For the past few weeks, I’ve been checking out the Drum Thing, a passive, battery-free, output-only percussion box. Think of it as a sound-hole pickup in a metal box that you can stomp on, brush, tap on, sing into or all-out scream at it. I found two distinct uses for it: tapping on it to build metronome-like practice loops, and placing a ton of effects pedals after it and creating maddening noise loops.
Truth be told, Leo Fender never intended for the amp to get such an overdriven sound. He much preferred the clean twang of country and Hawaiian lap steels. But guys like Neil Young, Joe Walsh, Eric Clapton and Billy Gibbons had other plans: Crank these low-watt wonders wide open!
At this year's Summer NAMM Show, they released their 19:1-ratio line of tuners. The line features a few different varieties; locking and non-locking versions, contemporary versions and a vintage Fender version. I checked out the non-locking, contemporary version, also known as the KCDF-3805CL model.
Ashdown Engineering just released the NM-2 Nate Mendel Double Distortion pedal. It’s a multi-functioning pedal that offers two distortion tones that you can switch on and off through one or two amplifiers. The standout feature is this pedal's simplicity. It’s basically two distortion pedals with only level and drive knobs. There’s absolutely no EQ on this pedal.
Ronnie Van Zant was known for never writing down any of his lyrics. His logic was, if it’s good, it’s worth remembering. Who am I to argue with the original lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd? In a time when we can squint through a full movie on a cell phone or store an entire discography of a band we’ve never even listened to on our hard drive, why not record more stuff?
You’ve been there: You have your gigging amp, but you want something to keep at home to practice or record ideas with. Sure, you can lug a 100-watt head and matching 4x12 cab up a flight of steps just to be able to crank it up somewhere between 0 and 1, but, well, that's just miserable all the way around.
Even with this cable being more secure than Fort Knox, it is incredibly flexible compared to my other cables I have around. The F15 plugs gripped everything I plugged them into firmly. The ends screw off for easy maintenance by chance you ever need it. The cables do come with a limited one-year warranty. Another nice touch is the included Velcro cable tie.
ZT Amps recently came out with the Extortion pedal. Now, before you go thinking Bernie Madoff has his own signature distortion pedal, let me explain. The pedal gets its name from the words "expressive" and "distortion." So what’s in a name?
Fresh strings. You guys know what I’m talking about! If you’re not a guitar player, just imagine that "new socks" feeling times 10! Not only will your guitar perform better from a tension or tuning standpoint, but strings play a huge factor in terms of dialing in your desired tone. I’d go as far to say strings are the easiest and cheapest mod you can do to your guitar.
What can you buy with $89.28? That’s probably close to your monthly unlimited* smartphone bill. In gear land, $89.28 could buy you an overdrive pedal, maybe a nice strap and a good cable — or 357 25-cent guitar picks! But can it get you a fully functioning, brand-new guitar?