As gigging musicians, there is often one person at each of our shows that has a major influence over our guitar tone other than us– yes, I’m talking about the “Sound Guy”. Some Sound Guys run their sound boards like master helmsmen at wheel of a giant ship and do an incredible job of making sure sound levels are perfect, there’s not too much guitar in the monitor mix, and the mic placement on each cab is absolutely spot on. On the other hand, there are some “Sound Guys” that probably know what a PA is, might or might not know how to adjust the controls and/or mix the band in, and know that – a mic should go in front of the cab, but have absolutely know idea where it should or shouldn’t go.
By incorrectly placing a mic on a cab, your tone can be potentially ruined through the House PA all night. Too muffled or to “ice-picky” can drive a Tone Chaser nuts! No one wants to have to battle with their tone back and forth all night. While we might not be able to control how good the sound guy is, we can have control of where we place a mic on our cabinet. In this article, I’m going to briefly run through where to place a mic on your cab to produce the optimum amount of tone.
So the simplest, biggest rule when deciding on where to place your mic on your cab is: the high frequencies are typically strongest at the center of the speaker and will drop off towards the edge. This means, if you are half way through your set and you can’t stand how muffled your amp sounds through the house – move the mic closer to the center of the speaker. Vis-versa if your tone is too “ice picky high” move the mic closer to the edge/ outside of the speaker.
You can also fine-tune your tone by rotating your mic at an angle; this method is also referred to as miking “Off Axis”. Off Axis mic placement can help take off some more subtle highs and lows from your tone if you don’t need to drastically change your sound; but still want to tweak it a little bit. This method is often used when micing Alnico speakers. Personally, my favorite mic position on my cab is an off axis edge position – for my rig, its a happy medium mic placement – this position allows me to capture both high and low frequencies smoothly.
So how many speakers of the cab should you mic? Through personal experience, I like to put just one mic on the speaker and the EQ it through the house board. Sometimes if you use 2 mics on one cab, it can sometimes create an undesirable phasing issues. So keep it simple – one mic, one speaker, dial in the EQ at the board – great and easy tone through the house all night long!
While mic placement is not necessarily an exact science, these simple rules will help you have a little more control of your live tone on stage. So the next time you find yourself battling with your tone through the house PA remember – you might be able to have a little better tone by simply adjusting the mic… You just might make the sound guy look a little better too.
- Max Jeffrey
If you look at the entire product line of Wampler Pedals you will see a plethora of overdrives that often emulate famous amps. Some gear heads out there call these (A.I.A.B.) or for the non-initiated – Amp In A Box. So what is an “amp in a box” type of pedal good for and how is it used? While there is no right or wrong way to use an A.I.A.B. pedal – I want to tell you about the two ways I personally use them.
My personal favorite way to use an amp in a box type of pedal is - as a tone shaper. For example, lets say that I am using a Vox style of amp and some other pedals for a gig. That’s a great a tone. But being guitar players – after 4 hours of hearing the same tone at a gig – you might want something different – or in my case, you just get bored. This is where I introduce tone-shaping pedals to my pedal board. With something like the Black 65 or the Tweed 57 I can effectively help shape the tone of my current amp to help emulate those tones. This is a cool way, for me at least, to help create different tonal options for songs that might be very different from one another.
When using an A.I.A.B. type pedal as a tone shaper you can create more in-depth layers of tone by stacking different boosts and gains with it. You can stack dirt pedals either before or after it to make your rhythm tones a little chunkier or to add just something extra to your leads/ solos.
The second way to use an amp in the box type of pedal is to use it as a gain stage. An A.I.A.B. can help you create some monster lead tones when you crank it up after your boosts or gain/dirt pedals. Essentially, this method would be very similar to running your favorite dirt pedal into an amp that has been cranked up!
You can also stack multiple A.I.A.B.s together to help create some interesting tones. Again, there is no right or wrong way to use amp in a box type of pedals, these are just two ways that we personally like to use here at Wampler HQ. So get out there and experiment!
- Max (Wampler Pedals)
Wampler Pedals are delighted to announce the release of the long awaited Latitude tremolo!
We could write pages and pages about what it can do (and most importantly doesn't do) for your tone, but these demos sum it up perfectly!
The Latitude is release globally on May 29th 2014,or you can purchase direct from our website.
Earlier this month Wampler Pedals visited the Dallas Guitar Show (May 2, 3, and 4th) for the first time. For those of you who have never been, it is celebration of all things guitar with fantastic great musical performances and some outstanding new and used/vintage gear for sale everywhere! Over the three days we were there, we met some fantastic new and inspiring musicians, as well as saw some familiar faces.
Musical performance highlights were Mr. Scary himself, George Lynch, performing with Derek St. Holmes belting out catch scratch fever, and of course the always very talented Johnny Winter showing us all what Texas blues is all about!
- Max Jeffrey
Following on from the massively successful campaign last year, we are proud to be part of the "Blakemore Effects" Circuits to Cure Cancer charity auction. All proceeds to go to the St Jude's Childrens Research Hospital. We have donated a one off pink Thirty Something...
It is our hope that you will support this cause by bidding either for this pedal, or one of the many others (from excellent and generous companies), available.
The auction site is here and is open now and remains open until the 18th May 2014!!
Our heartfelt thanks and respect goes out to Blake for organizing this.
Brian interviewed yesterday morning with Eric Dahl of the Rock and Review (Fox 17 - Nashville, TN) and talked about a few of his pedals. Eric is a player himself and has some great gear builders on his show. A big THANK YOU to Eric and the entire Fox 17 crew for the wonderful hospitality!
Stay tuned for a link to the video after it airs in a couple of weeks.
- Max Jeffrey
Recently, while taking a break from filming – Travis was showing off his vibe pedal, The Depths, that he bought at the 2013 Nashville Amp Expo from our good friends at Earthquaker Devices. Being the professed gear-nerds that we are, we love taking the chance to show each other some of the great gear that is available out there!
Travis paired up The Depths with the Wampler Pedals Velvet Fuzz. (Running The Depths before the Velvet Fuzz.) All of us in the studio were immediately blown away by what we were hearing! Such tone! Hendrix and Robin Trower on tap! Check out the classic 60’s tones that Travis was able to create.
- Max Jeffrey
This week I wanted to take some time and talk about A.C./ D.C. (Alternating Current and Direct Current – not about one of the arguably best rock bands of all time.) Frequently I have customers ask me about what kind of power supplies they should use to power their pedals. While there are several great options out there – I wanted to just go over a few of our favorite options here at the shop.
Most pedals run off of a 9 Volt battery/ power supply. Most all of your off-the-shelf batteries will power up your pedals just fine with 9 Volt D.C. power. While most all of your off-the-shelf 9 Volt batteries are very close to providing 9 volts, not all of those batteries will register a perfect 9 volts when tested with a multi-meter. If you test a 9 volt battery with a multi-meter your battery might read anywhere from 8.5-9.4 volts (give or take). Your pedal’s tone can sometimes fluctuate depending on how much power that pedal is receiving. Dirt pedals with weaker batteries can often sound muddier or have a weaker output. Delay, reverb, compressors, and some other types of non-dirt pedals will actually start clipping and will often times sound bad. Depending on your rig/ setup - this tone can some times be desirable to certain players. Wah pedal often fall under the same category. Many players claim that slightly weaker batteries produce a sweater tone. Recently, I tested this theory with a 9-volt battery from a smoke detector (I replaced the old smoke detector battery with a new one). I’m happy to report that it did in fact change the tone for the better!! While some pedals work better with drained batteries some pedals need a full charge or better yet a dedicated power supply – most often times modulation pedals, like delay pedals, fall under this category. Many fuzz pedals fall under this category as well and will sound different, often times better, with a lower level of power from a weaker battery.
A One-Spot or a Daisy-Chain type power supply is often a great option for smaller pedal boards or players that are on a limited budget. If you are looking for a lightweight option to power only a couple pedals, these types of power supplies will do the trick. A Daisy Chain type of power supply provides several D.C. barrel adapters on a single string of wire to provide your pedals with power. This will cut down on your need for remembering batteries at a gig. Because of this uninterrupted power flow, sometimes certain types of pedals will not “play nice together”. Some delays and some dirt pedals with these types of power supplies will create ground loops/ unwanted hum and other potentially annoying signal interference in your rig.
Another popular option, and one of my personal favorites, is an isolated power supply. Isolated power supplies are made by several companies and greatly range in price. ISO power supplies, like Voodoo Labs, are often times heavier, larger, and more expensive. However, with a dedicated/ isolated power supply provided for each pedal, a player can effectively eliminate any unwanted ground-hum noise that may occur. (Like a bar with a hundred neon signs). Although some ground noise my still come through on occasions, a lot of it is taken care of. Most of these types of power supplies will regulate the current going in to your pedal at a nearly perfect 9 Volts. However, some isolated power supplies will have dip-switches that will allow you to “sag” your power to certain pedals to allow you to achieve that dead battery tone that some players have come to love.
So which option will work best for you? If budget allows and you have room on your pedal board – I personally think an isolated power supply, like a Voodoo Labs, is the way to go. But if space, weight, or budget is an issue there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Daisy chain/ One-Spot style power supply or even a good old-fashion store bought 9 Volt batteries. You be the judge!
- Max Jeffrey