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Sometimes guitar players forget just how useful and toneful the lowly 1×12 speaker cabinet can be. 1×12 don’t get the respect accorded to their larger 4×12, 4×10, and 2×12 counterparts and that’s a shame.

These days, those bigger cabs are all kinds of overkill for the rooms most of set up in and a decent head through a cool 1×12 will handle nearly every gig or studio situation in which we might find ourselves with no rental truck or back brace required. Plus, sound people get edgy when they see that big stuff coming into a smaller room and no one wants to be mixed with a bad attitude.

Today, we’re going to get a look at the five best 1×12 guitar cabinets for the money. Players have scads of choices in today’s market, of course, but these are the ones that really speak to us here at the home office. Let’s go make some noise!

Orange PPC112C

Orange PPC112 1 x 12 Closed Back Cabinet | Gear4music demo - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

The resurgence of Orange amps in recent times does much to warm all the old-school rock and roll hearts in the guitar community. Orange was absolutely part of the success of major bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and it’s good to see its amps powering modern players. The Orange PPC112C is a fine choice for anyone needing a smaller cabinet that rocks hard, sounds great, and gets attention. It’s a 1×12 closed-back enclosure, which makes it a good pick for anyone wanting the low-end kick of a half stack in a much more portable package.

The PPC112C comes loaded with a Celestion Vintage 30 12-inch speaker that handles 60 watts and runs at 16 ohms. This makes it compatible with a great many common guitar heads. The trademark orange covering is something you either love or hate but most people seem to dig it. This is a fine cabinet that’ll put some classic swagger into anyone’s backline.

PROS:

  • Outstanding sound in a small box!
  • Classic Orange cosmetics!
  • Celestion speaker!

CONS:

  • Bright orange isn’t for everybody.

SPECS:

  • Speaker: one Celestion Vintage 30
  • Output: 60 Watts RMS
  • Impedance: 16 Ohms
  • Dimensions: 18″H x 21-1/2″W x 11″D
  • Weight: 36-1/2 lb.
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 80-Watt

Fender Hot Rod 112 extension cab short demo - with Fender Stratocaster - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 speaker cabinet is a killer piece of kit for anyone who just has to have that vintage vibe. If you have a need for tweed, this is the extension cab for you. Having said that, it must be noted that the Hot Rod cabinet rocks for just about any possible application. It’s a closed-back 1×12 cabinet with a Celestion G12P-80 speaker that handles 80 watts at 8 ohms. This means it will work well with most of the amps in the world. Put it under a Fender combo or a Marshall head and life is good.

Going further to add value, Fender includes both a speaker cable and a fitted slipcover with HRD cabinet, which is a classy move. Plus, the cover will keep the tweed covering looking sharp for years to come. This cabinet is tough to pass up and should be taken seriously by anyone contemplating buying a 1×12.

PROS:

  • 80 watts at 8 ohms!
  • Closed-back design for tight bass!
  • Slipcover included!

CONS:

  • Tweed isn’t for everyone.

SPECS:

  • Configuration: 1 x 12″
  • Speakers: 1 x 12″ Celestion G12P-80
  • Power Handling: 80W
  • Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Mono/Stereo: Mono
  • Cabinet Type: Straight
  • Open/Closed Back: Closed
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″
  • Height: 18″
  • Width: 23.5″
  • Depth: 11″
  • Weight: 41 lbs.
Blackstar HT112OC MKII

HT-1RH MkII and HT-112OC MkII Demo | Blackstar - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Blackstar is kind of an upstart company that has made a lot of waves in the industry for making great amps at affordable prices. The Blackstar HT112OC MKII 1×12 cabinet fits nicely into that tradition and will be the perfect pick for a lot of guitarists. It’s a 50-watt 1×12 cabinet with an advanced open/closed-back design that features a removable bottom panel. This gives users the option of combo amp or half stack-style low end. Either way, the HT112 gives up lots of projection and tone.

The cab operates at 16 ohms, which will not be an issue for most players and it is compact and light in weight. This is a Swiss Army Knife of a cabinet that will work for any player needing a portable rig that punches above its weight. The Blackstar is a solid pick on all levels and deserves a close look.

PROS:

  • Unique open/closed-back design!
  • Compact and easy to move!
  • Looks sharp in Basic Black!

CONS:

  • The Blackstar brand may not be familiar to some.
  • No name-brand speaker.

SPECS:

  • Configuration: 1 x 12″
  • Speakers: 12″ Blackbird 50 Speaker
  • Power Handling: 50W
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Mono/Stereo: Mono
  • Cabinet Type: Slant
  • Open/Closed Back: Switchable: Closed, Semi-open
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″
Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 112 Cab

H&K Tubemeister 36 cab TM112 mic Samson CS2 demo (en venta!!) - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend

Hughes & Kettner has long been known as one of the finest amp companies around. H&K’s TubeMeister series has been popular since first hitting the streets for price, portability, and tone. The TubeMeister 112 1×12 Extension Cabinet is a super choice for use with one of its matching heads or with practically any other you might have. The single 12-inch Celestion Vintage 30 speaker sits in a closed-back box, which keeps everything sounding tight, and can take up to 60 watts at 16 ohms. The box, itself, has a forward-thinking bass reflex design that delivers a huge sound in a small space.

The TubeMeister cabinet is light and easy to load and is perfect for real-world gigging and studio work. Like all Hughes & Kettner products, it’s built well and will provide years of happy use. This is a cool piece that shouldn’t be overlooked.

PROS:

  • Big sound!
  • Celestion Vintage 30!
  • Closed-back bass reflex design!

CONS:

  • None.

SPECS:

  • Configuration: 1 x 12″
  • Speakers: 1 x 12″ Celestion Vintage 30
  • Power Handling: 60W
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Mono/Stereo: Mono
  • Cabinet Type: Straight
  • Open/Closed Back: Closed
  • Inputs: 1 x 1/4″
  • Outputs: 1 x 1/4″ (Parallel)
  • Height: 17.7″
  • Width: 18.9″
  • Depth: 11.2″
  • Weight: 29.8 lbs.
EVH 5150 III 1×12″ 30-watt 1×12

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

If you love Eddie Van Halen and want everyone to know, the EVH 5150 III 1×12 30-watt Extension Cabinet is what you need. Meant to recreate Eddie’s legendary tones, the 5150 is a happening small cab that can rock hard. It’s a 1×12 closed-back straight cab that takes up to 30 big watts at 16 ohms. A Celestion G12H 30-watt Anniversary speaker is standard equipment. The cabinet is made from real Birch plywood, not particle board, which makes a huge difference in overall tone.

The 5150 excels at the kind of focused tones Van Halen is known for but will work swimmingly for any type of playing. The slick Ivory covering is classy and bright, which is good for your image. Build quality is very high, as well, and it’s clearly made to go the distance. Anyone wanting to get their Eddie on will want to plug one of these in and blast. Lots of fun.

PROS:

  • All Eddie, all the time!
  • Celestion G12H 30-watt Anniversary speaker!
  • Ivory covering looks great!

CONS:

  • 30 watts may not be enough for some heads.

SPECS:

  • Configuration: 1 x 12″
  • Speakers: 1 x 12″ Celestion G12H
  • Power Handling: 30W
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Mono/Stereo: Mono
  • Cabinet Type: Straight
  • Open/Closed Back: Closed
  • Construction Material: Birch Plywood
  • Height: 16.5″
  • Width: 20″
  • Depth: 12″
  • Weight: 36 lbs

The post The Best 1×12 Guitar Cabinets for the Money appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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If you’re looking for a pedal that will help you (re)create synth sounds on your guitar, you’ve come to a right place. We’ve taken a gander at catalogs of some of the biggest names in the industry and have compiled a list of the best guitar synth pedals you can find on the market in 2019. Without any further ado, let’s get straight to it.

Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine

Electro-Harmonix C9 Organ Machine - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Let’s start off with a big hitter. Basically, C9 continues where B9 left off, and even though these two pedals have a lot in common, they also have some striking differences between them.  If you’re not familiar with what B9 is, it’s essentially C9’s predecessor which came in a similar casing and with similar set of tones.

There are many improvements on the C9 model, starting with the extremely durable and rugged casing. Although this is not a ‘synth’ pedal per se (most people would classify it as a ‘piano’ pedal), it does feature several presets that can easily pass on as synth.

The genuinely intuitive design makes it very easy to use. The control knobs start with the dry signal, over volume, organ, mod (modulation speed), and click (level of percussive attack). You can use the big white wheel to switch between presets, even in the middle of the gig if need be.

Pros:

  • Huge range of strikingly different sound presets
  • Decent effect sustain
  • Intuitive design makes it easy to use
  • Durable casing
  • High value

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Certain presets are more piano-based than synth-based
Earthquaker Devices Data Corruptor

EarthQuaker - Data Corrupter - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Apart from a hillarious name, Earthquaker’s Data Corruptor is a major pedal that will bring plenty of versatility to your tonal arsenal. Though it might not be as easy to use as your average effect pedal, Data Corruptor packs a plethora of synth-like controls spread across four sections (Voice Mixer, Master Oscilator, Subharmonic, and the Frequency Modulator).

Generally speaking, this is basically a fuzz pedal for as long as you stick with the Square line of controls, after which it becomes a synth pedal when you switch over to Subharmonic and Oscilator settings. The Glide/Vibrato switch adds even more wildness to it should you need a little bit of extra chaos on top.

This pedal also has the elements of pitch shifter pedals, meaning that you can shift your tone up or down for several octaves.

The biggest downfalls of this pedal are that it has a big footprint and that the controls aren’t so easy to get accustomed to. With a bit of practice, though, this might become your favorite pedal.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally versatile
  • Total tonal control
  • Perfect for live gigs and studio work
  • Combines the elements of fuzz, synth, and pitch shifter pedals

Cons:

  • Has a big footprint
  • Quite difficult to use
DigiTech Dirty Robot

Digitech Dirty Robot - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend

DigiTech makes some of the finest guitar effect pedals, and one of the best things about the Dirty Robot is that this is both a guitar and a bass pedal in one.

It features ‘Drifth’ knob which allows you to blend square-wave with sub & octave effects, it has an integrated chorus & vibrato effects, an intuitive design, and plenty of other convenient features. The controls for wet and dry signals are blended as one, which means that you’ll be able to set your tone with additional accuracy.

What’s more, the brand offers a set of complementary features, including a Stomp lock and pedalboard hook and loop pad.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Plenty of versatility to go about
  • Great tone
  • Complementary features

Cons:

  • Peculiar set of tones might require some time to get used to
Donner Digital Octave pedal

Donner Harmonic Square Pedal Octave/Pitch Shifter Pedal - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon

Donner is pretty famous among guitarists for their cheap, yet high-quality pedals. Their Digital Octave effect pedal is the most straightforward effect pedal you’ll be able to get for the money. What’s great about it is the fact that it does the job and being so simple it’s best suited for beginners and intermediate level guitarists who’ve just started to explore the world of effect pedals.

Wet and dry sound controls are separate here, which means that you’ll get a different kind of sound depending on if you’re using it in a chain or as a standalone pedal. True bypass is also included, which makes it even better for live gigs and studio rehearasals.

There are seven mode effects at your disposal and a 3-way switch that allows you to easily switch between them. Overall, it packs a durable aluminium-alloy chassis, several effect modes, separate wet and dry controls, and a true bypass – it does quite a bang for the buck.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally easy to use
  • Decently good tone
  • Seven octave modes
  • Aluminium alloy chassis

Cons:

  • Minimal tonal versatility
Roland GR-55

Roland GR55 Guitar Synthesizer Demo with Alex Hutchings - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Even if we’re to completely put aside the fact that Roland makes some of the finest guitar gear, their GR-55 is absolutely astonishing. This is a big synth pedal which features over 900 tones onboard, 3 sound banks (a great deal of them are user customizable), and three sound styles.

Though it does have a big footprint, this pedal also has phrase loop and tuner features onboard, and its tremendous audio quality makes it perfect for both live performanced and studio work. The only downside is that it costs quite a bit.

Pros:

  • Nearly a thousand voices onboard
  • Three sound banks and three sound styles
  • V-link integration
  • Big LCD screen
  • Superb audio quality

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Has a big footprint
Eventide H9 Harmonizer

Eventide H9, demo by Pete Thorn/Vintage King - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Eventide’s H9 is a big, highly versatile guitar effect pedal that can help you achieve some of the most unique synth sounds possible. It packs nine effects onboard and some 99 presets that could help you build a base upon which you’ll play later on.

There’s a huge variety of additional effects, including delays, reverbs, as well as other unique combo effects. True bypass switch is also onboard, and the pedal is generally very easy to use and navigate, even by beginners. Fine tuning might be a little harder than you initially thought, though.

Pros:

  • Very versatile
  • Unique sounds
  • 99 presets plus various other spatial effects
  • Awesome audio quality

Cons:

  • Effects difficult to fine tune and customize
  • Pricey
Electro Harmonix Superego Synth Engine Pedal

Electro-Harmonix Super Ego Synth Engine | Reverb Demo Video - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

The SuperEgo Synth engine is an absolute must if you’re looking for the most exquisite synth sounds. It sports a plethora of unique features, such as the auto-mode, controllable glissando, FX loop, latch mode, and such.

There are only four control knobs, including speed, gliss, dry, and effect (from left to right), and a 3-way effect switch (latch/off/auto). Generally, this pedal is remarkably easy to use and it offers so much to a player who demands quality and versatility.

Pros:

  • Intuitive design
  • Very easy to use
  • Substantial versatility
  • Great audio quality

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • No built-in modes (not exactly perfect for beginners)
TC Electronic Sub ‘N’ Up Octaver

Review Demo - TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Octavers are some of the finest sub-types of synth pedals, and TC Electronic’s made Sub’N’Up so easy to use that even people who’ve just picked up an axe can play around with it.

There are two ‘sub’ knobs, one ‘up’ knob, and a dry signal volume control knob, as well as a 3-way switch (poly, toneprint, and classic) onboard. Even without the ‘modes’, you’ll still be able to achieve superb polyphonic  octaves and simulate synth-like sounds with it. Try bypass is also included, but it’s not the most versatile of pedals in general.

Pros:

  • Great audio quality
  • Surprisingly easy to use
  • True Bypass
  • Several modes, including poly, toneprint, and classic

Cons:

  • Moderately versatile
Joyo JF-12 Voodoo Octava

Joyo Voodoo Octave (demo) - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon

If you’re on a budget and are looking for a decent synth guitar pedal, Joyo’s JF-12 might just be what you’re after.

This is basically a fuzz pedal which features elements of an octaver onboard. Tone and volume control knobs follow ‘fuzz’ and 2-way mode switch, and even though you can’t go ‘down’ an octave or two, you can go up. This is definitely not a versatile pedal, but it’s among the cheapest, yet high-quality synth pedals you can find on the market.

Pros:

  • Superb audio quality for the buc
  • Combines fuzz and octaver effects
  • True Bypass
  • Exceptionally easy to use

Cons:

  • Low versatility
Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander

Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander Guitar Synthesizer | Reverb Demo Video - YouTube

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend | zZounds

Here we have another great pedal by Earthquaker Devices – the Bit Commander. Essentially, this is a monophonic guitar synthesizer which features 4 vintage square-wave synth tones, a small yet very durable housing, and a plain, straightforward interface.

Substracting or adding octaves is all too easy, especially if we compare it to our previous pick (Data Corruptor) – instead of having numerous controls spread out across different sections, there are only six control knobs which follow a logical pattern – level (volume), followed by filter, base, sub (substract octaves), down & up.

There’s also a true-bypass switch which you can use to cut out every other pedal in your chain should the situation demand it.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Superb tone
  • True bypass
  • Small footprint

Cons:

  • Not exactly as versatile
  • Pricey

Conclusion

There are all kinds of synth guitar effect pedals which only makes the process of finding the best for you more interesting. We’ve made sure to include pedals which feature elements of various other types of guitar pedals in hopes that you’ll use them to find exquisite, unique synth sounds. We hope that you’ve liked our selection and wish you all the luck in finding one that suits your needs.

The post Top Guitar Synth Pedals for 2019 (Reviews) appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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The Squire Affinity Stratocaster is an affordable guitar technically meant for entry-level players but is really one of the best electric guitar values going for newbies and pros, alike.

Squier instruments have long been a well-kept secret amongst working players for their playability and tones and are often spotted on much larger stages than one might expect.

Of course, they make outstanding launching pads for beginning guitarists, too, and represent a platform on which someone can start and not soon outgrow.

Today, we’re going to discuss the Squire Affinity Strat to see if you might need one down at the ol’ jam spot.

Click to compare prices: Amazon | Musician’s Friend

Build Quality

It is a well-made guitar that uses the same basic blueprint that’s made Strats the most widely-used electric instruments in history.

It’s built around an Alder body and Maple neck and this classic combination offers users a time-honored way to generate the sounds that have become bedrock in this thing of ours.

The body is finished in an attractive two-color sunburst just like the original Strats from the 1950s and looks great onstage or in a lesson.

The neck features a C-shaped carve and satin finish that will make most fretting hands happy and is topped off with the iconic Strat headstock we all love.

A vintage-style floating vibrato bridge adds all the wang bar magic a Strat needs to have and also allows for precise intonation and string height adjustment.

Sound Quality

The Affinity sports the expected trio of single coil pickups that have been the heart of Stratocaster tones since time immemorial. Wired to a five-position selector switch, they provide all the sounds needed for this type of instrument.

The neck pickup is warm and full, the bridge pickup bites just right for epic solos, and the Two and Four positions are delightfully quacky and hollow. These pickups were designed to reproduce the star-making sounds of vintage units and Fender hit that target dead-on, as always. Coupled with the Maple fingerboard, they sound as good as any set out there.

Listen for yourself!

Squier Affinity Stratocaster - YouTube

PROS:

  • It’s a real Strat with genuine Fender DNA.
  • Excellent pickups.
  • Satin finished neck is smooth and comfy.

CONS:

  • Some folks just can’t deal with the idea of playing a Squire.
  • It may need a few minor adjustments made by guitar technician.
The Verdict

The Squire Affinity Stratocaster is one of the best guitars in its class and has much to offer to both beginners and experts. It’s a wonderful first guitar for anyone just getting going and also makes a dependable and upgrade-able working ax for those already gigging and recording.

The Affinity is an amazing value for anyone needing a straight-up Strat that’s priced right. Don’t let the Squire name fool you: this one is the real thing.

Conclusion

I hope that this review of the Squire Affinity Stratocaster has been informative and fun for you. It really is a great little guitar that gives you all the basic elements that have made Fender an international legend. What more could you need? See you again soon with another blast of guitar knowledge!

The post Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster Review appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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Ever since the invention of electric guitars, there were pedals. Pros and seasoned veterans rely on these little contraptions to customize their tone, metallheads use them to pump up their high-gain amps, solo guitarists use them to spice up their solos – there’s no limit to what you can do with a few of them.

We’re here to cover all modern guitar effect types and to suggest a couple of must-have pedals along the way, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

The Best Guitar Pedals

Overdrive

People often confuse overdrive pedals with distortion effect pedals, but even though these two sound similarly, there are a lot of differences between them.

Overdrive effect pedals aim to ‘mimic’ the sound you’d normally get from a tube amp (a cranked one, for that matter). The gain boost is very dynamic, responding to your playstyle (unlike distortion effect pedals).

Fulltone OCD
Sale
Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Pedal
  • Compulsive Drive Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
$159.00 - $31.80 $127.20
View on Amazon

Here we are looking at a relatively humble drive pedal – Fulltone’s OCD. Though it does come at a hefty price, we can guarantee that you won’t find a more authentic, more unique drive pedal within the price range.

There’s the ‘volume’ knob which governs the signal’s strength, the ‘tone’ which colours it up, and the ‘drive’ which adds or removes the gain from it. It’s highly responsive, very easy to use, and it sounds absolutely exquisite.

Distortion

Distortion pedals are very different from drive pedals – they’re more aggressive and add substantially more gain, dirt, and grime to your sound.

Most people associate distortion pedals with hard rock and heavy metal bands, which is not necessarily wrong – all of these bands do, in fact, rely on distortion pedals to get their bread and butter. If you’re looking to score a quality dist pedal, take a look at Mudhoney II and Dark Blood.

T-Rex Mudhoney II
T-Rex Engineering MUDHONEY-II Dual Distortion...
  • Two channels of vintage gain classic dual distortion
  • Vast tonal range delivers everything from smooth dirty edge to a harrowing wall of distorted sound
  • New tone controls allows the timbre to be shaped for a signature sound

This is a huge, massive distortion, perfect for those high-gain lovers and metal fans. It features two gain level knobs and two tone controls, allowing you to shape and roughen up your sound to earth-
shattering depths.

If that’s not enough for your taste, there’s also a ‘boost’ knob which, suffice to say kicks things up a notch, and even that would be a major understatement.

As for the tone of this distortion itself, most people describe it as ‘vintage’, although it’s a bit more on the new-school side considering the extensive tonal range you’ll be able to play with, it provides a substantial boost to the already-great level of versatility it offers.

KHDK Dark Blood
KHDK DB Dark Blood Kirk Hammett Signature...
  • Dark Blood is built on KHDK's original circuit combining solid state and mosfet technology.
  • KHDK's most evil pedal to date, Dark Blood delivers an angry, merciless amp-like distortion
  • Richly articulate and deep, Dark Blood can provide the main tone into your clean amp and is ideal as a fly rig and a backup to an amp or modeling rig.

We’ve got something rather special here – KHDK’s Dark Blood is Kirk Hammett’s signature distortion pedal. If you’re digging Metallica and want to sound like them, there’s just no better way of achieving it than having a piece of their gear.

In a nutshell, Dark Blood is not a versatile guitar effect pedal. It’s meant for ultra-gain distortion lovers exclusively, and all you’ll get to tinker around with is gain, gain, and more gain. It’s pricey, but it will blow the roof up given the chance.

Boosters

Boosters are, without any doubt, the simplest effect pedals out there. All they do is simply add (and enhance) the gain to your guitar’s signal, amplifying the overall volume and any and all distortion or drive-based effects you have in your signal.

You can use them to accentuate certain passages in songs or to get the attention of the crowd during solo parts, but there are also other types of boosters (such as treble boosts, for example), which simply provide additional tonal versatility.

Catalinbread Naga Viper
Catalinbread Naga Viper Modern Treble Booster...
  • Based on the Dallas Range master
  • Range knob for continuous control over EQ
  • Head knob to control boost gain

Catalinbread has some of the most exotic guitar effect pedals out there, and by simply looking at Naga Viper you’ll understand what we meant.

As a treble booster, this pedal is a must have for every seasoned veteran. It aims to help you improve your mids without cutting back the other ends of the soundstage. The only downside is that it’s quite expensive, but it’s a tone saver – you’ll be able to retain your sound on virtually every amp with it, which is what makes it absolutely perfect for live performers.

Wah-Wahs

We all know what a ‘wah wah’ is, but let’s talk a bit about how it works. Generally, the wah pedal alters the frequencies of guitar’s signal, sweeping it up and down. This generates the ‘wah-like’ sound.

It was first discovered and used during the ‘20s by trumpet players (although they weren’t using a pedal), and nowadays it’s one of the most popular effects in the musical world.

Dunlop CBM95
Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah
  • Half the size of a standard Cry Baby pedal
  • Three internally adjustable voicings
  • Full sweep range

Basically, this is a smaller version of the original CryBaby – it’s only half as big, although it rocks a solid, durable chassis and sports the same features. There are three levels of adjustable voicings, the sweep range is incredibly broad, and the overall performance is on a par to the original.  

CryBaby Mini offers the benefits of a smaller footprint and compactness – the rest is virtually the same as with the original (which is held in high regard among the guitar enthusiasts community).

Vox V845
Sale
VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal
  • Vox's V845 Wah Wah Pedal preserves the spirit and tone of the early VOX wah-wah pedals"a sound still sought after by today's players
  • Designed to withstand the rigors of life on the road, the V845 features a solid yet lightweight die-cast aluminum housing, as found on authentic VOX...
  • The Vox V845 Classic Wah Wah Guitar Effects Pedal is based on the specifications of the original pedal developed by VOX in the '60s
$68.13 - $1.14 $66.99
View on Amazon

The Vox V845 is a reincarnation of the ‘60s model – it provides the most vintage-like wah sound, plenty of durability due to its robust chassis, and a very ‘stompy’ footswitch.

It’s slightly cheaper than CryBaby (and CryBaby mini), and we can safely say that if you’re looking for old-school wahs, you’ll be satisfied with this one. Though it doesn’t have the versatility of some boutique wah pedals out there, it’s certainly well worth the money due to its premium performance and sturdiness.

Fuzz

We can look at ‘fuzz’ as ‘distortion’s little brother’. Basically, fuzz pedals clip the sound (the term is square-wave clipping actually), saturating it with heavy gain, which in turn results in a ‘fuzzy’ kind of tone.

Fuzz pedals offer a more ‘synthetic’ tone, as with all the fuzziness there’s just a little bit of the ‘true sound’ left. If you crank the control knobs too high up, you’ll get so much hissing that the sound might become completely unrecognizable.

However ‘volatile’ this might seem, fuzz pedals are very fun to use and, if you know what you are doing, you can get something rather exquisite from them.

EarthQuaker Devices Hoof v2
EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2 Germanium/Silicon...
  • Features a hybrid Germanium/Silicon design, pairing maximum tone with maximum temperature stability
  • Wide gain range provides everything from amp-like overdrive to monstrous fuzz madness
  • Features a smooth, natural and harmonically rich sustain

This is a very interesting pedal, as it will allow you to get to the edge of both extremes, be it a clear sustain with minimum drive, or absolute trainwreck of feedback laden with more fuzz than you’d ever need.

It sports four control knobs which are all fairly sensitive. You’ll be able to color up your soundstage with Tone, Level, and Shift, adding as much ‘Fuzz’ as you want with the last one. It’s pricey, but it’s also one of the best fuzz pedals out there.

Reverb

In essence, reverb pedals tend to simulate the situation where the sound hits hard surfaces (and, of course, it being reflected back).  These pedals date back to the 50’s, and some of the earliest reverb pedals were called ‘plate reverb pedals’. Though they were rather convincing, they were replaced in the next decade by ‘spring reverb pedals’ – an improved version which provided enhanced acoustics.

Nowadays, we can see digital reverb pedals that are capable of simulating virtually anything – church, room, hall, you name it. There are several parameters of modern reverb pedals, such as FX ratio, decay, tone, and (in most digital models) reverb type.

The FX ratio represents the volume contrast between dry and wet signals, decay time virtually represents the reverberation time, type is rather self-explanatory, and the tone colours up the end result.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
Sale
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal
  • New MASH Footswitch and Shimmer Effect
  • TonePrint- instant access to custom pedal-tweaks made by your idols!
  • Stereo in & out - added flexibility to fit any set-up
$149.00 - $4.00 $145.00
View on Amazon

The ‘Hall of Fame 2’ is among the most versatile analog reverb pedals out there. It allows you to choose between five reverb types, including church, plate, spring, hall, and room, but there are other tone prints at your disposal as well.

It also rocks the analog-dry-through feature, optimizing the blend of both signals into a perfect balance of sound clarity and performance. As for the connectivity, both stereo and mono ins and outs are available, so it’s safe to say that this pedal will fit any kind of setup.

Delay

Delay effects are pretty self-explanatory. Basically, the pedal records the signal and then reproduces it after some time (depending on the model). Certain models can reproduce this signal several times in short intervals, mimicking the idea of a ‘chorus’ on top of the delay.

There’s a whole bunch of things you could do with this pedal, from adding a bit of colour to your sound, to creating something entirely unique. Solo players prefer them more than most, but they come in handy in virtually every situation – home practice, recording, even gigs.

Boss DD-7
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
  • Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal

Here we are looking at Boss DD-7 digital delay. It features four control knobs – level, feedback, delay time, and mode. The delay can go up to some 6,4 seconds, the tap tempo feature, and both wet and dry routing, but what makes this pedal special is its versatility – namely, you can switch between analog and digital modes (although you should be aware that this is a primarily digital delay pedal).

What’s more, you’ll be able to record your delays sound-on-sound style with the ‘hold mode’. In comparison to earlier Boss DD versions, the DD-7 tends to stick to the roots, but also adds valuable and innovative additions. Though it’s not mainly a beginner’s pedal, it’s fairly easy to use and play around with.

MXR M169
MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
  • Rich, all-analog delay
  • Up to 600 milliseconds of delay time
  • Modulation controls emulate tape echo tones
$139.99
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Multi-effect pedals have had been in and out of fashion many times over the years. When I started playing seriously in the 1980s, there were only two choices. You could buy one or more pedals, which would only handle one effect at a time. Or you could spend a small fortune and buy a rackmount studio processor, which could do more than one effect at the same time.

But then in the late ’80s and early ’90s, cheaper multi-effect processors hit the market. Offering not only all the sound options our individual pedals gave us but the ability to program them. This meant that a single press of a switch could introduce a whole new group of settings and radically change the sound – instantly. There was no longer a need to tap dance your way around trying to turn your distortion, chorus and delay on or off at the exact same time.

But there was a problem, even though these early multi-effects pedals offered immense practicality. Not only in terms of being able to switch multiple effects on and off at the same moment. But also benefiting from less set up time, no dead battery problems, no dodgy wall warts, etc. etc. All these advantages, however, couldn’t overcome one major disadvantage, in that multi-FX systems, just didn’t sound good.

So some purists, myself included, kept on lugging our pedalboards around because we would rather tap dance and have fantastic sounds, than hit a single switch to change from one terrible sound to another. Then, to make it even harder on multi-FX processors, boutique pedals started to become available. These offered an even greater variety of sounds and higher quality than the Boss, Ibanez, and MXR pedals we were all using.

Both these factors caused multi-effects processors to go through a sales slump, which led to the manufacturers working hard to improve every aspect of the products so that they could regain their ground. They re-designed them and improved their ease of use and their functionality. But most importantly of all, they improved how they sounded, with the rapidly expanding DSP capabilities of modern processors, they now sound superb and are a pleasure to use.

So let’s look at 12 of the best of current guitar multi-FX pedals and processors, in different price ranges and find out which one best suits you
Line 6 Helix LT
Line 6 Helix LT Guitar Multi-effects Processor
  • Guitar Multi-effects Pedal with Amplifier Modeling
  • Simple Editing Interface
  • Analog and Digital I/O
from $1,653.98
View on Amazon

The LT is the smaller and more affordable version of the Line 6 Helix Floor. The company has, however, wisely included the same dual DSP HX modeling engine in this unit. Giving it the same quality amp and effects modeling capabilities, as the more expensive Floor.

Featuring over 100 effects, there is no end of sounds that can be created and manipulated. It also has a complex signal routing system, which allows even further experimentation with different effects orders and combinations. As for modeling, it lets you mix and match 62 different amplifiers, 37 cabinets, and 16 mic positions.

In contrast to all this complexity, Line 6 however. designed the interface to be as simple and intuitive as possible, using a color LCD display with colored LED rings.

Perfect for…

A guitarist who wants a huge variety of quality effects and sounds available but doesn’t want to spend days reading a manual and learning how to use a multi-FX processor.

Pros:

  • The tonal quality and versatility
  • Easy to use workflow

Cons:

  • The price
  • Limited input/output options by modern standards

Line6 Helix LT - Full Depth Demo - YouTube

TC Electronic G-System
TC Electronic G-System Floor Based Guitar...
  • Can power up to 9 effects simultaneously
  • Flexible board design - can be separated and used both in a 19" rack with the control board on the floor
  • 4 switchable mono-loops for your favorite effect pedals

TC Electronic rose to fame with their industry standard rackmount delay unit, the hallowed TC2290. Every serious studio in the world has one (or more), it would probably be difficult to find a hit record without TC Electronic delays on it. So it is fair to say, that the company knows delays better than most, if not anyone. But they also produce one of the most widely used studio reverb units in the world. Also, the most commonly used rackmount chorus unit. I’m sure you can see where I’m going here, in terms of effects, TC Electronic has it nailed.

So when they decided to manufacture the G-System, their top of the range floor-mount FX system (or rackmount if you choose to rack it), they got serious. Giving players the same gorgeous delays and choruses that had made the company famous but in a transportable system.

The effects on this unit are breathtaking, I own one and love it dearly. There is no stand out effect, they ALL stand out. It’s simply a stunning sonic creation.

But as always there are downsides. The main one being that there is no overdrive or distortion. WHAT! I hear you all cry. Yes, honestly, no overdrive or distortion.

The thinking behind it is that most players have their own particular favorite vintage, modern or boutique overdrive/distortion pedals, or maybe they use the different channels on their amps. So why include something that most people will not use? I agree with TC Electronic, I love my distortion pedals and would much rather integrate them with the G-System. Far better than using an in-built overdrive/distortion circuit I don’t really like and have to put up with it forever.

And the unit was designed with that in mind so it will power your pedals for you, and turn them on and off, without you needing to go anywhere near them. It will also switch amp channels automatically. If you buy a TC Electronic Nova Drive overdrive/distortion, it will even change any pre-programmed setting you want on it, with a simple tap of your foot.

Perfect for…

A guitarist who loves the best of both worlds, – the best modulation effects you’ll find anywhere, teamed up with the best drive pedals they own and/or can buy – a sonic match made in heaven in my opinion.

Pros:

  • The sounds with those legendary delays, choruses, and reverbs
  • Some of the best footswitches you’ll find on top of any floor-mount unit
  • No overdrive or distortion so you can use your all-time favorites

Cons:

  • The Price
  • Editing effects can be a little complicated at first
  • No overdrive or distortion so you have to find one you really, really like and use it with it (or is that really a plus?).

TC ELECTRONICS G-SYSTEM WITH NOVA DRIVE - YouTube

ISP Theta Pro DSP

With a colour that reminds you of Italian sports cars and a chassis that looks like it would bounce off walls without a scratch, The ISP Theta Pro DSP is a hard and fast pedal, built for the riggers of touring.

It features two preamp stages – Clean and Distorted, Parametric EQ, and an onboard Decimator noise reduction. It has a number of great direct-recording features and a Boost switch which gives an addition +10dB of gain. It doesn’t offer the massive number of effects some of the other offerings here do, with a very humble six, a Phaser, Tremolo, Chorus, Flanger, Delay, and a Reverb. But in reality, that’s all you need 99% of the time anyway.

Input-wise, you can plug an expression pedal into it and use the Wah features, and/or plug a volume pedal in for more control. One of the best features of the unit is the wonderful direct recording function. Every preset ISP have created sounds truly realistic, it’s as if an invisible microphone is actually in front of an invisible cabinet right there with you.

The speaker simulator options are superb, offering a choice of all the classics – 4×12 with Greenbacks, a 1×12 with a Creamback, a 1×12 Deluxe, a 4×10 Bassman, and a 2×12 Twin.

The Mic Position feature, that emulates off-axis and edge-of-cone placement, is also very realistic. If getting great tones into a DAW is high on your list of priorities and you either, haven’t got lots of mics and lots of cabinets, or your neighbours appreciate getting some undisturbed sleep, then the ISP Theta could well be the processor for you.

Perfect for…

A guitarist who uses his multi-effects as a recording tool.

Pros:

  • Great recording features
  • Big Screen

Cons:

  • Only six effects but they are ones you actually need
  • No onboard tuner

ISP Technologies Theta Pro DSP Preamp and Multi-effects Review by Sweetwater - YouTube

Boss GT-1000
BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Effects Processor
  • Guitar Multi-effects Pedal with Amplifier Modeling
  • Simple Editing Interface
  • Analog and Digital I/O

Where would we be without Boss? The answer is nowhere. The Japanese pedal giant has continually innovated and pushed the boundary of what is possible with its excellent range of products over the years. The GT-1000, their latest, high-end multi-effects processor continues this rich tradition.

The Boss GT-1000 is a floor-mounted multi-FX processor combining the best of their popular RV-500, DD-500, and MD-500 units. It has a modern, sleek look and great build quality. Featuring 116 effects, you shouldn’t run out of sonic choices and the 32-bit, 96khz sampling produces a wealth of gorgeous modulations, delays and reverbs, as well as convincing, down and dirty drive tones.

It, however, is not the simplest unit to navigate, especially if you’re new to effects programming. As with anything, it will get easier with practice but the Helix LT beats it hands-down in this department.

It’s also worth mentioning that for players who currently or aspire to own a larger, more traditional pedalboard, the so-called ‘Bossfecta’ of the RV-500, DD-500, and MD-500 series units would definitely provide more flexibility, than the GT-1000.

Perfect for…

A guitarist who loves the Boss sound.

Pros:

  • Massive range of effects
  • The amp models sound very impressive
  • Excellent build quality

Cons:

  • Not particularly user-friendly for beginners.
  • Not really worth buying if you already own an RV-500, a DD-500, and/or an MD-500. An RV-500, a DD-500, and an MD-500 may provide a better solution for many players.

Boss GT-1000 - Because everything's better with bluetooth! - YouTube

HeadRush Pedalboard
HeadRush Pedalboard | Guitar Amp and FX Modeling...
  • Powered by Eleven HD Expanded DSP. Hands-free edit mode
  • 100+ Realistic FX, Amp, Cab, and Microphone Models
  • Gapless Preset Switching with Reverb/Delay Spillover

Another impressive multi-effects pedal from HeadRush offering quality amp modeling, enough effects, and a killer touchscreen.

Although nowhere near as extensive as some of the processors already covered, with only 33 amp models and 42 effects. The Headrush does have one huge advantage over the rest. And that is its very impressive 7-inch touchscreen interface. This is superb for editing, especially for beginners to effects processing. From the very first time you use, it, little effort is required. And most of the changes to any effect setting can be easily done with a turn of a few knobs.

Although the number of effects included, is lower than some of the rest in this rundown, most of what you’ll probably ever need is included. The unit also has the ability to load custom/third-party impulse responses, allowing you to have even more tonal refinement. And also features a looper with an impressive 20 minutes of record time.

Perfect for…

A guitarist who wants an extremely easy-to-use interface.

Pros:

  • Amazingly intuitive touchscreen
  • Excellent amp modeling
  • Also functions as an audio interface

Cons:

  • Fewer effect options than on most of its competitors
  • A limited number of amp models and routing options
  • No software editor

Headrush Guitar Multi FX Pedalboard with Touch Screen! - YouTube

Boss GT-100
Boss GT-100 Guitar Multi-Effects Pedal
  • Advanced COSM amps that model vintage amp tones and delivers never-before-heard tonesImproved EZ Tone with graphical Tone Grid for constructing new...
  • Dynamic Range 100 dB or greater (IHF-A)

Back with Boss again, and to the little brother of the impressive GT-1000 that’s already been covered, the GT-100. Nearly seven years after its original release it has stood the test of time better than most and still sounds great with its incredible Roland/Boss’ COSM technology.

Much like the Headrush, the amp model and effect count are relatively low, with around 25 amp models and 44 effects. While this may not be as many compared to other units, few in this price range have the sound quality of the GT-100. It also offers excellent amp and OD customization, allowing users to craft their own sounds.

Perfect for…

A guitarist looking for a multi-effects processor with a tried and tested reputation without having to spend a lot.

Pros:

  • Reliability that has stood the test of time
  • Great sounds for the price range

Cons:

  • A low number of different effects and amp models
  • The software editor is nowhere near as good as most of its competitors

[Jack Thammarat] BOSS GT-100 Demo - YouTube

Eventide H9
Eventide Multi Effect Processor White H9 CORE
  • The H9 Core can run all of the effect algorithms from our TimeFactor (delay), ModFactor (mod), PitchFactor (pitch), and Space (reverb) pedals as well...
  • Every H9 CORE comes with a coupon for a free algorithm download.
  • Built-in Tuner, true bypass, and MIDI. Wireless control with Bluetooth via H9 control app on Windows, OSX, or iOS.
$399.00
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A proper audio interface is one of the most important pieces of gear in any computer-based recording studio. Your interface pipes all of your audio signals in and out of your computer.

It’s a part of every signal and sound you make and, therefore, is a crucial choice when setting up to record.

Are all interfaces created equally? Absolutely not.

They all have their own particulars, especially when it comes to getting killer guitar sounds, and should be investigated thoroughly.

Today, we are meeting here to discuss what we feel are the best sounding audio interfaces for guitar recording. Ready to dive in?

UAD Arrow
Universal Audio Arrow Portable Studio Recorder,...
  • Desktop 2x4 Thunderbolt 3-powered audio interface with class-leading 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
  • Unison mic preamp and guitar amp emulations from Neve , API , Manley , Marshall, Fender , and more.
  • Real-time UAD processing allows near-zero latency tracking with classic UAD plug-in effects, regardless of software buffer setting

The UAD Arrow is, hands down, the best audio interface for guitar in its class. It’s the first Thunderbolt 3-powered desktop interface for both Windows and Mac.

It’s built around two of UAD’s Unison microphone preamps and highly-regarded audio converters descended from the company’s iconic Apollo interfaces and it delivers the most compelling sound in its price range.

It also comes loaded with a set of onboard UAD plug-ins that make getting album-worthy results a snap.

With its Unison technology and built-in UAD-2 SOLO Core processor, you can record through classic pieces of kit including the 610 Tube Preamp, LA-2A and 1176 compressors, and a genuine Marshall Plexi.

Did I mention that you can do all of this with almost no latency regardless of your audio buffer setting? Well, you can. Just thinking about adding one of these to my rig sets my heart aflutter.

Arrow’s proprietary Unison technology is the key to all of this magic. The integration of hardware and software in the Arrow is unlike anything else on the market.

All you have to do is throw a Unison preamp plug-in onto your mic input via Arrow’s Console software and you’re ready to get down with preamp models from API and Neve, amp emulations from Marshall and Fender, and a whole lot more.

Not only do you get the sounds of these legendary devices but they come complete with their signature impedances, gain stage “sweet spots,” and circuit behaviors. This means that Arrow feels like a real amp when you play through it.

What’s even more happening is that the SOLO Core processor takes the burden off of your computer. All of this happens before your signal even hits your CPU. This is why latency is a non-issue when using Arrow.

Any guitar player seeking a new interface to bring their tones to the world needs to give Arrow a serious look and listen.

PROS:

  • Near-zero latency.
  • Full suite of onboard plug-ins.
  • Award-winning preamps.
  • Built-in UAD-2 SOLO Core processor!
  • Everything is included to record killer guitar sounds, plug in and start recording.

CONS:

  • If you’re using lots of plugins, then the solo core might not be enough to handle all the power your plugins require. In that case, consider UAD Twin MKII DUO or MKII QUAD.
  • Only UAD plugins can be used with this interface and they’re quite expensive however, their plugins are best in the world.

See how it sounds

Pete Thorn's Top UAD-2 Guitar Tones, Tone #7 Marshall/Softube Amps - YouTube

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen)
Focusrite Audio Interface 2i2-2 Mic Pres...
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain; two instrument inputs, 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs to connect professional...
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit; super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for...
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: FREE access to Sonarworks' Reference 4 Headphone Edition upon registration and download.

Focusrite is considered by many to be THE interface company and its Scarlett series are the best-selling audio interfaces in the world.

One look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and it’s easy to understand why. The 2i2 is a USB-powered unit featuring two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of balanced gain on tap and two newly-designed instrument inputs designed to take seriously hot guitar pickups with ease.

Best-in-class conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit and super-low roundtrip latency for using your plug-ins in real time also make this an attractive and useful piece for any home or project studio.

Other features include 1/4-inch balanced jack outputs for your studio monitors and one headphone output with gain control.

USB interfaces are still very popular for their combination of performance, compatibility, and price and this is pretty much the best one ever made.

Believe me, we’ve all made far worse choices than adding a Focusrite to our studios.

It comes bundled with a ton of cool software, too, including Pro Tools First, Focusrite Creative Pack, Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Focusrite’s Red Plug-in Suite, and 2GB of Loopmasters samples.

Users also get their choice of one free XLN Addictive Keys virtual instrument. All are available via download upon purchase and registration of your device.

This is a great value, particularly for home recordists. You probably need at least one.

PROS:

  • Huge bang for the buck!
  • USB-powered for easy connectivity and portability!
  • It’s a Focusrite!

CONS:

  • Only two inputs. Not suitable for tracking a full band.
  • Very very clean preamps. Love or hate?

Video review

Recording with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Bundle - Warren Huart: Produce Like A Pro - YouTube

PreSonus AudioBox
Sale
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2x2 USB Audio Interface
  • Bus-powered USB 2.0 audio and MIDI interface
  • Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac and Windows
  • 24-bit resolution; 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rates
$99.95 - $3.95 $96.00
View on Amazon

PreSonus is another company that’s well-known and respected among recording musicians for consistently making outstanding products.

The PreSonus AudioBox USB Interface is yet another of them. It’s a great piece to consider for anyone recording or podcasting on a tight budget and handles MIDI chores as well as audio.

It is a small, easy-to-use recording solution that is well-suited for anyone for whom portability is a concern. Throw one of these in your laptop case and you’re good to go. It’s built like a tank, too, so you know it’ll work when you finally do arrive.

The AudioBox is compatible with just about any Mac or Windows machine under the sun, so no worries about cross-platform temper tantrums here. That, alone, is a selling point for many guitarists, as we tend to like things that just plug in and play.

It has the expected two audio inputs connected to Class A mic preamps, two audio outs, plus an ultra-loud headphone jack perfect for noisy tracking environments.

You get software, too, that being PreSonus’ Studio One 3 Artist DAW software for Mac and Windows.

An AudioBox is just about the easiest way to get started with computer recording. What are you waiting for?

PROS:

  • Compatible with most Mac and Windows computers!
  • Headphone jack is louder than most!
  • Small and easy to carry around.

CONS:

  • Tight control spacing for big hands.

Video review

PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Review / Test / Explained - YouTube

The post The Best Audio Interfaces for Guitar Recording appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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“Tone” is every guitarists’ favorite four-letter word. We all have this idea of how we want our instrument to sound and we all chase it.

Quite often, we spend oodles of money and effort in pursuit of this sound in our heads, switching and trading guitars, amps, pedals, cables, and even batteries until we’ve driven ourselves to the edge of a nervous breakdown obsessing over tiny details in our gear.

This article is not about that process. If you find yourself seriously thinking that the only thing standing between you, the tone of the gods, and global acclaim is the type of nine-volt battery in your tuner, please consult a mental health professional immediately.

This article is about getting good guitar tones without breaking your bank or driving yourself crazy. It is absolutely not necessary to spend huge piles of cash to get cool tones.

Like so many aspects of this thing of ours, what you have is less important than what you do with it. Knowledge, skill, and patience will always win out over blindly throwing money around to duplicate some famous rig. It’s the human element that makes the most difference. Here are some actual tone tips in no particular order:

1. Practice More and Practice Better

Every sound your gear makes begins with your hands and ears. A novice guitarist needs to get their basic skills together in order to make any piece of equipment sound good. It’s very easy to make an electric guitar sound bad and no piece of pricey kit will cover up for not being able to control your ax.

If you are in the first few years of your guitar experience, you’re much better off investing yourself into your playing and practicing rather than new gear. Work on smoothing out your hands, improving time and feel, and making a better connection with the strings. This strategy will carry you farther than buying stuff ever will.

One of the big secrets of playing guitar is that every piece of gear is pretty cool once you can actually play it.

2. Spend Money in the Right Places!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the gear available these days and even easier to get seduced by those beautiful high-end guitars on the wall in your local shop. It’s important to take a step back and realize that a pretty guitar isn’t going to make your tone any better.

Once you get above $2000 dollars or so, you’re mostly paying for flamier tops, ornamentation, status, and brand prestige. In reality, a $500 guitar with a good setup and decent pickups will do all of the same things those pricey ones will.

Amps are a different story. Most guitars are pretty simple contraptions; most amps are not. You will get a whole lot more tone for your money by spending on a better amp rather than a flashier guitar.

A cheap, low-end amp will always sound like what it is. A mid-level to higher-end amp will start you off in a nicer place automatically and make any instrument sound better.

A lot of people forget that your amp is an instrument, too. The folks working in your friendly neighborhood guitar shop know that the best way to sell a $200 guitar is to plug it into a $2000 amp. Use this knowledge to put your cash where it will do the most good.

3. Learn to Use the Gear You Have

Ever notice that some players can make any rig sound good and that others can make a ‘59 Les Paul and a vintage Marshall sound like a cordless drill run through a window air conditioner?

This is because some guitarists learn how to use gear to its fullest while those others just plug in and hope for the best, which usually doesn’t happen. Taking the time to experiment with your gear and learning where the sounds live are absolutely crucial.

Go through each knob and control in your setup and listen to what it does. Play. Turn one knob up by one number. Play again and listen. Keep going. This might seem tedious but you’ve got to do it, especially if you’re not already deeply experienced in guitar gear. If you are, you’ve already done it. Once you’ve wrung out your own rig this way, do it with every other piece of gear you can get your hands on.

After a while, you’ll get a general feel for what usually does what and will able to quickly dial in righteous tones out of anything.

4. Keep the Same Rig Long Enough and Your Tone Will Emerge

This goes along with the point above about learning to use what you have.

I spent 20 years of my life teaching and working in guitar shops and saw many players get caught in the cycle of buying and quickly selling many guitars and amps in the pursuit of the elusive tone in their ears. This practice isn’t limited to beginners, either. I’ve seen accomplished players do it, too. Do it enough and you won’t even be able to tell what you’re hearing anymore.

It’s a much better idea to live with that new amp for a bit, see what it does, and what you can get out of it. Gig it, record it, rehearse with it. Unless you bought a piece of junk, great tones are in there somewhere. Audio memory is largely imagination and trying to remember what the last three amps you bought and sold this month sounded like while playing the fourth is a quick path to that nervous breakdown mentioned earlier.

Keep at any one of the four for enough time and your tones will emerge.

5. Don’t Get Hung Up on Settings

Your ears are different every day and your gear sounds differently in every new place you set it up. Therefore, adjust your settings as needed for each day and new venue rather than just always blindly putting the Treble knob on 7.

Playing inside sounds one way and playing outside another. The same is true for hollow vs solid stages, carpeted rooms vs wood floors, and a bunch of other variables. Don’t fall into the trap of always doing everything the same way. Do your best to always listen with fresh ears and trust your judgment.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson on how to get great guitar tone without overspending and that you learned something from it. See you next time!

The post How to Get Great Guitar Tone Without Breaking the Bank appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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Practicing is the boost and the bane of all musicians. It’s the only way any of us become one, in the first place.

You can read all the articles and watch all the videos but nothing is going to transform you from a non-playing plebe into a righteous member in good standing of this thing of ours other than time in the practice chair.

The more you play, the better you will become.

There are as many methods of practicing as there are guitarists. Each of us is on our own journey with the instrument and wants something different out of it. That being said, practice time often feels like punishment time for those who have not yet figured out how to make the most of their sessions.

They do endless repetitions of something for few gains or bounce from topic to topic and never master any of them.

My goal with this article is to wise you up to some ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your practice routine and seeing the improvements you so badly want.

Ready to hit the shed?

1. BE CONSISTENT!

No matter your age, stage, or level, the best thing you can do for your playing is to practice consistently each day.

You can do shorter sessions and get more out of them because it’s the daily aspect that matters. You will see improvements faster this way than not practicing all week and trying to cram it all in on your day off. This takes some discipline and the willingness to turn off the TV but the payoff is worth it.

You have to live it if you want it to come out of your amp.

2. STAY SET UP AND ORGANIZED!

You should have a place in your domain where your practice gear is always set up so you can just walk in, sit down, and get to work. You should also keep this place organized and clean, so all your learning material is accessible, easily found, and doesn’t get lost.

Set yourself up to be successful. Eliminate the roadblocks that get between you and the practice routine you know you want. I guarantee this one simple thing will get you practicing better because it will make it easy to get started.

If you have to pull all your gear out and put it away every time, little practicing will likely occur.

3. DON’T SPEND MORE THAN AN HOUR ON ANY ONE TOPIC!

Even if you are super-determined to learn something, you will hit a point of diminishing returns if you work on it for too long in a single practice session. I’ve found that an hour is about the most I can spend on one idea before my mind and intentions begin to wander.

Past that point, I’m just moving fingers, not making music. You need to keep your head in the game at all times and doing this will help achieve that. Besides, studies have shown that we will play something better if we practice, sleep on it, and then go back to it the next day.

Don’t expect yourself to learn like a machine. If you get tired, rest.

4. DON’T SKIP YOUR EAR TRAINING!

Even though we live in an golden age of Internet guitar tabs, you still need to develop your ear. Music is sound, not numbers on paper, and you need to be able to identify what you hear.

Ear training makes music seem more real and bonds you more tightly to it. At the minimum, you want to be able to distinguish Major from Minor while blindfolded and learn simple three and four-chord songs by ear. If you play rock, start with the Ramones and work up to Sabbath. If you play country, start with Johnny Cash.

Of course, reading tablature and notation are great skills to attain and have their place in all our lives but great ears are essential.

Ear training will be a process, make your head hurt, and probably make you angry. Do it anyway. It matters.

5. LEARN THE VOCAL MELODIES, NOT JUST THE GUITAR PARTS!

This is some super-secret insider G13 Classified guitar player info right here.

One of the biggest things you can work on to supercharge your phrasing and general musicality is to figure out the vocal parts to the songs you’re learning. Yes, by ear. This is something piano students do from the beginning. The piano naturally plays melodies with the right hand and accompaniment with the left.

Guitar players often learn by playing chords and riffs that someone sings over and soloing with memorized repetitive patterns. This is all well and good but it doesn’t do much for your phrasing and often leads to criminal levels of overplaying. This happens because guitarists don’t have to think about breathing.

We can play endless streams of notes with ease. Spend some time shadow-boxing with great singers, however, and you will gain much knowledge about breath, human feel, rhythmic displacement, and all the other intangibles that make us love music.

We want to be able to play and think melodically off the cuff. This practice technique is where that begins.

6. BONUS TIP – WRITE STUFF DOWN!

Get in the habit of writing your own tabs down when you learn a new song, scale, or pattern. Get used to writing chords and scales on neck diagrams, too.

Physically putting pencil to paper helps seat what you’re learning into your mind and makes you a better memorizer.

It’s an old-school tactic that is still 100% valid. Many of us have gotten lazy in the modern age. I did this daily for twenty years learning songs and ideas with students and reaped huge benefits from it.

Every time I taught “Iron Man,” I wrote it down for the student. After a while, I became a tab-writing and song-learning dynamo. I would also have students write their own reference book of scales and chords.

To play well, you need to get your basic skills into that good deep-learning part of your brain where your noun/verb agreement and shoe-tying skills live. Writing down what you learn will make that happen.

Anyway, I should stop here because it’s coming up on my time to practice. I hope you learned something from this article that helps you move forward. See you next time with a new lesson!

The post 5 Guitar Practice Routine Tips for Maximum Achievement appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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Short-scale basses are an amazingly cool part of the electric bass family tree that is often criminally overlooked. We usually think of basses as large, long instruments, which they are, but a short-scale instrument has its own unique set of charms to offer.

Shorties are great for bass players of smaller size who aren’t physically comfortable on a full-scale instrument. They are much easier to play than something modeled on an old P-Bass with a neck like a felled tree. This also makes them an excellent choice for guitarists who need to play or track bass parts.

While not the best basses for those using drop tunings, there isn’t much a sonic difference compared to a longer bass when tuned to E.

Today, we are going to help you find the best short-scale bass guitar for your needs and applications. Ready? Here we go!

Epiphone EB-O
EpiphoneEB-0 Electric Bass Guitar, Cherry Red
  • Affordable electric bass in cherry red with classic Epiphone SG shape
  • Carved mahogany body with bolted mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard with dotted inlay; 30.5-inch scale
from $369.97
View on Amazon

It is tough to go wrong with the Epiphone EB-O Electric Bass. The original Gibson versions from the 1960s were a popular and affordable way to get cool bass tones in a smaller ax in the old days and this Epi version is exactly the same in the present day.

The styling and sound of these are total throwbacks to yesteryear and instantly give off that warm and fuzzy bass sound from your favorite old records.

The EB-O features a carved Mahogany body with a bolt-on Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. That wood combination, coupled with the single SideWinder bass humbucker in the neck position, is where all that warmth gets created. Hardware is chrome all the way around and includes a fully-adjustable bridge.

The EB-O is light and easy to play, thanks to its 30.5-inch scale length (which is the distance from the nut to the bridge saddle) and the timeless SG body style makes high fret access a beautiful thing. Guitar players doubling on bass may find one of these to be all they will ever need.

PROS

  • Super playability!
  • Easy on the shoulder and back!
  • Classic sound and styling!

CONS

  • Not much treble to be had.
  • May be too simple for ultra-modern players.

Epiphone EB-0 SG Bass, Cherry | Gear4music demo - YouTube

Squier by Fender
Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar Beginner...
  • Short scale length (30")
  • Maple neck with "C"-shaped profile, black headstock and 20-fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Single-coil Jazz Bass bridge pickup, vintage-style split single-coil Precision Bass middle pickup
from $199.99
View on Amazon

The Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Short-Scale Bass is a great-sounding shorty with an exciting look that harkens back to the surf music era.

It positively oozes that flashy/trashy garage rock coolness that makes pulses pound. Offset body styles like this have been embraced by the alternative and indie rock scenes since the 90s, however, so you won’t look like an oldies player when slinging one of these.

The Jaguar sports a Maple neck with a Laurel fretboard connected to a Basswood body. Pickups are of the P/J variety and that makes this little beast capable of dialing in any required bass tone this side of modern metal.

Each pickup has its own Volume knob and there is one master Tone control. Nice and simple, as Leo intended. These things are a blast to play, sound great, look cool, and Squier needs to send me one now.

PROS

  • Rockstar good looks!
  • Lots of sounds on tap!
  • Lightweight and playable!

CONS

  • Not great for metal and heavier styles.
  • Might be too flashy for some players.

Video Review - Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar and Jaguar Special Short Scale Basses - YouTube

Ibanez GSRM20BS
Sale
Ibanez 4 String Bass Guitar Right Handed, Brown...
  • Fast, slim Maple neck
  • Compact, light-weight Body
  • Dynamic P pickup
$185.89 - $5.90 from $179.99
View on Amazon

You wanna get small, man? Have I got the bass for you!

The Ibanez GSRM20BS Short-Scale Bass is a total runt with a scale length of only 28.6 inches. That is just a little longer than an average electric guitar and makes this blaster deliver a whole lot of heat in a tiny package.

This is a bass perfectly suited for smaller or younger players, guitarists, those in small studio spaces, or anybody else who wants a featherweight instrument that still packs a punch. It rocks a Poplar body with a normal Maple/Rosewood neck, chrome hardware, and that P/J pickup configuration we all love so much.

This is going to be a dream instrument for a lot of people. It puts outstanding bass sounds in small hands, on bad backs, and in home studios at an unbeatable price. Many short-scale basses are based on vintage designs but this Ibanez is a modern shorty that will appeal to the tiny-but-current crowd. Hot stuff, indeed.

PROS

  • Super small!
  • P/J pickup set!
  • Featherweight!

CONS

  • Could possibly be TOO small for some people.

Ibanez GSRM20 miKro - A Short Scale Bass For Players Of All Sizes - YouTube

Hofner HOF-HI-CB-BK 4-String
Hofner HOF-HI-CB-BK 4-String Bass Guitar
  • Ignition Club Bass
  • Maple Body
  • One piece construction
Currently not available
View on Amazon

Short-scale Hofner basses were made popular and eternal by four long-haired guys from Liverpool in the 1960s and they are still a fine choice for anyone seeking an old-school shorty.

The Hofner HOF-HI-CB-BK Bass Guitar is an instant ticket to the tried-and-true but can also create new sounds in the right hands. It has a hollow Maple body with a Spruce top, a Maple neck with a Rosewood fretboard, and two 70s-style Hofner “staple” pickups. Of course, it also has the legendary Hofner control panel that includes On/Off switches for each pick-up, a Solo/Rhythm switch, and individual Volume controls.

This is a perfect bass for anyone seeking the vintage Hofner sound and charm without looking like Paul McCartney, which matters to some folks. His violin-shaped Hofner is so iconic that it’s hard to play one outside of a Beatle tribute show. This is another instrument with major garage band/indie coolness built in and makes a worthy contender for anyone looking for something a little past average.

PROS

  • Light and hollow!
  • Two pickups!
  • Garage band cred for days!

CONS

  • Looks: love ‘em or leave ‘em!
  • Another one not really suited to metal styles.

Hofner Club Bass Vibes - YouTube

Dean Evo XM
Dean Evo XM Mahogany Short-Scale Electric Bass...
  • Mahogany Body
  • Mahogany Top
  • Bolt-On Neck

The Dean Evo XM Short-Scale Bass is one for the rockers. You wanna be a shorty metal bassist? This is your new ride.

The Evo is another Mahogany-bodied bass but with two high-output humbucking pickups that will pump plenty of wattage into your cottage. The 30-inch scale makes it easy to get around on and, once again, makes this a perfect bass for rock guitarists needing to go lower.

The look of the Evo is strictly rock and roll, with a satin finish and black hardware. This is one serious-looking instrument that will boost your stage presence immeasurably. The Dean brand has been associated with rock and roll since the day it was born and the Evo XM certainly carries on that family tradition.

Check one out if you don’t want to look like a surfer.

PROS

  • A full-on rock machine!
  • Very lightweight!
  • Two humbuckers!

CONS

  • All metal, all the time.

Dean EVO Bass Guitar Black Satin | Gear4music demo - YouTube

The post 5 Best Short-Scale Bass Guitars appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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Heavy metal. It’s the pro sports of rock and roll. The style has been an eternal presence on the world’s music scene for decades and it features some of rock’s best musicians, its most legendary bands, and its biggest stars.

Because of all this plus huge prices on the vintage guitars used by some of metal’s creators, a lot of folks think that getting themselves outfitted with a proper guitar for playing metal has to be an expensive proposition.

Well, we are meeting up here today to dispel that notion and discuss just what the best metal guitar under $1000 might be.

Take any time at all to shop new electric guitars and you’ll find that $1000 is not a whole lot of money to throw at one. What a grand will get you, however, is a fully professional guitar that is up for anything you’re able to do to it. This price point is about fit, finish, and quality, especially with imported guitars.

If you can’t get it done with one of these, you probably just can’t get it done.

The Best Metal/Rock Guitars Under $1000ESP LTD KH602
ESP LTD KH-602 Signature Series Kirk Hammett...
  • Offers nearly everything of its higher-end cousin, the ESP KH-2, at a price that more musicians can afford
  • Features neck-thru-body construction, a comfortable alder body, and a 3 pc. extra-thin U-shaped maple neck
  • The pau ferro fingerboard features 24 extra-jumbo frets and Kirk Hammett's skull-and-bones inlays

The ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Signature is a familiar sight on the modern metal landscape and with good reason. Kirk Hammett and Metallica are among the highest-profile metal artists on Earth. Plus, the 602 is a killer, straightforward guitar that will scratch a lot of itches.

It’s a neck-thru design for maximum sustain and features a Floyd Rose vibrato, EMG 60 and 81 active humbuckers, three knobs, one switch, and a reverse headstock.

What else could an aspiring metalhead need?

Looking closer, the 602 sports an Alder body, a three-piece Maple neck, and a 25.5” scale. It is a full-on super strat capable of rocking any stadium anywhere while still looking fairly traditional.

Oh yeah, hope you like black. ESP LTD guitars are some of the best-built guitars available in their price range and this one, like the company’s others, will not disappoint.

PROS:

  • EMG active humbuckers!
  • Floyd Rose!
  • Neck-thru construction!

CONS:

  • None more black.

See how it sounds:

ESP KH-2 Kirk Hammett Signature Electric Guitar - YouTube

Schecter Synyster Gates Custom
Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Gates Custom...
  • Duncan Designed SH-8 Invader Pickups
  • SYN' w/ Death Bat inlay @ 12th fret
  • Tuners: Grover

The Schecter Synyster Gates Custom will help anyone cut a distinctive figure onstage and is especially attractive to fans of Avenged Sevenfold.

This guitar screams ‘modern metal’ and will not make those playing it feel like an 80s strat-bodied holdover. Gates has a huge audience and this instrument will make a lot of people in it happy. It is also a killer pick for any player looking for something unusual to use in heavy situations.

The Gates Custom displays Gate’s iconic shape covered in a stunning black-and-silver striped finish. It has two of his signature high-output pickups with ceramic magnets, a Mahogany neck and body for warmth and sustain, and Ebony fretboard with SYN inlays on top of an ultra-thin shred-friendly neck carve. It even has a Floyd Rose 1500 bridge system to keep you in tune no matter what happens.

This is really a lot of instrument for the money. If you’re cool with the look, you will surely be cool with the sound.

PROS:

  • Floyd Rose 1500 vibrato!
  • Mahogany neck and body!
  • Signature ceramic pickups!

CONS:

  • Love-it-or-leave-it styling may not appeal to all.

See how it sounds:

Schecter Synyster Model Custom-S & Standard Comparison - YouTube

Schecter Hellraiser C-1
Sale
Schecter Hellraiser C-1 Electric Guitar (Black...
  • Set-Neck w/ Ultra Access
  • Quilted Maple Top
  • EMG Active 81TW/89 pickups
$839.00 - $90.00 from $749.00
View on Amazon

The Schecter Hellraiser C-1 is a core component of the company’s lineup of guitars and has helped Schecter maintain a large presence among purveyors of heavy music.

It is a simple, elegant, and thoroughly modern guitar made for metal. They’ve been produced since 2006 and continue to find new fans.

The C-1 features a Mahogany body with a Maple top, a Mahogany neck, active EMG humbucking pickups, and cool gothic cross inlays on the Rosewood fretboard. It is also a hardtail with a TonePros bridge, which makes it easy to live with and restring. It is even available left-handed, for all you switch hitters out there.

The Hellraiser C-1 represents an amazing value in a new guitar and is perfect for anyone needing a high-quality, traditionally-styled metal ax.

PROS:

  • EMG pickups!
  • Hardtail!
  • Looks good!

CONS:

  • At this price? None, whatsoever.

See how it sounds:

Schecter Hellraiser C1 White - YouTube

Dean ZERO TRUST
Dean Dave Mustaine Zero Black Electric Guitar FREE...
  • INCLUDES: TMS Polishing Cloth, tuner, strap, strings

Dave Mustaine is another player well-known to pretty much every metal fan on the planet. Megadeth will always be one of metal’s most respected names for its decades of music, plus Dave was an original member of Metallica, so there’s that.

The Dean ZERO TRUST Dave Mustaine Zero is a superior ax for any metallion on a budget or who just wants a killer guitar for a low price. It has a modded Z-style Mahogany body with distinctive graphics, a 25.5” scale D-shaped neck with 24 frets and a Rosewood fingerboard, two DMT Design pickups, three knobs, and a pickup switch.

This is another hardtail guitar with no vibrato system and that makes it simple to live with and maintain.

Dean is another company that has become almost totally associated with the metal scene and has spiritual roots going back to the 1970s. Deans have been the choice of many talented players over the years and are still more than worthy of a serious look when guitar shopping.

Does the song contain Mustaine? Yes, we believe it does.

PROS:

  • Wicked cool graphics!
  • Another hardtail!
  • Cool-looking and simple, ready to rock!

CONS:

  • D-shaped neck may be too shallow for some players.
  • Case not included.

See how it sounds:

Dean Guitars Dave Mustaine Zero Punk - YouTube

Squier by Fender
Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster...
  • Dual Squier Active Ceramic humbucking pickups for modern and aggressive tones
  • Maple neck with slim "C"-Shaped profile and matching painted reverse headstock
  • 12" Fingerboard radius; jumbo Frets

Super strats are what metal guitars are all about to some folks and we want to remain sensitive to that fact.

The Squier by Fender Contemporary Active Stratocaster HH is a wise choice of instrument if you are one of those people and are shopping on a budget.

It has a Poplar body with a Floyd Rose vibrato, a Maple neck, and a Rosewood fretboard. Two Squier Active Ceramic Humbuckers allow for modern, aggressive tones and lots of output power. The rebellious reversed headstock is a nice touch and adds to the anarchy of the proceedings.

The HH is another straight-ahead rock machine with no fancy appointments. It has an old-school black Strat Dave Murray vibe that vintage metalheads will appreciate. Squier stuff often gets looked down upon by gear snobs but Squiers pack the goods to get the gig done without prices that will anger those who you live with and must obey.

This is a more-than-capable guitar that’s affordable to just about anyone. If you’re not a high horse rider, you just find love with one of these.

PROS:   

  • Very affordable!
  • Floyd Rose on board!
  • Aggressive black Strat styling!

CONS:

  • It’s a Squier, which might bug some people.

See how it sounds:

Fender Contemporary Squire Series - YouTube

The post The Best Guitars for Metal Under $1000 appeared first on GuitarGeary.

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