The Amp Chronicles; pt 3- unofficial overdrive/distortion pedal shootout

Ah… so when it comes time for decisions, things can become tough to consider. Especially when decisions mean “Selling gear to pay for new gear.” Especially when you only have 1-2 pieces of gear you actually want to sell and the rest you really would like to keep. Then you realize that… a certain amp is very, very good.

Thus, I plugged everything up, played it all, and sold some gear. Here was my thought process as I did so. (And thus– the unofficial shootout). Continue reading

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Saturday Surprise

When I got to my mail today there¬† were a couple of surprises….

First was from one of my best friends. Here is a great sticker I have got to put somewhere:

True. Def true.

And secondly, this showed up:

Smells like beautiful, beautiful tone.

The Toneczar Dove! The classiest of the classy boutique pedals. You open up the back and fairies, small fairies fly straight from the PCB and hide beneath the op-amps. I think they live in the op-amps. I haven’t enough time on this thing (only about 30-40 mins) to make a great review/judgment, but I dare say I’m pretty impressed so far. So I guess once my “amp chronicles” are over, I’ll talk about this thing.
See: toneczar effects for further information on this and other effects.

Wow, fun Saturday!

The Amp Chronicles; pt 2

In my previous post I discussed the two amps I’m deciding between: The Matchless Avalon, and the Dr Z Maz 18, NR.
Here is further fodder for thought, or reasons why I like each amp.

I’ll be making the decision soon… stay tuned!

The Amp Chronicles; pt 1

Greetings- faithful readers. Here is a post! I know its been awhile, but hopefully we can catch up soon!

My search for an amp begins now:
I began my search at one of the greatest guitar shops I’ve had the pleasure of going into. Fat Sound Guitars in Cary, NC! (Their website is awesome as well!) Stu (the owner) had responded to my emails several times, so I made the hour trek up to the store and sat around for a few hours. I poked, I prodded, and plugged the ‘ol Les Paul into several amps. I also brought along my trusty Zendrive and the King Of Tone.
Now, the pleasure of talking to another guitarist is that they know what you mean when we say “i like this amp, but its missing this…..er….. y’know” and Stu says, “yea, try this one, it has that.”
Very cool.

My only thoughts while looking were- I want an amp that has a good clean sound, with some sparkle. I want it to be able to overdrive easy, but dynamically clean up. I would like more than my 15w Fender Champ, like 30 watts. But I don’t want an uncontrollably loud amp, so It should have a 1/2 switch if 30 watts.¬† I want 30 watts, even though I would probably only use it 2-3x a year. Amp should accept pedals fairly well.
After playing everything in the store I settled on two amps. In no particular order:

1) Dr Z Maz 18 Non Reverb

Pretty good, and sounds great too!

There it is– the “wow, does it really get that loud” 18 watt Dr Z Maz. This amp had a touch of sparkle, had incredible dynamics, and a great sustain that seemed to drip harmonics. Even the clean sound is sustained well. The dynamics were special; play lightly and it is clean, play hard or turn up some volume and it overdrives!
The KOT sounded great through this, very classic rock-like. The Zendrive colored the amp a bit, but sounded really good at lower gain setting than I normally play while it pushed the amp a bit. I was very impressed.
This Z also has an effects loop which might check out with some delay and my own crazy ambient-inspired reverbs.
This Z is a rocker!
Upside of things: per the Dr Z website: She will self-bias her tubes!! YES! That makes things tons easier!

The “cons” was I expected a bit more of an overdrive from the amp. It did overdrive, but not quite as heavy as I thought.
Then, Brad Paisley plays through Dr Z’s (and that gearmandude from thegearpage.net and youtube). I’m not a country player, by ANY stretch. But, this amp sounds GOOD.

2) Matchless Avalon

Also pretty....

Wow, this amp is loud. But not like the Z was- you expect this amp to be loud. What can I say about this amp: it had beautiful, beautiful cleans. Great sparkle that also had harmonics. Not much sustain. I guess that’s the trade-off, the Z has less harmonics but more sustain and this one has all the harmonics? I liked the idea of a defeat-able master volume, the swell looking plexi-glass plate on the front (see the tubes???) and the 15 to 30w switch in the back.
The overdrive was fantastic. Heavier and richer than the Z, but still clean and sparkly at the same time. True rock potential.

The Zen sounded pretty good through this amp, but the KOT really shined. I had some great ‘cleanish’ rock’in distortion after just a few minutes of plugging in. Oh, this amp has that vibe to it. Its cool to have a Matchless!

The only downsides to this amp are the weight of it (almost 70 lbs!) and its just a ‘tad’ bit more moolah than the Dr Z.

I probably went back and forth on these amps about 10 times. They are not even in the same leagues, sound different, but sound so good.

After looking at my face of glee while playing these amps, Stu asks “So which do you think you want?”

BOTH!
to be continued…..

Where I have been…

Wow, my last post was almost 5 months previously! Time has FLOWN!
For those that follow my blog- alot has happened in that time. I have left the i Continue reading

My Self Challenge

Saturday night I was placing my pedalboard in an order and got a wild idea: here are a few pedals I love, but have never played out! I have experimented in house with them, but never performed live. I decided to slap them on my board and make the most out of what I have to work with. I tried to be completely aloof and completely go out on a limb with a different rig… but had to slap my old trusty Zendrive on there just as backup in case my experiment went wild. Continue reading

Finalizing Life!

Hey guys,
This is a short, “here is what’s going on” post!

My graduation from Optometry School is scheduled for June 11th, and I have been told to report to duty @ Ft Bragg, NC by the end of July. I cannot wait to begin the career that I’ve been studying so long and hard for!

I hope to squeeze a couple posts out now that my life is starting to settle some…

see you around!

-Larry