Fuzz pedals are often a great substitute for other solid state, and sometimes even tube-driven, overdrives and distortions. Fuzz was actually the first solid state distortion available to guitar players and it has been around long enough to have a vintage sound to it, as well as a long list of big name users. Fuzz is usually created with either germanium or silicon fuzz-based transistors. The germanium-based fuzz boxes produce a warmer sound, more like a tube amp, and you can also change the fuzz level by adjusting your guitar’s volume.
Germanium-based fuzz boxes are affected by the environment and can sound differently on warm and cold days. A silicon-based fuzz pedal will sound brighter and sharper, and since silicon transistors are cheaper than germanium, the pedals are usually cheaper as well. The level of fuzz is not affected by the guitar’s volume knob and silicon is much less susceptible to the environment. Both types of distortion are capable of going from just a hint of fuzz to massive levels of tone-changing fuzz at any volume level. Right now we look at the best of the best so you can see which one is right for you.
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Perhaps your guitar tone is getting stale, or perhaps it never sounded that good to begin with. Well, before you buy a new one, review this post and put some thought into upgrading your pickups instead. If you play Rock or Metal through a Stratocaster then this information should be especially useful to you. In making our selections for best Rock Stratocaster pickups, we looked at a number of things. For example, since Rock guitar players are probably going to use a lot of overdrive and distortion, they’ll need a high output pickup capable of delivering a lot of voltage to the amplifier, to push the preamp harder for a better-sounding overdrive. But, lots of overdrive and distortion can also be very noisy, especially in a Strat, with its stock single coil pickups.
So, because noise is a serious issue, it’s probably best to use a humbucking pickup. For those who don’t know, a humbucking pickup is two coils working together to cancel out noise and just leave the pure guitar signal, in much the same way a balanced XLR mic cable does. Because a humbucker is two coils, we need those that can fit into a single coil space. Of course, all of the other things that you might look for in a pickup — such as even, clear tone across all strings — are still important. So, all that said, here are what we consider to be some strong candidates for the best Rock pickups for the Strat.
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The combo amp is pretty standard equipment for guitarists of every music genre and skill level. Their compact and rugged design, and often reasonable purchase price are sure to keep the combo amps going strong well into the future. In this post we will concentrate on combo amps made to play rock and heavy rock. Of course we want the clean sounds to be clear and lush, but the gain, crunch, and distortion are going to be very important elements to this discussion because of their emphasis in this style of music.
The music in this genre also often switches from a clean tone to a heavy distortion and then back again sometimes several times in a single song, and at a moment’s notice. This means that we are probably going to be looking for a two-channel amp (one clean, one distorted), preferably with the ability to switch channels using a footswitch. Because most people would probably agree that tubes sound better than solid state even in a modern rock context, these amps will all be tube amps.
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Many people think of the Fender Telecaster as a Country or Rock guitar but the Tele is actually quite good for playing the Blues. Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Albert Lee, and many other great blues players played a Telecaster. The combination of the biting, gritty, bridge pickup mixed with the warm, smooth tone of the neck pickup really work together to create the perfect instrument for playing the Blues. Right now, let’s talk about some of the best Blues Telecaster bridge pickups out there, and how you can swap out yours for one specifically designed with the Blues guitarist in mind.
We’ll discuss the differences between each, and what makes them great for creating a blues tone. The pickups in the bridge position of the Tele are known to be pretty twangy so in this post we will likely be looking to fatten up the sound just a bit. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Telecaster Bridge Pickups?”
Eric Clapton, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters all got plenty of miles out of their combo amps. This list of greats is just scratching the surface. The combo amp is the perfect partner for the blues guitarist, especially since they are most often easy to transport. Combo amps are usually lower wattage which means that you can drive them harder without turning your neighbours into enemies. Continue reading “What is the Best Guitar Combo Amplifier for Blues?”
It is possible to upgrade your guitar at a reasonable price: change the pickups. Quite often, the results can be significant, especially with lower priced guitars in which the quality of the pickups is questionable. It is possible to get the sound you are looking for simply by selecting the right pickups rather than buying a new guitar. Pickups are fairly easy to change yourself, as they require minimal knowledge and a few tools. There are probably more brands of pickups than brands of guitars and amps combined. That said, it’s no surprise that there are pickups for virtually every style of music, type of player, and type of guitar. Naturally, it can be hard to know where to begin when faced with so many options. This post narrows it down to a Stratocaster body style, with three single-coil pickups, and a five-way switch configuration, but any of these should also be available as a single. From smooth David Gilmour to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas tone,” or from vintage to modern, this list covers most Blues players and includes some great Blues Stratocaster pickups. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Stratocaster Pickups?”
The Stratocaster is one of the most flexible guitars ever made. When compared to many Gibson models such as the Les Paul or SG, there is a dramatic difference with regard to your customization options. One of the most popular areas of focus for Stratocaster modification is the pickups. This change will have the most dramatic effect on your guitar’s sound.
There are a zillion options out there for pickups. Some good, some great, and some just plain awful. Among the “great” options, the “right” pickup depends on not only your budget, but also your taste. This is a very subjective area and opinions differ. So while some may prefer a vintage-style / low-output Stratocaster pickup, others may opt for a noiseless or active model. There are no right or wrong answers here, just what works best for you. Hopefully this list will help you get started in making this choice.
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This is an all-in-one package that is impressive. At the heart of the VG-99 are two completely independent signal paths. You can model classic guitars, basses or amplifiers, and then assign up to 11 effects, twice. You can then use those two channels independent of each other, or simultaneously. Using an optional floor-based controller, you can do all of your channel switching or blending.
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It’s amazing how multi-effect technology keeps on progressing. Zoom’s new G5 is yet another impressive unit that delivers an overwhelming amount of value and flexibility. I have to rave about one feature first: the multi-dimensional expression pedal. In addition to moving the pedal up and down, you can twist it to the right or left. Do the math…. yes, significantly expanded levels of expression and real-time parameter changes. The end result is that you can assign up to four parameters to the expression pedal. Nuts.
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First things first: If you are looking for a full-fledged humbucker, go out and buy a full-fledged humbucker. Just wanted to put the whole “…well, it’s not really a real humbucker” argument aside. This pickup is meant for folks who have a humbucker-fitted guitar, yet are looking to get P-90 and / or Strat tones out of it.
Some might say: “well, why don’t you just put a P-90 or a Strat pickup in the guitar?”
Continue reading “Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails – a P-90 and a Strat Pickup in a Humbucker-Sized Package”