Here's an interview with two luthiers Sébastien Gavet and Godefroy Maruejouls who collaborated to develop an electric guitar system with fast interchangeable pickup system. They came to show me the first prototype some time ago, this is the video where they explain everything.
The project continues to progress as they have recently introduced a new version of the guitar with an improved system to change the pickups:
What I think of the project
The guitar interchangeable pickup system that has been tried several times in the past.
Mooer is a Chinese brand that has caused a stir when it released her mini pedals range of guitar effects. I longed for a while to test out one to see what they were really worth.
Maybe you don't know it (yet) but on vibrato equipped guitar, the metal block below where the strings attached has a very important role in your tone. I heard about the FU Tone product through the years and I thought it would be interesting to have the guy behind the product to talk about it. So here I am presenting you with an interview with Adam Reiver from FU Tone.
Here's below the block Adam sent me to try on my Ernie Ball Music Man EVH model. I will try it and report here on the website my findings.
Video recorded on May 17th 2015 at Guitars Addicts in Paris, France when Nik Huber delivered the Blue Whale #6 to the owner, Didier. Etienne Prieuret, pro guitar player, improvised this demo on this superb guitar on the Rhythm channel of an Imperial amp from Tone King (above) and on the Leach channel (below).
Guitar: Blue Whale #6
Luthier: Nik Huber
Amp: Tone King Imperial
Video and sound: Lumix GH2
The Blue Whale guitar is a 25 limited edition run. It is based on the Dolphin model from the Nik Huber catalog.
Here's a Relish guitar review, the Jane model by Relish Guitars is entirely developed and built in Switzerland with some cool innovative ideas.
Here's my video review of the Line6 JTV-59.
More than ever there is a humongous choice of picks available nowadays. I recently received a set of Dragon's Heart Guitar Picks. I admit I was intrigued by the original shape of the model which present three different edges: a sharp one, a normal one and a round one.
What I like the most
- 3 distinct sounds in one pick
- Quality of the material
- Very durable
What I like the least
- Added complexity
- Not for everyone
ConclusionWhen I use a pick I tend to use thicker and thicker one. I don't know if it's because as I aged I get better at guitar playing and need more control or just a matter of my taste evolving. Anyway, I enjoyed the thickness of the Dragon's Heart picks. As for the sound, having such a variety of type of attacks on the strings is a pretty cool feature. If you are ready to deal with the fact that you need to pay attention to how you hold your pick to choose the right edge you want to use, the Dragon's Heart offer an excellent option to get different sounds right from your finger tips. Pierre.
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Dragon’s Heart Guitar Picks (@DragonHrtPicks): a triple edge pick
In this Strymon Flint review, don't be fooled by the analog appearance of this pedal as there're only buttons and switches, no display. It actually hides a powerful digital processor that produces some very cool sounds.
It has 3 types of effects for tremolo and reverb as well as the usual adjustment knobs. Note that the pedal is full of dual functions for example to change the order tremolo into reverb or the opposite, you can also choose if there is a boost when you activate the effect, etc.
Doug Redler is one of the top guitar tech, he has toured behind countless musicians. From Brian Ferry to K.D. Lang to the Black Crowes. He is currently working with Rich Robinson from the Crowes.
He wrote a great book to share his experience on the road.
On the interview above Judge Fredd presents the Money For Nothing pedal he has developed with JMB Experience to obtain the famous Mark Knopfler sound on the Dire Straits song Money For Nothing and more.
Last year Fredd introduced also with JMB a great overdrive pedal called the Riff Shooter, the Money For Nothing has some great potential to produce not only the trademark tone but also plenty of other cool tones.
Here's a YouTube Playlist with all the gear reviews produced for the show.
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The Sardine Can compressor from Celmo is a high quality pedal built in France. It sounds very musical whatever the settings you use on the pedal (watch the demo video to judge by yourself). On top of the standard compressor settings which are the compression rate and volume you can change the tone of the compressor with a three position input filter (again, watch the video to hear the different tones).
It also has a Rectifier mode which adds a touch of drive to your sound if you desire so.
Toshihiko Tanabe from tanabe.tv builds boutique pedal for famous musicians like Robben Ford or Larry Carlton. You can read an interview with him in this article. In this Dumkudo review in video it's one of his overdrive pedal.
In July 2014 Premier Guitar released a cool Rig Rundown of Larry Carlton gear shot in his studio. The video is cool despite the fact that we don't get to hear Larry play except at the very beginning. Anyway, it's in this video (see below) that I first heard about the Zenkudo overdive pedal from tanabe.tv.
I decided to contact the builder, Toshihiko Tanabe, to do this mail interview to learn more about this great Japanese boutique pedal builder.
The interview with Toshihiko
PJ: What is your training?
TT: I am not from electric engineering background, I started as a hobbyist. I am self-trained.
PJ: Are you an electronic engineer?
TT: No but I made them by myself, alone.
PJ : Why did you start to build pedals?
TT: I struggled with some personal problem in 2006. One of my friend advised me to build a pedal with new old stock parts such as Japan Radio Company OP-Amp that called gloss version 4558D. I found that building a pedal was fun.
PJ: What is the inspiration behind the different pedals you produce (Zenkudo, Dumkudo, etc. )?
TT: I build them with the sound I wanted to hear.
PJ: How do you fine tune a pedal? Do you have a Dumble amplifier at home to compare the tones for example?
TT: No, my final goal was not the sound of the Dumble. After I completed my first pedal a few of my friends told me that the sound was like the Dumble.
PJ: How did you get in contact with Robben Ford?
TT: In the year of 2011, when he was looking for a new overdrive pedal, the president of Vertex effects recommended him my Dumkudo pedal. Robben liked my pedal and I was contacted form Vertex effects to have some pedal orders. In 2012 February, while Robben was in Japan, I met him and his tech. Rick.
PJ : How did you get in contact with Larry Carlton?
TT: Rick (technician from Robben Ford) is also taking care of Larry’s gear and he found the pedal on eBay. He bought it and recommend to Larry. I was told from Rick that Larry liked it very much. So, I made the new one from scratch for him.
PJ: Any interesting stories you can tell about the famous users of your pedals?
TT: Paul Jackson, Jr. is my first famous user and I went to see him in 2010 in L.A. I was very anxious about his late appearance, I was not sure if he was to come or not. But we finally met at restaurant and became friend, we had a fun time.
Henry Kaiser liked my pedals very much and he is my best friend now. I built him a lot of new pedals such as Fuzz box and various of overdrives. He brought them to Antarctica and played just for fun. Then I got a order from Antarctica. And he introduced me to a lot of his friends.
PJ: Are you going to develop a signature model with one of those artists?
TT: Every pedal is my signature…
PJ: Does your pedals have to be plugged in a tube amp to perform the best?
TT: It sounds great on a tube amp but my pedals are also suited for solid state type amplifier.
PJ: What are the future projects you are working on?
TT: I am planing to build a tube amp.
Thanks a lof for your time Mr Toshihiko Tanabe, I sure hope to try one of your pedal in the near future.
The Zenkudo and Dumkudo overdrives
I haven't tried (yet) a tanabe.tv pedal but no doubt that if Larry Carlton and Robben Ford are using it, it must be a pretty sweet sounding overdrive. The pedal has 3 modes, Marshall, Dumble and Zenkudo. Many people seem to say that the Dumble mode comes pretty close.
The conception of both pedals is identical. The Dumkudo has more gain is more suited to single coils when the Zenkudo is better for humbuckers.
Larry Carlton small pedal board
The Zenkudo pedal is bottom right.
Tanabe TV, pedal builder for Robben Ford, Larry Carlton and more
The AMPLIFi line is the latest offering from Line6 regarding guitar amps.
I love P90 pickups, that's a fact. When Mikaël Springer posted some pics of his Spartan guitar, his Les Paul Junior inspired beauty, on his personal Facebook profile, I immediately said I would love to review it. A couple of weeks later I received the guitar at home to spend some quality time with this awesome instrument.
Spartan guitar in video
We are in the specifications realm of the Les Paul Junior, a mahogany body, a P90, a volume and tone.
When Derek Trucks was in town for the Tedeschi Trucs Band at the Olympia Hall, I had the opportunity to go on stage and take pics of all the stage gear.
Here's a review of a great distortion pedal built by LNA Effects in France for the great French guitar player Patrick Rondat.
The pedalboard used for the review
The LNA pedal was inserted on my regular pedalboard for the review.
Pierre-Marie Châteauneuf, luthier for PMC, is a great guitar builder from Montpellier in France. I am reviewing here a new creation of his with the Thelonious model.
With PMC, we are in the high class guitar area. Starting from the choice of woods to the attention to details and quality of the building, the guitar is a great job and it sounds awesome as you can judge for yourself in the video.
The look of the beauty is beautiful, simple and elegant.
UE Boom guitar amp - Nowadays you can't enter an electronic store without seeing a plethora of Bluetooth speakers. Last month I was invited to a presentation of the UE Boom from Ultimate Ears, the speakers sounds really great especially seeing the relatively small size. I wondered how it would sound to plug a guitar in one and see if it can be used as a guitar amp.
UE Boom guitar amp video
Unpacking the UE Boom
If you are familiar with the Apple unpacking experience, you won't be disappointed with the UE Boom one.
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The trend is more than ever to host our beloved pedals in pedalboard.
In order to wait until the full soundseeing, here's a video teaser of the Riff Shooter pedal that Judge Fredd conceived in collaboration with JMB Experience. I only had the time to play with it for a short while but I can assure you it sounds awesome. I can't wait to get a unit to review it.
As the name Riff Shooter kind of implies, this pedal is an overdrive. The possibility to voice the sounds is pretty big yet it remains very easy to operate. The "Shoot" switch allows to turn on and off the pedal.
Here's an update on the Frankenstrat Project as I received some pics from the Patrick Querleux who has just finished the preparation on the body and the varnish on the neck.
Pedaltrain makes some excellent pedalboards (see my review of the PT-2 here), they sent me a Mini model and a Volto battery pack to review. The Volto can power up to 9 pedals and is charged either straight from a wall wart plug or from a USB connector.
As you can see it allows you to have a pedalboard without any wire attached to an outside power source which can be very useful.
Review of the Pedaltrain Volto
What I liked about
The compact format
The ability to power a full pedalboard
The integration with the Pedaltrain products
What I did
Here're some pics taken at Patrick Querleux's workshop last time I went to check on the Frankenstrat Project guitar he is building for me.
One of the new guitar technology I really want to check out at the MusikMesse 2013 is the True Temperament fret system invented by Anders Thidell and played by guitar greats like Alan Holdsworth, Steve Vai, Mattias Eklundh and many more.
I had the great pleasure to chat with Anders for 15 minutes, here's the interview :
Mattias IA Eklundh Caparison Apple Horn with the True Temperament frerboard :
This is the setup I use to make video soundseeings for the show. The MOTU Ultralite mk3 interface plays the lead role since it serves both as a preamp for Shure SM58 for vocals for comments and as a mixer for the output of Torpedo CAB Two-Notes.
Note that the camera used is a Lumix GH2 with a 14-42 lens. This camera has a stereo mic stereo input required to make a good sounding video.
Be careful though as this input is very sensitive and is quickly saturated if you are not careful.
Here is a series of pictures documenting the evolution of the Frankenstrat Project at the moment where I have the neck and body supplied by EG Solidbody and vibrato provided by Hantug.
I read a long time ago somewhere on a guitar forum that a test to do to check the quality of the couple body / neck was to see if the body would hold to the neck without any screw.
Test result: it holds as you can see in the picture below.
Patrick Querleux, luthier of project inspecting the 3 elements that I brought him.
In the previous article dedicated to Frankenstrat Project, I showed you some pictures where you could see the boards that were to be used by Denis from EG Solidbody to machine the body.
Here are the following steps until the final body and neck.
As a reminder, the purpose of the project is to build a replica as accurate as possible (except for the famous black and white stripes) of the Edward Van Halen guitar that can be seen on the cover of their first album.