Archive for the 'Gear' Category

15 Watts of Classic Sound- Fender Super Champ XD

Amplifier manufacturers embraced solid state technology/ circuitry back in the 60’s and very few vacuum tube designs survived. It was a cost consideration… so much less expensive to produce solid state amps. But tube amps have had a diehard following over the years and those with the financial resources continued to pay premium price for all-tube gear. A few years ago, Fender introduced a little 15 watt tube amp, the Super Champ XD. Although it has solid state tone/overdrive presets and digital effects, the ‘guts’ of this amp is classic vacuum tube. Equally nice is that the amp is downright affordable with an unheard of street price of $300! Guitarist, Don Anderson, has a wonderful demo video of the Super Champ XD amp. I’m sharing it here.

JangleBox Compressor Effect

I’ve loved the sounds of 1960’s recordings since the days I first heard them. Most were accomplished by the application of great recording technique and- less so- the application of technology. Today, the consumer musician market is awash with killer gear that earlier musicians only dreamed of. One resourceful amateur guitarist from Virginia, Steve Lasko, spent much time trying to assemble equipment that could produce the great, chiming guitar sounds he heard as a young person in the 60’s. Frustrated, he commissioned audio engineers to develop the electronic circuitry needed to emulate the sound. The result is the JangleBox Compressor (the black box in the center of photograph):  www.janglebox.com . Available for several years, the JangleBox has gained a loyal following of pro and amateur guitarists, particularly, those who, like me, play electric 12 string guitar. This song made heavy use of the Janglebox The JangleBox web site has a library of sound clips as well.

AKAI Headrush Loop Pedal

AKAI Headrush E2

AKAI Headrush E2

I was channel surfing early this year and stumbled across an installment of “From The Artist’s Den” on Ovation TV. It’s a one-hour music performance program and this particular episode featured Scottish pop singer songwriter, KT Tunstall. After that hour, I was hooked, bigtime. Such a refreshing talent and performer.

KT (actual name, ‘Kate’) had hung out with Scottish folk musicians and coffee house singers/writers for a full 10 years before hitting it big during a performance on the British TV program, “Later With Jools Holland”. She performed a live version of her soon-to-be hit, Black Horse and The Cherry Tree. Her live performance gear includes a loop/sampler pedal, an AKAI Headrush E2.

The YouTube video, below, is just one of a number of performances of Black Horse and The Cherry Tree on YouTube. I chose it because it best illustrates what the loop pedal does and how it’s operated. Pay close attention and you’ll note that KT loops (and then overdubs) 2, four-beat music measures. You can beat-count along with her as she builds up the backing rhythm: 1 (simultaneously depressing the record button on the count of ‘one’), 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,1 (simultaneously pressing the stop recording button on count of ‘one’).

Some loop snippets to listen to. To my ear, a loop built by real instruments (guitar percussives and muted scratchings, tambourine, triangle, hand claps etc.) and vocal ornaments has a more organic/authentic feel when compared to a rhythm created with a computerized drum machine. Just an opinion.