Sunday, February 28, 2010



Amazing Kansas City band LIFEINJERSEY was in St. Louis this past week as part of their I-70 tour. I was fortunate enough to have these guys stay at my place after their rad-as-hell show at the Firebird. The evening was filled with fun and ghost stories as well as some amazing YouTube videos. The next day, before they headed for Columbia, we met up for lunch where Dave made quite the appropriate lunch selection and Carson and John mobbed up on their respective lunches. Adam preferred to sit with some Whole Foods strangers and we snacked the day away! It was great having them here and if you haven't heard these dudes, you are missing out BIG TIME!

plotting points,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Review: The Black Heart BH5-112 Little Giant


My really good friend recently acquired a Blackheart "Little Giant" amp and has been kind enough to let me test it out, and really put it through its paces. So I figured I would share my experience with all of you...

The Blackheart BH5-112:

This little amp is made by some small company that apparently deals/distributes through Crate. As a result you have a somewhat "boutique" lo-watt amp that has mass distribution through all sorts of surpising retailers, from Guitar Center to probably Best Buy. Also, the amp comes equipped with the contract-binding "Crate" logo, cleverly tucked just under the tolex on the amp's control panel. While I admit the "Crate" badge is a significant bummer for me, it's pretty easily overlooked on this cool little amp. Okay, I get it, enough about my personal amp's the spec's:

-5W, Class A power (switchable to 3W) by 1xEL84 and 1x12AX7
-1x12" speaker (Eminence, specially designed)
-EQ controls - Bass, Middle, Treble - (very unique for these lo-watt amps)
-Volume control
-4, 8 and 16 ohm speaker outputs (a super cool feature)
-on-off switch
-I think that's about it
-oh yeah, semi-open back (screened)

As you can see, there's really not a whole lot to this amp. However, this little amp has a lot of really nice tube tone...

So with only 5 watts, I figured this amp would have a substantial amount of "breakup" (aka overdrive). And with the 3W setting, I was certain that this breakup would be even more intense, so of course I was jumping at the chance to fire this thing up! I decided to use humbuckers, so I tested it out with my Epiphone G-400 and started out in the 3W setting. I set the volume at about 9 o'clock (or about 25%) with the EQ set from flat with a little more bass and probably 70% treble. Here the amp had a really nice clean tone. There was subtle, subtle breakup, but nothing that you would notice without your ear right up to the speaker. I noticed a little harshness in the hi's and it intrigued me. So I rolled the hi's up more and added a touch of volume, and sure enough, I was getting a nice chimey AC30-type sound...pretty sweet. After playing around with that sound for a little while, I reset the EQ to where I had it before and then cranked the volume (about 90%). Here, I got a really nice crunch, especially with the humbuckers. This overdrive was a lot like "Glycerine" (you know, that Bush song). So some pretty cool tones so far.
I reset all of the controls back to my default and then flipped the switch over to 5W. Immediately I noticed an increased in presence from the hum of the amp. At the lower volume I got a nice, more dominant clean...not like a Twin, but more like a dirtier Fender; maybe a blues jr. When I cranked it up on the 5W setting, I got a nice open, brighter crunch than the 3W setting. The crunch was actually pretty "emo" sounding; nice bite, plenty of thicker overdrive. While this overdrive was not tight distortion, it was tighter than the overdrive on the 3W setting. Pretty surprising crunch from such a small amp!
I was pretty impressed with this "Little Giant"; it seems to really capture hot tube tone in a more concentrated environment. This amp is a perfect practice amp, but I think it would really shine in the studio!

With that said, there are of course some draw backs, like with any amp. First of all, this amp doesn't push air. So you're not going to get that all-encompassing, rush that you get when you play a higher-watt tube amp. So remember just because this is a tube amp, don't expect the really thumpy low's and uber-stinging hi's out of this amp. I will say though, this amp is surprisingly loud! I was really impressed, especially for it's size. However, in a band setting, I didn't think it would be able to keep up with bass and drums, but I was wrong! This amp, when cranked, can match volume with almost any practice situation! Pretty impressive for such a small little guy! But even though it is "loud", don't think it's going to keep up with your buddy's Deluxe, because you will be on 8, he'll be on 3 and you will be looking around the room for a mic and a PA system. The only other downside I can think of is the lack of feedback. I just figured that if I had the amp cranked fully, I would get a decent amount of feedback. I did manage to get a little harmonic feedback with my headstock against the amp, but not as much as I had expected. My buddy said he got quite a lot of feedback out of it though, so it may have just been my position to the amp, or different pickups or something, I don't know. But that's it, no big complaints. This is really a great amp!


Thanks for reading,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Strat Test


Without further ado, here's a little clip off my new strat.

Some quick specs:
Strat-->Chromatic Tuner-->Line6 DL4-->Vox AC30

Now, I'm certainly no Bill Frisell, but I hope you enjoy this little demo of my new MIJ Strat.

Thanks for watching, and as always, drop me a line sometime.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 ster-e-ereo, IN STEREO!


Last night I helped track some guitars for a new band. These guitars were definitely on the distorted side. And in order to capture the whole heavy tone, we decided to use two mic's and record a stereo track. Here's some photos of the setup.

Some specs:
Fender Strat-->Big Muff (USA)-->Twin Reverb
Mic'd with an SM57 and Sennheiser 609

although each mic is on a different speaker, the mics are in the same spot in relation to the repsective speaker cone.

Hopefully some sound bites of this setup to come soon.

PS And yes, I did get the title for this post from this song.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

M-I-J? More like M-I-N-E!

Hey Nerds,

I randomly found a super sweet used "Made in Japan" Fender Strat at a local guitar store and I couldn't help myself. For those who don't know about MIJ strats, this is just another strat to you, which is fine; I don't need your admiration (what am I saying? - of course I do!). But for those of you who do know, I don't have to tell you that this is a bit of a collector's item in and of itself.

So to give you a little more info on this guitar, I dated this guitar's serial number at around 1994, which was actually a little newer than I thought it might be, but still in decent shoegaze era, I suppose. It's a sixties style Strat, so it's a little narrower and streamlined than other Strat models. As hopefully the photos show, the maple on the headstock has a really cool aged look and the rosewood neck is nearly flawless. The previous owner had also done himself (and me!) a friggin' service by putting a set of Gotoh vintage tuners on it! Looks beautiful! The tremolo also has the maximum capacity of 5 springs in it, which means that it stays in tune really well and even with the trem bar on it, it still aint going anywhere. So take a look and drop me a line, let me know what you think of my latest acquisition. Thanks for checkin' it out.
'til next time,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Slow Volume?


Here's another installment with Sam and another one of his pedals. This time it's the Guyatone SV2. The "SV" stands for "Slow Volume" and the "2"? I think that stands "too long" as in this text message:

"SPC JNK taks 2 lng 2 post new stuf."

Yeah, I know, I know. But I hope you enjoy this little video.

some quick specs:

The Guyatone SV2
Sam's Les Paul
AC30 mic'd with an SM57

Hey, when you don't want to spend the money for a volume pedal, this thing could possibly help you out.

Also, now that you kinda have an idea about what this thing does, go back and watch the video we did on the Digitech Whammy, and you can clearly hear the SV2 in Sam's loops at the end!

'til next time,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All Rodes Lead to Tone

Hey Nerds,

I'm BACK! And we're talking about microphones! I don't know why, but I love microphones. Oh wait, I know why...I love gear! And mic's fall under the category of "gear" so by the rule of Modus Ponens I love microphones.

Alright, enough with logic, I've recently been doing a lot of research on mic's lately and a buddy of mine just bought a Rode NT2000 on eBay. And of course I had to follow up on that development. I will say that while such a delicate piece of recording equipment would normally fall prey to the infamous "misrepresentation" or "bait and switch" that eBay can be known for, I gotta say my buddy lucked out this time! We tried it out tonight against my Rode NT1A and this NT2000 is really nice! It's also huge! Here are some photos. And who knows, maybe there might be some audio clips to follow in the near future!

'til next time,