Archive for September, 2010

Killer U2 shimmer tones – with Electro-Harmonix POG2

If like me your a guitar effects geek – you’ll love nothing better than an afternoon of guitar pedal tweaking generating some weird and wonderful tones sometimes producing something that sounds more synth like than guitar.

One tone that I’ve always loved is the “shimmer” sound employed by U2′s The Edge – he uses it an awful lot both in recordings and live (check out live recordings of “Still havent found what im looking for” as an example).

Whilst Edge uses a variety of hard to get equipment to generate his shimmer – U2 fans/guitarists often look for an “off the shelf” alternative – Line 6′s Verbzilla was always a good one to try – it’s octo-reverb can produce some great tones – but what if you want to try something else?

Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator Guitar Effects Pedal

Electro-Harmonix POG2 Polyphonic Octave Generator Guitar Effects Pedal

Well Electro Harmonix have a great solution – as demonstrated in this fantastic Youtube Vid linked to at the foot of this article

Using a channel splitter a POG2 and a delay they’ve created some fantastic string like tones which could be put to a multitude of uses.

The POG2

Electro-Harmonix have this to say about the POG2

Back in 2005, Electro-Harmonix unveiled the original POG, a polyphonic octave generator that enabled guitarists to conjure everything from the surreal jangle of an 18-string guitar, to rich, thick walls of symphonic sound.

The POG2 will take you even higher. Use the new attack control to fade in lush, smooth swells. Tune in the new second sub-octave to reach deeper than ever before. The 2-pole resonant low-pass filter now includes two additional Q modes. Slide in the newly enhanced detune to further refine your sound.

The POG2 delivers unrivaled tonal variations—and now you can save your favorite settings, and recall them with a click. The POG2 just plain sounds better, thanks to an enhanced algorithm that delivers a more focused and in-the-pocket harmonic performance. And all this is now packed into our rugged and pedalboard-friendly diecast chassis.

Here’s the fantastic vid – (be sure to check the others out in the EHX series).

Learn Jazz guitar comping

Effectively accompanying other musicians, or ‘comping’ as it’s known is a key skill that any Jazz guitarist needs to master.

Comping is used to effectively accompany the soloist (either another instrument or voice) – historically, in the world of jazz, this has often been the piano player – however with it’s rhythmic qualities the guitar makes for a wonderful accompanying instrument and if you want to play jazz – comping is definitely a skill you need to master.

Chordal use is often very different to those employed in other musical genres and comping is as much about chord voicings (and chord extensions) as anything – while comping is all about supporting the other instrument – the highest note in your chord voicing provides a natural melody – and a well chosen chord extension can provide necessary color. However – choose carefully – 3 or 4 note chords work best – 6 string voiced chords can drown out your soloist.


Comping is also heavily reliant on rhythm. Here there’s no substitute other than practice (and listening to a rich diet of Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery!)- Comping rhythms are often improvised but due thought needs to go into them to ensure that it doesn’t just come off as random chord stabbings that make no rhythmic sense focus on swinging the beat and building rhythmic ideas that add texture to your track – and remember to leave plenty of space to let the music breath.

Common Problems with Comping

What makes comping difficult? Perhaps is that it looks relatively easy can often fool novices – commonly the usual problems of bad timing, poor style and poor chord selection are often glaring (its really difficult to accompany subtly allowing the soloing instrument to take the lead – guitarists often dont like playing 2nd fiddle!

Comping is all about “owning” that secondary role – leaving as much space as needed while providing harmony and sufficient interest – it’s not about merely repeating yourself over and over following your chord pattern religiously (remember comping can be improvisation too!)

CHeck out these great Youtube Comping vids

Twin Channel Overdrive pedal Mudhoney II from T-Rex

Overdrive pedals are a really personal subjective thing – while the Tubescreamer remains for many the pinnacle noise producer – different sounds appeal to different folks so the ability for your overdrive pedal to produce a wide variety of tones is key.

T-Rex Mudhoney II Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Yellow
T-Rex Mudhoney II Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal Yellow

Enter the Mud Honey II from T-Rex.  Offering two identical distortion channels housed in a single stomp box with seperate level, gain and tone controls for each channel – the unit has plenty to offer – while you can’t have both channels operating at the same time (imagine the sonic cacophony with that!) it offers a great opportunity for those looking to increase the volume and overdrive level for solos or simply those that need some tonal variance within songs without the need for knob twiddling which you’d have on a one channel unit.

T-Rex have this to say:

If you still haven’t heard a T-Rex Mudhoney, do yourself a favour and plug one in next time you’re at the music store.
Dirty and sweet, this classic dual distortion pedal has been praised for its amazing tonal range and ability to deliver everything from a smooth dirty edge to a harrowing wall of distorted sound. It’s one of first pedals we produced, and it set the standard for many T-Rex pedals to come.

2 Mudhoneys in 1
Now, we’re pleased to introduce Mudhoney II, a new generation of this classic pedal that keeps everything that was great about the original Mudhoney – and then doubles it! With two channels of vintage gain, you can easily switch between a clean sound from your amp, a nice edgy overdrive from the one Mudhoney channel and a thick warm distortion from the other channel – delivering deliciously dirty T-Rex tone all the way.

New tone controls
Mudhoney II features the same convenient boost function you’ll recognise from the original Mudhoney (now one switch for each channel) and even adds a tone control for each channel – so you can shape the timbre of your drive to create your own signature sound.


Check out the Video from

Add backing singers to your vocals with Vocalist Live 3

If your a solo performer (or if your bands voices suck) and you want to fatten up your vocal performance but dont have the backing singers to help out – then fear not Vocalist have bought out the new Vocalist Live 3. Taking some of the great attributes from previous incarnations in the series the foot pedal unit boasts some great tricks.

Enabling 3 part harmonies by adding in too processed “voices” to match your own generated by the onboard musIQtechnology. Just plug your guitar in – no need to tell the unit what key to perform in – Live 3 detects the key from your guitar chord patterns and hey presto – instant BV’s.

Vocalist says:

musIQ is a revolutionary technology that eliminates the need program a song’s key or changes to create accurate harmonies. musIQ analyzes your lead vocals as well as the chords and notes played on a guitar in real-time to automatically generate perfect vocal harmonies. Simply plug into the Live 3, play your guitar and sing. The musIQ technology will ensure the harmonies are always right on.

The Live 3 Gives You More
  • Automatic intelligent 3-part harmony, your voice plus 2 more.
  • Gender controls allows you to give the harmonies a male or female voice
  • Humanize adjust the natural sound of the harmonies from loose to tight.
  • Five Harmony Patches to save harmony settings, each with an A and B parts for quick, easy changes on-stage.
  • Real-time Chromatic Pitch Correction
  • Vocal Pre Effects: Warmth (tube preamp), Compressor , two-band EQLow Cut and Noise Gate
  • Reverb with three different room sizes
  • Delay with five delay settings
  • Built-in guitar chorus effect
  • Built-in Guitar Tuner




Guitar Looper – JamMan by Digitech

Loopers are great fun – you can use them as backing when you want to practice or do solo gigs (check out this great KT Turnstall vid on how to gig solo with just a loop pedal and an acoustic guitar!

Digitech have this to say!

While there’s a few on the market (including some imbedded with some multi effects units like Line 6′s M13) Digitech have released the JamMan Looper (either as a solo pedal or as a stereo units).

The legend continues. When we invented the PDS8000 pedal almost twenty years ago, it stored eight seconds of audio. Now we’ve reinvented it using removable CompactFlash™ memory to store up to 6.5 hours*! A wide range of features combined with ease of use make the DigiTech® JamMan® the perfect looper/phrase sampler for practicing, composing, and performing. The JamMan opens up new horizons to your musical explorations. Whether you’re performing alone and building many parts to develop a song or play in a full band, the possibilities are endless!

Looks cool to us! – we especially like the ability to link over USB to your PC to store your loops – great for never losing a song idea again! – and the ability to use an SD card to get 16 hours of loops (yes 16!) should keep everyone pleased!


DigiTech JML2 JamMan Stereo Looper and Phrase Sampler Guitar Effects Pedal

DigiTech JML2 JamMan Stereo Looper and Phrase Sampler Guitar Effects Pedal

Check out this fab Youtube video on JamMan too from those folks over at!

Acoustic Guitar Tapping

Tapping or the use of hammer on and pull off’s to create a rhythmic percussive guitar part has been around for years – once mainstream in rock it’s to be found all over the place now – with lots of great guitarists using it to good effect in a wide variety of musical genres.
Newton Faulkner have bought this into mainstream)

There’s loads of tutorial websites out their for those interested in learning (websites such as This one and as always check out youtube for some inspiration).

Be prepared though – this one takes time to master it can be as irritating as hell to start off with as it seems nigh on impossible BUT – persevere – remember always work with a metronome or click device – check out your tunings (this style works best with Open Tunings – start slowly and build up your tempo – aim for clarity of notes rather than speed at first and practice practice practice.

We’ll leave you with one of our favorites the fantastic Erik Mongrain and Airtap!!

Vox’s guitar practice solution

We all know how when your starting out getting a workable practice set-up is key – your guitar heroes all have killer tone and all you have is a guitar and a small practice amp?….getting simular tones can be nigh on impossible.

Luckily there’s loads of solutions for that problem now on the market and Vox have introduced there very own – “JamVox” JamVox works as a plug and play solution linking your guitar and your computer to create an arsenal of tone.

Vox says

JamVOX gives guitarists instant access to dozens of legendary amps and effects all in one easy to use “drag and drop” software interface. Revolutionary Guitar XTracktion (GXT) technology lets you remove the guitar part of your favorite song with the push of a button. Best of all, you can then take the lead yourself with instant rock star tone! Alternatively, you can extract or isolate the guitar part, slow down the tempo, and practice any style of music without changing the pitch

Featuring 19 famous guitar amps and 54 effect units ranging from vintage to modern and a dedicated USB monitor speaker – there should be enough tones and sounds for everyone.


Vox JamVOX Multi Effects Processor BlackJamVox Guitar Jam and Practice Tool

Check out this video of Allison Robertson from the Donnas demo-ing the JamVox

Available from Line 6 is their Digital Guitar wireless system called “Relay”, Line 6 says

“New Relay™ G30 wireless guitar system completely redefines the wireless experience. It delivers superior sound, professional dependability and refreshing simplicity that, until now, were totally unavailable in a wireless system.”

While wireless systems have gone in and out of fashion many detractors have argued about loss of quality and signal – Line 6′s Relay system however arrivespPromising increased performance and quality over analogue systems Line 6 have released Relay in 3 flavours the G30, G50 and G90 – the later models coming with increased range and channels.

Line 6 has some fab new gear coming out this year including a brank spanking new Variax so a company to really keep your eyes on.

Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System
Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System