I checked out three pedals in the Nemphasis line; the Liquid Mind Analog Chorus, The Muff Distortion and the VTComp Guitar Optical Compressor. All pedals share an easy-to-use, three-knob design, TrueBypass switching and a fully analog circuit powered by either a 9-volt battery or standard Boss-style power supply.
The Axe-Handler by Re-Axe. Yes that’s a healthy display of the hyphen. And no, we're not talking about the kind of axe George Washington used to cut down a cherry tree. What we are talking about is an American-made, mega-portable guitar stand that you can stash inside your case or gigbag to save your instrument from being the victim of a party foul at your next gig or living-room jam session.
The dreadful “must use provided backline” or “the mysterious amp at the drummer’s house” are circumstances where we hope for the best, yet fear the worst. Backline gear is usually decent, but your biggest setback is time. The band before you swore, the crowd wanted more, and now the stage director is just swearing at everyone for going overtime!
Moriae is a newer pedal company from northern Japan. Company-wise, there's not too much information is out there, so I was excited to find out what they’re all about. Besides the Lapis Lazuli Delay pedal reviewed below, the company offers distortion and fuzz pedals. The Lapis Lazuli Delay is no-nonsense digital delay with plenty of tones in a simple, rugged three-knob box.
Today we are checking out Full Contact Hardware bridges by Babicz. Full Contact: The name alone makes me think my Strat might check me into the wall as I make my way to the kitchen for my Cheerios. Babicz is a popular US guitar maker that also produces guitar and bass bridges.
The Fender bass. I love it, probably more than most, but like the Stratocaster, it is heavily copied. The classic feel and sound have kept those instruments current, even after 60 years. Speed things up to today: Technology says, “Hey, we can make a few minor improvements,” and, with money being tight, sometimes buying a cheaper instrument to upgrade later is the best route.
Everyone from White Zombie to the Allman Brothers Band pulls out the ol’ bottleneck in pop music. When you think about Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Free Bird,” are you humming the lyrics or are you humming the slide guitar line while fumbling for a cigarette lighter to hold in the air?
Guitar players have a tendency to be somewhat sentimental. Don't worry, we’re not going to talk about emotions here. But think about it — vintage tube amps, custom shop reissues, paying big bucks for discontinued pedals, etc. As technology keeps pumping out new ideas, there are certain things we just don’t want to give up.
So you’re out hunting for strings. Rather than go with some fly-by-night brand that’s been in the string business for only 100 years, let’s take a look at La Bella. They’ve been making violin strings since the 1640s! The company could just sit around at its headquarters in Newburgh, New York, where it makes its strings, but it keeps churning out new ideas. Recently I got the chance to test drive the company's new White Nylon Tapewound bass strings.
As musicians, we go to extremes to get the best possible sound from our instruments. Don’t think this quest is limited to guitar players. A quick Internet search shows drummers burying their cymbals in the back yard to achieve a darker timbre, or a community theater in California letting anyone in off the street to come play their new grand piano to help log the 100 hours of time needed to properly break it in.