Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 28

Mountainview Publishing, LLC

Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, and wear glasses if you need em Webb Wilder on mid-Atlantic tone and more 7 The Tone Chaperone, George Bradfute plus 10 A rock star in a country western world Tony Bowles 12 Jack the Ripper

The Players Guide to Ultimate Tone
$10.00 US, September 2007/VOL.8 NO.11



Webb Wilder
I am a cross between Carl Perkins and Led Zeppelin. Ronnie Hawkins In the short 50-year history of rock & roll, the very term itself has become sorely abused. True rock & roll fully bloomed to maturity at the hands of Chuck Berry and the crossover king, Jimmy Reed, and that is a hardboiled, undeniable fact. Should you disagree, which is your right, just get used to the idea that youre wrong and well get along fine. As rock & roll evolved, the roll part eventually fell off and we were left with simply rock.You can precisely mark this event in time as musicians and fans suddenly became quite serious about taking themselves and their music seriously, as if rock music carried the weight of an armada of aliens landing in Times Square. Or Yazgurs farm

The 1979 Hiwatt DR504 Custom 50 13 Custom Amp Bizarre So many amps, so little time Heres two worth owning The Louis Electric Baby Bluesbreaker & Mighty Tremblelux 16 More is definitely better Lizard Leg Effects Flying Dragon Overdrive 17 Pedal Power? Lose the brick! Visual Sound founder Bob Weil on the 1 SPOT

Serious rock music was perceived as being so far beyond the normal human experience that fans eagerly embraced the notion that it was created, played and best enjoyed on drugs. Enter the drug culture and psychedelic rock I cant play anything, but I can get high And Dylan preached, Everybody must get stoned. A few messed up, pissed off non-players even formed bands and created a new rock genre punk rock. Our penance for a decade of free love, dope and rock without the roll was disco, which begat new wave, which begat metal and glam, which begat 80s Euro-rock, which begat rock unplugged


cover story
(please, Lord, begat me more drugs) which begat Clear Channel, which begat pay radio, where you can now once again hear rock on the radio, but still not so much rock & roll. And today, as bonka-da-bonka blues has emerged as the boomer craft-brew of the new millennium and blue collar country sung by raggedy-ass millionaires sells bettern Budweiser and poverty tickets, rock & roll is still hard to find. Why? Attitude, altitude, and it dont always pay so good. Nevertheless, Nashville is bustin with semi-known and unknown players that can and do play rock & roll as Chuck and Jimmy intended, and one of em is Webb Wilder. Now, Webb is no Elvis, but he is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which counts for something a northerner may never understand. He could also write a book titled, How To Create a Career in Music If Its All You Can Do. And thats the point, isnt it? Work on what you can do, and dont worry so much about what doesnt come naturally. Find yourself Try working on that. As the Webb credo goes, Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, and wear glasses if you need em. Webb aint stayin up at night working on his big rock moments the gig is the big moment. He is also a hopeless tonefreak The wilder side of Wilder hits plenty of familiar places taken apiece, but digesting the whole trip reveals a Big Boppermeets-Jim Reeves on trucker speed, black coffee and buttermilk pie kinda thang with guest appearances by Ray Davies, Wayne Cochran, Johnny Burnette, James Calvin Wilsey, The Smithereens, Roger Miller and Tennessee Ernie Ford (Marshall Crenshaw conducting.) Who actually wakes up in the morning as Webb Wilder is anyones guess. Wilder is also smart enough to surround himself with musicians who share his passion for bringing something truly memorable to the party. To make it in this business, son, you gotta have a style Case in point, when we had finished interviewing Webb for this issue, he asked a question most would have dodged, if it occurred to them at all. I know you have featured a lot of superpickers (one of which I am not) so, I wonder what youll say of my playing? Webb changes from G to C with the authority that only decades of gigging and disrespect can provide? We responded by reminding him that we knew more than a few super pickers who, unlike Webb, are exceptionally poor entertainers, and how often we had ventured out to see such superpickers only to realize that after just fifteen minutes, they had pretty much shot their wad, while looking way too self-important doing it. We didnt notice Webb running out of chords he just mixes up the order he plays em in. And we have never underestimated the rare art of conjuring a wellplaced G chord, which can be every bit as important and satisfying as a self-indulgent solo. Attitude and altitude, people. What you get at a Webb show is entertainment (and humor, even) framed by damned good musicianship, and this is not something that requires an apology. Oh, and one more thing If Im willing to invest an evening of my life to see an act, the headliner should at least act as if this is as important to them as it is to me. When did grateful and appreciative become uncool? Youll have no trouble conversing with Webb & Co., and theyll actually thank you for coming (and mean it.) As for Webbs two sidekicks featured in this edition, George Bradfute and Tony Bowles may be unknown to most of you, but their approach is Tony Bowles no less instructive To keep things fresh and interesting, the rig is always changin, and they can both play their asses off. Alright, now, lets pull back the sparkly curtains and get our groove on. Log on to www.tonequest.com, turn your speakers up and meet Webb Wilder. Enjoy


How did you musical adventures first begin?

I was always interested in music despite the fact that neither of my parents particularly were. They didnt sing or play anything, but I was a spoiled only child raised during what I -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

cover story
think of as the latter part of the golden age of television, and I was glued to it. And of course, there was radio I was and am sort of an odd bird with a big imagination living in my head. I knew Elvis was The Kinks cool I didnt know that that particular era of his music was not particularly cool the movies, you know? Then the Beatles thing happened and everyone in my class at school loved the Beatles, including all the uncool people. I thought Well, these people have never liked anything that was cool The Beatles blew me away and all that, but I still had to step back a little bit and evaluate. I was in the fourth grade! None of those people had ever liked anything cool before, but that was my first lesson in universal appeal and when good is good. I remember hearing You Really Got Me and All Day and All of the Night and thinking, God! Drunk Puerto Ricans! You know, they sang in this strange, quasi-Calypso dialect on those records Girrl I want to beewith yoo all-ofthe-time I heard Johnny Cashs voice on AM crossover radio, and Mick Jagger with The Stones, of course. I think those are wonderful voices, but awkward. I knew my voice was surely awkward, if not wonderful. I also got ahold of this record called The Everly Brothers Sing Great Country Hits, and the songs really are all great on it. It had that 60s Nashville production with the tic tac bass and all that. The songs, the singing and the pictures of The Everlys on the front and back cover had a pretty big impact on me. The first and third Byrds albums were also just great as far as I was concerned. About that time in the 6th grade I got my first Silvertone acoustic guitar. I guess I was destined to play at the local teen center, but that would be a few years later. In those days there were lots of bands, and I found out about a guitarist who was older than me named John Clark, who was in a band called The Prophets. I took lessons from him long before Id ever been to a dance, maybe even before Id ever seen a live band. He had me get the Mel Bay book (This is the pick) I guess singing was always in it for me, so he asked if I knew how any songs went so I could learn to play chords with a song I already could sorta sing. Some of the first ones were folk songs like Tom Dooley and 500 Miles. He would write out the words, then write the chords over the word where the chord changed. He would show me how to make the chord, and where it was in the book in case I forgot. Thats how I got started. TQR: Well, since you werent hearing Eddie Cochran on your parents record player, the initial blush that stuck so hard must have been largely spawned by the radio. Radio and television. Shindig, Where the Action Is, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and WXXX AM radio right there in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It was top 40 crossover radio back then and they played it all. I remember being home from school sick or something and hearing The Kinks Waterloo Sunset on that radio station and it just leveled me. TQR: Thats interesting, because as I listened to your current CD, About Time, and watched the DVD, it occurred to me that at times you are a bit of a southern American Ray Davies

Well, I take that as a compliment. I took to really studying Ray Davies in high school. I have tons of Kinks albums. Hes been so prolific that of course there is a lot of material that doesnt particularly matter to me, but the amount of material that does is huge. TQR: Your recording of You Might Be Lonely for a Reason was the tip off.

And that brings up Bobby Field, who wrote that song. He is a couple of years older than me and he played at the teen center in Hattiesburg, too. Way back in high school Bobby turned me on to the Kinks concept album Arthur or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire (1969). Bobby said that if I liked that album I would really like The Kinks Are the Village Preservation Society (1968). You wouldnt believe how hard I had to look to get a used copy of the album. We were into all that stuff. TQR: Lets talk about the inevitable garage band period I got together with a couple of guys that had better guitars than my Marathon, which -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

cover story
was a pretty forgettable two pickup Japanese solid body, so that sort of mandated that I would become the bass player, having shown up with this shitty guitar. This was in the eight or ninth grade. I had to beg my parents to buy me it for me, but I found a new old stock 66 P Bass at a salvage store. It had a little flaw but a guy at my fathers furniture store fixed it. The name of our band was The Power of Steam. It was real beneficial playing bass Ive always had a natural sense of rhythm and I always sang, but one of the good things about playing bass was that I was able to learn the fret board without dealing with the rascally B string! I always wanted to play the guitar, though. The Stones Get Yer Ya Yas Out helped point me toward the Chuck Berry thing that would become such a part of my style. When I was about 17 or 18 I got hold of an SG-shaped Les Paul Junior and I borrowed a Bandmaster with Reverb head and matching cabinet for a band that only played that one summer. The drummers name was Benson, so we called ourselves Benson and the Hedges. TQR: And you eventually went away to college I had a lot of odd jobs, too. I had grown up in Mississippi surrounded by the thinking that you couldnt really be in show business. My father and his brothers had all been in the furniture business, and my first job was delivering furniture at my parents store. I got a job in Austin selling furniture, which I hated, so I eventually moved back to Mississippi and worked in the family business for my uncle. On the day Elvis died, it was a hot day in August and I was living in a ratty apartment selling furniture in Jackson, Mississippi. That was a bummer. Eventually, the original Howlers broke up and I moved back to Austin to join Bobby Field and start a new band that never really got off the ground. Bobby was offered a job in film for the office of public relations at the University of Southern Mississippi back in Hattiesburg, where we eventually made the film, Webb Wilder and the Private Eye. I got a job as a DJ with a local radio station there and with Bobbys help, put together a band called The Drapes with Casper Rawls, playing around Mississippi, Texas and New Orleans. Joe Ely got up and joined us one night in Austin while we were playing the Carl Perkins song, The Point? Pointed Toes? Pointed Shoes?? One of those! Anyway, I guess he had -continuedwhich seemed to bridge the gap. Bobby and I made our first scouting trip to Austin in the summer of 75. We walked into the Split Rail and Rick Stein and the Alley Cat Band were playing Laugh Laugh by the Beau Brummels! We were so knocked out when we saw that I persuaded my band (wasnt hard they were into it!) to move to Austin where we all lived in one house. Suzy was in the band, so the Brothers thing was kind of a joke. We later changed the name to just Everready. Antones was just starting up on Sixth Street, Jimmie Vaughan was playing with the Thunderbirds, and the day we moved to town the marquis at the Pizza Hut on Guadalupe said Welcome Progressive Country Fans. We knew we were not comin in on the ground floor of that scene, but the Sixth Street/T-Birds/Antones thing was just starting. Eventually, the band broke up and I enrolled at the University of Texas as a Drama major, but that really wasnt me. My interest was more in film acting and they wanted you to learn about the weights in the curtains and how to make costumes and all that kind of thing.

Yeah, I attended a small school in Nashville called Peabody College for two semesters in 74 and 75. At that time rock & roll was in peril, really. Disco was big, but the progressive country thing was happening and I was in my singer-songwriter period. I had a Gibson Blueridge acoustic, the SG Junior and a 66 Tele, and I wrote a lot of terrible songs during that phase. I also went to a lot of shows in Nashville at the Exit/In and I kept in touch with Bobby Field, who had put together this great, eclectic band called The Howlers. They eventually broke up, but the phoenix that rose from those ashes was Omar & the Howlers. Bobby eventually came up here and we tried to pitch some songs on Music Row, which was a joke. We were a little put off that Nashville wasnt more band oriented at that time. When I went back to Mississippi from Nashville in 1975 I met Suzy Elkins and Gerry Felton, who was also known as Phareaux, and we started this band called the Everready Brothers. We were into swing, progressive country and the Emmy Lou and Gram Parsons stuff, and in January of 1976 we moved to Austin. Back then in Texas, you heard the term kicker bar,which was a name for a cowboy bar as opposed to a longhair bar. There was a place called the Split Rail

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

cover story
been drinking a little that night, and Omar always referred to us after that as the band that made Joe Ely puke. TQR: When did you finally return to Nashville? toward the opposite end a little bit For instance, if you listen to Mike Bloomfields Les Paul sound, its twangy. I dont want my Les Paul to be a mud machine, and some of those old blackguard Teles are really fat almost a P90 sound. I dont want my Tele to sound too thin. TQR: Sure in fact, thats what many people want a fat, punchy Tele and a twangy Les Paul. Thats a good thing.

In the summer of 1982, and it was humbling, once again. I was just a guy that played in a band, and Nashville isnt really that kind of town unless you already have a band. I didnt play a gig for probably two and a half years. I had some crummy jobs and just hung out a lot meeting various people, like Tom Comet, who plays bass with me now. Its really hard to keep a full-time band together in Nashville, but I kept at it and managed to put a band together and began playing a few gigs in 1985. Ive been doing it ever since. TQR: Meanwhile, you seem to be afflicted with a severe gear fetish that your early career could hardly support

Ive owned some amazing stuff and I have always loved gear. I never lost anything to pawn shops because I would always get it back, and Ive also done a lot of trades. One time I traded two guitars for one, which didnt turn out too well. Other things like medical expenses and a divorce have forced me to sell things in the past. I have owned two 335 dot necks, and I dont think Ill ever be able to own one of those again. I bought one of them on my ex-wifes birthday! Timing is everything, right? It came up later, to say the least. TQR: Lets talk about the gear you play today. Im way Telecaster oriented, but I have this philosophy that whatever you have, you want it to be as if there was this abacus of tone that can be adjusted

Thats what I want, and the same with a Strat that has enough whomp in the bridge pickup. In Hattiesburg you could buy every kind of guitar except Rickenbacker and every kind of amp except Marshall, understanding that the Vox amps at the time were not true British Vox amps I think I grew up hearing a lot of English guitar tones, but playing through Fender amps, so I gravitated to Fender amps that you could push into distortion a little bit, like blackface Vibrolux and Deluxe reverbs, which could sometimes be a little inadequate. Danny Thorpe, God rest his soul, was a really talented singer and player who worked for Ray Henig in Texas. Dan Forte would refer to him in articles he would write for Guitar Player magazine as vintage guitar authority, Danny Thorpe. We got to know him during the trips we would make out there. Well, Danny told me years ago that what I really needed to get was a Hiwatt 50. I had never really thought about that, even though I had seen Mott the Hoople (Mick Ralphs, Epiphone Coronet and a Hiwatt), Badfinger (SGs and Hiwatts) and The Who (SG Special and Hiwatts.) So I bought this 1985 50 watt Hiwatt in 1987 and I have played it ever since. Danny also told me to use a 2x12 cabinet instead of a 4x12, which tends to overwhelm most rooms. Ive mainly used an old 2x12 Bassman/Bandmaster cabinet with old G12M Celestion Greenbacks that just sound killer, and now Im wondering if Scumback speakers may be the way to go to get that sound from new speakers. I recently had the Hiwatt serviced and now it sparkles and sounds really 3D, but, its almost too healthy sounding. -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

cover story
I love the top end and the bottom on the Hiwatt, but sometimes the notched midrange gets a little frustrating. I have an idea of how an amp should sound where you get a setting and you go with it a concept of midAtlantic tone.You know, I am from Mississippi but I saw and heard Badfinger, The Stones, The Faces, and The Who, and I totally get it. The Stones and the Faces did it with those Ampeg amps, but they are louder than God! The only amps I know that really get that mid-Atlantic tone are the Ampegs and Hiwatts. Even the old blue checkered Ampegs get it, because they have this more chocolate thing than the Fenders. What I would really like to see somebody make is the high gain 50W two-input Hiwatt circuit with less power say, 30 watts. The old ones are the shit, but its a tidal wave that will part your hair! Mine is an 85 with smaller transformers and the only hand-wiring is in one section that burned up and had to be redone. Dave Sutherland did the work, point to point at that spot in the circuit, and he left the rest of it alone and did a great job. It isnt very collectible, but it sounds great. It can be loud, though. I also love that JTM 45 under-the-fingers thing, but I need more string articulation and headroom from an amp that wont get covered up by the band. Its a sound I grew up hearing on records that I really loved, but it can be a one trick pony. That mid-Atlantic thing where you can channel Jimmie Vaughan or Pete Townshend or Badfinger through the same amp is do-able with a Hiwatt 50. Its got Fender traits, Vox traits and some of the Marshall traits, but it definitely sounds English. Mid-Atlantic? Hard to put in words, I guess. TQR: Lets talk about pedals you have one of our favorite cheap pedals, the Duncan Pickup Booster. And the FullTone Fat Boost. I like to play straight through most of the time with the pedals off and then boost things as needed. The Duncan Pickup Booster has kind of a natural turn up the old amp kinda feel and sound to me kind of soggy so that when you step on it, its like you turned up a Bassman head. It kind of melts up, if that makes any sense. The Fat Boost is more like that than most pedals Ive tried, too, but its a little more abrupt, which can be good for a cleaner boost. Its especially good for me when I want to get louder on a twangy low string part but dont want more sag. Ive been using the Duncan lately more than anything else. Oh, and my Marshall Vibra-Trem I recently noticed is made in India. As soon as I saw that, I thought it might not hold up, but Ive had it for years and it works just fine. TQR: Moving on to guitars, youve got a signed Telecaster with a neck humbucker of some sort.

Right now its the Fralin Unbucker, and it sounds pretty good. What I really like on that guitar is the bridge pickup, and of course, it is no longer made! It was produced during an era when the Fender Custom Shop Nocaster pickups were overwound. Its a flat pole piece type with Alnico III magnets that measures around 9K or so. I think it was made in the late 90s, according to Fred Stuart. Ive read that some of the blackguard Tele pickups were pretty high output with more whomp. Its a parts guitar that just came together well a medium weight ash body with a Tom Murphy finish, an Allparts maple neck with a George Bradfute finish, and it just sounds great. Sometimes guitars find you, and my 1961 Epiphone Coronet is another great one. When I saw Mick Ralphs with Mott the Hoople, thats what he was playing, and Steve Marriott can be seen with one in the Rockin The Fillmore album cover photos. I put reissue tuners on it with the new version of the Gibson lightning bar bridge. The old ones were pre-intonated for heavy Gibson Sonomatic strings but, the new ones are for .010s. Its got TonePros tailpiece studs, the original frets, and I had the original nut removed, shimmed and recut at Glaser Instruments. Its badass, and Ive only had one bad tuning night with it when the air conditioning was blowing right on me. I also have a couple of Custom Shop Flying Vs that I like not the really expensive Korina ones, but mahogany. One is a strings through the body and the other is a Lonnie Mack. You know, Ive noticed that if you re -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

carrying guitars around in gig bags (I dont use them for the guitars with a pitched headstock but, do for the Fenders) the strings rub up against the frets and it really roughs them up. The experts say that you should place a piece of felt between the strings and frets, but on the road Im having a hard time doing that in the usual hurry up and go conditions.. I also have a couple of Custom Shop Les Pauls that are really good. One is a 2001 Historic 57 Goldtop with a Western maple top and Timbuckers in it. Its a good weight and its possible that the Western maple mellows it a little bit in a nice way. The other Les Paul is a 58 Historic plaintop that is even lighter and has an Eastern maple top that has that brighter, Bloomfield tone. TQR: Do you bring the kitchen sink to the studio?


You cover a lot of interesting ground on About Time, and you have a knack for capturing a deep range of fascinating subjects, sounds, moods and influences that emerge from the speakers like good memories.

I try not to, but I usually wind up bringing a lot of stuff because you never quite know what will work. For instance, I have a reissue Gretsch and the neck is kinda small and the frets are kinda small but, boy, it sure does record good. TQR: On About Time, Jimmy Reed Is the King of Rock & Roll is fantastic a real slippery, slithering beat with great reverby guitar tones that sound older than dirt. Pour me a cold Pearl and pass the pickled eggs

Georges snakey, bluesy Strat stuff is just it. Kevin Gordon wrote it, but Bobby (Field) had the idea to do it Jimmy Reed style. So we just did the bonk-a, bonk-a blues beat and George is playin some Strat he made through a cheesy reverb pedal or somethin. Hes Gods own player. TQR: I would agree. When you were here in Atlanta at Fuzzys, I dont think Ive ever seen anyone have a better time playing guitar than Tony Bowles.

Hoping not to sound too flurpy but, a lot of my spirituality is caught up in music, so I really feel a lot of stuff. I think about when I saw the original Faces with Ronnie Lane, and its my rock and roll touchstone, practically. Ive been watching this Free DVD lately and I was walking around my kitchen trying to sing like Paul Rodgers and I thought, its OK, cause I aint GONNA sound like Paul Rodgers! Its OK if you feel it if you mean it. I saw an interview with Roy Orbison on a DVD and he was asked about his voice. He said, Well, I dont know all I can figure is maybe Im a baritone with an extended range. I was writing these songs and the only way I could get the notes in my head out was to try and sing them. The thing is, its all about expression. If you arent encumbered by the rules, then you can interpret, you can drop an octave when youre supposed to go up one or whatever, and I always remind myself of that. The rule s are just there to be broken. TQ

Well, people say that about him, and I know he really does enjoy and appreciate getting to play some rock & roll outside of his Hank Williams Jr. gig. Like Dino Bradley says, Tony is a rock star in a country western world! Hes a great guy and can sure play his ass off.

Just north of Nashville in an early 60s brick ranch house originally built by Jim Reeves is George Bradfutes Tone Chaparral studio. George is known by some as the Tone Chaparone, -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

and his house is indeed a temple of tone, filled with a deep violin collection displayed in the living room, guitar cases in upstairs hallways and bedrooms, and an expansive downstairs studio overflowing with vintage amps and guitars. In addition to his recording skills and grasp of multiple instruments, Bradfute is also skilled in instrument restoration and repair, and his workshop adjoins the studio space. We visited with George on a Friday afternoon in July, joined by Webb Wilder, and the conversation was exceedingly geeky TQR: Tell us about how you were originally bitten by the guitar bug, George. job. I eventually moved to Nashville and worked at Gruhns doing repair and restorations for five years. TQR: And at a time when all the coolest guitars were still coming through there daily, and often in multiples. Based on your observations, where is the magic in those great, old guitars found?

I grew up in Memphis, and my brother and I actually started on ukulele. My aunt and my mom showed us how to play, and my grandmother was also a very good piano player, so thats how I got started. I also played saxophone in the school band, and then of course we saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and that totally changed our lives Like a lot of people I thought, Thats it thats what I want to do! Ive played in bands all my life ever since high school in Memphis. I also wound up working at a music store in Memphis called Strings & Things in the guitar repair shop. There were several guys working there that really knew what they were doing and they brought me in and taught me a lot. I had half-way tinkered around with guitars a little bit, and once I got into it, I really enjoyed the work. I worked at Strings & Things for five years doing repairs and then did repairs from my house. In 1985, I responded to an ad in Guitar Player for a repair position at Gruhn Guitars. I called and wound up talking to the shop foreman at the time, Kim Walker, who is a fabulous guitar builder now. By then I had also begun building my own electric guitars, and I guess they were impressed enough to offer me a

Well, theres just something about the marriage of all the components. The reissues are getting really close today, but nine times out of ten, when you plug the real thing in it still blows away the reissue guitars. Components are always getting better with companies like RS Guitarworks having the correct pots made, for example. And the enormous aftermarket pickups and parts business. Not long after I began working at Gruhns, George bought into the Guild company and he was spending a lot of time working on acoustic and electric guitar designs. He would come upstairs about ten times a day asking us what we thought of various ideas, and one of them was the solidbody, spruce top Guild Bluesbirds that were pretty cool. We literally got to work on every vintage guitar you can name. Ive glued a new fingerboard on a 59 burst, refinished a 54 Strat that came in all stripped down, repaired a cracked neck in a Gretsch White Penguin that came in just to name a few interesting repairs. We saw it all. I would spend my paycheck every week for something that came through the door at Gruhns. I was constantly bothering George and the salesmen downstairs about trading this for that, like a kid in a candy store. TQR: How did you meet Webb?

I met Webb and those guys in 1985. Some people that worked at Gruhns went to see them and drug me along with them one night, and I just thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen a big guy like Webb who has no business being on stage in the sense of the typical rock star image, you know? But hes absolutely nailing everything sings great, plays great, hes funny, and a fabulous entertainer. What can you say? TQR: What kinds of guitars do you play today?

I have several Gibson Historics that are nice a Les Paul black beauty, a chambered Cloud 9 and a 54 Les Paul Custom with P90s. I also really like the Fender/Guild DeArmonds that came out a few years ago. I like to take -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

those out when I play with Webb they are great utility guitars with a cool, vintage vibe. I also play a handful of homemade Allparts Strat and Tele things. TQR: What type of parts and components do you use when you build your own guitars? I generally use the Allparts stuff necks, bodies, hardware, pots its all good. Their standard 250K and 500K pots work great, and have that vintage taper. I mentioned the RS Guitar Works stuff Ive not actually tried it, but plan to soon. Warmoth stuff is good, too, and Ive used that on many occasions. I really like Lindy Fralin pickups, Duncans, and Lollars. Ive got a couple of Strats with DiMarzio Virtual Vintage pickups, and theyre great too, as is all the DiMarzio stuff. TQR: Webb said that you were one of the first players in Nashville to begin playing Dr. Z amps Thats exactly how it usually goes. TQR: How did you get started with recording and engineering?

When I started working at Gruhns, I found myself getting a little bored in the evenings being new in town, so I started looking for bands to play in right away. I had also brought a little Teac 4-track tape recorder with me from Memphis, and it wasnt long before people started asking me to record their songs, so I got into recording demos in my little apartment on the Teac. TQR: So is it the combination of your engineering chops and all the equipment you have assembled that makes the unique sound youve become known for?

Neither my equipment or my engineering skills are all that great, and Ill be the first to admit that I really have no idea what Im doing. But Ive learned by just poking along, and I grew up with a couple of friends that are engineers. Ill usually call one of them about once a week with a gear question or something I cant figure out. TQR: How has the studio scene in Nashville changed since the emergence of Pro Tools and other digital recording software?

Well, Webb and I have always been fans of Hiwatts, Marshall and Vox amps, but they are usually too loud for the rooms we play, and we were instantly impressed by how versatile the Dr. Z amps were, producing that kind of Hiwatt/AC50 sound, but with a master volume that makes them more usable. The first Dr. Z amp I bought was the 65 watt head, and I have a Prescription head, a Carmen Ghia and a Route 66. Ive also owned a Maserati and a MAZ 38 Senior. I really need to call Dr. Z and have him update me on all the new models he has out now. Hes a super guy, and quite the obvious genius. TQR: When youre packing for the road, I suppose you look at the venues and decide what youll need in terms of volume. On trips where youre playing both a large outdoor venue and smaller rooms, will you take two amps to cover everything?

There are still a thousand studios in this town. I could throw a rock and hit three of them from my house. I subscribe to Mix magazine, and Im always reading about these

announcements for big, state-of-the-art new studios and I wonder who is paying for all of that. I guess there are people that can pay or they wouldnt be built I think the Nashville studio business is picking up now, although it went through a pretty good lull for about ten years. Part of that was the revolution where you could record in someones bedroom and not pay $400-$500 an hour on Music Row. The medium-sized studios may have suffered the most, while the big studios held on to their clientele and little guys like me got real busy. TQR: When did you make the switch from analog to digital?

I still use both. Im working on a new record with Richard Bennett right now and were cutting it on my 1-inch 16-track -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

Tascam. Ill dump it over to an Alesis HD-24 machine if we need more tracks, and Ill eventually dump it to Nuendo for mixing and editing. I bypassed the Roland VS and ADAT tape era and stayed with the tape machine as long as I could until the Alesis HD24 came out. I read up on it and it seemed like a very simple 24-track digital machine, without the layers and layers of software you have to deal with, but it has some very useful cut and paste editing features. Then I got into Nuendo, having already heard the pros and cons of Pro Tools. Nuendo started as a PC thing, and thats where I grew up, too, so I went with it and it sounds great. TQR: Whats your take on the difference between analog and digital recording?

by the time it gets stuffed on a CD, the MXL is really close. Ive also been getting into these cheap ribbon mics $150$200 mics such as Cascade, Apex, etc. and they sound amazing. There is also an ever-increasing community of companies making top-end ribbon mics. TQR: What types of guitar gigs are you playing?

There is a difference between analog and digital When you record analog its got a 3-dimensional, tangible quality to it on tape. Music that you can reach out and touch. Digital kind of shortens that distance or perspective a little bit, but its not bad. Most people that record at my studio are fine with digital, and so am I. If you can marry it up with good preamps and mics it sounds fine. I have some people that are adamant about recording on tape, and others that dont care at all, and when I dump analog tracks into Nuendo it still sounds really good. But you have to be careful good engineering transcends whatever media you choose. Take some old records out, listen to them, and compare them to what youre working on now. Thats the way to dial things in. TQR: It seems as if that is the reputation you have created a very realistic, authentic, cool sound.

I would hope so. TQR: What types of microphones do you use?

Every once in a while Ill get called to go across town and do sessions, in addition to the stuff at my place. Im also playing a couple of gigs with different bands around town. There is a group of us that began playing together 20 years ago as a frat party cover band and weve been playing and doing some recording recently. Its kind of a Pink Floyd/ Talking Heads meets U2, European, balls-to-thewall thing. I like playing all kinds of music like Webbs shows, and I sometimes play with Paul Burch, an alt-country band where I play this big old baritone guitar with flatwound strings on it through a tweed Vibrolux for an old-timey country sound. Its all fun.TQ

Well, I have to confess that Im not much of a mic snob. Im actually a cheap bastard when it comes to mics. I do like the Sennheiser 409 for guitar cabinets, but I have a bunch of these cheap Chinese MXL tube mics and they sound great. A friend of mine came over one day with a real Neumann U47 a $10,000 mic every day of the week, and we compared it to an MXL V69 and it sounded almost as good as the U47 astoundingly good. It retails for $400 and it sounded fabulous compared to the U47. The Neumann had a thing, for sure, but

Tony Bowles is the happiest guitar player we have ever seen, and when someone obviously enjoys their work so much, the effect is contagious. It is also a testament to Tonys chops and good taste that he is known for bringing a box full of ToneQuest back issues on the road to share in the van. Enjoy -continued-


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

TQR: Tony, when did you begin playing the guitar? Back in the 80s I bought this vintage 57 Strat with a ruined neck, and I still have the body and the original wiring harness and pickups. So whatever Strat Im playing, Ill put the real 57 pickups in it. The guitar I was playing when you saw me is a Mexican Jimmie Vaughan Strat with the vintage 57 pickups. TQR: Have you spent much time trying to find a set of pickups that come close to the 57s? Well, yeah everybody goes through the usual stuff Fender, DiMarzio, Duncan and even EMGs I use those in a few guitars, but for Strats those 57 pickups always seem to wind up in them. TQR: Whats in your pedal board?

I got a Kay flat-top for Christmas in 1966. I still have it. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and started playing in bands in high school and cover bands in bars after that. I moved to Nashville in 1989 and eventually landed a gig with Hank Williams Jr. Nashville can be a tough place to break into. TQR: How did you get the gig with Hank Jr.?

I moved to town and started jamming in this dive bar called the Grapevine, where I met some of the guys in his band and jammed with them. It turned out that he was looking for another guitar player, and I got the word on that and just came in and started playing with no rehearsal or anything. It was pretty wild back then and really loose lots of alcohol and a fullblown party atmosphere where I could just come in and play whatever I wanted. Its still a lot like that today really! Ive had that gig since 1991, but he doesnt tour all that much, so its kind of a part-time thing, and it enables me to play with Webb. TQR: How did you hook up with Webb?

I was a big fan of Webbs for a long time. I knew his guitar player, George, and Webb needed someone to fill in for a few dates. He uses two or three guitars players on an ongoing basis. TQR: Lets talk about your gear When you were here last with Webb you were playing an HC30 Matchless with an old Bandmaster 2x12 cabinet.

Thats always changing, and every gig its different. I have a couple of Klon overdrive pedals and Ill use at least one of those, a Full Drive II, and I have an Analogman Sunface Fuzz which is really great for that Fuzz Face thing. Ive been through Tubescreamers, Dynacomps and Ratt pedals you can go crazy trying all the different pedals that are available today. I also love the Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere. Webb will do some sci-fi, spacey stuff where you need that Echoplex freak out, so I use the Line 6 or a Boss tap delay with a DD5 and a DD3 for a slap delay. TQR: Is the Matchless more or less your main amp? With Webb Ill usually play the Matchless, or sometimes Ill take a mid 60s Marshall JTM45 that -continued-

Yeah, a 1994 that I bought from a studio here, and with the Bandmaster cabinet I do the Matchless trick of using a Vintage 30 and a 25 watt Greenback. Its a great sounding amp. TQR: And what about your Stratocaster?

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


Todd Sharp did some work on for me. Ill also use an AC30 sometimes, or a 4x10 Bassman If I could, Id just carry around a shitload of stuff and pick and choose what I needed based on the different rooms were playing. You know, Webb and I, and George, were just gear crazy. We have so much shit that you just wouldnt believe, but its because were always trying something different. On any given night you dont know what well be playing. TQR: Changing things up from night to night enables you to reach different places, doesnt it? When we spied Webb Wilders Hiwatt (a later 85 British version with printed circuit board) we began thinking about just how good our old Hylight head had sounded, and you can imagine what that led to more wistful thinking, an it cant hurt to look eBay search, and the next thing you know we had found a virgin 79 Hylight DR504 that ultimately became ours for the tidy sum of $1,470. Yep, thats the going rate now still a screaming good deal if you can tote 50 watts of Hiwatt attitude, or youre willing to invest in a decent attenuator (more on that in a minute.) And we have to say that playing a Hiwatt again has reminded us just how spectacular and under-rated these amps truly are. If you are unfamiliar with the classic tone of a vintage Hiwatt, random examples can be found on early Jethro Tull tracks, Pink Floyd, Mott the Hoople and The Who. But dont assume that youll be limited to playing dated classic rock with a Hiwatt different guitars and effects produce results that wont leave you mired in the 70s. Reverb or delay, for example, quickly add depth and space that can transform the Hiwatt into a mysterious chameleon equally well-suited for fat chords and soloing. Like the DR505, our new Custom 50 is one of the later twoinput models introduced in 1977 that uses both sides of the 12AX7 in V2 (Bright channel) for a spoodge more gain. Both channels can be blended with a Y cord or an A/B switching box, and each channel has a separate volume control. Our previous experiments with various preamp and power tubes in the DR505 had revealed a preference for Mullards (no surprise there, but they a were a whole lot cheaper then) with Svetlana EL34s running a close second. This time, we tried a Mullard 12AT7 in the phase inverter and an NOS JAN Philips 5751 in the Normal Channel to obtain more clarity and clean headroom. The Mullard produced an exceptionally smooth, slightly cleaner tone, but the Philips were too bright and tight for our taste. We eventually settled on a sweet and cuddly RCA 12AX7 in the Normal Channel and a spare, used Amperex 12AX7 in the Bright channel. The Hiwatt had arrived with a pair of Ruby STREL34Bs probably the result of someone having read Fat Willies tube spam, since he was pushing these tubes with gusto when they appeared in 2003. Capable of handling murderous plate voltages, the Rubies arent bad at all, but they werent our favorite in 2001, or now. After installing an older pair of St. Petersburg Svetlana EL34s and a NOS pair of Teslas, we rebiased again for almost new Mullard EL34s with GE labels, and history repeated itself Sadly (because they are so rare -continued-

Well, it can either make you have a great night or you can die a thousand deaths (laughing.) TQR: Who are some of your favorite guitar players?

Wow, that's a tough one. When I think of my favorite players, I think of the bands I grew up listening to The Stones, Beatles, Who, Zeppelin, Faces, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Cream, Mountain, Hendrix, Jeff Beck. And I have to mention the Kings ( Albert, Freddie, B.B. ) Theres also some great guys to see here in Nashville Kenny Greenburg, Mike Henderson, and Jack Pearson. TQR: Well, Nashville is still a breeding ground for great guitar players like Guthrie Trapp. I dont know how often players that live in Nashville venture down to Broadway, but we first saw Guthrie playing the Don Kelly gig at Roberts.

And its still going on. I saw some young kid at Roberts that I had never seen before dressed in a nudie suit, playing a Telecaster with a Dr. Z amp and a little slapback, rockabilly thing and he was just tearing it up. Its like he just got off the bus or something Nashville draws em.TQ

Our first and only vintage Hiwatt review was published in May 2001, having acquired a two-input DR505 Custom 50 originally built for the Canadian market. We paid just $600 for the 1978 Hiwatt in 01, and as impressive as it was, we eventually sold it to buy another amp to be reviewed in these pages.


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

and expensive), Mullards impart a girth and musical richness that other tubes just cant muster, although we can certainly live with the NOS Teslas, which are still available for now from KCANOStubes.com. While the DR504 will, as Webb observed, part your hair, it is also a very pedal-friendly amp that allows the volume to be cut somewhat, rendering outstanding clean tones that can be pushed into variable levels of the nasty with a good overdrive pedal. The Hiwatt does exhibit a natural tendency to push British mids forward, but you can also expand the tone by cutting the mids slightly, nudging the bass and treble EQ, and working with the presence control. Most of the time, weve been running the Hiwatt through our Avatar 4x12 cab loaded with two Celestion Alnico Gold G12s and a pair of Celestion G12H 70th Anniversary Hellatones. It is indeed a hellava tone. Unlike vintage Marshall, Ampeg and Fender amps, a comprehensive History of Hiwatt book has yet to be written. The best web resource weve found is Mark Huss History of Hiwatt web site at www.mhuss.com/Hiwatt/index.html. Spend twenty minutes on this site and you can quickly reference technical specs, dating and serial number information, and the murky post-Hylight Hiwatt era in which the Biacrown Hiwatt amps were built from 1981-1984 by a group of former Hylight employees, and later models built in California and England as the rights to the Hiwatt name changed hands. The mid-Atlantic tone conjured by Webb Wilder is definitely a hallmark of the Hiwatt DR504, and as we just observed, a faint dab of reverb or delay adds a 3-D quality that enables the Hiwatt to deftly cover far more territory than the bold and midrange -heavy tones of British rock so often associated with these amps. Whats that? Yes, they are loud, and bold as luv, but this is 2007 and there are workarounds for your volume-challenged fans, real or imagined. Well get to that next In the meantime, know this Hiwatts are collectible, one-of-a-kind works of art that sound like no other amp ever built on either side of the Atlantic. Rip forth, Jack It isnt getting any easier to filter the hype surrounding custom built amps these days.For many, online forums are the engines that herd players to the next hot amp builder, and the hype is usually fueled by players fully vested in whatever booteek tubeyard they so ferverently push online. Fair enough sharing ones enthusiasm is no crime, but we suspect there is more than a little self-validation going on as well. The best time to evaluate a product is not immediately after youve just dropped two or three grand on it; time often provides a more measured perspective that is rarely shared after the first blush of hot amp sex melts away. In other words, buying an amp is a courtship, and first impressions can and do change. So while giddy marriage announcements are routinely posted when players buy a new amp, the divorce is most often consummated in glum silence. The most desirable amplifiers develop lasting appeal and real staying power, and no matter how our tastes may vary, it is these we all seek. If youve been reading TQR for a while, youre already familiar with Lou Rosano an underground Lou, Keith and Hubert Sumlin cat who first earned his stripes building tweed Twins for Danny Gatton. Lou doesnt hang out on the Gear Page, nor does he spend much time otherwise humping his amps, preferring to let the work speak for itself. The fact that his customers inlcude Keith Richards, Hubert Sumlin and Duke Robillard, among others, is adequate validation. Lou sent us a baby Bluesbreaker 1x12 amp for review several months ago, and while we were discussing it over the phone, we mentioned our 58 tweed Tremolux featured in the June 2007 issue of TQR. Like most, Lou hadnt really paid much attention to this particular model the 5G9 fixed bias Tremolux. Given the remarkable tone of our amp, we suggested that he consider building one, he did, and like the baby Bluesbreaker, he completely nailed it

Louis Electric Baby Bluesbreaker

The Baby Bluesbreaker is a lighter, scaled-down version of the giant Louis Electric 2x12, 45W Bluesbreaker. Shipped with dual KT 66 output tubes, Rosanos Bluesbreaker is a -continued-

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


faithful reproduction of the original Marshall, featuring three 12AX7 preamp tubes and a GZ34 rectifier, Bright and Normal Channels sharing 4 inputs, and Treble, Middle, Bass and Presence controls. The compact cabinet measures 20" H x 24" W x 9 3/4" D and weighs 40 pounds. The Bluesbreaker is also a powerful 45W performance amp that far exceeds any bedroom categories (although you can re-bias with a pair of 6V6s for 28 watts.) Come to think of it, does anyone actually play their electric guitar in the bedroom? The KT66 tubes produce a thicker, wider, fatter uncompressed tone than most EL84 amps, including many of the the modestly powered Marshall vintage reissues. Frankly, weve become a little weary of sorting through the glut of dual EL84 18 watt amps being built today. Clean headroom is minimal at best, and as much as we appreciate the sound of an overdriven amplifier, the narrow compression and handcuffed tone circuits present in most of these amps essentially succeed in producing one narrow sound as if a rainbow were only green the color of money, perhaps? Consider this Could the mass appeal of dirty little dual EL84 amps be driven in part by players of meager skill for whom compression and distortion serve to hide and obscure their shortcomings with fizz, framp and fwap. Ya think? Is there not more than one essential sound that deserves to be pursued through an electric guitar besides the gloriously, riotously busted-up ones? You are hereby put on notice to play clean for a week lets call it the Distortion Diet. Trust us youll be better for it. But when we allude to clean tones, do not mistakenly assume that you are being sentenced to vapid jazz tones nope, not for a minute. Save that for your golden years. How about clean through an fing Bluesbreaker, mate? Big valves beget big tone, and there is a cleaner side of dirty that can reveal all the considerable potential of the guitar for those willing to seek it out. Remember that gorgeous, classy girl who was so good at making you think she might be willing to be as bad as you

so desperately wanted to be? Thats what Im talkin about. At 45 watts, Lou Rosanos Bluesbreaker can surely tickle your fancy for Beano tone, but roll back the volume on your favorite guitar or the amp itself, and youll also discover a sweeter, clearer, more melodious tone that evokes an entirely different range of emotions one that seems eminently more mature, evolved and complex in its pristine purity. Oh, the tubes and transformers are still working their magic but the

fundamental girth of each note is enhanced and allowed to bloom rather than being masked and obscured by rizzy distortion. There is something unseemly and crude in becoming a slave to just one tone, and even if you may never need or want the maximum power and turbo-crunch available in an amp like the Louis Bluesbreaker, there is so much more lurking beneath the surface, should you only be willing to look. Well, are you? An open and curious mind is the most valuable tool of all in the enduring Quest for tone, but to find yourself, sometimes you must first lose yourself, and all the baggage you brung witcha. Like too many notes crammed into every solo played, a monotone approach to playing the guitar is boring at best, and were being kind. Check out Ronnie Earl, who deftly changes tones constantly in a song to create tension and relief. When the smackdown ultimately comes, you feel it alright and no one does it better. Whats missing in too many guitarists sets today is not enough foreplay A forty minute climax is no climax at all.

The Tremblelux
You know the story inspired by Neil Young, we trolled eBay for a late 50s tweed Tremolux, found a 58 with a stripped cabinet and -continued-


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

replaced output transformer for $1,082.00 and it ultimately rearranged our perception of exceptional tone in a moderatelypowered 1x12. With its larger tweed Pro cabinet and a bigger power supply than the 5E3 narrow panel Deluxe or the earlier 5E9A Tremolux, the 5G9 routinely stuns all comers. Unfortunately, clean examples have recently sold for as much as $4,000, making the 5G9 (58-60) and even the 5E9A (5557) a heady move. And that is precisely why we urged Lou Rosano to build a 5G9 Tremolux. Rosano is no stranger to tweed circuits, having built tweed Twins for years, but like every amp builder, Louis Electric tech and guitar player we had spoken to, the Tremolux had escaped his attention. Looking over Original the schematic, Lou quickly said, No problem, and within two weeks the prototype had arrived in Atlanta. Lou faithfully followed the original design, with the exception of the custom-wound power transformer, which is roughly 15% more powerful than the original specs. Experiments with different speakers led Lou to choose the Celestion G12H 70th Anniversary, and the amp was shipped with current production Tung-Sol 6V6s, EH 5U4 rectifier and assorted 12AX7s. Lou had already let the cat out of the bag by exclaiming, I cant believe how good this fuckin amp sounds! when he first fired it up (we were used to hearing that with our own 58) and that sentiment was soon echoed by Hubert Sumlin when Lou was able to take an amp to a couple of Huberts shows in the northeast. Grinning and hopping around the stage with the Tremolux pumping the good thang, Hubert came off stage, looked at Lou and said, That amp sounds old, man like they used to sound. Our first session with the Tremolux wasnt much different, although we lacked Huberts mischievous presence in the room. The magic of the Tremolux lies in its ability to produce a big, round, clean Fendery sound at modest volumes, and the most beautiful broken-up tones imaginable, gorgeously endowed with rich harmonic overtones, extraordinarily touch-sensitive sustain, and astounding clarity. Add a little reverb and its game over Of course, the actual tremolo effect is all hot tone sex a deliciously liquid, warm, hypnotic throb, and well say this one more time as a versatile tool and as an instrument, the Tremolux absolutely buries the tweed Deluxe. But, of course, youre waiting for the ultimate comparison Hearing the Louis Tremolux immediately motivated us to pull the excellent Eminence Private Jack speaker and try a Celestion Hellatone from Avatar. Lous amp was producing slightly fuller bass and mids, and while the Jack is no slouch (you might even prefer it, depending), for the purposes of comparison we were obligated to load the Hellatone. While our 58 does possess a raw, aged quality that a new amp cant really do, the similarities between the two amps are remarkable. The Louis is capable of throwing 21 watts rather than the 58s 18, but this is actually a good thing, in our opinion. If anything, Rosanos Tremolux offers all the qualities of our tweed Tremolux, but with a slightly bigger sound. As close as you can get, with just a little more of everything available. With the deeper Hellatone mounted in our Tremolux, both amps were clearly cut from the same rich, heirloom cloth. We are completely in love with the 5G9 for its easy portability, simple controls, astounding touch-sensitivity, clean and dirty talk, and tone, tone, tone. Whether you choose to go old or new, find a way to acquire one now. Youll never regret it.TQ www.louisamps.com, 201-384-6166

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


components? I felt that the fewer components I used that affected the raw signal, the better. In other words, your sound just more of it. We just tried the Dragon with an electric cello as well as a Roland RD-600 electric piano the other night, and it worked flawlessly on both. I also found out from one of my customers that he uses it on his mandolin, and some time in the next week or so we are going to hook one up to a clavinet. And finally, there is no way I could have ever done this without the support and help of my wife, Brandi. She has stood beside me every step of the way and is now doing all of the graphics for the pedals. None of this would be possible without her help. www.lizardlegeffects.com 225-938-2521

TQR advisory board member and Radiators guitarist Dave Malone has always done a great job of keeping us abreast of cool new tools, and after nearly 30 years on the road with the Radiators, hes still freakin on gear. Heres what he had to say about the Flying Dragon Have you ever been in the middle of a solo and wished that you just had more of what you were already hearing? The Flying Dragon is more of exactly what youre sending the amp, and it also works great with every other pedal I use and all my amps. We contacted Steve Miller, founder of Lizard Leg Effects in Slidell, Louisiana, and arranged for a Flying Dragon to be sent for review. We also asked him to share his perspective on building effects in what has become a very crowded market, and his response was surprising TQR: What sets the Flying Dragon apart from other over drive pedals?

Thats a tough one I could go on and on about the types of components I use, the simplicity of the design, etc., but I think the way the Dragon sounds is more a result of going into the project with my eyes and ears totally fresh. I play for personal enjoyment at home and as such, I have never owned or even heard how other boost pedals sound I had no pre-conceived notions of what it should sound like. In essence, what I tried to accomplish was boosting all frequencies equally, while keeping the circuit as simple as possible. Why pick one frequency range to boost when, at least to my mind, to do so is contrary to what we all are trying to achieve? Boosting a particular frequency range while leaving the harmonics associated with those notes unchanged didnt make sense to me. The other half of the design was simplicity itself. Why spend thousands of dollars on your ultimate guitar, with the ultimate pickups, running into that mint vintage amp only to have the raw essence of your tone (the signal from your pickups) being sucked out by one more set of tone controls and dozens of additional electrical

Well, gang, were not sure how much of a flowery, adjectiveladen description the Flying Dragon requires Just fire up any of your favorite guitar and amp rigs, step on the Dragon, and true to Dave Malones words, you get more of the same unaffected signal boosted across the entire frequency range with no faux distortion, low end loss, treble roll-off or mid boost. As Steve Miller claims (and its true), Your sound just more. How much more depends on how far you twist the single volume knob. Many boost and overdrive pedals can do a lot more than merely boosting your signal The vintage B.K. Butler Real Tube Overdrive (TubeWorks) is more of a turbo-charged afterburner device, while various renditions of the Ibanez TubeScreamer reveal a pronounced midrange bump in its trademark scream. Another favorite of ours is the Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive a not-so-subtle tool that can deliver Hendrix tones at your feet from much -continued-


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

less than a Marshall stack. You already know about our admiration for the Klon, and the Hoochie Mama, too. The Flying Dragon simply pumps up your natural tone from subtle to intense levels while remaining clean, tonally accurate and completely void of noise, dissonant artifacts, or any tendency to create havoc with other pedals. The Dragon operates on a 9V power supply with reverse polarity protection and true bypass, hand built and wired using Vishay/Sprague Orange Drop filtering caps, Vishay/Dale metal film resistors and Switchcraft jacks. In addition to the Flying Dragon, Steve Miller also builds the Whiptail overdrive for acoustic/electric guitar, and the Blue Tail overdrive for bass. We love the Dragon for its luscious, true sound, compact size and handcrafted assembly with a very personal touch from the great state of Louisiana. Laissez les bons temps rouler TQ equipment. Ive spoken with executives at some of the large wireless microphone companies over the years and they actually thought it couldnt be done until they saw the 1 SPOT. Getting the output noise and ripple to an absolute minimum requires a lot of tweaking to the power supply circuit. It involves utilizing the right switching frequency, doing the board layout just right, and specifying the right components. I cant get into more detail than that, but it took a lot of time working alongside some very talented switching power supply engineers to get it right. TQR: As a point of clarification, can you describe how the 1 SPOT works in terms that guitarists can appreciate? You might also take this opportunity to educate any skeptics on how the 1 SPOT delivers power just as efficiently and dependably as a more expensive power supply.

If you use a pedal board, you need pedal power. Weve been using the Visual Sound 1 SPOT for years, and as much as we still see brick power supplies taking up valuable space on many pedal board rigs on stage, we have often wondered why anyone would choose to spend nearly five times the cost of a 1 SPOT Combo Pack ($34.95 for a 1700 mA Power Adapter, eight Multi-Plug Cables, two Battery Clip Converters, two 3.5mm (1/8") converters and an L6 Converter for Line 6 modeling pedals) versus a bulky brick power supply. Our experience with the 1 Spot has been flawless, so we asked Visual Sound founder Bob Weil to explain how the 1 SPOT works while de-mystifying the voodoo of pedal power TQR: Your motivation for developing the 1 SPOT seems obvious, but describe the challenges you experi enced with its development. The concept almost seems too simple

There is a lot of confusion about power supplies among musicians. Much of this comes from manufacturers writing in their instruction manuals, Do not use any other power supply other than the one we make, or your gear may blow up and we wont cover it under warranty They also often write specifications that show the current draw of the device as what is shown on the rating label of their adapter. For example, an adapter might have a maximum current rating of 200mA. That means the adapter can only handle up to 200mA of electric current being pulled out of it by a device like an effects pedal. So manufacturer X (who makes an adapter rated at 200mA), puts on their effects pedal Use only 9VDC 200mA adapter or 9V battery. The effects pedal might only use 10mA, but by putting the 200mA thing on the pedal and by using the warning in the manual, the musician thinks they can only use the adapter made by manufacturer X, even though thats really not true. One specific example of this that we get questions about all the time is regarding the Line 6 DL4 and their other large modeling pedals. Next to the power jack on the back of those pedals, it shows 9VAC 1200mA which is, coincidentally, the rating of the adapter they make for those pedals; the one originally made for the POD. Oddly enough, the DL4 (and others in that series), also run off batteries. For those who know that batteries only put out DC voltage, it raises the question, Why do I need an adapter that puts out 9V AC when the pedal obvious-continued-

Although the 1 SPOT looks like an ordinary cell phone charger on the outside, its quite different on the inside. The biggest challenge in developing it was getting an inherently noisy switching power supply to work noiselessly with audio

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


ly works just fine off DC supplied by batteries? The answer is that there is a bridge rectifier inside the pedal that immediately converts AC voltage to DC right at the power jack. Its also interesting to note that the Line 6 DL4, etc., uses only around 350mA, not 1200mA as indicated on the back panel. Now, 350mA is enough to cook the usual wall-wart style adapters made for other pedals, but it wont make a 1 SPOT even break a sweat since the 1 SPOT can handle up to 1700mA before it will protect itself by shutting down. Since the Line 6 pedals use a non-standard power jack, Visual Sound also makes an inexpensive converter plug called the L6 Converter which can be connected to the 1 SPOT or MultiPlug 5 Cable the daisy-chain thats made for the 1 SPOT. TQR: Your newest version of the 1 SPOT handles up to 1700mA enough power for far more effects than most players use, yet we still see lots of bulky power supplies mounted on pedal boards when we shoot pictures at live shows It leaves us wonder ing if, a: having spent money on a big, expensive power supply, people are simply hesitant to pull them on principle, b: a big metal box is perceived as being inherently better than a small plastic converter device with daisy chains, or c: some play ers wrongly attribute signal chain issues with the concept of a daisy-chained power supply Can you comment on these, or dispel any other potential misconceptions about the 1 SPOT?

Speaking of daisy-chain cables, people often wonder how many pedals can be hooked up to a 1 SPOT. If you have enough daisy-chain cables connected to one another, the answer could be well over 100 pedals, although I havent met anyone who has a pedalboard that big yet! You see, the average analog stomp box only uses 10-20mA of current. A typical digital pedal (other than Line 6) uses around 50-100mA. Since the 1 SPOT can handle up to 1700mA of current being pulled out of it, you can clearly see thats a lot of pedals that can be powered at one time. Heres the real point of clarification: Each pedal on your pedalboard only takes what it needs in terms of current. If you have a pedal that runs on 9V DC, you cant overpower it with the 1 SPOT thats just not how the laws of physics work. One last thing to mention about adapters: If your effects pedal can take batteries, please dont plug in an adapter that has 9V AC on the label. Pedal manufacturers frequently get fried pedals back from musicians who grabbed the nearest adapter and just plugged it in, seeing the 9V on the label, but not noticing the AC. Look before you plug it in! Our new V2 Series pedals due out this September have a new circuit which makes them immune to this, but virtually all other pedals on the market do not have that and will be destroyed by AC voltage. If you have Line 6 or Digitech adapters lying around, be careful before you grab one and plug it in to power your other pedals.

I often wonder why people still use the big bricks, too. Were getting more and more converts from that to the 1 SPOT, like all of Keith Urbans band for example, but theres still a lot of folks using their brick power supplies. I think part of the answer is simply disbelief that a little 1 SPOT can actually power more than a big metal power supply like the PedalPower. Weve had artists come to our office and get a blank look on their face when we describe the power handling capability of the 1 SPOT. It can literally take half an hour sometimes to convince them that were not just blowing smoke about that. I mean, how can a $20+, littlebitty adapter power more pedals than a $200 metal box power supply? Well, it does, and quietly too. Having said all that, there are certain applications where the PedalPower might be a reasonable choice, although certainly not the most costeffective one. If you have a vintage-style fuzz pedal that uses old germanium transistors, you need to have them on an isolated power supply from the rest of your pedals. Those old transistors were typically PNP types that are internally opposite polarity of most modern transistors and op-amps This has nothing to do with the polarity of the DC power jack on the pedal its just about the polarity of the transistor itself. If you try to put a pedal designed for those old germanium PNP transistors on a daisy-chain with other pedals, everything gets shorted to ground. It doesnt damage anything, but nothing will power up. So, those type of fuzz pedals need to be on their own -continued-


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

power supply, or in the case of using a PedalPower, on an isolated 9V DC supply. If you have a pedalboard that only has one PNP transistor fuzz pedal and a bunch of normal pedals, its a lot less expensive to use a 1 SPOT for most of your pedals and a battery or second 1 SPOT for that old-style fuzz pedal. You also dont have to use up valuable pedalboard inches with a power supply that takes the space of two pedals. Pedalboards are for pedals, not power supplies. TQR: You started Visual Sound building effects pedals. What exactly causes different pedals to misbehave when linked together, and can you offer a rule of thumb guide in determining where to place specif ic effects in the chain? Put another way, what are the most common mistakes people make when assembling a pedalboard? Most guitarists think that a compressor should always be the first in a chain of effects. While that does work well most of the time, its also cool to try it after distortion as a boost. Same thing with Wah pedals before and after distortion are two totally different sounds and either might be just the tone youre looking for. A lot of folks use a tuner in-line with their chain of effects, which is OK if you need to use it as a mute during tuning. I prefer to run it on a one-way feed from my Visual Volume pedal, using the volume pedal as a mute, and keeping the tuner out of the signal path since some tuners dont have the best buffer circuit in them and can even add noise. Lastly, I like to use George Ls cables on a pedalboard since you can cut them to any length you need and they dont degrade signal at all. Most modern effects work fine with other effects in a chain. That is, they dont load one another down or have other conflicts with each other. Generally its only the older vintage effects or their exact-clone recreations that will misbehave with other effects on a board. Things like the harshness of some vintage germanium fuzzes after other effects come from the fact that when these old pedals were designed, there werent a lot of other pedals around for the effects designers to think about. TQR: Are there any more improvements that can be made to the 1 SPOT?

I try to avoid rules of thumb (rule of thumbs?) when talking about setting up a chain of effects, because its really subjective, depending on the tones you are trying to get. However, delay-based effects like chorus, flange, and delay/echo generally sound best following overdrive/distortion. For example, if you put delay before distortion, it sounds really muddy as the delays get distorted and sort of crash into each other. Then again, if youre looking for a 60s acid rock sound, thats how you do it. Effects loops in amps that produce their own distortion are mainly there for delaybased effects, by the way. If you dont use amp distortion, but only use overdrive/distortion pedals into a clean amp, you dont need an effects loop. Thats why we didnt put an effects loop into our Workhorse tube amps they only have a clean channel and come with a Jekyll & Hyde pedal for the overdrive/distortion duties.

Weve made various changes to the circuit since we introduced it as the first compact pedalboard power supply in 2000. Most of these changes had more to do with availability of certain key components than with performance improvements. We did bump up the maximum power rating a few years ago to 1700mA, even though it wasnt really needed for most musicians, but it does satisfy the more is better mentality! We always try to find ways to make our products even more reliable. As a musician, I hate it when a piece of gear goes down right when I need it. So, whenever we find a way to improve a product in terms of reliability, even for the 1 SPOT, which has an excellent reputation for that, we do it. TQ www.visualsound.net, 931-487-9001

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


Resource Directory
Assemblies for many guitars are available, including Strats, Teles, and Les Pauls, along with Fender basses. If you don't see what you want on their website then give them a call. Acme also stocks a complete selection of top-quality wiring kits. These kits include the finest components at reasonable prices, with no hype involved. Just the good stuff, no fluff. Acme Guitar Works Bear, DE www.acmeguitarworks.com 302-836-5301 being introduced in December 2003! Please check the web site for more information, and email if possible. If you must call, please mention ToneQuest and theyll make time to help you. Analog Man, Bethel, CT www.analogman.com 2037786658

Dont miss your opportunity to save 10% on selected products offered by members of your ToneQuest Resource Directory! Look for exclusive ToneQuest discount offers in gold and reference TQR when placing your order. TQR Directory News! The Gibson Repair Shop, Nashville, new gear from Visual Sound, and Carr Amps! Welcome, Mercury Magnetics!
A Brown Soun The allnew Hemp E Cones, Bass 10s, and 10s for guitar are here! In addition to A Browns original hemp cones, John Harrison has created a new E cone that is a bit brighter than the original hemp cone. Killer tone for Fender amps, or in combination with the original Hemp Tone Tubby speaker. The bass 10s have received rave reviews from none other than Tommy Shannon, and the 10s for guitar will knock you out in your Princeton, Vibrolux, or Super. A Brown Soun was founded in San Rafael, California in 1974 by John Harrison a working musician who refused to settle for the few reconing choices that existed when he first needed speakers repaired in the Bay Area. Since then, John has been recognized by artists such as Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Van Halen, and many others as Californias top speaker reconer. In addition to its famed reconing services, A Brown Soun also custom builds speakers and cabinets for virtually every application. The renowned Tone Tubby speaker developed by A Brown Soun has received rave reviews from top professionals around the world. Browns recently released series of speakers for guitar and bass featuring hemp cones is setting a new benchmark for guitar and bass speaker performance, with dramatically improved clarity, note definition, frequency response, durability, and power handling. Whether you need new speakers, custom built cabinets, or vintage speakers rebuilt and sounding right, A Brown Soun is your professional resource. As the Tone Tubby logo says, Were committed to tone, and that means yours. A Brown Soun Inc. San Rafael,CA www.abrownsoun.com 4154792124

Antique Electronic Supply Antique Electronic Supply carries the largest selection of parts for guitars, amplifiers, highend audio, antique radios and amateur radios. Looking for an obscure vacuum tube? Antique Electronic Supply has the worlds largest inventory of NOS vacuum tubes, carrying hard to find tubes from such companies as RCA, GE, Sylvania, Tung Sol and others. They carry a great selection of currently produced tubes from JJ/Tesla, WingedC (which are manufactured in the JSC Svetlana Factory in St. Petersburg, Russia), Valve Art and EI. In addition they stock Groove Tubes, Ruby Tubes and other current production tubes from both Russia and China. Along with vacuum tubes AES has a wide range of parts for Ampeg, Vox, Fender and Marshall amplifiers, carrying such items as speakers from both Jensen and Celestion, tolex, handles, grill cloth, reverb tanks, resistors, capacitors, transformers, knobs, switches and other much needed parts. Antique Electronic Supply also carries Korg keyboard parts, as well as components for Leslie cabinets and a variety of books, software, test equipment, soldering supplies and chemicals. Antique Electronic Supply has a great selection of parts for guitars and basses. They offer a full range of parts for both Fender and Gibson, stocking such items as bridges, pickguards, knobs, potentiometers, and tuning knobs. They have recently started carrying Badass Bridges, and they also sell Pro Co and Maxon effects pedals. Information and images are available for all of their items on www.tubesandmore.com. For 22 years Antique Electronic supply has been in business and they know how to please their customers, offering same day shipping on orders placed before 2:00 p.m. MST. Catalogs are available upon request. Antique Electronic Supply, Tempe, AZ www.tubesandmore.com, 4808205411

AllParts Top players and guitar builders rely on Allparts for the right guitar and bass parts they need, in stock and ready to ship. AllParts offers a complete range of finished and unfinished guitar bodies in a variety of premium tone woods, including alder and swamp ash, with optional highly figured maple tops. Finishes include all of the most popular vintage colors, including seethrough blonde! Premium necks are also available with maple, rosewood, and ebony fingerboards in a variety of neck shape profiles, with or without binding. Custom design your next guitar with AllParts, including tailpieces, tuning keys, bridges, nuts and saddles, pickups, pickguards (that really fit), knobs, hardware, and electronics for many popular models. Bass players and lefties can also find the parts they need at AllParts! You can also rely on Allparts for hard to find parts, along with vacuum tubes and amplifier hardware. AllParts, Houston, TX www.allparts.com 7134666414

Acme Guitar Works offers a comprehensive selection of top-quality pickups and guitar electronic components. Their signature service is providing complete pre-wired electronic assemblies, with or without pickups, that allow you to easily upgrade the electronics in your guitars. Whatever your skill level may be with regard to wiring and electronics, these turn-key solutions offer a real benefit by allowing you to concentrate on the fun part of your craft (playing your guitar!) rather than spending your day off with a soldering iron in your hand. Assemblies are available in a number of different configurations. Opt for Fender parts - such as pickguards and control plates/knobs - or order your assembly on a template and use your existing plastic. Pickup options include Lollar, Fralin, Suhr, Van Zandt, Fender, and Duncan.

Analogman TQR readers are invited to save $25 on the Sunface NKT with Sundial Fuzz, or receive free shipping on all handmade Analog Man brand pedals, Foxrox, Teese wahs, and the PedalPower2! Mike Piera is one of the premier guitar effects dealers and manufacturers serving professional players worldwide. Analogman is unique, since it manufactures, modifies, buys, sells, and repairs vintage and new guitar effects. Specializing in vintage and highend effects, you wont find cheap Taiwanese happy meal style, toy effects there. Analogman is dedicated to helping you successfully pursue your quest for tone, and every customer is treated as a prospective friend. Analogman can meet all your effects needs, including: Buying and selling vintage, new, and custom built effects, and modifying pedals to sound and function better. A full repair service, including referrals to specialists. Creating the best new effects with vintage values, schematics, and original owners manual copies. FREE help with effects problems by email or in our Web Forum, plus professional consultation and technical services. Analogman specializes in pedal modifications for the Ibanez and Maxon Tube Screamers and several Boss pedals (SD1, DS1, BD2, DD5, etc). They also modify Fuzzfaces to vintage germanium specs. Analogman handbuilt pedals include the Clone chorus, Comprossors, and Sun Face fuzz pedals. There are 3 versions of the Comprossors available, based on the Ross style and/or the Orange Squeezer style of compression. Other handmade pedals available from Analog Man include the FOXROX Captain Coconut and TZF flanger, Teese RMC wahs, Z Vex, Black Cat, Tubester, Ultravibe, Pedaltrain and George L cables. Jim Weider recently collaborated with Mike on the King Of Tone overdrive pedal, which is

Avatar Speakers was founded in 1991 by Dave Noss and is known for selling well-built,high value guitar and bass speaker cabs loaded with the best speakers in the world from Celestion and Eminence. We also offer the best prices on raw speakers from these fine companies. Avatar recently introduced the new G2112H Premier cabs available in Red, Orange, Green, Brown, Black or Blonde tolex, loaded with your choice of speakers. Features include 13 ply baltic Birch cabs with superb dovetail corner joints and your choice of open, oval, or closed backs. Grill cloth colors include Wheat, Black, vintage Fender and Oxblood with white piping. We also offer a Premier Vintage cab modeled after the 60s Bluesbreaker.


TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

Resource Directory
Avatar also markets their great sounding Hellatone line of 12" guitar speakers aged Celestion G12H30s and Vintage 30s, both of which have received stellar reviews. Avatar Speakers, Dalton Gardens, ID 208-762-5251, www.avatarspeakers.com tage tone. Bill also offers cryogenically treated, prewired vintage pick guards for Strat style guitars, and his exclusive formula for coldrolled steel alloy tremolo blocks continue to delight players around the world with improved resonance and sustain. Callaham vintage saddles also improve sustain while minimizing string fatigue and breaks. Additional Strat parts include stainless steel trem arms, string ferrules, bridge plates and mounting screws, and string retainers. Attention Tele Players! Callaham now offers a complete line of custom Tele parts. Please visit their web site for information on prewired control plates with premium pots, capacitors, and clothcovered wire, specially wound and cryogenically treated Fralin vintage Tele pickups, compensated brass bridge saddles, bridge plates, knobs, jacks, tuners and string trees! The only thing better than Callaham parts is a Callaham guitar. We said that, and you can take it to the bank. Callaham Guitars, Winchester, VA www.callahamguitars.com 5409550294 of speakers that will give you classic Celestion tone, no matter what style you play. The Alnico Series and the Heritage Series, both hand-built in Ipswich, England, are the result of meticulous attention to detail, created for those who are absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of true Vintage tone. For high-volume OEMs, Celestion Originals represent outstanding value for money. We have the specialist experience coupled with the most advanced, high-volume manufacturing techniques to deliver Celestion tone, quality and brand appeal at extremely competitive prices. Celestion International Ltd www.celestion.com For OEM Enquiries, contact Andy Farrow at Celestion America, 732-683-2356 For retail and distribution enquiries, contact Group One Ltd 516-249-1399 www.g1limited.com

Bluetron Amplifiers Bluetron makes just one amp, the Blueverb: A True Tailor-Made Tone Machine. More than just homage to the blackface, the Blueverbs warmth, complexity, and sustain is unsurpassed. The level of articulation and clarity in the midrange has to be heard to be believed. The quality of overdrive admits the Blueverb to the elite class of singing amps. The sustain is smoother and more musical than previously imagined. Grail tone is finally available in a current production amp again. Each Bluetron amp is custom built, and Smitty lavishes every customer with attention and tailors the tone to their individual preference by helping them select between five different output transformers, four different output tubes (KT77, EL34, 6L6 or 6V6) and the complete line of Eminence Patriot and Redcoat speakers. Five different voicings are available, as well: Super Clean; Clean; Standard; Overdrive and Super Overdrive. Once configured, each amp is built start-to-finish in the true guru tradition. For the entire week that it takes to make these jewels, Smitty listens to a CD provided by the customer that has all their favorite tones. He says, If it inspires me to change even one component and the amp fits the player better, then the whole deal is worth it. Construction quality is on par with Leos mid sixties battle wagons, with some improvements. The handwired, vintage-style eyelet board is loaded with military surplus components: Paper-oil-signal caps; metal film resistors; solid tantalum bypass caps and for a special treat take a peak under the capacitor cover (amp designers not allowed). The cabinet joints are the same as Leos, but Smitty prefers 13ply, no-void, Baltic Birch for increased durability. Topped off with a three-piece, welded-steel chassis these amps will outlast anything on the market today. You cant buy a Blueverb at a music store because the owners dont want you talking to their suppliers. It makes them nervous. Check out the low-hype, information-rich web site, and then call Smitty on his cell phone for more information about which Blueverb model is best for you. Bluetron Amplifiers, Nashville, TN (615) 944-1545 www.bluetron.com

Carr Amplifiers Check out the ALL NEW Carr Mercury! As we said in our recent review, the Mercury is destined for greatness. No surprise Since our review of the entire line of amplifiers built by Steve Carr and his merry band of tonefreaks in Pittsboro, NC, Carr amplifiers have continued to receive high praise from reviewers and players throughout the country. Plug into any Carr amp and youll immediately understand why we said, Finally, somebody got it right. Right, as in the perfect marriage of classic Fender balance, clarity, and headroom, with innovative overdrive features that produce natural and ohso sweet tube distortion, but never at the expense of the tone youve worked so hard to capture in your instruments. Lots of smallbatch amp builders use premium components and laborintensive, pointtopoint construction, and Carr is no exception. The Solen filter caps used in Carr amps alone cost more than the sum of the parts in many boutique circuits! But in the end, its the design that counts, combined with quality parts and consistent craftsmanship. Weve been to Carr, weve played every amplifier they build, and one year and dozens of reviews later, our opinion hasnt changed. Carr amps are professional tools and works of art that will inspire you for a lifetime. Check out the many stellar reviews and dealer locations for Carr amps at their web site, and contact the boys at Carr for more information about which Carr model is best for you. Carr Amplifiers, Pittsboro,NC www.carramps.com 9195450747

The Chicago Bluesbox by Butler Custom Sound is a series of amplifiers built with the blues player in mind, but is also compatible with virtually any style of music from traditional to progressive blues rock. The Chicago Blues Box delivers clear, clean, harmonic complexity with headroom to spare, to thick, authentic, inyourface crunch. The flagship of the Chicago Blues Box series is the Roadhouse model, an alltube, pointtopoint, handwired, singlechannel 50watt tone machine handbuilt in the USA right in Chicago. The straightforward design makes this a favorite among players seeking authentic, fullsounding tone across the entire sound spectrum. Over 60 hours of handbuilt assembly goes into every Chicago Blues Box. Butler Custom Sound starts with a sheet of rubber impregnated fiber board, drills and tapes over 150 solder eyelets. The board is then assembled with electronic components and soldered from the bottom side for a reliable connection. The customwound, paper bobbin transformers, pots and switches are installed into the 16gauge steel chassis which provides roadworthy strength. BCS then installs their proprietary Magic Wand ground bar system and the final wiring process begins. Before any tube is installed, each undergoes a stringent handselection process. The boards are vibrationtested for intermittent connections, locktight is applied to hardware, and wires are twisted and bundled. Before any amp leaves the Butler Custom Sound factory, each undergoes 60 hours of sound and quality testing. Were players, not only engineers and technicians, so part of our job is to plug in to each amp and test for output noise levels, vibration and most importantly, tone, says BCS president, Dan Butler. The Chicago Blues Box has captured the elusive 3dimensional, harmonic rich tone that is missing from so many of todays new amplifier designs. This amp is alive and ready to help inspire any players art form. Chicago Bluesbox, Butler Custom Sound chicagobluesbox.com.6308321983

Callaham Vintage Guitars & Amps Bill Callaham is a builder of exceptional electric guitars that exceed the original quality, tone, and beauty of the vintage models that inspire his work. Better than vintage is an apt description for the Callaham S and T model electric guitars that feature premium lightweight ash and alder bodies, custom handshaped rock maple necks, and cryogenically treated Lindy Fralin pickups specially wound to Callahams specifications for true vin-

Celestion Ltd. Nobody knows more than Celestion about guitar loudspeaker design and manufacture. Think of your all-time favourite guitar riffs and solos, chances are, they were played through Celestion guitar loudspeakers. For the last fifty years - since the birth of the Celestion Blue (the first ever purpose-built guitar loudspeaker) our magical mix of metal paper and magnets has formed an essential part of the sound of guitar music. Some of the greatest speakers available today are part of the Celestion Classic Series. Over the years, weve applied our design expertise to build a range

Daves Guitar Shop offers Fender, PRS, National, Taylor, Gretsch, Guild, Hamer, Vinetto, Ernie Ball, Rickenbacker, Martin, Santa Cruz, and many other fine new and used instruments, plus

-continuedTONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


Resource Directory
new and used amplifiers such as Fender, Marshall, Line 6, Carr, Matchless, Victoria, Bad Cat, Dr.Z, Savage Audio, Ampeg, plus hundreds of guitar effects, aftermarket pickups from Joe Barden, Seymour Duncan, and more. Due to their inventory of over 1,000 guitars, amps, and accessories, Daves is an excellent resource for top of the line Custom Shop and Historic reissues, to intermediate new and used gear. Unlike some dealers out of date stock lists on the web and in print, Daves inventory is updated daily. The selection of new and used instruments is truly exceptional, and you can often select among several models of the same new guitars to find that special instrument that was meant for you. Daves staff is friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the instruments and gear they sell, because theyre players, too. Please check the web site for current inventory, and you are welcome to call for more information or an accurate, inhand description. Daves Guitar Shop, LaCrosse, WI www.davesguitar.com 6087857704 quality than the originals at a much lower price. SERVICE - A product is only as good as the people who stand behind it. Eastwood Guitars service is second to none in the industry because we simply treat customers the same way we would expect to be treated. All guitars come with a 3 Year limited Warranty. Guitars purchased directly from us receive a no-questions-asked return policy. Or, if you are located near an Eastwood Dealer, you can buy from them at the same direct price we offer online. built different; as a result, they sound different. The Lyric HG features two solid core high grade IGL copper conductors and a braided shield that is grounded at the amp end only. This is the correct way to drain spurious noise. By using solid core conductors strand interference is eliminated as well. Designed to be neutral and honest, the cables dont actually improve your tone, they simply replace a cable in your signal path which was likely destroying it. What you hear is a tighter more muscular bottom end, a clearer more complex midrange and a sweeter more detailed high end. Dynamics and harmonics are improved and sustain is no longer masked. Overall the guitar becomes more threedimensional sounding, cuts through clearer and at the same time takes up less space in the mix. The Siren Speaker Cable and The Source AC Power Cable compliment the Lyric HG. They offer a solution to distortions cause by cables in other areas of the signal path and power supply. The effects of the speaker and power cable are consistent with that of the Lyric HG: you hear the guitar and amplifier, not the cables. While not inexpensive, cables from Evidence Audio are still one of the most cost effective ways of improving your tone. Its like changing pickups or a bridge a small detail with big results. Please visit the Evidence Audio website to locate a dealer near you and demand a demo! Audionova Inc., http://www.audionova.ca/ 5146315787 ext. 22

THE FUTURE - We continue to bring new models to the Eastwood line-up. Our goal is to introduce 3-5 new models each year, available in a wide variety of colors and of course, including left-hand versions. Please feel free to email us directly if you have some suggestions for models that we should consider developing in the future! Eastwood Guitars, Toronto, Canada www.eastwoodguitars.com, 416-294-6165

Doug's Tubes Doug Preston founded Doug's Tubes in 2002. It became an evolution originating from his passion for music, guitars, and tone. We are now serving thousands of satisfied guitar players and audiophiles internationally. It has been my intention from the beginning to seek out the most reliable and great sounding current production tubes, and to help influence manufacturers into reproducing many NOS tubes to keep our vintage amps going, such as the JJ 7591. We offer the most common choice NOS, currently manufactured, and hand selected used tubes at a fair price. If you need help in selecting tubes for your particular application, call Doug at Doug's Tubes, your one stop tube shop. Making music sound better, one amp at a time. Doug's Tubes, Levittown, NY 516-314-0357, www.dougstubes.com

Eastwood - Since 2001, Eastwood has been creating some of the most exciting Electric Guitars the world has ever seen. Our RADICAL VINTAGE REMAKE series feature a variety of models based on popular sixties designs - from the classic Mosrites to our top-selling AIRLINE - they capture the excitement and style of the originals. Each year the prices of the originals skyrocket - getting harder to find and harder to play! Eastwood's focus is to make top quality replicas - that cost less and play better - so the average musician can experience the excitement of playing one of these beautiful vintage guitars as their every day player. TONE & STYLE - All Eastwood Guitars are fitted with high-quality modern components that offer an optimal playing experience that far exceeds their 1960's original counterparts. It is hard to find a guitar these days that oozes more vintage style than an Eastwood! All Eastwood Guitars are setup professionally before shipping to our customers. VALUE - All Eastwood Models are subjected to extensive research and development to continually raise the level of performance. At the same time, we are very careful to maintain an affordability level that our customers expect. These elements combine to deliver peak performance and higher

Eminence Eminence is proud to present the Patriot and Redcoat series of guitar speakers. Incorporating both British and American cone technology into speakers that we manufacture in the USA gives us the ability to provide you with virtually any tone you desire. Be it British or American, clean or dirty, big bass or screaming highs, we have a speaker that will allow you to Pick Your Sound. Choose from one of seventeen new models! Eminence has been building speakers to custom specifications for nearly every major manufacturer of guitar amplifier and sound reinforcement products since 1967. Their new Legend Series of guitar speakers captures the essence of the vintage American and British speaker designs that are held in such high regard today by so many discerning players. The Legend Series includes classic British and American designs for 6, 8, 10, 12, and 15 speakers utilizing ceramic and AlNiCo magnets, British or American cones, and Kapton polyamide voice coils for superior heat dissipation and durability. Best of all, because Eminence has been successfully competing for years with other speaker manufacturers as an OEM supplier, the Legend Series speakers are priced far below those of many other popular manufacturers of reissue and custom speakers. The Eminence Legend Series delivers all of the tone and durability you need, at a lower price, with no compromises in quality. To locate genuine Eminence dealers in your area, please visit their web site or call Eminence Speakers. Eminence Speaker LLC, Eminence, KY www.eminence.com 5028455622 Contact: Chris Rose

Fargen Amplification Inc was founded by Benjamin Fargen in 1997 to accommodate the needs of working guitarists that want pure vintage hand crafted tube tone, quality, modern features, reliability and value. Fargen Amplification started out from day one building custom one of a kind amps that filled a void in the market for those looking for a tone matchsome of those early one-of-a-kind amps have become staples in the Fargen Amplification product line such as the Blackbird and Bordeaux amplifiers. We still offer full custom one of a kind builds from our Fargen Custom Shop. Rather than just building nice vintage clonesI set out to improve upon what I thought were the best tube amp designs ever built and then put a signature spin on them. The signature elements that have been added were drawn from years of gigging around town with my own vintage gear as well as vintage tube amp service work. I kept notes on all the mods, tweaks, adjustments and repairs that I made over the years while also noting the comments and overall wants of working guitarists. Because I also consider myself a working guitarist I find it very easy to relate to people on a player to player level rather than just a technician to player level. This goes a long way in getting people the tone they want and are looking for. Check out our full hand wired tube amp product line @ www.fargenamps.com and find the tube amp sound you have been looking for! Fargen Amplification, Sacramento, CA 916-971-4992, www.fargenamps.com

Evidence Audio was founded in 1997 by Tony Farinella to supply the MI and Studio community with performancebased cables at reasonable prices. The most wellknown cable is the Lyric HG (High Gain) guitar cable. Readers of Guitar Player Magazine voted the Lyric HG as Best Accessory of 2004 supporting the opinion drawn by editors of magazines from around the world. In simple terms, cables from Evidence Audio are



TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

Resource Directory
Fishman Widely recognized as the premier designer and manufacturer of acoustic amplification products, Fishman is committed to making acoustic musicians heard while faithfully maintaining their own natural tone, for the best possible sound. The Fishman product line began with the BP100(tm) acoustic bass pickup, originally developed to meet founder and president Larry Fishmans own jazz performance needs. With a track record of quality engineering, reliability, functional simplicity and - most importantly - the natural tone it enables, Fishman firmly established a reputation of excellence that consumers have come to expect from the brand. For acoustic guitar, Fishman offers the flagship Acoustic Matrix(tm) Series active pickup system, the Rare Earth(tm) Series active magnetic soundhole pickups, and the Neo-D(tm) magnetic soundhole pickup, as well as passive undersaddle, classical, archtop, and resophonic guitar pickups. Fishmans new Ellipse(tm) series combines the Acoustic Matrix(tm) pickup with our industry leading preamp design. Designed to fit in the guitars soundhole, the Ellipse(tm) system provides volume and tone control at your fingertips and easily installs without any modification to your instrument. Fishman pickups are also available for banjo, mandolin, harp/piano, violin, viola, cello and acoustic bass. In addition, the Concertmaster(tm) amplification system for violin and the Full Circle(tm) upright bass pickup offer two elegant and cutting-edge string amplification solutions. Utilizing cutting-edge Acoustic Sound Imaging(tm) technology, Aura(tm) features the most innovative acoustic amplification technology available today. This stompbox-sized unit captures your instruments true acoustic sound with stunning, studio microphone quality. Anytime, anywhere. Aura(tm) eliminates the boundaries of conventional acoustic amplification and gives the most natural, realistic amplified acoustic instrument sound available - both on stage and in the studio. Joining the award-winning Loudbox(tm) and Loudbox Pro(tm) acoustic instrument amplifiers, the new Loudbox Performer(tm) completes Fishmans popular, highly-acclaimed family of acoustic amplifiers and represents the size, power and features that musicians demand. Setting a new standard in acoustic amplifiers, the Loudbox(tm) series feature a powerful tri-amped system that delivers sweet highs and undistorted lows-even at tremendous volumes. As Fishman celebrates its 25th year as the leader in acoustic amplification, the company continues to redefine the benchmark of acoustic sound. For more information, please visit www.fishman.com. Fishman Transducers Inc. Wilmington, MA www.fishman.com 9789889199 name just a few! GHS has been manufacturing guitar strings since 1964, and whatever your musical tastes, GHS has the right string for you. Youre invited to try a set of GHS classic Boomers, brilliant Nickel Rockers, Burnished Nickel strings for a warm, vintage tone, Compound Nickel strings for electric arch tops, and the recently introduced Infinity Bronze coated acoustic strings for extended tone and brilliance. All GHS strings are available in a wide range of gauges to appeal to every player. Refer to the GHS Brightness Bar found on select packages of strings and at our web site. Its your guide to determining which strings will produce the specific range of tone youre seeking. Please check out the all new GHS web site at www.ghsstrings.com for expert information about GHS strings, including technical documentation on the entire GHS line of strings for fretted instruments, tech tips, string tension calculations, the Brightness Bar, and a comprehensive list of the top artists who play GHS strings. All GHS strings are manufactured to continually exceed your expectations. GHS String Corporation Battle Creek, MI www.ghsstrings.com 18003884447 Just Strings.com Now more than ever, guitarists are reaping the benefits of technical innovations in string making that have led to the widest selection of guitar strings ever available. JustStrings.com is dedicated to providing guitarists with the largest selection of acoustic, roundwound, and flatwound strings, complimented by exceptional personalized service and outstanding value. Trying different types of strings often results in amazing new discoveries that not only improve the sound of your instrument, but dramatically enhance your playing enjoyment. From traditional handcrafted strings to hightech exotics, JustStrings.com exists to help you get the most out of your instrument. Try a new set today, or order your favorite acoustic or electric sets and SAVE! Juststrings.com offers the best prices on all of the major and specialty brands, promptly delivered to your door. Shop online at JustStrings.com, or place your order by fax at 6038897026 or telephone at 6038892664.. JustStrings.com, Nashua, NH www.juststrings.com info@juststrings.com

Gibson Gibson Repair & Restoration World Class Repair of Stringed Instruments Over the years, Gibson has received countless requests from players needing work on their guitars, mandolins, etc. These players all say the same thing: I don't trust anyone but Gibson to work on my instrument! Until recently, these folks had to rely on whoever was available in their local area and hope they had the skills and experience to do the required work. All that has changed now. Gibson has opened the doors of its in-house repair facility and is accepting stringed instruments of all types and all brands for repair or restoration. Offering a state of the art, temperature and humidity controlled environment, as well as a full staff of highly skilled and experienced luthiers, Gibson is fully equipped to perform any and all operations required in all phases of repair and restoration. Among the services offered are: Pro Set Up Acoustic or Electric Fretwork Fret Dress to Plane & Refret Custom Wiring/Pickup Installation Structural Repairs Body Cracks, Bracing, Broken Headstocks Neck Resets Custom Paint/Finish Repair/Relics Total Restorations So whether its an acoustic or electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele or oud, if it has strings and it needs attention, we can help. It doesnt even have to be a Gibson were an equal opportunity Repair Shop! Call, write or email. Well guide you through the process and well help with shipping and insurance information so your instrument gets here and back quickly and safely. Well tell you upfront what your costs will be and no work is begun before what is to be done has been explained and approved by you. Gibson Repair & Restoration Nashville, TN 615-244-0252 www.gibson.com/Products/Places/Repair/

KCA NOS TUBES Mike Kropotkins KCA NOS Tubes offers a wide selection of hard-to-find and rare new old stock (NOS) American and European tubes for guitar amplifiers and tube hi-fi, including American 6L6 and 6V6, 12AX7, 12AT7 tubes, tube rectifiers, European 6V6, EL84 and EL34 power tubes, and other hard-to-find NOS tubes for guitar amplifiers and audio equipment. KCA has expanded its offerings to new production tubes including SED (Svetlana), Electro Harmonix and Sovtek tubes. Due to the growing demand for NOS tubes, KCAs stock is constantly changing, and inventory is regularly updated on the web, or you may call for more information. Ordering is simple through a secure online shopping cart . If youre not sure which tubes will sound best in your equipment, contact Mike for unbiased advice via e-mail. KCAs web site also provides reliable information on tube substitutions and general advice on tube selection, and Mike services and restores new and vintage point-to-point amplifiers. KCA NOS Tubes, Sterling, VA 703-430-3645 www.kcanostubes.com

GHS The String Specialists Who plays GHS strings? Artists as diverse as Eric Johnson, Martin Barre, Charlie Sexton, Will Ray, Warren Haynes, Tom Morello, Ritchie Sambora, Steve Howe, Brent Mason, Junior Brown, Zakk Wylde, Tommy Castro, Rene Martinez and TQR advisory board member and AC30/Telecaster stud Mr. James Pennebaker, to

Klon Since its inception in 1994, Klon has been a oneproduct company, and given the overwhelming success of that product, the Centaur Professional Overdrive, its not hard to see why. Designer Bill Finnegan, assisted by two circuitdesign specialists, set out in 1990 to create an interactive and ultratransparent overdrive, one that doesnt put its own stamp on your sound, but rather brings out in a very organic way more of what your rig was already giving you. Bills premise was that there were many players who, like himself, had great guitars and amps, and who, as he likes to put it, were not looking to reinvent the wheel, and the fact that he has sold some four thousand Centaur units (as of November 2002) attests to his intuition, as well as to the perfectionism that led him to spend over four years developing a single product. That perfectionism, of course, is also evident in the production unit: Bill builds every Centaur himself, by hand, using only the finest components and assembling them with meticulous care. Each unit undergoes a series of rigorous tests before shipment, and each is backed

-continuedTONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


Resource Directory
by a comprehensive tenyear warranty. Given the ongoing demand for the Centaur and Bills disinclination to let anyone but himself build them, expect a wait of several months for delivery, but also expect your Centaur, when you receive it, to manifest a sonic superiority, a construction quality, a physical beauty, and a conceptual rightness beyond your expectations. Klon, Boston, MA 617 6661551 www.klonsiberia.com info@klonsiberia.com toneful, dynamic and affordable line of hand built vacuum tube amplifiers that are instruments designed to completely complement your individual playing style. Each amp is equipped with proprietary custom transformers and coupling caps, the best available new and NOS tubes, and each model has unique build architecture and layout not found in other modern hand built designs. Early K&M customers such as Carlos Santana helped launch the company to the forefront in its earliest days. Current K&M and TwoRock devotees include John Mayer, Steve Kimock, Mitch Stein, Barney Doyle, Mark Karan, Michael Kang, and Volker Strifler, among others.The company launched its line of TwoRock amps in the summer of 1999. Past models include the Amethyst Special Indoor Storm Model, Emerald 50, Sapphire 100, Emerald Pro and Topaz. Current models include the Custom and Custom Reverb, Onyx, Opal, and Ruby and LTD recording amplifier. Recently TwoRock introduced their Signature series of amplifiers, by far the most popular of any TwoRock series to date. Future models will include a single channel clean amp in various power levels. A number of customized versions of the aforementioned have also been built for players seeking the ultimate personalized tone machine. K&M Analog Designs,LLC. www.TwoRock.com 707584TONE(8663) In Japan: www.TwoRockjp.com Feiten, and Jimmy Bruno to name a few. KOCH also manufacturers the 300W EDEN VT300 all bass head and the 200W Sadowsky SA200 bass head on an OEM basis. Audionova Inc. www.audionova.ca/ 5146315787 ext. 22

Keeley Electronics Check out the new Keeley Katana Preamp! ToneQuest subscribers receive 10% off on all pedal mods and the Keeley Comp, Java Boost and Time Machine boost! Keeley Electronics recently won a Guitar Player Readers Choice Award and Keeley is now the exclusive distributor for Framptone! Robert Keeleys Time Machine Boost, Keeley Compressor, and his custom, stateoftheart modifications for vintage pedals continue to receive rave reviews from guitarists around the world. Keeley pedals are used by Aerosmith, Abbey Road Studios, Steve Vai, legendary producer Bob Rock, George Lynch, Peter Frampton, James Burton, and many, many more guitarists and music pros around the world. The Time Machine Boost is a versatile 2 channel, 3 mode preamplifier designed to drive your amplifiers into overdrive or saturation. The two channels are labeled Vintage, and Modern, with the Vintage side inspired by rare germanium boosts like the Dallas Rangemaster. The Modern channel is a new +23dB gain, dual JFET transparent signal amplifier. The Keeley Compressor is a superb audiophile and studio grade compressor with true bypass switching and premium metal film resistors and capacitors for the cleanest Ross clone compressor ever available. Available with a standard Ibanez/Boss style adapter jack and/or battery power, you can say goodbye to that old red Dyna Comp! Robert Keeley pedal mods include 2 versions for TS9s the TS808 mod, and the Baked TS9 for searing hot Tube Screamer tone. Keeley uses the original TI RC4558P chip that appeared in the early TS808s, while increasing the bass response and overdrive range. The result is a perfectly voiced 808 thats cleaner when turned down and produces twice the drive/gain when turned up, with all of the stock 808 character in the middle. The Keeley modded BD2 is not a fuzz pedal but has the best characteristics of a fuzz pedal, and its much smoother and more realistic sounding. Other exclusive Keeley modifications include the Boss Blues Driver BD2 Tube Mod, the PHAT Switch BD2 Mod, Rat Mods, Boss DS1 Seeing Eye Mod, Boss SD1, and Boss Chorus CE2. For detailed specs, user comments, dealer information, sound clips, and ordering information, please visit the Keeley Electronics website. Keeley Electronics, Edmond, OK 4052601385, www.robertkeeley.com

Lollar Custom Guitars & Pickups According to Jason, he never really set out to become a custom pickup designer and builder. Jason Lollar is a guitar builder on Vashon Island, Washington (near Seattle) who originally began building pickups for his own guitars and a few friends when he couldnt find the tone he was after. The word spread, and now Jason custom builds over 30 different pickups, including Strat, Tele, humbuckers, P90s, custom steels and Charlie Christianstyle pickups, all persoanlly designed and wound by Jason. He is especially well known for his P90, Imperial Humbucker and Tele replacement pickups, but he has also designed pickups for many unusual applications Recently, Jason was acknowledged by gonzo pedal steel player Robert Randolph for having wound the pickups in his two custom Fessenden pedal steels. And the list doesnt end there Jason has wound pickups for guitar greats such as Billy F Gibbons, Peter Stroud, Kevin Russel, Rick Vito, Elliot Easton, Duke Robillard, and the Beasty Boys, among others. Jason is always happy to personally consult with his clients via phone and email to determine the pickups that are right for each player, and TQR recommends Lollar pickups without exception. His Lollar Special Strat pickups are standard equipment in our custom built ToneQuest guitars. Call Jason or check out all the options available on his web site. www.lollarguitars.com, 2064639838

Koch Guitar Amplification was founded in 1988 by Dolf Koch in the Netherlands and are known worldwide as a manufacturer if high end boutique guitar amplifiers. They have many models for all styles of music from the new 20W Class A Studiotone combo to the 120W Powertone II head. All amps are channel switching with two or three extremely versatile channels. They are recognized for having both sparkling clean channels and wide ranging drive/gain channels. They were the first to utilize trim pots on their heavy duty circuit boards enabling anyone to adjust bias with only a screwdriver and voltmeter. Speaker damping switches which when toggled from high to low alter the tone to a more scooped sound. Rhythm volume switch on the footswitch (included) which when engaged drops the level to a predetermined Rhythm level. Its the opposite of a boost and does not alter the lead tone as a result. It so useful guitar players tell us that theyre surprised that no has done this before. All amps have Accutronics reverbs and Koch designed speakers that have a sweeter more extended high end. These speakers also handle more power and have a better bass response than almost any guitar speakers available. They are an integral component to the KOCH sound. Other products include the Loadbox which attenuates a tube amplifiers output without destroying its tone, i.e. no huge loss of high frequencies. The Pedaltone is a semifour channel, foot operated preamp which has four 12AX7 preamps tubes. One of these tubes acts as a .5W power tube! It has many patch points and output options for almost any application. Some famous people that use Koch are: Paul Reed Smith, Al Di Meola, Randy Bachman, Buzz

Mercury Magnetics The basis of every tube amps characteristic sound is the unique design of its transformers. Mercury transformers are legendary for their stunning tonal superiority, build quality, consistency, and reliability. We believe in old-world customer service and single-minded focus. Transformers are our only business, allowing us to concentrate on providing you with the best-sounding guitar amplifier trannies in the world.

If your amp is suffering from bland and unexciting tone, then its time for a transformer upgrade or repair. Here are your options: ToneClone Best-of-Breed Series Transformers: Behind every great-sounding vintage guitar amp is a piece of transformer history. Within any amp line there are usually a large number of transformer variations, inconsistencies and just plain ol building errors that affect their sound (good or bad). At Mercury, we seek out, study, blueprint and replicate only the best-of-breed transformer designs (including their all-important anomalies) and add these discoveries to our catalog. And we make these

K&M Analog Designs Two Rock K&M Analog Designs, LLC, was formed in northern California in1998 by Bill Krinard and Joe Mloganoski. The company brings a combined 65 + years of experience in tube amplification and guitar tone to the boutique amp market. As talented designer/engineer and seasoned guitarist (respectively), Bill and Joe have developed a uniquely



TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

Resource Directory
incredible tonal selections available to you through our ToneClone line. Axiom Series Next-Gen Transformers: Nextgeneration guitar amplifier transformers. The Axiom series are in a class by themselves. Weve taken our advanced knowledge of modern transformer design and mated it with historically best-sounding designs of the past. Axiom trannys are hybrids that take vintage tone to the next level! More bloom, more overtone color, and awesome tonal depth. If you ever needed convincing as to how outstanding transformers affect your sound, Axiom trannys will astonish you. Mercury Vintage Transformer Service: Most vintage transformers have already outlived or are nearing the end of their life expectancies. Thats the bad news now for the good Mercury will restore, rebuild or rewind your valuable original transformers. Or, we can clone your originals so that you can continue to play your old amp without fear of further wear and tear.
we can build it. Each guitar is a unique work of art, handcrafted by me. The use of 100% nitrocellulose lacquer, high quality vintage hardware, superior woods and a wide variety of pickups and options produce magical instruments that have thus far not been available off the rack . The level of aging on our Timewarp guitars can be adjusted from played it once a month at church to used to break open a window during a fire in a Louisiana roadhouse. Offered only at Nashguitars!! A dedicated client webpage that lets you watch and approve all work as it goes. This is truly a unique and enjoyable way to become involved in the exciting process of building a custom guitar. Please visit our web site for inspiring examples of client pages past and present. To get a quote or discuss options and time frames, please email or call Bill Nash. Nashguitars Olympia,WA www.nashguitars.com 18774848276 instrument strung to pitch, generating graphic views of the fret plane, fret heights, fret shape and placement, fingerboard relief radius, humps and bumps basically everything that luthiers and repair pros have wanted to see well but couldnt, until now. Besides having measurement and dressing capabilities many times more accurate than the human eye allows, the PLEK has two particularly great advantages over manual fretwork. First, it scans and dresses a guitar while it is tuned to pitch. This is a major breakthrough, since necks are subjected to approximately 100 pounds of string tension. This string tension invariably affects the shape of the fret plane, creating curves and humps that change when the strings are removed for a fret dress. The PLEK identifies precisely what needs to be done for perfect results when the instrument is re-strung, whereas even the most skilled luthier or repair professional must guess about how to compensate for the effect of string tension when dressing the neck with the tension released. Secondly, the PLEK applies very sophisticated formulas for optimum neck curve or relief, adjusting the calculations for the actual string height and individual string gauge from the treble side of the fingerboard to the bass. Achieving these same results by hand would be lucky and extremely rare at best! The Plek is now in use by some of the top repair and restoration experts worldwide. We invite you to contact the Plek repair shop nearest you, or learn more about Plek technology at www.plek.com Plek, Berlin/Germany +49 30 53696339, custom@plek.com Joe Glaser, Nashville/TN (615) 2981139, glaserjoetoo@aol.com Gary Brawer, San Francisco/CA (415) 6213904, gary@brawer.com FretTek, Los Angeles/CA (310) 4742238, plek@frettek.com Philtone, Baltimore/MD (410) 7830260, philtone@erols.com

Free Transformer Testing And Evaluation Service: Do you think there might be something wrong with your transformer? Send it to us. Well test it in our lab and report back to you. Our evaluation procedures are thorough, complete and reliable, and always free. The only transformers that come with a 10-year Manufacturers Warrantee and a Money-Back Tonal Guarantee. Made entirely in the U.S.A.

Mercury Magnetics www.MercuryMagnetics.com Sales@MercuryMagnetics.com 818-998-7791

Midtown Music, Atlanta, GA is one of our very favorite sources for guitars, amplifiers, effects, and accessories. Midtown opened in 1988 as a small vintage instrument store, and they now offer a lot of new items in addition to high end used gear. They have a large selection of new custom shop instruments by Gibson and Fender, and they also stock other fine instruments by Martin, Guild, PRS, Larrivee, and Gretsch. The back room is lined with hand wired tube amplifiers by Carr, 65, Dr. Z, Victoria, Fender, Savage, Two Rock, and HiWatt. The staff is experienced and helpful, and theyre all players, too! Midtown Music is highly recommended and definitely ToneQuest approved! View a sample of their inventory online or call the store for prices and availability. www.midtownmusic.com 4043250515

Nash Guitars Have you ever thought, If they would just make a Tele with. , I love my Strat but it just doesnt. Why dont they make a Jaguar that could. Well, youve come to the right place. From exotic woods, custom paint, unlimited neck types, custom designed logos, pickup selections, Timewarp aging, or any other feature imaginable Esquires with hidden neck pickups, Strats with interchangeable pickup assemblies, Custom Shapes whatever If you can dream it,

Mojo Musical Supply is the allinclusive amplifier parts supply house. ToneQuest readers receive an exclusive 10% discount on all Mojo products! Just reference the MojoQuest304 discount code when placing your order. Mojo specializes in pre1980 amplifier parts, including a wide range of custom and vintage reproduction cabinets, a line of exact reproduction transformers, and hardtofind electrical components. Mojo continues to supply a full range of speakers for the guitar market, including Jensen, Celestion, and of course, their own custom Mojotone speakers. The inhouse cabinet shop at Mojo specializes in making authentic Fender and Marshall reproduction amplifier cabinets, custom cabinets from your own design, as well as cabinet repair and recovering. Mojo stocks over fifty different amp coverings and grill cloths to insure that vintage enthusiasts and custom amp creators have a large palette to choose from. Within the last two years, Mojo has become one of the largest vacuum tube importers in the world, stocking over 20,000 tubes. Because they buy tubes in large volumes, their prices remain very competitive. For completed electronics, Mojo is the east coast distributor for Belov amplification and also the home of Mojotone Custom electronics. Mojo manufactures and markets the Tone Machine amplifier, a powerful and eclectic tube guitar combo. They are also able to offer turnkey and partial component electronics and cabinets for OEMs and builders of all sizes. The future of Mojo lies in their ability to work directly with manufacturers, or bring the manufacturing in house. Our plans for the coming months and years are focused on making quality vintage parts available at even better prices, while assuring that all of their products are of the highest quality. Mojo Musical Supply WinstonSalem, NC www.mojotone.com 1800927MOJO

Peekamoose Guitars, New York, NY (212) 869-2396, www.peekamoose.com Suhr Guitars, Lake Elsinore/CA (951) 4712334, johnsuhr@suhrguitars.com Charlie Chandlers Guitar Experience London, UK +44 20 89731441 sales@guitarexperience.co.uk GuitarLabs Scandinavia, Stockholm, Sweden Phone: +46 8 6449480, info@guitarlabs.se

PLEK The brand name PLEK stands for a technology which allows the best fret dress and setup work, based on a computer controlled scan. The Plek is a computerized tool that scans an

RS Guitarworks RS Guitarworks is the your one-stop source for expert finishing, refinishing and aging, complete guitar assembly and repair, custom electronic upgrade kits, pickups, hard-to-find hardware, and more! Located in Winchester, Kentucky, RS Guitarworks began as a small repair and refinishing shop in 1994. As the word spread among guitarists, our

-continuedTONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007


Resource Directory
business rapidly grew and today we receive expensive guitars from around the world for aging and refinishing. We offer many hard-to-find vintage replica parts and other specialty items related to vintage Fender and Gibson guitars, and we also custom build complete guitars, including our Old Friend Series, Step-Side and Artist Replica models. RS Guitarworks Premium Wiring Kits offer a dramatic and immediate improvement over the factory electronics found in even the most expensive guitars. During a year of research and development we tested over 20 different tone capacitors and nearly every type of potentiometer made before developing our upgrade kits, which feature measured CTS pots within 10% of their specified value, and RS Guitarcaps in .022uf and .047uf values made expressly for us by Hovland. Our customers tell us that our wiring upgrade kits impart a fuller, clearer tone than standard factory components, with a smoother, more even and responsive taper from each pot. Additionally, each potentiometer is tested on a digital meter, checked for the proper sweep pattern and sorted and labeled as a neck/volume, neck/tone, bridge/volume or bridge/tone control. Wiring Upgrade Kits are available in 5 different styles for various Les Paul type guitars, as well as Telecaster, Stratocaster, and PRS guitars, and Explorer and Flying V types. Nearly any other configuration can also be built with a call to our shop. RS Guitarworks is also an authorized Fender, Jackson, Charvel, Guild and Gretsch Service Center. Please call or visit our web site for complete information on finishing, refinishing and aging of new and used guitars, custom wiring kits, vintage repro parts and repairs. RS Guitarworks 859-737-5300, www.rsguitarworks.com luthiers at StewMac personally develop and test every product the company offers, and they are also dedicated to education. The Stewart MacDonald catalog is packed with helpful tips, and the company produces an extensive series of training videos at their facility in Athens, Ohio. For more information on the entire range of products available, please visit the Stewart MacDonald web site. In addition to their free online help service, your telephone call is also always welcome. Stewart MacDonald www.stewmac.com, 18008482273 the contact area of the stud top, no lean, and dramatically improved sustain, resonance and tone. TonePros bridge and saddle components feature the " patented pinch" - the lateral pressure that is applied from the strategically placed " tone screws" that greatly reduce the play or wiggle of the bridge posts in their inserts. The posts are frozen in place, resulting in a solid connection between the strings, bridge, and guitar top, transferring more string vibration and resonance to the guitar body, resulting in an audibly stronger, sweeter, woodier type of resonance and sustain. And once your guitar is set up, it's locked. Bridge height and intonation settings remain intact and exact, even after re-stringing. TonePros System II Components are found on the worlds best guitars, played by the world's best artists. TonePros Sound Labs International, www.tonepros.com www.guitarpartsdepot.com 8187357944

Stewart MacDonald Stewart-MacDonald offers a complete line of hardtofind tools, parts, accessories, instructional videos and books for building, repairing, setting up, and optimizing the playability and tone of stringed instruments. Whether you are just getting started or youre a seasoned luthier, youll find everything you need in the StewMac catalog, including: fret wire, finishing supplies, glues and adhesives, wood, bodies, necks, binding, tuners, nuts and saddles, inlay, bridges, tailpieces, electronics, pickups, and free information sheets and professional advice! Their friendly customer service and technical support staff are trained to help you make the best product choices, and they also offer an Unconditional Return Guarantee. If youre not satisfied with an item for any reason, simply return it. Stew-Mac is the leading supplier of innovative products for guitarists and repair pros, and every thing they make is guaranteed to work well, because every product is tested by the professional luthiers at Stewart MacDonald first! The master builders and repairmen on staff include Dan Erlewine wellknown author of guitar repair books and magazine articles, member of the ToneQuest Report advisory board, and a regular contributor to TQR. Dan and all of the experienced

Toneman Veteran working guitarist Don Butler is an experienced tech who specializes in servicing and restoring JMIera Vox tube/valve amps as well as many other vintage British amps including Marshall, Selmer, Hiwatt, Sound City and Orange amps. Don also services and restores vintage tweed, blonde, brown and blackface era Fender amplifiers. Dons modifications and upgrades to vintage reissue Vox, Marshall, and Fender amps have earned him a solid reputation among players throughout the country for achieving dramatically improved, authentic vintage tone from reissue amplifiers. Don uses handmade Mercury Magnetics Axiom Tone Clone transformers, along with the correct, premium signal path components to bring reissues to vintage specs. He also modifies reissue Vox wahs to vintage specs, and he offers upgrades to Vox Valve Tone pedals and reissue Ibanez TS9s. For the past 6 years, Don has been building the famous Rangemaster Treble Booster, which is an exact replica of the original Dallas Rangemaster unit from the early 60s. In addition to the original treble model, Don builds a full range model and a switchable model combining the features of both Rangemaster units. Don was also the very first dealer for Pyramid strings, and you can count on him to maintain a full inventory of Pyramids at all times. Don Butler, Newhall, CA www.toneman.com 6612594544 106 PST, TuesdaySaturday only

TonePros Sound Labs All TQR subscribers will receive an exclusive 10% discount when ordering TonePros components - just mention the " TQGPD" discount code when ordering by phone or online at www.guitarpartsdepot.com. Since our first published review article, The ToneQuest Report has enthusiastically recommended the patented TonePros system of guitar components. You deserve to discover why TonePros works for companies like Hamer USA and the Gibson Custom Shop! TonePros tailpieces feature a patented locking design. For years, guitars with stop tailpieces and wrap-around bridges have been cursed by " lean" or tilt on their stud mounts. Since string tension was all that held tailpieces on, the only contact area was just a bit of the edge of the bottom flange, just a bit of the lip of the stud top, and often just as little contact with the intonation screws. TonePros Locking Studs provide 100% of the contact area of the bottom flange, 100% of

Victoria Amplifier From our first Victoria to the one we build for you, every Victoria amplifier is meticulously crafted for real musicians and built to be played for a lifetime. We utilize components and manufacturing techniques that are chosen for their proven ability to meet both the sonic and real world gigging demands that musicians depend on. From the real Allen Bradley resistors (new manufacture, not surplus) to the finger jointed pine cabinets, every aspect of a Victoria Amplifier is designed to provide years and years of faithful service and superior tone. With the addition of our new Victorilux and Sovereign amplifiers, Victoria now offers amplifiers with features like reverb, tremolo and high gain circuits that will surpass anything currently available and define the word tone for years to come. But manufacturing new amplifiers is not all we offer! Our restoration and repair department is equipped to turn the most heinous, hacked up old amp into an inspiring gem. Our obsession with period correct components and our real world expertise are your assurance that an investment piece or an old road hawg will leave the shop with all of its tonal potential maximized. The job gets done right at Victoria Amplifier. You can be sure that we at Victoria Amplifier Co. will continue to provide the finest guitar amplifiers available anywhere, at any price. New from Victoria the Victorilux and Victoriette the ultimate club amps, plus, the Sovereign our answer for players seeking true vintage British tone with master volume and reverb at a stagefriendly 35 watts! Victoria Amplifier, Naperville, IL www.victoriaamp.com 6308206400

Vintage Amp Restoration For nearly 20 years, Vintage Amp Restoration has specialized in the complete, period-correct restoration of vintage amplifier and speaker cabinets. Our specialty is Fender tweed amps, but we also stock period-correct materials and parts for many different makes and models of amplifiers and we have extensive experience applying them in the original style, including Marshall, Hiwatt, Vox and Ampeg.

We are also the Number One source for Ampeg



TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007

Resource Directory
replacement parts and restoration, including 60s and 70s vinyl covering and grill cloth, metal corners, handles, chrome, logos, engraved Lucite, Portaflex latches, shock mounts, dollies, replacement cabinets and parts, and recovering. In addition to providing pro cabinet restoration, parts and supplies, we offer pro speaker reconing, new and used speakers, and Vintage Amp Restoration is the source for custom-made authentic Victoria Luggage Co. covers for tweed, blonde and brown Fender amplifiers. Vintage Amp Restoration founder Gregg Hopkins also co-authored the most detailed and information-rich book ever published on Ampeg amps - Ampeg - The Story Behind the Sound. Signed copies of the book are also available at vintage amp .com. For a complete description of restoration services, parts, supplies and pricing, please visit our web site. Winter NAMM in Anaheim in January, the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany in March as well as the recently-concluded Summer NAMM in Austin. For more information about Visual Sound, mp3 downloads and product information, please visit the Visual Sound web site or MySpace site, or contact Bob Weil personally.
www.voxamps.co.uk Warther Carving Museum The Warther Carving Museum of Sugarcreek, Ohio is a unique art exhibit located in Ohio's Amish community. David Warther II, a fifth generation carver of Swiss heritage is continuing his familys carving legacy in the heart of Ohios Amish country. Carving can be traced in the Warther family to Davids Great-GreatGrandfather, who was an accomplished wood carver and cabinetmaker in Switzerland in the early 1800s. Davids grandfather, Ernest Mooney Warther, was known for his wood and ivory carvings of The History of Steam Engines. As a fifth generation artist, David Warhter is actively carving his own niche in the family tradition.

Visual Sound www.visualsound.net www.myspace.com/visualsoundusa 931-487-9001

Vintage Amp Restoration www.vintage-amp.com 314-631-5030.

Visual Sound Founded in 1995 by guitarist Bob Weil, Visual Sound is happy to announce that it has not only expanded its stable of products with the 60W 212 Stallion and the 30W 112 Pony, but that sales for them are going gangbusters!

Both models have revolutionary easy user-biasing, as well as 100% clean tube amplification, Celestion speakers, hand-wired controls and jacks, carbon comp resistors (where they count), a tordial power transformer, a 9VDC output and cable for powering the free Jekyll & Hyde pedal which comes with every amp, and a padded amp cover with pockets on the sides. Protection circuitry throughout each amp prevents failure of all critical components. Housed in an all-wood cabinet, each amp features a Hubcap sound dispersion speaker grill (patent pending), making it sound great from anywhere on stage. In addition to the Workhorse amps and back by popular demand -- Visual Sound has re-introduced the flagship Visual Volume pedal. This 10th Anniversary edition features a new design, with die-cast aluminum housing, blue and red LEDs, two inputs and outputs for mono or stereo use, a Tuner Out jack for silent tuning, as well as both active and passive modes with a pre-amp available for clean boost in active mode. Visual Sound will be on the road in September and October, exhibiting at the Premier Guitar Festival in Boston from September 15-16 at the Bayside Expo Center, as well as the Arlington Guitar Show, October 20-21, at the Arlington Convention Center. They will be showing off the all-new line of single effect and dual effect pedals, dubbed the V2 Series. These pedals are due to come out in late Summer-early Fall and have already were wowed visitors to their booth at the

VOX and Brian May Rock You With the New Limited Edition AC30BM Combo Queens Brian May, known for his wall of VOX AC30s, is lauded for having one of the most recognizable guitar tones in the history of rock. In fact, Mays signature tone has been sought for many years by guitarists the world over. Now VOX announces the Brian May Limited Edition AC30 Combo (AC30BM). Its a recreation of his famed stage amplifier and boost pedal set-up, with a 500 unit limited worldwide run. The ultimate design was a collaborative effort between Brian and VOX. Brian insisted that the features were minimal like his personal setup and the sound recreated the tone of his current rig. And by minimal, we mean minimal. The only control on the top panel is Volume! As Brian explains, You, like me, are unimpressed by dozens of controls on a guitar amplifier. You want ONE knob, and IT SOUNDS PERFECT right? Well, this is it. To the best of our capability and belief, here is an amp you will never have to mess with. If it sounds great for you today, it will always sound great. Power up, plug in, turn up the ONE volume knob, and play. We hope you love it the concept and the Amp. The 30 Watt AC30BM was designed to sound identical to Brians legendary, signature live/stage setup plus weve added a few things to make it slightly more versatile The amp starts out as the Normal channel of an AC30. It also has a built-in foot-switchable, single transistor mid/treble boost circuit (rather than Brians separate treble/mid boost pedal) and a back panel half power (15 watts) switch that performs a true power reduction by changing the number of tubes, biasing values and output transformer impedance all allow users to achieve Brians tone at lower volume. Valve compliment is 2 x 12AX7/ECC83, 4 x EL84 and 1 x GZ34. Predominantly hand-wired, the AC30BM stays true to the original with components mounted on turret tags; however some modern printed circuit board construction was used for adding more performance stability with no loss of the original tone. Other features include back panel switches for gain and bypass for the built-in boost circuit, two Celestion/VOX Alnico Blue 12" 15 Watt loudspeakers and a supplied footswitch. The amp features Brian Mays signature logo on the control panel, and comes with a durable padded vinyl cover embroidered with Brians signature, as well as a product introduction from Brian with the user manual. Please visit our website to learn more about this new amplifier.

David also makes hand-crafted bridge saddle blanks, nut blanks, bridge pins and strap buttons from bone, pre-historic fossilized Wooly Mammoth ivory, and legal, pre-ban elephant ivory. For details on ordering, please visit the Warther Carving Museum website or call to place your order.

www.ivorybuyer.com/sales, 330-343-1865 e-mail: instrumentparts@roadrunner.com

Willcutt Guitar Shoppe Located in Lexington, KY, Willcutt Guitar Shoppe is one of the world's premier boutique guitar and amp dealers. Customers may select from guitar lines such as PRS, Hamer USA, Fender, Gibson, McInturff, Gretsch, McNaught, Nik Huber and Taylor. With a vast inventory of over 1500 guitars always on hand, Willcutt's staff of experienced guitarists can reliably assist you with the purchase of your next dream guitar or amplifier. Recognizing that a superb electric guitar requires an amp of equal quality, Willcutt offers a tremendous selection of handbuilt amplifiers, including Dr. Z, Victoria, Carr, Bad Cat, Bogner, Mesa, Fuchs, Rivera, and Koch. Willcutt's staff of veteran, working guitarists has the hands-on product knowledge necessary to assist players at every level in finding just the right guitar or amp the first time. The store's website features high quality digital photos of nearly every item in stock, and 99% of all high end instruments are kept in their cases not on display insuring that every instrument remains in the best possible condition prior to sale. Pictures and detailed, in-hand descriptions are always available on request. Willcutt Guitar Shoppe, Lexington, KY www.willcuttguitars.com 859-276-0675

TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007



Future Issues

coming in

o T neQuest Report


Editor/Publisher David Wilson Associate Publisher Liz Medley Graphic Design Rick Johnson


INTERVIEWS: Hubert Sumlin Michael Clark Randall Aiken Jeff BakosPlus 45 FEATURES: Mercury Magnetics Aiken Intruder Hamer Talladega KimockTwo Rock REVIEWS: Collings Fender 57 Deluxe

Analogman Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson GuitarWorks

Peter Frampton

Jimbo Mathus Ren Martinez

The Guitar Whiz

Billy F. Gibbons
ZZ Top

Mark Baier
Victoria Amplifiers

Joe Glaser
Glaser Instruments

Greg Martin
The Kentucky Headhunters

Jeff Bakos
Bakos AmpWorks

Tom Guerra
Mambo Sons

Richard McDonald
VP Mktg, Fender Musical Instruments

Dick Boak
CF Martin & Co.

John Harrison
A Brown Soun

Dave Noss
Avatar Speakers

Joe Bonamassa
Phil Brown

Johnny Hiland Gregg Hopkins

Vintage Amp Restoration

James Pennebaker Paul Rivera

Rivera Amplifiers

Dan Butler
Butler Custom Sound

Mark Johnson
Delta Moon

Tommy Shannon
Double Trouble

Don Butler
The Toneman

Phil Jones
Gruhn Guitars

Todd Sharp
Nashville Amp Service

Steve Carr
Carr Amplifiers

K&M Analog Designs

Mark Karan
Bob Weir & Ratdog

Tim Shaw
Fender Musical Instruments Corp.

Mitch Colby

Chris Siegmund
Siegmund Guitars and Amplifiers

Ben Cole
GHS Strings

Robert Keeley
Robert Keeley Electronics

John Sprung
American Guitar Center

Larry Cragg
Neil Young

Gordon Kennedy Ernest King

Gibson Custom Shop

Peter Stroud
The Sheryl Crow Band

Jol Dantzig
Hamer Guitars

Lou Vito
Entertainment Relations Gibson Musical Instruments

Ronnie Earl Dan Erlewine


Chris Kinman
Kinman AVn Pickups

Mike Kropotkin

Laurence Wexer
Laurence Wexer Limited Fine Fretted Instruments

Larry Fishman
Fishman Transducers

Sonny Landreth Albert Lee Adrian Legg Dave Malone

The Radiators

Buddy Whittington
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

Bill Finnegan
Klon Centaur

Greg V

Lindy Fralin

Zachary Vex
Z Vex Effects

The ToneQuest Report TM (ISSN 1525-3392) is published monthly by Mountainview Publishing LLC, 235 Mountainview Street, Suite 23, Decatur, GA. 300302027, 1-877-MAX-TONE, email: tonequest1@aol.com. Periodicals Postage Paid at Decatur, GA and At Additional Mailing Offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to:The ToneQuest Report, PO Box 717, Decatur, GA. 30031-0717.The annual subscription fee for The ToneQuest Report TM is $79 per year for 12 monthly issues. International subscribers please add US $40. Please remit payment in U.S. funds only. VISA, MasterCard and American Express accepted. The ToneQuest Report TM is published solely for the benefit of its subscribers. Copyright 2007 by Mountainview Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced in any form or incorporated into any information retrieval system without the written permission of the copyright holder. Please forward all subscription requests, comments, questions and other inquiries to the above address or contact the publisher at tonequest1@aol.com. Opinions expressed in The ToneQuest Report are not necessarily those of this publication. Mention of specific products, services or technical advice does not constitute an endorsement. Readers are advised to exercise extreme caution in handling electronic devices and musical instruments.

o T neQuest Report
PO Box 717 Decatur, GA. 30031-0717



TONEQUEST REPORT V8. N11. September 2007