Billy&#039;s Breakdown http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/3023/all en Gear Review: Fairfield Circuitry's The Accountant Compression Pedal http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-fairfield-circuitrys-accountant-compression-pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>Canadian-based Fairfield Circuitry released what it thinks a guitarist’s compressor should be. </p> <p>The Accountant, which is based on a JFET feedback compressor, gives you exactly what you need — from barely noticeable to full-on squashed compression.</p> <p>With a fixed Threshold, the pedal offers just a pair of three-way toggle switches to adjust the compression levels. PAD controls how much your signal is reduced when entering the circuit. 0 sets the pad to -16db, 1 is -8db and 2 is a 0db reduction. Next is the Ratio switch, which controls how hard the compression will hit; 0 is a 3:1 compression ratio, 1 is a 6:1 and 2 tops out at 12:1. </p> <p>Last is the Volume knob, sometimes referred to as "makeup gain." This will not affect your compression at all; it's just there to help you match levels with your bypassed tone. While it’s not really meant to be a boost, you can easily use it to get a little more juice for your solos or push the preamp of a tube amp.</p> <p>The Accountant is housed in the ever-popular compact Hammond 1590 enclosure. With no room for a battery, the pedal is powered by a Boss-style 9-volt power supply and offers true bypass switching.</p> <p><strong>Audio Clips</strong></p> <p><strong>Color:</strong> While most builders fear you’ll jump ship if you suspect their compressor colors your signal, Fairfield shows you how right in their manual. By setting the Ratio and Pad to 0 and the Volume at 12 o’clock, I was able to turn a dull, direct Strat tone into a Nile Rodgers type of funky clean.</p> <p><strong>Country:</strong> Same guitar, same bridge pickup, but by changing the Ratio up to 2, I went from Chic clean to a chicken-pickin’ country tone with a little bit of dirt.</p> <p><strong>Even:</strong> So maybe your next gig isn’t at a honky-tonk or a roller skating rink; if all you need is a compressor to tame your strumming hand, the Accountant does that too. Here’s a before and after with the Ratio and Pad set to 1.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/29028002&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://fairfieldcircuitry.com/">fairfieldcircuitry.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $150</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-fairfield-circuitrys-accountant-compression-pedal#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Fairfield Circuitry Effects Blogs Gear Wed, 02 Apr 2014 17:20:19 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20915 Gear Review: Rob O’Reilly BE Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-rob-o-reilly-be-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>Since you can’t quote Monty Python enough, “And now for something completely different.”</p> <p>Rob O’Reilly, an electronics engineer out of Ireland, set out to build a guitar that's more fashionable and functional than anything else out there. </p> <p>Take a second look at the body of the Rob O’Reilly BE guitar below. It was modeled after a lens from a pair of sunglasses. The center of the guitar is completely transparent, allowing you to express yourself anyway you please.</p> <p>I couldn’t top the retro Andy Warhol/Marilyn-inspired image slide that was included with the guitar. But to change it, simply remove the back of the guitar the same way you’d remove the back of a picture frame. </p> <p>In the photo gallery below, I've included a few photos of a mirrored LED insert O’Reilly is working on now. To create your own slide, grab any photo and cut it to fit inside the guitar.</p> <p>The next thing to discuss is the balance bar. Position 1 acts as a kickstand that lets the guitar rest on your lap when you're sitting down. Position 2 folds to accommodate playing while standing. I had no trouble accessing the higher frets, and the balance bar completely rules out the possibility of neck dive.</p> <p>There are a few other features on the BE that might make your current guitar jealous, including an iPod interface, locking tuners and a pick holder. </p> <p>The electronics are two Wilkinson single coils wired to a pickup selector and a 500k volume pot. The neck is maple with a satin black finish on the back and a glossier white finish to the fretboard. The frame of the body is laminated wood, and the center is made from acrylic. Other models available include a MIDI guitar and a bass.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.rorguitars.com/be-guitar-2/">rorguitars.com</a><br /> <strong>Price</strong>: $549.99</p> <p><strong>Below, you'll find two audio clips, a photo gallery and a demo video featuring O’Reilly.</strong></p> <p><strong>Clip 1</strong> is the bridge pickup into a clean amp. The inner-tone geek in me wanted a tone knob to roll back a little treble, but I was still able to dial in a nice, full sound without any over-the-top single-coil noise.</p> <p><strong>Clip 2</strong> is the neck pickup with some overdrive on the amp. It reminds me of the neck pickup on a Telecaster with just a bit more presence.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/26618053&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/buhbTBR3y5Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-rob-o-reilly-be-guitar#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Rob O’Reilly Rob O’Reilly Guitars Videos Electric Guitars Blogs Gear Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:37:24 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20724 Gear Review: Donner Tutti Love Chorus Pedal http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-donner-tutti-love-chorus-pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>Sometimes change happens — whether we’re ready for it or not. </p> <p>Who’d have thought that haircut you were rocking for your senior class yearbook photo would eventually go out of style? </p> <p>While new pedal technology is impressive, sometimes you just need what you're already used to.</p> <p>While the Tutti Love Chorus by Donner follows the current compact-sized pedal trends, it cops the tone of a classic era of analog chorus pedals. There's no fancy bluetooth technology here; the knobs are Level, Depth and Rate. It's powered by a common BOSS-style 9-volt power supply.</p> <p>Like most red-blooded American males, I set the instruction manual aside and plugged the pedal right in. Later on, I did go back to read that the pedal is true-bypass and is an analog circuit. </p> <p><strong>CLIP 1</strong>: I have the Depth and Rate at about 12 o’clock with the level almost all the way up. I’m picking some chords on a Strat with a humbucker in the bridge and the amp set to clean.</p> <p><strong>CLIP 2</strong>: I dialed back the Level and Depth to fatten up a Tele with some light overdrive.</p> <p><strong>CLIP 3</strong>: This is a Strat in the second position. I cranked the Depth and dialed back the Rate to show how the pedal can get that slightly detuned vibrato if you need it.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="400" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/25899907&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;visual=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.donnerdeal.com/">donnerdeal.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $39.99</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/gear-review-donner-tutti-love-chorus-pedal#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Donner Effects Blogs Gear Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:20:36 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20671 Review: Norman Guitars Parlour SG Model http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation-review-norman-guitars-parlour-sg-model <!--paging_filter--><p>When I hear about parlor guitars, I picture someone sitting by the fireplace in their 19th-century mansion, strumming chords while wearing a smoking jacket. </p> <p>Maybe that’s just me.</p> <p>A parlor- (also spelled parlour-) style guitar is easy to spot because of its smaller body. This gives the guitar a unique, punchy midrange tone and makes it easier to play and transport. Early American blues and folks artists preferred them for these reasons — plus they often were more affordable than dreadnoughts.</p> <p>Norman released its own version, the Parlour SG, as part of its Expedition series. The top, back and sides are made of a three-way lamination of wild cherry. The bridge and fretboard are rosewood. The nut and saddle are TUSQ by Graphtech. Additional options include a TRIC case and a Fishman Isys + electronics system with built-in EQ and tuner.</p> <p>The scale of the guitar measures to just under 25 inches, so even with a smaller body, the neck and fret spacing feels common. The built-in tuner on the Fishman pickup makes tuning a cinch. </p> <p>The Norman comes well setup with Cleartone strings. The finish feels great. It falls somewhere between glossy and satin, similar to an already-broken-in guitar. The sound hole is decorated with a burned-in rosette that lets you know the guitar is handmade in Quebec, Canada.</p> <p>Instantly this guitar could become “the couch guitar." The unplugged volume is a little quieter than your average acoustic. The TRIC case, which stands for Thermally Regulated Instrument Case, is a durable hybrid of a hard case and a gig bag. If you need to leave the couch, this guitar and case would make great traveling companions for work or camping.</p> <p>For the sound clips below, I played the same chord progression three times. First, the unplugged guitar is mic’d up. Second, the guitar’s pickup is plugged in direct. Finally, I blended together the pickup with the mic.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="350" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/24827126&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.normanguitars.com/">normanguitars.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: Norman Expedition Parlour SG Isys+ (with case and electronics), $349</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation-review-norman-guitars-parlour-sg-model#comments Acoustic Nation Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Norman Guitars Gear Acoustic Guitars Blogs Gear Wed, 26 Feb 2014 20:42:47 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20593 Review: Taurus Dexter Polyphonic Octaver Pedal http://www.guitarworld.com/review-taurus-dexter-polyphonic-octaver-pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>Remember the first time you thought, “That sounds like a Telecaster”? </p> <p>Or “I bet they’re tuned down”? </p> <p>Or “Holy reverb — Poison!”? </p> <p>Those moments represent precious development of your musical ear. Upon acquiring my first octave pedal, I began to hear the effect all over songs I’d listened to many times before; Jimmy Page’s solo on “Fool in the Rain," Metallica’s remake of “Whiskey in the Jar" — and how about Jimi Hendrix’s fuzzy octave-up effect on "Purple Haze"?</p> <p>Taurus has released Dexter, a polyphonic octave pedal that offers an octave above and below your fundamental note. Assuming you don’t drop the word "polyphonic" into your everyday lingo, it means the pedal uses a 24-bit DSP to allow you to play multiple notes or chords at once without overloading the pedal.</p> <p>Each octave has its own Level and Range knobs. Level adjusts how much of the effect you want blended with your dry signal. Range adjusts the frequencies that are affected. Think of it as a crossover. Tucked in the left corner is an Output Level knob, which is a master volume knob when the effect is engaged. Choose to use one octave or both octaves at once.</p> <p>Dexter was easy to get along with; so much so that I had the pedal in my bass pedalboard at a gig hours after receiving it. The lower octave gave my bass more of a synth sound for the pop songs. The higher octave, when used sparingly, can help fill the void when the guitarist drops out on chords and takes a solo.</p> <p>The Input, Output and Power jacks are on the top of the pedal. Dexter comes with a 12-volt power supply and is true bypass. Also in the box was an assortment of stick-on rubber feet and an instructional manual. Instead of a circular LED, the entire bottom half of the pedal lights up when it’s on and looks really cool in the dark! </p> <p><strong>Clip 1</strong>: I’m picking chords with more of the +1 Octave dialed in to get a 12-string guitar sound.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133425416&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Clip 2</strong>: I have both octaves running at 12 o'clock with plenty of overdrive. It gives me a Digitech Whammy-type effect with the luxury of the -1 octave fattening things up.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133425590&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Clip 3</strong>: A P-bass with both octaves dialed in generously. Very cool if you’re after a Cheap Trick or King’s X bass sound but don’t have an eight- or 12-string bass.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133425755&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Clip 4</strong>: My favorite. Along with some chorus, the +1 octave mimics the overtones of a Hammond B3 organ.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133425929&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.taurus-amp.pl/">taurus-amp.pl/</a><br /> <strong>U.S. Dealer</strong>: <a href="http://www.osiamo.com/Taurus">osiamo.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $319</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-taurus-dexter-polyphonic-octaver-pedal#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Taurus Effects Blogs Gear Thu, 06 Feb 2014 20:41:49 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20437 Review: Joyo Ultimate Drive Overdrive Pedal http://www.guitarworld.com/review-joyo-ultimate-drive-overdrive-pedal <!--paging_filter--><p>Scandal is rare in the world of effect pedals. It's probably because no major network has given a pedal builder his or her own reality-TV show. </p> <p><em>Pedal Wars</em>. Or how about <em>Effect Stars</em>? OK, it probably wouldn’t take off. </p> <p>Regardless, I keep reading passionate arguments concerning the Ultimate Drive by Joyo. It’s supposed to cop the tone of a much pricier overdrive, for only $35.</p> <p>At first glance, it doesn’t look like a $35 pedal. The enclosure is rock-solid aluminum. The switch is true bypass. It can be powered by a 9-volt battery or Boss-style power supply. The knobs are Gain, Tone and Level. Between the knobs is a two-way High and Low switch. High offers a flat EQ response; Low triggers a mid-scoop.</p> <p>Joyo is a China-based company. To my knowledge, the pedals are available only online. There are, however, U.S.-based dealers; I’ve seen them for sale through eBay and Amazon. Still, I can understand how the lack of the in-store “Try before you buy” method will leave some skeptical. Hopefully, my sound clips below will solidify your opinion one way or another.</p> <p>CLIP 1: <strong>“Chords”</strong> is a Les Paul that starts with the Ultimate Drive bypassed; then I click it on with everything at 12 o’clock, with the Low switch setting followed by the same settings with High switch setting.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/130657927&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p>CLIP 2: <strong>“Bass”</strong> is a Precision Bass clean, then a light gain setting, followed by a higher gain setting. I finish up with an overdriven, picked and palm-muted riff.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/130657736&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p>CLIP 3: <strong>“Strat”</strong> is a Strat on the neck pickup with the Level cranked on the Joyo and the Gain rolled back, similar to how Stevie Ray Vaughan set his Tube Screamers. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/130657363&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.joyoaudio.com/en/home/index.php">joyoaudio.com</a><br /> <strong>Price</strong>: $35</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-joyo-ultimate-drive-overdrive-pedal#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Joyo Effects Blogs Gear Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:27:49 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20248 Review: Reunion Blues Renegade RBEL-B4 Gig Bag http://www.guitarworld.com/review-reunion-blues-renegade-rbel-b4-gig-bag <!--paging_filter--><p>If you’ve ever turned up your nose at a gig bag over aesthetics or inferior protection, I present the Renegade by Reunion Blues. </p> <p>As its name suggests, the Renegade challenges the reasons you hate gig bags. </p> <p>The zipper is fool-proof, there’s an interior headstock and bridge guard to prevent hardware or strings from chewing up the corrosion-resistant interior, and the outside is made of water-resistant leather. Between all this is a dual layer of foam (reinforced on all edges and seams) that keeps your instrument snug.</p> <p>The Renegade is offered for electric, hollow-body, classical, dreadnought and bass guitars. I checked out the RBEL-B4 electric bass model. All the models offer identical features; they differ according to the size of the instrument.</p> <p>The pockets on the bags can fit things musicians actually use. The main pocket on the lower front of the bag measures 14 ½ inches high by 11 ½ inches wide. I could squeeze a laptop in there, but notebooks, cables, strings, straps and tuners will fit nicely too. Cool features inside the main pocket are a Velcro cable hanger and two smaller hideaway pockets that are great for stashing your cell phone, wallet, picks or, well, other things if Willie Nelson is reading this.</p> <p>In my tidy practice room it all seemed too perfect. But how would it hold up when I threw it in the back of a van and took it to a gig? </p> <p>You can carry it using the signature Zero G handle or backpack straps. Zero G is a fancy way of saying it’s a nicely padded handle that evenly distributes the weight of your instrument. The backpack straps can be disconnected and zipped up when not in use.</p> <p>The 1 inch of padding all the way around kept my bass from moving. Two bonuses I found on the gig were a third handle above the backpack straps and two metal feet to keep the leather from touching the ground. If this gig bag only carried my amp at the end of the night, I’d say it did it all.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://reunionblues.com/">reunionblues.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $399.95</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-reunion-blues-renegade-rbel-b4-gig-bag#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Accessories Blogs Gear Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:17:11 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20086 Review: Monoprice's $136.32 Route 66 Modern Guitar http://www.guitarworld.com/review-monoprices-13632-route-66-modern-guitar <!--paging_filter--><p>This week, we're checking out the new Route 66 Modern model by Monoprice guitars. You might remember my review — posted last summer — <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/review-8928-california-classic-series-guitar-monopricecom">of one of the company's California Series models.</a></p> <p>You’ll instantly notice similarities between the Route 66 Modern and another iconic guitar design — but Monoprice found a way to offer the sound, look and feel of that model for less than $150.</p> <p>The Route 66 Modern has 22 frets on a bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. The carved-top body is basswood with two humbuckers, a three-way toggle switch, separate volume and tone knobs for each pickup and chrome hardware. </p> <p>Finish options are Black, Honey Burst, Vintage Sunburst and Gold. Accessories include a gig bag, truss rod wrench and certificate of inspection. Each guitar Monoprice ships out is inspected by in-house luthier Roger Gresco in southern California.</p> <p>Out of the box, my Route 66 Modern (in Gold) was ready to go with a straight neck and no sharp fret edges or string buzz. The stock strings are 10s. They’re Monoprice’s own coated steel strings. The neck is slim and easy to play.</p> <p>Strapped on, the guitar feels well balanced. My scale puts it at 9 pounds. A peek inside the tidy electronics cavity shows there’s plenty of room for mods if you choose to go that route. Looking at the headstock, you’ll noticed it’s angled. I’d suggest upgrading to a hardshell case if you plan to take it on the road.</p> <p>I was pleased with the stock electronics. The bridge pickup can scream without harshness, and the neck pickup can get fat and mellow without sounding muddy. The knob arrangement is a bit different; both volume knobs are up top and the tone knobs are closer to the floor. I've included a labeled photo below.</p> <p>Here are a few clips of the Route 66 Modern plugged into my Fender Bassman amp.</p> <p><strong>Clip 1</strong>: Open chords, clean with both pickups on<br /> <strong>Clip 2</strong>: Bridge pickup with some distortion<br /> <strong>Clip 3</strong>: Neck pickup, clean.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="350" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/17374512&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.monoprice.com/">monoprice.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $136.32</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-monoprices-13632-route-66-modern-guitar#comments Billy Voight. Monoprice Billy's Breakdown Electric Guitars Blogs Gear Mon, 16 Dec 2013 22:09:08 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/20013 Review: ClearClick Cassette2USB Converts Your Old Cassettes to Digital Files http://www.guitarworld.com/review-clearclick-cassette2usb-converts-your-old-cassettes-digital-files <!--paging_filter--><p>A few months ago, I got an email from a friend: “Hey, can you play on a recording I’m doing?” </p> <p>After I agreed, the unthinkable happened: “OK, I’ll drop off a cassette in your mailbox.” </p> <p>Cassette? Will he be arriving in a DeLorean with a frantic guy named Doc?</p> <p>As musicians, we have to be ready for anything. I recently found out about ClearClick's Cassette2USB, a portable, USB-powered tape player that can be used to listen to cassettes or transfer them to digital or CD.</p> <p>The package showed up with the cassette player, a USB cable, a driver CD and an additional CD of helpful software so you can splice your tracks, label them and burn them onto a CD.</p> <p>The Cassette2USB player is similar to a Walkman-style tape player. It features Play, Stop, Fast Forward and Rewind buttons, an ⅛-inch headphone jack and a volume knob. It differs from its predecessor in that it has a USB port, a Direction button (You can listen to the other side of the tape without manually flipping it over) and a Loop button (It will automatically flip the tape once one side is finished).</p> <p>If you have a preferred recording software, you can plug and play instantly by selecting the Cassette2USB player as your input. If you’re completely new to computer recording, the supplied software will guide you, step by step. The CD includes Audacity, a free, open-source, sound-editing software.</p> <p>I had no trouble transferring my cassette to MP3 files. Audacity’s plug-ins aren’t the best out there, but I was able to boost the volume a bit and EQ out some of the original tape hiss. If you have a cassette collection of old demos, concert bootlegs or stuff you can’t get elsewhere, this is an easy way to get your music library up to date.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.cassette2usb.com/">cassette2usb.com</a><br /> <strong>Price</strong>: $59.95</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-clearclick-cassette2usb-converts-your-old-cassettes-digital-files#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown ClearClick Blogs Wed, 11 Dec 2013 23:05:57 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19983 Review: Audiofly AF78 Earbuds — Built by Musicians for Musicians http://www.guitarworld.com/review-audioflys-af78-earbuds-built-musicians-musicians <!--paging_filter--><p>Without doing any official TV-game-show-style polling, I’m going to assume most readers use some sort of device that calls for earbuds. </p> <p>It could be for late-night shredding, casual music listening or when you're on the bus or subway — or maybe just to avoid social interaction. I’m not here to judge.</p> <p>Regardless, if you’re going to use earbuds, they may as well sound great. Audiofly’s AF78 earbuds have been named an International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree. </p> <p>The Australia-based company is comprised of musicians who build headphones with other musicians in mind. The AF78 earbuds feature a dual-driver design. Usually you don’t see more than a single driver in earbuds, unless you’re talking about high-end in-ear monitors. But Audiofly has broken the mold.</p> <p>The company also has thrown the cheap rubbery cable to the curb. Its cable is coated with a Cordura brand nylon that reminded me of Fender’s vintage cloth wiring; but more importantly, it tangled much less often than other earbud cables. The inner-workings of the cable involves a unique braided design for durability and blocking out interference. The conductors are reinforced with Kevla — yes like bullet-proof vest Kevlar!</p> <p>I think I’m close to my suggested 40-hour break-in time. While the AF78s are quieter than your standard earbuds, the clarity is superior. The sound is natural, flat and clear. No distorted bass, scooped mids or washy hi-hats here. The Comply foam ear tips are a nice touch. They include regular silicone tips, but the Comply tips act like Memory Foam to help combat fatigue.</p> <p>Accessories included with the AF78 earbuds include a compact storage tin, an airline and splitter adaptor, a Clear-Talk supported mic with on/off switch, a cleaning brush and six sets of noise-isolating ear tips. Four of the sets are your standard silicon ear tips, the remaining two sets are Audifly’s Comply foam tips. There's a limited five-year warranty.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.audiofly.com/">audiofly.com</a><br /> <strong>Price</strong>: $192.90 retail</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-audioflys-af78-earbuds-built-musicians-musicians#comments Audiofly Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Accessories Blogs Gear Tue, 26 Nov 2013 17:52:03 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19866 Review: The IceStand by D&A Guitar Gear http://www.guitarworld.com/review-icestand-da-guitar-gear <!--paging_filter--><p>I’m guilty of having committed a serious crime: I've leaned my guitar against my amp or in a corner when playing out. </p> <p>Why do I do this? I’m a minimalist when it comes to the gear I bring to a gig.</p> <p>D&amp;A Guitar Gear has released the IceStand. It’s touted as a guitar or bass stand that can fit in a gigbag and be set up in two simple steps, all while weighing less than your average 20-foot guitar cable. </p> <p>So now I have no excuse; there are no small parts to lose in the abyss of a dimly lit club, and it will fit easily into my guitar or cable bag. Folded up, it can even fit into a coat or pants pocket, but that might drum up some weird looks at the gas station before or after the gig.</p> <p>There are two IceStand models: the Electric and the Acoustic. The Acoustic model is taller with a wider base, 5 and a half inches vs. the Electric model’s 2-and-a-half-inch base. The IceStand is built from a durable translucent material. All parts that come in contact with your guitar are coated in a black polymer material to avoid unwanted scratch marks.</p> <p>The stand comes with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects. I’ve dropped and stepped on both of my IceStands in the few short weeks we’ve been together, and they’ve been completely forgiving. </p> <p>I’d recommend these to just about any guitarist or bassist for home or gig use. My only caution would be to players who use oddly shaped instruments. My B.C. Rich Mockingbird and Fender Jazz Bass sat on a slight angle, potentially putting them in danger of an unobservant pet or drunk lead singer. Pictured below, I have a Strat, P-bass, Les Paul and dreadnought acoustic sitting perfectly on the IceStand.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.heydna.com/products/icestand-electric-guitar-stand">heydna.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $26.99 Electric model, $29.99 Acoustic model</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-icestand-da-guitar-gear#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Accessories Blogs Gear Thu, 21 Nov 2013 21:01:39 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19826 Review: The Lion Tamer Compression and Sustain Pedal by Circus Freak http://www.guitarworld.com/review-lion-tamer-compression-and-sustain-pedal-circus-freak <!--paging_filter--><p>Compression is a great way to compliment your playing, whether you’re looking to tighten up your dynamics or add a different dimension to your sound. Recently I’ve been checking out The Lion Tamer by Circus Freak.</p> <p>Circus Freak builds its pedals in the US. Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be exact. Before I go any further, I have to point out the crafty circus-themed names and artwork on all the Circus Freak pedals. I mean, there’s a fuzz pedal called The Bearded Lady!</p> <p>OK, onto The Lion Tamer. </p> <p>It’s a three-knob compressor/sustainer pedal. From left, the knobs are Volume, Attack and Sustain. The pedal is surrounded by aluminum and stainless steel. Circus Freak’s unique rail-mount bottom makes it convenient to tuck cables under it or mount the pedal to a pedalboard. The Lion Tamer can be powered by a 9-volt battery as well as a 9- or 18-volt adapter.</p> <p>Plugging it in, the pedal is pretty straightforward. Volume acts as your make-up gain, Attack adjusts the speed of when the compression hits, and Sustain offers everything from a quick decay to a nearly endless sustain. Like any good compressor, The Lion Tamer didn’t tamper with the EQ of my signal. </p> <p>How does it sound? Below are some clips.</p> <p><strong>Clip No. 1</strong> is a Telecaster playing a country-influenced lick without The Lion Tamer. Then I play the same lick with some heavier compression added to even out the peaks and bring out that country twang.</p> <p><strong>Clip No. 2</strong> is a Strat through a small practice amp. I have a light overdrive on and The Lion Tamer set to a low compression setting with the sustain boosted to about 1 o’clock. It makes a small practice amp sound much bigger by mimicking the natural compression you’d get from cranking a larger tube amp. This is a cool trick to try when recording. </p> <p><strong>Clip No. 3</strong> is a Strat with single coils. I added a significant amount of volume and sustain with the Attack knob dialed back. My goal was to get the single-coil pickups of the Strat to sound more like humbuckers. </p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="400" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/14545282"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://circusfreakmusic.com/">circusfreakmusic.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $179.95</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-lion-tamer-compression-and-sustain-pedal-circus-freak#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Circus Freak Effects Blogs Gear Wed, 13 Nov 2013 20:46:40 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19758 Review: Ernie Ball Power Peg Pro String Winder http://www.guitarworld.com/review-ernie-ball-power-peg-pro-string-winder <!--paging_filter--><p>Growing up as a '90s kid, I remember Tim Allen’s character on <em>Home Improvement</em> being obsessed with giving his power tools one thing — more power! </p> <p>Ernie Ball did just that when it revamped its popular Power Peg String Winder and created the Power Peg Pro.</p> <p>If you’re unfamiliar with the product, it's a battery-powered string winder built into a compact drill. The Power Peg Pro runs on its own supplied rechargeable lithium battery. A wall charger is included. </p> <p>There's a locking safety switch so the drill won’t power on inside a gig bag or toolbox. Other features include a comfortable rubber grip, forward and reverse rotations at up to 200 rpm and a one-size-fits-all drill bit.</p> <p>The Power Peg Pro worked on every guitar and bass I had sitting around my practice room. I ran my own scientific Operation Kill test to see how long I could run the drill on the batteries. After three restrings over the course of a week, I stepped up my game and rubber-banded down the trigger for more than an hour before it ran out of juice.</p> <p>Recharging was as simple as plugging it into a wall. A red light on the drill indicates it’s charging. Once the light is out, you’re good to go. Ernie Ball claims the Power Peg Pro is 80 percent quicker than restringing by hand. I can’t challenge that, but it made restringing my 12-string unbelievably quicker.</p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.ernieball.com/">ernieball.com</a><br /> <strong>Street price</strong>: $42.99</p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-ernie-ball-power-peg-pro-string-winder#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Ernie Ball Accessories Blogs Gear Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:19:24 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19657 Review: The Tapo by Editors Keys — a Capo and Tuner in One http://www.guitarworld.com/review-tapo-editors-keys-capo-and-tuner-one <!--paging_filter--><p>In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend in guitar accessories: We suddenly like to clamp things on top of our headstocks! </p> <p>I’ve seen clip-on tuners, capos, sustain devices — even mounts to hold a smartphone. What’s next, a big-screen TV? </p> <p>The Tapo by Editors Keys takes two common accessories — a capo and a clip-on tuner — and melds them together in one handy piece. The capo end of the Tapo is indeed a sturdy metal capo. It has rubber padding so it doesn't scratch your instrument. There's a visible spring that keeps tension in order. </p> <p>Up top is the tuner. To clear things up, the tuner works the same way most clip-on tuners work — by picking up string vibrations. So the tuner works when the capo isn't in use, as long as it’s clamped to the top of the headstock. The tuner operates in three modes; chromatic, guitar and bass mode. </p> <p>Tune down? No problem. The Tapo can function with three flats or one and a half steps below standard tuning. The box says the tuner functions from 27.5hz-4186hz. Tracking was smooth on everything I tried it on, from a guitar to a five-string bass with the low B tuned to A. </p> <p>To conserve battery, the Tapo will go into power-saving mode if there is no signal picked up over a span of 30 seconds.</p> <p><strong>Web: <a href="http://www.editorskeys.com/tapo-guitar-capo-tuner/">editorskeys.com</a><br /> <strong>Street price</strong>: $24.99</strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PDzyS7jUxU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-tapo-editors-keys-capo-and-tuner-one#comments Acoustic Nation Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Editors Keys Accessories Gear Blogs Gear Mon, 04 Nov 2013 18:00:08 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19656 Review: Electro-Faustus Drum Thing http://www.guitarworld.com/review-electro-faustus-drum-thing <!--paging_filter--><p>If you’ve ever picked up a heavily distorted guitar and yelled into the pickups, you’ll dig the Drum Thing by Electro-Faustus. </p> <p>Electro-Faustus bills itself as a "noise device" builder. Whereas some companies pride themselves for making replicas of famous effects, Electro-Faustus wants to offer something new. </p> <p>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. </p> <p>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. </p> <p><strong>Clip No. 1</strong> demos a purely clean sound. I just plugged the Drum Thing into my computer and tapped away. </p> <p><strong>Clip No. 2</strong> is where I built a helpful practice loop. I recorded two tracks of the Drum Thing. My “snare” is the clean sound of the Drum Thing. My “kick drum” is the Drum Thing with a Boss octave pedal after it to lower the pitch. On top of all that I recorded a rhythm guitar track I could solo over.</p> <p>For <strong>Clips No. 3 and 4</strong>, I had some fun with my Digitech Synth Wah and an overdrive pedal after the Drum Thing, creating some wild rhythmic ambience. </p> <p><strong>Web</strong>: <a href="http://www.electrofaustus.com/">electrofaustus.com</a><br /> <strong>Street Price</strong>: $59.95. There's a smaller version, the Drum Thing Mini, for $39.95.</p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F115342633"></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F115342636"></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F115342640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/115443904"></iframe></p> <p><em>You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at thisguyonbass@gmail.com.</em></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/review-electro-faustus-drum-thing#comments Billy Voight Billy's Breakdown Electro-Faustus Accessories Effects Blogs Gear Tue, 15 Oct 2013 12:08:59 +0000 Billy Voight http://www.guitarworld.com/article/19467