3 Problems Arising Due to the Use of Waist Cincher

In the shape-wear outfit industry, waist cinchers happen to be one of the most popular dresses. Kim Kardashian and various other celebrities openly promote these products and state that they have been able to slim down to the much-envied hourglass figures with their assistance. These make use of the science of compression in order to slim you down and make you lose those unwanted pounds that you have always wished would go away – without much success. After reading so many waist cincher reviews, if you are thinking of going for the much-talked about waist cincher at last, it is important for you to know before about the 3 problems that arise due to the use of these outfits.

Glenard’s Disease

Women who are corseted a lot, and in an incorrect manner, tend to suffer from this disorder. Wearing corsets over a long time can cause the abdominal muscles to atrophy and not function in a normal way. Cinchers limit the proper functioning of these muscles. Weakened abdominal muscles have neither the tone nor the strength to participate in normal functions and act in the right manner. They look unpleasant to the view. Women are often not prepared enough to invest the time and effort necessary for wearing corsets in a proper fashion. It is advised that you do not tighten your laces too much and go slow with waist training in the first few days or for the initial 2 – 3 weeks. Choose a corset of a proper size and wear it in a proper manner.

Stomach discomfort

Eating while tightly laced inside your corset can also cause stomach discomforts. Many women find it impossible to eat heavy meals while tightly corseted. This is due to the reason that the corsets compress your waists too much and can reduce the extent of stomach expansion while you are having foods. When not wearing a corset, you do not have to change your diet or eating habits. How tightly laced you are influences how much you should change your eating or dietary habits. You will prefer to eat a bit slowly while you are wearing a waist cincher.

Muscular atrophy

Wearing a cincher for a prolonged duration, as occurs during waist training or tight lacing, demands your back and core muscles to begin relying on corsets for physical support. Over a time period, this can cause your muscles to weaken and lose their normal strength. However, this generally occurs when you wear corsets for the most part of each day. Wearing them occasionally or only for a few hours each day can result in fewer issues for you. It is important for your physical well-being that you remove your corset while working out, particularly when you are doing exercises to improve your core strength.

If you are seriously considering waist training and will be wearing cinchers, it is important for you to get in touch with a doctor and get advice and recommendations about proper diets and exercises while corseted. It is better to be safe now than being sorry later.

Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb vs Mr Springgy by Lee Jackson Metaltronix

In the digital modeling corner we have the Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb pedal–the latest in a series of collaborations between Boss and Fender. Boasting a textured old-school-brown finish, vintage-style graphics, and three controls that mirror those found on the original device–Mixer, Tone, and Dwell–the FRV-1 employs Boss’ COSM (Composite Object Sound Modeling) technology to recreate the sound of audio signals routed through tube circuitry and springs in a metal pan.

In the opposite corner, sporting an elegant black finish, modern graphics, and a sleek single-knob design, Lee Jackson’s Mr. Springgy is an entirely analog device that is essentially a modified version of a Belton reverb pan replacement module that Jackson had a hand in developing. The actual circuitry is concealed from view and kept secret by Jackson. Our contestant is a revised version of Mr. Springgy (the original was introduced in 2007), which does away with the reverb level trim pot found inside the earliest units, and adds a Wet Only option that switches the Main output to reverb only and routes the dry sound to a second output for quasi-stereo operation using two amps, or when inserting Mr. Springgy into an amp’s parallel effects loop. (You can also get a wet/dry split from the Main output by using a cable with a TRS connector on one end and two mono plugs on the other.)

Most of my testing was done playing a PRS Custom 24 guitar through a Rivera Venus 6 amplifier, with the pedals patched between the two, and also in the amp’s serial effects loop. Additionally, I routed the speaker output of the amp into a Palmer DI and my studio monitoring system to really focus in on the sound. Then, I double-checked my results using various guitars and amps, including a vintage Fender Super Reverb. I was listening for overall sound quality, responsiveness to playing dynamics, compatibility with both amp and pedal distortion, and–most importantly–fidelity to the vintage Fender Reverb sound.

First off, both of these pedals were extremely quiet in operation. They hissed a bit when cranked way up, but never at levels even approaching the noise generated by an actual tube reverb. Second, I didn’t experience any level or tone sucking with either pedal and it could even be argued that they enhanced the overall sound by increasing dynamic response and bringing out additional harmonics (though that is obviously a more subjective judgment, and results varied depending on which guitars and amps were used). Finally, both pedals functioned reasonably well when patched into the Venus 6’s effects loop, though not surprisingly, there were some level-matching issues, and in both cases I preferred the sound they made in front of the amp’s input. In case you’re wondering, neither the FRV-1 or Mr. Springgy are true bypass designs, but neither was the original Fender 6G15.

When it came to nailing the Fender Reverb sound, the FRV-1 definitely had the edge, more or less faithfully recreating that unit’s characteristic sproinginess and splash. If anything, there was a little too much splash on tap, with a slightly harsh high end on some settings, making the versatile Mixer and Tone controls invaluable for crafting just the right blend. The Dwell control was similarly versatile, ranging from zero reverb to a relatively long and smooth decay–though even when maxed the decay was shorter than that of the spring reverb in the Venus 6 or Super Reverb amps. With its Tone control rolled back to about ten o’clock to compensate for edginess, the FRV-1 also sounded quite good with various distortion pedals and amp distortion (when used in the effects loop).

Although Mr. Springgy sounds considerably less like a Fender Reverb than the FRV-1, it has a very smooth, robust, and pleasing sound that some players may prefer. There’s just the right amount of fullness to provide depth without submerging your sound, the affected frequencies are nicely equalized, and the fixed decay time is perfect for all but the splash-happiest apps. The Mix knob sweeps a useful range, from dry to drenched–and if you desire just verb you can activate the aforementioned internal Wet Only switch or go with the TRS “Y” cable option. Mr. Springgy also plays very well with others, and sounds wonderful with distortion, whether from a pedal or an amp.

The Boss FRV-1 sounds more like the standalone Fender Reverb than Mr. Springgy, making it the winner of our competition–but in terms of a head-to-head general competition it was a draw. Both pedals sound a lot like the best spring reverb pedal (Mr. Springgy coming closer to, say, a Demeter RVB-1), and which works best for a specific player will be more a matter of personal taste than sonic superiority. And if you can’t decide, no worries, as they are priced so reasonably that you can simply buy both.

Electro-Harmonix Cathedral stereo reverb

Boring multi-effect reverb pedals are a thing of the past with the introduction of the Cathedral from Electro-Harmonix. Its eight modes and truly innovative “infinite” reverb function make the potential for lush soundscapes and textures truly endless. Let’s take a look at the Cathedral’s various modes.

The Spring and Accu Spring settings are taken from the company’s Holy Grail reverb pedal, both allowing you to blend wet and dry as well as tone depending on the sound you’re after. The Hall setting allows you to set the reverb decay to exactly what you need as well as adjust the spacial perspective. Similarly the Room and Plate settings offer the same versatility, but give the effect of a smaller-sounding space.

 

The Cathedral’s reverse mode allows you to produce a reverse reverb effect for each note, allowing you to control the amount of time between the attack and the fade-in of the reverse effect. The Grail Flerb setting is again taken from the Holy Grail, allowing you to control the flanger modulation and resonance, which would be fixed on the Holy Grail. The Echo setting transforms the pedal into a digital effect, allowing you to tap or dial in the delay time.

Truly, the most irresistible feature I found is the Infinite reverb switch, allowing you to play over a never-ending reverb wash without adding to or changing it. It should also be mentioned that like many other Electro-Harmonix effects, the preset mode allows you to save a setting for any one of the eight modes, easily accessible through the unit’s toggle switch. The Cathedral is by far the best multi-effect reverb pedal I’ve come across so far. Highly recommended.

Mann, Alan

Roland Cube 80GX

The flagship of Roland’s new Cube line, the 80GX features Clean , Lead, and Solo channels in a compact format with 80 watts of solid-state power driving a single 12″ speaker. Simple enough, but wait, there’s much more. Not only is the Cube 80GX a well-equipped combo for live gigs and recording, it also can function as an interface via its iCube link for using music apps on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (interface cable is included). The amp’s utility factor also expands when you download the free Cube Jam app that plays songs from your library and minus-one jam tracks, allows parts to be slowed clown (while staying in pitch), and also lets you record using the 80GX’s amps and effects.

For an amp with so many features, the Cube 80GX is quite easy to use. Buttons on the top panel select channels, and from there it’s a snap to add effects or make EQ adjustments. The clean sounds are excellent, and you can zone right in on that classic “Jazz Chorus” response or expand it in other ways by adding reverb (the vintage-style spring and studio-style plate settings both sound clear and reflective in their own distinct ways), delay like top delay pedal (the Tap function is highly useful), or one of the modulation effects, such as flanger or smooth, pulsing tremolo like the best tremolo pedal. Thanks to the well-voiced 3-band EQ, I found it easy to get good clean tones with humbucker and single-coil guitars.

The Cube 80GX’s well-implemented tones carry over to the lead channel where you have a wide selection of COSM amp models to choose from. There’s even an Acoustic model, which can pinch-hit for an amplified flat-top if you need that sound. For classic tube tones, there are a lot of ways to roll here, as the selector knob rotates between Fender-like sounds (Black Panel, DLX Reverb, Tweed) and janglier tones (as in Brit Combo), to the increasingly heavy artillery that you can deploy on the Classic Stack, Metal, R-Fier, and Extreme settings. The third channel, Solo, is a programmable function that can be configured with any of the amps and effects (as well as EQ and volume settings) for instant switching into whatever kind of sound you might want to preset–from ultra clean to heavily effected to super sustaining.

We tested the Cube 80GX with the optional GA-FC foot-controller ($119 street), which switches channels and activates effects, and even has two expression pedal inputs for controlling gain and volume settings. A switcher is a pretty essential item for live performing, so it would be nice if Roland shipped the Cube GX amps with even a basic unit that could simply toggle the channels and turn the effects on and off.

The Cube 80GX (which has the exact same features as the 40-watt Cube 40GX and just a couple more than the 20-watt Cube 20GX) could be a great choice for working players who need one amp that can cover a lot of bases and also function as an interface with iOS devices for practice, jamming, etc. The new Cube models also strut a clean and purposeful look with their metal grilles, rugged corner protectors, and block-style logos, all of which will help to make them an attractive option for a lot of players.

PRS 2-Channel Custom 50

It has been a number of years since Paul Smith and Doug Sewell started building amps together, and PRS now has a highly evolved line of heads and combos that sound excellent and hit the same level of boutique refinement that its guitars have always enjoyed. The 2 Channel Custom 50 combo uses the same amplifier as the head version of the same name, but it is stuffed into a closed-back cabinet that houses a single 12″ Celestion Lead 80 ceramic-magnet speaker. I like that PRS has changed from its previous method of securing the chassis via internal bolts (which were difficult to access) to a more conventional mounting system with the bolts going through the top of the cabinet and threading into captured nuts on the aluminum chassis. And since we’re here, note the amp’s handwired circuitry, which is laid out on three primary tag boards, with the pots, jacks, switches, and phenolic tube sockets all mounted to the chassis for strength and ease of servicing. The components, including carbon-comp resistors, large filter caps, and other essentials are high grade, and the extensive wiring is neatly done and has heat-shrink strain relief at critical connection points.

The birch-ply cabinet wears a handsome fascia of flamed maple, which, along with the gold script logo, looks cool against the black Tolex covering. The front-facing controls include a toggle for selecting channels, Bright switches for the Clean and Lead channels (each of which has its own set of Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, and Master knobs), and a pull mid-shift function on the Lead channel’s Middle control. At the far right is a Reverb control (pulls to defeat the ‘verb on the Lead channel) and a Presence knob that also pulls to turn it into a Depth control. The included 3-button footswitch provides control over channel select, boost, and reverb on/off.

The 2 Channel Custom 50 offers up great tones with little effort. The Clean channel does its own take on a classic Fender-style clean sound with yards of headroom. The reverb is sweet sounding and has that ability to sound like it’s an inherent part of the core tone whether you’re using just a touch of it or drenching your tones in drippy ‘verb a la Dick Dale. On this channel you can dime the Volume knob without incurring any significant distortion–making it ideal for preserving the sound of stompboxes–and it’s only when you also open up the Master and start getting the output tubes doing pushups that some grind comes into play. The volume, of course, is ridiculous at that point, and the amp does not have any other power-reducing functions to compensate.


No matter, though, as the Lead channel antes up an incredible range of overdriven tones at any volume you care to experience them at. Things begin at milder levels of distortion (such as you might get from a wicked-up non-master Marshall) as the Volume setting moves toward 9 o’clock, and from there, things quickly get more intense until the amp is pouring out torrents of juicy, harmonically engorged sustain at settings of 2 o’clock and beyond. The dynamic response is excellent, and it is almost always possible to pull back to a cleaner, but still very grinding, rhythm sound by turning your guitar down. This range is actually where some of the nicest overdriven tones lie, as the amp is simmering just below a boil, and those rich, gritty tones can easily be coaxed into feedback with the slightest adjustment of the guitar’s volume knob or by digging into the strings a little harder. But the full-tilt sounds are such a blast, too, with all that sustain to play with, and the footswitchable boost functions on both channels allow you to preset just how much volume increase is needed to lift a rhythm part or solo out of a stage mix.

The 2 Channel Custom 50 is an excellent amp that dishes out exactly what’s needed whether you’re playing ultra-clean jazz, blues, fusion, pop, hard rock, or metal. If you’re sniffing around the boutique market, and need an amp that can handle a tot of different situations, you owe it to yourself to give this highly capable combo a go.

10 survival tips for USB guitar interfaces

Many modern guitar effects include a USB port that lets the processor act as an audio interface when connected to a computer. Some effects even include a computer-based editor so you can tweak parameters and save/load presets to/from your computer. But for everything to work smoothly, observe these USB survival tips.

1. A class-compliant device can plug directly into a USB port–no driver required. Current Mac and Windows machines (update the OS to the latest version for best results) will recognize the device, but as custom drivers generally give better performance, use them if available.

2. A USB 2.0 interface is much faster than a USB 1.1 interface, and it can handle more channels of audio at higher sample rates. Although USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 are interchangeable, a USB 1.1 device won’t run faster with a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 2.0 device will slow down when connected to a USB 1.1 port.

3. When installing Windows driver software, read the instructions carefully. It’s common to install the driver software first, before connecting the accompanying device (but not always–read the documentation). After installing the drivers, plug in the USB device. Once the computer recognizes it, you can use it.

4. Unplug all unneeded USB devices (everything except keyboard and mouse) prior to installing drivers.

5. If during Windows installation you’re warned that the driver has not passed Windows logo testing, click on “Continue Anyway.”

6. If the USB device has memory for storing patches, it will likely show up as an external computer drive. Before physically unplugging the USB effects device, eject it properly. Mac: Drag the USB drive icon to the trash, and walt several seconds before actually removing the USB connection. Windows: Click on the Safely Remove Hardware button in the taskbar, then click on the USB device you want to eject.

7. Most music-related USB devices recommend connecting directly to a USB port in the computer itself, not through a USB hub (especially if it’s an unpowered hub).

8. The USB ports built in to computers may not be suitable for high- performance audio. I’ve solved many USB problems by simply adding a USB PCI pr PCIe card, and using its ports only for audio. Avoid combo USB/FireWire cards, as some users report performance issues.

9. With Windows, if you plug a USB device into a port other than the one used during installation, you may be asked if you want to install the drivers. Select the Install Automatically option. Now both ports will recognize the device.

10. If your computer doesn’t recognize a USB device after you’ve installed the drivers, unplug the USB cable, wait a few seconds, and then plug it back in again. Sometimes, the computer will “overlook” the USB device when booting up, but will recognize it when plugged in.

Boss BR-800 Reviews

While tracking and mixing on a computer is de rigueur nowadays, there are still plenty of people who like the all-in-one convenience of a stand-alone MAW (mobile audio workstation) with its physical faders, pushbuttons, and jacks. The Boss BR-800 is aimed at players who want a highly portable system that can handle everything from basic live recording (via its built-in stereo condenser mics) to a full on “studio” production. The BR-800 is also outfitted with a large assortment of effects and models derived from many of Boss’ top-line processors–including COSM-based amps and effects from the GT-10 series, vocal effects from the VE-20, acoustic guitar body modeling from the AP-1 preamp, and drums and percussion from a DR-880-style rhythm generator.

The BR-800 provides up to four tracks of simultaneous recording and eight tracks of simultaneous playback (with eight virtual tracks per track), and there’s also a dedicated stereo track for the onboard drum machine. You can connect the BR-800 via its USB jack to a Mac or PC, and the unit comes bundled with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 LE software, which includes audio loops and backing tracks.

Designed for use in a variety of environments, the BR-800 can be powered by six AA batteries; USB bus power, or with the included AC adapter. A 1 GB SD card is included, and the BR-800 can support up to a 32MB card for a maximum recording time of 48 hours.

Though the BR-800 has enough depth and functions to require keeping the detailed 158-page manual close at hand, it is easy to get up and running without it. In the “Song Sketch” mode, for example, the device operates as a stereo WAV file recorder for quick capturing of song ideas and/or practice sessions. In the slightly more involved “EZ Record” mode, the BR-800 intuitively guides you though the setup process, which is really just a matter of selecting guitar or bass as the input source and picking among 327 different patterns for the rhythm track. From there the BR-800 selects the appropriate effects and rhythm settings for the instrument and musical style you’ve chosen. There’s even a “Retry” button that automatically re-cues you if you blow a take.

Beyond these basic scenarios, the BR-800 is easily configurable to your needs, whether you’re into working up songs one track at time–possibly by recording a short phrase and then using the Loop Recording function to generate up to 200 additional measures-or recording multiple sources simultaneously (such as your band’s live rhythm tracks), and then overdubbing vocals, solos, and other parts. A broad selection of “mastering effects” enables you to put a suitable finishing touch on your final mixes.

In our tests, the BR-800 performed without a hitch, producing low-noise, CD quality recordings with excellent-sounding amps and effects, guitar-to-bass and electric-to-acoustic simulations, and the like. The built-in mics sounded great for live recording, and the unit gets high marks for intuitive operation. There are myriad options nowadays in the land of recording devices, but in terms of what you get for the money, the BR-800 is an outstanding investment for anyone who wants a self-contained recording system for songwriting and demos.

Boss GT-100 COSM Amp Effects Processor

A follow-up to the GT-10 multi-effects and amp modeling pedalboard, the new GT-100 offers over 40 kinds of effects and 25 amp models. A cool new feature here is an Accel pedal that can toggle or momentarily engage seven radical effects with names like Twist, Warp, and Laser, which are effective for adding a dash of “wow” to a solo. It also functions as a user-assignable control pedal, capable of controlling up to nine parameters at a time. In addition, there’s an A/B Channel Divide function that assigns different amps and effects to separate channels whose relative levels can be determined either by picking dynamics or by frequency, like a P.A. crossover system.

Booting up the GT-100 through an amp, I noted all the presets included amplifier models, which Boss calls “preamps.” I wished I could globally shut them off to check out the unit as strictly an effects processor, but I had to program one set of patches for playing through an amp and another for direct. Fortunately, with 200 user slots, there is plenty of patch real estate, and the unique dual LCD screen system made programming easy. I merely pushed the Effect button and the left screen revealed the complete signal chain. The four knobs below let me switch an effect or amp on or off, select its type, and/or move it to a different place in the chain. The screen on the right showed the parameters of the chosen amp or effect and its four knobs adjusted them–all of this with a minimum of page scrolling.

The classic Boss tones (OD-1, Metal Zone, Chorus, Delay, Slicer, etc.) are in evidence, and the COSM modeling captures the essence of non-Boss pedals (Rat, Tube Screamer, Whammy, etc.) as well. Whether plugged into an interface from the audio outs, or used as one via its USB port, the GT-100’s essential amplifier models (Marshall, Fender, Vox, JC-120, Boogie) closely approximated all the appropriate flavors. One thing COSM modeling does extremely well is making the amps feel right. Setting up a T-Scream, Rat, or Guy DS overdrive through a Clean Twin amp–Boss isn’t subtle about referencing the modeled hardware–I happily lost hours jamming through my computer.

Though it’s easy to dive into the GT-100, the unit is ultimately deep, with many routing options for switches, knobs, pedals, and MIDI control. It also has the kind of cool goodies that make gigging life easier–like an effects send and return that can be placed anywhere in the chain, and Global EQ and Reverb Percentage for adjusting the tone and wetness to a room without having to reprogram the patches. Manual mode turns six of the switches into on/off controls for individual effects, and an easy-to-use phrase looper can be placed pre or post effects.

Maybe it is because we have heard the Boss sound on so many records, but playing through the GT-100, whether through the computer or the amp, sounded like a finished, mastered recording. If you find that kind of polish attractive, this may well be the effects/amp modeler for you.

Tips for Truly Twisted

All guitarists talk about tone, but that’s typically in the context of conventionally “good” tone. Now, that’s all well and fine and even very smart–most certainly from a career and peer acceptance standpoint. But one challenge with crafting “good tone” is that, whatever style it is in service to, you risk sounding homogenized, tired, and rather boring. While we realize that it is not always appropriate to unleash a wild and crazy guitar sound on a track (or live performance), it’s also not a bad thing to occasionally shock and surprise your audience with a barking mad and devilishly beautiful tone. Wake those people up! Hey, you may be surprised at the kudos you’ll get for challenging their auditory senses. To help you engage in some tonally aberrant behavior, here are seven twisted tone tips from GP staffers and noted sonic alchemists.

  • Barry Cleveland – Super Hairy Distortion

I was fooling around in my studio late one evening when I accidentally tried running my Euthymia ICBM fuzz (a clone of the IC op-amp-powered Electro-Harmonix Big Muff that was produced sporadically in the 1970s) into an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator and a Crowther Audio Prunes & Custard Harmonic Generator-Intermodulator. The ICBM produces a huge fuzz sound to begin with, and by running that into the Micro POG with the Sub Octave control at three o’ clock, the Dry control at twelve o’ clock, and the Octave Up control set at eleven o’clock, I got a massive fuzz-bass sound with a touch of high octave that added edge and definition, and tracked perfectly even when bending notes. But the real eye-opener was adding the Prunes & Custard to the end of the chain. The P&C is a unique pedal that couples a preamp and a wave-shaping distortion circuit. It produces mostly odd harmonic overtones, but by hitting the input hard and setting the Drive control at three o’clock, with the Mix control at about eleven o’clock, it adds in even overtones and churns out an almost Moog-like filter sound when playing a certain way on the low strings. In combination with the ICBM and the Micro POG it kills, producing a tone so large and aggressive that it would likely give Tony Iommi pause. I quickly recorded some improvised riffs in 11/8, just to get something down using the sound, and they became the core tracks for the song “Warning” on my Hologramatron album.

  • Matt Blackett – Don’t Be Picky

Some of my best weird sounds come from fretting a chord in a normal fashion but sounding the notes in an unusual way.

One of my favorite tricks in the studio is to fret a chord with my left hand, hold the guitar right in front of my face, and blow on the strings as hard as I can. It produces a creepy bowed effect that’s great on intros and breakdowns. It’s too subtle to really translate live but on a recording it rules!

A cool texture that doesn’t sound all that guitar-y is to fret a chord, say, a D in the first position, and then tap a more extended voicing of that chord, like a Dadd9, higher up the neck, pulling off to the notes of the lower chord. I slather a bunch of delay and maybe phaser on it and it becomes this swirling bed that could almost be a keyboard part on a Yes album.

Another awesome intro trick is to hold a chord but instead of picking or strumming it, just knock on the back of your neck with your knuckles in time with the music. Bonus points for reversing the track and nudging the backwards part so it’s now in time with the drums.

  • Elliott Sharp – Random Frazzle

Sometimes you need a tone indefinably craggy and weird, a sound without easy reference points. Z-Vex Fuzz Factory is a good starting point and has been one of my main go-to boxes in the studio for distortion ranging from sweet to wild. Plug it into the Z. Vex Seek Wah and add rhythmic filtering for deep space-funk or techno sounds. But to reach the peak, add the Pefftronics Super Randomatic at the end of the signal chain. This box is a modulated short-delay that allows you to switch the modulators into random mode for unpredictable wave cycles. It can phase and flange and the faster mod speeds create mechanical rhythms all their own. Whether synched with the Seek Wah or running free, sweeping countermelodies and twisted polyrhythms prevail. Adding in the fuzz makes it thicker, buzzier, and louder. Roll the guitar volume down and the Randomatic operates from its internal self-noise and that of the other effects to function as a wave generator yielding strange robotic mutterings or shortwave radio from another zone.

  • Reeves Gabrels – Three Twisted Tales

1. Back in the mid-’90s, around the same time I got my Pro Tools/ Logic rig I had this idea. I was never a big fan of guitar synthesis. The pitch-to-voltage conversion aspect was always a little too removed from the immediacy of the finger on string of the analog world but I had begun using the synth pickup on my guitar to do MIDI sequencing (largely because it was easier tot me than playing keyboards).Then I had a “stupi-phany.” What if, while tracking my guitar through an amp in the studio, I also tracked the MIDI note information that my guitar synth was spitting out into the Logic program I was running (without audio)? What that allowed me to do was to record solos or rhythm tracks listening only to the guitar’s magnetic pickups through the amp, without any concern for cleaning up my technique to accommodate the pitch to voltage issues or having to hear any synth notes that might be triggered by pick slides, tremolo bar, pinch harmonics or random rock guitar bravado. After recording a guitar performance I was happy with, I would assign a sound to the MIDI track and listen to it with the guitar. Sometimes it would track perfectly. Sometimes I would clean up the mis-tracked MIDI notes on the computer. The best results were often the happy accidents that would occur between the guitar, the accidental MIDI note triggering, and the choice of sound that I decided to use as the synth source.

Examples of this method at work cam be found on the track “Arrow” from my second solo album Ulysses, where both the rhythm guitar track and the solo were cut in one take while printing MIDI note info. I then went back and cleaned up the MIDI track and even transposed some of it to create harmonies to some off-the-cuff guitar fills (thereby giving them weight and making them seem highly arranged and intentional). You can also find examples of this on the Bowie album Hours … on the tracks “Survive” and “Pretty Things Are Going to Hell,” and throughout the Bowie Earthling album.

A note to guitar players: The above process can sometimes be sonically gruesome and patience-trying until you arrive at a result Many producers, song writers, and artists will find this unpleasant. I got away with it because I was the artist on my record and with Bowie I was the guitar player, producer, and co writer of the material. Good tuck.

2. For simple sonic variation, I find that small battery powered amps are very handy By placing them in small and unusual enclosures and talking them, all sorts of interesting yet identifiable guitar-thru-speaker sounds can be found. My favorite is to put a small, cigarette-pack-style Smokey amp in a metal trash can. I then “tune” it to the track by varying the resonance of the enclosure with a small board or trash can lid and placing a mic at the opening. They also sound good in washing machines and dryers. Do not turn these machines on (unless you really want that sound). The pre-chorus guitar from the song “Leper” on my album Rockonica is an example of this.

3. I like to use effects not intended far guitar players. It was a review of the original Korg Kaoss Pad in 1999 that said it had “absolutely no live application for guitar or bass players” that made me go out and get this “DJ” effect. It has been part of my live and studio rig ever since, along with the Alesis airFX and airSynth. I find using anything I cannot turn on and off with my feet is a good thing. It changes the way I approach the guitar, the effect, and the music being played. Examples of all of these devices in action can be found on my live album Live, Late, Loud.

  • Lyle Workman – Eight Strange Beautiful Tones

1. One of the best guitar sounds was when I was working with Bill Bottrelt and he put a ribbon mic fairly close to the cabinet in a traditional location, then had a Shure SM57 three feet in front but pointing away from the amp.

2. I’ve had my amp talked from behind the open-back cabinet and that sounded great.

3. For a solo, producer Todd Rundgren ran my guitar through a vocoder and was tweaking it in real time while it was being recorded.

4. Once I miked the pass through–a tube in the studio wall to allow cables to pass between rooms, iV y amps were in the tracking room and I placed a microphone at the opening of the pass through tube in the control room.

5. Another time, an engineer swung a mic on a cable around and around over his head. rodeo fashion while soloed.

6. I once put a large wooden spoon near the bridge and under the strings to produce sitar-type effect.

7. I’m also not against putting masking tape on certain strings to prevent ringing on heavily gained-out Darts.

8. While playing through a chord progression, I’ve had my engineer put a finger or two on the neck to achieve a chord voicing that would be impossible otherwise.

Tone King Royalist 45 Combo Amp

Baltimore’s Tone King has dabbled in putting some raw, Marshall-like tones into some of its combo amps’ lead channels, but the Royalist is the first outright attempt to cop the classic big British stack sound. Hoever, designer Mark Bartel‘s goal wasn’t to simply clone the hallowed plexi–that’s already been done–but rather, to package an accurate rendition of that tone in a format that’s convenient, versatile, and more applicable to the needs of today’s guitarists. As such, the Royalist doesn’t mess with the basic tone controls, bu what this amp does deliver is a lorry load of performance-enhancing features that suits the Royalist to a far wider range of studio and gig situations than any stock plexi is prepared to tackle.

Its looks might lean a little more toward an early JTM 45, but the Royalist aims more squarely at late-’60s JMP 50 Lead amp territory. For the most part, the tube complement of three 12AX7s and two EL34s uphold this (forget, for now, the odd 6V6 tucked in there). It’s a crank-and-go head that requires very little tweaking, while promising all the versatility this vintage format is known for. Said versatility increases exponentially when you account for the built-in Ironman Reactive Load output attenuator, which negates the need for a master volume, plus the tube-buffered series effects loop, line-out Jack, and handy rear-panel test/adjustment points for both tube bias and screen voltage.

Now, what about that 6V6? It’s not in the signal chain at all, and instead is the secret ingredient in Bartel’s clever screen voltage regulator.

“It allowed me to eliminate any trace of sag,” he tells us, “while maintaining a nice, compliant feel that’s not at all stiff or hard. Sag isn’t really a desirable characteristic for this style of amp, and eliminating it by traditional methods can result in a hard feel which I find unpleasant. With this design you can actually dial in a tighter or looser feel as you wish via the adjustments in the back.”

Such creative design hints at quality build throughout, and a closer look confirms it. The internals reveal a blend of printed circuit and hand-wiring, but this is high-quality PCB, not your mass-manufactured stuff by any means. Quality components, tidy wiring, heavy transformers, and a shock-mounted chassis all follow suit.

Using a Les Paul and a Stratocaster, I tested the Royalist 45 head through Tone King’s own Royalist 2×12 cab with Eminence speakers, as well as a Port City 1×12 OS with a Scumback M75-65 speaker and a generic open-back pine 1×12 cab with a Celestion Greenback. Running the gamut from snappy and clean, yet almost blackface-like, tones with the Stratocaster and the Volume around 11 o’clock, to classic thumping British stack grind with the Les Paul and gain accelerated to 2 o’clock or beyond, the Royalist 45 quickly and confidently proved it could do an awful lot of great tricks in the classic-rock, hot-blues, and contemporary alt-rock spectrums. Throughout its range, I loved the grit, edge, and girth of the tone, the way it retained great note clarity amid full chords, and the way–just as Bartel promised–it never mushed out even when cranked right up.

With the attenuator bypassed, the Royalist 45 is a loud amp. I’d like to see further gradations of attenuation available, such as notches between the -3dB and -9dB jump and the -9dB and -15dB jump, but the Ironman does its job well. The loop functioned as desired, and the Dl worked smoothly and sounded good. The bias and voltage test and adjustment points made it easy to swap in 6L6s and KT66s for varying shades of flavor, too, and to fine-tune the feel and response of each tube to the amp. All in all, the Royalist 45 impressed mightily, proving itself a juicy and powerful performer in league with the mighty Marshall plexi.