Saturday, September 25

Did you ever switch off an "always on" pedal?

So I was playing around with my strat and new amp tonight, and it sounded pretty good. I went to go for a solo, and instead of hitting the boost button on my Strymon OB, I hit the bypass button. And it was like the heavens opened up and choirs of angels were grooving on it. My electric chain has had this great compressor sitting first and foremost in my chain, and always on, for about six months now. Then again, my amp has been different.

Just something about my Strat straight into this amp is intense. Everything was so musical, open, alive. I'm not hating my compressor (it's awesome, and besides, I bought it mainly for my acoustic playing, I've just been really, really lazy about it), but it's like a light-bulb went off when my OB.1 did. Just the slightest bit of compression really changed the way that this amp sounded with this guitar. I wonder if that means that my Blues Jr. has a good amount of natural compression, so the difference was pretty minimal?

Point is: I LOVE THIS AMP. Clips coming this week, once I get a chance, because you've got to hear this thing.

Thursday, September 23

New Gear: Fender Musicmaster Bass Amp

So I still can't stop buying gear. This one might be a little different; I might actually be in love. I'm still not sure yet if it's because of the tone or because of how freaking cool it looks, but here's my new amp!

Details: built in 1977 (going strictly by the date of the speaker), 6v6 tube amp (solid-state rectified) by Fender. It's got tone and it's got volume. And 12 watts. When I got it, it had a three-pronged, grounded power cord, which was a plus, but someone had broken the grounding tine off so they could fit it into a two-prong outlet. Aside from being moderately unsafe, it also gave me a ground hum, but four dollars and twenty minutes later, problem solved.

Let me just say, this thing is a monster. Built for basses, it's got just the right amount of low-end, and it crunches really, really well. I'm also very jazzed because every tube-amp I've owned has been EL84 based and this one has a whole other kind of tube. I just really, really like the sound that this thing is putting out, and that's with unknown tubes and the factory speaker, both of which are likely to get an upgrade sometime soon, but for now, it sure ain't broke.

There's a lot of debate that goes into old Fender amps, something about black-face vs. silver-face. To be honest, I don't think I care because this thing sounds great, though admittedly, I've never played a black-face amp. I will say that, for about $350, I got an all-tube, hand-wired (hard to believe, but Fender hand-wired their amps up until sometime in the 80's), truly vintage amp. That no one else has. A few mods to make it perfect, and I think this one is going to be a keeper.

I'll get out a more formal review once I've had some time to test it out (maybe even with sound clips, if you're lucky!), and I still haven't reviewed the Boss CE-2 that I got about two months ago, so that's on the block. Get excited, because I sure am.