Friday, 4 May 2012

Strings 'n' things

A quick shout out to D’adarrio strings,
   I bought a 3 pack recently from Watford Valves, and they lasted about 2 days of very minimal playing.
Shot the Customer Service team a quick email, and just received a fresh set with compliments.
    A great company displaying a great way to keep customers coming back for more.

Time to learn some new solos methinks..


Strings anyone?..

Monday, 19 September 2011

Gravity Picks Classic and Classic XL Review.

Gravity picks, Unlike Dunlop, D'andrea , Dava E.t.c are a small operation operating out of Manteca California U.S.A. They supply Hand made guitar picks, Cut and Engraved by laser, and Finely Crafted from Acrylic, with Meticulous grinding and polishing to Finish the final shape. They come with the option of Custom engraving, having them unpolished, or with a hole in ( for more grip. )

Gravity picks has a wide range of picks to suit all playing styles, with Size variations of them to suit all preference, The standard shapes are:
-Classic, Rounded Tip like a Standard pick
-Razer, More pointed tip
-Striker, Shallower rounded tip.
and they all come in .75mm, 1.5mm and 3mm thickness


On to the review, I'll Start with the 3mm Classic (blue)
The Strings I'm using are D'addario 10's.

First off, This pick is a monster for width, 3mm of acrylic is definitely thicker than what I'm used to, Before even picking it up i knew that this was going to be a different experience. Aesthetically its a Simple pick, Transparent blue, Logo, Gravity classic laser Etching. Nothing more. The shape is fairly standard, Comparing the tip to other picks it sits somewhere in the middle, Not Massively pointed and not overly round, a good middle ground for a pick labelled classic.


On picking it up, the width is really noticeable to someone who usually plays 1.5mm or less. although the shape is familiar, the huge chunk of pick at first feels somewhat strange. But after Five or so Minutes The 3mm Gravity Classic feels right at home in my hand, you are more aware you are holding a pick, but this is not a bad thing, One thing i noticed when using this pick was Control, I felt much more in control than when using a Standard mass produced pick. Another thing i noticed was due to the thickness of the tip, the Pick tended to glide over strings quite effortlessly, even when digging in, this is a BIG plus point for me. Sting also sounded out evenly, and rang crips and clear,. making lead and chord work a breeze.

The only downside to this pick is the thickness, and a tendency to make notes on the thinner strings sound overly harmonic ( but is that such a bad thing.?)
But after spending a little time with this pick, the thickness will grow on you, and smaller picks will feel, weedy and insignificant in comparison.


Moving on to the Gravity Classic XL 1.5m ( Red)

This pick feels a lot different to the Classic, Mainly due to the difference in thickness, although, the surface area on the Classic XL is larger, ( around 1mm overall) Although the size difference is mathematically small it is very visible.
The extra size is definitely a plus for those with sausage fingers, and the feeling is definitely less cramped. Visuals Don't differ a lot from the previous pick, apart from a red acrylic being used, and a small XL Engraved below the word classic, Although the red is too dark to see the engraving without straining your eyes, Hence the Lamp shot above.


Using the pick was a fun affair, Due to the classic shape, ( and tip) i felt right at home when first picking this pick up, due to the average thickness of 1.5mm there was no major adjustments needed, although this pick is a lot thinner than the classic 3mm, its characteristics are very similar, The pick doesn't glide over the strings as much as its larger cousin, but it does a very good job of keeping evrything under control, and sounding even, although i would reccomend the Xl for chord work, as its large surface area keeps you gripping whilst bashing out any Genre.

In essence Gravity picks are Quality, and definiately worth the extra money for a quality pick, It would be nice to see some other materials used, but acryic is a great substance for picks. The variety of shapes and sizes will keep the fussiest picker happy, and they dont seem to wear down too quickly either,
A Sturdy Tonal Investment

Thanks to Chris Fahey for the great picks.

Grab them while you can at

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Modded Big Muff Pi U.S.A Review

Okay, so here it is. My first post in my new Gear Blog.

I Had a fairly quiet morning, Lie in, Bit of T.V. Until the postman came bearing gifts; A medium sized package, and a D'addario Catalogue with some Stickers.
I opened up the package to find...


Okay, I have had a few days to test this bad boy out;
The versatility of the pedal is phenomenal from a slight crunch to Wall of Oscillating sound this really hits the mark.
To start i will outline the controls.

On the rear we have The standard Instrument-Amplifier-9v Inputs, and a Tone stack switch, This removes the whole EQ section, rendering the Tone knob useless, but giving the pedal a meatier growl, the only downside to this is the fact you cant adjust it with the tone stack out, which is a little bit of a shame.


Moving round to the front we have the standard Volume ( left) Tone ( Middle) and Sustain (Right) Knobs, They work as, well basically Volume Tone and Gain.
Underneath these we have the two gain stage switches, This is where the versatility of this pedal lies, with the flick of one or two switches, you can go from old style germanium OD to Wall of Fuzz Silicon style.


Moving down further on the pedal we com to the Volume Boost Section,
This consists of 1 Knob, and 1 On/Off Switch, This was installed due to the volume drop encountered when using the germanium settings, but, I tend to keep it on permanently, just for shits and giggles, oh and LOUDNESS!


The Led has also been moved, In my opinion to a better place, I have never liked Led's that were miles away from the button, but that's just me being picky.

So, we have an overall Gist of what everything does, lets move on to sound.
What does it sound like.? Well when I first plugged the unit it I was not disappointed, I'll run you through the range of sounds i can get through my blackstar ht stage 60.

Starting With both tone switches on the Germanium setting, the tone stack Off and Everything a 12 o clock- This setting is pretty transparent, and very low gain, I'm getting a little more breakup on my clean channel than usual.
Turn the sustain knob to the right however you get a very bluesy sound, Reminiscent of Purple. Next i turned the volume up to full, Cream, Cream, Cream, Roundabouts here i can get the sound from the first comfortably numb solo ( or pretty close)
Roll back the tone knob on your guitar and your in sunshine of your love territory.

This is with the tone stack out of the equation, OK, Ill bring the tone stack in now, Sustain and volume are maxed out for now, let's see what we can do.

With the tone knob at its lowest setting I get a Very muffled sound, although there still is enough definition to make it use able, Think of hearing a loud amp from a flat below. The tone is Warm, and still sings, With the knob in the middle position you lose some bottom end, and the sound starts to also lose some of its mids. but we are getting closer to the classic muff sound. With the tone knob all the way to the right we have a cutting, slightly fizzy lead tone, that would also be quite acceptable for rhythm applications.

The Twin gain stages are interchangeable, so you can mix and match Germanium and silicon to your desire. With the first switch in the silicon position i can only liken the tone to be similar to that of a Marshall, you can easily get AC/DC style tones from this setting, ( i told you this pedal was versatile) and with the Gain stages the other way round, you get a more fizzy honky sound. Really borderline Fuzz Territory.

And Now its time for MOAR GAIN. this section is when the fuzz comes into it,
Here I hit Both Switches down, for full silicon madness. First off, a HUGE volume jump comes into the equation, and here the violin like sustain begins buttery lead, DIRTY Riffs, Its beautiful, enough to make any gain addicts cry with joy.
The tone Knob affects the sound in a similar way, but when you have the sustain and tone knobs fully maxed out you get that unstable fizzy noise, with some oscillation,
this is why I love this pedal. Back off the Sustain and you get jack white sounds A'la Icky thump and Bone broke, really full, punchy distortion. Crank the sustain and lower the Tone a tad you have Plug in baby and new born Tones. Really, Really impressive.

The mods were done by Badgerific on the Ultimate guitar forums, Great guy to deal with, Honest, BUY HIS PEDALS, he does a range of one knob fuzz pedals for around the £50 mark. Well worth it.

I have one apology with this pedal, sorry guys, it wont quite do Metallica, And its not worth getting one to run through a solid state, as the sounds you get from this thing interacting with The Pre and power valves is just orgasmic.

Hope you enjoyed my first gear review.

I'll leave you all with a gut shot.