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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Heil Talk Box

 
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When Peter Frampton began using the Heil Talk Box in 1974, he remembers it being viewed with skepticism as an “alien effect.” Similar contraptions had been around since 1939, but few people recognized them or their otherworldly capabilities. Frampton had yet to record with it, so when he used it onstage, it caused a furor. […]

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Durham Electronics’ ReddVerb

’Verb, Extra Saucy
 
Durham Electronics’ ReddVerb

Durham Electronics’ ReddVerb Price: $219 (list) Info: www.durhamelectronics.com Take it from Redd Volkaert; good reverb is hard to find. And that’s especially true if you’re gigging on the road and don’t want to lug an amp with a built-in spring reverb, let alone a (more…)

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Tony Bacon – Willie G. Moseley

The SG Guitar Book - Peavey Guitars
Into The Spotlight
 
Tony-Bacon

Whatever were they thinking? In hindsight, it’s tough to fathom how Gibson could scrap the Les Paul Standard at the end of 1960 and replace it in ’61 with a new design, the SG, or Solid Guitar. But, as prolific guitar scribe Tony (more…)

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Z.Vex Fuzz Probe

There-Mayhem
 
Z.Vex Fuzz Probe

Z.Vex Fuzz Probe Price: $369 Contact: www.zvex.com The Z.Vex Fuzz Factory pedal unleashed sonic possibilities ranging from a horde of wasps to the (presumed) sound of the end of the world and became a go-to stompbox for extreme-rock and heavy metal guitarists. The company’s (more…)

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Hornby Skewes Zonk Machines

Fuzz Bonk
 
Hornby Skewes Zonk Machines

In 1965, fuzz was the “it” sound. Guitarists had recorded with fuzz before, of course, but after Keith Richards plugged into a Maestro Fuzz-Tone on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” its sound was suddenly essential. In England, finding fuzz was an endeavor; the Maestro was expensive and difficult to track down. As a result, even […]

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Cry, Baby!

The Story of the Vox Wah
 
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Beyond being crowned “Album of the Century” by Time magazine, Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 LP Exodus is a wah-wah masterpiece thanks to Junior Marvin and his Thomas Organ Cry Baby. Others – from Earl Hooker to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa to Sly Stone – made their mark with the pedal, but never has (more…)

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Maestro Fuzz-Tone

 
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Fuzz. It’s the sound of fury, aggravation, indignation, and – considering the history of the most famous fuzzbox of all time, Maestro’s Fuzz-Tone – dissatisfaction. It’s also fitting as some of the first recorded electric fuzz guitar was heard via Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Willie Lee Johnson, (more…)

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KJ Audio Hanwell 50

Shake The Walls
 
KJ Audio Hanwell 50

KJ Audio Hanwell 50 Price: Head $1,900; cabinet $1,600 Contact: www.kjaudio.com No apologies: Minneapolis-based amp designer Kristopher Johnson’s Hanwell 50 boutique amp is built to rock. The amp was inspired by the four-input, 50-watt Marshall JMP MKII Master Volume amps of the mid (more…)

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Xotic Effects’ Wah XW-1

State-Of-The-Art MousEtrap
 
Xotic Effects’ Wah XW-1

Xotic Effects’ Wah XW-1 Price: $295 (list); $249 (street) Contact: xotic.us/ The chase for tone sometimes seems like never-ending “Tom and Jerry” reruns. Enter Xotic Effects and their better mousetrap: the XW-1 wah. That wily rodent Jerry just saw his life pass before (more…)

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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker

Best Amp You've Never Heard of
 
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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker Price: $1,200 Info: www.tonetroamps.com. On a quiet residential street in Minneapolis lives a mad scientist. Erstwhile rockabilly guitarist Jeffrey Falla is the brains behind ToneTron. And from his laboratory come some of the best-sounding amps you’ve never heard of. Falla began modifying and (more…)

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