Category Archives: Artists and Gear

Dwarfcraft Devices and Pedalboards

We were fortunate enough to have a great guest at Fat Tone Guitars recently. Benjamin Hinz (known to the pedal crowd as Aen) of Dwarfcraft Devices ventured below the cheddar curtain to wow us with an array of fantastic Dwarfcraft pedals. We got to hear the maker talk about his work and demo some great sounds.

If you weren’t in attendance, you can view it below…

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Do Not Mess Around with a Grizzly Bear’s Pedal Board

Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear said it best when speaking about his use of effects: “ I am a slave to my effects chain.” The Brooklyn based group features Taylor on bass, backing vocals, and various instruments, Edward Droste on vocals, guitar, omnichord and keyboard, Daniel Rossen on vocals, guitar, banjo and keyboards and Christopher Bear on vocals, drums and, of course, the glockenspiel. Needless to say these guys hit every section of a music store. The folk-rock band creates dreamy atmospheres with tinges of psychedelic and experimental pop that creates a unique listening experience that has left anyone who has seen them live in awe.

Grizzly Bear don’t just use effects pedals; they incorporate them into the soul of their music. This isn’t a case of stomping on a fuzz pedal for some extra boost. The band weaves the effects in such a way that it creates an aura of sonic deliciousness that was definitely not described in any of their effects users manuals.

But what effects does this adventurous group use? That is tricky as their pedal boards are a sea of effects. Thanks to finefornow.com I was able to come across a virtual cornucopia of pedals the bands uses that would make Guitar Center sweat bullets if anyone came in with such a wish list. This can be all found at Fine For Now.

Edward Droste uses and abuses the following:

  • Boss dd-6 (digital delay; used with vocals, employing the ‘hold’ feature, allowing him to harmonize with himself; possibly used with other inputs)
  • Boss rv-5 (digital reverb; probably used with ‘normal’ vocals, as opposed to vocals with heavy reverb)
  • Boss tu-2 (chromatic tuner)
  • Electro-Harmonix Big Muff pi (distortion; probably used with keyboard)
  • Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail (reverb; used with vocals)
  • Electro-Harmonix small stone (classic chassis; analogue phase shifter; used with omnichord, particularly on ready, able)
  • MXR carbon copy (analog delay; probably used with omnichord)
MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay
  • Radial JDI duplex direct box (used with keyboard and omnichord)
  • Radial JDI passive direct box (used with vocals)
  • Tech 21 sans amp bass driver di (used with keyboard and autoharp)
  • Voodoo labs pedal power 2 plus (power supply)

Daniel Rossen does his damage using the following:

  • Boss tu-2 (chromatic tuner)
  • Boss dd-3 (digital delay)
  • Boss dd-5 (digital delay)
  • Boss rv-5 (digital reverb; used with vocals)
  • Budda Budwah (wah pedal)
  • Electro-Harmonix holy grail (reverb)
  • Electro-Harmonix pog (polyphonic octave generator)
  • Electro-Harmonix tube zipper (envelope filter/distortion)
  • Ibanez ad-80 (analog delay)
  • Voodoo lab pedal power 2 plus (power supply)

Bass player and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor goes off the deep end with:

  • Akai Headrush e2 (digital delay; e.g. used to loop clarinet and radio sounds on Colorado)
  • Boss ab-2 (2-way selector)
  • Boss dd-3 (digital delay)
  • Boss oc-3 super octave pedal (polyphonic octave pedal)
  • Boss ps-5 (pitch shifter)
  • Boss rv-5 (digital reverb)
  • Boss sp-303 dr. sample (sampler)
  • Boss tu-2 (chromatic tuner)
  • Electro-Harmonix classics deluxe memory man (analogue delay)
  • Electro-Harmonix hog (polyphonic guitar synthesizer)
  • Electro-Harmonix pog (polyphonic octave generator; used with vocals)
  • Electro-Harmonix small stone (classic chassis; analogue phase shifter)
  • Electro-Harmonix xo #1 echo (digital delay)
  • Mackie 1202-vlz3 (mixer)
  • Moog bass murf mf-105b (filter)
  • Moog mf-101 lowpass filter (filter; used with vocals)
  • Mu-Tron phasor II (electro-optical phase control)
Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter

Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter

Blog post by E.M.Kaplan

Thom Yorke’s Guitar Sound

More on artists and their gear.

Radiohead have already become one of the most innovative and fascinating groups to emerge since Pink Floyd. With a style all their own, this unique quintet has transcended rock music into something sublime and otherworldly all the while maintaining a knack for hooks and choruses that stick to the brain.

Lead singer/guitarist/pianist and laptop musician Thom Yorke is known for his distinctive voice and imaginative lyrics yet his guitar sound is often overlooked as nothing more than the front man strumming away at some chords while guitarists Johnny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien do the heavy lifting. Yet Yorke provides a third guitar that forms a trinity which helps propel the unique rhythms creating the interlocking atmosphere that is signature Radiohead.

Thom Yorke with Jazzmaster

Thom Yorke with Jazzmaster

Yorke has used many guitars throughout the group’s history. The most frequent is the Fender Jazzmaster and Fender Telecasters (generally thin line models) as well as a Rickenbacker 330 and a Gibson SG. For acoustic work, Yorke has used Takamine acoustic/electrics, Silvertone acoustic/electrics and a Taylor Big Baby acoustic. Yorke uses a Vox AC-30 Reissue and a Fender Twin Reverb Reissue for amps. For effect pedals, the singer/guitarist relies on ProCro Turbo RAT distortion pedals, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay pedal and a Marshall Shredmaster distortion pedal to create his sound.

Blog Post By E.M.Kaplan

Selling Guitar Gear

People outside the industry always ask me if rock and roll artists help sell gear like guitars, distortion pedals or guitar amps. The truth of the matter is….yes and no.

What is important to remember is that Stevie Ray Vaughan never played a SRV Strat.

The overall marketplace that gear manufacturers are trying to tap into when developing a signature guitar or amp is usually a less sophisticated marketplace. That isn’t meant to be a slam but a descriptive statement. In my opinion, anything that can help get a young person to pick up a guitar and play it is a good thing.

Getting back to artists selling gear. The absolute top artist responsible for selling guitar gear is without a doubt, Jimi Hendrix. 40 years after his passing, Jimi is still the holy grail of tone for those chasing a signature sound. The difference is that there is really no specific guitar or amp that carries the Jimi Hendrix name (if you forget Gibson’s aborted attempt last year).  Jimi Hendrix sells gear that guitarists generally associate with his overall sound.

Gibson Hendrix guitar

Gibson's Hendrix guitar misfire

The influence that Hendrix has had on gear sales is huge. The fuzz pedal in all its glory has Jimi to thank for its popularity. Of course, David Gilmour and more recently Jack White have helped to popularize fuzz, but Jimi is the founding father.  Other guitar effects that Hendrix is associated with include the Octavio (listen to the octavy leads in Purple Haze for example) and the Uni-Vibe (Band of Gypsys).

You might not realize this but the Fender Stratocaster was an afterthought guitar in the mid to late sixties until Jimi picked one up and figured out the nuances of the single coil. Nowadays, the Strat is the single biggest selling guitar and tons of single coil guitars, by many different makers still reach for that Hendrixian wail.

Fano Alt De Facto SP6 Guitar

Fano Alt De Facto SP6 with Fralin Pickups

Notice the placement of the bridge single coil pickup.  Seem reversed?  Credit Jimi Hendrix and his use of a right-handed Strat played  upside down as the influence on that small but highly important detail.

Live Rock and Roll

The record business is in serious disarray which means that many acts are on perma-tour status.  In my opinion there are few things better than live music.

This past weekend, Fat Tone Guitars had the pleasure of hosting a hard touring Chicago band, The Steepwater Band, in our showroom.  Playing close to 150 shows a year, The Steepwater Band is made up of Jeff Massey on guitar and vocals, Tod Bowers on bass and Joe Winters on drums.  Taking their cue from both classic British bands like The Faces and Humble Pie and American bands like The Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Steepwater boys play heartfelt roots based heavy music. While their music has the feel of classic rock, it’s performed with total feeling in the here and now.

The Steepwater Band at Fat Tone Guitars

The Steepwater Band at Fat Tone Guitars

I’m a big fan of their tunes and their sound and they really rocked the house at Fat Tone Guitars.

You can visit their website here.

You can buy their latest album, Grace and Melody, here.

Jeff Massey's Pedalboard

Jeff Massey's Pedalboard

As you can see from Jeff’s pedalboard, he’s a connoisseur of great tone.  Great pedals on this board include Analog Man, BMF Effects, Electro-Harmonix, Klon, Dunlop and more.

After-Hours At Fat Tone

Fat Tone Guitars hosts events in the showroom from time to time.  Many of the artists that perform on our small stage are local musicians who are simply looking to play for an audience and have a good time.

Past performances include:

Rebeltone at Fat Tone Guitars

Rebeltone at Fat Tone Guitars

and

Super Mini Trio at Fat Tone Guitars

Super Mini Trio at Fat Tone Guitars

and

Bob Corritore, Patrick Rynn and Chris James at Fat Tone

Bob Corritore, Patrick Rynn and Chris James at Fat Tone

and

Chickenbone at Fat Tone Guitars

Chickenbone at Fat Tone Guitars

and

Roger and The Wraybands at Fat Tone Guitars

Roger and The Wraybands at Fat Tone Guitars

and

The Debauchers at Fat Tone Guitars

The Debauchers at Fat Tone Guitars

and my favorites….

The Bottle Rockets at Fat Tone Guitars

The Bottle Rockets at Fat Tone Guitars

Cool huh?  Will you be next?

Guitar Solo’s The List Part 1

A few days ago, I blogged about my favorite rock guitar solos.  As I said, Fat Tone Guitars ran a promotion and entry into the promotion involved telling us your five favorite guitar solos.  Now that our promotion has ended, I’m left with some extremely interesting data regarding people’s taste in guitar music.

What’s truly interesting is that guitar players still love Pink Floyd.  I was in high school when The Wall was released, and it was a great album and all, but I never truly got into it, never even memorized the order of the songs.  I did spend a fair amount of time listening to Dark Side of The Moon, but Pink Floyd never impressed on me more than as great purveyors of post psychedelic, dreamscape type music as well as chart toppers.

However….Pink Floyd remains way up there in the world of guitar lovers.

Here are some cool findings from the Fat Tone Guitars giveaway entries, including top songs and artists.  Top artists in order were:

  1. Pink Floyd
  2. Jimi Hendrix
  3. Led Zeppelin
  4. Stevie Ray Vaughan
  5. Van Halen
  6. Eric Clapton/Cream
  7. Neil Young
  8. Eric Johnson
  9. Duane Allman
  10. Slash/GnR

Top individual songs with guitar solos are:

  1. Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd (by a wide margin)
  2. Stairway To Heaven
  3. Eruption by Van Halen
  4. Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix
  5. Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits

It’s amazing to me that Pink Floyd was mentioned in about 40% of the entries followed by Jimi Hendrix in about 30%.  The Pink Floyd songs mentioned were primarily Comfortably Numb followed by Time and Money from Dark Side.  The Jimi Hendrix songs mentioned were spread out pretty evenly amongst Voodoo Child, Foxey Lady, LIttle Wing, Machine Gun and others.

The most interesting finding to me was that guitar gods like Joe Satriani (4 mentions) and Yngwe Malmsteen (1 mention) were almost no-shows.

I’ll post more interesting tidbits next week.