two bypass modes: Loop Bypass or Loop On. In Loop Bypass mode, the Send/Return effects loop is bypassed when the pedal is off. In Loop On mode, the Send/Return effects loop is active while the pedal is off. This can be accessed by removing the back plate of the pedal.

Check out the MXR demo of the Noise Clamp here []. For more info, visit

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]CLICK HERE to buy the MXR M195 Noise Clamp from Musician’s Friend.[/geo-out]

NEW GEAR DAY: MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

Remember this story about the MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion? Sure ya do, because it was the very last story I wrote before this one. Well I happened to get my hands on one of these bad boys today, so without further adieu, and as a teaser for an eventual full review, wrap yer listening gear around this little demo I whipped up.

MXR Custom Badass 78 Distortion by I Heart Guitar

The gear used on the recording is:
Guitar: Ibanez UV777BK (Universe) 7-string
Pickups: DiMarzio Crunch Lab 7, DiMarzio Liquifire
Amplifier: Marshall DSL50 (clean channel)
Cabinet: Marshall 1960A w/Celestion V30s
Microphone: Shure SM57

A little delay and reverb was added in Pro Tools.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]
CLICK HERE to buy the MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion from Musician’s Friend.

[geo-out country=”Australia” note=””]And here are some links to buy DiMarzio Crunch Lab & LiquiFire pickups at Musicians Friend.

DiMarzio Crunch Lab (Black, F-Spacing)

DiMarzio Crunch Lab (Black, Regular Spacing)

DiMarzio Crunch Lab 7 (Black)

DiMarzio LiquiFire (Black, F-Spacing)

DiMarzio LiquiFire (Black, Regular Spacing)

DiMarzio LiquiFire 7 (Black)[/geo-out]

NEWS: MXR Vintage Distortion + giveaway

The MXR Distortion + is the legendary pedal that Randy Rhoads used with Ozzy Osbourne. My guitar teacher had one and I freaking loved that thing. I’ve vowed to get one myself some day. I still haven’t checked that one off the list but maybe you can, if you enter Jim Dunlop’s MXR Distortion + giveaway. Check out this snippet from the Jim Dunlop blog:

We got a GREAT Friday giveaway for you diehard vintage MXR fans out there. This week we’re giving away a vintage reissue of a Distortion +, yup its the tone that made Randy Rhoads famous. You won’t find this bad boy in stores because it’s still in pre-production! This is a special model that was meticulously spec’d, and recreated—hand-wired by one of our engineers. MXR Vintage fans – complete the vintage family before everybody else! Generally speaking we usually restrict our giveaways to USA only, but because this giveaways so rad we’re going to open it up to the world.

For details on how to enter, click here.