Acoustic Guitar Pedals

vapor trail for acoustic

The new line of pedals from Seymour Duncan sounds just as good on an acoustic guitar as they do on electric. One favorite is the Vapor Trail, which is a true analog delay pedal that provides bucket brigade-driven warm echo and easy-to-use, expansive controls. It also has a TRS jack which lets you add effects to the wet signal only by using a Y-cable. While many guitarists have started using it for electric guitar – including Misha Mansoor of Periphery, Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails, Jeff Schroeder of the Smashing Pumpkins, and Peter Frampton - It also sounds phenomenal for other instruments (the violinist of Airborne Toxic Event is a fan) and is well-suited to both vocals and acoustic guitar. In this article we will explore its use in a purely acoustic context. We’ll also look at the Shapeshifter Stereo Tremolo and the Pickup Booster.
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How To Tune A Guitar


To guitar players who have been playing a few months or more, there is nothing quite as irritating as listening to an out-of-tune guitar. While tuning is somewhat difficult to understand in the first few weeks of guitar playing (less so now with automatic tuners), guitarists in this modern age have many ways we can tune our guitars. While this article focuses on standard tuning (more on that in a minute), it can be applied to many of the tunings the kids are using these days. This a beginning primer featuring a little history, some physics, and has a roundup of the many options we have for keeping our guitar in tune with the rest of our musical world. Continue reading

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Sweep Picking Demystified

Sweep-picking is another one of those guitar techniques shrouded in mystery and folklore. One that, while great to have in one’s arsenal, much like hammer-ons is great until it’s overused. Unless you’re Yngwie Malmsteen or Eddie Van Halen, it’s better to use either or both as spice rather than the meat of a solo. While I’ve previously done a Duncan blog tutorial/breakdown on The Art of the Hammer (on), let’s take a look at what’s so cool about sweep-picking, and how when, especially applied to arpeggios, is a great tool to have at ones’ disposal. Continue reading

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Effects Basics: Tremolo


You know the sound. It has been on thousands of records. It was built into the most popular amplifiers for a few decades. It was the first guitar effect pedal ever produced. Tremolo has been around for over 65 years, and is making a comeback as roots, rockabilly, Americana, and other electric folk styles are coming back into fashion again. While players of a certain age grew up with tremolo (sometimes as their only effect), it is becoming more popular with new players as well as those who want to inject some buttery vintage goodness into their sonic cake batter. Like my other Effects Basics articles here and here, this article will explain what tremolo actually is, touch on some history, and look at the modern evolution of the most vintage of effects types. Continue reading

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My Top 10 Favorite Live Guitar Albums


You know, live albums can be hit or miss. You can go the Pink Floyd route, and make them almost indistinguishable from the studio recording with some crowd noise, or it can be like The Who’s Live at Leeds, where something was captured that never existed before or since. Whatever your musical tastes, we balance the idea that live recordings should sound like the songs we are familiar with, yet bring the excitement of a live show. For those that have followed my lists, you know they will probably be slanted towards old school fusion and prog (like this one), but hopefully there will be something here that sounds interesting enough to check out further. By the way, with all due respect to Ace, Peter, Paul, and Gene (and Daryl Hall), Kiss is not on my list.* Continue reading

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Balancing Time for Guitar in Your Life


Guitarists aren’t much different than the rest of the world. We never get enough time to pursue the things we love. This can be practicing or performing, or working on our guitar rig. Researching which amps or strings to buy takes time too, and with the music industry screaming at you to “Look over HERE!”, we need that precious time to sort through hyperbole and find the elements of our tone that are really worth our attention. Being that most consumers of guitar-related gear work hard at a job that has nothing to do with music, time spent home is precious and usually spent with family. This article will give some suggestions to help keep guitar in our life, and balance it with the other demands on our time. Continue reading

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Keith Merrow’s New 6-String Metal Bridge Shootout

6 string metal video 2015

When Keith Merrow made a video shootout of twelve Seymour Duncan bridge pickups in a metal context, it was a runaway hit. Keith’s video – especially through a set of headphones – provided a clear breakdown of exactly how each pickup in the shootout was different from the next. Of course we’ve released a number of new pickups since then and rather than simply edit in some more clips to the original video, Keith has gone back to the trenches and created a whole new video using that now-classic riff to demonstrate the original pickups plus even more! Here it is. Listen with headphones and at highest quality for the best results, and check out the guitar-only examples in the second half of the video to get an even clearer idea of the character of each pickup.

The pickups covered are:

Full Shred
Alternative 8
Custom 5
Dave Mustaine Livewire
Black Winter

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Preparing For The Worst To Sound The Best

Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed Distortion

Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed Distortion

If you already have a pedalboard (most of us probably do), have you ever ran it into another amp on the fly without changing anything? What did it sound like? You probably had to make some tweaks to both the amp and the board but were you able to dial in a decent sound fairly quickly? In a pinch, this can be a very frustrating experience especially since most of us are very picky about our tone. Is this a bad thing? No! But, most guitarists who have played out or toured know that you don’t always have control over where your signal goes after your pedalboard. Let’s face it: we guitarists want our tone and we want to sound the best that we can. Unfortunately, there are scenarios that can hinder that tone if we aren’t prepared to counter them. There are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for success in 99.9% of the situations you may encounter in both the standard gigging circuit and touring circuit. Here are some quick tips that have worked for me: Continue reading

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5 Neck Humbuckers Compared

These new demos compare five versatile neck pickup options in rock, blues, metal and clean demonstrations. The Marshall is used for clean tones, Cornford for blues, Orange for rock and Peavey 5150 for metal.

The Jazz Model neck humbucker uses an alnico 5 bar magnet and a special coil wind for an articulate, glassy treble response that balances very well with its full, but tight low end.

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Friends of SD: Jericho Guitars



With all of the companies both big and small out there, it is great that a company comes along with a vision and sticks to it. Jericho Guitars is one of those companies. Jericho Guitars focuses on long-scale instruments. See, back in the day, Gibson guitars, with their 24.75″ scale were considered ‘short scale’ and Fender, with their 25.5″ scale was considered ‘long scale’. Well times have changed, tunings have gotten lower, strings have gotten thicker, and music has gotten heavier. Jericho Guitars focuses on true, modern, long scale guitars starting at 26.9″ for 6 strings and going up to 27″ for 8 strings. This article will introduce you to Jericho Guitars, their unique vision, and their selection of models featuring Seymour Duncan pickups. Based in Texas, all of the Jericho Guitars’ models are available for delightfully surprising prices. Continue reading

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