Leo Fender's designs evolved in a rather incredible direction when he left Fender. This bass guitar is just one of the several proofs that make this statement true. Whether you are a fan of this legendary designer, or you just want a good bass, GL Asat bass is the way.
Fender is a huge brand in the music industry, but not many people know that Leo Fender, the founder, sold the company in late ’60s and went on to work with other brands including Music Man.
When that cooperation ended, he founded another company of his own called G&L. This brand doesn’t have too many models in their offer, but one of the most popular ones is the G&L Asat Bass guitar. Everything about it screams Fender. That much is apparent as soon as you see this thing for the first time.
What Leo managed to do with G&L is to further iron out his designs and ideas. He wasn’t bogged down by company policies, or any of the other issues which are more or less standard for huge corporations. He was free to design whatever he wanted. That freedom gave birth to several incredible instruments, one of which we are going to talk about today.
One of the things that really put the ASAT bass ahead of the competition is the range of tones it can deliver. Leo Fender applied some new ideas to this design, including features which were obviously inspired by his experience in Music Man. The whole bass guitar is simple, yet so beautiful. Its flexible nature has earned it a rather large following in the bass community.
G&L Tom Hamilton ASAT Bass - YouTube
One of the biggest fans of this bass guitar is Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith. He recognized the quality of Leo Fender’s new design, and has followed it closely ever since. Leo Fender stayed with G&L until he passed away, claiming the work he did there was the best in his whole career.
G&L ASAT Bass features what can be defined as a slightly modified Telecaster body. There are some differences but the general shape is there. The tonewood he chose for this model was either alder or swamp ash, depending on the finish you choose.
The neck is a maple design which features a medium C profile and medium jumbo frets. Selection of fretboards available is maple or rosewood. As you can see, a lot of the features are similar with Fender models. Hardware comes in form of G&L Saddle Lock bridge, designed by Leo Fender himself, and a set of G&L Ultra-Lite tuners. Needless to say, both of these components perform pretty much flawlessly.
The electronics are where things get really good. There are two humbuckers, both of which belong to the G&L Magnetic Field Design line. These are controlled by your standard volume treble and bass knobs, while there are also several switches. Aside from the pickup selector, you have series/parallel switch and a three-way preamp mode switch.
This unusual system goes by the name of Tri-Tone, and is something G&L are quite proud of.
This bass guitar is on the next level when it comes to performance. That is apparent right away. The range of tones you can dial in is just crazy. Even though it is equipped with two chunky humbuckers, you can still get a fair bit of definition and clarity when you want to play more delicate genres of music.
On the other hand, when it’s time to lay down driving bass lines, G&L ASAT has you covered. You can pretty much play anything from blues to death metal on this thing, and it will sound great. The guitar itself is very playable and well balanced. It’s a chunky piece, despite the alder body. However, when you strap it on, it doesn’t feel too heavy or cumbersome. The neck is very smooth, especially the maple variant.
It’s comfortable, but also fast enough if you want to walk the scale at a quicker pace. When it’s all said and done, at the end of the day this is one mighty bass guitar. It is incredibly versatile and allows for a very high level of precision.
What we like
Leo Fender definitely outperformed himself when he created the ASAT bass. The shape, the balance, the sound, everything is on point. It’s a serious choice for those who need a different kind of sound while demanding high flexibility. In some ways, G&L ASAT is like a fusion of Fender Jazz bass and Music Man. It’s a combination that has a lot to offer.
What we don’t like
There is absolutely nothing we can name as a flaw when it comes to this bass guitar. It’s an ironed out model, which is apparent from the moment you pick it up. Leo Fender had more than enough time to perfect his design and turn it into a great bass guitar it is today. Every singe detail on this thing is on point, from the quality of buckets to overall tone.
Finally, it may be concluded…
How important Leo Fender was, and what kind of impact he left on the music industry is already known. However, most of the focus is placed on Fender as a company even though Leo didn’t spend that much time over there.
His independent work largely goes unnoticed, which is really a shame. G&L ASAT bass is one of the best bass guitars on the market at the moment. These things are not cheap by any means, but the performance they offer makes up the steep price.
Those who appreciate Leo’s work need to give G&L instruments more attention. In many ways, these are an evolution of the original Fender’s work. In some ways, Fender guitars and bass guitars feel like unfinished work compared to the few G&L models which are currently available.
This statement might cause a lot of disagreement, however it needs to be said. Fender knew what his end game was, and he partially achieved it. When the man who gave us the Strat and Telecaster says that G&L guitars represent the highest point of his career, we ought to at least honor them in a way that is appropriate. If you want something that is more refined than a standard Fender Jazz bass, give G&L ASAT a chance. You won’t regret it.
A vintage tube amp from Crate, with emphasis put on its incredible clean sound and all-round old school tone. Its basic amplifier controls make it simple to use and its tonal possibilities vary from an incredible glossy clean sound to a bluesy type of overdrive reminiscent of ZZ top or Led Zeppelin.
It’s definitely no secret that Crate has received a lot of bad rep in the past years. Honestly, that didn’t come as a surprise at all.
Their solid state amps leave a lot to be wished for, and are generally the bottom feeders of that part of the market.
Today, this shaky reputation has cast a huge shadow over the range of Crate amps that aren’t all that bad. In a way, the commotion created a type of hidden-gem situation many are looking to leverage.
Crate’s solid state amps may be bad, but their tube amps are definitely decent. The one we are going to talk about today is the Crate Palomino V32.
This little combo tube amp has a lot to offer to those who can see past the Crate logo. Inside the case you will find a really capable amplifier that has one of the best clean channels in its price range, and that’s probably an understatement.
Crate’s policy was, and still is to deliver the best bang for the buck performance. How successful they are at achieving this goal is up for discussion. So far, what we can see in practice doesn’t really align with their claims.
Crate V32 Palomino Demo - YouTube
However, when you talk about Crate amps, you need to make a distinction between their solid states and their tube amps. It’s easy to sharpen a pitchfork and join the lynch mob, but once you turn one the Palomino V32, things change rather quickly.
Let’s take it from the beginning. The amp sports a somewhat vintage design. Color scheme they chose for this model is a creamy white finish with a brownish speaker mesh and chrome corner guards.
The general appearance is on point, that’s a fact. Honestly, this amp looks a lot better than most tube amps that sell at prices way above Palomino V32. Since appearances are not really that important when it comes to guitar amps, let’s move on to what really matters – the innards.
In terms of features, Crate Palomino V32 is a pretty simple amp. There are four EL84 power tubes and three 12AX7A preamp tubes that deliver some 30 Watts of power through a single 12 inch speaker at the front. All of this is packed tightly and securely.
The build quality seems to be great and inspires confidence, no matter how hard that is to accept for the fiercest Crate critics. Controls found on Palomino V32 are basic and straight forward. Starting from left to right you will see the clean volume knob, channel switch button, overdrive gain, standard three-band EQ with a boost button in between, a presence button, overdrive level knob and finally spring reverb knob. Nothing crazy, but very functional.
Even though both the appearance of the amp, and its features are great, it’s the sound that really seals the deal. What if we told you that a Crate amp has such a good tone that it’s up there with the big guys? No matter how hard it is to believe that, it’s true. The clean channel on this amp is pure bliss. It is crisp, clear and has that glassy vibe. If nothing else, this amp is worth the price just for its clean channel.
Once you start playing with the EQ a bit, you will notice that Crate clearly went for that vintage tone. This is even more apparent when you jump over to overdrive channel. Even though you can push quite a bit of gain, the overdrive on this amp is somewhat tame.
However, this is definitely not a flaw. You can get an impressive rock/blues tone that will have all the qualities you could ever need. Hook it to a vintage Strat and you’ll see just how capable Crate Palomino V32 is.
Spring reverb that comes with the amp is decent to say the least. It doesn’t have that artificial feel, while it offers quite a bit of warmth. With that said, should you decide to add a distortion pedal to your signal chain, you can turn this amp into a classy little beast. Still, the best tone and performance remains in the vintage rock/blues range. Think ZZ Top or Led Zeppelin.
What we like
Crate Palomino V32 redeemed a huge chunk of Crate’s reputation alone. The amp has a killer clean channel, great overdrive, and stunning looks. For the price that is being asked for one these days, it’s a bargain.
What we don’t like
What Crate still has to work on is the quality of minor things. Even though V32 is packed tight and feels solid, the knobs and buttons could have been made better. They just don’t give you the same kind of feedback you would find on Marshalls or Vox amps. Some will argue that comparing these two to Crate is not fair, however these minor details don’t require half a century of experience.
In all honestly, Crate Palomino V32 really is a hidden gem. Crate’s reputation has somewhat killed the price to a point where you can find one for at a fairly decent price. Why Crate dropped the ball on their solid state amps is yet unknown, but their tube amps definitely need more recognition.
If the badge on the front of the Palomino V32 was a different one, the price would probably be at least 50% higher. Most people have an issue with trusting Crate, but in case of this amp, that risk is more than worth it. You don’t often find great tube amps in more affordable price brackets, and Palomino V32 is probably among the better ones.
The clean channel is so good that it dwarfs any flaw this amp could possibly have. If you do a bit more research, you will find a very dedicated community that revolves around these tube amps alone. Unfortunately, Palomino V32 was discontinued, so the only way to find one is to look at the used market. If you do come across one that is close, we strongly suggest you go and take it for a test drive. You won’t regret it.
PRS guitars are in a league of their own. They are one of the very few guitar brands who took a route of their own, trying to establish the brand on a unique tone. PRS Mark Tremonti signature model takes that policy and cranks the intensity to the very max.
PRS guitars are the third flavor of what is usually regarded as a bipolar world. We have Fenders, and then we got Gibsons. However, PRS is there to offer a third option that is often times exactly what is necessary, and what we are missing.
Compared to the two brands we have just mentioned, PRS doesn’t have that many signature model guitars. However, the ones they do have are pretty impressive to say the least. One that is particularly interesting is the PRS Mark Tremonti Signature model.
You can count on Paul Reed Smith to go above and beyond in designing and manufacturing an electric guitar. Not only does this guarantee a great sound, but the overall appearance of the guitar is pushed to a completely different level of excellence.
Today we are going to take a closer look at this beauty, and talk about some features it has to offer.
A signature model guitar
For most people, Mark Tremonti will always be that guy from Creed. His style and energy is what put him on radar in the world of music. PRS decided to pay a tribute to this artist by capturing a good portion of that energy in a signature model guitar. What they ended up creating surpassed all expectations, and became one of the most impressive PRS guitars in recent history.
Everything on this ax was designed and crafted with care. Every detail is just right. PRS guitars are usually known for their excellent craftsmanship, but PRS Mark Tremonti Signature takes that to a whole new level.
The body of this guitar features a slightly modified Les Paul shape. The tonewood of choice is mahogany with a carved flame maple top that is finished with a nice layer of glossy lacquer. As a matter of fact, PRS offers this guitar in a number of different finish options, all of which are beautiful in their own way.
The neck is a pretty unique pattern thin mahogany design that is complemented by a Brazilian rosewood fretboard. There are 22 frets, and the inlays come in form of standard Artist Bird design.
Hardware of choice for PRS Mark Tremonti Signature model is a PRS tremolo bridge and a set of PRS Phase III locking tuners. The bridge is routed for both upward use and downward use, which introduces a bit of variety that is rarely seen on PRS guitars.
Electronics come in form of custom made Tremonti bridge and neck pickups. These are controlled by dedicated volume and tone knobs, as well as a three way pickup selector switch.
The type of tone PRS Mark Tremonti Signature offers is top tier stuff. The combination of a single cut mahogany body and hot rodded humbuckers is a recipe for heavy hitting sound. There is width everywhere, and the tone is simply powerful. With that said, Tremonti custom pickups don’t lack any definition or accuracy. You can play a wide range of genres on this thing, and you will get great results. It’s a versatile guitar, that is for sure.
Playability wise, this thing is a dream. The level of build quality PRS offers in this guitar is impressive. The neck is thinner than we are used to seeing on Les Paul style guitars, but that makes it so much faster and more comfortable to play.
What we like
PRS Mark Tremonti Signature model is one of the most refined and simply luxurious guitars PRS has to offer. Everything on it is high quality, and the whole package looks incredibly good.
What we don’t like
There is nothing we can find on this beast that can be even remotely seen as a fault. The design, build quality and finish are all on point. The same can be said about the performance as well.
If you want excellence, PRS Mark Tremonti Signature is one guitar that will meet your requirements and most likely exceed them. No matter what kind of guitar collection you have, you will rarely see a more refined electric guitar than this one.
A rare mahogany body limited series signature Gibson SG guitar. A tribute and a great replica of a guitar Dickey Betts from Allman Brothers Band played. It has an SG guitar tone straight from 1962, with immaculate playability and great feel of its rosewood fretboard with banjo frets.
In the world guitars and music that involves these incredible instruments, there will be those who become globally famous due to their skill and creativity.
Chances are you have heard of the Allman Brothers Band. If so you probably know who Dickey Betts is. This great guitar player has given us some of the best tunes of the late ’60s an early ’70s. His style was full of energy, and was in many ways different from what you could hear elsewhere at the time.
When it comes to guitars, Dickey Betts was a Gibson man thru and thru. His love for Gibson guitars and his respect to his fellow band members has spawned on of the greatest stories in history of modern music.
Dickey Betts SG, a model from the early ’60s, was his main choice at the time. Since Duane Allman rocked a Les Paul, he had an issue when using a slider. The whole problem was that he needed to retune the guitar every time he wanted to get some slide action going.
Betts saw that and decided to gift his SG to Duane. Ever since then, this particular Gibson SG has become known as the ‘From one brother to another’ SG.
Ever since it swapped hands, and landed in Duane’s inventory, Dickey Betts SG has become a legend in its own right. Not only was it a quality Gibson from a very specific time period when Gibson produced the best quality guitars, but it became an iconic piece of Allman Brothers Band lore.
Gibson Dickey Betts SG, Aged/Signed - YouTube
That SG is a perfect example of how a guitar can have a story, which not only makes it interesting, but gives it a character of its own. A character that is present in all of the music it was used to create.
Gibson decided to do a very special thing for both Dickey Betts and Allman Brothers Band. They were inspired by this act of brotherly love, and decide to make a limited edition signature model based on the very guitar Betts gave to Duane all those years ago.
There were some 325 of these made, and a small portion of them came with Dickey Betts signature on the headstock. The body of this guitar was made of mahogany that was selected for its similarities with the original 61’/62′ stock it was inspired with. The shape is fits the time frame as well with its asymmetrical horns and processed edges. In terms of finish, there were two options available.
You could go for the aged vintage version which came with the Betts’ signature, or you could take the one that featured Gibson’s Vintage Original Spec finish. Either way, the guitar looks amazing.
The neck is also a mahogany design with a nice rosewood fretboard fitted with banjo frets. In terms of electronics, you are looking at Custom Buckers that were hand loaded to bring you that vintage PAF tone. We’re talking Alnico III magnets and the works.
Tonally, this guitar is an impressive piece. Not only does it bring that crispy 60’s Gibson vibe, but it has a lot of range. There are loads of sustain to work with, and the tone you get is just on a different level from almost anything you can find today.
In terms of playability, it’s comfortable guitar that would keep up with you no matter what your playing style is. Dickey Betts SG is definitely a rarity these days, considering all 325 pieces sold out rather quickly.
What we like
Fine tuned tone that perfectly captures the what a 1962 Gibson SG sounds like is the selling point of this guitar. With that said, the aesthetics are also worth the praise.
What we don’t like
This guitar doesn’t really have any faults. We would love to see another batch made, however that is highly unlikely.
On the whole
What Gibson did with Dickey Betts SG demands respect. They have made an incredible tribute for one very special guitar player.
Aside from its historical value, this ax also sounds like something you will rarely find in modern SG guitars. It’s on a completely different level, that is for use.
If you take a peak into Schecter's higher end range, you'll find guitars such as the Tempest here. This ax is just out of this world in both performance and design. Aesthetics are on point and so is the hardware. In terms of a versatile metal guitar, this is it.
In recent years Schecter has built a very good fan base, and has become one of the main players in the industry. Today, if you want a great metal guitar, you go to Schecter. That’s just the way it is.
However, Schecter sometimes steps out of this defined space to deliver guitars which are much more versatile than most give them credit for.
If you need a good example of that, we can give you Schecter Tempest Blackjack. This guitar is one of their more refined models, and it just keeps on impressing with its overall performance.
Sure, it’s built for metal and that is something it does incredibly well. However, once you want to tone things down a bit, you will be pleasantly surprised just how classy this guitar can become.
We are going to review this model for you today, and talk about different features it has to offer along with the tone spectrum you can expect from one of these. Let’s dig in.
What we got here is very sweet looking guitar that has a very unique body style. The main color theme is a matte black combined with red binding and details. This gives it a very sinister appearance that many will find attractive. When it comes to looks alone, Schecter Tempest Blackjack is hands down one of the more beautiful guitars you can get.
Looks alone don’t make a great guitar, so let’s check out what components you can expect to see on this Tempest. The material used for body is a mahogany that is only complimented by a three piece mahogany neck. The fretboard is ebony with dark red inlays that match the overall theme of the guitar. Now to the pickups.
What you get is a combination of Seymour Duncan Nazgul at the bridge, and Seymour Duncan Sentient on the neck. These are probably the best passive pickups on the market right now, hands down. They are controlled by two volume knobs, two tone knobs with push pull ability, and a 3-way switch.
Bridge is a standard tune-o-matic design that is paired with a set of Schecter locking tuners on the other end. These tuners work flawlessly, and you definitely don’t need to worry about them no matter how aggressive your playing style is.
What really defines this guitar is its sound. Seymour Duncan Nazgul and Sentient really give you the best passive pickup performance you can get at the moment.
Their output is somewhere between standard passive and active pickups. The flexibility they offer allows you to play anything from a aggressive metal with lots of gain, to more reduced blues with a slight overdrive. You just can’t go wrong. This comes as a pretty decent surprise from Schecter as their bread and butter is definitely hard tone. Everything on this guitar is set properly right from the factory. The action is just right, and the there is no need for additional setup. All you have to do is find a decent amp and plug
this puppy in.
What we like
What is not to like on this guitar? It has the looks, the sound, everything. One thing that stands out is their choice of pickups which definitely add a whole new dimension of flexibility to this Schecter. That makes it a pretty decent all purpose guitar.
What we don’t like
There isn’t much we can name in terms of flaws on Schecter Tempest Blackjack. Every detail about this guitar is well made and performs great.
Schecter Tempest Blackjack is a true performer’s guitar. This thing is like a more aggressive Les Paul both in terms of sound, and the feel you have when you play it. It’s a heavy guitar, and heavy is good. If you need a good quality Schecter that will give you much more than just great metal tone, this is pretty much it.
There is not much this guitar can’t do, and you will definitely need to try one out when you get a chance. Schecter Tempest Blackjack is one of the best guitars in Schecter’s line up at the moment, especially if we’re talking about passive models.
Look around on any music message board and you will inevitably stumble across this question:
Why aren’t folding guitars a thing?
Despite the fact that they’ve been around for some years now, and on sale in the UK since at least 2011, a surprising number of players remain unaware of the instrument’s existence. Consequently, players who travel on a regular basis find themselves in a succession of endless pleading-praying scenarios.
Can I please – please – store my instrument in the aircraft cabin? Can it please, please, please not be crushed to matchsticks when it inevitably ends up in the hold?
It’s this that ultimately inspired the creation of the folding guitar. While other options are available – smaller, down-sized ‘travel guitars’ – they have their limitations. Although a great idea, and able to deliver a strong performance if carefully crafted, they’re not that easy to play if you have averagely-sized male hands, or larger. And, although smaller, they’re still larger than the typical carry-on bag allowance.
Folding guitars though, they’re a little bit different.
What is a folding guitar?
Well, it’s a guitar. And it folds. In every respect but one, a well-made folding guitar is just like any other well-made guitar. It looks like a guitar, feels like a guitar and sounds like a guitar. It’s robust when being played. It sounds great – when tuned properly.
The only difference is that when you need to travel with it, you can fold the neck down over the body, making the instrument half the regular size. And consequently, half as fragile.
Folding versions of all guitar types –– classical, acoustic bass, electric – are now available. And each one plays just as their unbending counterparts would.
Snap Dragon Traxe Noir - YouTube
So, how do folding guitars work?
Imagine a traditional guitar body with a neck that can be unscrewed and folded down over the sound hole – or where the sound hole would be. In some cases, the strings can be carefully coiled and tucked safely away inside the body. Where design makes this impossible, they’re securely tethered to the side, to prevent any damage while travelling.
This is all made possible by a small screw which, thanks to clever setting, holds the neck firmly in position when in place, or allows it to be moved forward when removed. And that is the essence of the folding guitar.
To return it to its playable form, you simply untether the strings, straighten the neck and tighten the screw. The strings will need tuning, but no more than they would before any session after any journey. In most cases, thanks to the locking keys at the back, they’ll be as tuneful as they were before you folded them away. It sounds unlikely, but that’s the whole point of the design. It would be a useless instrument if that weren’t the case.
But that’s not the limit of the folding guitar. Some models go a step further.
For those who really want to minimise the carry size of their guitars, there are bodies with detachable polymer ‘wings’. Although the assembled instrument is equal in size and function to traditional guitars, to store for travel the wings can simply be ‘snapped’ off, the neck folded, and you have a truly tiny carry-on bag.
Using this technique, the Snap Dragon SnapaXe A, for example, is able to be packed down to just 54 x 8 x 10 cm, which is frankly ridiculous,. This can’t help but raise the thought of shoddy workmanship and an instrument that will rattle all over the place while being played. And that’s an entirely understandable viewpoint. But again, if that were the case, it would be a futile creation. No one would buy it. No one would use it. But they do.
So, down to the nitty gritty…
Does the folding affect the integrity of the instrument and the sound?
In a word, no. Play as hard as you like, and the neck of a folding guitar will remain in place. That’s what it’s been designed for.
The strings will also maintain their veracity, as long as you store them correctly. As for the sound, well, that partly depends on your playing, but tonally, it would be hard to spot the difference in a blind test.
Why would I need a folding guitar?
For most people, it’s regular travel that leads to the purchase of a folding guitar. It’s becoming harder, when flying, to find an airline that will allow guitars to be taken on as hand luggage. It seems that all space is at a premium, and hold storage brings so many potential problems for an instrument.
It’s not just the worry of the baggage handler’s delicacy – and that’s not knocking them, their job is to move cargo as quickly as possible, it’s your problem if you’ve stuck something fragile in the hold. Temperature fluctuations aren’t great for guitars either. And other modes of transport aren’t always better, especially if you’re stuck for space.
Other people like folding guitars because they’re easier to carry wherever you’re going. Grab a backpack and you’re done. If you use public transport, then that’s always going to be a good thing.
A folding guitar isn’t going to be for everyone. Some people never play outside of the house. Some like to leave their instruments out on display (which, by the by, isn’t always the best thing for your guitar’s health) and glory in their size and beauty.
Some just like tradition. But, if you are someone who likes to play on the go, then it’s good to remember that folding guitars are a thing. And you now know how they work.
Tube amps are coming back, or rather, are back in style. Amp manufacturers are releasing anything from powerful amp heads to small practice amps which use tube technology.
The reason for this is the monotony of solid state tone, which has cause a lot of guitar players to turn back to tubes for some variety.
With that said, there are two types of tube amps you can find on the market. There are single channel tube amps, and two channel tube amps.
The subject of our article today is going to be the former. We will talk about what single channel tube amps are for, and whether or not this configuration is obsolete by today’s standards.
If you have been dwelling on whether or not to get a single channel tube amp, hopefully we will help you make the right decision.
Is it worth it ?
To address this matter the right way, we need to go back in time and look at original tube amps. Back in those days there was no such thing as overdrive or overdrive channel. At people back then weren’t aware of this phenomenon.
It wasn’t until the advent of Rock that we began to see tube amps being pushed into overdrive. What is overdrive? Overdrive is what you get when you take a tube amp and push it to its absolute limits. The tubes in the amp begin to work at almost full capacity, which starts to distort the signal. This signal distortion is what you call ‘overdrive’ on a tube amp.
Later on this effect was recognized and it spawned the whole array of accessories which were aimed at recreating this effect in various ways. One of the first amps which had a dedicated channel that would produce this type of signal distortion was the JCM 800 Model 2210.
Since then, a lot of amps have adopted this layout, especially considering the popularity of rock music and the role overdrive played. With all that said, you’re probably wondering why would anyone still make a single channel tube amp? The reasons are numerous. First and foremost, not having to include a dedicated overdrive channel simplifies the design process.
This in turn reduces the cost of production. However, this is not the main reason why we see a lot of single channel tube amps these days. The most significant reason is the fact that a lot of people want to have that vintage tone. The clean channel on modern tube amps that have no dedicated overdrive is usually high quality stuff. If you want to play something like blues or rock, you can easily push those tubes into natural overdrive. This is especially true for low powered amps.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to play more aggressive genres of music, you probably wouldn’t be using amp’s own overdrive channel anyway. There are literally hundreds of distortion pedals that will give you the type of tone you need. So in essence, having a single channel tube amp brings back that vintage sound not many amps offer today.
You can get a great tube amp for at a rather affordable price if you are willing to let go of the overdrive channel. Manufacturers simply realized that including an overdrive channel isn’t that essential anymore, and that every guitar player can just hook up an effect pedal to get almost the same result.
Besides, those who have amps with dedicated overdrive channels still use effects pedals in most majority of the cases.
If you were thinking of getting a solid channel tube amp, you need to first figure out what type of tone you are after. A tube channel of this type can give you a great clean tone with the addition of natural overdrive. That is exactly what some guitar players are looking for. Even if you want to enjoy some high gain distortion, you can still get that with a tube amp that has no dedicated overdrive.
Most metal players use distortion pedals. Not because they can’t get the level of distortion they need from amps, but rather because they are after a very specific type of tone. With that said, going for a single channel tube amp doesn’t mean you’re missing out on anything.
Guitars come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. This is not really that significant when it comes to electric guitars as they don’t require a soundbox in order to produce sound.
Sure, tonewood plays a part in the way a guitar will sound, but it’s only a limited factor. Acoustic and classical guitars have a completely different nature. The soundbox on these instruments is what produces sound, and the material the guitar is made of along with the size of the soundbox itself plays a huge when it comes to sound of that instrument.
Our goal today is to take a look at different guitar dimensions, sizes, and shapes in order to figure out how these factors affect the sound you will get from that guitar. We’ll look at some of the most popular sizes and shapes, and compare how they sound in relation to each other.
Guitar dimensions are something that has been standardized by now. There are some guitars that feature non standard dimensions, but those are fairly rare. We will stick to those guitar sizes that you are most likely going to encounter starting from the smallest one and moving up the scale.
Parlor and Travel Guitars
Parlor and travel guitars are the smallest type of guitars commonly offered on the market. This is a category where you will find ukeleles and guitaleles. These guitars were designed in a way that makes them convenient for traveling – hence the name – and for players of smaller stature to play. Travel guitars usually feature a 3/4 scale compared to full-size guitars, and have a tone that is rich in trebles while it lacks bass.
Concert and Grand Concert Guitars
Concert guitars are the smallest full-size guitars. Their lower bout is usually somewhere around 13-1/2 inches. They feature a full scale, and have a much fuller sound compared to travel guitars. You can expect great trebles and even better mids.
Low bass tones are still somewhat limited due to the size of the soundbox, however these guitars do offer some bass. Grand concert guitars slightly larger, usually an extra inch in the lower bout, and have pretty similar tonal properties with the addition of more volume in general.
Auditorium and Grand Auditorium Guitars
With auditorium guitars, we are already stepping into mid-size range of acoustic guitars. Auditorium style guitars feature a much larger lower bout that is usually around 16-inches, and a slim waist.
The overall design of the guitars offers the comfort you can find in concert guitars, but with a much improved sound. You can expect lots of volume, great bass response, and generally more balanced sound.
Dreadnaught Style Guitars
Dreadnought shape is the most recent body style of acoustic guitars. It was invented at the beginning of the 20th century, and has since became the most popular body type of acoustic guitars.
These guitars feature a large bout, about the same size as auditorium guitars, with a much wider waist, which makes them somewhat less comfortable to play. The sound properties of this shape are similar to those of auditorium guitars with the addition of extra volume and projection.
The largest standard body size of acoustic guitars is jumbo. The shape is similar to that of auditorium body style, but with a much larger lower bout. You are looking at 17-inches on average.
Jumbo guitars have a slim waist which gives them a distinct hourglass shape. These guitars resonate with great drive and definition. Bass tones are accentuated while trebles and mids project with a lot of power.
Acoustic guitars sometimes feature a cutaway, no matter which body style you look at. A cutaway is great because it allows the player to reach high notes on the fretboard, however it impacts the sound of the guitar in certain ways.
With that said, the difference is often times barely noticeable and many guitar players prefer to have a cutaway on their guitar simply because it makes the instrument more comfortable to play.
Different body styles and guitar dimensions have different properties. Choosing an acoustic guitar depends on what you want that guitar to sound like, and what is comfortable for you to play.
The latter should be your main guideline when looking at different guitar sizes. If you can’t play the instrument comfortably, nothing else really matters.
Guitar technology has become somewhat stagnant in the past several years. Sure, there are new pickups being developed, and new guitar models, but all of that is based on decade old concepts that didn’t really change all that much.
The main innovation came in an area where it was least expected. Acoustics came back in style, and manufacturers got a whole new incentive to give this category of guitars a boost. Up until now we had old school acoustic guitars, and acoustic electric guitars which amplified the sound of the instrument without altering the tone.
The new trend that some manufacturers like Godin and Ibanez are slowly starting to develop is combining acoustic guitars and electric guitars into one instrument. This new approach gave some pretty interesting results that revealed the true potential of this new hybrid guitar. Ibanez Montage is the perfect example of this idea.
What is different?
The guitar has a pretty standard acoustic shape, however there are certain differences that reveal its true nature. First and foremost, the guitar is much thinner than a standard acoustic or acoustic electric guitar we are used to.
Ibanez Montage Demo - YouTube
You are probably wondering how this impacts the sound, and the answer is not much. This leads us to the other main difference between this instrument and a standard acoustic guitar. There is no sound box port, at least not its standard form.
Ibanez Montage guitar, just like other hybrids of this type don’t really have the acoustic capability, and can’t be used without an amp. In order to use these instruments, you have two options. You can use a rather standard piezo pickup that is located under the bridge of the guitar, or you can use the humbucker which sits where the sound port usually would.
This combination of pickups gives you both an acoustic and electric properties in one guitar. IF you want it to sound like an electric guitar, all you have to do is use the output designated for this application.
Similarly, if you want the guitar to sound like an acoustic guitar, you will use the other output. With that said, Ibanez Montage takes things even further. Aside from the three-band EQ that is a part of the on-board pre amp, there’s also a full set of effects at your disposal. This includes reverb, delay, distortion and more, all of it integrated into guitar’s electronics.
How does it perform?
You would think that the performance of such an instrument must be questionable at best. However, that is far from truth. Ibanez Montage brings the best of both worlds. Sure, it won’t sound like a high end Taylor, nor will it give you that Strat tone, but considering what this guitar offers, we can say that its performance is at least good if not great.
The on-board amp and the pickups that come with this guitar are a perfect blend of character. With the controls you have at your disposal, you can dial in a wide range of different tones, both acoustic and electric. After playing this instrument for only an hour, you will realize just what kind of results you can achieve with little to no effort. That is also why these sell so well.
To sum up
Fusion of acoustic and electric guitar is something many guitar players will respond to with mixed emotions. Nothing beats dedicated instruments that belong to each of these categories. However, this new hybrid design showed us that not only can you achieve decent results just by adding a single humbucker into the mix, but also that you don’t have to make a lot of sacrifices to fuse these two different styles of guitars together.
With that said, Ibanez Montage guitar and many others like it will fit a very niche application at the moment. They are aimed at those who play light genres of music in terms of what kind of tone is necessary.
With some trade off in terms of quality of each of the two modes available, guitar players get the functionality of having two distinct instruments fused into one. If pop or classical rock is what your main genre of music is, guitars like these can prove to be a serious tool in your toolbox.
When you first start learning how to play guitar, a simple vanilla setup is about as much as you can process at the moment.
Most people don’t even get an amp right away, they just practice basic techniques on their guitar.
As you slowly build skill, you start to gradually add more elements to your gear. Maybe you get a small practice amp first, and then a tuner. For most beginners, an amp alone offers enough material to play with for a while.
Once you are somewhat proficient with your guitar, and you know the full scope of your amp, it’s time to expand on your sound and start implementing effects. Guitar effects most commonly come in form of pedals, and there are many of them. For someone who lacks experience, finding a place to start can be confusing.
The key to approaching guitar effects pedals is to go slow. Learn what the most basic ones do and go from there. Keeping things simple is always the way to go.
In order to help you transition into using guitar effects pedals, we’ve created a short list of essential guitar pedals which are a great starting point for building your own pedalboard.
Let’s see what’s on the list
Generally speaking, there are effects pedals which affect your sound significantly, and those which only add subtle changes. On this scale of influence, there isn’t a type of effects pedal that can impact your tone more than Distortion/Overdrive pedals. They are what gives your sound its character and nature, especially if you play hard rock and heavier genres of music.
At this point, you are probably wondering what’s the difference between Distortion and Overdrive. Many people think that these two are just different words that describe the same thing. Even though some pedals really make it hard to tell if they’re Distortion or Overdrive, there is a significant difference between the two. Overdrive describes an effect originally achieved when gain boost was applied to tube amps, pushing them to “overdrive” the signal.
Overdrive pedals aim to replicate that effect on their own. Distortion on the other hand completely alters the signal, muddying it up to a point where it is so rich in gain that you get a thick and saturated distortion.
Wah Wah Pedals
First Wah pedal as we know it was created and manufactured by Thomas Organ Company, only to be adopted by Dunlop in the early ’80s when T.O.C. seized production. Dunlop’s version was called the Cry Baby Wah.
This type of pedal works by filtering low and high frequencies, allowing the guitarist to shape the with his foot. The amount of pressure would equal the amount of filtering, which delivers a pretty unique effect. The end result sounds like whining, which perfectly explains why Dunlop chose to name their Wah pedal the way they did. Wah pedals in general are used mostly during solos, and have completely changed the dynamics of solos over the past several decades.
Chorus pedal is one of the most versatile effects a guitar player can use. Its main function is to add a chorus-like effect to your sound. The way these pedals work is by taking the input signal and creating several delayed copies that also differ slightly in terms of pitch.
The result you get is an illusion of there being more than one guitar being heard. This effect is very useful when you’re playing your clean sections as it adds depth and fullness.
Some guitar players like to use Chorus pedals with their Overdrive or Distortion, although this is where you need to be careful as it can completely disfigure your signal.
Phaser effect pedals work in a similar way to the Wah pedals we described above. They filter high and low ends of the signal’s frequency, creating an oscillating effect. The main difference between a Phaser and Wah pedal is the fact that you can only control the frequency of the oscillation.
Many popular guitar players used, and continue to use a Phaser pedal effect to give their sound an extra dimension. When set on low frequency, you get that sweeping effect which is subtle enough while still enriching your sound.
Temporal Effect Pedals
Lastly, let’s talk about temporal effect pedals such as the Delay and Reverb. Delay and Reverb pedals essentially try to recreate the effect you get when the sound bounces of different surfaces and comes back to the point of origin. In other words, they are trying to recreate a natural echo. The way they do it, and the end result is what differentiates these two effects.
Delay pedals will repeat the sound which decreases in volume with each repetition. How many repetitions there will be depends on the model of the pedal, and the settings you choose. You’ve heard this effect a million times many different songs.
Reverb creates a similar effect, but it shortens the time between each repetition, creating a continuous tail of the sound blended together, which decreases in volume over time. Used properly, Reverb can enrich the sound and give it a more organic dimension. It’s also one of the most used effects in general, simply because it’s incredibly versatile.
All things considered
The effects we listed above are definitely responsible for the way music sounds today. They are tools that every guitar player should have available. If you’re just starting to build your pedalboard, we suggest that you first get yourself a decent Distortion or Overdrive, and start slowly from there.
Each of these effects will give you more creative freedom, but they will also cause more harm than good if you rush to use them without understanding what is they do exactly.
Once you get all the essential guitar pedals, and feel comfortable using them, there’s a whole world of other effects that await. Once you get to that point, you will understand why effects pedals are instrumental to any guitar player.