Review:Washburn HB30

February 26th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Washburn HB30


I have never been a fan of the feel of semi-hollows. They usually have really thick necks with poor upper fret access, making the experience reminiscent of that which one would go through, playing with a baseball bat for a neck. I am obviously exaggerating, but they tend to be constructed much different to the solid-bodies which I am used to. The Washburn HB30, however, is one exception. This review is based on one of the older HB30 models, and the neck is incredibly smooth, and thin. The cutaway is also very ergonomic allowing for very comfortable upper fret access, and the entire guitar’s appearance is well designed, but the finish could be more perfect. I see some glue in the review unit which is annoying to look at.
The appearance is very similar to that of the Gibson ES335, and has some extremely versatile wiring with one tone knob and volume knob for each pickup, allowing for all sorts of tone blending.
The overall design; physical, and electrical is top notch, with the exception of the finish which as mentioned shows some flaws.


One area where this instrument shines is the sound. It is not the most pristine sounding instrument, however it closely replicates that smokey thick yet clear smooth sound of the much more expensive Gibson. This tone is a real beauty for blues jazz, and pretty much anything played clean and overdriven. Something that is impressive however, is while the sound could be cleaner, this guitar sustains much more than even the ES335, which is after all what it is modeled after. With that said, the wood work, and wood choice is likely top quality and a pickup upgrade could make it something to behold. After all, the way notes resonate on this guitar, cannot be compared to any solid body. It’s beautiful.


For a semi-hollow-body guitar and in comparison to guitars in general, this guitar is very fast. It has the fastest neck I have encountered on any semi-hollow body, and the cutaway is extended enough for comfortable upper fret access. The only problem I have with it’s feel, is that it is insanely heavy, to the point where I don’t see how it could really be hollow. The neck alone makes this instrument worth it, and as mentioned before, combined with a pickup upgrade it’s pretty much perfect.


Washburn is a reliable company, however, the wiring in this model seems pretty loose, but then again it is over a decade old. With that said, I don’t know how reliable the newer model might be.

Customer Support

Washburn’s customer support is very reliable. They respond to emails quickly, however, I encountered problems in which the customer service reps, did not know the physical specs of the bridge, which I plan to change to a tone pros bridge.

Review:Electro Harmonix Metal Muff

February 20th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Metal Muff


Like other Electro Harmonix pedals the design is very simple and tank. In other words, their pedals seem to be made to withstand all the abuse given by even the most abusive feet, as they are obviously meant to be stepped on. The Metal Muff feature two stomp switches, and 6 knobs that make this one of the most versatile pedals for modern distortion tones. One of the stomp switches allows the pedal to be bypassed, while the other switch can add an extra boost to the sound of the pedal. This is extremely useful to make leads stand out from the harmonies. Two knobs control the volume and the gain, while the other four control the tone. One controls the amount of top boost when the top boost switch is activated, and the others are an extremely versatile equalizer that give the user the possibility of virtually any metal tone known to man from the darkest, to the scooped, to the brightest. Electro Harmonix are known for their vintage sound, and excellence in that department. This is their first attempt at a modern distortion and I have to say it is a huge success.


While it still does not sound like an amps natural distortion, it is definitely one of the nicest distortion pedals for those seeking a modern metal tone. While the pedal is versatile enough to pull off some good overdrive tones with the distortion knob way down, where this box shines, is in its ability to make brutal tones of all types. The Equalizer allows the player to make Dark tones, and even some bright tones, and the versatility of the equalizer can go so far, that users may even make tones that are too bright, or too dark, which is a good thing as it may be used to balance a bright or dark amp, and after all is not like you are forced to equalize the pedal to those extremes.


I have never had a problem with Electro Harmonix products. My pedalboard is 90% Electro Harmonix, and all of the pedals are still working perfectly, and making me happy with their sound .

Customer Support

Electro Harmonix customer support is very good. They have always been quick to respond to my emails, and have provided me helpful answers to my questions.

Music Review: Symbalousa

February 16th, 2009 by Frandy Veras


Symbalousa, is the third album by Dominican Republic’s rock band Synesthesia. It is a conceptual album characterized by its use of melodic arrangements, which create melancholic-sonic landscapes through the use of guitars, keyboards, in combination with the genuine voice of singer Adalberto Arias.

The songs in their album are lengthy and fuse lots of different styles, making the album one which needs various listens, for the listener to be able to grasp and appreciate all the small sonic, lyrical nuances and details that make up the entire album a single work. In this album each of it’s songs speaks about different aspects of the life of the main character in it’s story. Profoundly interesting and unique, is the bands ability to transport the listener into living the experiences of the story’s character through the use of midi sounds and musical arrangements.

The experience that follows listening to their album symbalousa is reminiscent of that one feels after watching a good thriller, or drama drama, or even reading a good novel. Synesthesia manages to capture the listener all while submerging him/her in a labyrinth of emotions, vivifying each element of the album. Without a doubt the best work of art they have done up to this point.

Be sure to check them out at

Review:ISP Decimator

February 6th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

ISP Decimator


ISP Technologies did a very great pedal when they came out with the ISP decimator. At least the other users seem very impressed. They are definitely much more impressed than I am, however. I am not saying, the pedal is a bad pedal, as it is indeed the best noise suppressor pedal I have tried. After all, there is a reason why the general consensus, is this is the best suppressor in pedal form out there. It can make the amp dead quite, and according to many without sacrificing the playing dynamics. I love the way the pedal controls the signal with its smart threshold knob. Its very simple and it works. And the physical design is also very attractive with it’s boss pedal like chrome casing. Overall a very simple effective design.


Here is where I am not impressed with the pedal. I expected this to be the first noise suppressor that does not ruin my playing dynamics. The difference in dynamics is very small but its there, and I am playing without a noise suppressor because of this issue. This is the closest to giving me a transparent sound I have come across, but with the slight side effect I still prefer having the background noise. It works beautifully if the songs have a similar amount of gain through out. For music that goes from low to high gain, the playing dynamics on the lower gain parts will suffer a huge loss of dynamics.
For those of you looking for a suppressor, think twice before you buy. ISP new g-string noise suppressor (yup, that’s what it is called), promised to fix this issue. For those of you looking to buy a new suppressor, I recommend researching the new model.


It is built like a boss pedal. It’s build quility is very reliable.

Customer Support

Have not dealt with their customer support.

Review:Roland GR20 guitar with GK3 pickup

February 5th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Roland GR20


I love the guitar, however, as a musician; I was always jealous of the possibilities keyboardists have with today’s synths. With that said, I like to use various effects to give myself as many sound possibilities as I can have. One pedal which I don’t use often, but which would be the cure to the problem mentioned above is the Roland GR20. What this technological marvel does is in my opinion a beautiful thing. Through Roland’s special Gk3 pickup it picks up your signal, and sends it to the GR20 and processes it, giving your guitar new sounds. These new sounds are of course the sounds, of virtually any instrument I could think of. Piano, Organ, Nylon Guitar, Drums, Sitar, Vocal pads…are few of the instrument sounds available on this guitar pedal.

The overall design, I have to admit, is absolutely genius. This device does so much, yet is about as intuitive as I could see it get. You can edit, write, and move about with the patches with incredible ease. Unlike many synths it even includes some built in effects that you can add to the synth sound such as chorus, delay, and dynamics controls for the attack notes.
The foot switches and pedals are also customizable and can be used for pitch shifting, and volume swells as well as vibrato, and more impressively can be used to freeze what you are playing into a sustain, while you play on top of it. It works great for improvisations as you can leave a chord ringing as you play a lead on top of it.
The design is great, feature packed but very intuitive. Unlike keyboard synths of course, you can mix the synth sound, with the natural sound of your guitar, in one amp, or even split it with two amps.
My only complaint with the design is the GK3 Pickup. Before the GR20 can be used, the GK3 Pickup must be installed correctly. The installation has to be very precise and can be very annoying or expensive to install. The GK3 pickup is great and seamlessly fast once installed correctly, or painfully slow when installed incorrectly.


Sound-wise the GR20 does a great job. It sounds really good, as is to be expected from Roland when it comes to synthesizer sounds. A lot of the instruments sound very natural, and work well with the playing dynamics of player. Ironically, however, I really wanted to use it for acoustic simulation, but guitar sounds are the weakest sounds in this pedal. The effects like delay and chorus are very good and transparent as well; however, those effects only work on the synth sounds and not on the guitars natural sound.


The pedal is very well built. However, durability aside, its performance may not be the same for all guitars.
Buyers beware, the pickup will not fit in many guitars. I also don’t think it will work well with tremolo bridge guitars, especially Floyd roses, as it requires a consistent distance between itself and the strings. A great product, but definitely not one for everyone.

Customer Support

Their customer support is great. I had problems installing the GK3 pickup, and they helped me, all the way through. I am pleased with their support, and once installed correctly the product is great.

Powerful band: The Detox Darlings

February 2nd, 2009 by Andres Gallo

The Detox Darlings

Photo by Peter Fair

Just as promised here is’s first article introducing a band that I feel more people should know about. For the first article of this type here at, I thought it would be a wise choice to write about a band that is in all it’s essence electric, energetic, powerful and catchy. The band, that caught my “ears” was the Detox Darlings.

The NYC band Detox Darlings, plays music similar to The Ramones with an added touch of glam rock in the mix. The detox darlings pack a sound of their own, while at the same staying true to their roots and influences. This sound as mentioned, is gorgeously packed with power, and energy; and better yet, has some insanely catchy vocals. As much as I love instrumental music, I know most people like to hear vocals, and lyrics, especially when these sound great. Here, you will be singing along the band as well as jumping around, (at least in your head) as it is indeed catchy like that.

For those listeners that like the softer side of classic rock and glam, their song “counting the nights,” has a more relaxed “poppy” sound, ala Blondie, which should satisfy such listening moods, while the other songs complement it through power packed electric riffery, for the rocker’s desires. “Twisted tales,” for example displays a really cool fuzz effect, solo, and vocal melody that never stops to lose it’s energy. Every element you missed from many classic bands is here and better yet, The Detox Darlings still has a sound of its own that I think everyone should take a listen to.

So there it is… The Detox Darlings. As they say, “Prescription Strength Glam Punk Rock’n Roll With Passion and Soul!.” I couldn’t agree more- just take a listen to “Get Tattoos”

Be sure to check them out at