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Preferred Stereo Amp Setup - Principals and Understudies, Solid State and Tube - A Personal Selection!

AmpsBossCarvin AmplificationCombo AmpHome-Play AmpHughes and KettnerMESA/BoogieModelling AmpSolid State AmpTube Amp+-
2019GPXStereo4AmpsRig700.jpg

When I started down this road many moons ago, my intentions were to keep things as simple as possible - but that particular rule book has long since been torn up and thrown under the bus. My rig has evolved pretty organically into a stereo setup - where I always have and most likely always will have a Solid-State amp on the Left Channel, and an All Tube variety on the right (along with 40 or so pedals in my pedal-chain).

 

My current incumbents are the Boss Katana KT100 and Carvin V3MC -...

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Best of Polish Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

AmpsAnalogWise PedalsBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoDelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersExar ElectronicsFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGigging AmpG-Lab Guitar LaboratoryGlitchGranular DelayHexe Guitar ElectronicsHome-Play AmpLongAmpMarshall Style DistortionModulationOccvlt PedalsOctave FuzzOverdrivePower SuppliesReverbSilicon FuzzSitek Guitar ElectronicsSuper-Fuzz StyleTaurus AmplificationTube AmpUtilityYankee Power+-
2019GPXBestPolishBuilders700V2-min.jpg

Poland was both trickier and yet eventually easier to rationalise than originally perceived. I have scanned through many a country now, and Poland seems to be the last of those with sufficient numbers of high calibre pedal builders to warrant a dedicated feature*. As noted before - these sorts of article take quite a lot of work to complete - and so this is the last of these I will be doing for a while.

 

* Note that USA and Japan are the leading pedal builders of the world still and too...

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10 of the Best New Guitar Amps Released in 2018

3rd Power AmpsAmp CabinetAmp HeadAmpsBossCombo AmpGigging AmpHome-Play AmpKoch AmpsMESA/BoogieModelling AmpPaul Reed SmithPRSSolid State AmpSuproTube AmpVox Amplifcation+-
2018GPXBestNewAmps2018700-min.jpg

I feel Boss still kind of bossed it in 2018 - with 3 heavy hitters that took on all-comers in those categories - the Katana Air, Katana Artist and Nextone Artist - a trio pretty much suited for any sort of conditions - the first as the best of the portable practice amps - and the latter two as the ultimate versatile gigging-machines - for those that still like to lug amps around.

 

I feel that this sort of cabinet form factor of amp will be largely restricted to more fixed locations as ...

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Best of German Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

AmpsAnalog DelayBitcrushing and Lo-FiBluGuitarBoostBoost and OverdriveDelayDiezel AmplificationDistortionEffects Pedal MakersGigging AmpHexe EffectsHome-Play AmpJPTR FXKMA AudioLehleMetal DistortionModulationNeo InstrumentsNobelsOKKO FXOverdrivePhaserRotary SpeakerTube AmpTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtility+-
2018GPXBestOfGermanPedals-min.jpg

After the Best of French roundup, the German leg of the European tour turned out to be quite arduous. Germany have easily as many pedal builders as he UK but with a little more strength in depth. There’s a mix of everything from Germany - both vintage and innovation, and they’re of course very strong in the area of overdrive and distortion as backed up by their many superb high-gain amp builders.

 

Overall, I felt that there were a few more brands here that I was familiar ...

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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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The Perfect Guitar Amp Design / Next Level Boss Katana

AmpsBossCombo AmpGigging AmpGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesHome-Play AmpIdeal Amp FormatKatanaModelling AmpPrototype-XSolid State Amp+-
2018IdealAmp-min.jpg

I will preface this article with two statements - firstly, I currently run a stereo rig with a 39-pedal-chain, going into a Boss Katana KT100 on the left channel, and an all-tube Carvin V3MC on the right. The Katana is obviously a digital modelling amp based on an EL34 tube amp profile, while the Carvin V3MC runs on proper EL84 tubes - which gives you a lovely warm, dynamic and sparkly tone. The two amp profiles combine really well together to give you a beautifully harmonically rich and wide-...

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6 of the Best Amps introduced at Winter NAMM 2018

Amp CabinetAmp HeadAmpsBossCombo AmpEVH GearGigging AmpHome-Play AmpKoch AmpsModelling AmpPaul Reed SmithPRSSolid State AmpTube AmpVox Amplifcation+-
2018AfBlg6NAMMAmps700

I know many guitar aficionados prefer to spend most of their money on amps, then guitars, then pedals. While in many ways I’m the other way around really. Although I wouldn’t mind spending around £2K for an amp or a guitar once I’ve saved up, my guitar will always take precedence as the highest ticket value item. For me the guitar is the start of the tone journey, and so much of what is important in handling a guitar and achieving great tone and dynamics is impacted by ...

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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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4 Great Power-Scaling Tube Amps for Home Use

AmpsCombo AmpEVH GearGigging AmpHome-Play AmpHughes and KettnerLaney AmplificationMESA/BoogieModelling AmpSolid State AmpTube Amp+-
2017AfBlg4HomeAmps700

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve really fallen into a pattern for the kinds of amps I like. Being an entirely home player, I really don’t need anything above 50 Watts, and in fact 99% of the time I need a lot lot less. The thing all home-play amps need to have is some kind of attenuation or power scaling - so that you can achieve fully saturated tones at low volumes.

 

One of the key reasons home players use so many pedals is that it’s usually the best and ...

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BOSS is quite literally Bossing things again these days

AmpsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoost and OverdriveBossCombo AmpDistortionDriveDual-DriveGuitarsHeadless GuitarsHome-Play AmpKatanaMarshall Style DistortionModelling AmpMulti-DriveSolid State AmpStranberg+-
2017AfBlgBossBossing700

Around a couple of years ago, Boss - the king of pedal-makers, seemed to have lost its way a little - it had become somewhat stale and staid in a marketplace where it still had the lion’s share of the action. While Boss had kind of rested on its laurels - a number of innovative companies had risen up and were nipping at its heels in one way or another - e.g. Strymon, TC Electronic and even JHS.

 

And within a relatively short while of not doing very much innovating at all, Boss is ...

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