Category Archives for Electric Guitars

Top Four Best Five String Bass Guitars on The Market Today

Top Four Best Five String Bass Guitars on The Market Today  

When shopping around for a five stringed bass guitar, there are many different factors that you should take into consideration before making a
final purchase.

In case you weren’t aware, the biggest thing that sets a five stringed bass guitar apart from a four stringed bass guitar is the low string (known as the B string); this is the fat string that will need some extra, as sometimes the size of the string can cause some damage to the
fret board.

You really only have to worry about this if you’re purchasing a cheap bass guitar or don’t really ever take care of your guitars.

When going shopping for your new five string bass guitar, you need to look for a guitar that has an extra low amount of fret noise; this is in order to make sure that the B string produces the least amount of fuzz as possible.

If you’re looking for extra help controlling the lower strings, finding a bass guitar with an on board EQ is always a great bonus. Having an EQ will allow you to have more control over the tonal options, which allows you to experiment with your sound.

What makes a good bass guitar?

In all honesty, there are so many things that go into creating a great bass guitar. You could probably write a length novel about all of the different things that go into creating a good
bass guitar.

However, the word ‘good’ is a term that is loosely defined and can mean different things to different people. For me, one of the most important things that goes into making a good bass guitar is the types of woods that are used to make the neck and the body of the guitar.

For example, cheaper bass guitars use inexpensive woods such as alder or basswood. However, more expensive bass guitars will use maple or mahogany.

However, if a guitar is/isn’t equipped with these woods or any other special factors shouldn’t be the make or break for you. Before making any final decision on one singular bass guitar, you should head over to your local guitar shop to try playing different bass guitars that use different tone woods.

For example, a bass guitar that is built with mahogany is going to produce a warmer sound than a bass guitar that’s built with swamp ash, which produces a brighter sound compared to mahogany. Just from the different pickup options alone, you are going to find many different choices of bass guitars to choose from, which can become pretty overwhelming.

You can choose from either hum buckers or single coil bass guitars, as well as an active or a passive design. Single coil bass guitars are a classic bass guitar pick up that have one coil and one magnet, that produces an even and bright sound.

On the other hand, hum buckers have a rounded and fatter sound; a lot of musicians really enjoy using the hum bucker because it helps to cancel out any background interference, but the sound that the hum bucker produces at higher volumes can sound a bit muddy.

Why are there a different number of strings?

The first electric bass guitar that was ever produced was created with four strings; for a long period of time, that’s all there were, were four string bass guitars.

The reason why there are more strings on a bass guitar is to add more range to the instrument; having a larger range means that musicians are able to play further into the bass range or even the treble range.

Another added benefit of having a bass guitar with more than four strings is that your hands don’t have to work as hard shifting around the neck of the bass guitar as much.

Five and six stringed guitars really began to take off in the 1980s, as bassists were in huge competition with electric keyboards.

A lot of bass guitarists were being replaced in bands by computers and keyboards, as they had more of a range than a standard four string bass guitar did. In order to keep up with the competition, bassists began to add more strings to their guitars, in order to have a
broader range.

The fifth string that bass players added allowed the musicians to reach further into the bass range, while the sixth string allowed musicians to reach into the treble range with more ease.

How many strings is enough for me?

There truly is no definitive answer for this question, as you can choose between a four stringed bass, a five stringed bass, or a six stringed bass. The decision you end up making will ultimately depend on your budget, your experience, and your style.

If you are just starting out playing bass guitar, I personally suggest that you stick with a four stringed bass guitar, especially if you have no musical experience whatsoever. Just sticking with four guitar strings will keep your learning experience simple and less aggregating.

There are still a whole range of notes and chords that you can play on four strings; most famous rock and metal bands have a bass guitar that only has four strings.

Having less strings means that you have less to worry about when you’re performing live, which means that you can enjoy rocking out even more. Also, playing on a four stringed bass guitar really will allow new musicians to refine proper playing techniques, as well as having the ability to develop a personal playing style.

On the other hand, if you have some musical experience, preferably with a bass guitar ,you can upgrade to a five or six string bass guitar. Five strings will allow you to play more notes than the four string guitar, but the six string bass guitar will allow you to play the most notes out of all three options.

Your fingers are going to do have to do a lot more stretching around the neck of the guitar, which is going to take some practice, especially if you’re not used to laying a guitar with that many strings.

If you’ve never played bass guitar, I would highly recommend that you start out on a four stringed guitar. Even if you have experience playing an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar, learning bass guitar will be a brand new experience where you’re going to have to learn to shape and refine your playing techniques.

Five and six string guitars are really great to use if you’re looking to specifically play metal, heavy metal, or rock. Having the extra string will allow you to reach all of those lower notes without having to spend any time de-tuning and re-tuning your guitar.

Is a bass guitar harder to play when it has more strings?                                                            

Yes, a bass guitar is harder to play when it has more than four strings to play. You have more strings to keep control or, as well as more strings to memorize when playing without looking.

A lot of beginners don’t realize that there’s a lot more work when you have five or six strings to play, instead of just four; you have more strings that you have to worry about keeping quiet, while also making sure that the strings you’re playing have the notes ring out.

The more strings you have on a bass guitar, the closer the strings get, which makes playing certain styles like slap bass a lot more difficult.

The neck on the bass guitar will get wider and you have to have a higher accuracy rate; this means that you have to do more stretching and reaching on the neck of the bass with your fingers, which may be tricky if you have smaller hands.

I always suggest that beginners start out with four strings, because you can always switch up what you’re playing in the future, as switching from a four to six string isn’t too hard.

What is the difference between passive pickups and active pickup?

A passive pickup provides bass guitars with a more traditional bass guitar sound, since they’ve been around since the creation of the bass guitar. If you are a musician who is looking for a warm bass tone that has some punch to it, without having to sacrifice any dynamic range, the passive pickup is most likely the best pickup for you.

Active pickups are newer on the market and they typically come with built in preamps that are powered by separate energy sources, which are typically batteries. Active pickups provide musicians with a clear, bright, and large tone. The preamp that’s installed in the active pickup has a much large volume output compared to the passive pickup.

Your choice between an active pickup or a passive pickup is truly up to each bass guitarists individual taste. Personally, I highly suggest that you check out a bass guitar that has an active pickup and passive pickup to figure out which bass guitar you like better.

Yamaha TRBX505 TWH 5 String Premium Electric Bass Guitar

When you take into consideration of the price tag of the Yamaha TRBX505, which is priced at $549 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), and the quality and performance of the instrument, it’s not too shabby.

While I wouldn’t say that the overall performance and quality of the instrument is absolutely outstanding, you really can’t beat the performance it has for the price tag it comes with.

Spending under $1,000 for an decent quality bass guitar is hard to find, so I always tell my beginning bass guitar players to snatch this one up when they can.

The overall tone of this instrument is incredibly versatile, even fitting along with the sound of heavy metal and rock.

As for the electronics on the bass guitar, there is an on board three band EQ that allows the musician to make all sorts of adjustments, which is what makes this instrument so versatile; as long as you know how to make the proper adjustments, you can go to play pop music to heavy metal om the Yamaha TRBX505.

As for the physical make up of this bass guitar, the TRBX505 is incredibly user friendly, with beginning musicians in mind. This instrument is comprised of a solid mahogany body and a five piece mahogany and maple combo neck, with smooth black nickel hardware.

Ibanez BTB1405E Premium 5 String Electric Bass Guitar

Ibanez BTB1405E Premium 5 String Electric Bass Guitar

The Premium 5 String Electric Bass Guitar is a bit more expensive than some of the other articles that we talk about in this article, but there’s a good reason why. For just over a thousand dollars, you’re going to purchase yourself an electric bass guitar with active electronics, a set of two pickups, one of them which is a CAP double hum bucker pickup.

The CAP double hum bucker is attached to a three way switch that is in total control of the electronics department, which gives you the ability to choose between three audio presets that are extremely different from each other.

On top of that, you can make additional adjustments with the on board three band EQ, which really gives you an endless amount of adjustments to the sound that your instrument produces.

There’s a very distinctive groove and warmth that comes from this bass guitar, which you would expect to find in a guitar that’s priced at $1,099 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). A great little bonus that comes with this bass guitar, is that there is a unique cling that comes from the sound of the guitar, which gives you the ability to create and build upon your own unique sound and style.

Peavey Millennium 5 String Trans Black

For $449 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), you can purchase yourself a bass guitar for an inexpensive price tag that wasn’t made with cheap materials.

Personally, my favorite part of the Peavey Millennium is the finish, as I find it very attractive in cosmetic standards. Picking up this instrument and starting to play it, you might be a bit surprised by the warm low end with a punchy mid-range.

As for the physical makeup of this guitar, you’ll find that the Peavey Millennium is comprised of a maple neck with a classic rose wood fret board, a 34 inch scale, a basswood body, a two-way tension rod that’s completely adjustable, and a quilt maple top.

The electronics department for this guitar is a bit exciting, as the Peavey Millennium has a set of two straight single coil pickups and a set of three control knobs that allow you to adjust volume and tone.

Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar

 

                             

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that will pair will with blues, rock, funk, jazz, or pop, you’ve come to the right guitar. For $725 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) you can purchase yourself an extremely bass guitar, the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar.

The sound that this guitar produces is very unique and distinctive; the Fender produced a soothing and mellow sound that pairs so well with many genres of music. After playing this bass guitar, I wouldn’t suggest this bass for any metal or heavy metal; however, it does pair well with all other genres.

This guitar is cosmetically appealing with a neck that’s a bit bigger than the standard sized bass guitar neck; if you have larger sized hands, you’ll have a lot easier time playing the neck of this guitar without your hands cramping.

There is a three band active EQ installed in the electronics on this bass guitar, which will allow you to make any type of sound adjustment to your guitar that your heart could desire.

Some considerations to make before buying a bass guitar

As you’ve read in this article, there are so many different things to think about before purchasing your new bass guitar, whether it’s your very first or your hundredth bass guitar purchase! You can choose to buy a new or used bass guitar, which only adds onto the list of difficult decisions you have to make before making a purchase.

Buying a used bass guitar does come with a bit more risk; just make sure that you if you are purchasing a used bass guitar, to purchase it from a reputable guitar store and not a thrift store or a flea market. You can always return your bass guitar to a guitar store if you’re unhappy with your purchase!

I always strongly recommend that before you make any purchase, you go to a guitar store, you try out different guitars to find one that you truly love. You really want to make sure you find one that you’re totally in love with, because if you end up being unhappy with your purchase, you’re not going to want to practice on your new instrument.

Tremolo vs Vibrato– What’s the Difference on These Two Techniques?

In the music industry, tremolo and vibrato are often confused by not only musicians but manufacturers as well. For example, many manufacturers have guitars that have been labeled with a tremolo arm, when in fact, it’s actually a vibrato arm.

Both vibrato and tremolo produce a similar movement and rhythm, which explains why is it so easily confused, but the way that these two techniques are produced are completely different.

Vibrato and tremolo are both musical notations that can be used with a wide variety of instruments, both wind, and strings. You’ll be more likely to hear wind musicians talk about vibrato, as producing vibrato on a wind instrument is an action that helps to maintain consistent tuning in longer notes.

It’s not very common to find tremolo markings on wind instruments, as producing a tremolo effect on wind instruments is a bit more difficult.

Vibrato

Vibrato is a palpitating sound effect that is created from small rapid changes in the frequency (also known as pitch) of a note.

Vibrato has been used for centuries in musical compositions, as a way to add color and expression to music. Vibrato is expressed through two different parameters; through speed (how quickly the pitch is changed) and through depth (the amount of change in the pitch).

In other words, vibrato is a change in signal of the pitch, which makes the note bend up and down. Vibrato effect gives players a ‘warbly’ effect as if the sound is almost underwater.  The thing about having a whammy bar on your guitar, but in the form of a pedal.

A whammy bar forces the bridge of the guitar to put more or less pressure on the strings in order to change the pitch of the strings. Some manufacturers produce vibrato pedals, which operate very similarly to whammy bars; the vibrato pedals change the pitch of your strings. Vibrato is all about pitch.

If you’re a guitarist who isn’t feeling too confident in your musical notation abilities, a vibrato pedal is a way to go. There are two main types of vibrato pedals on the market- digital vibrato pedals and analog vibrato pedals.

A vibrato pedal is especially helpful to use if you’re worried about not being able to maintain a consistent tempo while producing the effect. By using the pedal, all you have to do is press down and you’ll have the vibrato effect created.

As for the analog vibrato pedal and the digital vibrato pedal, analog pedals are the more popular choice among the two. This is because analog pedals produce a bit of warmth when the shift occurs, as well as being more precise in a change of pitch compared to digital vibrato pedals.

Tremolo

On the other hand, tremolo is where a musician creates rapid changes in the volume of a note; when doing more research, you may also find articles that say that tremolo changes the amplitude of a note- amplitude is another word for volume. All tremolo does it change the volume or a pitch.

Tremolo can either be created mechanically or manually; manual vibrato is also called finger vibrato or hand vibrato. Finger Vibrato is a technique in which a guitarist uses their fingers or hands to bend the string up and down; by moving the strings and up down, the guitarist produces a small alteration in the pitch, which vibrato is correctly defined.

Ever since the late 1900s, guitars have been equipped developed and produced with vibrato systems that are operated mechanically, most commonly found in a hand lever. This is where the confusion really begins!

The Stratocaster guitar by Fender was produced in 1954 and was produced with a mechanical bridge mechanism that allowed players to bend strings from subtle movements to large bends, all while keeping accurate intonation.

Tremolo is great to use if you are looking to create a pulsating effect or any other type of percussive effect. If you’re not very comfortable with manually performing tremolo, tremolo effects can be found on stomp boxes, amps, and effect devices.

Again, if you are worried about applying the tremolo technique to your music and not being able to maintain a consistent tempo, there are tremolo pedals on the market that allow you to produce a tremolo effect by pressing down on the pedal.

These pedals work very similarly to vibrato pedals, but instead of producing a vibrato effect, tremolo pedals produce a wavy or choppy effect, depending on which option you select.

When testing out and comparing the tremolo pedal and the vibrato pedal, a lot of people commented that the tremolo pedal sounded a lot more artificial than the vibrato pedal. The effect that the tremolo pedal produces is a lot more obvious compared to the vibrato pedal.

Conclusion

Vibrato and tremolo are both techniques that have the ability to really add emotion to your music or allow you to change a bridge in a song. Both of these techniques really allow musicians to add expression to their music, which makes the difference between a decent song and a memorable masterpiece.

If you’re struggling with applying the manual techniques, try looking into purchasing a vibrato or tremolo pedal to help you on your way to more emotional piece. Vibrato is always about the pitch, while tremolo is always about volume.

Top Ten Best Ibanez Guitars On The Market Today

If you’ve done a little bit of guitar research about what instrument you want to purchase, you’ve probably run into a brand that name is Ibanez. Ibanez has a whole selection of bass guitars, electric guitars, classical guitars, and acoustic guitars.

But, if you’re a beginning guitar player, how do you know which guitar you should purchase from Ibanez?

That’s why I’ve created this article! Today, we are going to talk about the top ten best Ibanez guitars on the market. I will go over the best bass guitars, electric guitars, and even talk about their best classical guitar. The guitars that I’m reviewing range in price, but they all do a superb job. I hope you enjoy reading!

Ibanez Talman TCY10

The Ibanez Talman TCY10 is an electro-acoustic guitar that really has the ability to impress performers of all genres, even electric guitar players! There are several models of the Talman that are available, but the TCY10 is all laminate, which makes it one of the most affordable guitars that Ibanez produces.

Personally, I believe that this is one of the best guitars that Ibanez produces that is under $300, as it truly does offer a solid value.

The biggest complaint that I had about this electric acoustic guitar was that the sound was a little bit thin, especially when compared to other guitars in this price range, but the TCY10 has a really relaxed manner to it, which makes it a real winner with whatever you play.

As for the physical make up of the body for this guitar, the TCY10 is a steel stringed acoustic that has a double cutaway design, a laminated spruce top that has an X bracing, 25.5 inch scale length, laminated mahogany sides and back, a high gloss finish, and an ivory binding.

While this description of the body may sound very physically appealing, there is so much more to this guitar.

This guitar truly has the same feeling that playing an electric guitar gives and I would say that that is mostly because of the neck- the neck is very easy to play on and allows easy access to the highest frets on the fret board.

The controls on this guitar aren’t extremely versatile; you really only have your treble, bass, and volume controls. The electronics that come with the TCY10 are the Ibanez’s AEQ2T battery powered preamp system that has an under saddle pickup. Besides the lack of versatility in the controls and the electronics, all of the other hardware on this guitar is affordable and sturdy.

While all of the woods that have been used on this guitar are laminated, the combination of the mahogany and spruce provide this instrument with a smooth, well-balanced tone. When plugged in, musicians have no problem with the power or resonation that this guitar provides.

Ibanez SR405EQM Bass Guitar

The tonewood that Ibanez chose for the SR405EQM was mahogany that is accented by a quality maple top. The finish on top of the SR line is flawless and really adds to the overall beauty of the line. The neck is an SR5 five piece maple and rosewood that also has a rosewood finger board.

The hardware in the SR405EQM is absolutely outstanding; the bridge is an Accu Cast B305 that has a set of adjustable saddles. Visually, this bridge isn’t too different from a standard vintage bridge, but it does handle sustain a lot better.

The tuning pegs that are installed in this bass guitar are solid enough to ensure that the strings can hold loads of sustain, which means that you can really go to town on this bass guitar.

The electronics in this bass guitar aren’t anything too complex; there’s a set of Power Span dual coil pickups where one is at the end and the other pick up it at the neck position. This set is wired into a circuity that also includes a Power Tap switch and a three band EQ.

The Power Tap switch allows players to choose between a standard series setting and two types of tap options. Even though this may seem like there’s a lot of control options, players still have the opportunity to truly bend and shape the sound and tone that they are looking for.

Even though this bass guitar is affordable, the sound that this instrument produces makes it sound like a million dollars. The humbucker’s range allows you to choose whatever tone you may please.

Ibanez AEG10NII

Did you know that Ibanez offers more than just bass guitars and electric guitars? Yes, they do! The Ibanez AEG10NII is a classical nylon stringed guitar that’s meant to really perform. The body of the AEG10NII shres the same exact body as the AEG10II, which is a steel stringed acoustic guitar.

The AEG10NII has a slender feel and a very traditional look with a 2.75 inch body depth and a single cut away.

Ibanez chose to use spruce as the top for this guitar and mahogany for the sides and back as their choice of tone woods. There are two color options that customers can choose from and both of these colors come with a high gloss finish.

The neck is comprised of mahogany and has a satin finish, with a rose wood fret board, and twenty one fret. The neck itself is light weight, but feels very solid and comfortable to play when in your hand.

This is an electric acoustic guitar that comes with the Ibanez’s AEQ-SP1 preamp and a Fishman Sonicore pickup. The combo of these two electric devices really allow musicians versatility when it comes to live stage performances.

All of the controls on this guitar are very simple; treble, middle, and bass have their own knobs, as well as a phase reserve switch and a volume control knob. The phase reserve switch is for players to use to reduce feed back when their guitar is plugged in.

The AEG10NII has a very balance sound that’s nice and crisp, without being too deep. The EQ and other controls on the guitar allow you to adjust the sound to how you would want it to be in order to achieve in effect or tone that you are looking for, which makes this guitar extremely versatile.

Ibanez SR800 Bass Guitar

The shape of the SR800 is really no different than any other Ibanez design. However, Ibanez decided to change the pace up their the body of the SR800 bass and use a mahogany tone wood that has a layer of poplar burl on top.

There are two options for finish, but both look equally as attractive. As for the neck, there are five pieces of rose wood fret board connected together to copy the Jatoba design; there are twenty four medium frets.

The hardware in this guitar isn’t too fancy; you’re looking at an Accu-cast B30 bridge and a set of tuning pegs that are pretty quality.

The bridge had a small amount of adjustments made to it so that it looks and performs similarly to a vintage style unit; this variation increases the sustain of this guitar, but not by a whole lot. If used regularly, tuning and intonation will stay equal and consistent.

The electronics on this bass guitar are a little confusing, but very interesting. The SR800 has two Bartolini MK1 passive pups that have been wired to an Ibanez Custom Electronics three band EQ. This unique combination really gives players a whole range of versatility and methods to add expression to their music.

There is also a three-way mid frequency selector knob ob the guitar which allows you to choose between 250Hz, 450Hz, and 700Hz settings.

If you’ve ever played bass guitar, take a listen to the SR800 and you’ll hear the HD sound that this bass produces. The sound has so much clarity, definition, and sustain- it’s almost too much to take in at once. If you love slapping bass or are looking to hit the lower end of the frequency range, you’ll have a lot of fun playing this guitar.

Ibanez AW54CE

The Ibanez AW54CE is a guitar that is from the Art Wood series; Ibanez made sure that this instrument not only was affordable to players of all financial backgrounds, but that it also had a performance that even famous professionals would be impressed with.

For a nice gesture, Ibanez through in some premium touches in with this guitar, which is very impressive to find in a guitar that costs under $300. Check out the latest prices here.

As for the body and neck of this beauty, the AW54CE has a classical dreadnought shaped body that has a 25.6 inch scale length, as well as a single cut away. The body of the AW54CE is dark brown; this model has a solid mahogany top with laminated sides and back, which helps to make the instrument more affordable.

The entire body is covered with an open pore finish, which really gives this guitar a real aesthetical finish; however, this finish doesn’t really add or take away any of the sound. The neck connects to the body at the 14th fret, is also made from mahogany, with a classic rose wood fret board.

There are twenty frets in total on this model, with simple dot inlays covering the fret board. The finish on the neck is an ultra smooth satin finish, which really allows your hands to slide up and down the neck with ease.

Another cosmetic detail that Ibanez added to this model was the tortoise shell pick, which adds an amazing vintage appeal to this instrument.

While the cosmetic appearance of this instrument may be incredible, the actual performance of the AW54CE is even better. The AW54CE is jam packed with technology to truly add to the overall sound quality of the instrument.

For example, Ibanez used the Fishman Sonicore pickup as well as the Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp to combine together to really add some extra umph behind this guitar. The AEQ10TF system that Ibanez installed into this guitar has a comprising treble, volume, bass, and on board tuner and it’s completely battery powdered.

Moving on to the head stock, the AW54CE has six chrome die-cast Grover tuners, a bone saddle, and a bone nut all on the rose wood bridge; Ibanez installed Ibanez Advantage bridge pins into this guitar, which makes changing strings a lot easier to change out to maintain consistent placement of the strings.

When this beauty is unplugged, it has a rich tone that’s absolutely stunning. Due to the shape of this guitar’s body as well as the combo of the solid mahogany top, the AW54CE has a lot of natural projection and resonance to provide in a performance.

While that may scare some people, there is also X bracing in this guitar, which allows players who are looking for a more articulate sound to receive that. Not much changes when this guitar is plugged in; everything sounds the same, but there is a slight limitation on your controls.

Overall, for $300, the Ibanez AW54CE really is worth the money, as it’s very impressive, just talking about the sound alone. The cosmetic appearance of the instrument has a very vintage appeal to it, but doesn’t lack in electronics or sound performance. This is an amazing guitar to purchase, no matter what your skill level is.

Ibanez S Prestige Series S5570Q

If you’re looking to purchase yourself an electric guitar that fits perfectly into the world of metal music, you’ve found yourself the right guitar. More than likely, if you’ve done any research before reading this article, you have read or heard a lot of people talking about how Ibanez makes the best electric guitars for metal.

Depending on your budget, there are several electric guitars that you can choose from that all have an amazing quality to them. However, the S Prestige Series S5570Q is the electric guitar that we’re going to talk about right now!

Ibanez’s electric guitars are famous for their smooth necks, as they are very east to play on. The neck on the S5570Q is really amazing, as it’s thin enough for metal guitarists to shred on the neck, but has enough girth to the neck that makes playing heavy riffs or complex chords easy.

The body of this instrument is comprised of mahogany, which is great for anyone who is looking to play in the rock or metal industry, since mahogany produces sound with high levels or resonance. The finger board is just your classic rose wood and has twenty-four jumbo-sized frets.

For the whammy bar, this electric guitar has a Lo-Pro edge  bride on display; this whammy bar does an incredible job of keeping proper tuning and intonation on the instrument. The jumbo frets are truly high quality and do not produce any fuzz or extra distortion.

However, in my personal belief, the strongest section of the S5570Q is the pickup section, as the S Prestige S5570Q has a single coil Short Tracer 2, high output Hot Grinder 2, and a Hot Grinder 1; each of these pickups provide the guitar with the ability to produce completely different effects and vibes.

This electric guitar truly gives you an unlimited amount of choices when trying to decide on what type of audio configurations you’re looking for.

Ibanez SRFF805 Bass Guitar

The body shape of the SRFF805 is very similar to the other bass guitars that Ibanez produces. For tone wood, Ibanez chose to use ash and only provide a Black Stained finish. The entire bass has a chilling vibe, which is very interesting to find in a medium priced bass guitar.

The neck is a five piece Jatoba design with a fret board that has been adjusted for multiple scales as well as medium frets.

Since this bass is fanned (which means that the bass has been adjusted for medium frets and multiple scales), there is a special bridge that has been installed on this guitar. This bridge is the mono-rail V Bridge that comes with five adjustable saddles that are all for different scale lengths.

You will also find a set of five Ibanez tuning pegs that help to maintain quality and performance.

As for the electronics in the SRFF805, you get two Bartolini BH1 pick ups that have been adjusted for a fanned layout. You also receive control over the Master volume, three-band EQ, and blend, as well as an EQ bypass for a three-way mid frequency selector.

All of these options really allow you to shape the tone of your bass, which really adds to the versatility of the instrument.

This bass guitar can truly adapt to any sound that you put it in; there is only one signature feature that this bass guitar produces and that is a high output vibe that is present, which is always present with all active bass guitars.

The sound this guitar produces has a lot of definition to it and can easily adjusted along with the frequency range. In terms of tonal production and tone control, the SRFF805 is simply incredible.

Ibanez Paul Stanley Signature PS120SP

If you’re interested in purchasing a guitar that’s really going to make you stand out from the crows, this is it. There’s an extreme look to this guitar with its distinctive exaggerated teardrop shape and a large single cut away fish hook. The design on this body really gives this guitar that rock-n-roll glam look and it comes with a sparkling silver finish.

With a maple top, a solid mahogany body, and a 24.7 inch scale length, the Paul Stanley PS120SP guitar is really going to rock your world. The neck is a three-piece mahogany neck that is set into the guitar and has a thin profile, especially when compared to the rest of the body of this guitar. Since the neck is so thin, guitarists really have the ability to play fast on this neck.

On top of the neck Ibanez installed a bound ebony fret board that has stunning abalone and acrylic block inlays with twenty-two medium frets.

While the PS120SP may have all the looks, that isn’t the only thing that’s amazing about this guitar. It’s very clear that this guitar was made for performance with it’s solid chrome components. On the head stock of the guitar, you will find six chrome tuners that really help to provide this guitar with a stable tuning.

There is also a Quick Change III tail piece that makes changing strings to be smooth, while also providing the instrument with good stability and sustain.

Ibanex installed two Seymour Duncan passive covered humbuckers that truly add an amazing classic rock sound to this guitar. There are three types controls on this guitar that are simple, but really do add to the overall sound production of this instrument.

Those controls are: a master tone control, three responsive top hat tuners, and two volume controls that individually tend to each pick up. There is also a placed three way pick up selector switch, while allows you to choose your pick up.

No matter what classic rock song you’re looking to produce or play, this guitar is one of the best classic rock instruments you can purchase.

Ibanez SR370 Bass Guitar

Providing musicians with entry level bass guitars is something Ibanez is well known for. Since they have had decades to work on building bass guitars, the Japanese based company produces quality bass guitars for beginning guitarists.

The Ibanez SR370 bass guitar is one of Ibanez’s oldest guitars in their bass collection and is often recommended to any beginning bass guitarists because of the price tag and quality.

The SR370 bass guitar has the typical SR shape that many models in the bass guitar family sport. Ibanez used maple as their choice of tone wood, which really helps to add to the overall quality of this instrument. There are several different finishes that are offered when you go to purchase this instrument, but that’s not the most interesting part of the whole instrument.

The neck is very intriguing, especially because it is comprised of a five piece design that has been developed from rosewood and maple sections. The fret board on the SR370 is rosewood and has the typical standard dot inlays.

As for the hardware of the Ibanez SR370, there are several components that went into creating this masterpiece. Ibanez used the Accu-Cast B120 bridge mainly because the bridge was carefully designed to be able to withstand the use of a variety of string gauges and still maintain a solid intonation.

Also, the B120 bridge has saddles that are completely adjustable, which is another great way that string retention is maintained on this bass guitar. The electronics in this bass guitar are a set of humbuckers that are incredibly versatile.

If you’re looking for a bass guitar that will give you options with your flexibility or range, the SR370 is certainly not going to disappoint you, even if you need sharp sounding treble! No matter where you want to go with your bass guitar sound, the SR370 has an incredible set up that truly is versatile.

Ibanez GSRM20 Mikro Short Scale Bass Guitar

For over several years, the GSRM20 Mikro Short-Scale Bass guitar has been one of Ibanez’s best selling guitar, especially because it’s marketed to be an extremely versatile bass guitar. If you’re interested in purchasing a short scale bass guitar that provides the same sound and effects as a regular sized bass guitar, you’ve come to the right place.

Everything about the GSRM20 is exactly the same to any of the other bass guitars in the GSR lines, except for the sizing! The tonewood that Ibanez chose for this guitar is Agathis and there are several different options for users to choose from when it comes to finishes.

The neck is where users start to begin seeing noticeable differences; the neck is 28.6-inch scale, which is a lot smaller compared to the average bass. However, that’s the most noticeable difference; the neck still displays a rosewood fret board and has pearl dot inlays.

When it comes to looking at the most affordable bass guitars, most manufacturers choose to go with the most basic hardware that they can and you shouldn’t expect anything different with the GSRM20; it has a standard bridge that comes with fully adjustable saddles and die cast tuning pegs.

As for the electronic set up of the GSMR20, the setup just has an additional coil in the bridge position, which is what helps to make this bass guitar so affordable. Your standard tone, bridge pickup volume, neck pickup volume knobs are all controlled by the Std. J pickup (which is located at the neck of the bass) and by the Std. J (which is located at the bridge).

Even though this may be a smaller sized guitar, you shouldn’t expect a small sound out of it. My favorite part of this entire bass guitar is the incredible amount of sound that it’s able to produce, with both muddy and clear tone settings.

The whole bass sounds very smooth on the scale and there’s the perfect amount of tension on the strings that really help to make the bass notes stable. If you’re looking for a quality entry level bass guitar that’s affordable and has all the right features, the Ibanez GSRM20 is a bass guitar that you should truly take some time to look at.

Conclusion

As you can tell from this article, Ibanez offers a large variety of guitars that are all high quality and most of them affordable. Try going to your local guitar shop to try out an Ibanez before making any final decisions on your purchase.

Stay In Tune! The Five Best Clip on Guitar Tuners on the Market Today

If you are a guitarist who plays on stage often, whether it be for a small venue or a large crowd, keeping your guitar in tune is imperative. Using a clip on guitar tuner makes tuning your instrument on stage easy and convenient.

You’re not going to have to stop the whole concert just to tune down to a drop D; instead, with a clip on tuner, you’ll just need to take a few seconds to drop your tuning and you’re all set to go.

However, using a clip on guitar tuner from just anywhere isn’t going to do you any good. You are going to need a reliable, lightweight, accurate, and easy to use clip on tuner if you want to purchase yourself a clip on tuner that will really put in work.

All of the clip on guitar tuners that I have listed here have all been put to the test by myself personally, based upon their accuracy, durability, weight, and functionality.

Clip on guitar tuners are the most popular types of tuner on the market because they are easy to use and are very flexible when it comes to their versatility. A guitar player will clip the tuner onto the headstock of their guitar, which allows the tuner to use its piezo sensors that pick up the vibrations from the notes your guitar is playing.

This means that you won’t have to become completely dependent on a microphone to tune your guitar; so if you’re in a crowded venue where there’s a lot of noise around you, you will still be able to use a clip on tuner without it interfering with the quality of your tuning.

The biggest complaint that a lot of people have about clip on guitar tuners is that they happen to be fragile, which is understandable considering that these tuners are very small. As long as you handle your tuner properly, you’re not going to have any problems with the tool breaking.

How do clip on guitar tuners work?

Unlike other tuners, clip on guitar tuners work by picking up vibrations. When these types of tuners were first released, they really didn’t work as efficiently as they do now. By using the vibrations that the guitar produces, clip on tuners don’t need to have a microphone or a signal chain in order to function.

If you are a baritone guitar player or a bass guitarist, I would suggest that you stay away from using clip on guitars. Since the vibrations of lower strings are slower compared to higher strings, clip on tuners struggle to pick up the vibrations, which means that the tunings on lower notes aren’t very accurate.

Clip on tuners have no problem with accurately reading the low E string on an acoustic or an electric guitar, but any note lower than that, they struggle with. If you are just an average guitarist, clip on guitar tuners are outstanding, especially if you’re used to playing with a tuner that uses a microphone.

Snark SN-2

The Snark SN-2 clip on guitar tuner is one of the most popular guitar tuners on the market today, most likely because of its affordable price tag at $15 (Check here for the latest price). For the inexpensive price tag, this tuner packs a lot of unique features into it. The Snark SN-2 comes with pitch calibration which is great to have when you’re trying to match your tuning with another instrument.

It also comes with transposition for you to use when you’re trying to change your instrument’s tuning from a standard tuning. Also, this tuner comes with a tap tempo metronome which is great to have around when looking to practice.

It should also be mentioned that this tuner comes with a built-in microphone that helps to support the internal vibration sensor, which assists in assuring a more accurate tuning.

One of my favorite features about the Snark SN-2 is that you can use it all average guitars and not so average guitars. You can tune your bass guitar, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar all just with this tuner!

Korg AW2G Tuner

The Korg AW2G is a clip on tuner that has been designed to be able to fit a variety of different sized instruments. This tuner also comes with a clip that has the ability to fit several different types of instruments, all the way from wind instruments to stringed instruments such as guitars.

Out of one battery, you can get up to 150 hours of tuning, which is pretty incredible! There is also an internal backlight on the AW2G, which allows players to see the screen, even if playing on a dark or dimly lit stage.

The biggest complaint about this tuner is that it isn’t as functional at the Snark tuner, but the Korg AW2G does a much better job tuning low E strings compared to the Snark.

Peterson StroboClip

For $80 you can use a clip-on tuner that’s so precise that it’s used by famous professionals. This tuner is so accurate, that it has a 1/10 cent accuracy. Peterson designed this clip on the tuner to be able to tune acoustic guitars, electric guitars, ukuleles, dobros, banjos, and mandolins with little hassle!

Another cool feature that comes with this tuner is the capo setting, which allows players to quickly tune their instrument in between live performances. If you are a professional guitar player who is looking to invest in a high-quality clip-on tuner, the Peterson StroboClip is your best bet.

Boss TU-10 Tuner

If you’re familiar with pedal tuners, then the Boss TU-10 clip-on tuner will be easy for you to work with, especially if you’ve never used a clip on tuner before. The TU-1O has a lot of the same features as a pedal tuner; for example, this clip on tuner has the ability to support flat tuning and has five semitones.

One of the best features on this tuner is that the screen is easily viewable, no matter what type of lighting you are in, even if it’s bright sunlight. The biggest complaint that people have about the Boss TU-10 is that the clip and tuner are one solid piece, which makes it impossible to swivel.

Since this tuner doesn’t swivel, you will have to put in extra work to be able to find the best angle for you on your guitar.

TC Electronic Poly Tune Clip

This is one of the most expensive guitar clips that we have listed in this list, but it is one of the best clip-on tuners on the market today. This tuner is produced by TC Electronic and will cost you around $50.

The main reason that this clip on guitar is more expensive than other tuners is that the TC Electronic Poly Tune Clip on tuner uses polyphonic tuning that allows you to strum your guitar once and it will accurately tune each string. This means that you only have to strum your guitar once and you will have all of your strings tuned.

The polyphonic tuning cuts down on the amount of time that you spend tuning, which can really help when you’re trying to move onto your other set.

If you’re not interested in having the clip on tuner tune all of your strings at once, you can also tune your guitar using the traditional chromatic tuning, which allows you to tune your instrument string by string.You can also tune your guitar using the strobe method, which is a very precise method that’s only ever flat or sharp by .02 cents.

Conclusion

It is strongly recommended that if you are a guitarist who plays a lot of live gigs and needs to quickly tune in between each song, you should purchase a clip on the guitar tuner. However, if you are someone who plays bass guitar or a baritone guitar, using a clip on guitar tuner is going to nearly be impossible for you to properly tune your instrument since the vibrations are so low.

If you are an average guitar player, you aren’t going to have any problems getting accurate tuning results with your clip on guitar tuners.

The Top 2×12 Speaker Cabinets for Guitar Players Who Want to Rock!

Although guitar cabinets are generally made by manufacturers to be paired with a specific amp head they’ve created, the option to mix and match is always there, and part of the fun.

It’s fair to say that one or two 4×12 half-stacks are the most synonymous amp setup with rock guitarists. Sure, that looks cool but for the vast majority of players, that’s just excessive. In studios and on big stages, only one of those four to eight speakers is going to get miced up anyway.

2×12 speaker configurations are a popular choice for the vast majority of players. They’re bigger than a combo, not as obnoxious or excessive as a half-stack, and have the versatility of being able to take whatever amp head you want.

Let’s look at some options.

Seismic Audio 2×12 guitar speaker cabinet | MSRP: $289.99

I came across Seismic Audio some time ago, and I love their approach to music equipment in general, but especially their guitar cabs.

They mostly sell unloaded cabinets, aimed at happy shed bodgerers to create their wildest amplifying desires, This is actually the only one they sell that includes speakers. It so basic and simple, they haven’t even bothered to give it a fancy name or product number or code.

Seismic Audio’s approach is very much: keep it cheap. And, as I always say, you get what you pay for.

Ordinarily, the first thing you look at in a cab is the speakers. These are unbranded. Mmm… make of that what you will. I think it enforces my last point.

I’ve made that all sound really grim! But don’t get me wrong: this is a great cab, solidly built, and ideal for those on a budget. I’d imagine its main market would be those on a budget, who are likely coupling it with a solid state, or maybe the hybrid head.

It’ll work just fine, but don’t expect any classic tones from it. If you’re experimenting with a head/combo rig, it might be useful to have around or to get a feel for the logistics of gigging with it before committing to the monies of a better-known brand.

As you can see, it’s not going to win any prizes for aesthetics either. This is really about literally being a straight up 2×12 cabinet.

Alternatives

  • Bugera 212TS – Bugera is owned by the same company who bring you the better-known budget brand, Behringer. Like Seismic Audio, the focus is on keeping things as affordable as possible.
  • Laney Cub – I love Laney, and their Cub range is their Eastern-made alternative to their premium Lionheart range – well worth a look.

Marshall MX212 | MSRP: $470

As I always say when writing anything that requires listing amp brands, it’s probably illegal to exclude Marshall, so let’s just get it out of the way!

I won’t dwell too much on introducing Marshall. If you haven’t played one, you’ll have heard of them, and if you haven’t heard of them, you’ll recognize that logo from decades of use by some of the world’s leading guitarists.

A brand like Marshall will have a large number of cabs available, and this is their cheaper one. They tout it as being suitable for any kind of a head. Specifying their own ones of course!

The reason this costs a little more than the Seismic Audio cab we just looked at, is the inclusion of Celestion speakers. No more than with guitars, I feel like it’s a good thing when manufacturers are able to take a step back and say “Actually, this will work better if we get a company who specializes in making this part to do it.”

Either that or buying in such speakers works out cheaper than manufacturing them themselves, even when they’re branded like Celestion.

And the reason it’s not as expensive as some of the cabs we’re about to see is that in the realms of speakers, these aren’t Celestion’s most pristine offering, and these cabs are made in the east. The latter point, in particular, will have a big impact on the production costs. It’s hard to know how much of an Eastern-made piece of gear is actual production, and how much is the brand name that’s put on it.

While this cab will certainly handle any type of head, I feel like it would be favored by hard rocking guitarists. Maybe some blues rock, but it’s definitely not metal enough for… well, metal.

Alternatives

  • Vox 212C – yes, this looks like the AC30! But without any actual amp parts, so you can make it sound like whatever you want. It’s probably better for slightly cleaner tones than the Marshall though
  • Blackstar Venue Series HTV-212– British-made, but universally voiced, there are no doubts about the quality of amp-related products that Blackstar have been creating

Orange Amplifiers PPC Series PPC212OB | MSRP: $829.99

Much like Marshall, Orange is another quintessentially British brand, famed for a quintessentially British tone, especially that of a crunchy blues-rock nature.

With a cab this size and speaker configuration, they’re very much aiming it at their higher end – e.g. expensive – heads, and I guess that’s reflected in the price. It seems a bit silly to get a high-end cab like this if it’s going to be paired with a head that’ll sound nasty through literally anything.

With this in mind, it’s important to note that this is made by Orange themselves in the United Kingdom. That’s a big factor in why it costs a little bit more than the cabs we’ve already looked at.

Like the Marshall, the Orange cab uses Celestion speakers. No more than the country of manufacture, the Celestions used here are Vintage 30s – a little bit higher in the quality spectrum than what’s in the Marshall.

You can play whatever amp you want through this cabinet, but it’s important to be realistic that something with tubes will do it the most justice.

Alternatives

Engl PRO E212VHB | $899.99

My lasting memory of the Engl brand will always be the time I played through a friend’s Engl 50 watt combo.

It can only be described as a brutal savage, in the most glorious of ways!

That brief experience aside, Engl are a higher end of amp manufacturer, based in Germany. That alone gives some clues as to the direction their equipment takes: proudly made in Germany, utilizing the precision and engineering that Germany is renowned for, for heavy music that is also pretty easy to associate with the country.

This is a stereo cab, so you can have a little bit more fun with that. As with the Orange, this comes loaded with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers. In contrast to the Orange, however, is the voicing that these speakers have been made to deliver.

This isn’t really for your crunchy blues-rock. This is very much for hard rock and metal players. This one is meant to be played loud, and played dirty.

It also weighs in at over 72 lbs. This is not a light amp, and you will need some upper body strength for bringing it around to gigs.

Alternatives

  • Friedman 2×12 – one of those brands that aren’t particularly mainstream, but these are US-made and certainly worth checking out
  • Wampler Bravado 2×12– much better-known for their boutique pedals, this cab is loaded with Celestion G12M-65 Creamback speaker

Mission Engineering Gemini 2 | MSRP: $1499 – 1899

I’m generally suspicious towards the most expensive item in a listicle. I’m like “Sure, you cost all of the money, but what are you really offering?”

In the case of the Gemini II from Mission Engineering, it’s actually quite a bit. Do I think it’s worth all the money? Well…

Mission Engineering are a US-based company with all the R&D and electronics being built in California, with the amps themselves being built in Missouri. I’ve spent this list bleating on about the speakers encased in each amp. In this case, they’re not flagging any particular brand, so I’m assuming they’ve made them themselves. Quite frankly, at this price, I’d hope they’ve made them themselves. The speakers operate in stereo.

That’s all very well, but those factors aren’t the reason this cabinet costs so much. Nope. This cab is allegedly the first in the world to incorporate Bluetooth and USB technology. This isn’t just an amp – this is high-tech witchcraft!

So, what are you supposed to do with these things? The Bluetooth is intended to connect to smartphones and tablets, I guess for using the likes of IK Multimedia’s Amplitude app to create the amp sound you want to then be projected through the cab. The USB is likely to be used for achieving a similar thing but through a hardwire.

I get the idea, but I honestly don’t see a massive market for it. Obviously, there’s enough demand for Mission to keep making them, but it’s a lot of money for what it does. It’s an expensive cab to run an amp through rather than a nice tube head.

Alternatives

  • Diezel Vintage — like the Engl we looked at earlier, Diezel amps are supposed to be played loud and heavy
  • Morgan Amplification 2×12 – made with two different speakers: a Celestion G12H-75 Creamback and a Celestion Alnico Gold

Comparison Table

Model Seismic Audio Marshall MX212 Orange Amplifiers PPC Series PPC212OB Engl PRO E212VHB Mission Engineering Gemini 2
MSRP $289.99 $470 $829.99 $899.99 $1499 – 1899
Country of origin China China UK Germany USA
Speakers Unbranded Celestion Seventy 80 Celestion Vintage 30 Celestion Vintage 30 Own-brand
Impedence 8 Ohm 8 Ohm 16 Ohn 8 Ohm mono, 2 x 16 Ohm stereo n/a
Wattage 200 watts 160 watts 120 watts 120 watts 2 x 100 watts

Conclusion

So there we have it. If you’ve been thinking about getting a new 2×12 cabinet for your rig, either in upsizing from a combo, or downsizing from a half-stack, this list should equip you with some information to point you in the right direction for your research.

Obviously, there are plenty of other options available. If you have the patience and money, you can, of course, get custom made models, in whatever specs you need, and any finish at all that you might like.

If you enjoy tinkering with electronics, you can also buy unloaded cabinets, without any speakers at all in them, get whatever combination of speaker you like, and fit them yourself, and finish the cab however you like.

As ever with guitar gear, if you’re going to buy a cab from a store, try as many as possible first.

Top Nine Best Blues Guitars On The Market Today

Top Nine Best Blues Guitars On The Market Today

Blues is a music genre that never really goes away. There are a lot of Blues elements that can be found in different types of music, like pop, jazz, rock, and even heavy metal.

This makes complete sense, considering that Blues has been around for more than 100 years! If you’ve ever played an instrument in a jazz band or learned how to play the electric guitar, you’ve more than likely learned how to play some Blues chord progressions and scales.

In order to properly take on playing the Blues genre, you’ve got to understand and master a few concepts such as evoking emotion, technique, feel; even if you understand these concepts, you need a blues guitar to perform these concepts on in order to achieve the desired effect.

There are a lot more components that play into Blues besides pentatonic scales and I, IV, V chord sequences. You can convey different moods in Blues depending on what type of instrument you play.

Since Blues is commonly conceived as a genre that’s easy to play, a lot of people assume that finding the perfect Blues guitar is an easy task. Finding the perfect guitar for your inNinetions is never an easy task, let alone finding the perfect guitar to play Blues on.

What makes a good guitar good for Blues?

Before we get into talking about specific models that are great for Blues, we need to talk about what truly makes a great Blues guitar.

If you’re looking to play a solid body guitar, you need to make sure that:

  • Your guitar has a bright sound
  • Articulation and groove come through when playing, with an equal mix of both
  • A guitar that is not plastic
  • I personally suggest a semi-hollow guitar, as they have an amazing resonance. Their sound isn’t exactly massive, but it certainly does fill up an entire room

On the other hand, if you’re looking to play an acoustic guitar, you’re going to want to look for a guitar with:

No matter what type of instrument you end up purchasing, you’re going to want your guitar to be reliable, durable, and the best bang for your buck.

Now that we understand some of the aspects that make a guitar great for playing Blues, here are our top Nine choices for Blues guitars.

Top Nine Blues Guitars

If you’re just looking to read into the list that discusses the best Blues guitars, look no further! Here, I’ve compiled a list of the Nine best Blues guitars. I’ve split this list up into two different sections: acoustic guitars for Blues and electric guitars for Blues.

Acoustic guitars:

Fender CD-60CE

If you’ve ever been to a music store or hung around any friends who were into music, chances are you’ve heard of Fender. Fender is a company that produces high-quality guitars that are above the beginning player’s price range.

However, the Fender CD-60CE is a different story; this is a basic acoustic electric guitar that provides players with a solid base to learn on. Matter of fact, the Fender CD-60CD is one of the best performing and most popular acoustic guitars at a beginner’s level on the market today.

This acoustic-electric guitar sports a standard dreadnought body with a cutaway, ensuring that the body on this guitar is simple and not complex. As for Fender’s choice of tone woods, they chose to go with laminated mahogany.

While laminated mahogany isn’t the best tone wood to use, Fender had to make some cuts in order to deliver an acoustic electric guitar that was affordable for beginning guitarists.

However, they do make up for the laminated mahogany with scalloped X-bracing. The neck of the guitar is also a piece of mahogany that sports a Rosewood fretboard along with a compensated saddle.

Fender chose a reasonable onboard active preamp and tuner, which all comes with the Fishman Isys III. You also receive a three hand EQ to shape your tone with; there’s just enough power in the pre-amp to make a small difference in the tonal quality.

The Fishman Isys III isn’t the best model that Fender could have put in their CD-60CE, but it does a good job of reproducing tones when you need them!

The hardware on the CD-60CE isn’t anything that’s any different than any other acoustic-electric guitar that’s in this price range. You’re provided with a Rosewood bridge that comes with a composite saddle. Fender installed a set of die-cast tuning keys, which maintain tuning and intonation while you’re playing, as long as you don’t push the guitar too far.

When I first played the Fender CD-60CE I was surprised at the tonal quality, because I honestly was expecting to be lacking. This guitar provided me a balanced tone, quality projection, and a great amount of warmth to balance the color.

While I wouldn’t compare this to a $3,000 acoustic-electric guitar, it does a really good job for its price range. Yes, the CD-60CE does have some flaws, but it provides players with amazing performance, especially considering the price range.

Martin 000-15M

Martin is known to produce some of the world’s best acoustic guitars. If you love the sound mahogany guitars produce, you’ve got to check out the Martin 000-15M. The entire body is made up of mahogany, including the neck.

Since the entire body is made up from mahogany, this guitar produces an incredible amount of warmth, as well as resonance. On the other hand, the mahogany also provides the 000-15M stability and durability, meaning that the Martin 000-15M can handle some abuse.

While the materials in this guitar do have a lot to play into the quality of the instrument, it’s also the quality of the craftsmanship that went into making it. Not only is the Martin 000-15M one of the best and highest quality guitars on the market, it also is priced at an incredible range.

The mahogany makes the neck of the guitar sturdy, but as someone with small hands, I still find the neck to be easy to play.

My favorite part of the hardware that Martin installed in the 000-15M is the elegance in the pieces they chose. Most pick guards take away from the beauty of guitars, but the pickguard on this guitar is small enough to do the job and not take away from the beauty of the instrument.

The 000-15M also comes with a rosette, Rosewood bridge, and a set of die-cast tuners. I have heard so many of my friends tell me about how they are impressed with how long the guitar stays in tune over a period of time.

As for the tonal quality of the 000-15M, you should expect a sound that’s heavier on the bass frequencies, with a full bodied and warm tone. However, the sound is bright enough to play along well with a Delta Blues style. If you’re looking to play more than Blues, this guitar also has the ability to provide players with gravely articulations and a warm treble sound.

Don’t forget that the price tag of the guitar also includes a Martin hardshell case. For under $1,500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) you can purchase yourself an acoustic guitar that’s jam-packed with high-quality features.

No matter what you exact musical taste is, or what your genre performance desires are, this is a guitar that will suit your needs and desires.

Electric guitars:

Squier Classic Vibe Thin Line Telecaster

Quality electric guitars aren’t usually cheap. But, the Squier Classic Vibe Thin Line Telecaster is not only inexpensive, but it’s also a great electric guitar for beginners to start out on. This guitar’s body is comprised from mahogany, with provides with a semi-hollow body with an incredible ability to produce a natural resonance.

As for the neck, it’s a maple neck that’s produced from a single piece that has 21 medium jumbo frets, a set of black dot inlays, and a maple fingerboard. The Thin Line Telecaster also comes with a classic Telecaster headstock and an F-hole, as well as a thru-body bridge that comes with a set of three chrome barrel saddles.

Cosmetically, this is a beautiful guitar. Squier included a pickguard that covers almost half of the front side to the guitar; they also included vintage style tuning pegs that really add a unique element to the Telecaster.

My main complaint about the cosmetic appearance of the Telecaster is the size of the pickguard; while it’s great to have so much extra protection on the guitar, but when it comes time to replacing the pick guard, it’s a difficult and pricey task, because you don’t want to damage the body of the guitar.

Besides that small little complaint, the guitar itself does a really great job staying in tune for long periods of time. However, there are some sharp edges and some minor buzzing on the fret, it’s not a guitar that’s too bad overall. While this does seem to a basic combination, it certainly does get the job done.

As for the electronics, Squier installed a set of quality Tele single coil pickups that have AlNiCo V magnets that have been attached to singular volume and tone control knobs. There is also a three-way pickup selector installed, that allow you to have additional control over the tonal quality of the guitar.

With the mixture of the bright pickups paired with the mahogany tone wood, you’ve got yourself a guitar that delivers booming sound along with additional resonance.

If you’re looking to play a semi-hollow body with the mellow and distinctive sound, the Thin Line Telecaster is perfect for you. If you just look at the financial factor of this guitar, this is a really great six string guitar.

It makes an okay beginners guitar, but I believe that’s better if an intermediate player used this instrument, but the best option would be a professional Blues or Jazz player to use this guitar.

This is a professional quality guitar for under $500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), which makes the overall quality and performance of this guitar amazing!

Airline Bighorn Red

Some guitarists enjoy playing just a basic Blues guitar, but then there are other guitarists who like something different. If you’re looking for a Blues guitar that’s a bit on the wild side, the Airline Bighorn Red is the perfect unconventional guitar for you.

This body of the Airline Bighorn Red is a solid that has a maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard, 24.75-inch scale, 19 frets, and your typical white dot markers. As for the neck, it is a bit wide on the lower frets, but the higher registry and slim and easy to play on.

The hardware on the Bighorn Red isn’t anything too complex; a set of six tuners, bone nut, large pickguard, truss rod, and an adjustable bridge.

While the fret job on this electric isn’t the best, it certainly doesn’t make this guitar poor quality. There are some sharp edges, minor buzzing issues, and minor tuning issues, but the guitar is still certainly quality enough for a professional to perform live with.

You should expect some fuzziness in the electronic section of the Airline Bighorn. Set up with a set of Airline humbuckers that come with separate volume and tone controls knobs and a three-way pickup selector switch. As for the pickups, they tend to run on the hotter side and are fuzzy, but are still fixed enough to sound Bluesy.

The sound of the Airline Bighorn isn’t as clean as other electric guitars in the Blues genre. However, there is plenty of articulation that comes from the fuzz that allows players to control the emotions produced from the sound of the guitar.

I wouldn’t suggest purchasing this online, as I would go play this guitar in person before purchasing. It has a unique tone to it that not everyone is going to fall in love with- thus, why I mentioned it was a unique guitar in the beginning paragraph.

The unique sound of this guitar is aesthetically pleasing, especially since it’s just under $500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).  It’s also a guitar that’s cosmetically pleasing to look at, don’t you agree?

Gibson ES-335

If you’ve ever listened to BB King, you’ve heard him play the ES-335, although he called his guitar Lucille. This is a high-end guitar that many Blues playing guitarists describe to be their dream guitar. I’ve had the privilege of borrowing this beauty from one of my friends and was able to play it for a few hours.

The Gibson ES-335 is a humbucker equipped semi-hollow body guitar. If you’re looking to mimic the sound of BB King, the Gibson ES-335 is very similar to his signature Lucille guitar.

In the middle of the guitar’s body, there is a wooden black that runs through, but the rest of the body is chambered; having a block in the body but having the rest of the body chambered really allows the guitar to resonate.

The body is comprised of laminated maple with a tone woods that physically and audibly show that this guitar is comprised of top level craftsmanship.

As for the neck, it’s a maple piece that is combined with torrified maple as a glued in fretboard. This fretboard also has classic white dot markers and 22 frets. After all that, there’s just a basic Gibson headstock decorated with a golden logo.

Even though the neck and the body are two separate pieces, it doesn’t feel like they are when you’re holding the guitar. There’s a nice smooth transition between the neck and the body, and there is surprisingly no fret buzz or sharp edges.

The ES-335 uses Grover Rotomatic tuning machines that ensure that the guitar strings stay in tune over a period of time, even if you happen to keep them in the same tuning. Gibson chose to go with a set of classic Gibson humbucker pickups that are controlled by a single set of control knobs to use for volume and tone adjustments.

I really love using this guitar when I plan on playing a lot of chords because I find that they have an incredible full body sound and they ring out really well. The main reason behind Gibson putting the block in the middle is to help preserve the famous Gibson sustain, while also providing you with a rich harmonic sound.

Maple is known to make an articulate and bright sound, but with the addition of the arched top with F-holes ensure that the ES-335 have incredible resonance with a well-rounded sound that warms up the middle and bass.

The only complaint that I have with this guitar is that if you use a lot of distortion, the guitar beings to give some feedback. However, you don’t use a lot of gain for any type of Blues music, so if you’re strictly looking to play Blues, you don’t have to worry about this. I really love using the ES-335 with just the smallest amount of drive or when I use it on a clean channel.

If you’re looking to go with a more inexpensive option for the ES-335, the 335 Studio is cheaper than the ES-335 and works very well. The Gibson ES-339 is very, very similar to the ES-335, but it has a body that’s slightly smaller.

As a guitarist who is looking for a classic Blues vibe, the Gibson ES-335 is jam packed with clarity and brightness but has just enough clarity of the middle and low ends to ensure that the tonal quality of the guitar is not dry.

This is a high-end guitar that has a high-end price tag to go along with it and is really an instrument that I only suggest to experienced Blues players because this is a guitar that takes some finicking in order to hit the perfect balance.

But, for under $2,000 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), this guitar really is a lot of fun!

Gibson Les Paul Studio

The classic Gibson Les Paul is arguably one of the most iconic electronic guitars that was ever invented. However, not everyone has extra money to spend on a classic Gibson Les Paul.

If you’re looking for the quality that the classic Gibson Les Paul has without the price tag the classic Gibson carries, the Gibson Les Paul Studio is an amazing contender that will cost you right under $1,000 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here).

If you’re interested in purchasing a Blues guitar that has a warm, well-rounded sound, you need to check out the Les Paul. This guitar is more powerful than a typical Blues guitar because the Les Paul comes loaded with a set of humbucker pickups which happens to be more powerful than a set of single coils. This means that you’re going to have a louder and warmer output.

Les Paul is famous for its sustain, because of the quality thick mahogany that Gibson uses on this guitar. Sustain is wonderful to have if you happen to be an improviser who loves to bend notes of higher ranges. This guitar also comes with a maple fingerboard as well as trapezoid fret inlays.

Gibson made sure to leave the feel of the neck to be a bit on the chunkier side, as they wanted the Studio to have the same feel as the Classic. As for the body, the Studio has a carved top made from maple and a mahogany back.

Whether you plan on playing your Blues guitar with a distorted or clean sound, the Gibson Les Paul guitar will provide you with fantastic sound. A common thing that a lot of Blues musicians do when playing the Les Paul is set up their amp with the gain on and turn the volume down on the guitar itself in order to clean the sound up.

By slowing and carefully adjusting the volume knob, you get a whole bunch of different sounds produced, without even having to touch the amp!

If you’re interested in playing a Les Paul that is more updated, the Gibson Les Paul 2017 Standard has humbuckers that display a good amount of the vintage character that the Les Paul is known for but offers a bit more contemporary side.

The 2017 Standard also has coil splitting capabilities, which allows you to make your guitar sound like it has single coils, all by pulling on one of the knobs.

As for the Studio guitar, Gibson installed their signature Tune-O-Matic bridge, along with a pick guard, set of tuning pegs, and a Graph Tech nut. Gibson did a really amazing job with the fret, as there are no sharp edges and extremely minimal fret buzz.

The sound of the combo of the maple and the mahogany tonewoods provide the sound of the guitar with a mellow sound with a vigorous drive to it which comes from the mahogany. When I played this guitar, I noticed that there was a strong presence of the middle and bass, but there was enough treble brightness that made the sound truly well rounded.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to spend even less money on your guitar, both the Gibson Les Paul Studio and the Gibson Les Paul Faded make great options for a Blues guitar, but cost a lot less money.

Gretsch G9200 Box Car

If you’re a true diehard fan of Blues, you have to play on a resonator guitar at least one time in your journey as a musician. The G9200 Box Car guitar is my favorite high quality, low cast six string resonator.

The build of the body and the neck on this guitar are incredible; the G9200 fashions a mahogany neck with a 25-inch scale length Rosewood fingerboard that sports 19 frets with white dot markers and an Ampli Sonic cone.

If you’re looking for a guitar that’s nothing but resonance, the mahogany that’s used in the G9200 gives you nothing but that! Mahogany is a beautiful tone with an incisive and melodious tone; if you’re not used to playing with a cone, you’ll find that there’s extra depth to the natural tone.

As for the neck on the G9200, it is a bit large on the lower register, but is trim on the higher registry; as someone with small hands, I felt like the lower registry was harder to play. However, the higher registry was playable and slim enough for my hands to feel comfortable.

When I first began playing this guitar, I noticed that the body itself also felt smaller. The body is this guitar is not a ¾ body, but it is compact. Considering that this a compact body, there is an incredible amount of sound that’s produced from this guitar.

As for the hardware on the G9200, Gretsch used a spider bridge with a bone nut and a set of six tuning peg.

There are minor buzzing issues on the fret, but it doesn’t distract from the sound produced; this guitar also holds tuning very well, which means the G9200 also have incredible intonation.

Mahogany is a tonewood, which ensures that the guitar produces an incredible sound that has powerful qualities to it. Not to mention that the twang that this guitar produces matches very well to the raw Delta Blues style, but this guitar also produces a mellow sound that matches really well with light finger picking that pairs with old school Blues.

In all honesty, for under $500 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), you can purchase yourself a really amazing resonator guitar. Cosmetically, it’s a gorgeous guitar to look at and it has its own distinctive sound.

If you’re looking for a guitar that pairs along well with Blues and you’re not looking to spend over $1,000 or more, the G9200 is perfect for you!

PRS Custom 22

If you’re new to the guitar world, you’ve more than likely never have heard of the brand called PRS. That’s okay! However, you should know that PRS is a company that’s well known for creating modern day guitars with a different edge on them. One of the PRS most famous guitars is the Custom 22 guitar.

One of the main reasons that the Custom 22 guitar is so famous is because it’s an extremely versatile guitar that can be used in just about any genre of music. Featuring a mahogany body and a mahogany neck, PRS made sure that this guitar screamed sturdy.

However, the mahogany body also ensures that the Custom 22 provides players with incredible amounts of power.

The neck itself is very slim and I found it to be very comfortable to play on; I have small hands and I discovered that I was able to play this guitar for a while before my hands became tired and achy; the fingerboard is Rosewood and sports a set of 22 frets with a 25-inch scale length that is all made complete with PRS bird inlays.

All of the hardware on the Custom 22 has been designed by PRS. I only have a few complaints about the Custom 22 and the complaints that I have with this guitar are commonly shared with other guitarists.

This guitar does have some minor tuning issues; I find that if I leave it in a certain tuning for a while, the strings slowly detune.

I also don’t like how the guitar doesn’t come with a pick guard; I understand that the pickguard comes in a gig bag, but I wish I didn’t have to apply it myself. On the other hand, I enjoy the job that PRS did on the fret of the Custom 22, as it has minimal fret buzz and doesn’t really have any sharp edges.

The electronics and sound in the Custom 22 are completely in your hands. As for the electronics, this guitar sports volume control knobs, tone control knobs, PRS bass and treble humbucker pickups, and a three-way pickup selector.

Since the pickups are a bit overpowering, the sound is very powerful. While the sound is powerful, it still is fully under your control. The humbuckers in the Custom 22 are what allow this guitar to be so versatile; they provide the Custom 22 with the ability to front incredibly clean notes, but also have no problem transitioning to intense and punchy metal.

Why is this guitar good for Blues? The basic sound that the Custom 22 produces is well known in the world of Jazz and Blues; it’s a natural sound that is impressionable to an assortment of effects and changes in tone. For under $1,000 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) you can pick yourself up a guitar that’s not only great for Blues but can effectively play in many different music genres.

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Some of the most famous Blues players have used the Fender American Special Stratocaster; Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, just to name a few. Ever since the 1950s, the Fender Strat has been a lot of musician’s go to Blues guitar.

Ever since the 50s, the Stratocaster has been a guitar that’s been unspokenly used to compare against every other Blues guitar in the industry. The Fender American Special Stratocaster is one of the best electric guitars that’s under $1,000.

There are several different variations of the Stratocaster that are available on the market, so you’ve got to choose your guitar based on your specific needs/desire. If you’re looking for a straight up Blues sound, you should check out the Fender American Pro Stratocaster.

However, if you’re looking for a Blues sound that leans more on the Rock side compared to the Blues, the American Special Stratocaster has hotter pickups compared to the American Pro.

For the Fender Stratocaster, there are three single coil pickups with five different configuration options. There are several different tonal possibilities that you can choose from with the Strat; you can choose bright and bell-like sound on the bridge to thick and warm sound on the pickup.

If you want to know what an American Stratocaster sounds like without going to a guitar store and playing one, just go and lisNine to any one of Eric Clapton’s sounds and you’ll find out what they sound like.  Not only is this guitar affordable, but it also offers a whole range of tonal definitions, reaches incredible ranges, and produced warm and wholesome tones.

As for the pickups themselves in the Strat, keeping your tone nice and clean sounding isn’t too hard to do, especially since the pickups aren’t too high.

If you’re looking to break up the sound on your Strat, I suggest turning up the volume on the valve amp and you will find that the sound will begin to break up. I personally love finding the balance in between the volume on the valve amp, because I feel that’s where the Strat really begins to shine.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to create a style that mimics how Hendrix played (60s Blues Rock), single coils work along very well with a fuzz pedal.

Enough about the sound of the American Stratocaster! Let’s get into more detail about the body of this guitar, as well as the hardware and electronics packed into this beauty.

As for the body and neck, the Stratocaster’s body shape is well known among guitar players across the world. Featuring an alder body, the neck of the Stratocaster is the typical 9.5-inch radius with a satin finish.

The American Stratocaster features a latter fretboard, but other Strats come with either a lacquered maple fretboard or a Rosewood fretboard.

As for the hardware, the bridge of the American Strat fashions six saddles that are completely adjustable and provide players with an amazing range.

At the headstock, Fender gave the Strat a full set of F tuners from Fender, which is great to have if you’re really considered about your intonation; the F tuners also do a great job of making sure that your tuning stays in place for a while, so that the guitar doesn’t de-tune itself over time.

While playing the American Strat, I’ve found that I can really be aggressive when bending my strings and I find that they stay in tune, after I’ve put them through some abuse. The main complaint that a lot of guitarists have with the Stratocasters is that the tremolo bridges are the weakest part of the guitar.

The electronics themselves aren’t too complicated; one of the most famous features of the Strat is its three single coil pickups. These three single coil pickups are the main component into the famous tone that Strat produces.

Fender took the time to make sure that this guitar picked up all of your subtle playing techniques, so they greatly reduced the buzzing on the single coils. There are also pots inside of the guitar, which helps to ensure that the bass is kept as low as it possibly can when you turn up the volume.

It’s common advice in the guitar world that if you’re an electric guitar player, you at least need to try out an authentic Fender Stratocaster once in your life at the least and if not, own one. It’s incredible how much influence that this sole guitar has on the music that we lisNine to today.

For under $1,000 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) you can purchase yourself an incredible guitar that is certain not to disappoint.

Conclusion

Which guitar is the best to use for Blues? There is no given answer, as each guitar provides each user a different experience when playing. Any one of the above nine choices will make an amazing guitar for someone to play blues on. Whatever guitar you decide to purchase for yourself, don’t forget that playing blues is all about a player’s emotion and feel.

While these guitars are going to push you into the direction of producing the correct tone, the player is what really makes or breaks the deal. And that’s a wrap! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning something new about six string blue guitars and hopefully have found a possible buying option for yourself.

Zoom G5n: The Ultimate Review

Zoom are one of the most consistent names in multi-effects, catering for every guitarist, at every level throughout their playing journey.

From their little G1Xon for beginners, right up to this baby… they’ve got you covered.

This baby is the G5n, and it’s their top-of-the-range model, as reflected in the price. Zoom are a company who know what they’re doing at this stage, they’ve been doing it for long enough – since 1983 to be exact.

So, let’s get started with dissecting the G5n, and see what it can do for you and your journey.

Core Features and Specs

At this price, you’d expect something all-singing and all-dancing, and Zoom has pretty much brought that to the table.

A solid, rugged design – probably not as bulletproof as other manufacturers, but you won’t have to play too nice with it. There are plenty of effects at your disposal here.

Material Metal
Number of effects 68
Number of amp simulators Five amps; five cabs
Power Mains only
Loop length 80 seconds
User-created effects storage 200

So far, so standard really. There’s nothing really shouting at me as being groundbreaking, but we review things to look at them more closely!

This will work well for…

The guitarists who are most likely to part with this amount of money for kit like this, are ones who are sure they’ll be getting their money’s worth out of it.

This means we’ll be drawing a line to join this up with professional musicians who don’t have the time, patience, or storage space for a full set of individual stomp boxes.

I’d suggest this would be best for someone playing the corporate covers scene, who’ll need to cover a lot of ground in terms of the effects they’ll need, and need something that’ll survive the occasionally spilled chianti.

Does it do what it should?

It’s a weird thing to consider – multi-effects are supposed to do it all! Let’s take a look at the parts first.

Firstly, this is made of metal. Not tin or anything, heavier than that. If this breaks on you, you were doing it wrong, and you’ll need to seriously reevaluate your pedal use.

Let’s have a nosey at the back panel. Nothing too surprising here. Jack plugs for an input and a stereo output; a mini jack plug for attaching headphones; a mini jack plug input for attaching an MP3 player, phone or tablet, for jamming along to; your mains connection; your USB connection; and a control in.

“Control in”? What’s that? Well, in case you don’t have enough buttons or switches on the G5n, the control in is where you can plug in the Zoom FP01 footswitch, or the FP02 expression pedal. The FP02 kind of makes sense, if you feel you need both a wah pedal and a volume pedal.

I’m still trying to decide what the overall pedal looks like. At the time of writing, I’m opting for something from the Batcave. From the Christopher Nolan trilogy. It can be none more black, has lots of buttons, and appears to be built to withstand a building dropping on it.

Construction

As noted, this is built to be sturdy, to last… not necessarily to be abused, but it would probably be fine with that.

Chassis material aside, the G5n comes with five little pedals on the front, a footswitch for each of its tone banks, six additional buttons for each of those banks, and a few other knobs on its top panel, just for good measure, and a full foot-size expression pedal.

Now, what should one make of this number of controls on a multi-effects pedal? Well, the first thing to comment on is that they all make the pedal’s design bigger overall, which may not be what people are looking for.

The second thing to consider is that it may actually improve the functionality of the pedal: less scrolling, less holding a button down for a few seconds to make it change its function… it doesn’t sound too awful, does it?

So essentially, what these two points come down to is whether you prefer less floorspace being taken up, or more functionality from your pedal.

Each of the tone banks comes with its own LCD screen, as well as another one towards the back of the unit, showing you what your effects chain looks like, making it next to impossible to not know what you’re doing.

Let’s get to the exciting bit – how this Batbox tank sounds.

Tones

Looking through the list of the effects available on this unit, and it looks like you’ll be stuck to find something you don’t like.

They’ve combined some inspirations from classic effects pedals with some of their own work, but it’s likely that if you had time to analyze the audio properties, you’d be able to work out which individual stomp box was the inspiration behind it.

Let’s take a run through what they’ve included, in the various categories they’ve split the effects into.

  • 7 dynamics effects, this includes compressors, a mute button, and a noise gate, with one f the compressors inspired by the MXY Dyna Comp
  • 12 filter effects, including some different types of auto-wah, as well as a selection of EQs
  • 15 drive effects, which includes your overdrive, distortion and fuzz sounds. The usual inspirations can be found here: tributes to the Ibanez Tube Screamer and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff etc
  • 19 modulation effects, so a few tremolos, flange, phase and chorus sounds
  • 9 delay effects, including a tape echo simulator, and an interesting sounding one that alternates the delay between left and right
  • 10 reverb effects, including a tribute to the reverb found on a 1965 Fender Twin Reverb amp

Those are the main effects. I didn’t even get to the wahs, the amps, the cabs. There’s just too much!

Playability

I never feel like I have enough of a word count to talk about the playability of a good multi-effects pedal. They just do so much! I’ll try and cover at least some ground though.

It’s always great to highlight the computer connectivity of a multi-effects pedal, just to highlight what that achieves.

Connecting your G5n to your PC or Mac allows you to use it as an audio interface, so you can record your guitar directly into the digital audio workstation (DAW) of your choice. This is where the amp and cab models are most important.

Say for example you own a Fender Blues Junior amp, but you need the sound of a Marshall JCM 800 for a recording gig. You can set your G5n to the JCM setting while it’s plugged into your Blues Junior, but let’s be realistic – it’s still a Blues Junior. So you can put that JCM 800 sound directly to the recording source, and tada! It’ll sound closer to a JCM 800 that it would coming through your Fender first.

Pros Cons
●      Heavy duty, giggable beast of a thing

●      Could have been made by Wayne Enterprises

●      Plenty of effects to keep the gigging professional busy

●      Useful to have in a recording environment too

●      Some players may not like the blacker-than-black design

●      The number of buttons may be deemed as too fiddly for some players

●      Not the biggest selection of amps and cabs in a multi-effects unit

 

 

Some Alternatives to the Zoom G5n

There are still a few competitors for the G5n. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

Line 6 are one of the big names in multi-effects, and not without reason. They make great gear.

Line 6 M13

Their M series is a bit of a standout. With over 100 effects, it’s essentially the multi-effects pedal equivalent of the Avengers: they took all the effects from the type-specific multi-effects they previously released, such as the DL4 delay unit and the DM4 distortion unit, and brought them all together in a single box.

Each of these type-specific multi-effect were well-received in their own right, so there’s nothing wrong with bringing them in for a team-up.

This is very much for the gigging guitarists though, as it doesn’t feature any kind of USB output for hooking up to a computer. It doesn’t even come with an expression pedal, although it does have an input for one to be attached.

It does let you essentially set up different pedalboards for different types of music you might be playing. These are called scenes, and are pretty useful.

BOSS ME-80

BOSS are certainly a brand who need no introduction when it comes to effects pedals, and indeed multi-effects pedals.

Straight, off, just to clarify and confirm: yes, it is built like a tank; yes, it probably can be thrown off a cliff and be fine.

The ME-80 feels like their big daddy of multi-effects units, and has plenty going for it. This is so similar to the G5n, they could be sisters.

The first thing you’ll see is that it has many, many knobs. This is for a simple dial around method of selecting your effect type, with further knobs for tweaking the parameters.

It also has USB connectivity, so you can use it as an audio interface, or downloading free patches from BOSS’s Tone Central.

In Conclusion

It’s difficult not to be impressed with the Zoom G5n – it does tick so many boxes. It feels like there should be more boxes for it to tick them too.

I can see a working functions covers musician getting on well with it. With the range and quality of tones accessible, it is a solid workhorse of a pedal.

If you need one that does it all, this could be a goer.

Zoom G1Xon: One of the Best Multi-Effects Sound Pedals

Some guitarists of a certain vintage will remember a multi-effects pedal from the days of yore, called a Zoom GFX707.

It was cheap as anything, but for a lot of us, it was our first experience running our guitars through something before it hit the amp. We’ve moved onto higher-end gear, but there’s still a reverence associated with it.

The 707 is long gone – you can pick them up for less than $30 – but Zoom still caters for people learning their phase from their flange in the form of this tidy little box: the G1Xon.

Core Features and Specs

The cost of the G1Xon puts it very much in the range for beginners on a budget.

In saying that, their minds will be blown by having a vast quantity of sounds at the tips of their toes!

For $20 less, you can get one without an expression pedal, but for the sake of that, you’re as well to just pay it and get the most out of it.

Material Plastic
Number of effects 78
Number of amp simulators 22
Power Four AA batteries, or AC adaptor
Loop length 30 seconds
User-created effects storage 100 spaces

This will work well for…

For the most part, especially due to the price, this is pretty much aimed at beginners, and will work very well for them.

In saying that, seasoned guitarists have been known to keep their starter multi-effects box around for a while, even if just for the tuner and metronome. Or perhaps just the nostalgic sentiment.

Anyway, this is a fantastic addition to a beginner’s kit, maybe a few months after they start, when they have a good feel and ear for the instrument and amp they have, and are eager to find their own sound.

Does it do what it should?

The short answer to this is yes, yes it does.

Look, at this price, and for the intended audience of this pedal, all they’re going to want to do is play with the sounds until the get it as they like. And the 78 different types of effects on this pedal will keep them entertained and exploring, and hopefully even inspired.

The parts used are plastic, so this is unlikely going to cut it on the rigours of the road, but a bedroom guitarist should have no problems.

Apart from the aforementioned expression pedal, the G1Xon has two footswitches. These are used for manually scrolling through effects, engaging the pedal’s looper function, and engaging tuner mode. It has other buttons for you to store your own patches, and switch between looper and rhythm.

It’s got a bright, orange, backlit LCD screen to show you what you’re doing.

On the unit’s back panel, you’ll find the input for your guitar to go in, and the output for the unit to go to your amp or headphones. You’ll also find the mains input, and a mini USB port: you can use that for firmware updates or for connecting it to the mains.

The back panel also includes a mini jack plug, auxiliary input. This can be used for hooking up a backing track via your phone or tablet.

Construction

In terms of the layout of the pedal, it’s all logical and makes sense. It seems well put together, and nothing is rattling that might cause any concern.

However, this is a cheap pedal and is constructed as such. It’s plastic, and not super-heavy plastic either.

Sure, if you’re mostly using it in a bedroom to experiment with noise, it won’t be too much of a concern, but there are still hazards in a bedroom that the G1Xon is unlikely to survive, like if a heavy chair fell on it or if a glass of water spilled on it.

I’d suggest that even when using it for its regular purpose, you wouldn’t want to be over-zealous in stomping on it. There’s no way would it cut it with a regularly gigging band on the road, but it’s not designed for them anyway.

It sounds like it’s all doom and gloom! It’s not, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, but it is important to be aware that this is never going to win any prizes for durability. If you’re looking for a multi-effect box that you can dramatically stomp on, you’ll need to look elsewhere with a few extra dollars.

Let’s move on to see how this little box sounds.

Tones

78 effects and 22 amp simulations, means an awful lot of ground to cover when talking about the G1Xon’s tones, but I’ll cover what I can.

This Zoom categorizes its effects into four groups: Overdrive/distortion; dynamics/filter; modulation; and delay/reverb. Most of the effects are based on well-known, classic effects pedals – the user’s manual will tell you which ones they are based on. As you go through the various effects, they show on the display as an individual pedal.

With the sounds that are attributed to particular pedals, such as the Big Muff and the Tube Screamer, it’s important to be realistic about the fact that they are not these pedals, and are going to be quite a bit away from sounding like them.

It is worth remembering that guitarists using the G1Xon are most likely to be using a low budget, probably small, solid state amp, so expectations need to be managed: when you switch to the Tube Screamer, the chances of you suddenly sounding like Stevie Ray Vaughan are probably nil.

The amp simulators are fine if you’re going directly into headphones or an audio interface. If you plug it into a solid state practice amp with a six-inch speaker, it’s not going to sound like a Marshall stack.

Playability

With the amount of stuff to discover in the G1Xon, it’s not short in playability stakes, especially for guitarists at the start of their musical journey.

So much is heard about the various effects pedals that the famous musicians use, and that cost a lot of money. When guitarists are still in their exploratory stage, it’s actually pretty useful to have something like this where they can try out a whole bunch of them cheaply.

Although the “tribute” sounds won’t really sound like the ones they’re modeled on, it should at least get ears accustomed to the varying tones across pedals and amps, and perhaps sow a seed of aspiration if they continue playing.

A fun aspect of the G1Xon is the built-in rhythm tracks. These days, such things are recorded using actual drums – a far cry from the days when the “punk” setting would be an endless MIDI snare and hi-hat!

It’s an undervalued thing, but the built-in metronome is really important. It’s always amazing to see guitarists who are playing to themselves rather than to their bandmates, and especially their drummer. With the likely owners of this unlikely to quite be in a band yet, it would be good for them to practice playing to its metronome.

Pros Cons
●      Very, very cheap

●      Lots of room for beginner guitarists to start exploring effects

●      Construction is spot on

●      Ideal as a first effects pedal

●      You get what you pay for – this sounds cheap

●      Casing feels a little flimsy – you’d be afraid to take it outside your bedroom

 

Some Alternatives to the Zoom G1Xon

There are a bunch of alternatives available for beginner guitarists on a budget if the G1Xon isn’t quite what you’re looking for.

Vox Stomplab

Best known as amp manufacturers, Vox have diversified their product offering over the past decade or so. The Stomplab range has been around for a few years now, and is well-regarded. Looking at the Stomplab IG, as with Zoom, the inclusion of an expression pedal will cost you an extra $20.

The first things you’ll notice about the Stomplab are its parts and construction. All its sounds come packed in a sturdy metal box, with two metal footswitches.

Given the maker involved, it’s probably no surprise that amp simulation is a big part of the Stomplab’s offering. Of the 103 effects at your disposal, 44 are amps, with a further 12 cabinets. Of course, it covers Vox’s own legendary amps like the AC30 and AC15, with the rest based on various Fenders and Marshalls etc.

Behringer FX600

If you’re on an even tighter budget, Behringer’s FX600 is about $20 cheaper and is super-compact. It’s the size of a regular pedal, but with six built-in effects: flanger, chorus, phaser, delay, tremolo and pitch shifter.

With one knob for selecting the effect you want to use, one for controlling the level of the effect, it’s got a further two knobs for adjusting the parameters of your selected effect.

Obviously, with this price and the incredibly compact nature of the pedal, there has to be some cutbacks somewhere. The six effects can only be selected one at a time, so you’ll need to choose wisely – the FX600 doesn’t come with any internal memory to store your own creations.

Despite being made of plastic, Behringer pedals are actually pretty tough. The sounds aren’t based on any existing ones. This might be a good fit if you’re looking for choice but simplicity.

In Conclusion

The Zoom G1Xon is a solid choice for beginners looking to explore the world of effects.

It may not be bulletproof in terms of its build, and the sounds may not be the highest quality, but it will certainly get fledgling guitarists into the ballpark of the sounds they aspire to.

As with any kit, the most important thing is to get into your local guitar store and see if it’s for you.

TC-Helicon Play Acoustic: Another top Multi-Effects Pedal to Love

While most multi-effects units are very much aimed at electric guitar players, some of the features in them would be a waste of time for a guitarist more focused on acoustic playing.

A teeny, tiny market does exist for multi-effects processors for acoustic musicians, and it’s here that TC-Helicon’s Play Acoustic model resides.

TC-Helicon is a Canadian subsidiary of TC Electronic, which is largely focused on vocal effects such as harmonizers and pitch correction, a tradition they’ve proudly incorporated into the Play Acoustic. I’m excited to take a look at this, and see what it does!

Core Features and Specs

There are quite a few features in the Play Acoustic that identify it as a useful tool in your arsenal of guitar gear.

The first thing is that it has applications for both your acoustic guitar and your vocals, whereby you can add effects that will bring you away from being just another singer with a guitar. Most notable of these is the harmony effects, so you can play or sing, and it will track the sound and apply harmonies in real time.

Material Metal
Number of effects 14: six for guitar, eight for vocals
Number of amp simulators None
Power Mains only
Loop length None
User-created effects storage 100+

This will work well for…

This is an ideal piece of kit for solo, acoustic singer-songwriters.

If the time is taken to familiarize themselves with all this can do, and with the right songs and arrangements, the Play Acoustic has the potential to really bring their live sound to a whole new level, and the ability to really stand out amongst a heavily saturated market of such performers.

I do think it’s important to highlight that just owning the box and bringing it with you onstage isn’t enough. It’s something you have to work with to get the most out of. Think of it as having an additional musician performing with you – you wouldn’t publicly perform with one, without having practiced first!

Does it do what it should?

The general implication of the Play Acoustic’s features is for a live setting and taking a look at the parts involved in its creation, it’s definitely been designed with that scenario in mind.

Firstly, it’s made of a sturdy steel chassis, with high-quality footswitches on the top, for you to engage whatever effect while you’re performing.

Looking at the back panel, and there’s a lot going on.

  • jack plug input for your guitar, and an XLR input for your vocal mic
  • two XLR outputs, one each for guitar and vocals, for going to a DI box or to the mixing desk
  • a mini jack plug output for headphones
  • a mini jack input for an auxiliary audio source, like your phone or tablet
  • a connection for an additional pedal
  • your mains connection
  • mini USB connection
  • a GND switch – not as ominous as it sounds – if there are grounding issues while you’re playing causing your guitar to hum, pressing this button should help resolve them

Looking at the top panel, the centerpiece is it’s bright, backlit LCD screen to show you what exactly your’re doing as you go through its features. This is supported by six buttons to select your effects, and a knob to adjust them for what you need.

Construction

The Play Acoustic has been designed with the gigging musician in mind. To this end, the metal casing and footswitches are well-suited. I’d be 100% confident bringing this on the road, without any worry of it breaking.

Despite the ruggedness of the design, it’s not an excuse to go throwing the pedal around. You still need to be careful, especially with products based on digital interiors. They can get loose, and they can break internally. If you look after this pedal, the most issue you’ll have is some scuffs.

The placement of the controls and buttons are all logical and make sense, and the LCD screen will be fine on even the darkest of stages.

I will say that if you’ve been doing the solo, acoustic singer-songwriter thing for a while, having this pedal at your feet, that does so much, might be a shock to the system. That’s why it’s important to spend quite a few hours making sure you know the layout of the pedal, and how it will do what you want and expect when you need it to happen onstage.

So far, so good then. Everything is looking well, but let’s see what the Play Acoustic will do for your sounds.

Tones

Seeing as this is a guitar gear website, we’re going to keep things focused on the applications of the Play Acoustic to your guitar sound.

Looking at the reverb effects first, there are 36 different types available, taking some directly from parent company, TC Electronic’s, pedal of contemporary legendary status, the Hall of Fame. With this number of reverbs available, you’ll be sure to find one that works for your music, whether it’s emulating a bathroom or a cathedral!

The Play Acoustic’s μMod set of effects is one I personally find a bit weird and includes chorus and detunes. I don’t want to say these are impossible to apply to an acoustic guitar, but I think it would take a certain talent to give them an applicable audio aesthetic to appeal to a wide audience.

The next one is the most exciting. It’s called the BodyRez EQ. Generally speaking, you know how when you mic up an acoustic guitar, and it has a lovely, warm, resonant sound, that will reflect the natural nuances of the guitar’s sound? But when you have an electro-acoustic, with a pickup, it loses that warmth, and can sound a bit weedy when it goes through a PA?

Well, the BodyRez is intended to breathe some of the life it loses when it’s wired up, back into it.

Playability

Beyond the effects, there’re all kinds of things you can do with the Play Acoustic. If you wanted to go really nuts, you could try micing up your guitar and applying some of the vocal effects, or micing up your electric guitar amp!

Experiment, have fun! That’s where progress comes from!

Getting back to straight up plugging in your electro-acoustic though, and the original intentions for this pedal, there is a lot to play with, especially in terms of the reverbs and μMods. The reverbs are OK and pretty easy to figure out whether it’s right or wrong, but the choruses and detunes might take a little more working out.

It’s not that the effects are difficult to use, it’s just that a little patience, and some honest friends, will go a long way in getting the most out of the pedal. It would be useful to record yourself performing with, it just to be able to listen back and really pick out, what’s working, and what’s not.

While not a full audio interface, the USB connectivity does allow you to record your guitar or vocal parts, with the effects applied, but the playback will have to come from another interface. That feels like a bit of a cop out really.

Pros Cons
●      There are effects for vocals as well as guitar

●      Good quality parts and ruggedly constructed

●      Ideal for solo, acoustic singer-songwriters looking to bring an extra bit of flavor to their sound

●      It will take time and patience to get the most out of it

●      It is a bit pricey for most singer-songwriters playing in bars

●      Lack of full USB interface functionality feels like a cop out

 

 

Some Alternatives to the TC-Helicon Play Acoustic

Effects rigs for acoustic musicians isn’t the biggest market in the world, but we have a couple of things to look at.

BOSS have a few offerings because of course they do. Their flagship one is the AD-8.

BOSS AD-8

This is an interesting gizmo and has a different aim than the Play Acoustic. The core idea behind the AD-8 is that it will emulate high-end acoustic guitars. What an idea! Interestingly, it doesn’t specify which guitars it will emulate.

It’s as easy as selecting the type of body you want to sound like, and away you go. I’m not sure what I make of it, but I appreciate that it’s a good idea that would have practical applications for some guitarists.

If you normally play a show with a few guitars, to achieve different sounds for different songs, but you’re booked to play a show that just doesn’t have the room on stage for all your guitars, the AD-8 would solve those problems.

Zoom A3

Zoom’s A3 takes elements from the Play Acoustic and the AD-8, and then some.

Like the AD-8, it allows you to emulate the body shapes of different types of acoustic guitar. Like the Play Acoustic, it allows you to use effects that are fairly unusual for acoustic, like chorus.

Where the A3 stumbles off in its own direction entirely is that in addition to emulating guitars, it wants to emulate the microphones that would be used to mic them up, with choices inspired by legendary mics like the Shure SM57 and Neumann U87.

On top of that, you can select effects such as delay, tremolo, phase and flange. It’s not impossible, but it would take a player with great skill and patience to make those work on acoustic.

In Conclusion

I can definitely see an intermediate acoustic, solo singer-songwriter getting along well with the Play Acoustic. In a saturated market, it’s sure to let them stand out if they have the patience to learn how to tastefully apply it.

T-Rex Soulmate: A Pedal to Love for Ages

T-Rex aren’t known for their multi-effects pedals at all. They’re better known as the creators of some very tasty sounding, but not very cheap stomp boxes, as well as power supplies, pedalboards, and relevant cases.

So, what do we make of them coming out with a multi-effects unit?

Well, going off their existing reputation and positioning, it’s unlikely that it’s going to be lame. Going off this price tag, it really better not be!

Look, it may not be their core business, but T-Rex have been around for long enough and will have well-enough established practices not to do terrible ideas. Right?

Core Features and Specs

The core features of the Soulmate are essentially that it is just five effects.

If you like the idea of a multi-effects unit, but feel you don’t really have any need or want for most of the stuff that manufacturers are trying to cram into it, this could be for you.

This is about the complete absence of frills. T-Rex aren’t trying to show off. This is literally taking five of their best pedals, and shoving them into one box.

Material Metal
Number of effects 5
Number of amp simulators None
Power Mains only
Loop length None
User-created effects storage 10

This will work well for…

Hmm… there’s a tricky question.

I guess there are a couple of people this would work for.

As it only has five effects, it would be for people who are picky about what effects they need.

As those five effects are exclusively from T-Rex, you might also want to be a fan of their effects.

Aside from those two, given the cost of the Soulmate, it’s likely that prospective owners are going to be professional musicians. If you spend this amount on a pedal, you’ll want it to be heard, and you’ll want to be seeing it as an investment that you’ll be getting a return on.

Does it do what it should?

Probably the first surprise with the Soulmate is the fact that they’ve gone for a black finish. T-Rex makes some of the most brightly colored effects pedals around. When they’re doing something so different to their usual approach, I definitely would have expected a bright yellow or green finish.

Anyway, the actual material used is rugged and sturdy. The six footswitches are also metal, and look like they’ll take a few stomps for a few years.

Looking at the back panel, and it’s as straightforward as you would expect: jack plugs for input, with two for output; a socket for your power supply; and two further jack plugs for a loop, to incorporate the Soulmate with your other pedals – this section has an additional plug for power, this time for output, for powering other pedals.

You’ll also notice a boost knob on the back panel. This is for adjusting the level of the Soulmate’s boost function to whatever you need.

In addition to the functions of a series of traditional pedals, the T-Rex have also included a tuner, 10 spaces for presets, and a tap tempo for working with the delay.

Overall, it’s reminiscent of a cringeworthy old business acronym: KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Construction

The Soulmate feels durable, solid and weighty. It could handle a few years on tour. You’d want to be giving it some serious abuse if it didn’t last.

The layout of the build is fine. There’s nothing about it that makes you wonder what the designers or makers were on when they were dreaming it up and putting it together. Giving the footswitches a fair wiggle and poke gives a reassuring lack of movement.

T-Rex promotes this as being five of their pedals stuck together, so removing the need to set up various pedals, with various connections and power supplies, and that is really what they’ve done. It is just like having five pedals side by side, where you can operate one at a time, dialing in your own tones.

Probably the key distinction is between this and the individual pedals is that you can save up to 10 presets here, rather than having to tweak it every time you take out your Soulmate to play. That’s very useful.

The construction will satisfy somebody who just needs the core pedal sounds, whether they need them for gigging every night, or just for their own leisure playing at home.

Let’s take a listen and see what these core sounds are actually like though.

Tones

From left to right on the Soulmate, the effects are: overdrive, distortion, delay, reverb and boost. It’s essentially taking a bit from each of the categories the masses of effects of multi-effects pedals usually have.

The overdrive is taken from T-Rex’s Møller pedal. This is supposed to be a nice gentle overdrive, aimed at blues, just edging over to blues rock. It’s a pleasant, well-balanced tone, but it can be cranked nicely for some classic rock sounds.

If you want things a little bit more dirty, the distortion section is based on T-Rex’s Mudhoney pedal – the original single channel one, rather than the contemporary one with two channels. This one has heavier players in mind. The Mudhoney is one for pushing that boundary from warm drive to dirt. It doesn’t get too dirty, not anywhere near any kind of fuzz, but, still… dirty.

Moving along to the delay section, which is apparently based on both their Replica and Reptile models. Both of these pedals are renowned for two things: the range of tones, and the near-analog warmth in a digital pedal. As a digital pedal anyway, it wasn’t to difficult to duplicate that for the purposes of the Soulmate.

The reverb switch is based on the Room-Mate pedal. Now, the Room-Mate is a lovely tube-driven piece of kit, something distinctly lacking from the Soulmate, but it’s not a bad job of replicating the lovely spring and hall reverbs of the original.

The final effect is a boost. Remember earlier, when I mentioned the boost level on the back panel? That’s for that. It works pretty well at boosting clean tones, but I always find that an EQ or overdrive/distortion pedal is better for boosting your driven sounds.

Playability

For the player who wants just some core boutique effects in a single box, they’ll certainly get hours out of the Soulmate, just from enjoying what it does.

This is especially for players who don’t want to spend their time figuring out what button to press to find those core effects amongst the masses of fun you usually get in a multi-effects pedal.

I said at the start that T-Rex seemed to be going for quality over quantity, and that’s what they’ve done. It’s the price range of professional equipment, but I can see an intermediate musician with the money getting a lot of enjoyment from it.

Playability isn’t always about the number of effects and USB connectivity.

Pros Cons
●      Perfectly rugged and solid parts and build

●      Ideal for a professional or intermediate musician whose playing focusing on these core sounds

●      Ideal for those who just want to play guitar, rather than play with a multi-effects unit

●      Some players won’t be happy with the stripped-back, no frills approach

●      Lack of USB connectivity may bother some

●      Some players just won’t appreciate the simplicity of it

 

 

Some Alternatives to the T-Rex Soulmate

There really aren’t very many boutique multi-effects pedals around, but there are a couple worth looking at.

Carl Martin Quattro

With an MSRP of $979 there’s no denying that the Carl Martin Quattro is pretty cost prohibitive. Think about it: the most common use of effects pedals is for guitarists who need a range of sounds for whatever it is they’re playing, but can’t afford all the individual stomp boxes they need, so multi-effects is the compromise.

So, the tone of this needs to be the equivalent of going on a date with your celebrity crush, where you’ll drink the tears of angels, before riding away together on a unicorn. Or something.

Like the Soulmate, the Quattro is limited in the number of effects it presents: echo, chorus, two types of drive, and compressor. However, the difference – and this is a big difference – is that it retains analog build. There’s not a hint of the harshness associated with digital here.

BOSS GT-100

On the other side of the Soulmate is the BOSS GT-100, with an MSRP of $699. This is a bit more in line with the traditional image of a multi-effects pedal. BOSS are one of the top names in making such things, so you don’t really have anything to worry about.

In saying that, the GT-100 doesn’t have as many effects built into it as some cheaper models might. It comes with 44 effects, which includes BOSS’s famous COSM technology for amp modeling. Most notably on first appearance, it comes with a built-in expression pedal, a feature not included – or required – on the Soulmate or Quattro.

Outside of that, the GT-100 pretty much comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a digital multi-effects unit. It has 200 presets – 100 from the factory, and 100 to fill yourself. It has USB connectivity, so you can use it as an audio interface or downloading free effects patches from BOSS.

In Conclusion

The Soulmate isn’t cheap, and probably isn’t the most versatile piece of gear around. It’s really for professionals and intermediates who know the sound they want to achieve and can just go ahead and do it.

The sounds are right up there with T-Rex individual boxes, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a go if you have the budget.

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