Monday, February 27, 2017

2016-02-27 How Much Do You Actually Need? RANT GET IN ON IT!

First off, this isn't referring to having how many amps and guitars do you need, because we all know that there is always another one.

This is referring to features on an amp.

"So Trashed... Isn't it great to have everything? More versatility?"

To that I respond with "Not always."

What sparked this thought was the Mesa Road King II. Four channels, switchable output tubes on the fly, four effects loops, yada, yada yada. It is nice, but is that what you actually need?

I have a Fryette SIG:X, Which has three channels, three modes for each and a million knobs and switches and a built in foot-switchable boost built in. It is a nice amp IMO one of the finest. HOWEVER... I don't like tweaking a million things, and I lost a little bit of interest in it. I have it dialed in like a champ and use just those settings. In other words, I hardly need any of the features it has, but it sounds good and it does its job.

I also have a Mesa mkIV which is a sweet amp. I love it, very versatile, and it has a million knobs too. i keep it dialed in, use the settings I use. The only thing i need with that amp is an OD, which makes it even more functionally. Again more flexibility than i ever use.

My Mesa Trem-o-Verb (Dual Rectifier), has two channels and two modes per channel. I have one set on the 'blues' setting and the 'Vintage High-Gain' mode. It also has built in reverb and tremolo. All I need with that amp to compete with anything is to put a Paul C. Timmy out front. It gets me everything I would need.

My most used amp is my Orange Rockerverb 50mkI. Two channels and Reverb. I run a bunch or pedals into it and through the loop (as it is my main amp at the moment), and I get clean blues, dirty blues, nasty high gain, and stoner metal. It is a royal beast. [off topic, but Oranges LOVE Zendrives). It kills.

I have a feeling that most of you all don't really get under the hood as far as amps go, and I would NEVER try to troubleshoot a SIG:X. Too much shit to deal with. I can pop open a Valve King or Blue Voodoo or DSL and usually can fix it without too much of a headache.

So, think before you buy. You very well may not need all of the features, and hell maybe an OD pedal or two would give your more functionality that plugging straight into a three channel.

I want to make one point, I do love amps packed with features. I have a few and enjoy them very much so. My point is that most people probably don't use half of what you have.


Trashed out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50!

Addicts of the Fender Stratocaster - this MAY change your life!

"So Trashed, what is going to get me a killer tone out of my strat for $50? That is less than the price of a shitty pickup!"

"Fasten your seat-belt bros, here we go!"

What is it? Here ya go! the"Fender Pre-Amp Mid Boost Kit." There are two main components in the kit. the TBX control, and the variable knob controlled 25db mid boost. You may be familiar with this setup if you have tried a Eric Clapton Strat, as it comes that way directly from Fender.

This installation was on a Mexican Std. Strat (MIM) from around 1995. As you likely may know, the pickups are far from ideal. I picked up the strat for $175 a few years ago. Its actually one of my favorite Strats as far as feel and the neck go (I have owned a shit-ton of them). However the tone was lacking.

The TBX allows you to cut both treble and bass, and there is a stop in the middle of the control at the neutral location. Alone it works wonders. If you only have ~$15 this will make a nice difference as well (it is stock on some USA Strats if I recall correctly). It is great at taming the bridge pickup and making it usable.

The bread and butter of this though is the boost. It goes from normal on the minimum setting to a searing boost all the way which WILL cause some good breakup on a tube amp. This control RARELY need to be up all the way for MY purposes. In other words, its got some cojones to it.

The setup I use most often is a cut off of the treble and the boost up half way with the volume knob on the neck pickup. Its dark and has bite and is really smooth and liquid. The bridge pickup is usuable for once too!!!

"Whoa! Trashed that sounds really cool!"

To that I reply "You bet you're ass it is!"

Now lets move on. The only thing was that the installation was a bitch. I have done a lot of tech work and that is rare for me to say to be honest. The two wiring diagrams that Fender included are shit. Absolutely useless. I had to do a lot of searching to find something that was better laid out and I found one after a few minutes**. If you are not experienced with electronics, and haven't done anything like this before, I would send it to a tech. It would still be well worth it IMO if you are unable to. However, if you can solder and have time, I see no reason that I would not attempt it. 

Fitting the 9V battery in the Strat and the PC board was relatively easy just with a little bit of messing around. You must keep in mind though that Fender routes a lot of their Strats differently. Incidentally mine was one of the smallest routes and I still got it it in, so nothing to worry about. The only PITA factor is that you have to take the pickguard off to replace the battery. Some people have mounted the battery in the trem cavity with results, but I need all five springs on my tremolo. That could be an option too though. The battery should last a while, just remember to unplug the guitar when not in use (check out my previous blog-

I am telling you that it will change your life. Go out and get one! I will likely be posting a video demo here. So look for it!

Cheers! Trashed.

**If you do this and want the link, shoot me an email and i will link you to it, no problem. The reason that i did not include it here is because it was not made by me and I do notwant to take credit for somebody else's work**.

Friday, February 3, 2017

2017-02-03 Tuners, Tuners, and yes, TUNERS!

Hello dear brethren that wield the honorable ax known as a guitar,

Soooo. Tuners. Easy right? Maybe not.

There are three types of common tuners.

1. Clip-on tuners.
2. Pedal Tuners.
3.Shitty plug-in tuners.
4.AND, Don't for get your trusty smart phone!

"So Trashed, I like my tuner and its one of those tuners that are regarded as 'shitty' cheap plug in tuners. It works fine for me, Why do you call it 'shitty'?"

I respond with a simple phrase "I guess you are a little under informed or you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed." Mic drop. OHHH YEAH!

So what do YOU need? Well, you are damn lucky that I am going to take the time out of my busy day and tell you.

1. Clip on tuners. They are very handy to have. You can have it on your headstock and tune without needing to make noise, AND you don't have it in your pedal chain, so less shit you have to hook up. It is handy for every instrument, from ukuleles to cellos, which is very convenient if you play multiple instruments. The short comings? Two main ones, they can fall off and break. I have broken two of three falling onto the tile/stage/etc. The second is if you are trying to tune and there is a lot of bass noise from the bass guitar that is loud, they get all messed up. That only happened to me *once* and then I wised up a bit. The GOOD thing is that they are cheap.

2. Pedal tuners. They are, in my opinion the most flexible. Theyare what any person from a guy jamming at an open-mic to a pro touring the world. They are accurate, easy, fast AND nothing can interrupt them other than a shoddy cable [for the record I use Korg Pitchblacks]. The only downfall is that it needs to be on a pedal board. They are small, so its not a big deal, but it is adding another cable to the chain and you have to power it. That for me is not a big deal for me. I have a [Korg Pitchblack]tuner on each of my three big pedalboards. One thing you don't have to worry about the better ones is they are buffered bypass, so it WILL NOT kill your tone, and may actually help with keeping a true signal to the next pedal. One benefit is that some pedal tuners have is that SOME have a power out. That is nice because you can power a few pedals with it, but the power is different with different tuners. For example I could power my OD, chorus, and delay thorough it, so I didn't even need a second power supply. THAT is handy!

OK. Let us move on to those (to put it nicely) junk plug-in tuners.

3. Plug-in tuners. They can tune AND be accurate, BUT [you knew a but was coming], they have a HUGELY LIMITED range of use. You have to plug the damn thing in every time. If it has an output, it is junk and kills you signal. That is IF you are dumb enough to put it into a chain. MASSIVE tone-suck. They can only tune guitar/bass/acoustic-electrics, which won't help in some situations. AND they break when dropped.

4. Cell phone tuners. DON'T underestimate the convenience, but know the limitations. If I am sitting around my house playing alone, I use it all the time. They are extremely handy to have around. They have HUGE limitation though. If you have other noise, it won't be accurate, etc. I don't use them for recording either. Why? I trust the accuracy of other tuners more when it comes down to cutting a track.

"SO Trashed, what do YOU use?"

EVERYTHING but the shitty plug in tuners. They all have a purpose. Sitting around jamming? Smart phone. Gigging? Pedal. Acoustic instruments and emergency? A clip on tuner. Why? They are cheap and fit in a gig bag easily. I picked up five Snark clip-on tuners for $5 a POP on flash sales, they are nice to have around. I have three Pictchblacks, and they are what I use most. There are some other types of tuners that I did not talk about, rack tuners, strobe tuners, polyphonic tuners, etc. I am keeping this basic and for the common-folk.

Well, Cheers!