All posts in October 2015

Fender Bassman Amp- 500 Words with Adam P Hunt

500 Words Fender Bassman

If the real thing don’t do the trick, no
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn it to the wick
Oooo, Barra-Barracuda

– Heart, Barracuda

Chug chugga chug chugga chuch chug … whaaaaa… pew! Didjyaknow the opening riff for Heart’s 1977 classic rock song “Barracuda” was played with a Telecaster and a ’56 Fender Bassman?

Yeah, I know, crazy, right?

But that perfect blend of snarl, grit, and rock ‘n’ roll attitude was probably the last thing Leo Fender had in mind when he produced the first 5B6 Bassman back in 1952. While there were some extremely primitive small-scale production amps that predate Fender’s Bassman the Bassman was a giant step forward in bass amplification.

Ampeg beat Leo to the punch by introducing an 18watt amp with a single 12” called the Super 800 in 1951 and a year later they introduced a more powerful 20watt version with a single 15” speaker. Ampeg

Feel the power!

Fender’s original 5B6 Bassman was also a low powered affair that sported a single 15”. By some accounts the 5B6 Bassman was not a staggering success. The combination of a single 15” speaker and an underwhelming 26watts of power lead to a murky and distorted tone with the 5B6 so something needed to change.

Leo and designer Freddie Tavares went back to the drawing board and in 1954 produced the much-improved 5D6. The 5D6 was a radical departure from the earlier 5B6 because it now used four 10” speakers rather than a single 15” and increased its wattage dramatically.

Additional improvements were added to the 1957 model that included three tone controls and in the 1958 version that included a presence control.

When Jim Marshall was approached by Pete Townshend to get a louder amplifier Jim Marshall looked to the 5F6-A Fender Bassman for inspiration.

While there are obvious differences between the earliest Marshall JTM45s and the Bassman (different power tubes, modified feedback circuit, completely different speakers) the Bassman somewhat fell out of favor with guitar players.

But not with everyone felt the Bassman’s best days were behind it. Buddy Guy’s piercing aggressive sound comes as much from his Strat as it does from his trusty ’59 Bassman.

Any one familiar with the body of Buddy’s work are familiar with his ability to go from sparkling cleans to face melting blasts of sonic mayhem and the Bassman was right there behind him.

When Fender eventually replaced the 5F6-A with the so-called “piggy back” models the Bassman went through some dramatic changes. Most of all the Bassman went from being a combo amp to becoming a separate head and speaker configuration and circuit changes were made to give it a clearer sound.

Fortunately for “tweed” fans Fender reintroduced the Bassman in its earlier configuration. For those with deeper pockets both Victoria Amps and Valve Train make tweed Bassman inspired amps too.

If you want a wild ride jack into a “tweed” Bassman, crank it up, and hang on, it’s an experience fo’ su’.

Episode 94- Paul Reed Smith

PRS for Ep

It was a true honor to talk to who is the very benchmark of guitar building. For more info on PRS Guitars go to- http://prsguitars.com/

Check out Paul’s Ted Talk- Inspiring!!-

PRS for Ep

Episode 93- Greg Koch

Koch Epi

For more on Greg go to- http://www.gregkoch.com

Check out Koch magic right here-

Koch Epi

Guitarlington 2015- Man, you should’ve been there!!

Hall

Amidst the sounds of guitars coming in a multitude of directions there lies a veritable treasure trove of new and some of the most sought after vintage guitars and amps on the planet. Yes, your at the 4 Amigos presented “Guitarlington” guitar show in Arlington Texas. This annual event has me yearning for October every year. This event is a fairly laid back joint of mostly friendly folks both buying and selling predominately vintage gear that is truly “Drool Worthy” from the pristine to the relic. As you stroll through the aisles (go slow, you don’t want to miss anything) it’s not uncommon to see many truly iconic guitars and on occasion an icon standing beside you gawking at the same bit of wire and wood, (This year we ran into everyone from the great Redd Volkaert to Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister).
Music Man
Tele

As in past years Heritage Auctions were in attendance tucked away in a private room, it’s always interesting to see the items I will never be able to afford, so I treat it as an opportunity to see and touch history. This year there were some truly inspiring instruments, like Roy Buchanan’s famous Tele, but the stand out for me was Mike Bloomfield’s “Chopped” Tele. this was the guitar used on the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band record. They were crazy enough to let me play it, and if you believe in “MOJO”, well this guitar had it. Hey, I make no apologies, I’m a complete guitar geek! Neither should you.
Bloomy 1Bloomy

Along with all of the amazing vintage gear and accessories there were a handful of new gear makers, some with a vintage bent and others that were pushing boundaries while trying to capture the audience at the Arlington Convention center. some of the standouts for me was a guitar maker out of Memphis Tennessee, Killer B Guitars http://www.killerbguitars.com Unique, highly playable handmade designs and beautiful woods featuring Dylan pickups. Another maker was K-Line Guitars out of St. Louis http://www.k-lineguitars.com providing a more traditional take on familiar designs, this “New Vintage” vibe is very welcoming and great to play. On the pedal front I stumbled across an incredibly versatile wonder box called the “Velvet Hammer” from Tone Forge http://tf0001.wix.com/toneforge This little monster had a wide variety of tones that I haven’t seen in a single pedal, well, maybe never! Then there was the “Texas Tone 12” amp from Blumentritt Amplification http://www.blumentritt.us that had the crisp cleans, and crunchy punch and pop I’m always looking for. All in all Guitarlington was a great weekend for the hardcore collector, the sometime/weekend warrior player and geeks like me!

Check out the 4 Amigos-
http://www.texasguitarshows.com

KevVelvet Hammer

500 Words- Adam P Hunt- The DigiTech Whammy Pedal

Whammy

500 Words DigiTech Whammy

Ah, the nineties… Rap rock, nu metal, grunge, alt rock, indie rock, riot grrrls and the DigiTech Whammy pedal.

Bigger than a Dunlop wah pedal, smaller than a breadbox, the large red pedal became a fairly standard piece of kit during that decade, especially if your name was either Tom or Dimebag.

The original WH-1 Whammy was first manufactured by IVL Technologies between 1989 and 1993 as a multi effect expression pedal. The WH-1 allowed a player to select between octaver, drop tune, pitch blends, wah and chorus like features. What made the WH-1 pedal stand out were these various features could be manipulated with the foot rocker and could achieve unique and startling affects on the fly.

For purists IVL Technologies still makes a version of the WH-1 under the under the “Morpheus Bomber” name.

Since it’s inception the Whammy has gone through several iterations including a bass version and a MIDI Whammy.

For the record I think “MIDI Whammy” would be a great name for either a small dog or a K-pop band.

As listeners we’ve probably more familiar with the Whammy’s more exaggerated uses more specifically at the hands of Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. Morello wanted a way to emulate the sounds of hip-hop DJ’s stutter, scratch, and pitch affects and the Whammy was just the thing.

Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell was also a prime mover (or prime offender) in helping to popularize the Whammy. Dime would use the pitch bend feature in such a way that sometimes it’s difficult to tell if he was using his whammy bar or his Whammy pedal.

But is that all there is to the Whammy? Is it simply and excuse too make funny noises? No.

The Whammy can also simulate slide guitar effects and for some one like me that is terrible at playing a slide that may be a real plus.

Several of the pitch blend options can also allow a player to simulate different guitar tunings; handy if you are restricted to bringing a single guitar to a gig.

Also, if you don’t want to rout out your favorite hardtail guitar in order to do divebombs, well… the Whammy simulates that sound too.

But to be honest with you, I’m running out of things to say. For a pedal that’s been around for so long and for one that is so widely used there’s remarkably little written about it.

Even though the Whammy is a polarizing pedal, either you dig what it can do or you don’t but if you play in a band where you need dreadlocks and a seven-string guitar, this may be the piece of gear you are missing.

Even though the Whammy isn’t going to find a home on my pedalboard any time soon but I understand its appeal.

Check out:
http://digitech.com/en-US/products/whammy-dt

Whammy

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 Show.com.

Episode 92- Bernie Torme

bernie pic for post

For more info on Bernie and to purchase “Black Heart” go to- http://www.bernietorme.co.uk

Here’s the track “Dirt” from “Black Heart”-

bernie pic for post

Episode 91- Eric Gales- “Good For Sumthin”

EG pic for post

For More info go to- http:/http://www.ericgalesband.com

Here’s the title track LIVE-

EG pic for post

Eric Gales on Guitar Radio Show- Wednesday October 7th 2015

EG Teaser

We are psyched to present our exclusive Eric Gales interview with you all this Wednesday 10/7/15, It’s gonna be a good one!!!!

EG Teaser

In the meantime, check out Eric at the Dunlop booth at NAMM 2015-

Please Welcome a New Sponsor DNA Guitars!!!

DNA

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We Are so Happy to welcome DNA Guitars as a sponsor on Guitar Radio Show. Look for video and blog reviews and a feature episode coming soon to http://guitarradioshow.com in the meantime go to http://dnaguitarcompany.com
to learn more about these amazing instruments!
DNA
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The E Bow- 500 Words with Adam P Hunt

New ebow1

500 Words EBow Adam P Hunt

Haunting, eerie, breathtaking, any of these words could easily describe a curious little handheld device known as the EBow.

Invented in 1968 by Greg Heet the Ebow has gone on to be an effect that unites guitarists as diverse as David Gilmour, Paul Stanley, Frank Zappa, Buddy Emmons and Dave Navarro. When the EBow debuted at NAMM 1976 Jerry Garcia was Heet’s first customer.

The Energy Bow or more commonly EBow was the brainchild of inventor Greg Heet. While Heet is no longer with EBow the EBow lives on and has a pretty dedicated following. Even though the EBow has gone through many revisions since it’s inception the general coconscious seems that the changes in the EBow are genuine improvements and not done as cost savings measures.

And just for the record the EBow is still produced in the United States and is not farmed out to job shops in the far east.

Small, simple to use, the Ebow is a small, J shaped device is usually held in the picking hand and vibrates a single string at a time and produces a sound that is somewhere between controlled feedback and guitar synthesizer.

While the Ebow has two settings, essentially a faster and slower string vibrating modes, I’m sorry to say that the EBow does not have true bypass wiring.

Even though the Ebow is more closely associated electric guitar usage the Ebow has found it’s way into the hands of acoustic guitar players, and Luciano Chessa has been known to use it with the dan bau.

Also, bassist Michael Marning has been known to use two EBows at a time while playing a fretless bass and avant-garde composer Olga Neuwirth has used one with a grand piano.

That’s not to say the EBow should strictly be limited to experimental music but it could be useful for overdubs and I ran across a video with Phil Keaggy that used an EBow to help simulate some convincing pedal steel sounds.

Using an EBow is pretty straight forward and EBbow’s website says:

“Playing the EBow directly over the pickup will increase your volume many fold and give you the crisp sound of super hot pickups. Moving away from the pickup gives you the mellow sound of a hollow body electric. This complete control over attack, decay and sustain, as well as a whole new range of tones and textures, makes the EBow one of the most expressive tools for the guitarist. “

Simple enough but on the surface a slide is pretty low tech too but not every one can be Duane Allman their first go.

My own experience with an EBow was brief but memorable. I particularly like using it with a delay pedal because it turned a lunk like me instantly into Robert Fripp.

Any one interested in an Ebow should check out http://www.ebow.com/home.php . There’s tons of videos, tips, and audio samples and if the site shows you anything it is that an EBow is more than a novelty, it’s a serious bit of musical equipment.

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 Show.com.

Here’s a Dual E Bow Guitar solo from the Good Rats-

EBOW2