Oct 22 2014

VFE Effects Focus Pedal Give Away.. and the winner is….

VFE Pedals - FocusMan of man.. I wanted this pedal for myself. I’m talking about the VFE Effects Focus Pedal. I have to say this is one of the best mid-boost, tone shaping pedals I’ve played. This is a must have if you’re having some trouble getting your leads or melody lines to cut through the mix. The pedal has very nice options for dialing in the perfect amount of mids to be heard. Thumbs WAY up to Peter at VFE Effects for this pedal… well done!

I also wanted to talk about VFE Effects a little more. This is a great company that really pushes the envelop when it comes to services they provide. They’re all about customizations along with their standard lines. Please give these guys a like on Facebook and check out their website. Awesome stuff!!! I would also like to send out a special “thank you” to Peter for giving an Effects Bay reader an opportunity to walk away with this great pedal. THANK YOU!

So, I finally have a winner for the VFE Effects Focus Pedal. Without further ado, the winner is Dan W. of Webster, New York! Congrats Dan, the pedal will be shipped out today! Please send us a photo of you with your pedal if you can!!

As usual, I have some more great pedals on deck to give away, so keep your eyes peeled. I should be announcing something pretty soon.


Oct 21 2014

A Great J. Mascis Interview

J. MascisJ. Mascis interviews are generally really awkward. At first, I hated them, but then I oddly became fascinated with them. Interviews slightly remind of Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Fern interviews. If you don’t know what I’m talking about.. check it out. Mascis is very monotone. Very short answers, and acts very bored, annoyed – but I believe that is just the way he is. A guy with little words.

With all that said, Mascis is one of those great alt-guitar heroes for sure. Dinosaur Jr. is a fantastic band and has been amazing from the beginning. Mascis also has a very distinct style of playing that can be recognized immediately that goes beyond his Jazzmasters and *stacks* of Marshall amps.

This morning, I discovered something new.. and I’m a new fan for sure. Little Punk People / Party Smasher is a YouTube channel featuring Elliot (who is probably 11 or 12) who gets to interview some great musicians. So when I saw this *kid* have a chance to interview J. Mascis.. well, that’s something I had to see.. and it was pretty great.

Let me know what you think of this video.. and/or J. Mascis by commenting below!!! And be sure to subscribe to Party Smasher on YouTube!


Oct 20 2014

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: Chicago

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways: ChicagoThere has been a lot of buzz, talk and anticipation for Foo Fighter’s new series – Sonic Highways on HBO. Friday night was episode one that featured Chicago as the first stop. For those of you that don’t know about this series, the concept is pretty cool. Basically, the Foo Fighters recorded their album in multiple cities, while in those cities they’ve created an exercise to really understand AND appreciate the history and develop the lyrics based on those experiences. On top of that they’ve invited a figurehead musician from that area to record on the track.

This concept is cool, but I really like Dave Grohl‘s honest appreciation to his own musical crossroads and how those have shaped his career. As I mentioned, the first episode was Chicago. To me, I have a great appreciation of Chicago. By far.. my favorite *music* city. Many of the bands I like hail from there (Shellac/Big Black, Silkworm/Bottomless Pit, Russian Circles, Seam, The Jesus Lizard, etc, etc), so I was really excited about it. Why Dave chose Chicago.. because he visited a cousin as a child, and that cousin was a punker and took Dave to a Naked Raygun show at the Cubbie Bear bar. At that moment, his mind was blown. Taking the experience back to Washington DC and began to explore the world of DIY punk shows, which obviously led him to where he is at today. Additionally, he wanted to record with Steve Albini (owner of Electrical Audio) who happened to be the engineer of Nirvana’s In Utero.

Here is the preview of the Chicago episode:

I can relate with these crossroads in my personal experience. Maybe you too? I can think of being in high school and handed a tape or disc of a band I never heard of.. and from that point on, changed the direction of my musical tastes. I can remember those milestones quite clearly. Or maybe the moment where you first held a guitar, etc.

Did you catch this episode? What did you think? Let me know by commenting below!


Oct 17 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 10/17 – Mike Gavrailoff

Today’s pedal line is from Mike Gavrailoff. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Also, remember to enter for a chance to win a VFE Effects Focus Pedal. I’ll stop taking submissions on Oct 20! Don’t miss out!

Pedal Line Friday - 10/17 - Mike GavrailoffMy name is Mike Gavrailoff and I’m a freelance musician out of Montreal. Mostly country, folk and rock. Check out my sites at www.mikegavrailoff.com and www.soundcloud.com/texas-dirty

my chain is this…

Boss A/B (for lap steel and guitar)
Dunlop Volume Pedal
Boss Chromatic Tuner
Boss Noise Suppressor
– small loop of Boss Blues Driver
Boss Tremelo
Electro Harmonix Clone Theory
Boss Digital Delay
Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeler
Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano

not on the board Boss Acoustic Simulator, MXR Phase 90, Fender Footswitch, Guyatone Vibrato, EHX Nano Clone, Fulltone Fulldrive 2


Oct 15 2014

T-Rex Karma Boost

T-Rex Karma BoostToday I wanted to talk about another great T-rex pedal off of their ‘slim’ line as I like to call it. Normally T-Rex pedals are housed in a double sized enclosure, but are now offering classic single unit enclosures. This is especially great if things are getting tight on your board. Space can be hard to come by!

The fine folks at T-Rex (Musiquip) were great to send me a few pedals to check out, and today I wanted to talk about the T-Rex Karma Boost. As I have mentioned in pasts before, I do like a great clean boost. If you’re running tube amps or like to overdrive pedals, clean boosts are fantastic. Basically, the concept is to increase your signal while preserving the original signal’s tone! They’re extremely simple to use, usually one knob and one footswitch, and just dial it to taste.

The T-Rex Karma Boost is a great sounding clean boost. The first prerequisite for a good clean boost.. is the transparency of the signal, and the Karma Boost checked out with flying colors. Lowering the boost signal fully counter-clockwise gave you unity gain. While turning the pedal on and off you should not hear a difference in tone or volume, and the Karma acted perfectly on this initial test. Raising the boost, the signal got louder and louder. My preamp tubes started to saturate, but the original tone was the same. Using this in conjunction with a dirt pedal of some sort also reacted excellent.

With the T-Rex Karma Boost, you can gain 16dB of signal.. which is a ton! The Karma uses a non-linear boost circuit, and incorporates a great buffer (I’m a big fan of buffers too – should read about buffers here).

Here is the official description of the T-Rex Karma Boost:

One simple pedal, so many uses. Rely on your KARMA to make sure your solos cut through—even if your soundman isn’t quite on top of it. Use it to compensate for power lost across long cables and lots of pedals. Let it accentuate the gain and sustain your overdrive and distortion pedals are giving you. Or use for no other reason that it’s one damned great sounding effect.

Also, check out this simple demo on the T-Rex Karma Boost sounds:

If you’re looking for a high quality clean boost, definitely check out the T-Rex Karma Boost. The T-Rex Karma Boost is currently available via Amazon for $199 and includes free shipping. Please let me know what you think of clean boosts in general or the Karma Boost by commenting below!

Also.. you see that t-shirt with the pedal? I’ll give that shirt away to a random commenter below! Let’s do it! Sorry.. I only have one size… still.. free shirt! THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONFUSION. I’M ONLY GIVING AWAY A SINGLE SHIRT. THE PEDAL IS NOT UP FOR GRABS. SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION.

T-Rex Karma Boost Shirt

Oct 13 2014

VFE Pedals Focus Give Away Reminder

VFE Pedals - FocusLast week I announced the VFE Pedals Focus Give Away.  This is definitely a give away you don’t want to miss out on. Some of you might have just stumbled upon this site recently.. and didn’t know it was happening, so I thought I would give a reminder of it.

Peter at VFE Pedals was kind enough to send the Focus over to give away to a lucky EffectsBay reader. Thank you Peter. For those of you not familiar with VFE Pedals, this is a growing and great pedal company out of Washington. Definitely worth checking out for their pedals, but also, Peter has been incredibly innovated with the ability to create extremely custom pedals to custom graphics and now offering custom circuits! Check out this Custom page for details. Not many other pedal builders offer this.

Now, let’s talk quickly about the VFE Focus pedal. If you’re having trouble cutting through the mix for leads or certain guitar parts, that’s often related to your mids being lost. Guitarists have had low end boosters, Treble boosters, but it’s difficult to get a good mid-boost.  The VFE Focus pedal is like a swiss-army knife for dialing in the perfect shape of mids for your instrument. I did a little review on this pedal, which you can read here – “VFE Focus Pedal“. Personally, I would be able to drop this on my board immediately.. I gave it thumbs up.. way up.

Okay.. what about the give away?!?! Well, sitting here on my desk, I have a VFE Focus ready to ship out. On October 20th (Mon) 2PM MST I’ll pick a random entry. To enter, please go here – “VFE Pedals Focus Give Away“. Also, if you could please share, re-tweet and let others know about the give away. On this blog, I love to give away gear, and getting the word out about these pedals and builders is incredibly important for me. We like gear right???

Good luck everyone!

Oct 10 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 10/10 – Andrew Droogsma

Today’s pedal line is from Andrew Droogsma. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 10/10 - Andrew Droogsma

My name is Andrew and I frequent Effects Bay and many other gear sites. Gear is my addiction, to my wife’s dismay (there are worse addictions, right??).

I am the singer and guitarist for post-punk band Cardboard Kingdoms (cardboardkingdoms.bandcamp.com and Facebook.com/cardboardkingdoms) as well as my newest forray, which is in the vein of Queens of the Stone Age and is yet to have any music released (keeping the band name under wraps until we start recording and booking). I also play solo (andrewdavidmusic.bandcamp.com) which usually just involves me plugging my jaguar directly into my amp with some reverb.

I stick my pedals to a pedaltrain JR with the voodoo labs pp+2 mounted on the underside to provide power and George L patch cables to string my boxes together. I use planet waves custom series cables. Pretty standard stuff, but definitely worth investing in.

I pick and strum my fingers on a cherry red Fender Jaguar with matching red headstock, mustang bridge and fender vintage jag pickups which I run into a Vox ac15c1-v-rd (celestion v-type speaker) that is also red to match my jaguar. Can’t get much sexier than that.

As a singer, I try to keep my toe-tapping simple so that I can concentrate on playing and singing while trying to put on a good show.

Pedal chain is as follows:
Pedal Line Friday - 10/10 - Andrew Droogsma Whammy 5th gen – replaced my boss oc-3 (also a fantastic pedal) for thickness and weirdness with the expression pedal. I live on the harmonize octave up/down setting.

Tc electronic polytune mini – small, accurate, true bypass.

Hofner fuzz – weird fuzz pedal I found for cheap that is almost distortion-like, replaced my modded boss ds-1. Sounds warm and full, without being a clone or sounding “vintage.”

Mxr blue box – replaced my big muff because it’s less noisy and doesn’t sound “vintage.” almost always just on the fuzz setting, no sub-octave unless I’m getting weird. Great spastic gated fuzz that’s very full sounding, wish it had a tone knob.

Jhs prestige – replaced my exotic EP booster (also fantastic) and it’s always on. Plus it’s a buffer, which is important when running 30ft cable and some pedals.

Earthquaker devices dispatch master – creates subtle space or walls of ambience. Can do verb/delay separately or combined. It’s my love, and I’m constantly messing with the knobs.

Oct 8 2014

Good Deal on the Mod Tone Vintage Analog Delay

Good Deal on the Mod Tone Vintage Analog DelayThis morning while drinking my green tea.. yes.. green tea (I’m off the java for a bit and I’m not too happy about it) I came across a nice little pedal deal. Today, I wanted to talk  the Mod Tone Vintage Analog Delay! The Mod Tone Vintage Analog Delay features a PT-2399 chip and is designed to provide that analog style of delay. So no massive repeats, etc. You can go from 130 to 350ms in delay time. Standard controls of Time, Repeat and Mix and provides nice analog warmth delay!

Here is Mod Tone’s official description of the Vintage Analog Delay:

The Modtone MT-AD Delay Effect Pedal features an exclusive analog circuitry coupled with a PT-2399 processing chip. This unique hybrid combination delivers a warm lush sounding delay reminiscent of the solely analog circuits of yesteryear without the unnecessary bulk or excessive price. Housed in a compact sealed corrosion resistant metal chassis that’s built to last, the MT-AD delay pedal boasts a simple 3 knob configuration that enables you to custom tailor your sound for maximum performance and starts with a screaming blue LED light that lets you know you’re armed and ready.

The “Time” knob (130ms to 350ms) allows you to go from a quick doubling effect all the way to vast and expansive bliss while the “Repeat” knob lets you control the amount of regeneration from zero to all out never-ending chaos. Twist the “Mix” knob to control the blend of your wet/dry signal for just a touch of effect or crank it up for a full blown Floyd-ish wash.

Here is a demo video:

Currently, at Amazon, you can pick up the Mod Tone Vintage Analog Delay is available for only $68.59 and ships for FREE. This is a great price if you’re looking for a solid delay! If you own this delay yourself.. please comment below!

Oct 7 2014

T-Rex Vulture Distortion

T-Rex VultureDistortion.. green pedal.. I figured I had it all worked out before I even played it. Just like so many things in life.. I was wrong. The guys at T-Rex sent over the T-Rex Vulture Distortion for me to give a little test ride and to talk about it here. I’m glad they did, I had some fun with this pedal.

The controls for the most part are pretty classic – Gain, Tone and Level. But in addition to the classic trinity controls, there is ‘Low Boost’ and ‘Fat Boost’. I thought that was a little interesting. These small trim pots help contour the tone. The Low Boost is designed to go from a *combo* feel to a *stack* vibe. I definitely thought with the lows pumped it gave it a more scooped feel. I think this would be fine – and big – in a single guitar scenario, but could get lost with dual guitars. The ‘Fat Boost’ adjusts the low mids and is designed to emulate some speaker cabs. Personally, I loved it when both the Low Boost and the Fat Boost were cranked and you brighten things up with tone knob. Speaking of the Tone knob, going fully counter clockwise did NOT give the super dark / pure mud tone.. that I normally hate. Basically the entire Tone spectrum provided a really useable tone. The Level knobs gives you a monstrous amounts of level. I was very blown away with the amount of headroom in the pedal.

Here is the official description from T-Rex:

The Vulture started its life, when Michael plugged in one of the very first pedals we made. That pedal had a certain sound to it that we really liked, but it was a bit grungy in the low-end. We wanted to make a pedal with that sound, but with a tighter, less fuzzy low end and with more gain.
We opened up the pedal and painstakingly measured everything in it, to find out why it sounded so good, and found a couple of resistors that would be better with other values.

Was it modified earlier in life or was this just a very good sounding mistake from when it was made in Lars´ basement way back in the 90´s?
All we know is that the basic sound was cool and we left it at that, and went on to focus on getting the low-end tight – but BIG!
The fruit of our labor is a pedal that has a great, throaty distortion with a nice bite to it but the low end and low midrange can be shaped in many ways, thanks to the low- and fat-boost knobs. This allows the player to dial in almost stupid amounts of lows, but the distortion stays tight, not muddy.

Well, we could have left it at a “bass”-knob, but that will only get you so far. The low-boost will add a lot of what we all love about those heavy 4×12 cabs, but that is not necessarily what you need if you are looking for more “body” in the sound, although it can turn that small combo you play at jam-nights into something bigger.
The fat-boost is designed to add weight and punch to the sound, giving the top strings a lot of thickness – almost like you went up two steps in string gauge, and the punch is more of a “punch in the chest” than a “kick in the #€%”.
The secret to the Vulture is to adjust the boost and tone knobs for optimal sound when the gain is adjusted, just like on an amp. It is tempting to turn everything up, but we still remember what happened when we turned the boost knobs off and set the gain above 3 o´clock…”uhm, maybe I don´t need a two-channel amp afterall”.

T-Rex VultureI played this pedal with on clean and with a dirt channel. With light distortion settings on the clean channel, things sounded nice and gritty. With things cranked, the pedal definitely sounded “pedal-ly” if you know what I mean. The scooped mids were very prominent. On high gain channels, the pedal really screams. High end sparkle and control via the Tone knob provided a few great options for searing lead tone. Dial back the Tone and add the Low Boost and/or Fat Boost, and things got nice and chunky for meaty rhythms. I also played this with single coils as well as humbucking pickups, and different hightlights presented themselves. Definitely more highs with the single coil, and the humbuckers provided a bigger mid-bump.

Here is their official pedal demo of the T-Rex Vulture:

The T-Rex Vulture lists at $249, but can be purchased for $199 at Amazon.com!

Overall, the T-Rex Vulture is great sounding distortion pedal with various options to shape your tone. I believe it would be great for lead work or higher-gain rhythm work. Additionally, it would be a great addition to dirty up a clean channel with some nice grit. It plays very well with single coils as well as humbuckers. Ultra-bright LED can be seen from space and is built with the classic T-Rex reliability you’d expect.

Let me know what you think about the T-Rex Vulture by commenting below!


Oct 3 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 10/3 – Tiago Pedroso

Today’s pedal line is from Tiago Pedroso. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 10/3 - Tiago PedrosoHi.

I’ve been reading your website for the last 3 to 4 months and thought I’d pitch in. I’m a webdesigner by trade and currently play guitar on an instrumental rock band in Lisbon, Portugal. Beyond the pedals pictured, my setup includes a 62 Reissue Epiphone Sorrento (Korean built hollow body guitar with USA Gibson electronics and mini-hums) and a 65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue (running clean on the vibrato channel).

Signal Path is as follows (pedals mounted on a Diago Commuter board – powered by a 9v 1Spot transformer):

TC Electronic Polytune Mini > Excellent tuner. I’ve used the Polytune 2 before but traded down for this to save on pedalboard space. The big Pulytune 2 is has a brighter display but this works well enough for me.

Wampler Black 65 > Oldest pedal on my board. I use it in boost mode, as a light OD as it gets dirty past noon. EQ is extremely powerful and makes this pedal highly versatile. The gain mode is a little boomy, but is definitely usable. I just don’t use it in a band context to avoid having to kneel in the middle of a song. Instead, I have a 2nd OD.

Barber Gain Changer > My 2nd gain stage. The Barber GC is an evolution of their LTD pedals. It has 3 voices and 2 gain stages. I use it on the ligther gain stage, maxed with the standard LTD voice. Focused, clear, american tone that cuts well into any mix.

Barber Barb EQ > I tried the Xotic RC Booster in this position before getting this Barber and, although its a good pedal, it added to much dirt. I needed a clean volume boost, not a gain boost. This does that in spades, but goes well beyond: in has a 3 way toggle for different “tone stack” sounds allowing you to turn your amp into either a 59 high power Tweed, a 60’s Blackface or a late 60’s British amp head. I use the tweed voicing as it fattens up my lead tone quite nicely. Also, the midrange knob has a push/pull switch that when “pulled up” emulates the bright input on the tweed and British setting (useful when playing darker guitars).

Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master > Delay & Reverb in a box. I use this almost exclusively as a delay pedal but the reverb on it is excellent. It’s usually white and blue but they did a run of black and blue DMs this year. I bought it used a couple of months ago and love it, although the switch feels a little stiff (not sure if its an EQD thing or if it’s a fault on my unit).

Strymon Flint > The ultimate Tremolo & Reverb box. Seems like a simple pedal, but this thing is capable of doing so much: from traditional spring reverb to wobbly/soupy soundscapes; it’s just a beautiful piece of gear. I use a lot of reverb (to much, actually) so I’ve hooked it with a favourite switch built by Drew Swindle (http://www.swindlereffects.com/) so I can have 2 presets on tap: the favourite switch has my regular plate reverb and the right switch on the flint has an 80s long/wet/glissed setting. For spring I use my Deluxe Reverb (foot switch pictured on the left). Tremolo-wise, the flint has a pretty extreme, almost chorus-like setting dialled in. For traditional tremolo I use the DRRI’s foot switch.

Boss RC-2 Loop Station > I use it as a practice tool. A sturdy but complicated machine, it allows me to record ideas on the fly.

That’s it.