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RIP Jim Dunlop - King of the Picks

CryBabyDunlop EffectsDunlop ManufacturingDunlop PicksGuitar AccessoriesGuitar HeroesJimi HendrixMXRPicks and PlectrumsPitchUtilityWay Huge Effects+-
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Dunlop Manufacturing is one of the many, as well as one of the chief family businesses in the general guitar industry / sector - setting the pace and scope of what’s possibly with quality gear alongside outfits like Ernie Ball for over half a century (since 1965). And while Jim’s involvement of late has not been so prominent as in previous years, he has nonetheless left an indelible mark on the brands that he developed, innovated and evolved.

 

Dunlop probably means a great ...

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Keyztone EXchanger vs SIM1 XT-1 vs Alternatives

Ernie Ball Music ManFishmanGuitar AccessoriesKeyztoneLine 6SIM1Utility+-
2018GPXExChangerSim1700-min.jpg

I’ve watched a few demos of the Keyztone EXchanger pedal recently, and it brought to mind a number of different technologies all trying to do the same thing really, and none more similar than the slightly older Sim 1 XT-1. I like the neatness of the Keyztone offering - 8 classic pickup sounds in one rather compact and streamlined pedal. I wonder if 8 is the right number of options as compared to Sim 1 XT-1’s 12 presets, and the 22 different variations available on Line 6 Variax ...

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The Really Useful Sub £100 Guitar Tools and Utilities Gift Guide

Crimson GuitarsEbowErnie BallGear MaintenanceGruv GearGuitar AccessoriesGuitar MaintenanceGuitar ToolsIbanezMusic NomadPlanet WavesPower SuppliesRoadie 2 TunerRoadie TunerTC ElectronicThaliaTrue ToneTunersUtilityWittner+-
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These are all tools, utilities and gadgets that I have and love and use all the time, or are on my wishlist for imminent acquisition. I’ve chosen to stick to the more casual side of guitar maintenance - and have thus excluded things such as fret-rockers and the like. If you want to do full setup, intonation and nuanced maintenance of your guitar you will need some more serious tools than these - these are really just for everyday maintenance, string changes, quick restore, buff and polish...

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Thoughts on Modifications, Partscasters and Kit Building, and DIY Guitar Making in general

Analysis PlusBen CroweBig Leg CircuitsChristopher OwenCrimson GuitarsDarrell BraunGear MaintenanceGuitar AccessoriesGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitar Gear ResourcesGuitar Gear RetailGuitar MaintenanceGuitarsPaul Reed SmithPRSSchallerSeymour DuncanThe Tone KingWarmoth Custom Guitar Parts+-
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This article was inspired by a number of things really, but most recently triggered by a few YouTube videos - by Louis The Tone King and Darrell Braun. I’ve been an avid follower of Louis, Darrell and one Ben Crowe over at Crimson Guitars for a few years now. I have watched all of Ben’s crazy guitar builds and have for a long time been tempted to go on one of the Crimson Guitar Building Courses and make my own axe as it were.

 

In my recent feature about Guitar Tuning ...

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Best of Summer NAMM 2018 - Pedals, Guitars and Amps

Alexander PedalsAmp CabinetAmp HeadAmpsBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossChorus and VibratoCompressorDelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveDwarfcraftEVH GearFenderFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGigging AmpGlitchGuitar AccessoriesGuitarsHome-Play AmpHungry Robot EffectsKlone and Transparent OverdriveKorora AudioLo-Fi DelayMagnetic EffectsMassive UnityMatthews EffectsMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMXROctave FuzzOctaverOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOffset GuitarsOhmless PedalsOld Blood Noise EndeavorsOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSoundBrutS-Style and Double-Cut GuitarsSuhrTape DelayThe King of GearTube AmpTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtilityWay Huge EffectsWireless+-
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I always expect to be excited by the new prospects introduced at Summer NAMM, but it can be somewhat antic-climactic, particularly compared to this year’s very formidable Winter NAMM show. Several pedals that were announced there are still alas somewhat in the ether. I was expecting to see updates of the Empress Zoia and the Keeley Stereo Tape Delay pedal - but those were not forthcoming, which most probably means some production delays - I certainly can’t imagine the Zoia is going ...

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What Two Years of Tone-Questing Looks Like - Acquisitions, Passes and Still Probables

Big Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossChorus and VibratoCompressorCryBabyDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDunlop EffectsDunlop UltexElectro-HarmonixFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGuitar AccessoriesGuitarsKatanaMarshall Style DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOverdrivePaul Reed SmithPicks and PlectrumsPitchPRSReverbReverb WorkstationS-Style and Double-Cut GuitarsStrymonUtilityVolumeWah and Fixed Wah+-
2016AfBlgToneQuest700-min

As stated elsewhere, I got back into guitar again in September 2016, and initially had decided to keep it simple with a great guitar and a cool modern modelling amp. Yet I soon found out that this was not delivering the goods for me and decided in November 2016 that I should pursue the pedal / stompbox route also known as ’pedal platform route’.

 

A very great number of YouTube videos I watched in those early days, as well as pedalboard pictures on Pinterest featured Strymon ...

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2018AfBlgBossWireless-min

Following on from the launch of the wireless transmitter for the Katana Air Amp, Boss now makes that same technology available to everyone via 3 different offerings. I myself have long been a wireless user, and have been using a Line 6 Relay G10 for these last few years.

 

Boss’s innovation here is two-fold really, compared to my G10 - they have introduced the base-station receiver half in compact pedal format - for the WL-50 version. The second innovation is something called &...

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Electric Guitar String Theory - Gauge, Type, Tone, Touch, Lifespan, Price

D'AddarioDR StringsDunlop StringsElixirErnie BallGHS StringsGuitar AccessoriesOptima StringsPaul Reed SmithPRSRotoSoundStringsWilly's Mexican Lottery+-
2018AfBlgGuitarStringTheory700

Most 6 string guitars (electric) are supplied with standard 10 gauge (10-46) strings usually OEM’d for the guitar manufacturer by one of the main manufacturers or overseas subsidiaries. Some guitars are down-tuned by default, like my PRS Holcomb SE and those tend to have heavier gauges (10-52). 7, 8 and 9 string guitars have particularly heavy gauges, I may consider a 7 at some stage, but I’m really not going anywhere above that.

 

Both my current Guitars are PRS; my CE was ...

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Electric Guitar Tuning Essentials - Tools and Tips

D'AddarioDigiTechDown-TunerGuitar AccessoriesGuitar Gear ResourcesPitchRoadie TunerStretchaTC ElectronicTunersUtility+-
2018AfBlgTuningEssentials700

There’s both more and less to guitar tuning than most people might consider. At its most basic, guitar tuning can be done by ear - if you’re blessed to have perfect pitch you can hum to yourself the lower E and then tune the other strings relative to that - fretting each preceding string on the 5 or 4th(G) Fret. I have a pitch pipe for such a process - no electronics involved - simple but not particularly quick or efficient.

 

Then there is the various guitar tuners - which I...

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Boss is Still Totally Winning the Amp Wars - launches killer Wireless Katana Air 30W

AmpsBossCombo AmpGuitar AccessoriesHome-Play AmpKatanaModelling AmpSolid State AmpWireless+-
2018AfBlgBossKatanaAir700

After a lull of a several years, Boss is totally on fire these day! Pretty much since starting down the Waza Craft route in 2014. First the pedals, then the Waza Craft Amp Head and Cab, and since then the various Katana Amps that came out of that original product research and development.

 

I’ve been onboard with Katana since they were first announced, and already have the KTN-100 and Mini. I already use a wireless system - in the form of the Line 6 G-10, so I already love that ...

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