I have always been a huge Brad Paisley fan ever since I heard "Me Neither” from his first album. When I first started building pedals one of my huge goals was to work with him, with the ultimate goal of developing pedals specifically for him.
Around 2002-3 or so, Brad was in concert in my town and I had the idea to take a BOSS pedal that I had modified and throw it up on stage in the hope he'd get to play it maybe. At this time, his show was a little smaller then it is now and the venue allowed for people to come up towards the stage and take a picture during one of the songs. I snuck the pedal in my coat pocket and walked up to the stage and tossed it on the stage in front of him. He looked down at me, then at the pedal, then back at me and then looked straight over to his tech and motioned for him to come and get it. I later found out what that guitar tech’s name was (Zac Childs), found his contact information, and then got a hold of him and asked if Brad had a chance to play the pedal yet. Brad had and liked it so much they invited me out to a show the next time they were in town. I was so excited I couldn't stop smiling for days... And so this started off my relationship with Brad Paisley.
Over the years as I've got to know him and his band better it's been truly amazing experience. There's really nothing quite like the feeling of working with someone who you respect on a creative, emotional and musical level. To be able to build on that by creating guitar pedals especially for him that helps him to do what he does best even better, build effects that help inspire him to the write songs that inspire millions of people around the world is mind blowing.
A few days ago he was near me in Indianapolis so Amanda and I went out see him and we discussed doing some special projects together - A lot of very exciting things happening soon!
So, let's be straight about this, you want to know what gear Brad is currently using, so here goes! Brad is the type of guy that is a huge tone nut and loves switching things around and trying new things when chasing tones. He started using some Marshall Plexi's on the road (as you can see in the pictures) and since he uses a switcher he can switch in and out different amplifier heads as well as different cabinets. He can also switch any effect that he would like in at any time. Of course he has a ton of great guitars with him on the road including some beautiful old Fenders and of course those awesome hand built Crook Guitars. Over the last few years Brad has become more and more of a big fan of delay pedals, so he takes a ton out with him to try different types of delay for different things. In particular, he prefers a very clean digital style of delay for slapback, but really loves the ambience and atmosphere that different types of delay bring to him. Of course, he just loves using overdrive, distortion and fuzz in ways that you would not think would be indicative of country music. However, he gets very good tone out of his equipment and his tone is certainly identifiable to him no matter what he plays through! Here are a few pictures from before and during the show:
Just arrived in Anaheim, California for Winter NAMM 2014! Here's a quick preview of set up yesterday:
Explanations of buffer pedal circuits are, more often times than not, over complicated. In reality, buffer pedals are simple in concept and can help your tone more than you thought possible. Today, I want to take some time and explain what a buffer pedal is, how it can help you, and where to put a buffer pedal in your signal chain.
Most guitar players use several feet of guitar cable. More often time than not, you have an 10+ foot lead going to your pedal board, 1-3+ feet of cable on your pedal board (Depending on the size of it) and an 10+ foot lead going from your pedal board to your amp. Depending on the size of the stage and your own personal setup, you could have even more total cable length than that. What many guitar players don’t realize is, all these long cables are causing your higher end frequencies to be lost in your guitar rig setup.
So how are these higher end frequencies lost through a long cable? At the risk of oversimplifying it, your guitar and cable basically creates a high impedance signal. The longer your guitar cable is, the more capacitance is created which creates a filter that changes the sound. A good buffer circuit will take your high impedance guitar signal and change it to a low-impedance one; allowing your guitar signal to flow easier over a longer distance. The “new” tone that you hear after playing through your buffer pedal is actually your guitar’s original tone.
So where in your chain should you place your buffer pedal? There are several places you can put a buffer pedal at in your signal chain. However, here are a couple good rules of thumb on where to place your buffer. - Between a Wah and a traditional fuzz (Traditional meaning silicon or germanium based Fuzz Pedals – our Velvet Fuzz is neither of these circuits). - Between guitar pedals that may not work well side by side together. If you have to pedals that are next together, but are noisy – place a buffer between them and hear the difference. - Before a long run of your guitar cables. (Usually the beginning of your pedal chain.)
So do you need a buffer? Only you can answer that. So try one out and hear the difference for yourself.
If you would like to hear what difference the Wampler Decibel + Buffer Pedal can make in your signal chain, check out the video below:
A couple of new things going on lately...
Recently one of our video guys created a documentary on our company for entry into a film festival. We've uploaded it for you to check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83vgNURkS5w
Also, we are releasing the new Plexidrive Deluxe this Friday - check out the new video demo we just posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf_Kv3b5qVI
We are having a drawing for a free Plextortion Pedal this week - make sure you enter by going here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d81ba8e34/?
Also, make sure you check out our newest podcasts here: http://www.wamplerpedals.com/podcast
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/
While browsing through gear forums and threads, you might run across the term “sag” occasionally when referring to different pedals or amps. So what is sag and is it good or bad?
Sag and compression are often times synonymous terms. When a tube amplifier is cranked up hot and loud, the tubes will naturally start to compress, or sag while being pushed. This natural occurring compression is helping to create that wonderful tube breakup tone that so many of us are in love with.
Some of our favorite pedals, Wampler and non-Wampler, are designed to help create this phenomenon to make your pedal sound more natural and responsive – just like a tube amplifier. Sometimes a player will need/ want sag in their tone. Fender amplifiers, especially blackface style amps, have some very characteristic sag that makes them sound wonderful. Sag in fuzz pedals can also be a very positive attribute at times as well. (Giving you that big and heavy 60’s fuzz type tones for example.)
Occasionally, players do experience too much sag/ compression in their tone. Sometimes you will read about players that experience a sudden loss of volume when playing a high output guitar through a high gain pedal.
An example might look something like this:
“Whenever I play my Les Paul with burst-buckers through my Wampler Pinnacle Distortion, I temporarily have volume loss from my signal on the first few power chords that I play. The signal sounds almost delayed or ‘soft and squished’. This problem doesn’t occur when I use my Telecaster or Stratocaster – just my Les Paul.”
This is a perfect example of sag! As you probably already know, the higher the output of your pickup (Big overwound or hot humbuckers for instance) the harder you will drive the circuit of your pedal. Just like a regular tube amp, when the pedal’s signal is pushed – the signal will start to naturally sag.
However, this problem doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your favorite high output pickup guitar and your favorite high gain guitar pedal together again. Don’t let your sag be a drag – this problem is often times very simple to fix. Often times sag and compression issues with a pedal can be alleviated - by lowering your pickup height. (Check out Brian's pickup spacing on his Whitfill telecaster below). So how much do you lower the pickup height? Honestly, it’s a trial and error approach. Make small adjustments with a screwdriver to the screws on each side of your pickup equally, until you hear the desired amount of sag in your signal.
Sometimes when you lower your pickups to make one pedal sound better, it might not make another pedal in your chain sound like it did before you lowered your pickups.
For example: By lowering the height of your pickups – you made your high gain distortion sound better, but now your Tube-Screamer doesn’t sound as beefy as it did on the old settings. When you lower your guitar’s pickups – you will at times need to adjust your pedal’s volume, tone, and/or dirt settings to achieve the unity with your other pedals.
Some pedals will naturally sound better with higher pickups rather than lower pickups; in this case you may have to decide which pedals you like the best with which guitars. In the same way that some guitars sound best with different amps, some pedals naturally sound better with different guitars. This isn't a hard and fast rule! Every component of a rig has a unique sound to it and all your gear works together to form your individualized tone.
So is sag a bad or a good thing? When used in proper doses, sag can make your tone sound more robust and can add color to your solos while helping you to achieve some killer tone! So how much sag will you need? Only you can answer that one, so get out there and add or take away as much sag as you want until you achieve the perfect amount you hear in your head!
- Max Jeffrey (Wampler Associate)
For those of you scrolling through our product page, or for those who have been following us on social media – you may have realized that we have changed the name of our Ace Thirty pedal to the Thirty Something.
So why change the name? Ultimately it was easier to change the name than to pay an attorney thousands of dollars to argue over something that is not all that important. In the end, changing the name was a better idea. Now I can get back to what I really want to do – chasing guitar tones and building pedals.
After asking all of you to come up with a great new name we have finally arrived at our final choice: Thirty Something. Our good friend and demo guru, Brett Kingman, suggested the new name to us. Instead of Brett receiving another new pedal - we have decided, with Brett’s blessing, to donate the money equivalent to a charity of his choice. Brett has requested it go to "childwise", (http://www.childwise.net) an anti child-abuse organization.
We would like to thank each and every one of you for all of your fantastic re-name suggestions and for your continued support. We truly do have the best customers in the world.
We had yet another very successful Winter NAMM this year! While I have traded in the mid 60’s weather of Southern California for the sub-zero, polar vortex weather of Indiana – it is still good to be back home. This year at Winter NAMM we met up with some great friends and some killer players, demoed two new Wampler Pedal prototypes, and announced the new name of the Ace Thirty pedal; the “30 Something”.
While there were countless talented musicians that stopped by the booth, too many to list, it was good to see some familiar faces and a couple new ones! The short list of players I want to say thank you to for stopping by is (in no particular order): The always wonderful Tom Quayle, Pete Thorn, Hexx Henderson, Bruce Bouillet, Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold), Gary Morse, Daniele Gottardo; who was accompanied by the very talented Gretchen Menn.
NAMM is also a time where pedal builders can catch up with one another and even indulge in some good old fashion shenanigans with one another. Wampler Pedals is very fortunate to have some great pedal building friends that make some fantastic products. Big shout out to Nicholas from Caitlin Bread Effects, Philippe from Caroline Guitar Co, Josh from JHS, Sean from Lotus, all the guys from Walrus Audio, and Jamie from Earth Quaker Devices!
Stay tuned for our video recap of our Winter NAMM show. In the mean time, check out our good friends at SonicState.com as they go over the “30 Something” with Brian as well as explore our new Tremolo and Plate Reverb prototypes.
Christmas is upon us, and I felt like spreading some holiday cheer with some great tones. I asked a good friend of mine, and great player, Steve Townsend to stop by and put the Pinnacle Deluxe and Pinnacle Standard through its paces. Steve demonstrates some really great examples of Early Van Halen, and the “brown sound” that has been made popular by the legendary guitar player Eddie Van Halen.
For this video – I paired both the Pinnacle and the Pinnacle Deluxe with a Port City Pearl amplifier and Port City Cab. Keep an ear open for Steve kicking on a MXR EVH90 Phaser to round out that great Van Halen sound.
Check out Steve demonstrate some great tones of the Pinnacle in the video below.
Recently I hung out with Dave Weiner, guitarist for Steve Vai, during the “Story of Light” Tour at the Old National Center in Indianapolis to talk about his gear. Dave has lots of awesome effects, some really great amps, and some really killer guitars! So I wanted to take just a quick minute and run through everything and see what Dave is using on this tour.
When the touring board gets talked about, keep an eye out for the Ego Compressor and the Dual Fusion. Dave likes a “chewier” clean channel and the Ego Compressor allows him the great response and feel that he wants. During this tour, there has been numerous overdrive pedals being put on and off his board– the Dual Fusion as Dave’s consistent “go to” drive pedal.
Check out Dave's awesome Riff of the Week site, one of the best guitar teaching sites available!
For more info on Dave Weiner check out his official website.