The pedal takes the already familiar three-knob design of Volume, Tone and Sustain and adds a three-way mid-scoop, boost and flat toggle switch. Other features include Neutrik input/output jack, a Boss-style 9-volt power jack and true-bypass switching. The Ram’s Head is hand-wired in the U.S.
First impression? Everything is well marked. This sounds like a given, but I’ll occasionally try a pedal named something like "The Woodpecker." Next I’ll spend 20 minutes figuring out what the "Beak" and "Sapsucker" knobs do. With Outlaw Effects, Tone is a tone knob, Sustain means sustain. Kudos, Outlaw!
Without even knowing what it does, who wouldn’t want a "Big Cannoli" pedal on their pedalboard? JColoccia Guitars didn’t just put a cool name on a box; it threw in a flexible overdrive, too. The pedal knobs are Gain, Volume, Treble and Bass. In between the EQ sits a three-way toggle marked Tight, Cut and Fat. To my ears, Tight offers a creamy, compressed sound, Cut scoops the mids and Fat thickens things up quite a bit.
JJB Electronics sells acoustic-guitar pickups kits from basic to complex. The Prestige 330 made a good fit for my first attempt. It is a passive three-piezo transducer set wired straight to an output jack. This means no soldering or hacking out battery or preamp cavities.
StringJoy is an online custom string shop that makes its own strings in the U.S. and lets you pick the gauges. Sure, it offers a common .10-.46 electric set, but its aim is to let you build a set you can’t get elsewhere, even for seven- and eight-string guitars.
Each pickup is handmade by Mike, the owner. While he offers plenty of customizing options, I went with a Tiger Shark Strat set and the Blackguard Tele set. The turnaround was about a week from ordering. Mike was very helpful via phone and email, making sure I was getting pickups that fit my style of playing.
Picture a nice Sunday drive on a one-lane country road ... and that idiot in front of you is going 5 mph under the speed limit! Odie by Chellee Guitars began as a Tube Screamer-style overdrive pedal but widened the scope on each end to give you more options, or—to get back to that country road—they hacked down some trees and made a four-lane highway.
Fuzz often gets treated like the black sheep of the family. Overdrive comes to Thanksgiving dinner in a flashy sports car with his trophy wife. Distortion strolls in fashionably late with pictures from a recent SCUBA-diving escapade in Hawaii. But Fuzz ... Fuzz stood next to Jimi at Woodstock, Fuzz let people know the Rolling Stones weren’t satisfied.
Sending your dry guitar signal to a sound man is a bit like that team-building exercise where a blindfolded individual is instructed to fall backwards into a group of people who might (or might not) catch him or her. GMF's Ai1 offers guitarists more control over their DI tone, with a preamp and headphone amp to boot.
We all have a story about "the one that got away." What can we do about it? Rob from Fool Audio Research did something about it. He built the Ignatz, which is based on a no-name set-neck Strat-style guitar he missed out on. There's clear evidence this guitar was built by an actual guitar player and not a team of "experts."