If you're thinking of switching to Mini-Humbuckers, or upgrading what you have, here's a rundown of the best ones out there.
Mini Humbucker pickups offer you the best of both worlds; they are humbucking (i.e. no 60-cycle hum), they are capable of great chime and clarity when you play clean, and when you use a lot of drive, they sound fantiastic. They will never sound quite the same as a full-sized humbucker, but they have a fullness and grit all their own. You really have to experiment with Mini Humbucker pickups and find the ones that are best for you, but it is worth the effort.
Continue reading “What Are the Best Mini Humbucker Guitar Pickups?”
If you're looking to upgrade your Tele neck pickup, you're in luck. There are many great-sounding models, at pretty reasonable prices.
Nowadays, between digital modeling and overall great engineering, you can make virtually any guitar sound like just about any other guitar. Except, you cannot make any guitar really sound like a Telecaster. You can try, but it will never really quite smell right. But if you’re thinking about upgrading your Tele neck pickup, you’ll find many great-sounding, affordable models. Here’s a sampling of some of the best Telecaster neck pickups.
Continue reading “Telecaster Neck Pickups: What Are the Best?”
I've been ranting and raving for years — to anyone who will listen — that Music Man amps are some of the greatest. Unfortunately, you are in for more of the same.
This rant is about the much-overlooked Music Man RD-50 Head. I must admit that, for a long time, I didn’t even know this thing existed. If you can believe it, I actually found one in a pawn shop on 7th Ave and 23rd Street in New York City. These kinds of things don’t happen quite so much anymore, as Guitar Center and Sam Ash have pretty much put everyone else out of business.
But in this case, there I was in this pawn shop, surrounded by cameras and cheap jewelry, when I saw this little mini head, with that familiar Music Man logo on it. I scratched my head: “…this ain’t an HD-130… what the hell is this little thing… I didn’t know that Music Man even made a head this small…”
Continue reading “Music Man RD-50 Head”
Ok, so they pretty much invented the analog guitar amplifier. They perfected it and pretty much any guitarist would agree that few are better. So, why the heck would anyone use a Fender digital modeling amplifier? ...'cause it's a great amp, that's why.
I’ll admit that I really resisted this stuff, I really really did. In principal, it just goes against everything I believe in. But then again, when the “Frying Pan” guitar was first put out by Rickenbacker, I’m sure it was met with the same disdain. Same for the solid body electric, the Flying-V, The Explorer, the Parker Fly, etc. So, I decided to lighten up and just try the Cyber Twin SE, and as it turns out, there’s a lot to enjoy.
Continue reading “Fender Cyber Twin SE Amplifier”
When you start to push an amplifier, the characteristics of these tubes become more apparent.
Power tubes can have a dramatic effect on your amplifier’s sound. At low volumes, the difference between one tube and another can be difficult to decipher; it’s almost not worth talking about. Once you start to push a little air, however, your amplifier will show off what it can do and the power tube will display its individual characteristics more.
Keep in mind, that by using pedals, you can make one amp sound pretty much like any other one, so this discussion is focused on how a few of the most popular power tubes differ from each other when using the amp, and not the pedals, to get your sound. Continue reading “Power Tube Differences: EL84, EL34, & 6L6”
The Fender Telecaster is probably viewed by most as a somewhat specialized guitar, but it is also surprisingly versatile.
Best known for it’s “twang,” this guitar has been used most often for Country, as it lends itself well to chicken pickin’ and other similar sounds. Some players have a Stratocaster pickup installed in the middle position for more tonal options. This is called the “Nashville” setup. Although most associated with Country, the Telecaster also does a lot of other things quite well. Continue reading “Best Music Styles for the Telecaster”
Looking for that lush 3-D sound of a Chorus Pedal? Here are the best high-end, mid-priced and budget models.
One of the most popular guitar effects of all time — chorus pedals — are often used to fatten-up the sound and give it more of a “3-D” feel. Some of the most popular guitar tones of all time have involved the smart use of chorus (reference just about any song by the Police; Andy Summers really knew how to use chorus wisely). Even in the budget arena, thick and creamy sounds can be generated when using a chorus pedal in true stereo. Below is a list of the most popular guitar chorus pedals, arranged by price range.
Continue reading “Chorus Pedals – What Are the Most Popular?”
If your Strat bridge is leaning towards or away from the neck, these simple steps will get it back to the right angle.
A reader recently asked how he could adjust the angle of the tremolo bridge on his Stratocaster. In his case, the bridge was leaning towards the neck. Making a Strat bridge angle adjustment is a very simple process. The main thing to keep in mind is to not tighten the trem claw screws too much (covered in step # 3). Your goal is to have the perfect balance between the tension of the strings and the tension of the tremolo springs.
Continue reading “Strat Bridge Angle – How to Adjust it Yourself”
When troubleshooting guitar wiring problems and trying to find that mysterious buzz, logic is your most effective tool.
Sometimes you might find yourself with a ground / buzz problem. This can be a truly frustrating experience and can really kill the fun of building your own guitar. But, it really doesn’t have to be such a nightmare. You just need to trace your steps; that’s really it. This is all just logic. The answer to the problem is there somewhere; you just have to find it. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at things to think about when troubleshooting guitar wiring problems.
Continue reading “Troubleshooting Guitar Wiring Problems”