My Favourite Guitar And Bass Intros

IntrosIs there anything better than a good song intro? Well, yeah. I can think of a few things, and some of them even have something to do with music. But still, there’s just something magical about a great song intro. Whether it’s an unaccompanied slab of guitar wizardry, some kind of unexpected time signature, a chunk of mysteriously atmospheric ambience or even just  some kind of silly bit if dialog recorded in the studio, a good intro can set the scene and build anticipation for the song proper. So in celebration of the glories of the intro, here are a few of my favourites, divided in to guitar and bass examples. What are yours?

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REVIEW: GIG-FX Mega Wah

The Gig-FX roster of users includes such names as Prince, who played the Chopper tremolo pedal on Saturday Night Live; Adam Jones of Tool; Juan Alderete of The Mars Volta/80s glam shred band Racer X; Adrian Belew of King Crimson/Bowie/NIN; Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge and Creed; Living Colour’s Wil Calhoun; and Richard Fortus of Axl Rose’s latest incarnation of the Gunners.

WHY DON’T YOU CRY ABOUT IT
The Gig-FX Mega-Wah combines six wah effects and a volume pedal, in a sturdy, practically bombproof construction. The wah modes include Classic, in mono or stereo; Mega-Wah, which is described as the Classic wah on steroids; Trig-wah, a funky envelope filter type effect; Auto-wah, a straight-forward touch wah effect; Stereo- Wah, in which two circuits give twice the awesome wah power, especially good for use in stereo effects chains; Stereo-Reverse Wah, which reverses one channel for some phasey phreakiness; and Foot-volume control (does what it says on the tin).

The Mega-Wah operates with optical technology, which uses an LED array and an optical sensor to control the effect. In this design, the closer the LED gets to the array, the more intense the effect. It’s a method used on some other high end wah pedals, tremolo and compressor pedals, and the entertainingly squeaky Digitech Whammy Pedal, and it provides a very smooth taper difficult to achieve with traditional pots.

HEY, WAH HAPPENED?
The coolest feature of the Mega-Wah is the Stereo-Reverse mode. The ability to have one side wahing up while the other wahs down is undeniably funky. It reminds me, bizarrely, of Eddie Van Halen’s rarely heard and unorthodox wah technique, where he tends to rock the pedal backwards rather than forwards so the wah sweep goes from high to low instead of the other way around. This is such an attention-grabbing sound, especially in the context of 40 years of standard wah operation, that its inclusion here is a further breath of fresh air for this innovative pedal.

BOW-BOW-WAKKA-WAKKA-BOW-BOW-CHICKA-CHICKA
The Classic mode has all the vibe and tone of the original pedal it pays tribute to, while Mega-Wah takes it a step or two further. Trig-Wah sounds especially great with bass for those phat Bootsy Collins moments.

The sound quality and flexibility cannot be argued with, nor can the sheer number of sound possibilities. There was a little bit of extra noise audible with the review model, but these issues have since been addressed: At NAMM this year, Gig-FX released the second generation versions of the Mega Wah and Chopper that feature ‘Better than True Bypass’ circuitry, which will be incorporated into all gig-fx pedals in the future. Gig-FX explains: “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.”
SPECS:
All analog circuitry
Transparent bypass achieved by a FET switch
Stereo in/stereo out, mono in/stereo out
Optical operation.
Bypassed when pedal is in ‘heel down’ position
9V operating voltage, 30mA to 40mA current consumption