Friday, September 28, 2012

Nic Clark playing the Mission 32-20 3x10 Amp

This is Nic Clark playing the newest Mission 32-20 3x10 amp. It ships in a few days to it's new owner.

Nic is playing at Al Chesis' Thursday night blues jam at Teddy T's in Denver on Sept 27, 2012. Nic is 17 years old. The singer/guitar player in this clip is Bad Brad Stivers, who is 20 years old. The blues scene in Denver is stacked with talent.

Bruce Collins was at the jam as well. He tells me he is using slightly larger transformers for this model, stepping up the power before clipping to about 35 watts. The tone is fantastic: colorful and textured, and very loud before feedback. Nice amp.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Electro Harmonix 44 Magnum for Blues Harp

[NOTE:  This EH 44 Mag amp pedal is for sale:  $100 + shipping]

The little EH 44 Mag pedal sounds good for blues harp, and takes effects well. At 44 watts it is very loud: I had the volume on 9 o'clock in this demo and it rocked. It starts to get nice and crunchy when the volume knob passes 2 o'clock but the small space did not allow for that.

This demo is as much about my pedal board as it is about the 44 Mag. With the settings I use the effects are really very subtle, making the tone deeper and a bit crunchier with a touch of slap back echo. I rarely use the EQ pedal but the EH 44 Mag sounded a little bright.

The Verdict: The Electro Harmonic 44 Magnum pedal/amp is totally giggagle. It has nice fullness and tone. It makes a great back-up in case the Bassman craps out in the middle of a show.

Details: The Bright switch on the 44 Mag was set to Normal. The speaker cabinet is a stock Epiphone Valve Jr cab with the 12-inch 16-ohm Eminence Lady Luck speaker.

The effects pedals are Kinder AFB+, MXR Carbon Copy, Boss EQ7, and BBE Sonic Stomp. All the effects have very low settings.

MXR Delay Pedal on sale at AMS

AMS has the pedal discounted today.

I like this pedal a lot. It has the best slap-back tone I've heard from a delay pedal. The signal path is 100% analog old school bucket brigade; no digital modelling. It has true hardware signal bypass when switched off. I've never seen the pedal discounted before; it is usually $149.

I use this pedal. The delay has a great musical tone, and the delay tails decay in a very cool organic way.

New Tube Shields in the Bassman

Tube shields help your preamp tubes reject RF noise from the envoironment.  My 1991 Fender Bassman RI had the original gray aluminum shields that fit over the 9-pin preamp tubes, but they had become a bit misshapen and soft with all the handling over the years.  Sometimes they'd fall off the tubes and I'd find then stuck to the speaker magnets.

So I ordered new shields from Angela Instruments at $1.49 each:  Black aluminum.  They fit tightly on the base of the tube sockets and are much sturdier than the originals.  No way these things are going to fall off.

BTW, I played a gig last weekend without any tube shields and didn't notice any change in the tone or performance of the amp.  Some players claim the shields have a small effect on reducing feedback, which would make sense if your tubes are slightly microphonic.  Other players say the absence of shields helps with heat dissipation and tube life.  I decided to go with the tube shields because they protect the tubes from random physical damage (and my preamp tubes are nice NOS Philips and Sylvania) and because they also have a spring inside that acts as a tube retainer keeping the tubes properly seated in the base.

And I know it is a bit silly, but the new tube shields look good in the amp.  The old gray shields were kind of grubby and they sat askew on the tubes.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Great Tone from Paul Orta

Great crunchy tone.  Paul Orta tells me he was using an "older Princeton" and an Astatic mic.  My guess is it is a blackface Fender Princeton (non-reverb), the amp Big Walter used.  In fact, Paul said, "The guy in London who owned the amp said Walter Horton also used it on some recordings in Europe."  Nice!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Electro Harmonix 44 Magnum Amp

I've been wanting to try the Electro Harmonix 44 Magnum amp and I finally ordered one to evaluate. Since it has the pedal form factor I mounted it on my pedal board.

So far I've only played it for a half hour, with zero effects. I had my Silver Bullet mic plugged straight into the 44 Mag, driving a stock Epi Valve Jr. cab with the 12-inch Lady Luck speaker.

This thing rocks. It is loud with good tone, even a bit of crunch. I was in a small room standing right next to the speaker, so feedback was a bit of an issue, but no more of a problem than with small tube amps. I had the tone switch set to Normal (not Bright).

Tomorrow I'll play it with the pedals: Kinder AFB+ anti-feedback, MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, Boss EQ pedal, and the BBE Sonic Stomp. I'm pretty sure I can get a giggable sound out of this thing.

The rectangular box you see next to the 44 Mag (above the Pedal Power) is the power supply. The 44 Mag has to use it's own power supply; it draws too much current for the VooDoo Lab Pedal Power 2+.

I think the purpose of the 44 Mag is as a backup amp. If the Bassman craps out I can hook the 44 Mag up to one of the Lil Buddy speakers and keep playing. The speaker load has to be 8 or 16 ohms, so it cannot drive the 2 ohm load of the four tens as they are wired in the Bassman.

Or, if it sounds good enough and I want to travel light, I can bring the pedal board and a cab to the gig and have at it.

I'll shoot some video and post it in a few day. More later...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Blues Allstars - "Born in Chicago"

David Brenowitz drum solo, followed by blues madness.  At the Smokin' Brew BBQ Festival in Parker CO - 09/01/12

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dan Treanor at Ziggies Blues Jam - Sept 9 2012

Here is a short clip of Dan Treanor playing through my rig at Ziggies last night:  1991 Fender RI amp and 1959 Shure 440SL Silver Bullet mic.

Fender Frontman 15 and a 520DX Green Bullet

Dex came into Ziggies Blues Jam last night carrying a little Fender Frontman 15 solid state amp and a Shure 520DX Green Bullet mic.  He found the amp for $30 used at Guitar Center.  Check out the tone!  It was totally loud enough for the jam.  I was impressed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Blue Allstars at Smokin' Brew BBQ Festival

Steve Mignano on guitar, Rick Davis on blues harp, David Brenowitz on drums, Mike Wysocki on bass.