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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+-
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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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24 of the Best Compact High Gain and Metal Style Distortion Pedals - 2019 Edition

Abasi ConceptsAleks K ProductionAmptweakerAMT ElectronicsAnarchy AudioBossDistortionDOD EffectsDunn EffectsEngl AmplificationFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringKHDKLone Wolf AudioMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionREVV AmplificationVS AudioWamplerWeehboXIX Tech FX+-
2019GPX24CompactMetalDistortions700-min.jpg

So last year I did a sort of 15 Metal Pedal overview - but I’ve come across a few more since - and there have been some new launches - so I thought it opportune to do a more extensive round-up. This is actually the first of a series of 4 articles featuring my favourite High Gain, Distortion, Fuzz and Overdrive - pedals - one feature per category - with 24 pedals in each overview. I have been doing these for the last couple of years and this is the 2019 series as such.

 

These are ...

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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+-
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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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12 of the Best Medium and Large High Gain / Metal style Distortion Pedals

AmptweakerBogner AmplificationBrown Sound DistortionDiezel AmplificationDistortionDual-DriveEmpress EffectsEVH ElectronicsEVH GearHorizon DevicesMarshall Style DistortionMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionMI EffectsMulti-DriveRockfabrik EffectsSeymour DuncanWampler+-
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Not unusually for me, but pretty much all of these that I don’t have yet are on my wishlist, and I’m still deciding on what order to acquire those in and which ’I need’ the most! My current big metal pedal trio consists of the excellent Diezel VH4-2, Empress Heavy and MI Effects Megalith Delta - I set the Diezel at the most extreme gain, then the Megalith Delta, and then the two voicings of the Empress Heavy. Each of these is a dual drive so there are myriad options here...

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15 of the Best Compact High Gain and Metal style Distortion Pedals

Aleks K ProductionAmptweakerAnarchy AudioBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDOD EffectsEngl AmplificationFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringKHDKMarshall Style DistortionMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionREVV AmplificationVS AudioWamplerXIX Tech FX+-
2018GPX15MetalPedals700-min.jpg

This article was prompted by my earlier piece on the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal / Alternatives, as well as a reader request to review the KHDK Dark Blood. As always though I never review anything in isolation - I try to take the pulse on the larger category and see what pedals are competing in that category and are worthy of consideration.

 

Even metal pedals as such have varying degrees of distortion, but I’ve tried to focus on those here that are intended as principally high ...

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Comparative Guitar Pedal Acquisition Strategy - 100 Medium to Large Pedal Edition

Bogner AmplificationBoost and OverdriveBuild Your Own CloneBYOCDelayDiezelDistortionElektronEmpress EffectsEVH GearFunction FXFuzzGamechanger AudioKeeley EngineeringMESA/BoogieMI EffectsModulationOrigin EffectsPitchReverbRockfabrik EffectsStone Deaf EffectsStrymonTech 21 NYCThorpyFXTruetoneUtilityWampler+-
2018AfBlg25CompMedLargeDirt700-min

As previously posted, my preferred pedal format is the compact / regular enclosure - ideally as close to Chase Bliss in design as possible - with multiple dials, voicing toggles and dual footswitches. There are moments though when 3-footswitch pedals - a la Empress, Eventide, Strymon and now Boss are advisable, and those are in the main the sorts of large pedals I use - the modulation, delay and reverb workstations. I also have some of the larger dual and multi-drive pedals, whose real-estate ...

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12 of the Best High Gain and Metal Pedals

AmptweakerDiezelDistortionDr ScientistDual-DriveElectro-HarmonixEmpress EffectsFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringMarshall Style DistortionMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionMI EffectsMooerMulti-DriveRockfabrik EffectsWampler+-
2018AfBlg12MetalPedals700

I’ve always liked high gain pedals but not necessarily the sort of music that gets made with them - usually not listening to anything heavier than Van Halen. Yet something has sparked my interest of late, and I picked up a favourite new band over Christmas which just happened to be metal - LA-based ’In This Moment’ I love the guitar sounds on all their albums - that rich and percussive tight rhythmic chugging. This has encouraged me more than even to concentrate also on ...

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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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Ultimate Guitar Amps - A Personal Selection

AmpsBossCarvin AmplificationCombo AmpGigging AmpHome-Play AmpKatanaMESA/BoogieModelling AmpPeaveySolid State AmpTube Amp+-
2017AfBlgDreamAmps700V2

Although my focus of late has very much been on pedals, I do of course still harbour a desire to improve my amp backline. As reported on several occasions now - I run an extensive pedal chain through a stereo rig with a Boss Katana 100 on the left channel and a Carvin V3MC (50W) on the right - piling everything into the front of those two amps while making great use of the TC Electronic Mimiq, and mostly playing at scaled down volumes - entirely for home-use - but still plenty raucous enough. ...

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12 Great Guitar Combo Amps for your Consideration

AmpsBlackstarBossCarvin AmplificationCombo AmpFenderFriedman AmplifcationGigging AmpHamstead SoundworksHome-Play AmpHughes and KettnerMad Professor EffectsMarshallMarshall AmplificationMESA/BoogieModelling AmpPaul Reed SmithPeaveyPRSSolid State AmpTube Amp+-
2017AfBlg12ComboAmps700

As posted previously, I only got back into guitar again last year, and a whole lot has changed since I was then involved. And while my Tone Quest has by and large been a hugely rewarding and successful endeavour, I made some significant mistakes in my early amp choices.

 

In my endeavour to keep things simple, I thought I could buy a great guitar, and an equally great modelling amp to cover all the bases / sounds I would need to generate. I was intrigued by the Line 6 Amplifi 150 - ...

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2019 50

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