Gear Selfies Gotta Go

I belong to several busy guitar forums, guitar facebook groups and guitar subreddits.  They’re generally great, but increasingly I’m seeing the annoying trend of people over-sharing gear photos.

If you do a Google Image Search for “my pedalboard” the results will scroll for about six weeks.  And it’s impossible to really distinguish any of them.


Those photos are kind of creepy.  Somehow, pedalboards in abstract like this remind me of those post-mortem photos that were somewhat common in the 19th century.  Just empty looking metal shells against a black background. Continue reading

My Champion 600 Modded with EQ & More

Shortly after Fender released the Champion 600 around five years ago, folks quickly realized it was a great little amp to mod.  The circuit on this 1×6″ 5 watt tube amp is quite similar to a silverface Champ.  But to hit a $200 price range, it was made in China with a whole bunch of features either stripped out or cheapened.

Still, it’s a great little bedroom tube amp (which is why I bought one) and it’s an excellent platform for experimenting. Continue reading

Little Looper Shootout

In the past year, and especially very recently, we’ve seen several new loop pedals hit the scene.  All of them boast a very small footprint and super simple operation.  Oh, and low prices!  With each pedal seemingly so stripped down you might wonder what the difference there is between them.  We’re here to help sort that out. Continue reading

Wisconsin Pride: Monarch Pedalboards say Goodbye to Velcro

It’s really hard to get excited about pedalboards.  You’re paying $300+ for some plastic/wood with carpet on it.  Then you’re going to velcro your pedals to it, destroying the resale value of your effects in the process 1.  That velcro will lose its grab over time.  It will infuriate you when you remember how much you paid for something you could build at home for $25.

Of course, if you’re real serious, you can get a custom built board where things are permanently mounted in place.  That’s cool, until you buy a new boost and need an engineer to fit it in your pedal chain.

You’ve probably caught on by now, that I write this because I think I have the answer to all your pedal boarding problems.  Better yet2, it comes from a Wisconsin company3.  That means when I heard about the folks at Monarch Pedalboards, I was able to drive across town and actually meet them.  This is what I discovered. Continue reading

  1. Unless you’re like me and put painters tape between the velcro and the pedal – which keeps the pedal’s value, until the tape comes loose and the pedal falls on the ground during transit.
  2. For me, mostly.  You’ll see why.
  3. Hopefully the first of several that I’ll feature here.

Justin Adams Explains Why We Love Distortion

Justin Adams has played with Robert Plant, Juldeh Camara and many others.  He’s spent a lot of his career studying African and Arab music along with all sorts of western blues.  He seems to know what he’s talking about and has some nice history to share that helps explain the origins of distortion.

This story starts off a tad slow, but gets real good.  It’s not about the usual boring “amps malfunctioned and we wanted more” stuff that every other distortion history covers.  This goes a lot further back and outside of the US.

Check it out!

PedalGenie – Finally, a Modern Take on the Gear Shop

This is how you buy pedals:

Way #1 – Go to the local guitar store, where they have 30-50 pedals from a handful of manufacturers, if you’re lucky.  You try one out using not-your-guitar into not-your-amp.  This combo sounds terrible, but the pedal improves it, so you get excited and buy.  When you get home, who knows.  At least you can throw the thing on ebay if it doesn’t work out.

Way #2 – Watch endless YouTube videos, get suggestions from the Gear Page, order online, post your decision on the Gear Page, get ridiculed for a poor choice.

Over-dramatized as those scenarios may be, the point is that buying gear the traditional way leaves too much to chance.  Especially when high end pedals cost more than GE wants to spend on a guitar1.

This whole process is a little easier, thanks to PedalGenie. Continue reading

  1. I don’t mean that as a rip on GE, but on the absurd cost of effects