The SANYO Pedal Juice KBC-9V3U

October 20, 2010 · Posted in Gear · 2 Comments 

The Pedal Juice is a rechargeable 9V Lithium-Ion battery for analog, digital and multi-effect pedals. It is made by SANYO North America Corporation, a leader in rechargeable battery technology. With a list price of $199, it can be purchased in stores or online for approximately $149. The Pedal Juice can also be used to power other devices like multi-track recorders, synthesizers, mini amps (think Roland Micro Cube), and electronic drum kits.

It is very easy to use out of the box. It has one single ON/OFF button and two 9V DC outputs, fully recharges in 3.5 hours and can be recharged hundreds of times. When in use, the remaining charge/discharge power is shown via a 3-stage LED indicator. The unit feels and looks pretty durable and is water and shock resistant.

These are the standard usage times for effects (may vary depending on connected devices and usage conditions):

- 1 Analog effects unit (10mA): Approx. 50 hours.
- 1 Digital effects unit (50mA): Approx. 27 hours.
- 1 Digital multi-effects unit (100mA): Approx. 17 hours.

If you only use 3 analog pedals or one multi-effect unit, then you’ll be good for 17-20 hours or so. Plenty of time for rehearsals, jams and gigs.

Now, let’s say we have a basic 6 pedal setup (with both analog and digital effects):

1 Wah Wah + 2 Analog Distortions + 1 EQ + 1 Digital Delay + 1 Digital Reverb

Give and take, the Pedal Juice should be able to last about 5-6 hours with a setup like this. Still plenty of power for a rehearsal, jam or a 3 set gig. It’s also ideal for the recording studio since it eliminates noise interference created by electrical outlets. Probably not the best option if you have a much bigger pedalboard, specially if you own several digital effects.

All in all, the KBC-9V3U SANYO Pedal Juice is a great device, a very useful and handy addition to any guitarist’s setup.

PROS:

  • Battery saver. If you are the kind of player that buys a battery for every gig, then this device will pay for itself in a matter of a few months.
  • Design. The same footprint as standard effects pedal, it will fit perfectly in your pedalboard. It’s also very light.
  • Wireless. No need for extension chords or plugin in your effects to the wall, which also eliminates issues that result in unwanted noise (AC ground loops, spurious noise, hum, etc.).
  • Ideal for smaller-medium size boards. A great option for the studio, rehearsals or gigs where 1-6 pedals are needed. Could work great as a backup to bring to gigs as well.

CONS:

  • Price. Although it will pay for itself in the long run, the $149 price will make some players hesitate about trying it (or getting a regular power supply instead). Not for everybody in this price range, but a good investment if you have the money.
  • No extra cables. It only has two DC 9V ports, which keeps the unit small and portable, but it also means that daisy chain cables will need to be purchased separately if you want to plug more than two devices at a time (comes with only 2 DC output cables).

Best Electric Guitar for Beginners Under $200

June 28, 2010 · Posted in Gear · 13 Comments 

Any of these 5 models would make a great guitar for beginners (listed in no particular order, just pick the one that suits your style). If you want more specific tips on buying your first electric guitar, check out A Guide to Buying Your First Electric Guitar

1. Yamaha PAC 112: The Pacifica is a well built and reliable strat style guitar, and an excellent choice for beginners. Not every store carries them, so buying online will sometimes be your only option. They sound good and are usually well set up out of the box. A nice and solid guitar for the money. Yamaha has been in the musical instrument business for a long time and their guitars are known for their quality and value. They make excellent entry level acoustic guitars as well. You really can’t go wrong with a Yamaha.

2. Squier Affinity Fat Strat and Squier Affinity Telecaster Special: Squier is Fender’s entry level brand and one of the most popular choices today for beginners. Great bang for your buck as they say. Squier offers a Strat Value Pack that includes the Fat Strat, an amplifier, and accessories (strap, picks, strings, tuner, cable, etc). Pretty much everything you need to get started. This pack currently sells for $349, but if you are on a budget, you can get a Similar Strat Value Pack with less features for $249. The first pack comes with a better guitar and amp, but the latter is a pretty good option as well. Also, don’t forget to check out their Telecaster model, specially if you are going after the Keith Richards, Tom Morello or country music look and tone. The maple fretboard on these Telecasters looks great (the Tele is the one shown in the second picture).

3. Epiphone Les Paul Special II and Epiphone SG Special: A different looking and sounding beast than the Strat or the Tele, the Les Paul is a good option for those searching for the Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Slash or Zakk Wylde vibe (among others). In the other hand, the SG offers a wilder and heavier look, perfect for the Angus Young, Tommy Iommi, Derek Trucks or Thom Yorke fans. Epiphone is Gibson’s entry level brand and they are also pretty good guitars for the money. Just like Squier, Epiphone offers a Les Paul Value Pack that includes the guitar, an amp and accessories for $249. I haven’t tried the amp in this pack but overall looks like a good deal (I’m really not a fan of the amps that come in these packs in general). Fender and Gibson are the two best known manufacturers of electric guitars in the world, as mentioned before, Squier and Epiphone are their entry level, more affordable brands.

Buying Tips:

- Buying the guitar, amp and accessories separately would be ideal as you can purchase better equipment (but can also be more expensive). The amps that come in the mentioned value packs are usually low quality and don’t sound very good.
- TIP: The Roland Micro Cube amplifier is a great little practice amp that costs $125.
- Visit your local music store and check out a few guitars in person, you can always buy online later if you find better deals.
- The input jack on entry level guitars such as the ones mentioned, tends to brake/fall off after some time. Replace it with a metal upgrade when this happens.
- Strings need to be changed every 2 or 3 months, so get a couple of sets along with your guitar
- Note: If a string pops while you are learning to tune the guitar, it doesn’t mean your guitar is of bad quality. It happens!.
- Having your new guitar setup by a professional will cost money but it’s probably worth it. Some guitars are not playable out of the box and need adjustment.
- If buying new, buy from a store that has a return policy in case your guitar is defective or you change your mind and want to get a different one.
- For even better deals, buy used from craigslist or eBay, but please ask your guitar player friend to help you out with the deal. You don’t want to be ripped off.
- And last but not least, DO NOT buy guitars from Walmart, Target, Costco or any store where you buy gorceries or clothes (these are just toys).

Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator

June 27, 2010 · Posted in Gear · Comment 

If you are into feedback devices, whether it’s a pedal, eBow or sustainer pickups, then you are probably going to be interested in checking out this one. The Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator is a feedback device for electric guitar or electric instruments with steel strings (including acoustic guitars with piezo pickups).

The guitar strings are agitated by a driver mounted on a stand that can reproduce feedback at any volume level. This means that it can be used in any playing situation: on stage, recording, in your room, even with headphones. Unlike the Ebow, which can only drive one string, the Vibesware GR-1 can drive multiple strings at the same time. It is also not hand-held, so it can be applied while playing normally with both hands. And unlike sustainer pickups, you don’t need to modify your guitar.

It is powered by an external supply resulting in a strong magnetic field driving the strings. Feedback can be controlled by the players technique and by phase switching. Feedback harmonics can be controlled by a foot pedal similar to a wah wah (sold separately).

Price: 339 euros (approx. $420). For more information on the GR-1 Guitar Resonator including videos visit vibesware.com.

A Guide to Buying Your First Electric Guitar

June 27, 2010 · Posted in Gear · 1 Comment 

If you are reading this article, you are most likely a beginner looking to buy your first electric guitar or a more advanced player trying to find a low budget instrument as a spare. This article is aimed at the beginner guitarist and includes a few tips on how to choose your first guitar. For a list of recommended low budget guitars, check out Best Electric Guitar for Beginners.

There are five basic things you need to remember, no matter which guitar brand you end up getting, if you want your music journey to last more than a few weeks, you will need an instrument that:

1. Stays In Tune: A guitar that constantly goes out of tune is pretty much useless. You will not be able to practice effectively with an out of tune guitar and will get frustrated very quickly.

2. Is Easy To Play: The closer the strings are to the fretboard (in guitar slang: low action), the easier they are to hold. Guitars can be adjusted by a guitar tech to have low action, but this can be expensive. Ideally, you want a guitar that’s playable out of the box, unless you are willing to pay for a set up.

3. Is of Good Quality: Purchasing your first guitar is similar to buying your first car. You want a solid ride from the start without breaking the bank. If you are on a budget, you also want a guitar you can resell once you outgrow it. Brands to look for: Squier by Fender, Epiphone by Gibson, Yamaha, Ibanez, among a few others.
Sure, that guitar with the weird name at Walmart looks just like the one Eric Clapton was using on TV, but looks can be deceiving. You will have a difficult time selling a used guitar that nobody has ever heard of and you’ll end up either giving it away or using it as decoration.

4. Sounds and Looks Good: Having a decent tone from the start will put you on the right track. A good sounding, playing and looking guitar that stays in tune will make you want to practice more without a doubt!

5. Ask for Advice: Well, this is an extra tip not related to the instrument itself. If you don’t know what you are buying, do not buy until you speak to a friend or somebody that can give you some feedback. If you are starting lessons, ask your teacher for advice before buying the guitar. If you don’t know anybody, read lots of reviews on amazon.com or musiciansfriend.com before you buy.

Buying Tips:

- Visit your local music store and check out a few guitars in person, you can always buy online later if you find a better deal.
- The input jack on low budget guitars tends to brake/fall off after some time. This is a cheap and easy replacement.
- Strings need to be changed every 2 or 3 months, so get a couple of sets along with your guitar.
- If a string pops, it doesn’t mean your guitar is of bad quality – it happens!
- Having your new guitar setup by a professional will cost money but it’s probably worth it. Some guitars are not playable out of the box and need adjustment.
- If buying new, buy from a store that has a return policy in case your guitar is defective or you change your mind and want to get a different model.
- For even better deals, buy used from craigslist or eBay, but please ask your guitar player friend to help you out with the deal. You don’t want to be ripped off.
- Last but not least, DO NOT buy guitars from Walmart, Target, Costco or any store where you buy gorceries or clothes (these guitars are toys).

Pat Martino to Host Exclusive ICMP Masterclass

March 6, 2009 · Posted in Jazz · Comment 

PRESS RELEASE: March 2009. One of the world’s greatest jazz guitarists, Pat Martino, will follow Scott Henderson as the next legendary player to headline a series of masterclasses hosted by the Guitar Institute in London in association with Guitar Getaways Awaydays.

After being involved in the early rock scene in Philadelphia alongside stars like Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin, Pat Martino was recruited by bandleader Lloyd Price to play on-stage with musicians such as Slide Hampton and Red Holloway. He made a move to Harlem and was signed as a leader for Prestige Records when he was just twenty, leading to the creation of his classic albums ‘Strings!’, ‘Desperado’, ‘El Hombre’ and ‘Baiyina (The Clear Evidence)’, one of jazz’s first successful ventures into psychedelia. After suffering a brain aneurysm causing him to lose all memory of guitar and his career, Pat made a remarkable recovery by studying his own historic recordings and returned to form on his instrument. With a distinctive, fat sound and gut-wrenching performances, he represents the best not just in jazz, but in music, embodying thoughtful energy and soul.

This exclusive event, to be held at the Bedford in Balham, London, on the evening of Wednesday April 8th, will feature an interactive clinic delivered by Guitar Institute teachers Phil Capone (guitar), Holger Skepeneit (piano), Terry Gregory (bass) and Darren Ashford (drums). This will be followed by the headline guitar masterclass with Pat.

This is a unique opportunity to hear legendary Pat Martino talk, play and demonstrate his craft which should not be missed. To book a place at the masterclass, contact Guitar Getaways on:

- awaydays@guitargetaways.com
- www.guitargetaways.com
- 01326 211945,

For further information on this and future ICMP events, contact the ICMP on:

- enquiries@icmp.co.uk
- www.icmp.co.uk
- 020 7328 0222

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