Tag Archives: fat tone guitars

Beyond The Bench with VFE Pedals

Meet Peter Rutter from VFE Pedals. VFE is one of the finest of the up and coming boutique pedal makers. Learn what makes him tick…


Effect Pedal Consulting

Fat Tone Guitars is tweaking its focus. From here on out, we’ll now be known as the authority on guitar effect pedals. This is what we are about:

Fat Tone’s Goal:

  • To provide musicians with the best possible solution for their tone oriented wants and needs.

Step One — Knowing Our Philosophy:

  • Between the endless amount of information available online (via forums, videos, and reviews) and good old fashioned word of mouth, there’s bound to be a little confusion when it comes to effect pedals and what they do. Since effect pedals are so unique by design, categorizing them is not an exact science. Many pedals fall into more than one category, which makes finding the right effect a difficult process.
  • We understand that classifying effects by type helps narrow the search, but by using simplified labels like “dirt” pedals (rather than “overdrive”, “distortion”, or “fuzz”) we can keep our recommendations open to solutions outside the norm. By getting too specific too fast, the perfect pedal can often be overlooked.
  • The end result of finding your ideal tone/sound is more important to us than just finding you the latest version of an overdrive or chorus pedal.

Step Two — Getting Acquainted:

  • We’re here to help you find your ideal tone and voice for your instrument. In order to achieve that, we have to know a few things about you and your setup.
  • What kind of sounds are you looking to create or modify? Are you on the hunt for a new lead guitar sound with smooth violin-like sustain and a hint of echo? Or are you looking to fortify your clean and tight chicken pickin’ tone with a touch of silky reverb? Is there a current artist or band that has a tone similar to what you’re seeking? The more specific examples you can provide, the better the result will be. It may sound elementary, but this is often an overlooked step in the everyday process of choosing new effect pedals.
  • We’d also like to know about your current setup. What does your go-to rig typically look like from your pickups all the way to the speaker in your amp? Do you like the clean tone you have, but can’t quite dial in the right dirty sound? Again–the more we know, the better we can help.

Step Three — Plug In and Play:

  • Once we’ve had a chance to get to know your personal style and preferences, we can recommend the most accurate solution. Not only do we stock an incredible variety of effect pedals, but we have strong knowledge and hands on experience with every item found in our inventory. And thanks to our ever changing stock of used gear, our knowledge base stretches far beyond our current selection of pedals. If we’ve seen it, we’ve played it.

Maritime Analog Firing Line Fuzz

Can You Yelp Yelp?

I’ve been thinking about the following situation for some time now and have finally gotten around to writing about it.  I’m not making any accusations, I’m only stating facts and a timeline of events.  Everything contained is as objective as I can make it.  You be the judge.

Fat Tone Guitars is an online and brick and mortar guitar dealership with a huge lineup of guitar effect pedals.  We’ve been in business now for 4 years and now, our sales are approximately 85% Internet and 15% in the store.  Some months, that ratio is closer to 90/10.

With our Internet sales model in place, the Fat Tone showroom is only open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with Tuesdays and Thursdays reserved for our web upkeep/shipping activities.

About 1.5 years ago, soon after we opted to close the showroom on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a customers left us a voicemail.  He was extremely upset that he’d driven an hour to our shop and found it closed.  To say he was upset is an understatement–he was super pissed.  I never did speak with the customer, even though I called him back to apologize and explain our rationale for our limited business hours.

A week or so after his voicemail, I noticed a negative Yelp review stating that “this store closes without warning” and some additional complaints.  Putting two and two together, I believe that the Yelp review was left by our upset customer.

Since that initial negative Yelp review, we’ve received 4 positive reviews so that finally, our Yelp status was pretty decent.

Back in April of this year, I received a sales call from a Yelp inside sales rep, based out of their San Francisco headquarters.  The sales rep wanted to sell us an updated corporate account as well as advertising on Yelp’s site.   I told him that we had an Internet model and that Yelp advertising wasn’t the right vehicle for us in our growth plans.  He ended up calling us 2 more times, and I had a total of 3 conversations with him.

I told him that our Internet model suited us fine, that we didn’t need a large sales staff or extended retail hours to maintain our growth via the web.  During the conversation, he pushed me, saying “don’t you want more customers?”

Of course we want more customers, we just want more web customers.  I didn’t want to commit marketing dollars to Yelp in order to drive walkup business.  I didn’t want to extend our retail hours, nor did I want to hire additional sales staff, worry about security, and other retail headaches.

What happened next?

Within 1 week of my third and final conversation with the Yelp sales rep, our 4 positive Yelp reviews suddenly became “filtered”, meaning they were no longer visible to casual browsers, nor did they figure in our overall Yelp rating.  We were back down to 1 star and our original review from the upset customer was the only one attributed to Fat Tone Guitars.

More recently, on July 9th we received another positive Yelp review.  It was visible on Yelp’s site giving us 1 negative review and 1 positive review.

Guess what?  As of this morning, that recent positive review is now “filtered” and we are back to a negative. We can’t get ahead here.

I’m just sayin’…

How Mark Knopfler Got His Groove

You know the sound. Smooth but with just the right kick of distortion to let you know you are dealing with some real rock n’ roll. You know what I’m talking about. That perfectly even tone that has you walking with a bit of a strut because you just heard “Sultans of Swing” on the radio and can’t get the guitar lines out of your head.

Mark Knopfler and his Strat

Mark Knopfler and his Strat

Mark Knopfler possesses one of the most distinct tones in all of rock. With Dire Straits and beyond, Knopfler has been combining fluid solos and chord passages that walk the line between understated and flat-out jaw dropping. Although the beautiful music comes from his head and fingers (he plays without a pick), Knopfler did have a bit of help in developing such a persuasive and sexy tone. The atmosphere and shadings he creates on such tunes as the aforementioned “Sultans of Swing”, “Down to the Waterline” and “Lady Writer” was created with the help of the Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer Compressor pedal.

The Orange Squeezer is a basically a compressor pedal. A compressor is a circuit that compresses the signal so if it exceeds a level, the compressor limits, or puts a cap on, the signal. What this means is that the soft tones are lifted and the loud tones are limited resulting in an even sound. A listen to early Dire Straits recordings is a perfect example of the benefits of using a compressor. The Orange Squeezer enabled Knopfler to keep a flush sound, not too loud and not too soft, which has played a huge role in the guitarist’s unmistakable tone.

Of course, there is the Strat that Knopfler played that helped create such a signature sound. Strats often possess a biting tone that is great for cutting through a thick rhythm section. Combined with the Orange Compressor pedal, Knopfler was able to use the Strat to create the perfect timbre that set his playing style apart from everyone else. Knopfler’s style is so distinct that Fender has issued a Mark Knopfler Stratocaster which features three Texas Special single coil pickups in inside of a Hot Rod Red ’57 ash body with a ’62 c-shaped maple neck. This guitar along with the Orange Compressor is the perfect recipe for creating smooth lines and chords that pop with an even controlled resonance that will have you rolling with the Sultans of Swing in your basement or at the gig.

Analog Man Mini-Bi-Comp Compressor Pedal

Analog Man Mini Bi-Comp. Orange Squeezer on the right.

blog written by E. M. Kaplan

Funky Wah Pedal

If I say wah wah pedal, you would probably think of Jimi Hendrix playing “Voodoo Child” or Eric Clapton playing “White Room”.  In my opinion, the most under appreciated application for the wonderful wah pedal is good ol’ funky music.

That ultra funky “Theme from Shaft” (shut yo mouth) is probably the most well known funky wah jam but there are countless others.  A wah pedal is basically an ingenious tweaking of the tone knob and it goes great with a staccato rhythm guitar.  Think Prince playing the wah on his ultra funky hit, “Kiss”.

One of my favorite all time groups were The Meters, from New Orleans.   I’ve appropriated much of George Porter Jr.’s bass licks to my own repertoire with much less success.  But Leo Nocentelli, the original guitarist from The Meters was a funk master.  His wah sound and technique on the following track “Just Kissed My Baby” from the “Rejuvenation” album is uber funky.  Check it out here.

Shoutout To Gearmanndude

I’m betting that many guitar players partake of the numerous guitar gear demos on YouTube.  You’ve probably seen great demos and some not so great demos.  A friend of Fat Tone Guitars and a super guitar player and fuzz pedal demo master is Gearmanndude.  GMD as many of us refer to him puts out demos like no one else.  Besides some great playing, he infuses some humor and personality into his demos.

He also sounds a lot like Jack Black.

Anyhow, I wanted to thank Gearmanndude for his hours of service to the guitar players and fuzz pedals and delay pedals on the market.  He makes it a lot more fun for us watching YouTube gear demos.