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Friday

5 Sweet Amp Mods I Wish I'd Thought of Myself

Guest post by *Rick Belluso
You bought a cool amp. You love it! Now, you’re searching for ways to make it even more awesome. More bass, more headroom, a better looking mesh—the opportunities are endless.
Congrats! You’ve entered into the great big world of modding: customizing, manipulating and maximizing your gear until it becomes your own wild creation. Now what?
Starting off can be daunting for the newbie. Not many people know enough about amps to actually get involved, especially if you don’t come from a technical background. Fortunately, in my travels I’ve come across some great amp mods that are easy for the newbie and interesting enough for the old bull to spend a weekend on. Here are 5 mods I wish I’d thought of myself:


#1: A DIY for Building and Modifying Your Own Amp
Duh. When it doubt, find the starter kit.
If you’re really interested in how to modify your amp, you first need to be interested in how the overall thing works. Luckily, it’s not actually that hard to understand once you get into it.
Wires, tubes, and cathodes - so many fun words to learn, but there’s one that rules them all: safety. Don’t be sloppy when handling electrical stuff. Learn all the precautions, print out cheatsheets for yourself, buy the right static-free gloves - whatever it takes. You may feel a little bit nerdy doing it, but the free space your mind will have when you’re able to relax about the safety bits will be worth it, as you can really immerse yourself in the activity of modding to your heart’s content.
You’ll also want to focus on that ever-important idea of not ruining your amp!
A great starter kit is the Mod 102 Guitar Amp Kit, which teaches you the ins and outs of amps before attempting to mod your own. And since it’s customizable, it’s essentially a mod kit that lets you change your amp in the way you see fit—a sort of cornucopia of potential mods. Once you learn how to do it safely and without any risk to damaging the amp itself, you are free to get into a rhythm and go bananas. On with the list!


#2: Getting More Bass for Your Buck: Coupling Capacitors
Let’s call this the low-hanging fruit mod. The most basic of the avid guitarist’s desires is simply to change the tone and timbre of what their guitar produces. You might be able to hit a great A power chord, but if your amp isn’t maxed out, it’s not going to sound how you imagine it in your crazy rockstar dreams.
Getting more bass out of your amp is an easy win. This mod comes from PremierGuitar.com (see: Mod 5) with a suggestion: swapping the coupling capacitors. Since these capacitors essentially act as filters for frequency, adjusting them gives you a different, well, bass capacity. Boom!


#3: Swapping Out the Grill Mesh
We’ve all seen that show “Pimp my ride” and not all upgrades are for the “ride” itself— many are aesthetic.
And so it goes for amps. A Redditor on /r/Guitar had a great idea a few years back: customizing the mesh on his Marshall amp. While I quite enjoy the stock Marshall grill, you can see the results right here—it came out pretty amazing, if you’re into swirly funkadelics. Just think of the possibilities though...
Ok, now you’ve decided to put some wild fabric on your amp mesh - how hard is it? Well, it’s actually quite a bit of work. You’ll be taking the entire amp apart, removing the Marshall badges (so they could be used again later), and then installing the new ones. Is it worth it? Depends on you. You could make this thing crazy pink, put your band logo on it, blow up your face at Kinkos and somehow get your face on the amp? Yes, I’d say it’s worth it. Style points go a long way in the music world.


#4: Adding a “Suspended Chime”
This is actually a pedal kit for a simple but sweet chorus /delay effect that will give any amp a little more psychedelic sheen. I threw it in this list because it’s simple, fun and I really just like the phrase “suspended chime.”
Anyway, check out the audio sample at ModKitsDIY.com along with the build instructions to see how involved this project is. If you’re a little hesitant to start ripping into your amp, perhaps building a suspended chime pedal could be the right way to start your modding adventure.


#5: Getting More Headroom by Modding the Preamp Tubes
“Headroom” is a big deal in the amp world, and for good reason. It’s what separates your ability to amplify from your ability to distort—the more headroom you have, the more amplification you can squeeze out of your amp before distortion kicks in. Having no headroom is going to feel like having nowhere to put your legs on a five-hour flight; it’s just not going to do.
Another recommendation from PremierGuitars: swapping the preamp tubes.
Make sure you understand how preamp tubes work and why you’re moving them in the first place before you get started. Read through PremierGuitar’s guide and always work with all power off and disconnected.
Guitar amp mods might be a way of life for some, but if you’re new to the game, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Safety first!


What’s Your Favorite Amp Mod?
Didn’t see one of your favorites listed here? Let us know what you think and tell us about the mods you’ve added over the years.
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*Rick Belluso is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ninebuzz, a boutique music software company based in Rhode Island, USA. They make a popular metronome app for guitar Drum Beats+ (Top 50 — App Store/Music), Guitar Jam Tracks - Scale Trainer (Top 25 — Guitar World Magazine) and several other lead guitar practice apps.





If you didn’t read this at Stratoblogster.com Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! © 2006 - 2016 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.
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Sunday

Scott Henderson On Tim & Pete's Guitar Show!



Scott Henderson fans, myself included, will eat this one up (I already have)! Great interview on Tim & Pete's Guitar Show. Serious guitarists in their own right, Tim Pierce & Pete Thorn have a regular video podcast show where they just featured 1 HOUR PLUS with Mr BigDogs himself-- although ironically, Scott isn't wearing a BigDogs t-shirt here...

That's only because Henderson's current shirt promotes his own podcast with fellow guitarist Bruce Forman, called GuitarWank. 2016 could be the year of the Guitar Podcast.

This is a fast hour as they get into Scott's approach to guitar playing, recording and music influences. At about 34.5 minutes in, Scott gets off the couch for some gear, tones and trademark licks with his trusty Suhr signature model, Suhr amp rig and a few of his favorite pedals. Basically, an hour+ of Tore Down, Tribal bliss for this fan. Oh yes, they also touch on Scott's latest 'Vibe Station' release; a masterpiece itself.

Followers of this blog (if there are any left) know I rarely post blog features anymore. Stratoblogster started in 2006, and after 3k+ posts, plus plenty of Facebook guitar geek wanking, I've kinda gotten stuff outta my system. 

But discovering a good Henderson interview is ALWAYS blogworthy along with the added treat of now knowing about more podcast action including Scott's own.

I hope other Henderson fans dig all this too! And if you're new to Scott's music, check him out. Henderson is the only guitarist I've heard who can bridge together SRV, Jeff Beck & Alan Holdsworth with his own unique style, if you can imagine that...



 If you didn’t read this at Stratoblogster.com Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! © 2006 - 2016 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission. Pin It Now!

Thursday

Keeley Monterey Octave-Rotary-Vibe-Fuzz-Wah Pedal -- YES!!!


Even got 'em a Jimi savvy Strat player demo! WTF!!!

Robert Keeley Electronics may be scoring BIG with their Monterey Octave-Rotary-Fuzz-Wah 'Neo-Vintage Workstation'.
Maybe searching and SAVING up for your shot at a mythical$$$ aNaLoG MaN 'Captain Coconut' box won't be necessary.

For only $299.00 Keeley may fill the bill and save you more than a few x bills in the process. Time for gettin' Jimi Wit' It' could be soon be sooner than you were planning! Per Keeley's press release itself in my mail, these are shipping as of March 23, 2016. I'd consider this one quick, cuz if our 'Neo-Vintage Workstation' takes off, you could end up on a waiting list... Myself, I HATE the term "workstation", but this looks like the tight, classic little effects box it is-- just knobs & switches, AND not too damn many either! Me likey that!!!

But I'll let you check out the video for yourself, other than to recommend keeping your standard Wah pedal preference in the chain/board. But the auto wah swell is cool, especially when drenched in Izabella Woodstock swampaliciousness. Yes, a new word... Can't wait to try one!!!

Visit www.rkfx.com for more information about the full lineup of award-winning Keeley Electronics effects.










If you didn’t read this at Stratoblogster.com Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! © 2006 - 2016 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.
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