Thursday, March 18, 2010

YIS in The Age, 18/03/2010

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Gear: Fender Jazzmaster Makeover



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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gear: 70s Guyatone Mosrite Copy

Ange had a new guitar in the mail today for: a Mosrite inspired Guyatone guitar from the 70s. Two P-90 style single-coils, a Jazzmaster-style trem. Sounds raw. Also good.

In the mail today for me was... some valves. Which will sound good, but it's not quite as exciting. Also got the Brain Children EP, which sounds great too. Great sounds all round.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Week of Mayhem, Night 4: Grizzly Bear, The Corner Hotel, 05/01/10 (+ Gear Talk)

Tonight's Grizzly Bear show perhaps wasn't totally mindblowing, but it was pretty damn impressive. Perhaps it's just how casual they are about being a great band. They opened with Southern Point, and it was probably the highlight for me; the part where it kicks in felt like reaching the top of a hill and looking out across a great expanse that was far more breathtaking than you'd anticipated. It's very cinematic music.

Okay, so, here's the important bit. Grizzly Bear are total gear-whores. Here's what I could decipher from their setup.

Chris Taylor had the most pedals of all the Bears. He had a couple of microphones set-up that went through his pedals; the one up top was for vocals (and might have not gone thorough his pedalboard, but often had a big wash of reverb, as well as tremolo for Knife). The bottom one was used regularly for his trio of wind instruments (flute, clarinet and tenor sax), which he ran through an Electro Harmonix POG (version 1) to transform his clarinet to bassoon to killer whale. It seriously pumps out a lot of bass. Other pedals were a Moogerfooger (Bass?) MuRF, an Akai Headrush 2 looper, a Boss Digital Delay, a Boss OC-3 Octave and a Boss PS-5 Super Shifter. He played both a Rickenbacker and a Hagstrom bass, and all of this was going through to a Musicman Head + Ampeg Classic 4x10 cab. He also had a radio which he used to feed static through his pedals, often looking very frustrated at not getting the static just right, which reminded me a bit of this for some reason.

Ed Droste has a pretty simple setup with nothing too fancy; he has a little keyboard and an omnichord up top, and played a Fender Telecaster through a Fender Twin. Pedals were a Sansamp (Bass Driver?), an MXR Carbon Copy delay, a Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi NYC and a Boss Tuner. He also had a Boss Digital Delay and a Boss Reverb which I think he ran vocals through. There's also an older EHX Holy Grail and a Small Clone on his board.

Daniel didn't have all that gear as well; he played a few different hollowbodies (a Guild and a Gibson ES series with the one P90 in the neck), as well as a 70s Gibson SG through a bigger Fender combo. He also has a Wurlitzer electric piano (which I like more than the Fender Rhodes). Pedals were an Electro Harmonix POG, a Boss Digital Delay, an older orange Ibanez Compressor, a ZVEX Distortron and a wah of some description, plus a couple of others.

The coolest thing about this band is their ability to sound so full when there's not much going on at all; even when it's just a guitar and a couple of voices, it doesn't feel there should be more going on, or it's a quite part in-between loud parts.

Southern Point/Cheerleader/Lullabye/Knife/Deep Blue Sea/Fine For Now/Two Weeks/Colorado/Shift/Ready, Able/I Live With You/Foreground/While You Wait For The Others/On A Neck, On A Spit//Fix It

Tomorrow night... a night off? My ears need it, and I've got some stuff to prepare for the show on Thursday. And the Future of the Left on Friday and the Week of Mayhem will be OVER...

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gear: Moog MF-104z Analog Delay

I think I've only ever really loved one pedal; my Boss DM-3 Delay pedal. It's often overlooked as it was "brighter" than the Boss DM-2, but it still added a really nice something a guitar sound. I often just had it on all the time, bubbling away really low.

When I was finally happy with my pedal setup last year, I decided to cobble together a pair of boards using some scrap wood and velcro. It was all up and running, I clicked on the delay and... nothing. Light was on, but no delay was home. It was dead. I was sad.

I was replaced by my trusty Line DL-4 (an 18th birthday present from my folks) for a little while, which is cool but didn't quite do what I wanted it to. I still use the same guitar presets for my vocal effects in the band; the sweep-echo, the tube-echo for a gainy slapback sound and the multi-head (Space-Echo-ish) setting for the low, slightly modulated echo.

My next delay was a Freakshow Digilog; a hand-painted digital delay from Portland, Maine which does a great job of emulating a nice analog/tape echo. It's a great pedal, but didn't sit the same way as the old Boss. It also has a cool self-oscilation footswitch (which is a little more subtle than the one you find on the SIB Mr. Echo, which my brother Matt has) which allows you to do some really nice atmospherics without going too far into ultra-feedback territory (unless you want to). It only really works on the longer settings though, and I didn't use it much as my delay settings are usually set to mostly slapback type stuff with a few extra repeats.

(BTW, we use also use Freakshow Brown Rabbit distortion pedal on bass.)

Anyway, yesterday I managed to snag myself a used Moog MF-104Z at a fantastic price in (almost) mint condish. I've only spent a little bit of time with it, but it's sounding just right. The guy who sold it to me said it was the best sounding delay he's had, but he decided to keep the Diamond Memory Lane II for the more practical features (tap-tempo, two delay presets, etc). There's all sorts of cool features on Moog too, such as an expression pedal option for every parameter, as well as CV stuff and a loop, where you can modulate your delays with any other pedal or processor. I've tried this with a phaser and the MuRF for a little bit it and it has potential for some interesting stuff... however, I'm just keeping it simple right now... I have enough tap-dancing to do on-stage already.

I did an comparison of the Moog and the Freakshow and the Freakshow actually got pretty damn close. It's a great pedal and well worth checking out if you're in the market for a delay. It's since graduated off the floor and now sits on top of my Nord Electro keyboard.

Post-practice update: I love this pedal.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gear: Tym Guitars Bass Face

"This is another old school fuzz designed especially for you bass players. This is a "messy" bass fuzz for fat stoner rock and psychedelic. The circuit is based on the classic Shen-ei fuzz above using old stock C945 transistors. I've added more gain and true bypass etc. This design has been used by bass players in JAMC and Cosmic Psychos, among others."

Andre was lucky enough receive one of this bad boys for his birthday. It's a pretty crazy pedal, and we haven't given it a full workout yet... but so far it's been a lot of fun. Tim and the gang were also nice enough to include a birthday T-Shirt for him as well! Awesome dude. You can get one and other similarly awesome pedals over at the Tym Guitars site, which also has his own guitars, amps and cabs, as well as an outstanding collection of reasonably priced used guitars.

The graphics on the new Tym pedals are designed by Jackyl from Sixfthick, who has one of the best blogs going over at Guitar Nerd. Also an outstanding fellow.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gear: New Musicmaster Pickguard



Although I do prefer the white-on-white, the old pickguard was falling apart... a good swap.

Come up and have a look in person tonight at Pony. First gig... very tense here.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gear: New Musicmaster Pickup

This evening, after the penultimate practice before our gig premiere, we performed a little surgery on Bron's new guitar. It's a 1972 Musicmaster bass, (born in the USA), that we picked up from the Swappy for a reasonable price (by today's standards). These are considered the least desirable of the vintage Fender basses (although are incresing in popularity quite a bit), but are ideal for people with little paws. It has the shortest neck scale of all Fender basses, and a lot of fun to play... in fact, I think I might be on the lookout for a well priced MIA Mustang Bass if it pops up.

Anyway, these things were pieced together from leftover Fender Bronco guitar parts at the time, including the pickup. You can see to the right of the pickguard that originally came with the guitar which has six pole-pieces (for guitar strings) . Sounds alright, but lacks a bit of punch and low-end. We replaced it with one of these Aero pickups which slots right into the original spot (no routing or modification, like you'd have to with a vintage style P-Bass pickup), which has four pole-pieces for the bass strings. Sounds great too. Apparently you are supposed to disconnect one of the two capacitors on the tone pot that inhibits the highs from coming through, but we saved that experiment for when we change the pickguard... which has been lost by Aus Post. Damn you!!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Gear: Simon's Crap pt. 1

For anyone who is interested, here's the crap I'll be using when we're playing in YIS.

Up the back is a early 2000s VOX AC30tbx with the Celestion Blues. These were the last of the Voxes made in England before they went off to Asia and started making the CC range and beyond. It's heavy. I retubed it with a full new set of JJs from Eurotubes and it sounds pretty great. I also use a Mesa/Boogie Studio .22 amp when I can't be bothered lugging around this behemoth... which is often.

The cool looking thing in front of it is a Roland PK-5 Midi Foot Controller, which gives you a full octave keyboard you can play with your feed. I guess it's modeled from the old Moog Taurus synth which has just been reissued, except it doesn't have any sounds of it's own. It's linked up to a Korg MS2000 (which is the bigger brother of the popular Korg Microsynth that everyone loves) at the moment via MIDI, but I'll hopefully get something that's a bit more portable as I don't think I'll have to use the keyboard on it.

The big beefy pedalboard serves two purposes; it has my guitar pedals and it also has the Line 6 DL-4 delay I run my vocals through. It's also controlled by the big silver Roland expression pedal on the right, which allows me to morph between two patches if I want to add some repeats/oscillation/modulation/freakiness onto it. This is very useful for disguising the fact that I can't sing AT ALL.

Pedals change often, but on the board at the moment is... a Lovepedal BBB07 fuzz (half fuzz-face, half rangemaster with a blend control) + a COT50 overdrive (one knob, a heap of sounds), a Electro-Harmonix POG2 octave pedal (which I'm still getting the hang of), a Cusack Tap-A-Whirl trem pedal (which has tap-tempo; analog signal path with a digital brain), a Freakshow Digilog delay (which replaced my beloved Boss DM-3 analog delay - R.I.P.), and finally a Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Plus reverb. This changes often.

I'll shoot some guitar porn later and upload at some stage.