Malinoski Art Guitar demo

Hello faithful readers!! I’ve been a bit busy lately, but have discovered some pretty neat things during this time. I’m hoping to have a few video demos in the near future, starting right now!

A few months ago I stumbled on: http://www.petermalinoskiart.com/ and was very impressed by some very unusual, but pretty guitars. This guy is a true artist with wood and then took that art form to building guitars. I love the carefully sculpted contours and the overall “round” nature- these guitars appeal to the eye inasmuch as they do to the ear. Part of Peter’s philosophy is to create guitars that aren’t the typical mass-produced guitar. He has succeeded! These guitars are their own thing for sure.

I finally have gotten a chance to play one of these awesome guitars. It is truly something different and special. Take a look with me (click on the photo for a larger view): Continue reading

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The Amp Chronicles; the finale.

So…. I present, Dr Z:

I can't explain what this does.... it just does.

In the pic you see my 15w Fender Super Champ (which I’m keeping- still a surprisingly good amp for the money) next the Z. The Maz jr is an 18w, this model is without the reverb (the “NR” version) and one basic master-volume channel. Turn the volume up and master volume down and get a bassy/woody chugg-ing type overdrive or turn volume down with the master up and then tweak the “cut” knob to taste and get some pretty sparkly-crystal cleans. This guitar does a decent clean Voxy sound and a Marshally overdrive. But more than that, it really is its own amp. It contains EL84 tubes, a tube rectifier and 2 ECC83s in the preamp section(Mostly JJ tubes). It came with Dr Z’s “Brake Lite” attenuator pre-installed. Pretty nice. Ah, and an effects loop… which i can’t wait to play.

I first thought this amp wouldn’t be enough… after all I’ve been playing 15w out of the Fender and I wanted a slight volume increase. 18w should be close to what I use right? I’ll never use the attenuator!!
I was wrong. This amp is loud. To play my 1000 member church, I had to click on the attenuator (2 out of 8 ) to get the tone I wanted without the VOLUME associated. I may be using that thing more than I first thought!

Also, this amp is very touch-sensitive. I was getting a nice gritty grind (with very little overdrive) just by varying my dynamics from my ‘clean’ setting. I believe I’ll be knocking an overdrive off my board just in favor of boosting this amp a little. In fact, I played a full Easter Cantata with this amp and only turned on the Zendrive for 2 of the “harder” songs. This amp covered basic overdrive very well.

Anway– after all the worrying, selling gear etc…. here is the amp.

Why this amp over the Matchless?
#1: Price! This amp is about 1/2 the price of the Matchless! The main reason I had interest in this Matchless was that it was a floor model with a great price. Even then, it was a few bucks more than the Dr Z.

#2: Weight! The Matchless is about 20 lbs more than the Z. I wanted a combo amp I could carry in 1 hand if need be. The Z can be carried in 1 hand (not incredibly comfortable, mind you) and I can have my pedalboard in the other hand, with the backpack/gigbag for the guitar on my back. 1 trip in and out of a gig/church.

#3: Honestly- the Z fits me better. It has great cleans, good drive and takes pedals well. I love my pedals/overdrives so this fits perfectly. The Matchless has nicer, sparkly cleans, but not the kind of overdrive I would really like. It was also a bit more finicky about which overdrives it liked (trust me, I played everything I had through each amp). The Z is made for more versatility which tends to be what we look for when we play a wide range of popular worship songs: from Rock to blues, to Gospel Funk. Mmmmm.. I really like this amp!

P.S.> I now have another Fulltone OCD. And its perfect. And it likes this amp. More on that later.

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…..