Troubleshooting advice, speaker basics, in-depth tips from Celestion and Weber gurus, and a look at seven vintage “sleepers” that rule.
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Welcome to our annual Amp Issue! In addition to great interviews with players like Robert Randolph, John Scofield, the Stooges’ James Williamson, and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, and Joe Trohman, in this issue we dive into all sorts of amplifier awesomeness. First off, for those of you who’ve always wondered exactly how a tube amp works, we break it down into simple, easy-to-understand concepts using a vintage Vox AC4 as an example. And, since your speakers have such a big impact on your tone, we also bring you a step-by-step DIY project on how to correctly replace speakers in your combo or extension cab. And for those who can’t get enough of vintage amps, Ask Amp Man blogger Jeff Bober from East Amplification takes us on a tour of the North American Guitar Amplifier Museum-a veritable candy store full of Marshalls, Fenders, Hiwatts, Ampegs, Voxes, and other rare amps. Our gear reviews this month include the Charvel Desolation DX1-ST, Cole Clark Angel, Z.Vex Fat Fuzz Factory, Jaguar HC50, Epifani AL 112, EarthQuaker Devices Disaster Transport SR, Nordstrand Shush Puppies, and the Electro-Harmonix Epitome.
Our cover feature this month taps the craniums of some of the most knowledgeable and esteemed pedal builders in the industry to serve up the story and gory visual glory on rare, weird stompboxes that inspired them. For both recording newbies and tracking vets, we survey the market of new and upcoming studio gear that’s specifically well suited to helping guitarists capture stellar audio at a variety of price points—from interfaces to apps, mics, and more. Artist interviews this month include Baroness frontman John Baizley, Dweezil Zappa, Mutoid Man’s Stephen Brodsky, DJ Williams, Caspian’s Philip Jamieson and Calvin Joss. We also take you inside Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience, a travelling exhibit making stops around the country. Gear reviews this month include Reverend’s Descent RA Baritone, the Jackson SLATXMGQ 3-6 Soloist, Faith’s Neptune acoustic, the Nace Amps Pro-18, Analog Outfitters’ Scanner, the Jordan Fuzztite, Fulltone’s 2B, Malekko’s Scrutator, the Demeter Bass 400, the Danelectro Baby Sitar, Wampler’s Low Blow, the Red Witch Zeus, and the Soundtwirl iOS app.
This year’s annual Amp Issue features a smorgasbord of invaluable knowledge for guitarists and bassists—from beginners to advanced players. For starters, AmplifiedParts.com’s tube guru Kurt Prange goes deep on power tubes, detailing the crucial tonal characteristics, important historical developments, and quintessential reference recordings for EL34, EL84, 6L6, 6V6, KT88, and KT66 valves. Then Mark Gooday, founder of Ashdown Engineering and former head engineer at Trace Elliot—two of the most influential and highly respected new bass-amp companies of the last 30 years—demystifies power amp classes (A, B, and D), as well as how to read power ratings to ensure you get the tone and oomph requisite for your needs. PG Senior Editor Joe Gore’s The Recording Guitarist column also offers savvy tips for using popular plug-ins to generate stellar tones. Meanwhile, artist interviews this month include chats with former Gov’t Mule frontman and Allman Brothers all-star Warren Haynes, influential British guitarist Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention), fingerstyle acoustic guitarist Ryley Walker, and Ruban Nielson from garage-psych band Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Our latest Forgotten Heroes installment takes a look at the fascinating life and enduring legacy of Pops Staples—an influential gospel guitarist and friend and contemporary of blues gods Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, and Albert King. Gear reviews this month include guitar and bass toys from Electro-Harmonix, Eden, TC Electronic, Ibanez, Fender, Orange, Aria, Fishman, and more.