The Mag Mic system from Seymour Duncan is a solution that is seen more and more often in the instruments of pro musicians. So recently Adam Miller came to the Backstage showroom for a Guitar in Hand interview with his guitar made by the luthier Jeff Traugott which is equipped with this system, same for Shai

Pedal Review - @Strymon Sunset, double overdrive/boost Swiss army knife

Here's the Sunset, the latest effort from Strymon to attack the analog kingdom of overdrive and boost pedals. After the Riverside also reviewed on The Guitar Channel, this new double pedal propose another angle with 6 types of overdrive and boost, 3 per sides of the pedal, that you can combine. In fact you can have A going into B, B going into A or both running in parallel.

Guitar Review - Soul Renegade from luthier Benoît Guilbert

A nice shred machine in video review with this Soul Renegade built by the French luthier Benoît Guilbert.
Soul Renegade video review

Until the next interview, keep on playing the guitar!

Pierre.

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The compressor is an effect that is always a bit intimidating because of the number of parameters often: attack time, release time, compression ratio, output volume, etc. That's why Alexandre Ernandez, the designer of Anasounds, made the choice with this Lazy Comp pedal to propose a compressor with ... one button!

The parameter controlled by this single button is the percentage of mixing between direct sound and compressed sound.

Here is in review a new exceptional guitar, the Unicorn Classic model built in the Finnish luthier Juha Ruokangas workshop. It is an instrument that was kindly lent me by a backstager (thank you David!). Given the very small number of guitars made by Juha and his team, it was an unexpected opportunity to test a guitar of this caliber.

We are indeed here in the super high-end realm. The price of this model with the options included in this specific instrument (superb table, gold hardware, etc.) requires a budget of about 9 500 €.

Pedal Review - Joe Walsh Double Classic from Analog Alien: overdrive/compressor

Analog Alien (www.analogalien.com) is an American brand of boutique pedal that offers a range of products with a very original look and a beautiful palette of sounds. After the Rumble Seat (reviewed in this article) The Guitar Channel offers you to discover another cool pedal built by the Napoli brothers, the Joe Walsh Double Classic.

As its name implies it was developed for the legendary guitar player from The Eagles: Joe Walsh.

Telecaster pickups shootout: Lollar Pickups versus Dreamsongs Pickups

Here is shootout of two sets of Telecaster pickups, one from Dreamsongs Pickups (www.dreamsongspickups.com) with the Classic Blues-Rock reference from Italy and one from Lollar Pickups (www.lollarguitars.com) from the US with the 52 T reference.

Luthier Guitar Review: Oniric from Franfret (Spain)
Luthier Guitar Review: Oniric from Franfret (Spain)

Francisco Rodriguez is a Spanish luthier The Guitar Channel interviewed during the Holy Grail Guitar Show.

Analog Alien (www.analogalien.com) is an American brand of boutique pedal that offers a range of products with a very original look and a beautiful palette of sounds.

Mojo Classic Ruokangas Guitars review: a Telecaster coming from Finland
Mojo Classic Ruokangas Guitars review – A Telecaster coming from Finland

Juha Ruokangas is a Finnish luthier well known on The Guitar Channel since he has been the subject of several interviews and has also animated a series of luthier chronicles. Juha (pronounced Yu-A) manufactures with a small team of luthiers instruments of very high quality entirely by hand, without the help of CNC (ie without Computer Numeric Control machine).

Riverside Strymon overdrive pedal review - Powerhouse tone machine

Until now Strymon proposed mainly pedals in the delay and modulation field, with the Riverside they are now getting in the overdrive business.

"The Burst" is a guitar made by the luthier Mikaël Springer as a tribute to the mythical Les Paul Standard 1959 by Gibson.

Guitar D'Angelico model EX-SS: an elegant lady to play Jazz

Finally a Jazz guitar reviewed on The Guitar Channel! Yes, everything happens. Here is the D'Angelico model EX-SS in a very standard configuration: archtop type guitar with two humbuckers.

D'Angelico EX-SS video review

Audio version of the video available in the podcast:

Photo album

What I enjoyed the most

The sounds
The built quality
The confort of playing

What I enjoyed the least

Too much gold hardware!

Conclusion
For a budget of around $1,500, the EX-SS offers a very good guitar that should delight the fans of Jazz and Blues.

One of the important announcements of NAMM 2017 was the release of a new John Mayer 100W all tube amp by PRS. As a media The Guitar Channel was invited to the press conference. Usually I am not very fan of the exercise of the press conference as it is usually limited to basically reading a press release or pretty much so.

Feedback from Joris, a backstager who reviewed
the Bellwether Walrus Audio delay pedal
during a Backstage Gear Tour

Hello fellow guitar players,

Thanks to a Backstage Gear Tour, I had the pleasure to test at home the Bellwether, a delay pedal from the American boutique builder Walrus Audio (reviewed by The Guitar Channel in this article). Here's a video which will hopefully inspire you to test this pedal.

Joris video review

My feedback
Overall, the sound is very warm with a slight dark side on my gear. The Tone setting is well thought out to adjust the tone of the effect.

As promised in the article documenting the installation of the Häussel Pickups in my PRS McCarty, here's the pickup shootout between the stock PRS McCarty pickups and the set of 59 pickups from Häussel Pickups.

Pickup Shootout: PRS McCarty vs Häussel 59
I tried as much as possible to cover the same kind of guitar playing throughout the test: with the fingers only, with a pick, light and heavy riffing, etc.

Conditions of the test

Guitar: 2005 PRS McCarty
Strings: no change of strings to keep this parameter the same between both recordings
Sound: Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface
Types

Häussel Pickups installation in a PRS McCarty
Häussel Pickups installation in a PRS McCarty

The German pickups Häussel Pickups equip many high-end European luthiers, Nik Huber, Ruokangas and Springer to name only those three. It was necessary that The Guitar Channel studied more on those pickups.

Walrus Audio offers, with the Bellwether, a very complete analog sound delay pedal offering a delay with many possible settings. In addition to the conventional time, level and tone settings, you can activate and set a modulation and decide the subdivision in time, not to mention the tap tempo button (to determine the delay time) and the possibilities with external connections.

Xtomp Hotone - Pedal Review of a chameleon tone machine

The XTomp Hotone pedal is a brand new pedal that has recently come on the market with an innovative concept: the ability to load an effect (or a couple of effects) on the pedal to make it sound like a reverb / delay, Chorus / reverb, overdrive, etc. The proposed catalog is very extensive and contains just about all the great classics of the analog pedal you can think of.

The effects are loaded on the pedal using an iOS / Android app that communicates in Bluetooth with the pedal.

Häussel Pickups: the upcoming projects with Harry

In 2014 I had the opportunity to meet Harry Häussel (Haussel Pickups - www.haeussel.com) at the Holy Grail Guitar Show (see interview below). Harry is a renowned manufacturer of electric guitar pickups whose products are used by Ruokangas, Nik Huber and Springer.

At each major guitar event like the Musikmesse or the Holy Grail, Harry was present and we always took time to discuss.

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MJS Acoustic guitar J-78 built by luthier Godefroy Maruejouls

Here's a first on the show with a video review of an acoustic guitar, and one built by a luthier!

Anasounds (www.anasounds.com) is a French boutique pedal builder with already a wide range of products from overdrive to delay, the company is now launching a new pedal, the Bitoun Fuzz. It was developed with the musician and journalist Julien Bitoun, a Fuzz connoisseur, who wanted something special. And something special they created with this Bitoun Fuzz.

The offer for the soft guitar cases did a lot of progress lately. Gone are the days of ugly cases which do not really protect our beloved instruments. We now have a wide range of cases including ones manufactured by Mono (monocreators.com) and Gator (gatorcases.com). Here's below is a comparison between two similar models for electric guitar: The models reviewed:
  • Gator G-PG Electric
  • Mono Sleeve
Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout Note that I bought the Mono case for my personal needs and the Gator belongs to Simon Ghnassia who owns the splendid Esquire built by luthier Didier Duboscq you can see in a photo below.
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Long live the shoulder straps!

The two cases are equipped with large comfortable and adjustable straps to walk with our instruments without excessive fatigue and without sawing our shoulders. Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout We can see in this picture of the profiles of the two cases that the Gator is quite thicker, hence a better protection. It holds by itself alone on the side whereas I am obliged to keep the Mono on balance with the tip of my shoe you can see on the photo. Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout

The Mono Sleeve case

The Sleeve has one pocket with a zipper and covered with a flap which is certainly very stylish but not really practical to use. Indeed, closing it with metal buckle is not very convenient. This pocket has a good volume and hosts without problem some pedals, jacks, tuner, metronome, etc. Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout The insertion or extraction of the guitar is done by the top of the case. One can note the special padding to hold the neck in the middle of the case: Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout The strong points:
  • Design
  • The finesse
  • Backpack straps
  • Build quality
The weak point:
  • The flap metal buckle, pretty but not really practical

The Gator G-PG case

The G-PG opens fully in half as you can see (which is not the case for the Mono). The handle is properly seated in the center of the case and the bottom strap button on the guitar is protected (as on the Mono where such protection exists but also thinner). Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout Pockets, pockets and more pockets! The G-PG is full of them, very well done Gator: Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout There's even a pocket with a rain protection you can use to cover the case: Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout The big pocket is spacious to put all your gear easily: Gator vs Mono - Electric guitar soft case shootout The strong points:
  • Excellent protection of the guitar
  • Many pockets!
  • Backpack straps
  • Quality really excellent workmanship
The weak point:
  • Not very stylish

Conclusion

From a price perspective, we are here with two models in the same price range of about 120 to 130 €. It is not cheap but in both cases it is a very good instrument protection. It is not on this point that a winner will emerge. On the manufacturing quality side, again, this is good stuff from both sides. With perhaps a slight advantage on the Gator side. The inside of the case looks so cozy that would almost want to sleep in! The choice will be done on features. You want lots of pockets and maximum protection? Take the Gator. Looking for a sleeker design and slightly lighter? Take the Mono. Being a big fan of the guitar in mobility (see article describing my mobile configuration), I can only encourage you to equip yourself with a quality soft case and to leave the bulky and heavy hard case in your cupboards or cellars to enjoy your beautiful six-string friend anywhere without breaking your back while protecting your instrument. You will find your happiness among Gator or Mono or in other brands offering similar products. Until the next gear review, continue to play the guitar! Pierre. [/s2If]

Gator vs Mono – Electric guitar soft case shootout
Trescab, Shimverb, Ana Echo, Micro Looper Mooer pedals review

Here's a foursome review of Mooer pedals with the Trescab (cab simulator), Shimverb (reverb), Ana Echo (analog echo), Micro Looper (you guessed it, a looper).

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What's more enjoyable than playing guitar outside in a nice weather or just during a business trip or vacation? For acoustic guitar, nothing more simple since, as per definition, the amplification system is integrated with the instrument. For electric guitars, it is different because our dear electrified instruments need at least an amp to operate. Here's an overview of possible solutions for playing guitar in mobility:
  • Mini-Amp
  • Headphones
  • Hybrid system
Update: 9/5/16

Mini-amp solution

There are many electric guitar amplifiers which combine the advantage of being very compact and battery operated. The Marshall MS-2 is one of the models that use a single 9v battery for many long hours of play. It has been the choice of The Guitar Channel for many years. KitmobiliteGuitare1

Complete list of The Guitar Channel mobile setup

  • 1 amp Marshall MS-2 (35 €)
  • 1 reverb pedal Boss RV-5 (or other reverb / delay, battery operated)
  • 1 jack to connect the guitar to the pedal
  • 1 mini-jack to connect the pedal to the amp
  • 1 metronome Korg MA-1 (15 €)
  • 1 HP Bluetooth (eg EU Boom) used to run the chord charts with the app iReal Pro
  • Optional: external battery to avoid buying too regular 9v batteries
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Compactness

The advantage of this solution is that everything fits easily in the outer pocket of a soft guitar case. Note that for years, it was rather an overdrive pedal (the excellent Xotic BB Preamp Xotic) which occupied the place of the RV-5.

The choice of the pedal

Over time I've realized that I had more fancy a bit of reverb that a little drive. Especially since the drive position of the MS-2 is quite usable if you know well sculpt your sound with volume and tone controls of your guitar. A reverb pedal gives the impression of space that is necessarily lost when playing outdoors.

Budget

On the budget side, there is very high chance that you already have all the elements of this list apart perhaps for the Bluetooth speaker or the mini-amp itself. There is a large selection of battery operated mini-amp. We must not in any case expect miracles so when you go to try some think about it! The MS-2 has the advantage of being almost indestructible, sounds reasonably well when you take time to adjust it properly and will not eat your 9v battery in a hearbeat.

Portable speakers

If you find the EU Boom speaker too big, there are others that are even more compact. There are also tiny HP you connect to the headphone jack of your smartphone that are unbeatable in terms of compactness. How to setup to play electric guitar on the go

Power supply

With 1 rectangular battery 9v you will get many hours of playing time with the MS-2. Note that recent type of pedal like the Boss RV-5 is a bit more greedy than overdrive pedal like the overdrive BB Preamp. If you want to avoid to buy 9v batteries regularly it is possible to complete this setup by a rechargeable battery via USB. The Volto Pedaltrain is a compact installation and which weigh down very little overall. Check-out the review I did of the Volto in this article. There are other solutions in the genre. PedaltrainMiniVoltoReview

Headphone solutions

If you do not want / can not do some decibels with your guitar through an amp, even small, there is the opportunity to play with headphones. For fifteen Euros you can get a iRig interface that will work well to produce some sounds in a headset. >LCG #082 - Soundseeing iRig IK Multimedia The record of compactness belongs to the AmpPlug Vox (see image below of Joe Satriani model). In fact you've got a solution that connects directly to the guitar without a jack. You only need headphones of some sort and off you go! How to setup to play electric guitar on the go - Vox amplug Personally, I tire fast when I play with headphones. Especially with the smartphone type of earbuds that are not optimized dor the guitar sound as they typically offer a sound with little medium while this is precisely where the electric guitar has most of its magic.

Hybrid solutions

In a previous article, it was described how to use a Bluetooth speaker as EU Boom guitar amp. It is also a possibility that is offered to you. The disadvantage of the solution is that your smartphone is then used as a sound generator via an application and it will be difficult if not impossible to turn iReal Pro in parallel for example. How to setup to play electric guitar on the go - UE Boom Setup

Conclusion

Whatever your situation, with or without decibel, there are all full of ways to play the electric guitar with light equipment and battery operated. It would be a shame not to enjoy. Until the next article, continue to play the guitar ... outdoors! Pierre. [/s2If]

How to setup to play electric guitar on the go
Walrus Audio Iron Horse distorsion pedal review

Walrus Audio is an american builder of pedals. They propose a wide range of products. Here's a video review of the Iron Horse distorsion pedal. Get ready for some big and fat saturated tones with this gain machine!

www.walrusaudio.com

Walrus Audio Iron Horse distorsion pedal review

Review setup
Guitar used : Spartan Springer with a single P90 pickup (Haussel)

Sound : the base clean sound used throughout the review is provided by an Apollo Twin Universal Audio interface in which the guitar is plugged directly.

Joe Jackson guitar player Teddy Kumpel pedalboard demo

Joe Jackson and his band were part of the official indoor schedule of the 2016 edition of the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Honk Machine IT-11 Audio: a vocal overdrive pedal

The Honk Machine overdrive pedal from IT-11 Audio is a very vocal overdrive pedal with its specific Honk setting which allows to increase or decrease a 700Hz frequency bump right in the middle of the human voice.

Honk Machine IT-11 Audio: a very vocal overdrive pedal

This video is accessible to all because IT-11 Audio
owns a Pro Backstage Pass on The Guitar Channel

What I enjoyed the most on this pedal

The overall sounds
The possibilities given by the Honk setting
The look

What I enjoyed the least

The changing colours of the LED is kind of distracting

Conclusion
Frankly the market

Assona Curve from @MJSGuitars: a great guitar

I met the luthier Godefroy Maruejouls from MJS Guitars during the Guitares au Beffroi festival in 2015 where he was exhibiting his instruments.

Beatbuddy pedal demo by François C. Delacoudre

Here are a couple of video demos recorded to demonstrate the variety of contexts where the Beatbuddy pedal can be used.

BeatBuddy wbsite: www.mybeatbuddy.com

Beatbuddy demos by François C. Delacoudre : from contrabass to slap and 2-string bass!
On a 2-string bass :

Slap:

With a contrabass :

En jam à deux :

Conclusion
As you can see from the video demos, it's possible to use the Beatbuddy pedal in many different contexts. François C. Delacoudre who is a professional bass player in France really enjoyed playing the pedal in very different styles.