Everyone here at Wampler Pedals is truly heartbroken by the news of Andy's tragic passing. It's times like this that it becomes so evident that life is so very, very precious. A special fund has been set up to help Moe with accruing financial costs. Donations can be made at the following link: http://bit.ly/1lC6jHY
- Wampler Pedals
Whether you have been playing for a lifetime, or are just starting out - there are a couple of items that will help you during your gig if your rig needs help. When packing for a gig – I have the tendency to over stuff my gig bags with tons of gear and tools. While not everyone needs to carry enough tools to make even Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor proud - there are some things that have saved my bacon on more than one occasion.
Extra Strings and picks. Even though these things are a no-brainer, more often times than not – musicians all over the world have been stranded at a gig needing one or both of these things. Me included. Make sure to check your gig bag/ case before heading out to your show!
Extra Cables/ patch cables – Again seems like a no brainer! But cables short out and it’s better to have a back up or two when snap, crackle, pop occurs.
Spare Batteries – Incase your expensive PSU goes down – you’re $2.00 battery could save the day!
A good quality guitar multi-tool or combo tool. This would be a tool that has a string winder, string cutter, and sometimes little essential screw-driver/ Alan key bits. There is a number of a great companies that make some fantastic tools out there: JP Tools, Planet Waves, etc.
String Winder – If there isn’t one on your multi-tool you will need one. If you don’t have one – you will wish you did. Speeds up the string changing process. Another small miracle!
Electrical/ Gaffers Tape – Helps secure loose cables, temporarily fixes bad connections, can even hold down a pedal or a car hood. True Story! I know a guy that repaired his car’s broken hood latch with Gaffers tape on a way home form a gig; so his car’s hood wouldn’t fly up and smash his windshield on the highway.
Guitar Strap. I know, another no brainer right? But make sure one is packed in your gig bag. I throw a spare one in my gig bag – just in case the bass player forgets his.
Electrical contact cleaner/ electrical deoxit. Between gig bags, smokey bars, and grimy hands – filth and nastiness can sometimes gum up your connections and cleaner can be the difference between a smooth signal connection or snap, crackle, pop!
LED Flashlight. Pretty straight forward – but stages get dark - plain and simple. Be able to light your way with a reliable LED flashlight. Not every place is going to bring the house lights for you when you lose that one tiny piece that you need.
Extra Tuner. As the old adage goes: 2 is 1 and 1 is none. In case the tuner on your board goes down or you need to tune away from the drummer blasting in your ear. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. There are a number of great tuners that clip on to your headstock that are fairly low cost. There are few things worse than an out of tune guitar. TUNE OR DIE!
Extra pedal. While this isn’t necessarily an essential item – it never hurts to have an extra- solid drive/ distortion pedal in your gig bag. Things happen to pedal boards: cables go out, pedals short out, the drunk guy dancing spills beer all over your board. When disaster strikes and time is of the essence – it never hurts to bypass your board all together and plug in your backup pedal to hold you through until the break.
Extra Tubes. Again not an essential item per say – but an extra set of power tubes or an extra pre-amp tube is never a bad thing to have on hand. It could mean the difference between you playing the rest of the gig through your amp – or having to plug in to the PA.
This list will not be a "cover all" for everybody. Some musicians will need more or less items in their gig bag check list - these are just the essential that I have found work best for me. Make sure you have a list and check it often before heading out to a gig.
- Max Jeffrey
Growing up, some kids want to be an astronaut, others fire fighters, I was the weird kid that wanted to be a guitar tech. (Yes I was the weird kid in school). Every month I would flip to the very back of my new addition of Guitar World magazine to read “A Vulgar Display of Power” articles that talked about player’s rigs. One of the rigs/ articles I was most enamored by was Warren Haynes’ live setup with Mule. Giving the play by play on Warren’s rig was Warren’s long time guitar-tech Brian Farmer. I immediately started reading and watching everything Mr. Farmer put about Warren’s continually changing rigs between Gov’t Mule, Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and friends, and countless other live and studio performances he was responsible for dialing in just right before each performance.
I had the great privilege to meet Brian Farmer a couple times both before and after Mule shows. He had to have the patiences of a saint to deal with all the questions I asked. Like a puppy in a shop window, I just kept yapping away. Brian answered all my questions in full – he even showed me several of Warren’s guitars and amps and a “few” things that he had in the truck. Never once did he act like he was too busy for me. Something I will never forget.
As I am typing this, I am deeply saddened to announce that Brian Farmer passed away on Sunday, August 24 at his home near Nashville. Whether you had or had not heard of Brian before – he was truly a tone chaser just like us and devoted his professional career to tone and gear - performance after performance- night after loud night. He will truly be missed.
- Max Jeffrey
I see guys on forums quite a bit, that say “I have a distortion channel in my amp and I’m happy with that, so what do I need a dirt pedal?.” If you are truly happy with that one sound – then that is fantastic. For the rest of us, one OD/ distortion tone/ sound will never be enough. Tonal variety is the name of the game for a lot of us.
Some amplifiers (like the Fender Twin, Deluxe, etc.) don’t have a built in dirt channel – and will need an overdrive or distortion to fill in the gaps of their sound. If a player needs a dirty tone, and they only have a clean tone, they typically have 2 options:
1.) They can turn their amp and ride the volume control. Essentially, this gives you two basically different tones (Subject to pickup selection of course). This can be a viable option for some players. However, there is a chance for blasting out everybody in the front 20 rows if you accidently roll up your volume control too much too fast. Generally though, that’s not a very easy thing to get away with when you’re in a small bar, or church. You typically can’t crank up your amp that way to achieve the tone you’re looking for. Pedals are a great option for helping you achieve those tones with out having to crank up your amp too much.
2.) They can keep their amp clean and use different Overdrive and Distortion pedals to create different tones. If you are playing a 4-hour gig – you might not always want the same guitar tone. This is especially true if you doing a variety of cover tunes – you might need to cover a lot of tonal ground and have a wide range of options. Even if you have an amp that has a dirty channel – you may not want to use that same sound all night long. By adding pedals, you can actually hit your dirt channel with an OD pedal or Distortion, stacking tones together, and create new and unique tones/ sounds – tons of tonal variety.
One great example of this is if you are in a cover band. Lets say your band plays everything from: Rock, 90’s rock, country, and southern rock. These are all radically different guitar tones. If you are playing anything “Modern country” you will definitely will want an OD or a Distortion pedal – almost a necessity. Most of the sounds produced are pedal based tones/ sounds. This isn’t a hard and fast rule by any means - some tones are cranked up amps. But again, a good OD or Distortion pedal will help you achieve those tones a majority of the time.
For some, one is enough. For most tone chasers, it is a never ending journey of trying, stacking, and gigging new pedals in an endless routine. The best advise I can give is get out there and experiment - try new tones and see what works best for you.
Brian Wampler (President Wampler Pedals) Max Jeffrey (Wampler Associate)
Suitcase unpacked: Check Gear back in the studio: Check Back to work: Check, check, and check
Just got back home from Summer NAMM in Nashville this week. What a great time! We saw all the usual suspects this year and had the chance to meet a lot of great new players as well! Saturday night, we were invited out to the Phil Bradbury (Little Walter Amps) VIP show at 3rd and Lindsley – to lay witness to some incredible talent. Big shout out to Brent Mason and Randy Kohrs who were unbelievably talented as always. Check back with our blog shortly for some great footage!
Even though we have just got back this week, we have already hit the ground running! We may or may not be working on something very special in the next few weeks here at Wampler Pedals – stay tuned!
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)