All posts in September 2014

Episode 38- J.D. Simo


To check out JD and the Band got to


500 Words with Adam P Hunt- Pick up Magnets


Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio

500 Words From Adam P Hunt Magnets

The use of magnets is an old one and extends at least as far back as 600 BCE. Alnico magnets, the ones that we as musicians have come to know and love, however, are a startling recent development and only dates back to 1935.

Interestingly enough of Einstein’s work on the Unified Field Theory (an attempt to unify the conflicts between radiation, gravity and electro magnetism) dates from 1915 to 1933 after he wrote the On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies in 1905.

For centuries alchemists, amateurs, tinkerers, scientists and crackpots have sought not only to understand how magnets work but equally importantly how to make them more stable and permanent.

1921 saw the development of one of the first permanent magnets, the cobalt chrome steel magnet. The cobalt chrome steel magnet was quickly soon followed by the alnico and cunife magnets in 1935, the platinum cobalt magnet in 1936, ferrite (ceramic) magnets in 1951, samarium cobalt magnets in 1969, and rare earth magnets developed throughout the 1970’s and ‘80s.

Permanent magnets allowed stable, long lasting, powerful magnetic fields. According to The Magnetic Materials Group of SPS Technologies paper titled “Understanding and Using Permanent Magnets”;

“A permanent magnet is a material that when inserted into a strong magnetic field will not only begin to exhibit a magnetic field of it’s own, but also continue to exhibit a magnetic field once removed from the original field. This field would allow the magnet to exert force (ability to attract or repel) on other magnetic materials. The exhibited magnetic field would then be continuous without weakening provided the material is not subjected to a change in environment (temperature, demagnetizing field, etc.). The ability to continue exhibiting a field while withstanding different environments helps to define the capabilities and types of applications in which a magnet can be successfully used.“

These properties are extremely desirable where small magnets are needed especially in certain types of motors and watches, and especially for microphones, speakers, and guitar pickups.

Brian Robinson wrote a piece for the Scotty Moore website on the rise of the now fabled alnico V magnet pickups;

“Though the pickups had a specific designation at Gibson, they are referred to by collectors as “alnico V” pickups because they incorporated alnico V magnets. Use of an alnico V magnet isn’t particularly unique (Gibson has used the same magnet on several pickups) but that name has always stuck with that pickup. The pickup was designed by Seth Lover, the man who invented the humbucker. Gibson had been using the P90 pickup exclusively on all electric guitars for several years. Gibson asked Lover, who worked for Gibson in its R&D and electronics department, to come up with a more powerful pickup that more closely resembled the D’Armond single coil pickup that was popular at that time (D’Armonds were most notably used on the Gretsch duo jet line and other Gretsch electrics)”.

Episode 37- Sparky Quano, Adam P Hunt Joins GRS & Our Next Giveaway!


500 Words from Adam Hunt- The History of FUZZ!!!


As promised here is our first installment of 500 words from Adam Hunt.

Adam P Hunt is a freelance writer who has previously written for The Library Journal and Premier Guitar Magazine. We are so happy to have him join us here at Guitar Radio


500 Words From Adam P Hunt

History of Fuzz

Whether it’s a snarling mass of bee-dogs or a subtle hair around the edges of a decaying note fuzz has been an integral part of rock ‘n’ roll from the very start. Depending whom you believe fuzz was first appeared on record with the Jackie Brenston/Ike Turner tune “Rocket 88” in 1951.

Legend has it that Willie Kizart’s ratty guitar tone was due to a damaged amplifier that was either soaked with rain after being strapped roof of a car or as a result of being dropped on the ground. Whatever the cause the fat, honky, rough around the edges sound blended perfectly with the in-your-face sax and Jackie Brenston’s husky vocals.

While “Rocket 88” may not be the first rock ‘n’ roll song in recorded history (some sources site Goree Carter’s 1949 “Rock Awhile”) it is still as hot as an Oldsmobile with a bum thermostat and bad oil pressure.

Another early example of early distortion/fuzz sounds can also be heard on the 1950 recording “Boogie in the Park” by Joe Hill, Howlin’ Wolf’s 1951 “How Many More Years” (with Willie Johnson on guitar) and of course 1958’s “Rumble” by Link Wray & his Ray Men.

Early fuzz tones were due in part to either damaged equipment, low watt amplifiers being ran wide open with a big box guitar, or, as in the case with Link Wray, razor sliced speaker cones but after this point the history of fuzz gets a little… uh… fuzzy.

Del Halterman’s book “Walk-Don’t-Run-The Story of the Ventures” talks hints quite broadly at some innovative pedals created by guitarist Orville “Red” Rhodes but it seems that “Red’s” pedals were not commercially available.

Credit for the first fuzz pedal goes to a radio technician, Revis Hobbs. Working on the behest of The Ventures producer Lee Hazlewood Hobbs and recording engineer Glenn Snoddy would reverse engineered a faulty transformer on the a defective mixing consul that caused session guitarist Grady Martin’s “tic tack bass” to distort on the end of Marty Robbins 1961 hit “Don’t Worry”.

The result of Hobbs and Snoddy’s efforts would result in the first commercially available fuzz pedal, the FZ-1 and the FZ-1A Maestro Fuzz-Tone, by Gibson.

Like many of Gibson’s avant garde designs the Maestro Fuzz-Tone was not an immediate success. The pedal was initially geared towards country players and even Les Paul’s name was attached to some of the Fuzz-Tone’s early literature.

It seems that the Fuzz-Tone was destined for obscurity that is until Keith Richards got hold of one. When it came time to record the song “Satisfaction” Richards said, “I was imagining horns, trying to imitate their sound to put on the track later when we recorded. I’d already heard the riff in my head, the way Otis Redding did it later, thinking this is gonna be the horn line. But we didn’t have any horns… The fuzz tone came in handy so I could give a shape to what the horns were supposed to do”.

Episode 36- Milk Man Amps