Häussel Pickups installation in a PRS McCarty
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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.

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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


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
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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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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.


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


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
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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!


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.

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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

Frankly the market

Assona Curve from @MJSGuitars: a great guitar
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Assona Curve from MJS Guitars: 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.

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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 :


With a contrabass :

En jam à deux :

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.

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Amp Review – DV Mark Micro 50: good sounding solid state head

During the NAMM I was intrigued by theDV Mark Micro 50 amp. It's super small and quite powerful with 50W. DV Mark is a brand more established in the bass amp market but big players like Greg Howe or Frank Gambale are using their guitar amps so it says something about what they propose.

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Universal Audio Fender ’55 Tweed Deluxe plugin review

Universal Audio is highly respected for its great plugins which run in their interface. So far, the guitar amps plugins available were geared toward the big distorted sounds with the Friedman or Marshall plugins. It was possible to get some cool clean tones from the existing plugins but not as good as a real Fender amp. Until now. Universal Audio has just released a plugin for the Fender '55 Tweed Deluxe amp. Here's below the Tweed Deluxe plugin review in video.

Universal Audio website: www.uaudio.com

The cool looking user interface for the plugin.

Maybach is a guitar brand launched a few years ago with a line of instruments manufactured in Prague, Czech Republic with German pickups.

Mobile guitar rig presented with Snapchat
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Mobile guitar rig presented with Snapchat

Here's the mobile guitar rig I use when I want to play in the park right next to our house.

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Jeff Loomis Blackouts pickups from Seymour Duncan review

Reviewing pickups is by definition difficult since they are necessarily installed in a guitar which itself has an enormous impact on the sound. However if we consider that the pickups are on electric guitar what an engine is to a car, we can agree that it is a very important factor. To review this "engine" built by Seymour Duncan, we used a "frame" from the Paul Reed Smith race squadron with a Custom 24 model.

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Guns’n’Roses Paradise City sound with Universal Audio

Yes you can get Slash Guns N'Roses Paradise City sound (or at least get close to it) with the Apollo Twin Universal Audio interface with a couple of plugins and the Burst guitar from luthier Mikaël Springer.
Paradise City sound with the Universal Audio interface and a Springer guitar
It's always a challenge to try to get close to a legendary tone from a hit like Paradise City.

Control the sobriety of your drummer with BeatBuddy!

We all know that some drummers have a problem with alcohol. Some drink way too much and become unreliable time keepers. This can be a real disaster when you are trying to make it big or just trying to survive playing your music.

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Test drive of the Deeflexx during a concert and rehearsal
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Test drive of the Deeflexx during a concert and rehearsal

Through the partnership with Deeflexx which is a Pro Backstage Pass owner, The Guitar Channel is able to have Backstage Pass owners to test drive the products using their own gear and in a real situation rather than simply in a guitar store. Here's the full testimony from José.

Deeflexx website: www.hoovi.at

Here's a picture of José playing his Telecaster and experimenting for the first time the Deeflexx during the Gear Afternoon #1.

Deeflexx test drive by José
As a Backstage Pass owner on The Guitar Channel I was able to test a Deeflexx product live in a bar.

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Guitar Review - Origin Tattoo from luthier Tony Girault

The luthier Tony Girault (giraultguitars.com) based in Normandy at Evreux makes excellent electric guitars. Here is in test the Origin Tattoo which is no exception because it sounds great with its two humbuckers. Origin Tattoo by luthier Tony Girault Until the next gear review or interview, keep on playing the guitar! Pierre Journel.

Guitar Review - Fastback Alquier by Maurice Dupont

This Fastback Alquier model Codetalker built in the Maurice Dupont luthier workshop is a design by luthier Jean-Yves Alquier. It's still possible to get a custom Fastback entirely made by Jean-Yves but you now have the option to get a more affordable version with the same design and built by Maurice Dupont team in France.

Spoiler: this instrument is a great luthier guitar.
Fastback Alquier "Codetalker" by Maurice Dupont

Fastback Codetalker photos
Here are a couple of photos of this very elegant instrument.

Rig used for the review
Here's the pedalboard used for the review.

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Dynacord Echocord Super 76: review of a real tape echo

Here's a review of a real tape echo and spring reverb studio effect, the Dynacord Echocord Super 76. One of the Backstage Pass subscriber, Philippe, who is very good at electronics repaired this nice piece of gear and lent it to me. It's quite something to experience for the first time ever to play with a real tape echo machine. I don't know if has to do with being able to see the tape move around, the quality of the sound itself or a mix of both but I was floored by the sound of this unit.

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Gear Evening: Dupont, FxAmps, Anasounds, Verspieren

To start 2016 in the best way possible, The Guitar Channel invites you to come to the first Gear Evening of the year where you will be able to meet the luthier Maurice Dupont, the amps from Fx Amps, the boutique pedal builder Anasounds and Verspieren which proposes specialized products for musician to insure their instruments.

The concept of the Gear Evening is to meet and interact with a small selection of exhibitors and to try their gear in a real rehearsal studio.
The exhibitors for this Gear Evening

Guitars: the luthier Maurice Dupont
Amps: the French distributor for Fx Amps

Pro Backstager announcement: HooVi Deeflexx
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Pro Backstager announcement: HooVi Deeflexx

Name : HooVi
Type : Company
Web : www.hoovi.at
e-mail : info(a)hoovi.at
The Deeflexx Systems invented by HooVi solve the problem of the sound diffusion from guitar amps. The highly engineered Sound Deflection System is just to be placed in front of any guitar amp to enhance the sound and get rid of the shrill sound coming from the speaker cone.
Without the Deeflexx: the sound is not distributed evenly, shrill and dull zones

With the Deeflexx: spherical sound distribution, fat and clear sounding amp

The Deeflexx products
In the range of products proposed by HooVi, you will find 3 models.

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BeatBuddy interview with the CEO David Packouz
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BeatBuddy interview with the CEO David Packouz

Here's a BeatBuddy interview with the CEO David Packouz

Mason Marangella interview - Vertex
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Mason Marangella interview – Vertex

Here's a Mason Marangella interview done via Skype. Mason is the mastermind behind Vertex, the boutique pedal builder. The interview was a good opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with Mason about his approach to pedal building.

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Laguz The Special from Soultool Customized Guitars - Guitar review

The Laguz The Special guitar from Soultool Customized Guitars is an instrument which was presented by the luthier Egon Rauscher (watch his interview in this article) during the 2015 Holy Grail Guitar Show.