Recently - I had a New Gear Day (NGD)! Sometimes it's the "little things" in life that get me fired up - and this NGD was no exception.
For those of who know me – or listen to the podcast – you probably already know that I am a tube screamer freak! For many, including myself, it’s even created a cult-like following since it’s release in the late 70s. Like, love, or hate the tube screamer – it definitely has earned its place in electric-guitar history and has been included among some of the most famous guitar rigs ever.
So being a TS collector, when the Tube Screamer Mini came out – I of course HAD TO HAVE IT; that’s what I told my wife anyway. So what’s so cool about it? LOTS – it sounds super close to the original AND it’s tiny! For you nano/ micro board/ mini pedal enthusiasts out there – this is a must have.
So how does it compare with say – the Clarksdale? They are in totally different classes. Apples and Oranges. The Clarksdale has way more options and tonal control. It also doesn’t get as gritty when cranked all the way up. With that said, at half the size and price – the TS mini is pretty darn cool!
Here is my Instagram (maxjeffrey3) pic of my Hebert pedal boards - Micro Board Set up with the TS mini I rigged up for band rehearsals:
If you want to see how the TS mini stacks up with the original TS808 – check out this video from our good friend Roman of Shnobel Tone:
In one of previous podcasts we talked about when to use your pedals at 18 volts. Since this topic is a little more tech oriented I asked our resident pedal engineer/ guru/ wizard/ Jake Steffes to explain it a little more in depth. With out further ado - Jake!! :
"In the podcast we talked about when to use your pedals at 18 Volts. In an analog pedal, that means that your guitar signal is going to swing above and below a reference voltage, which is usually half of your power supply voltage (4.5V for a 9V supply, and 9V for an 18V supply) like Travis brought up. This means that your guitar signal level can swing up from 4.5V to 9V, and down from 4.5V to 0V and not clip any op amps or transistors with a 9V supply (for the most part). With an 18V supply, your reference voltage is at 9V, and your signal can swing from this 9V up to 18V, or down to 0V without clipping any active circuitry (op amps, transistors). If you do your math, that means that an 18V supply essentially allows for larger signals to pass without being clipped.
In pedals with diode clipping, this won’t affect very much; the diodes are going to clip as usual regardless of supply voltage. In pedals with transistor clipping (for example, an overdrive that used JFETs for clipping), the supply voltage will directly affect the character of the clipping. With a higher supply voltage, less clipping will occur because the JFET requires larger signals to clip than with the smaller supply.
In digital pedals, a voltage regulator (a device that takes an input voltage and outputs a lower, regulated voltage) is used to power the digital electronics (like the analog to digital converters that transmit your guitar signal to digital processors). Typically, these regulators will take a 9V input and convert it to a 3.3V or 5V supply. By increasing the 9V supply to an 18V supply, you’ve done nothing to increase headroom in the digital circuitry."
- Max Jeffrey/ Jake Steffes
So after a week long stint of "Best Of" while we are continuing to move in, paint, and wire the new building with top secret gadgets (ok - I made that last part up) we were finally able to shoot 2 brand new podcasts in the new building on the new "stage". To top it all off - the first episode in the new building is also the 50th episode of Chasing Tone. I know what you are asking - did we celebrate? Yes, yes we did - with B's and G's. #trashbagBsandGs Without further ado - the highlights of today's episode:
Intro Music: Travis talks about the gear he used to record the intro music. Which was: a Don Grosh Retro Classic, an Amp 11 (Love Pedal), and a Budda Super Drive 30. The sound was supposed to "kinda honky" so when the full band comes in - the music would transform in to a nice big full sound.
Chasing Springs: Recently Travis changed the amount of springs (from 5 springs to 3 springs) on his Don Grosh Retro Classic. Which, according to Travis, changed his tone - especially in different pickup selections. It created a more "open and airy" type of sound which Travis enjoys more. The tuning stability is still surprisingly awesome! When Travis and I were playing around with it - he was really trying to wreck it - and the strings bounced right back to normal. Consider me impressed!
New Pedal Day: Travis recently purchased an Rocket Effects - Archer from one of our listeners, who also let him borrow a tall font Big Muff. Both are killer sounding pedals with some definite tone! I personally received the TC Electronics Poly Tune 2 Noir - which is a pretty awesome tuner. It's small/ compact - super bright and accurate. A big shout out to Stefan from TC Electronics and the rest of the TC Electronics crew for hooking me up!
How Brian Starts Designing a New Circuit: Brian, as we affectionally call him around here - BW, first starts off with the tone he hears in his head. Then he just starts chasing those tones. He starts with pedal "building blocks" (like J-Fets, certain op-amps, etc - he thinks will work) and thinks will get him close - and then starts tweaking it until he gets in the ballpark of what he hears - and then he fine tunes it even more!
So all that's all for this week - until Thursday Tone Chasers!
As you know, Fusion guitar virtuoso Tom Quayle has been delighted to have a signature pedal out with us for almost two years, the Dual Fusion. We have also been so delighted in his commitment to the brand we have decided to expand on the range.
We have taken the initiative - after many years of people asking us to make a bass range, we are making Tom the vehicle for our new bass pedals. As we now own over 50% of Tom's business and personal assets (there is some dispute over the VHS video collection of 80's SciFi, his step daughter, the mirror in the bathroom and one of his dogs, "Fudge" but this is expected to be clarified by circuit judge Hector Papodopulus before lunch time) we had made Tom give up the guitar and take up bass to promote these pedals!
We are proud to announce the "TQ Low Fusion Blow Tuba Tone Bass Flange Rectifier" - the pedal will come in an assortment of colors, from red to dark red and will have the usual array of TQ switching capabilities, not at all limited to signal routing, satnav routing, light switching and the power to legato without the use of actual leg movement.
Welcome to the lower side of Tom Quayle!
Feels good to be back writing! The last couple weeks are such a blur for everyone here at Wampler HQ! Between SXSW (South by South West), the Guitar Pedal Expo 2015 in LA, and moving in to a new building - we have been more than a little busy to say the least.
During the Guitar Pedal Expo our good friend Sean Pierce hosted a "Pedal Guru" (a panel of 6 current pedal builders) and picked their brain for an hour. Check out the discussion and go give Sean's youtube page/ social media and give it a like!
You may have noticed that some of our more recent releases (Clarksdale and Plexi Drive Deluxe) have had top mounted jacks. We are now starting to morph some of the range over to this, along with relay switches - it's part of our "constant improvement" programme, so if your new pedal has top mounted jacks and softer feeling relay switches, your pedal is legit!! :)
All new top jacks and soft switching!
Greetings Tone Chasers! This Thursday's podcast we covered 2 topics that I thought were most excellent!
Consistent Sound With Multiple Guitars: So if you're using a Les Paul, a Strat, and a Telecaster through one amp - and want to get consistent tone - how can you achieve such a feat? If you are just looking for changes in volume - Brian suggests a volume pedal. You can change it on the fly and is a super easy fix. You can also create consistent tones form guitar to guitar by using an EQ pedal. Billy Gibbons' guitar tech, Elwood Francis, actually has a big EQ rack set up that has lots of different presets - for Billy's guitars for more homogenous guitar tones. Premier Guitar has an excellent Rig-Rundown that shows it in action. Check it out!
Hand-wound vs Machine-wound pickups: We also discussed the difference between Hand-wound pickups and machine wound pickups - whats the difference and does it matter? Well depends I suppose. You can program a machine to count a certain number of winds on a pickup bobbin - or it can be programmed to scatter wind -or even programmed to create a very specific impedance output. When you "hand-wind" pickups you are manually controlling the speed on how fast the pickup bobbin is moving around an axis - and also manually controlling the copper spool of wire as it goes around the bobbin. Hand wound pickups aren't always as consistent from pickup to pickup. With that said - master craft - men and women (like Seymour Duncan, Jason Lollar, Abigail Ybarra- just to name a few) have turned it in to an art form and get pretty awesome results! So which one is better? That's totally up to the player. Let your ears your be your guide!
Until Monday Tone Chasers!
Are you subscribed to our newsletter? Mike Rutledge is, so he enters our regular pedal giveaways that are just for newsletter members... Here he is with the brand new Plextortion he won last week! Later this year we have the biggest competition we've ever been part of coming... Subscribe here to make sure you find out about it first!
This week on Chasing Tone! Highlight real!
Amp in the Box (AIAB) pedals and the importance of cab simulators: Ok, ok - getting right to it. (AIAB) type pedals do typically, or should, sound very close to the actual amp they are trying to mimic. When played through a tube amp - AIAB's (especially ours - insert shameless plug here) help replicate the recreated amps tone and with the help of your guitar's amp and speakers - and do a pretty darn good job of it. However when you use a AIAB straight in to a PA/ mixer - you lose the help of your amp's speaker cab. Don't fret too much though! With a cabinet simulator like a Radial, Two Notes, etc - you can help recreate those speaker tones that your PA/ mixer is lacking.
How to get a fuzz pedal to cut through the mix in a live setting?: The easiest thing - is to turn up your fuzz. Sounds simple - but if you crank up your fuzz and not blast everybody out - DO IT! If you want to use your existing fuzz - use a drive pedal (like a tube screamer) before or after your fuzz to tighten it up and help it cut through the mix. Travis likes to run his drive before his fuzz to help boost it and Brian likes to run his drive pedal after the Fuzz to help shape it's EQ. Play around with your order and let your ears be your guide! See ya Monday Tone Chasers!