Guide to Guitar Amplifiers

Hello Everyone,
as discussed on another post about the guitars accessories, in this post I will show a guide to guitar amplifiers. The guitar amplifier processes and transforms the electrical signal produced by the guitar pickups into sound. The sound comes amplified through the speakers. Often the amplifiers also contain some effects.

Guitar Amplifiers: How They Work

The Preamplifier: it is basically an electrical circuit. Its main function is to increase the gain of the sound signal coming from the source. In short, it increases the volume. Often in the pre amp you can find effects like equalization, compression or distortion. Thanks also to these effects it is possible to create the classic timbres of various musical genres.

The Power amplifier: its main purpose is to adapt the characteristics of the incoming electrical signal to those of the subsequent speakers. This component supplies electrical power to the signal. There are several models that differ in the category of some components. They are divided into: tube or transistors. In principle there were only tube models. With the technological development these models have been supplanted by transistor models over the years. For ten years the tubes amplifier have returned to use thanks to the warmer sound they produce.

The Speakers: the speakers have the task of transforming the electrical signal into sound waves. They differ in power and amps.

Guitar Amplifiers: the Various Configurations

Combo: the three components are mounted in a single body. The undoubted advantage of this solution is the small footprint. The risk is excessive weight. To overcome this problem many brands have produced a sort of home version, usually not very powerful but certainly excellent for those with logistical problems.

Stack: the preamplifier and power amp are normally assembled in one unit, while the headboard with the speakers is separate. These amplifiers provide excellent sound quality. Often these models take up more space than the Combo models.

Rack: all three components are distinct units. This makes them ideal for experienced technicians, able to play with different combinations of components to shape different sounds.

Stomp Amp: these are extremely small amplifiers. They connect directly to the speakers because they integrate the preamplifier and power amp functions. The advantages of these amplifiers are lightness and portability. Speaking of mobility, reduced spaces and Guitar 2.0, I reviewed a product that contains these components in just a few centimeters. Click here for the review.

TYPES OF AMPLIFIERS

Technology has evolved over the years. Each component described above can be built with different technologies. Logically every technology has its pros and cons and also different sound. The choice of the type of amplifier remains personal.

Tube Guitar Amplifier 
Tube amplifiers are the first type of amplifier invented. They are based on the ability of thermionic valves to actively amplify the power of the incoming signal. This type of valve is found both in the preamplifier and in the power amp and generates a very warm characteristic sound. The sound quality is very high and is still considered the best for almost all situations. The disadvantages of a tube guitar amplifier lie in the larger dimensions. Compared to the other models it is more delicate. As a result, prices are also higher.

Transistor Guitar Amplifier 
This type of amplifier uses bipolar transistor technology. It is an amplification instrument based on semiconductor materials and providing a valid alternative to valves. Transistor amplifiers distort the incoming sound less. They are therefore more faithful in reproducing the original timbre. Generally they are also cheaper, less bulky and more resistant than tube amplifiers.

Digital Guitar Amplifier 
Digital amplifiers have been introduced to the market in recent years. They are designed to convert the incoming signal from electronic to digital. The conversion makes it possible to integrate the instrument in digital environments of all kinds and makes it extremely easy to apply effects of any kind.

Here a small small recap

Combo
pros: little space
cons: excessive weight

Stack
pros: high quality sound
cons: Overall

Rack
pros: multiple combinations
cons: bulk, complexity

Stomp Amp
pro: lightness, zero bulk
cons: less characteristic sound

Tube
pros: high sound quality
cons: price, bulk, delicacy

Transistor
pros: price, bulk, delicacy
cons: lower sound quality

Digital
pros: versatility, bulk, weight
cons: lower sound quality

 

Here are some tips for Electric Guitar Amplifiers

as mentioned before, the choice of the amplifier is strictly personal. Everyone will have to see well what the pros and cons are. It is important to evaluate also the use that will be made of it, the space available but also the level of skill.

1. Choose an amplifier with power compatible with the volume you will be playing. It is useless to spend high sums for a very powerful amplifier if you can only play at home. The tube amplifiers give a better sound the more they reach saturation. It is advisable to take a less powerful one to reach saturation first. If you only have to play at home, you can easily allow yourself an electric guitar amplifier with a power of 10 to 20 Watts.

2. Effects. The possibility to connect external effects to the amplifier. The built-in effects allow you to have everything embedded in one device. Logically, the first solution increases the dimensions and the quantity of material to move around. The second solution is certainly more comfortable but certainly less flexible in terms of the final result. As for point 1, also in this case the choice is linked to the final use.

3. Choose a type of amplifier compatible with your level of experience. Rack amplifiers guarantee many possibilities but are difficult to use and configure correctly. If you have to choose the first model, it is better to bet on a Combo or a Stomp Amp. These two models are clearly among the easiest to use.

4. Evaluate the dimensions and weight. If you have to carry the amplifier around often, it is essential to have something manageable. In this case it is better to choose models that are not bulky and above all light.

5. Headphones. The headphone jack is a very important detail. This will allow you to play and study at any time of the day, without disturbing the neighbors.

I hope you found this post interesting too. in case of doubts or suggestions do not hesitate to contact me in private or in comments.

Rock on

Benny

 

Ukulele Origins

Hello Everyone,
in this post I talk about the ukulele origins and its history up to the present day.

What is the Ukulele

There are five versions of the ukulele. They differ in terms of the length of the keyboard and the size of the body. In order from the smallest there are: they are: sopranino, soprano, concerto, tenor and baritone. All the versions are mentioned sharing the fact of having four strings even if on the market you can find versions with six strings.

The Birth

The ukulele was tiny in shape, with the body and small handle, and was invented in 1879 by Portuguese immigrants who had moved to Hawaii. To be precise, on August 23, 1879 the Ravenscrag ship landed in Honolulu Hawaii with 423 people mostly peasants who left months before from the island of Madeira.
In this ship three musicians and luthiers had also embarked: Augusto Dias, Manuel Nunes and José do Espirito.

Among the instruments that brought with them the most particular was a revisitation of the machete de rajão, a traditional Portuguese instrument tuned to D4-G4-B4-D4. This instrument immediately aroused great curiosity among the inhabitants of Hawaii delighted with songs and rhythms.

For this reason the ukulele is commonly associated with the music of Hawaii. In the Hawaiian language ukulele means hopping flea and seems to be linked to the speed with which this instrument is usually played. Even King Kalakaua was fascinated by the instrument and not indifferent to the instrument if he had one built.

Dias was the first to open a luthier’s shop in 1884 on the archipelago. Only four years later, in 1888, Nunes and Santo also had their shop. During the jubilee celebrations of 1886 for the first time the Hula dances, a tradition very dear to the king, are accompanied by the ukulele. Beginning in 1892, concerts with ukuleles spread to major US cities. From Hawaii to the islands of Polynesia the pace was short.

Ukulele Models

Normally when we talk about UKULELE we always think of a small guitar. Instead, make a distinction for models as mentioned above.

SOPRANO: is the size of the first ukulele made in Hawaii. The same measure that has conquered the world since the beginning of the 1900s and have become famous through different musical genres. It’s sound is dry and brilliant with 12-15 necks. The compact size and low price make it the most popular size in the world.

CONCERTO: is the intermediate measure. The aromatic box is larger, making a sound richer despite the timbre being always easily recognizable. The neck is longer and for this reason also the keys. People with big hands prefer this model.

TENOR: is the most common measure among guitarists. It has a wider neck, the wider harmonic case guarantees a rich sound. Although it is not the original measure it is very common among the virtuosos of the instrument.

BARITONE and SOPRANINO: these are the latest measures created. The baritone has an EBGD tuning an ocatave above the guitar. The sopranino instead can be tuned in various possibilities.

1900-1930 the Golden Age of the Ukulele

The Hawaiian Islands became part of the USA in 1900 and in 1915 the Panama-Pacific International Exposition was held in San Francisco, where each state promoted its products, its territory and its culture. On this occasion the ukulele received its first official recognition, delighting hundreds of visitors with exotic music.  The Tin Pan Alley, New York music industry begins to produce many songs accompanied by ukulele decreeing an incredible success. Meanwhile, the popularity of artists accompanied by their own ukulele is increasing in the United States.

The 50s and 70s

1950: the first model of baritone ukulele was made by the Vega company. The same year the first manual for this size was released by Herk Favilla who claimed the invention of this new instrument in 1940 by his father who created it with the aim of facilitating the learning of the guitar.

1952: William Mihalyi began experimentally teaching music through ukulele in American public schools.

1967: the Canadian school also introduced the ukulele from the Halifax district, defining a method still used today “Ukulele in the classroom”. many Canadian artists like James Hill grew up with this method. In England in the 1960s while the Beatles enjoyed playing the ukulele on many occasions.

1968: Tiny Tim appeared for the first time on British television: an eccletic artist who presented his sketches accompanied by the ukulele during the “Laugh-In” program. In 1969 the images of Neil Armstrong became famous as he played the ukulele in the quarantine chamber, after the famous trip to Apollo 11.

The Ukulele today

In 1993 the medley of the songs “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” arranged by the Hawaiian Israel Kamakawiwo’ole comes out: the song has an incredible success and decrees the return of the ukulele on the world scene. In May 2011 the singer and composer Eddie Vedder leader of the rock band Pearl Jam recorded his album entirely played by the ukulele.
Since 2016, the ukulele is the most sold musical instrument in the world.

I hope you enjoyed this post too. In case you have curiosity to ask or doubts check the other posts or contact me via email.

Rock on

Fabio

 

Wah-Wah Pedal, my favourite ones

Hi Everyone,
the Wah-Wah Pedal, in this post we talk about another iconic pedal. The birth of this effect is entirely random. The first pedal was presented to the public in 1966 by the producer was Warwick Electronics Inc. / Thomas Organ Company. This pedal was named Clyde McCoy in honor of the trumpeter who used to vary the phrasing of his instrument with a Harmon Mute in 1920. Legend says that in 1965 Brad Plunkett was paid to disassemble Vox AC-100 and find out if there was a way to make it at a lower cost.

The Genesis

The amplifier had a switch to push the mid frequencies and Plunkett realized that the key could be replaced by a potentiometer. After drawing a circuit that varied the frequency, he asked a friend to connect the guitar to the amplifier and while he was playing, Brad moved the potentiometer. Thus, Wah-Wah was born. Since the guitarists have their hands slightly occupied, he thought of turning an organ pedal into a pedal to control the potentiometer of his invention.

What is the Wah-Wah Pedal

The effect of the Wah-Wah Pedal is a characteristic sound produced by a narrow band filter that accentuates a frequency band that varies over time. One could say that you simulate vaguely similar to a meow or a cry. Precisely for this reason it can also be called baby cry.  Technically, the Wah-Wah Pedal is a frequency filter in which the central frequency range is moved by a potentiometer, controlled by the pedal. The potentiometer is set to close the frequency, setting the range on the low frequencies and cutting the others. When the pedal is towards the heel (pedal up), a very closed and unclear sound is produced. In peak position (pedal stepped) mid-highs are opened generating a much sharper and more incisive sound. Moving the pedal back and forth generates the Wah-Wah effect.

Who made him famous and who uses it nowadays

Wah-Wah Pedal can be found in all kinds of music and recently also in Metal. This pedal is one of the few traditional musical effects that have not been changed by digital versions or sound processing software. Virtually every self-respecting guitarist has a Wah-Wah pedal on his pedal deck. The first to bring it to success were Hendrix and Clapton. It is easy to imagine how many artists and ordinary people have inspired. Famous pedaling artists include Zakk Wylde, Jimi Page, Steve Vai and Tom Morello.

Tutorials

Before proceeding with my reviews I wanted to spend few words on this online downloadable tutorial that includes all the various effects that i’ve already indtruced for the Distortion Pedal review. This tutorial is well-structured giving a general overview on all the effects. I consider it a bit like a bible for whom wants to start venturing into the fantastic world of guitar Pedal. Just click on the image or here if you want to have more info about.

 

 

 

 

Wah-Wah, here my preferite ones:

Dunlop Cry Baby GCB 95N


Dunlop took the original Crybaby and added three of his most famous options. The famous ‘Q’ control that varies the intensity of the wah effect by adjusting the bandwidth. Volume Boost for an additional gain up to + 15dB. finally the Auto-Return function that allows you to automatically activate the effect by resting your foot on the pedal. All this in addition to an impressive and versatile wah sound.

 

 

Specs

Silent “Auto-Off” switch puts the pedal in bypass mode when you lift your foot
Q variable control that adjusts the bandwidth (intensity) of the effect
Volume control for an additional gain to your wah signal up to + 15dB
Boost On / Off switch to activate or deactivate the preset gain
Weight: 900 g
Power supply: Dunlop ECB-003 power supply (not included), 9V battery
Best place where to buy : amazon.com

VOX WAH847A

Perhaps the most popular Vox wah wah pedal among guitarists who are fan of certain Hendrix sounds. Based on the specifications of the pedal developed in the 60s. The V845 represents the right compromise between quality and price. It has the usual design of classic-style wah-wah pedals and manual pressure activation at a decidedly low price. Thanks to the optimization of the construction materials, VOX has created an economical, compact version of the Wah, but without any compromise in terms of sound and quality. All covered in black, with a durable rubber pedal. The V845 has the perfect look and size to get into the guitar pedal setup of every guitarist.

Specs
Input/Output: instrument input, amplifier output, power supply input
Power supply: 9V battery (not included)
Battery life: approximately 100 hours
Dimensions: 102 x 75 x 252 mm
Weight: 942 gr
Best place where to buy: amazon.com

 

Morley M2WV

Morley’s M2 Wah is a vintage-sounding Wha effect. It has Wah level control, True Tone buffer and LED indicator together with a convenient Volume pedal. A foot switch toggles the two Wah and Volume functions. The knob adjusts the wah level. The volume range goes from the unit to a considerable boost. This means that you can get some more drives for your amp if you wish.

 

 

Specs

Traditional vintage Wah sounds
Volume control and swell volume
LED indication
Wah volume control
Integrated “True Tone” buffer to preserve timbre and signal level
Steel frame
Ideal for guitar and bass
Power supply: 9V battery or Morley 9V power supply
Made in the USA
Dimensions: 232 x 149 x H69mm
Weight: 1.7kg
Best place where to buy: amazon.com

Electro Harmonix Wailer Wah

The Wailer Wah promises the same sound as its predecessor without mechanical parts. The excursion is identical, wide and always usable. Optimal for funk rhythms as for imitating the famous Clapton woman tone if everything is closed or to generate a stimulating cocked sound if left halfway. The pedal is robust and lightweight with a traditional rack and pinion operating mechanism. Last but not least, it’s also extremely convenient.

 

 

Specs

Traditional rack and pinion operating mechanism
Robust but light. It is lighter than most Wah pedals.
9 Volt battery, also works with the optional EHX 9.6DC-200 power supply
Dimensions: 252 x 87 x H75mm
Weight: 712 g
Best place where to buy: amazon.com

 

Voodoo Lab Wahzoo

The Voodoo Lab Wahzoo Pedal is an extremely useful and versatile FX guitar pedal. It has various wah settings ranging from Vintage Autowah to Stepwah, each offering a unique sound. The Wahzoo pedal has the classic Clyde McCoy vocal tone with an adjustable position of the pedal tip. Instantly transform the sound of your guitar by combining the best classic and vintage wah tones with this high quality Voodoo  Lab pedal. The Auto Wah is voiced like a traditional wah. This mode turns the Wahzoo into an automatic, foot-free wah pedal. The Step Wah Step Wah mode opens up even more possibilities for wah sounds by creating rhythmic patterns by automatically jumping through different treadle positions. The result is a wide variety of tones and rhythms.

Specs

Classic vocal tone by Clyde McCoy
Built in Vintage, Autowah and Stepwah Modes
Sequencer with steps up to 29 patterns
True Bypass via Gold Relay
Handcraft in California
Best place where to buy: amazon.com

As for the review on distortion pedals even for wah wah I pass you my personal experience. The market is huge and offers different wahs for all tastes and pockets.
I hope you enjoyed this post too!

Rock on

Benny

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Origins

Hi Everyone,
in this post I will talk about the Rock ‘n’ Roll origins. This style was born in the United States as an evolution of the blues. Nowadays it is still difficult to indicate a real date of birth. Beyond the origins, it is important to consider the great popularity that the genre has had in the history of music, starting from the second half of the last century. Rock and roll still represents something that cannot be considered in the musical sphere alone; film, television, mass culture but not only. Styles, fashion, trends, attitudes, language, simple words or gestures. All this has led to a real cultural and artistic revolution.

The Beginning

The birth of the genre can be dated between the end of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s. It could be said that the father was Elvis Presley who was given the nickname of the king of Rock and roll. However, many argue that this genre was born when a black Saint Louis singer, Chuck Berry, discovered that young white kids listened to rhythm’n’blues and country. He thought of creating a hybrid between black and white music and in the end Rock and Roll was born. But this genre, from which the Rock was born in the 1960s, was rooted in many styles including jazz, blues, boogie woogie, folk and gospel, all of which share their origins, African American music.

The Origin of the Name

Roy Brown used in one of his songs (Good Rocking Tonight) the word Rocking, already widespread among gospel singers to indicate mystical ecstasy, intended as a certain irony, to describe a passionate night. After the song was released, many musicians used the phrase “rocking and rolling” in their song titles. Finally, in 1949 Wild Bill Moore definitively consecrated the genre, calling Rock and Roll his own song.

To say who, how and to what extent has influenced and developed this genre is completely impossible. Songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille, Great Balls of Fire marked the beginning of a journey that gave birth to what we now call Rock, a multi-faceted genre that lends itself to countless variations: punk rock, hard rock, progressive rock. As early as the second half of the 1950s this style began to evolve and change according to the tastes and moods of the time.

Decline and rebirth

The same Rock and Roll in the 1960s came to a sharp halt. It was during this time that many musicians died, including Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, while The King, Elvis, joined the army and Chuck Berry was arrested. Despite the rapid decline, Rock and Roll had taken root and from it was reborn with the new forms of Rock.

The Sixties

In the sixties there is a new beginning. The birth of sub genres creates true icons. Starting from 1961 when the Californian Beach Boys invented the “Surf Rock”, a Rock & Roll in which the vocal and melodic part was very accentuated, this music was the background for moments of fun on the beach and at parties. Later, however, the Rock & Roll became busier and tied to politics, an example is Bob Dylan’s Folk who sang the pacifist hymn blowin ‘in the wind.

In the same period the Beat was born that influenced young people from all over the world, with the timeless Beatles that revolutionized the way of making music, the Animals with their the house of the rising sun, the Who of my generation and obviously the Rolling Stones. Towards the end of the 60s, during the student movement, the “Psychedelic Rock” of artists like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Doors developed, linked to the hippie movement born in those years.

The Seventies

Another decade and new genres are born and evolve from the genus of Rock. In the early 70s, especially in England, there was a real explosion of creativity. The main genres of the period were the “Glam rock” by artists such as Elton John and David Bowie, and the “Progressive” by Genesis and Jethro Tull and finally also “the Hard Rock” that would later evolve into “Heavy Metal”. The forerunners of the new genre were Led Zeppelin, accompanied by Alice Cooper, ZZ Top and Deep Purple.

In the second half of the 70s the “Punk” was born, inspired by groups that played an alternative Rock, like Television and Talking Heads. The first Punk group ever was the Ramones who with their songs marked an era. It was the period in which it was not necessary to know how to play well to make music. It was enough to take the guitar and form one’s own group. In England many groups were formed following the example of the Ramones, among the most famous are obviously the Sex Pistols who gave shape and content to the Punk, their mission was simple: to kill the commercial Rock. But their plan failed with the Clash, which opened the doors of Punk to Rock, Reggae, Ska and New Wave.

The Eighties

In the early 1980s, the “New Wave” phenomenon developed for groups such as Dire Straits and Sting’s Police, which mixed Rock and Pop. In this period rock was “mutant”, as it mixed with electronics and other genres. During the same years there was also a return to classic rock, the “King” of this revival is certainly Bruce Springsteen. There was also a return to psychedelia and garage rock with groups like Velvet Underground and REM.

The Nineties

In the 90s the alternative scene called “Grunge” developed, Groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam shouted their anger in full. In this period the phenomenon of Cross Over was born. The mixing of different genres gave birth to an infinity of genres and sub genres.

The 2000s until today

In these years the Pop Rock evolves and the Indie Rock is born. In reality Indie Rock originated in the eighties but only in the new century has its true and own explosion. The term indie derives from the contraction of the term independent. It refers to a genre of music (that of independent record labels) characterized by a different approach with respect to the methods of production.

It was generally opposed to those used in mass pop music produced and distributed by major record companies. The peculiarity of indie rock groups and authors originally resided mainly in the mostly autonomous approach. Often they to do everything on their own. The registration phase, but also in the publication and distribution. Some of them also the organization of their own concerts.

My Conclusion

The musical genres are in continuous evasion and the rock is no exception. Periodically there are always innovations that enrich every genre and sub genre.

I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t hesitate to comment.

Rock On

Benny

 

Best Guitar Strings for Electric Guitar

Hi Everyone,
Best guitar strings for electric guitar, which one is better? Choosing guitar strings may seem trivial, and certainly it is for the more experienced but for beginners it is different, as there are several parameters to follow. To help you choose, you need to check some steps before proceeding with the purchase that I have divided into four categories:

The Brand

The first and also the most common is linked to the manufacturer of the string set, often the great guitarists bind themselves indissolubly to a single brand.

The Price

Although too general as a point it is important to always check the cost and whether there are bundled packages as indicated below.

The Gauge

The choice of diameter depends on the type of music being played but also on the way in which it is played. For a heavier style a set of extra light strings is undoubtedly not advisable, while if you use the technical slide or otherwise play with low tuning, you need big strings, like 011. To avoid mistakes and mainly for beginners, I always suggest to start with 010.

The materials

The offer of guitar strings is vast as are the materials with which they are offered, here below the various types:

Pure Nickel: strings built completely in Nickel, make the sound warmer and more balanced, they are the most suitable strings for common electric guitars and are the softest to the touch.

Nickel plated: Nickel plated steel strings have a bright but balanced sound and are the most used strings by guitarists.

Stainless steel: stainless steel strings have the brightest and sharpest sound ever. Under the fingers they are more tense and more rigid. If you play hard rock these are the right strings for you!

Chrome: strings plated with chrome, and are the favorite strings of those who play jazz.

Gold: gold strings for those who are allergic to nickel.

Coated: covered ropes and his are different types of coating from the chemical to those covered in fabric.

Polymer coated: nickel-coated steel ropes, have a chemical treatment to extend his life and shine and delay rusting.

Here my top 5

1. Ernie Ball P02221

Ernie Ball’s Slinkys are probably the most well-known line of electric guitar strings in the world. Made from nickel-plated steel windings wrapped around a tin-plated. The set is well balanced, allround good sound, no matter what your playing style. This legendary electric guitar string delivers full basses and brilliant highs.

  • Nickel-plated Steel Roundwound
  • Gauges .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046
  • Best place where to buy: Amazon
  • Best bundle offer (lot of 12) : Amazon

 

 

2. D’Addario EXL110

The D’Addario EXL110 set, one of the best-selling sets, offers the right combination of timbre, flexibility and durability. The standard set for most electric guitars. The XL Nickel Wounds, have a hexagonal carbon steel core coated with precision in nickel-plated steel. The result is strings characterized by a bright and lasting tone and exceptional intonation, perfect for a wide variety of guitars and musical genres.

  • Nickel-plated Steel Roundwound
  • Gauges .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046
  • Best place where to buy (set of 3): Amazon
  • Best bundle offer (lot of 25) : Amazon

 

3. Elixir 12102

An ultra-thin coating prevents deposits from forming between the coils of the winding. The sound lasts longer than any other string, coated or uncoated. Constant performance and sound, soft feel on the fingers that improves playability. Reduced grinding of fingers, excellent for both performance and recording.

  • Nickel-plated Steel Roundwound
  • Gauges .011, .014, .018, .028, .038, .049
  • Best place where to buy : Amazon
  • Best bundle offer (lot of 6) : Amazon

 

 

 

4. Elixir 12000 Nanoweb Heavy Electric

The Elixir NanoWeb strings for electric guitar not only sound great. Their micro-thin coating (5 microns) makes them sound well longer than the average string. The nickel-plated steel strings with NanoWeb coating provide presence, punch, and the personality of traditional electric guitar strings, but with a much longer life span.

  • Nickel-plated Steel Roundwound
  • Gauges .009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042
  • Best place where to buy : Amazon
  • Best bundle offer (lot of 6) : Amazon

 

 

5. GHS GB-DGF Boomers David Gilmour Signature

GHS binds with David Gilmour’s for this string series that was used in 1979 for “The Wall” project/ recording and are used on the David’s Stratocaster.

  • Nickel-plated Steel Roundwound
  • Gauges .010, .012, .016, .028, .038, .048
  • Best place where to buy : Amazon
  • Best bundle offer (lot of 10) : Amazon

 

 

 

In this post I have put together information on some proposals on the market. This ranking is based on my experience and is very personal, everyone is free to share or not. For years, I have used the D’addario because the quality/price ratio is really good and with these strings you can play all kinds of guitar styles. In the last six months I have tried the Ernie Ball and I must say that they are slightly higher in quality. The two Elixir sets are of a superior quality (like the price) but they are very valid for recording. Finally, I tried the GHS for a feeling that binds me to Gilmore, excellent sound when combined with the Fender Stratocaster.

I hope you enjoyed this post too and for any doubts or curiosity don’t hesitate to contact me

Rock on

Benny

 

Easy Guitar Lessons for Beginners

Hi Everyone,

in this post on easy guitar lessons for beginners you can find some useful links on some very good courses. As already mentioned in other posts, it is never too late to start playing the guitar. With the courses listed below anyone can start strumming within the first week.

Lessons for Beginners

The following couple of courses to start are to be considered very valid. The true fire website, at the time of registration, allows you to download the first of two courses for free. Logically there are dozens of courses to download and there are often several offers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Includes:

  • 13 Charts (.PDF)
  • 9 Jam Tracks (.mp3)
  • 8 Tabs (.gp5 or .ptb)
  • 1 hr, 15 mins of Video (.mp4)
  • Download Size: 956.7 MB
  • 34 videos
  • link here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Includes:

  • 9 Charts (.PDF)
  • 13 Jam Tracks (.mp3)
  • 7 Tabs (.gp5 or .ptb)
  • 1 hr, 23 mins of Video (.mp4)
  • Download Size: 972 MB
  • 29 videos
  • link here

There are about 90 different courses in beginners and late beginners dedicated to different genres: acoustic, rock, blues, jazz, country and many others.

As a final suggestion, this type of course often includes tablature that can be opened with special software. My favorite, which has always been the GUITAR PRO that came with version 7.5

I hope all this can help you and convince you to start playing the guitar.

Rock on

Benny

 

 

Electric Guitar Distortion Pedal, my favourite ones.

Hi Everyone,
the Electric Guitar Distortion Pedal, in this post we talk about the more or less modern history of the guitar. The distortion has practically marked the turning point for all the guitarists. Distortion is a very important and delicate effect and can often make a difference. A small premise is a must: the best distortion for guitar is the one that is most similar to your way of playing and your taste, so often the choice is purely personal.  Having said that, I can safely say that getting the distortion you want and knowing how to adjust the distortion better is an art. Learning this art is a must if your musical taste involves the use of this pedal. Below I will list those that I have tried personally but logically the criterion for deciding which one can be the definitive pedal is strictly personal.

The genesis of the Distortion

The Distortion is considered the first true effect for electric guitar. Initially it was an annoying effect due to the need to increase the volume of the amplifier to bring out the sound of the guitar compared to the other instruments. The amplifiers of the time could not manage the volume. they use to go into saturation tending to shear the waveforms of the sound emitted creating precisely a natural dispersion.
Over time the musicians began to search for this type of his on purpose because the squaring of the signal enriched the sound of harmonics and gave it a particular timbre.

The distortion is the direct descendant of the overdrive with which it shares a fairly similar basic operation.  In fact simulates the natural saturation effect of a preamplification stage in which a signal is input at too high a volume exasperating its effect, thus creating the classic sound of rock. Often some guitar amplifiers include one or more channels to amplify the sound, generally the first one called “clean” and the following ones are distorted with different levels of amplification. It is difficult to attribute the authorship of the use of a real distortion device.

Among the blues and rock’n’roll guitarists who experimented extensively with distorted guitar sounds, Elmore James and Chuck Berry must be mentioned. Later the distortion took hold globally a bit in almost all musical genres and starting from the seventies the distortion was massively entered in the groups of the time. The heavy metal genre is probably the musical genre in which the distortion is the most used effect. In order to make the melody more raw and rough but it is not uncommon to find it even in punk and hard rock.

Tutorials

Before proceeding with my reviews I wanted to spend
two words on this online downloadable tutorial that
includes all the various effects and not just the Distortion.
This tutorial is well-structured giving a general overview
on all the effects. I consider it a bit like a vademecum for those
who want to start venturing into the fantastic world of effects.
Just click on the image or here if you want to have more info about.

 

 

 

Electric Guitar Distortion Pedal, my preferite ones:

Suhr Riot MINI

Very simple and intuitive distortion pedal, with the three very classic Level, Tone and Gain parameters. In addition, it is equipped with a three-position mini switch which gives the possibility to change the pedal sound. The first on the left gives a very warm and full-bodied crunch sound, great for blues. The central one offers in addition a boost on the middle frequencies which greatly increases the sound, slightly increases the volume and gives a boost to the gain. On the right we’ve the best part, here the Riot unleash even more gain, up to exasperated levels with a sound remarkably compressed. The sustain is almost infinite and the timbre of the pedal changes radically, becoming more open and bright. The thing that struck me most is the gain control, which remains extremely versatile on all three positions.

Specs

  • Versatile high-gain distortion with the sound and response of a high-quality 100-watt tube amp
  • Controls for Dist, Level, Tone
  • Handset: Voice
  • Footswitch: Effect Bypass
  • Connections: Input (6.3 mm jack), mono / stereo output (6.3 mm jack), – 9 V DC power supply connector (coaxial jack 5.5 x 2.1 mm – negative pole inside)
  • Power consumption: 8 mA
  • True bypass
  • Best place where to buy : amazon.com

Dark Matter Distortion

The Dark Matter aims to offer the first flavors of Plexi. This is a British overdrive / distortion device that offers a natural and tube sound. This pedal has a true bypass circuit and quality components. On board there are four knobs and a selector, called Voice which allows you to modify the sound drastically. With a small amount of gain it is possible to get a timber suitable for the rhythm, increasing the value of the gain the sound becomes ideal for good solos. In addition to the gain knob there is that of the volume level and another (bass / treble) that allows you to equalize the sound. Finally, returning to the voice selector, you can choose between 2 different tonal options. The Dark Matter is a nice pedal that offers an open and clean sound.

Specs

  • Distortion
  • Control: Gain, level, bass, treble
  • 2 Different voice settings
  • True Bypass
  • Power supply: 9 V DC power supply or 9 V battery
  • Best place where to buy : amazon.com

Fulltone OCD v2

The Volume control allows to increase the db at the level of a booster while the Drive control which, depending on how it is set, can generate a slight overdrive, excellent dynamic distortion or high gain. The Tone potentiometer which allows to perfectly equalize the sound starting from a flat position at 12 o’clock. The small HP / LP switch positioned at the top has a different function from the previous version: if we select HP we will have a more British sound while LP tends to do not change the tone of the guitar and the amplifier you are using, this is recommended even if you use it as a booster. Hard rock and metal guitarists love his sound for the performances with powerful riffs.

Specs

  • The Fulltone “Obsessive Compulsive Drive V2” (OCD V2) replicates the dynamics and harmonics of a fully-wound tube amplifier with its typical output stage distortion
  • Very dynamic
  • Reacts strongly to the volume control of the guitar
  • Controls: Volume, Tone, Drive
  • Switch: Mini Toggle HP (High Peak) / LP (Low Peak), True Bypass / Enhanced Bypass (internal)
  • Foot switch: On / Off
  • True Bypass
  • Best place where to buy : amazon.com

MXR 78 Custom Badass Distortion

No name was ever more appropriate, the MXR M78 Custom Badass ’78 Distortion offers a classic vulgar distortion circuit accentuated especially in medium. The tone control adds a sharp sound to the top, while the crunch button increases the dynamic range and the contents of the harmonic distortion by giving two tones actually. It responds well to the dynamics of the game, this is a really good distortion pedal and it has a lot to offer, especially if you are a rock fan of the late 70s. Although the name can take you back to the past, it is a very contemporary and versatile pedal.

 

Specs

  • Analog distortion pedal for electric guitar
  • Controls for output, tone and distortion
  • Selector switch for crunch mode
  • 2 Status LED
  • Robust metal housing
  • Operation with 9V battery or Dunlop ECB-003 AC adapter (optional)
  • Made in the USA
  • Best place where to buy : amazon.com

The Entry Level

A separate note I have to do on the pedals of the BEHRINGER. At first glance they may seem very similar to a toy due to the fact that they are made of plastic and seem to break in the hand but connected to a decent amplification system the initial fear vanishes. The pedals behave well as the most titled, logically you cannot wait for perfection but are suitable for the purpose with a very accessible purchase price, here below the complete range of distortions:

Logically these are just my recommendations for the electric guitar distortion pedal based on my personal experience. The market nowadays offers a myriad of different offers for all tastes and pockets.

I hope you enjoyed this post too!

Rock on

Benny

The Blues Origins

Hi Everyone,
in this post I will talk about the blues origins, from the beginnings to the present day. As already mentioned in another post, we can say that blues is the progenitor of all modern styles.

The Blues Origins

The blues was born and developed following the slavery of the African-American communities, in the southern regions of the United States. The date of birth of the encounter between poetic and musical expression should be placed around 1870. This means a harsh denunciation of a vast African-American community that suddenly finds the strength and courage to express its anguish in a lament of pain.

Sometimes translates into an impetuous war hymn, into a cry provoked by poverty, by the emptiness that is unconsciously behind him. Thus, the great forced migration develops. This phenomenon has not only an economic character since at the time. In 1776 the first advertisements appeared in the newspapers offering slaves to the problem of assumptions and also political appearances.

Despite being slaves settled in the territory of Louisiana. They enjoyed greater freedom than they did for those who had arrived in the English and Puritan estates. This explains why the first blues, in their ways of expression, were born in New Orleans and its surroundings on the banks of the Mississippi where they could continue to express their spirituality.

In the blues song however the sadness and the daily pain that turns into hope of improvement still persists and it is originally expressed with songs accompanied by the only beat of the hands and not by the music, always preserving the characteristic aspect of poetry able to express a condition of desolate regret and bitter nostalgia.

Blues from the 20s to the 40s

The singers of the classic blues between the 20s and 40s were often accompanied by an orchestra, so they are considered the precursors of all American music. An example was Bessie Smith who knew the glory until the 1920s thanks to her powerful contralto voice that gave her music a truly dramatic dimension. The blues of the fields, probably born in the area of the Mississippi Delta, developed in a hasty manner in the South-west or in the East Coast linked to musical traditions. From 1925 the record companies were interested by the sector. There are various styles that appeared in this period: the Delta blues, the East coast, the Texas blues.

Blues from the 40s to the 60s

Following the economic activity in relation to the Second World War. A certain number of African-American men obtained financial facilities which gave them access to the middle class of the local society. Electricity gave the Blues a second youth.

The electric guitar allowed a multiplication of sororities and a diversification of sound effects thanks in particular to B.B. King of Memphis and Muddy Waters of Chicago. In the late 1950s the renovation came from the western district of Chicago, this WEST SIDE SOUND was the expression of a desperate and oppressive climate.

Blues from the 60s to the 80s

At the end of the sixties, the blues was not a dominant force on the commercial market. Many of his musicians performed for an audience greater than they had ever had. From then has been more or less constant talk of blues with a return to the past and an increase in popularity but no one has ever talked about his death.

Blues from the 80s to today

After 1980 in the blues there have been notable changes that have made this period a significant turning point in the history of music. The biggest change was probably the “discovery” of the blues by an audience that grew up with Rock ‘n’ roll. In the 1980s it was not difficult to find blues groups with a large following in all social classes. Furthermore, in the last two decades, the music scene has lost some blues legends that helped define the musical language, like Luther Allison, Albert Collins, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan above all.

However, in recent years, a new generation of talents has appeared. Young musicians capable not only of blues but also hard rock, country and even jazz. Influenced by their great predecessors, they work within the rich blues tradition, instilling their personal inspiration. Today the blues is a big business that includes radios, clubs, movies, festivals and records that sell millions of copies; in this period, there are artists who have contributed to making the blues a much more popular music than was previously imaginable.

My Conclusion

Blues music is the real star of all time. Everyone, from hard rock to country musicians, went through the blues. To understand what the blues is, you must first understand what it is not. By doing so it’s important to get rid of some preconceived ideas. Over the years the blues has been portrayed as a slow and sad music full of desolate images of personal despair rather than music, practically a lament. Of course, it’s all fake. The blues is a means of self-expression, a kind of catharsis, we can say.

I hope you found the Blues origins interesting, don’t hesitate to comment.

Rock on and have fun

Benny

 

 

Guitar Pentatonic Scales, get ready for soloing!

Hi Everyone,

as you will have understood from the title, today we will talk about the guitar pentatonic scales.  In this post I will try to explain what they are and how to play them on the guitar. Generally the pentatonic scales often find themselves in blues and rock, and beginners are taught for their simplicity of learning and execution. It is usually the first type of scale with which you begin to improvise. The minor pentatonic is often also used in metal, rock and jazz, while the major pentatonic is more used in country, pop, pop rock.

What are the pentatonic scales

The major and minor pentatonic scales. As the name implies, are nothing but derivatives or if you prefer simplifications of the relative major and minor natural scales and do not contain semitones. In fact the major pentatonic is obtained by removing the fourth and the seventh note from the natural minor scale. The same thing is done with the minor, but removing the second and sixth. Logically, in order not to have jarring harmonic progressions it is necessary to combine certain chord progressions.

The ductility of the pentatonic scales lies in the fact that the guitarist will be free to play on any key. The pentatonic scales have 5 shapes or modes. These are represented by the famous boxes (see below couple of example). It will be enough to position themselves on the tonic note (root) situated in the first or sixth string and from there starting improvising on the relative box. In this way it will be possible to pass from one box to another, moving along the entire neck.

The Minor Pentatonic

The scales, are built on a minor natural scale but without the second and sixth grades: the notes are the same as the “major” pentatonic built on the relative major scale. The Minor Pentatonic scale is built in following the following musical intervals:
– (perfect) unison
– minor third
– perfect fourth
– perfect fifth
– minor seventh

The  Major Pentatonic

The Major Pentatonic like the one with a major third among the first three sounds is very similar to the classical major scale, but without the fourth and seventh grade. The scale is built in following the following musical intervals:

– (perfect) unison
– major second
– major third
– perfect fifth
– major sixth

How to play the pentatonic scales on the guitar

Now it’s time to practice: how to play the pentatonic scale on the neck.

It is possible to play it from eight or nine different positions.

C Scale

We can start either from the third fret on the fifth string, or from the first fret on the second, but also from the fifth fret on the third string, or again on the eighth fret on the first and sixth string.

In the final part of the neck there are also the scales on the tenth fret, thirteenth and fifteenth but with the thinning of the frets in these positions it is undoubtedly necessary a greater practice given the difficulty in playing in positions so narrow.

G Scale

Also the pentatonic scale of G, can start from the third string played in void, or the third fret on the two E strings. As in the case of C, also on the G we can start from the fifth fret, eighth and tenth, as well as from the twelfth and fifteenth.

D Scale

The pentatonic scale in the key of D also has the possibility of starting from the open string, as well as from D on the second string to the third fret, or on the fifth string to the fifth fret or again to the seventh fret on the third string.

A Scale

The pentatonic scale of A, at the beginning of the handle, has a double possibility: either the fifth open string or, alternatively, the A on the third string at the second fret.

Two A scales can find at the fifth fret on the first and sixth string, as well as the seventh fret on the fourth string, the tenth on the second, the twelfth on the fifth and the fourteenth on the third.

E Scale

The E can start immediately with two empty strings. From the second fret on the fourth string, to the fifth fret on the second, to the seventh fret on the fifth, to the ninth fret on the third, to the twelfth fret on the two empty strings and to the fourteenth fret, always on the fourth.

B Scale

The pentatonic scale of B instead can start from the fifth string on the second fret or from the second empty string. From the fourth fret on the third string, but also from the two B to the seventh fret.

In the final part of the handle, we find the B on the ninth fret on the fourth string, on the twelfth fret on the second and on the fourteenth on the fifth.

F Scale

The last pentatonic is that of F #, which can start from the two F # to the second fret, or from the one to the fourth fret on the fourth string, or to the seventh fret on the second.

In the final part of the neck, the pentatonic can start from the ninth fret on the fifth string. From the eleventh fret on the third and from the two F # to the twelfth fret on the first and on the sixth string.

Lot of words, now let’s start to work!

In the last paragraph I have briefly described where to find the various sclaes on the neck. I agree that it may seem confusing. For this reason I would like to suggest a couple of very exhaustive texts (I put the link below) that I used personally. As an alternative to texts and speaking of guitar 2.0, you can also find many online courses dedicated to pentatonic scales, by clicking here you will find one of my favorites.

I hope you enjoyed this post too

Rock on
Benny

Best Guitar Headphone amp, here revealed my choice!

hi Everyone,

here I talk about the guitar headphone amp. Sooner or later every guitarist has a long-standing problem: neighbors. When I made the transition from classical to electric guitar the only way to hear its sound was to connect the instrument to an amplifier and play. Unfortunately not all of them were always in agreement, and at the beginning I was certainly not as good as Joe Satriani. Often it was necessary to untangle a bundle of cables, connect kilometers of wires and headphones and in the end succeed in exercising only for only 15 minutes on the 30 available per day.

Luckily Vox has solved the Problem

With the Amplug2, VOX has confirmed what has been done well in the past and brought the experience of sound on the go to the highest levels. The pocket amplifier allows you to play in headphones at any time of day or night! Compared to the previous version it has grown and now has a more refined and versatile sound, with integrated effects but above all with the adjustable jack.

Tiny & Mighty

Size should not be misleading, although a first sight may look like a lighter the substance is different! The case is in black plastic, adjustable on the horizontal axis in four positions, green LED on / off, three controls for Gain, Tone and Volume, bracelet output, aux input and two flavors. The accompanying manual is exhaustive where the option for chorus, echo and reverb are explained in details. Pressing them together can have factory settings.

The Amplug is powered by two AAA batteries and the VOX guarantees at least 15 hours but I admit to having used it for more time without showing signs of slowing down. Sound is truly spectacular, clean, crystal clear, defined and not confined as one might expect. Personally I recommend it to all those who want to have fun without bothering their neighbors or, as in my case, to wake the little ones sleeping in the next room. Hearing is an important sense and therefore I recommend placing the volume on 7.

Specs

As big as a normal key ring, the Amplug 2 Vox completely updates the analog circuitry making the sound cleaner and more present, very similar to a tube amp, all with an invaluable value for money.

  • 3 controls (gain, tone, volume)
  • Aux in
  • Headphone input
  • Power supply: 2 AAA batteries
  • Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 ounces
  • Price: $44.80
  • Cheapest place to Buy: Amazon.com
  • My Rating: 9.5 out of 10

 

Guitar Headphone: Vox Amplug Family

I described the AC30 model but the family is much wider and there is also the bass version. Below the various models with the link where I found the best price.

VOX Amplug Blues 
VOX Amplug Classic Rock
VOX Amplug Clean
VOX Amplug Lead
VOX Amplug Metal
VOX Amplug Bass

What else

I own the AC30 and the Classic Rock and enjoyed very much. Thank to this device I was able to avoid unpleasant discussions with my sweet wife.

Don’t hesitate to add your comments and I hope you liked this post.

Rock on

Benny