SD Mini-Humbuckers and the Hofner Beatle Bass

The Green Hofner Icon B BassThe Hofner Violin Bass is an icon in and of itself, due to one particular musician that happened to do pretty well in the 60s. It’s also an interesting instrument, because while it is classified as a short scale (30″) instrument, it actually requires a set of strings that would be classified as medium scale (34″). So when my suggestion to release a medium scale version of the GHS Precision Flats was approved, I naturally ran to grab one of this iconic basses to use as the test instrument. Yeah, that’s the reason I got it… It arrived in the office, the flats were strung up, I plugged it in and played as many of Sir Paul’s basslines as I could remember. And while the sound was “good” and definitely in that “A Hofner will always sound like a Hofner” category, I knew it could be better so I ran to the Seymour Duncan website to see what was available. Continue reading

Posted in The Tone Garage | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Strats


The Fender Stratocaster is a pretty unique instrument. I mean, just think: when it came out, natural finishes were all the rage, and other than its cousin the Telecaster, electric guitars contained their acoustic roots in the shapes, colors, and sounds. But the Strat changed everything. Leo Fender heard the music of the 1950s changing. He tapped into the Southern California hot rod culture for his color palette and refined his ‘easy to assemble with a versatile sound’ design in the Strat. While they were still available in natural and sunburst, he later added those colors we now call ’50s colors’ like Shoreline Gold, Seafoam Green, Shell Pink, and Daphne Blue. It is hard to imagine what they must have looked like on the walls of a late 1950s music store. With all the custom finishes available today, we have to give our thanks where it all began. This article is about the top five things I love about a Strat. Now, I’m using a pretty broad brush here, and including Strat-a-likes (I have a Warmoth, as well as an ’82 ‘The Strat’), as well as some shredsticks too, which wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Leo and his design team. Continue reading

Posted in The Tone Garage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Ins & Outs Of Effects Loops


If you’ve been a guitarist for more than five minutes, you’re pretty familiar with effects. Effects can morph our plain guitar sound into something from outer space or just make it seem a little bigger than it actually is. There are many different kinds of effects out there, and many theories stating the ‘correct’ order of effects in your Chain of Sonic Domination. One thing everyone can agree on is that eventually, all those effects have to get plugged into an amp. In the old days, when men wore high trousers and suspenders, there was only one way to plug anything in – the singular jack called ‘input’ – and it was good. Amps soon got more sophisticated, and in the back of most modern amps are a pair of jacks which get the title of ‘effects loop.’ For the uninitiated, this article will explain what these jacks are for, and why at least some of your effects should get plugged into them. Continue reading

Posted in The Tone Garage | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Preventing Disaster: Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis And Hearing Loss

BINGBONGWhen you’re young, these aren’t the kinds of things you think about. No matter how hard you play, your body bounces right back to normal. But if you are serious about making a career in music, then these are important things to work to prevent. Many musicians have had their careers cut short – or life just made more miserable – by being plagued by two of the most common ailments for a long-time musician: Tendonitis and Hearing Loss. In this article we are going to look at these two common ailments, how to prevent them and lessen the impacts of the symptoms.

Continue reading

Posted in The Players Room | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

For What It’s Worth: Valuing Your Work As A Musician


We can get this out of the way right now. Most people who play guitar are not professionals. The musical instrument and accessories industries realized several years ago that in order to be successful you have to market to pros, semi-pros and hobbyists alike. No matter where you put yourself in the Venn diagram of the music business, you probably care about the music you make and the gear you use to make it. You probably spent hours practicing, maybe even getting a band together, and hopefully doing a few gigs. This article isn’t really aimed at the working pros; they have already made the choice to put a value on their musical work. This article is for the current and future hobbyist and semi-pros who are either thinking about entering the world of musical commerce, or have already dipped their toes in the water. Continue reading

Posted in The Players Room | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Difficulties In Amplifying An Acoustic Guitar


Acoustic guitars have always presented a problem when playing at higher volumes. Back in the day (as the kids say), if you wanted a louder acoustic guitar, you bought a bigger acoustic guitar. Bigger bodies = more volume, as there is more wood to vibrate and project the sound towards the listener. But what if you have to play a big club or theater with hundreds or thousands of people? Huh? HUH? You could get a guitar the size of the stage itself, but I bet you wouldn’t like how it sounded! This article will explain some of the difficulties that acoustic guitarists face when wanting just to be heard. Continue reading

Posted in The Tone Garage | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Know Your Amp: Different Kinds of Tubes


A selection of vintage tubes

If the transformers are the heart of your amp and the preamp is the brain, then the soul must be the tubes. But the thing is, there are so many tubes available, how can we discern the differences? Continue reading

Posted in The Tone Garage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Hello, NYC Bass Pickups

The NYC Bass pickups are the same thing that we’ve been making for some of the world’s finest handcrafted basses. They each use a dual coil J-type pickup design with a double row of Alnico Pole pieces. The resulting pickups provide a more organic tone and they are very versatile without sacrificing output level and power. They give a very even balanced response up and down the fretboard all without any unwanted noise. They come standard with 4-conductor cable so you can wire them up in multiple configurations:

Continue reading

Posted in Product News | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Talking Tone With Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen

There aren’t many players who can say they’ve spearheaded an entire genre, but Yngwie J Malmsteen is among this esteemed few. Yngwie synthesised the worlds of classical melodicism and heavy rock energy in ways that had only been hinted at before, and in doing so he ignited a guitar revolution. With Yngwie currently on the road for his Guitar Gods tour with fellow virtuosi Bumblefoot and Gary Hoey, we caught up with the maestro to talk tone.

So tell me about the Guitar Gods tour…

The idea was my wife, April Malmsteen. She came up with the idea to put it together, I’m headlining with a bunch of other guys and it’s really cool! I chose the other guys – Uli Jon Roth [who unfortunately had to pull out of the tour due to visa issues] and I go way back. Thirty years, something like this. Bumblefoot is more like a …how do you describe that?!? And then Gary Hoey is more of a blues-influenced player. It’s good to have that variety, especially because it’s a long show. Continue reading

Posted in Backstage Pass | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Talking Tone With Novembers Doom’s Larry Roberts

Novembers Doom Chicago death/doom pioneers Novembers Doom have been at it for over two decades now, and they’ve seen many imitators come and go. And yet in all that time they’ve never been content to merely sit back and enjoy their status as co-authors of the genre; as new album Bled White will demonstrate, they continue to push forward into new territory while retaining their essential brutality and atmosphere. We caught up with guitarist Larry Roberts on the eve of the band’s European tour and the release of the album to talk doom.

How did the band approach Bled White compared to previous albums? This time around the process was a bit different for us. First of all, it basically took us about two and a half years to write this record. We really put a lot of emphasis on things like vocal melodies being a bit more complex and epic than before, as well as pushing ourselves to think outside the box a bit so as not to repeat ourselves too much. With each new album we strive to walk that line between exploring new ideas and sounds while still retaining an identifiable sound and style…which gets trickier as time goes by! But I think we succeeded with “Bled White”, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved here. Oh, and we also added a new drummer at the beginning of the writing process, so it took a bit of time working him into the fold and getting used to each others’ writing style, but it came together wonderfully in the end. Continue reading

Posted in Backstage Pass, Voices of Metal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments