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Happy New Year Tone Chasers. It has been a minute since I posted last. Between the holidays and with NAMM 2015 in less than 2 weeks - we have been keeping busy on new stuff to bring to you in 2015!
Recently I received an email asking me if I could define some buzz words that get thrown around a lot in the industry. A lot of the buzz words out there can be a silly/confusing at times but I guess it does go with the territory of guitar geek talk vernacular. Over time they just become a part of what you hear in different pieces of gear. On my honey moon back in October my wife and I went on the Bourbon Trail through Kentucky sampling bourbons. (Would you expect anything else??) The person leading the bourbon tasting would throw around buzz words too like "Oaky". What does "Oakey"taste like - I have never chewed a piece of oak. But without hesitation many of us new exactly what they meant. Guitar tone buzz words - are often used in the same way. While there are ton of buzz words out there - these are 6 of my favorites.
Fizzy - usually has lots of top end/ treble type frequencies - the top end freq. tends to break up creating a sometimes un-desirable tone.
Mid-rangey - a tone that has a lot of mid range frequencies in it.
Woody - I use this term to describe a sound of slightly lower frequency, with a more acoustic resonance.
After odd frame rate occurrences on the camera and a freak incident where it was deleted all together -the video for Chasing Tone Podcast 26 is finally back up and running! In between talking about beer pairings, keeping track of Brian's Germ-X use, my fleeting attempt at growing a beard/ No-Shave-November, the word "husky" and its various synonyms, Travis' juvenile stomach problems, and battling with my cold/ constant sniffling - we actually talked about some good gear related stuff.
This week - we covered picking attacks and how it effects your tone, different pedals paired with different amps, digital power draw, and some common as well as some uncommon power issues.
Here are some new things we've created for you this week!
New Blog this week: "How we go about naming and designing a pedal"
New Chasing Tone Podcasts:
Lastly, we have just a couple more Cranked Overdrives left: http://www.wamplerpedals.com/limited/crankedOD/
I'm often asked about where the names and look for the pedals come from for Wampler. It's sometimes an extremely stressful and complicated process and other times it falls into place really quickly, here is a snap shot of the process into the first design I did for Wampler, The Paisley Drive, over 4 years ago and then a comparison to the last design I did, the Latitude...
Paisley Drive First a little history, I have no design background or anything vaguely official that qualifies me as a graphic designer, I just make it up as I go along - as Brian calls it - "Throwing some rice at the wall and see what sticks"! I had been working on updating the website for Brian (before I worked here full time) when he sent me an email that had the immortal line "you know that overdrive we are doing for Brad Paisley, want to have a shot at the logo?" - As I was working in the most miserable job imaginable (front line of the unemployment office in the UK) I jumped at the chance, I'd be mad not too! I started calling it the "Paisley Drive" straight away and we knew Brad's favourite colour was Blue (although the proto was pink and everyone thought it was going to be that color)... that was it, that was all I had to work on.
So, what do you do for Paisley? There had to be a couple of Paisley's on it, that was obvious... I wanted a telecaster style headstock on it, again for me that was obvious - at that time the printers were doing the labelling of the knobs and switches (unlike now: you will notice it's become part of the design on later pedals) So, I drew the headstock, found a font that would fit within it (this is often the most time consuming issue) and then started to tweak it around until everything fell into place - I mock everything up into photoshop so we can all look at it on screen and get a good idea of how it will look.
So, left to right: Prototype, the actual artwork used for the logo, the photoshop mockup, the first screen print test on the basecoat and finally Mr Paisley holding his Paisley Drive (a proud moment for me)
Note: The design has since been updated to include his signature.
Latitude Fast forward four years... The first step these days is that I get with Justin Simpson (who traces out the PCB's and is the technical lead within Wampler, a PCB genius) to discuss the control layout. I am always pushing us to move away from the safe layout of our earlier models and make them more interesting. So, I look at the number of knobs, switches etc and tell Justin where I want them to be on the pedal. He then comes back and tells me if it's possible and we work together to give it an interesting layout that in no way compromises the technical layout and operation of the pedal. This can sometimes be a long process as I'm only interested in the look, he's only interested in the internal layout - as always though, he wins as tone is everything, I never let him win easily though, we always find the best compromise!
So, the design. It was a really hard one, we wanted to have a marketable theme for it but it's kinda hard when all the best names had all been taken (yes, MojohandFX and Flux Effects, I'm looking at you)... As always, it ended up as a four way discussion in Skype with Travis, Brian, Max and myself. We wanted something watery for a marketing angle and it's appropriate considering the sound of the effect. Travis brought Whitecap to the table quite early, we all dug it but it didn't work on the pedal (I had even mocked up a couple of versions) to test it and it just didn't work... so it was put to one side... not sure Travis has quite forgiven me yet! So, it got to the stage where we were just saying random words out loud in the vein hope that something would jump out at us... It got to the point where I was losing the will to live and was just sat there staring at the screen thinking it would never happen, and then Brian said "Latitude"... I saw it then in my head straight away, a map. A pirate map with swirly writing and a compass at the back. Within an hour I had the design in photoshop (.psd) and within 2 it was vectored in illustrator (.ai) and submitted for production.
1: Original prototype. 2: Mr first proposed layout (using a knob for waveform selector). 3: Justins response as to where things can and can't go. 4: "Whitecap" (note layout is now confirmed with sub divisions on a switch). 5: TremoH2O. 6: Latitude. 7: Base color tester. 8: The finished article!
Podcast 25 is up! Between sniffles and coughing, “Zee-Vampler”, and Travis’ talks of his 15-second hip-hop abs workout – we actually managed to talk about some gear! Not my most enthusiastic podcast ever – but we covered some good stuff.
This week a major topic we talked about was – should delay come before or after your dirt. In most all cases – after your dirt. Why? Great question – because it sounds better. Haha. But in all seriousness – as Brian explains in the podcast - your delay should be placed after your dirt. – This will allow your distorted/ overdriven signal to get the repeats – not the other way around. If you are running a reverb pedal with a delay pedal – we like to place the reverb after the delay pedal for smoother tones.
Check out the podcast below!
This coming Friday (November 28th) – Black Friday if you will – Wampler Pedals will be releasing a limited number the Cranked OD.
As far as Wampler Pedals staff goes I am still kind of the new guy. As of today I have been with Wampler for just over 1 year. So when it came time to rerelease the “Cranked AC” (Re-named the Cranked OD) I had limited knowledge of the original or what it was all about. So while the boss was in the office, I decided to pick his brain about both the original and the new versions of the Cranked.
The original Cranked AC concept was born from Brian’s love of cranked up British AC30 type tones. While the original pedal sounded great – it was just missing something. A few years ago we sold through our stock and Brian decided to discontinue it while he concentrated on other designs. Since it’s discontinuation, numerous customers have asked Brian to rerelease the Cranked – but Brian knew he couldn’t rerelease the Cranked AC as it was, with out making some tweaks first.
Enter the Cranked OD. The Cranked OD pays homage to the original Cranked AC – but now with new features like a 3 band active EQ and more of that great authentic full cranked up British AC chimey tone that has become so iconic on so many famous records. The new Cranked OD can now go from lighter overdrive tones to full on distortion around 12:00 and then achieve a creamy fuzz once it’s rolled up past noon.
This Black Friday, the Cranked OD can be purchased directly from this website for $199.97. Since this is a limited run, get one while you can.(ALL products on the Wampler site will be discounted Black Friday through Cyber Monday.)
We are proud to annoce that the winner of our #1000'th post competition on Instagram was won by @zachdaymusic !! He posted pictures that contained literally hundred's of Wamplers! He is now the proud owner of a Clarksdale overdrive! We had to send something to an extremely worthy runner up, @kennycarlile who posted well over a hundred! We sent him a goodie bag that contained a shirt, a cable and and PSU.
Keep your eyes open for more competitions, you can find out about them first via our newsletter!!
When Brian plays a gig, he is constantly swapping pedals on and off his board, testing new prototypes, etc. Variety is the spice of life right?
However, there are a few types of pedals that never leave his board. Brian can always be seen with the Ego Compressor, delay pedal(s), or the Plexidrive (version 1 – or the prototype of Version 2.) Mostly the additional dirt pedals get swapped around a lot depending on the gig – or as Brian likes to joke – from set to set.
Check out the video below as the man behind the tone curtain takes us through his current gigging pedal board and shows us how he achieves some of his favorite country style tones. Keep an eye out for the plate-style reverb prototype!