Montag, 1. Dezember 2008

Germanium Based Overdrives - A List

Alvin Youngblood Hart's Blood Drive
Earthquaker Crimson Drive
DOD 250
EHX Germanium OD
Frantone Hi-Ball
Fultone-Webb Textosterone
Keeley Fuzzhead
Mellowtone Singing Tree Germanium
Musician's Junkyard Guitar BQ (D+ clone)
Pedalworx DD+
Skreddy Screwdriver
$uperPuma Trotsky Overdrive
Telenordia TA-100
Tonefactor Cream Pie Deluxe

Samstag, 25. Oktober 2008

About tape delays and emulations

tape compression and saturation can not be emulated
properly in the digital domain yet and bucket brigades
have their own thing going.

I think its not about warble and flutter, because a well
maintained tape echo, with fresh tape will not do that.
Also there is no signal degradation but, as mentioned
above, tape compression and saturation.

If one really wants to have tape echo than a real tape
delay unit is mandatory anything else can only be a
close approximation.

Its like the age old (it seems) question, what comes
close to a TS. The answer is: a TS!

Right now I am experimenting with two Revox B77 as
delay units. I have used these babies in the 80ies
two have my own Frippertronics.
You would never believe how much difference in sound
the brand of the tape will make ....

Maybe some people here remember the cassette tape recorders
and the different tapes one could buy: chrome coated tape for example.
Do you remember the difference in sound?
Now think about those tapes in the delay units ....
Has this ever been discussed?

Tape delay units all sound a bit different (almost like fuzzes)
depending on maintenance status and usage of tape and so on ...
If you would try to emulate a tape in the digital domain,
there are far more parameters than the usual settings, delay units use.

With a 'simple' stomp box one can only emulate a specific tape delay unit.
I think the Skreddy does that. It emulates the specific delay the
builder used to sculpt the sound after.

Sonntag, 7. September 2008

Lovepedal COT50 Gold - Review

Lovepedal COT50 Gold - Tone Factor Product Details

The COT50 simulates a cranked vintage Marshall at the lower gain settings and a nasty fuzz tone at the upper end. The COT50 GOLD adds a new flavor to the classic COT 50, Master Volume and a Vintage Tone Stack. A pedal you can leave on all the time and get a diverse range of tones just by varying your guitar volume knob.

This unit can give you that magical Plexi tone regardless of amp make and model.

Glassy cleans, nice crunch, or a nice overdriven sound - think classic Billy Gibbons, SRV clean with just a bit of hair.

And it is a pefect stacker (see video).
Try any overdrive or especially fuzzes with the COT in front.
Maybe one of the best non-boost boost pedals ever.

Tone Factor demo video of the COT50 pushing a fuzz:

Effects Explained: Overdrive

Here is another installment of's "Effects Explained" series.

Effects Explained: Overdrive

Samstag, 6. September 2008

Some Tone Factor Trivia

List of all the pedals Tone Factor ever has produced.
The ones with links are still in production.
The ones marked with a '*' are not yet available.

75 Special
770 Flanger *
Black Betty
Bottom Feeder
Cream Pie
Fuzz Saw
Luna Vibe
Mystic Octavius
Omega Fuzz
Red K/Ramrod
Soul Provider
Squeeze Factor/Pulp Mill
Sugar Baby

Freitag, 5. September 2008

My Next Peal - Keeley Fuzz Head

I was always on the search for a pedal, that could bridge the gap between Fuzz and Overdrive - I think I have found it!

Keeley Fuzz Head - Tone Factor Product Details

Tone Factor demo video of the Fuzz Head:

Mittwoch, 3. September 2008

Mule Review

Mule - Tone Factor Product Details

The Mule is a lean, mean dirt machine. Cranked tweed tones in a tiny package. Sweet overdriven tones with fuzzy edges. Adds grit even at the lowest settings, crank it on up and it screams! The Mule is NOT another Tube Screamer clone. The Mule is based on the same circuit as a certain legendary Red Mammal, with added gain for even more kick!

The sound is very clear, with no muddiness whatsoever. Unlike many other pedals, I don't believe there's any compression involved. It cleans up well when rolling off the volume. The pedal responds very well to playing dynamics, and is perfect for borderline distortion sounds.

Here is a picture of my 'Mule'. It was one of the first branded differently than today.

Demo video of the Mule:

Dienstag, 2. September 2008

Heads Up on the Nebula

See review here

Nice thread about the Nebula going on in the Tone Factor Forum

The Hunt - The Prey - The Luna

Luna Vibe - Tone Factor Product Details

I was always on the hunt for a modulation pedal (especially a vibe), that
would take my fuzzes well. A thread on the ToneFactor forum brought me to the Luna.

After buying, testing and lots of conversations, this was my final verdict
on the Luna (long read ahead).

I have to divide my impressions on the Luna in two categories:
1. clean without fuzz
2. with fuzz

My primary (more to that later) test setup is:
Tele > MJM > Timmy > Luna > Tweed RI and
Tele > Luna > MJM > Timmy > Tweed RI


The Luna is simply gorgeous.
The depth knob (I call him voice knob in the meantime)
lets you dial in so much different shades of vibe and chorus
it puts any other modulation pedal I have ever owned to shame.
Between minimum settings and 12 o'clock you get a
beautiful and very lush sounding chorus/vibe
Between 12 and 3 o'clock there are all shades of
deep throbbing vibes one can imagine.
Between 3 o'clock and max it starts to get crazy
somewhat as if a tremolo, vibe and vibrato are combined.

All these settings sound organic, rich, simply fantastic


I have mentioned it before, first impression was, lets say mixed.
Then I discovered the broken tubes in my amp and it was better,
but not satisfactory ...
The high frequency content was too much and it sounded harsh,
especially in the throbbing cycle of the Luna when the high frequency
end was reached.
This was the moment Robert and I started to PM.
I have to say that Robert is one of the most helpful
and dedicated persons I have ever communicated with

Suggestions were:
Isolating the fuzz and the luna
Bringing the volume of the fuzz down and compensate with the luna.
Bringing in the Timmy in front of the Luna to reduce high frequency.
Change the sequence of pedals (i.e. Luna > MJM).

My problems still persisted.
To me it sounded as if the Luna was masking my tone completely.
I even lost my pick attack on higher fuzz settings.
It became tolerable, when I brought the volume of the guitar
almost complete down (as you know the MJM reacts very well)

So I decided to give the Luna a test at live volumes
(maybe I am deaf right now, or too picky or whatever)

My setup for band practice:

Tele > MJM > Timmy > Luna > Tweed RI and Twin RI

First we played as classic power trio (drums, bass, gtr)
with individual amps no PA.
At the clean settings everybody that listened, was totally
impressed and intrigued by the Luna.
Playing really loud also helped the fuzz sounds with the Luna
but the magic was gone.

Then we switched over to a four man formation
(drums, bass, gtr, gtr/voc) playing through PA,
with a friend of mine doing the part as sound engineer.

The sound was ok so far, but the moment I engaged the
Luna I completely disappeared from the mix.

The sound engineer finally found out what was happening
(to be honest, I had been thinking the same, but was not sure)

The Luna has a 100% wet output, that only can recognized,
if you play with fuzz or in a band context.
This is the reason why I lost my pick attack.

Next thing we did was, I incorporated the Luna in my rack system
(complicated thing with a signal splitter and a rack mixer).
The Luna then was set to 50% wet in my rack mix.

Guess what, tonal heaven.
I haver never heard a better modulation effect,
whether I played clean or with all out fuzz.

Problem is, I want the Luna for my analog board.
So I asked Robert if he can build a mix control in the Luna.
He told me he will look into the possibilities, but it could
take some time.
He also told me about your (gururyan) Luna, that has
two outputs. This is what Robert wrote:
"I would prefer a mix knob on the Luna, but the idea of using jack number 2 connected directly to the fuzz and bypassing the vibe, while output jack 1 sends the vibe signal to the amp, provides for an interesting discussion on the forum."

In the meantime, while I wrote this, a new PM has reached me.

"I would be happy to offer you the a new Luna with Mix in exchange for your Luna. Please use the Luna you have now as much as you like and don't worry about conserving it in new condition."

This is what I call support
This is one of the best messages (as musician) I have ever gotten
I hereby promise that I will sing the praise for the Luna and Robert
for years to come

End of story so far -> happy end !

Tone Factor demo video of the Luna:

Freitag, 29. August 2008

You're too old to play gigs when.....

1. It becomes more important to find a place on stage for your fan than for your amp.

2. Your gig clothes make you look like George Burns out for a round of golf.

3. All your fans leave by 9:30 p.m.

4. All you want from groupies is a foot massage and back rub.

5. You love taking the elevator because you can sing along with most of your play list.

6. Instead of a fifth member, your band wants to spring for a roadie.

7. You don't know (or care) who any of the new bands are.

8. You need your glasses to see the amp settings.

9. You've thrown out your back jumping off the stage.

10. You feel like hell before the gig even starts.

11. The waitress is your daughter.

12. You stop the set because your ibuprofen fell behind the speakers.

13. Most of your crowd just sways in their seats.

14. You find your drink tokens from last month's gig in your guitar case.

15. You refuse to play without earplugs.

16. You ask the club owner if you can start at 8:30 instead of 9:30.

17. You check the TV schedule before booking a gig.

18. Your gig stool has a back.

19. You're related to at least one member in the band.

20. You don't let any one sit in.

21. You need a nap before the gig.

22. After the third set, you bug the club owner to let you quit early.

23. During the breaks, you now go to the van to lay down.

24. You prefer a music stand with a light.

25. You don't recover from a Saturday night gig until Tuesday afternoon.

26. You hope the host's speech lasts forever.....

27. You buy amps considering their weight and not their tone or cool factor.

28. Feeling guilty looking at hot women at the bar 'cause they're younger than your daughter.

29. You can remember seven different club names for the same location ...

30. You have a hazy memory of the days when you could work 10 gigs in 7 days and could physically do it

31. Your set list is dance able.

32. You think "homey" means cozy and warm

33. You have to look over your glasses to check your PA connections.

34. You're playing the same venue in three months and you ask the club owner if you can leave your amp!

35. Most of the band members are a lot younger than you.

36. Your son is waiting for the gig to end to drive you and your stuff home, then go back out and party...

37. Your date couldn't make it because she couldn't find a sitter for the grandkids...

38. In consideration of your age, the audience requests some British invasion.

39. On all out of town gigs you draw straws to see who the driver will be coming home.

40. You start listing your truss as a "business expense".

41. You forget to take your Flowmax so all sets that night are only 15 minutes long.

42. When you get a "Cease and Desist" letter from the Spandex co.

43. When you play 2 nights in a row, and the next day your body aches like you played in the Super Bowl!

44. Or, you play a Wednesday night gig and call into work sick on Thursday and Friday..

45. When the only "Stones" you care about are in your gallbladder or kidney.

46. You have to charge extra money if there are any steps to climb.

47. Your hearing has deteriorated so badly that you actually ask the guitar player to "turn himself up.

48. You call out the next song only to have someone remind you played it 10 minutes earlier.

49. Your drugs are keeping you alive rather than killing you.

50. You worry more about breaking a hip than being hip.

52. Musicians half your age are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or have appeared on postage stamps.

53. The only white powder to be found amongst the band members is foot talc.

GAS - Death By Audio - Fuzz War

I just wanted to introduce my next fuzz ;-)

Fuzz War - Tone Factor Product Details

Two knobs on the outside control LEVEL and SHAPE and there is an internal DRIVE control to create a multitude of ultimate fuzz sounds.

Tone Factor demo video of the Fuzz War:

Mittwoch, 27. August 2008

Philosophy Part I

What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin ?
Who cares - neither one's a guitar

How many guitar players does it take to cover a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune ?
Evidently all of them.

"Mommy! Mommy! When I grow up I want to be a guitar player!"
"Now Johnny, you can't do both!"

How many guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?
Twelve. One to change the bulb and eleven to say they could do it better.

Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep inside they want to
be rock stars, but they're old and overweight. In protest, they wear
their hair long, prowl for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud.

Why are so many guitarists jokes one liners?
So the rest of the band can understand them.

Update on Keeler Designs Shove Incoming

This is an update on the article Keeler Designs Shove Incoming

Keeler Designs Shove - Tone Factor Product Details

Tone Factor demo video of the Keeler Designs Shove:

Dienstag, 26. August 2008

Nebula - Review

Nebula Phaser - Tone Factor Product Details

The Nebula is a two stage phaser based on similar pedals of days gone by (MXR Phase 45, DOD 201), with modern upgrades that today's player demands.

The Nebula is subtle and watery, and not overpowering at all. No over the top space ahip sounds to be found, but if you need a nice musical phaser in a small package the Nebula is the way to go.

The tone is beautifully warm and not overpowering. Just a lovely vibe feel that sounds great. It is not too subtle, but it's actually fairly thick, just not overdone. It's a nice marriage with your clean signal. There's no bad sound in it and there's no annoying volume drop.

Tone Factor demo video of the Nebula:

Here are some additional sound clips:


Mittwoch, 20. August 2008

Effects Explained: Modulation—Phasing, Flanging, and Chorus

Here is another installment of's "Effects Explained" series.

Effects Explained: Modulation—Phasing, Flanging, and Chorus

The Phaser

A phaser is an audio signal processing technique used to filter a signal by creating a series of peaks and troughs in the frequency spectrum. The position of the peaks and troughs is typically modulated so that they vary over time, creating a sweeping effect. For this purpose, phasers usually include a low frequency oscillator.

The electronic phasing effect is created by splitting an audio signal into two paths. One path treats the signal with an all-pass filter, which preserves the amplitude of the original signal and alters the phase. The amount of change in phase depends on the frequency. When signals from the two paths are mixed, the frequencies that are out of phase will cancel each other out, creating the phaser's characteristic notches. Changing the mix ratio changes the depth of the notches; the deepest notches occur when the mix ratio is 50%.

The definition of phaser typically excludes such devices where the all-pass section is a delay line; such a device is called a flanger. Using a delay line creates an unlimited series of equally spaced notches and peaks. It is possible to cascade a delay line with another type of all-pass filter as in, this combines the unlimited number of notches from the flanger with the uneven spacing of the phaser.

Phasing is a popular effect for electric guitar. The term was often used[citation needed] to refer the original tape flanging effect heard on many psychedelic records of the late 1960s, notably "Itchycoo Park" by the Small Faces, and "Pictures of Matchstick Men" by Status Quo. Eddie Van Halen often used a phaser as part of his signal chain, after his distortion effects, including the amplifier itself: Van Halen used a power attenuator to bring the amp's output down to line level so he could put effect boxes after it. Phasing is primarily responsible for the soaring and unique guitar sounds Brian May achieved with the band Queen in such songs as Bohemian Rhapsody.

Many electronic keyboard instruments like the Rhodes and the Clavinet are commonly treated with a phaser to "sweeten" their sounds. Examples can be heard in Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are", Styx's "Babe" and Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years."

In motion picture or television production, the effect created by a phaser is often used to imply that the sound is synthetically generated, like turning a natural human voice into a computer or robot voice.

Dienstag, 12. August 2008

Malekko 600B - a discussion

Malekko 600b - Tone Factor product details

Right now there is a discussion about this pedal at Harmony Central.

As always in these discussion I threw my 0.2 cents in about tap tempo and
why so few delay builders incorporate this in their pedals.

This is what malekko himself had to say:

"When adding tap tempo to a delay, all your affecting is the rate of the clock. It has no bearing on the analog signal path.
We have a few tap tempo pedals were working on now including the elusive E1200"

"hopefully december"

Finally it seems the wait for a fantastic sounding analog delay with tap tempo
has an end. Right now I am asking for built-in modulation (footswitch).

This could very well be the best delay out there!

Samstag, 9. August 2008

Earthquaker Devices Crimson Drive - Review

Earthquaker Devices Crimson Drive - Tone Factor product details

The Earthquaker Devices Crimson Drive is a germanium based overdrive. It creates an open, uncompressed overdrive with excellent sustain via a NOS germanium transistor and 2 germanium diodes. When it reaches top gain, it creates an excellent singing marshall-esqe fuzz tone.

It is a great sounding overdrive that has plenty of dynamics and retains the high end when you back the volume down.

The sounds one can obtain with this pedal go from Rangemaster-style (with a litte more drive) with the gain at minimum, to a overdriven sound that is well known from those vintage Marshall amps at full bore, with the gain at max.
It works wonders on single coils and sounds great on open chords.
Lots of volume on tap as well.
It has a wonderful brite and raw (but not brittle) tone.

Tone Factor Demo Video of the Crimson Drive:

Additional Soundclips:

Max Gain
Half Gain
Light Gain

The Fuzz - A short history

In 1960, a Nashville session musician, Grady Martin, accidentally stumbled upon the fuzz sound during a recording session for Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry 'Bout Me", due to a faulty guitar amplifier. The fault soon reproduced by an electronic circuit, which was first marketed as the Model FZ-1 under the "Fuzz Tone" brand name.

Early fuzzboxes used germanium transistors. By the end of the 1960s, these were replaced by silicon transistors. Silicon transistors are desirable for a number of reasons. They are generally less affected by changes in temperature and offer more reliable performance than germanium ones. Warm conditions (such as the heat generated by stage lights or sunlight in outdoor performances) can adversely affect the tone of germanium fuzzes. Also, fuzz boxes that employ germanium transistors do not work well when placed after another effect pedal that uses "buffered bypass."

This is because the buffer on effect pedals converts the guitar's signal from high to low impedance (to retain high frequencies and signal strength). Low impedance signals that pass through germanium-equipped fuzzes tend to suffer from a pronounced drop in volume and bass response. In the 2000s, some boutique fuzzbox builders offer pedals with germanium transistors. Additionally, some units employ both silicon and germanium transistors.

In 1962, The Ventures, having heard the earlier Marty Robbins cut, asked friend Red Rhodes, a steel player and electronics wizard, how they could obtain that sound. A couple of months later, Rhodes presented them with a custom fuzz box, reportedly the first, which The Ventures used to record '2000 Pound Bee'. That song charted in December 1962 and is identified by multiple sources, including The VH-1 Music First Rock Stars Ecyclopedia, as the first single to use actual fuzz box guitar. The story of The Ventures use of that custom box is conveyed in the April 2007 edition of Guitar Buyer magazine in an article titled 'Caught By The Fuzz'.

Fuzzboxes gained wider popularity after a distorted sound was popularised by Dave Davie of the band The Kinks. He played through a small amp whose speaker cone had been slashed with a razor blade, distorting the signal. In 1964 he plugged the doctored amp into a VoxAC30 to record You Really Got Me, the band's first No. 1 single and the first popular rock & roll song using a distorted power chord riff. Fuzzboxes became popular as a much easier way to create a distorted sound.

In May 1965 Keith Richards used a Maestro Fuzz-Tone to record "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". The song's success so boosted sales of the device that all available stock had sold out by the end of 1965.

Freitag, 8. August 2008

The Fuzz Part 2

A fuzzbox (or fuzz box) is a type of effects pedal comprising an amplifier and a clipping circuit, which generates a distorted version of the input signal. As opposed to other distortion guitar effects pedals, a fuzzbox boosts and clips the signal sufficiently to turn a standard sine wave input into a waveform that is much closer to a square wave output. The sound of almost creating a square wave gives a "Rough around the edges" effect that creates the classic fuzz tone. This gives a much more distorted and synthetic sound than a standard distortion or overdrive. Fuzz sounds also tend to have lower Mid frequencies than other distortion types. The term "fuzz box" is often used generically to refer to any effect pedal that produces a distorted sound.

As clipping is a non-linear process, intermodulation will occur, leading to the generation of an output signal rich in extra harmonics of the input signal. Intermodulation distortion also produces frequency components at the various sums and differences of the frequency components of the input signal. In general, these components will be not be harmonically related to the input signal, leading to dissonance. To reduce unwanted dissonance, simple power chords (root, fifth, and octave) are often used when using fuzzboxes, rather than triads (root, third, and fifth) or four-note chords (root, third, fifth, and seventh).

Donnerstag, 7. August 2008

Interesting comparison of delays

These are not side by side comparisons,
but the demos are made by the same guys from ToneFactor.
Here is their youtube channel: ToneFactor on Youtube

The following videos are demos of the Subdecay Echobox the Skreddypedals Echo and
the Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport.
Those delays are analog voiced digital delays with modulation.

Update on reviews Copperhead and Liquid Sunshine

This is an update to the reviews of the
Subdecay Liquid Sunshine and
Mojohand Copperhead

As I wrote the review on the Liquid Sunshine I noticed in the description, that it is supposed to take boosters well. I have only used the LS as a booster itself, until yesterday.

So I tried the combination of Copperhead boosting Liquid Sunshine. Settings were on the LS: upper drive knob 9 o'clock, lower drive knob 3 o'clock Settings on the Copperhead: volume from 12 to max, gain max on one side

The result was absolutely amazing, you get clear, smooth, defined and transparent overdrive at its best. There are a lot of pedals that claim to sound like that one special amp (you know it starts with dum and ends with ble) and I had them all (I still own a few of them). None of them could shake a stick at the Liquid Sunshine - Copperhead combination!

The real fun started as I engaged the second boost stage on the Copperhead. The sound stayed clear, smooth and transparent but began to sing and sustain, unlike anything I have ever heard before in an overdrive pedal.

This combination gets 6 of possible 5 stars from me :-)

Subdecay Liquid Sunshine - Tone Factor Product Details

Mojohand Copperhead - Tone Factor Product Details

Mr. Way Huge on various bypass methods

(This is what Boss, Ibanez, Digitech pedals use)
The signal always goes through active circuitry in the effect. The signal is bypassed either through electronic switches or through a variable gain amplifier.
Pros: Ability to drive long signal chains, isolating guitar from load, completely silent switching.
Cons: Requires power for any signal to pass through, loss of high end tone when multiple pedals are in series.

(This is what vintage MXR pedals use)
The signal output is connected to a mechanical switch that toggles between the output of the effect or the input signal. The input signal is always connected to the input of the effect, but the input impedances of most effects are usually on the order of mega ohms. This in theory should not cause any problems, but many guitarists can hear the difference (or so they say!).
Pros: Super simple, cheap, works for most people.
Cons: Apparent signal loss due to loading can be aggravated with multiple hardwire bypass effects chained together.

"Clinton Bypass" or almost-true bypass method:
(This is what Voodoo Lab pedals use)
The signal output is connected to a mechanical switch that toggles between the output of the effect or the input signal. The input signal is always connected to the input of the effect by an FET or LED/photo-FET optoisolators. However, the input impedances of most effects are usually on the order of mega ohms. This very large off resistance is almost as effective as is an open mechanical switch, but many guitarists say they can hear the difference (or so they say!).
Pros: Simple, works for most people.
Cons: Apparent signal loss due to loading can be aggravated with multiple hardwire bypass effects chained together.

True Hardwire (True Bypass:
(This is what Fulltone, Way Huge, Zvex and many boutique pedals use)
Both the input and output of the effect are mechanically disconnected in bypass. The signal has a clean, untouched path from in to out. This requires at minimum of a DPDT switch. In recent years a 3PDT switch has been used to achieve true hardwire bypass with an LED.
Pros: Makes people happy. No signal loss when power cuts out. Keeps signal clean when pedal is disengaged.
Cons: Costs more to implement, can’t drive long chains, possible switching ‘pop’. When many true bypass pedals are chained together and there are long cables from the pedals to the guitar and amp a large capacitance can build up from the long cable runs (including all those little patch cables and the wires in the pedals themselves) causing substantial high end loss.

“Millennium Bypass” or modified ProCo RAT bypass:
This bypass method is a rather simple yet totally effective, and is a genuine true bypass with an indicator based on the DPDT. The signal input toggles between the effect input and the output jack. The effect output toggles between the output jack and the LED circuitry. The switching is such that when the input jack selects the effect input, the effect output is connected to the output jack. When the input jack selects the output jack for bypass, the effect output is connected to the LED switch circuitry.
Pros: Makes people happy. No signal loss when power cuts out. Keeps signal clean when pedal is disengaged.
Cons: Costs more to implement, can’t drive long chains, possible switching ‘pop’. When many true bypass pedals are chained together and there are long cables from the pedals to the guitar and amp a large capacitance can build up from the long cable runs (including all those little patch cables and the wires in the pedals themselves) causing substantial high end loss.

Relay True Bypass:
(This is what the Line 6 DL4 uses)
In addition, electromechanical relays can be used instead of a mechanical switch to do the effect bypassing. Hardwire Relay and True Hardwire Relay are basically the same as their switch counterparts. The difference is that the relays are switched by a small current sources sent from the foot switch instead of the switch actually switching the audio.
Pros: Usually there is a shorter distance from the input jack to output jack when in bypass mode and it reduces the chance for capacitance (high end loss) and noise. More robust foot switch can be used leading to longer foot switch life. No signal loss when power cuts out. Keeps signal clean when pedal is disengaged.
Cons: Requires more power and reduces battery life. Costs more to implement, can’t drive long cable runs, possible switching ‘pop’. When many true bypass pedals are chained together and there are long cables from the pedals to the guitar and amp a large capacitance can build up from the long cable runs (including all those little patch cables and the wires in the pedals themselves) causing substantial high end loss.

More info here on bypass:

Mittwoch, 6. August 2008

Subdecay Liquid Sunshine - Review

Subdecay Liquid Sunshine - Tone Factor Product Details

The Liquid sunshine is a Jfet based overdrive with a great breakup and will not cover up the the natural sound of your guitar and amplifier.

With two drive knobs, the Liquid Sunshine allows you to control the character of the overdrive rather than simply controlling overall gain. The drive knobs controls two separate gain stages, each with their own characteristics. The top drive knob pushes the overall frequency range, while the bottom drive knob accentuates the middle and high frequencies. Both are very interactive, and allow the Liquid sunshine to perform as a clean boost or treble booster, as well as an overdrive.

Unlike a lot of other overdrives that use diodes to clip an amplified signal, the jfet circuitry produces no "sharp edges" or hard clipping. Many tone knobs on overdrives have a very narrow band of useful settings.

Instead, the bottom drive knob on the liquid sunshine controls gain and also alters the frequency response, with many useful settings over a wide range. The Liquid Sunshine now has two internal controls for bass, and treble boost.

The LS is one of the unsung heroes of gain. A brilliant pedal that, if anything, has too much to offer for some people. You could probably run three different LSs on your board at different settings, and be convinced you have three different ODs.

It's a very cool take on a tweedy/gritty style voicing - the twin drive knobs interact in very much the same way as the two volume controls work on a tweed Deluxe. Lots of character to the overall tone - good harmonic content, picking dynamics, etc. Its a quality overdrive for sure.

Sound clips:

lightly overdriven amp
overdriven amp
max drive thru clean amp
light drive thru clean amp
light drive thru clean amp

Wedding Band Requests

Dear Bandleader thank you for your letter. I really do think you have an attitude problem and do want a few requests played if you don't mind. What me and my wife were thinking was:

Any Keith Jarrett composition from his solo series. Please arrange for full ensemble and nothingin 4/4 please.

Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dance of the Maya and please have the guitar player play John Mcglaughlin's solo from the live performance Nov. 16, 1972 at Chrysler Arena. My wife and I were at that show and particularly liked his use of polyrhythmics. If you find it too difficult you can leave out the feedback. Your choice.

John Coltrane's duets with Pharaoh Sanders. I understand that their use of atonality is not everyone's cup of tea, but my guests are usually fond of high register tenor saxes.

We thought a little Stravinsky would be nice. We particularly like the Rite of Spring. If you want to use the sheet music it's OK. My husband likes it about 1/4 note = 93 beats per minute.

Then for the candle lighting ceremony, please learn Frank Zappa's "The Great Wazoo". If you want to play it in the originally B flat, that would be OK. And yes, cousin Jeannie does want to sing the baritone sax solo. Please don't say no, it would hurt her feelings so.

Finally we have built our own musical instruments (It's kind of a hobby with us) and we would appreciate if you would use our instruments. None of them are based upon a 12 tone scale or on common harmonics, but our 5 year old son tells us it's not really that hard to transpose once you understand the physics.

We would be happy to pay each member an extra $25 for any inconvenience.
Thank you and don't be late!

Dienstag, 5. August 2008

GAS or obsessive compulsive disorder Part II

Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS, is a disorder that I first learned about as a guitarist.
Loosely defined, it describes a pattern of behavior where a musician has a compulsive need to acquire the latest and greatest equipment; incessantly fiddle with, modify, and customize their gear; and either end up maintaining an unwieldy collection of instruments, amps, pedals and rack gear, or, endure regular experiences of disappointment and regret over having traded in perfectly good equipment for something that promised to be noticeably better, but wasn't.
In many cases this results in the need to improve and refine one's equipment actually superseding one's own development in becoming a more knowledgeable and skilled player.

Keeler Designs Shove Incoming

According to a thread at ToneFactor forums:
Keeler Designs Shove incoming
the brandnew pedal called 'Shove' from Keeler Designs will be available soon.

Rob Keeler himself described the pedal as follows:

"It has 4 controls. Volume, Gain, Structure, and Tone.

The Tone and Structure controls are pretty cool. They are very interactive and allow for a whole bunch of different textures, tones and eq. You really need to play this pedal to get a feel for what they do.

The Volume control has a bunch of boost on tap. I put a bit more available boost on my pedals than most. The reason being sometimes I just want to hit the front end of a tube amp hard.

The Gain control goes from gritty clean to distortion. There are pedals out there with more distortion but I've never found a need for more than what the Shove has on tap. I only put out pedals that I would use on my pedalboard.

This pedal cleans up from the guitar volume knob. This is must for me. I'll often leave pedals on the whole time and get different tones out of them by riding the volume knob.

The picture doesn't show it but the paint job is a translucent red with metal flake sparkle. Very cool looking.

I think it's distortion is more open than compressed. I did this so it would clean up and you'd get more dynamics out of it. Although if you stack it Pull -> Shove -> can get those sounds."

Sounds like an awesome pedal, looking forward for some clips.
More later ...

Montag, 4. August 2008

R.I.P. Keith

Keith VanDerSchaegen of aramat effects passed away peacefully early on August 4th, 2008 after a 3 and a half year fight against Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

condolences to his family

Effects Explained: Overdrive, Distortion, and Fuzz

Here is another installment of's "Effects Explained" series.
Cool stuff!

Effects Explained: Overdrive, Distortion, and Fuzz

Sonntag, 3. August 2008

Earthquaker Devices Hoof Fuzz - Review

Earthquaker Devices Hoof Fuzz - Tone Factor Product Details

It is a germanium/ silicon hybrid big muff style fuzz (it's based on the old green Sovtek Big Muff) with massive amounts of volume and sustain on tap. It has a tighter sound than most muff's which makes palm muting an option and open chords ring out clear. The altered tone control eliminates the problem of being lost in the mix.

The Hoof has just enough fullness and gain for me but is also tight enough and to me it is the ultimate muff-style fuzz. It is the most 'liquid' sounding fuzz I haver ever heard.

I love the Big Muff sound, but I wanted something a little thicker and gainier than the ordinary muff, that has a usable tone control range and most imprtant that doesn't get lost in the mix.
The Hoof delivers on all of these aspects!
The tone control is based around the transistors and goes from the germanium side to the silicon side and never reaches the extremes of most muff tone controls.

Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys uses one.

Tone Factor demo video of the Hoof:

Tone Factor comparison video Hoof vs Little Big Muff:

Here are some additional sound clips:

Hoof with Fuzz at max, Tone at 12 O'Clock
Hoof with Fuzz at 12 O'Clock, Tone at 3 O'Clock
Hoof with Bass
Hoof with Humbuckers

Here are some additional videos:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4

The Fuzz Part 1

The first Fuzz box, the Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone, made its American debut in 1962. It was created in an attempt to have the guitar imitate brass and string instruments. Sales through 1964 were very slow. Everything changed in 1965 with the release of the song "Satisfaction", the legendary riff being the work of the Fuzz Tone.
Sola Sound introduced the MK I Tone Bender in 1965. The 1966 MK II was used by many famous British guitarists. Built with germanium transistors, the tonebender had bold fuzz and maximum sustain. Sola Sound would eventually change their name and become Colorsound.
The FZ-1 was not easy to come by in England and the birth of British Rock was just starting. The British company Sola Sound, sometimes spelled Solasound, and others were founded in response to the Fuzz demand. The "Fuzz Era" had begun.
The first era of fuzz pedals were equipped with either two or three germanium transistors. These pedals produced great tone, but many of these transistors turned out to be manufactured inconsistently, affected by climate, and generally unreliable.
In the 70's, most germanium transistors were replaced with silicon transistors. Silicon transistors were more compact and reliable. The silicon transistor yields a much higher gain and the sound is brighter. Of course, there is debate as to which transistor sounds better.
Fortunately, the consumer of today has the ability to listen to and choose the Fuzz effect that is right for him. The Fuzz pedals of today mimic the legends, but also provide additional features. Most offer the choice of germanium or silicon transistors. There is a Fuzz Pedal for Everyone!

Dienstag, 22. Juli 2008

GAS or obsessive compulsive disorder

Gear Acquisition Syndrome (sometimes Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, both abbreviated to GAS) is a term used to describe an urge to acquire and accumulate lots of gear.
The term "GAS" was coined by Walter Becker in 1996 in his article G.A.S. in Guitar Player as "Guitar Acquisition Syndrome". The term started to be frequently used by guitarists and spread out to other musicians who were familiar with similar tendencies. As it no longer concerns guitars only, GAS is now commonly backronym

GAS is similar in many ways to obsessive compulsive disorder

GAS hasn't received any major medical attention yet GAS is not a clinical condition, but a psychological .

Further information:

Walter Becker GAS
Brett Ratner Avoiding Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Dienstag, 15. Juli 2008

Mojo Hand Copperhead Dual Boost - Review

Mojo Hand Copperhead - Tone Factor Product Details

The Copperhead has two fully independant channels
which can be used seperately or cascaded together.
Either side can be used for either clean boost
or set for a light amount of grit.

It is possible to get an overdrive-like sound
by cranking boost a and cascading it into boost b.
But it is more for boosting than overdrives

The Copperhead has a tight, spanky fender-ish sound.
It is open. Very open and uncompressed.

UncleSlam demo video of the Copperhead: