Simple Freud, my biggest project ever.

August 21st, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Simple Freud is my latest and biggest project ever. This band was started about a year ago, and from the very beginning it has been absolute bliss. I thought I would share this with my readers, for much of my happiness is my band.

There is nothing like playing music with other musicians with whom there is immense musical chemistry. One minute, one of us plays a note, and the next, we are all improvising and making some surreal landscapes through the use of sound. This chemistry is the reason why I am so proud of this project, and why I want to share it with my readers. With that in mind I invite you all to check out our music at www.simplefreud.com or on our myspace at www.myspace.com/simplefreud

Hope you all like our music!

You can download the songs from our first Demo titled “Mirame,” for free at www.simplefreud.blogspot.com/2009/07/descargen-nuestro-demo-gratis.html for free

Here is our bio for those of you who want to know more:

In an attempt to bring something new to rock, a group of individuals got together at their laboratory called, “studio” to create the formula they would call Simple Freud. Simple Freud was created with a strategic combination of energy, atmosphere and seratonin, creating a positive state of euphoria in its audience, taking them to an escape from daily life with its sonic landscapes. In all of its majesty, the formula is the result of our influence from other formulas which have been able to take us to a sonic landscape. Simple Freud is the perfect medicine for those who enjoy the sonic qualities of Incubus, Caifanes, Coldplay, Muse, Radiohead and A Perfect Circle. We hope you will enjoy Simple Freud, for we want to become part of your world. A world in which together we can create a healthy euphoric sonic bliss.

Once again visit us at www.simplefreud.com or www.myspace.com/simplefreud

Enjoy!!! :D

Review: Morley Little Alligator

August 14th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Little Alligator
$90

Design

The little alligator is a great volume pedal that does what it was intended for perfectly. The design is quite simple, and feels well constructed with its tough materials, and their smooth implementation. The construction is so good actually, that the motion is about as smooth as it gets. It sure feels a lot better than my 535Q wah pedal. Very neat also, is the “minimum volume” knob which controls the minimum volume available to the pedal. This means you can control the threshold which maycome in quite handy for the creative players. For example I use it on the loop for dynamics in my music, similar to having two channels, with 1 being louder than the other one. Functionality wise its perfect. Like always in my reviews, however, I like to show the negative side of the items I review as well. For this volume pedal, such is its physical size. It takes much more space than dunlop’s wah pedals, yetI don’t see why it should. Put simply, this pedal is unnecessarily big, though not huge by any means.

Sound

Though simply a volume pedal, you tone stays intact when used after the preamp stage. It works like the volume knob in your guitar if not used in the FX loop, and thus your gain will be affected when you lower the volume. It may be used to turn a 1 channel amp into a two channel amp by decreasing the gain. It’s a very transparent sound pedal after all. For most folks, it is sure to become an important tool in their bag of tricks.

Reliability

Durable and smooth construction are good signs. It is definatelly built to last.

Customer Support

Haven’t had the need to call them up. Its functionality is very easy, and it seems very reliable.

Review: TC Electronics Nova Delay

July 23rd, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Nova Delay
$250

Design

When it comes to delay pedals, it is always hard to justify the price as the good ones are pretty expensive. My all time favorite delay pedal, the Electro Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man, was such a pedal, which always awed me with its gorgeous tones, but unfortunately coupled with a pretty big price tag. Don’t get me wrong, the DMM is worth every penny, but new delay pedals do many things better, and some even though digital sound much similar to the classic analogs, while being capable of much more.
Here comes the TC Electronics Nova Delay, which in my opinion is the most beautiful pedal I own, and the smartest designed pedal I have ever used. TC Electronics is a company that has much experience in the live stage market, and with that in mind, you can expect something that is a pleasure to use while on the stage.
The beautifully designed pedal features both preset and manual modes of functioning for quick and simple use on the stage, as well as a nicely designed tap tempo switch. The stomp-on-switches are very smooth to the touch, and are really easy to press, which is godsend to those who like to change their delay settings in real time with their hands. The unit can store up to 9 presets and they can be completely switched from the floor.
Standard features for a delay that were of course not forgotten are a delay knob, a feedback knob, and a mix knob. These standards are included here as is to be expected, but there are some really neat aspects on the way in which these were implemented. The delay knob for example stays set only on the middle position, while the amount that it is offset determines how quick the delay time is raised or lowered and once you have the setting you want you set it to the middle position. A button controls the type of delay that is being created, of which there are 6. These little details are not very important but are sure to enhance the experience using the pedal.
Unique to the Nova Delay and the grand beauty in its design are the Mod, and Color knobs. The Mod knob can provide some really interesting textures controlling the amount of modulation in the delay, while a Mod button allows the type of modulation to be changed. This is all absolutely genius, but it gets better with the inclusion of a Color knob which allows the pedal to sound like a tape echo delay, an analog delay, or a digital delay. The genius aspect of this is that the way this was implemented, allows you to get sounds that are in between, where as in other pedals you only have the three choices and that’s that.
Last but not least, the unit also has a subdivision button that can cut the delay time in a subdivision of the set time which can come in quite handy. The delay time can also be viewed in both ms, and bpm numbers. That’s not very important in my opinion, but I am sure there is no problem when it is an option. It has so many options, and yet is so easy to use. Definitely a must buy pedal for all delay fanatics.

Sound

The sound in this pedal is absolutely blissful. I am not referring to the many tonal options provided, but rather the ability for the delays to come out absolutely pristine, to the point that you may even call them clinical. I understand many may dislike this aspect in a delay pedal, while others love it. That’s why the color knob is such a beautiful addition. It can make the tone go anywhere from pristine and clinical to the lush thick sound of a tape delay.
Beyond the wonderful quality of its sound, it also features many tonal options as already mentioned. The mod types and the mod delay for example can provide some really interesting textures impossible with another setup as they only affect the repetitions and not the original notes. To top it all, it has 6 delay modes, and one of this is unique to TC. This is the dynamic delay which does some really interesting things with the volume of the repetitions. A beautiful sounding unit which makes creative tones a pleasure.

Reliability

Its pretty heavy, but that seems to be part of the engineering as it seems to have been made to last. It feels very solid.

Customer Support

Have not dealt with their customer support, but it seems they have a good reputation.

Review: Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Plus

July 1st, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Holy Grail Plus
$145

Design

A great design is something the guys at Electro Harmonix seem to have become masters of. They are consistently creating stompboxes that are not only incredibly simple to use, but which in spite of their simplicity pack a whole load of awesome tones. Fortunately, the Holy Grail is no exception, featuring only three knobs in their usual tank like durable container. It does not get any simpler than this, yet the control and range of tones possible is still pretty amazing.
The controls include a “Blend” knob, an “Amount” knob, and another knob which controls the type of reverb. The types of reverbs available are, the famous “spring” reverb, Hall Reverb, Room Reverb, and an odd sounding “Flerb.” The blend knob controls the mix of the reverb in contrast to the dry signal, while the amount controls the depth of it. With those two knobs you can get a wide range of different sounds which I will discuss in the sound section.
It’s simplicity is really beautiful for the sounds you can get out of it. Even when it’s off, with its True Bypass switching you can feel calm as your tone will be intact. Unfortunatelly, it was only close to perfect, as I can see people complain about it’s inability to use batteries.

Sound

“OMG…” Well yeah it really sounds that good. The spring mode is absolutely beautiful, with its thick yet clear shimmering tones. As much as I dislike putting thick and shimmering in the same description, I can’t see any other way in which to describe its sound. Shimmering sounds tend to be thin, but here the sound is really thick, and as it decays it just turns into a really nice shimmer bringing a new level of life to your clean tones. It gets most of this character when used through the amps FX loop where the reverberations come through more naturally. It works awesome with distortion as well, though to be honest if not set correctly it can make the sound mushy. Don’t let this scare you, however, as it can also beautify you lead tones.
One mode I see many people complain about is the flerb mode. In this mode, the holy grail does not sound like a reverb, but rather as some sort of modulation effect. I personally love the flerb mode because it is extremely unique. These modulations sound really cool when playing slow arpeggios with the guitar tone’s knob down creating cavernous creepy landscapes. I think this mode just requires some extra creativity from the artist as it sounds very odd, which then again is its best characteristic.
All the modes, are great in one way or another, but the spring mode alone makes the holy grail worth its price.

Reliability

Like usual its built like a tank; a really small tank, but one nonetheless. You probably seen me write this of another Electro Harmonix stompbox, but then again, most of their pedals share the same physical design.

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.

We need writers/editors

May 22nd, 2009 by Andres Gallo

I started this website which I love, to give others insight on various guitar related topics, and to provide my readers with reviews for equipment which they may buy. Things keep getting busier and busier lately, and I invite all of you who would like to write and help others with interesting articles to shoot me an email, and become one of guitarliving’s editors. If you are good with words, and want to write, help me keep this website running with power.

You may contact me through the form on the about me page.

Thank you.

Review: Electro Harmonix Signal Pad

April 30th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Signal Pad
$43

Design

In music, dynamics are a big part of what separates the outstanding from the rest. I love compositions that use lots of changes in volume and energy but always found it really hard to keep different volumes consistent with volume pedals. I thought the only solution would be a custom made stompbox; and then I learned of the Electro Harmonix Signal Pad.
The overall design is spectacular following the specs I had been looking for. Consisting of a volume knob, and a true bypass switch it gives me that extra volume preset I needed in a small package. Combined with another volume pedal, it gives me lots of volume options. Also important, and very nifty is that is does not need batteries, unless you want the indicator LED. Overall, a simple pedal which I am sure many could benefit from. Don’t be fooled…this pedal can do much more than just change the volume, especially on tube amps where the gain heavily affects the tone.

Sound

Used in the FX loop it will act similar to the amps volume knob, with little change in the tone, but much in the level of loudness. This is where I use it myself, however, in front of the amp it is a really unique and useful pedal, working just like the volume knob of the guitar, but with consistency in the volume preset. Because of this you can then have a clean, a dirty tone, and a heavier tone from just two channels, or an overdriven/distortion channel and a clean channel from a 1 channel amp. The dirty tones achieved from rolling down the volume are absolutely beautiful, and hough such tones can be done rolling down the volume on the guitar; it is pretty much impossible to get the same tone twice which is where the signal pad comes handy.
Definitely recommended to all sorts of tone freaks…there are few things more annoying the finding an awesome tone, and not being able to keep that tone consistently.

Reliability

Its built like a tank.. A really small tank, but one nonetheless.

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.

Review: Sonic Research Turbo Tuner ST200

March 27th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Turbo Tuner
$130

Design

When it comes to music, every musician knows how obviously important it is to sound good. Out of all the things that can make us sound bad, being “out of tune,” is perhaps the worst of evils, a musician can face during a performance or any event for that matter dealing with making music. With that said, I am sure most, if not all musicians, have used a tuner, then again not all tuners are equal; although it can seem like that at first.
This tuner for example stands out with it’s strobe display, true bypass, and insane accuracy. Being one of the few strobe tuners, the display response is incredibly fast and accurate, aiding for quick reliable tunings. I want to emphasize that I say incredibly fast, I mean incredibly fast. There are some videos of it live here in the internet; check them out to see what I mean. At +/-0.02 cents of accuracy, not only it is the most accurate compact tuner in the planet, but at 5 times the accuracy of the Peterson StroboStomp tuner, it might be the most accurate tuner period.
Although not the only stompbox tuner in the market, what I found most attractive amongst its many features is that it is true bypass. But I will discuss more about that in the sound section. It’s other features include factory preset tunings, and user defined preset tunings with up to 5 strings, a reference pitch that may be set anywhere from 300Hz to 599Hz, in 0.1Hz increments, and a muted out (when the unit is on). Most of those are features I don’t use, and I think most musicians probably won’t either, but I thought they are worth mentioning.

Sound

Since it is a tuner, there is not much I can say about what it does to the sound. Bringing the instruments to glorious harmony, or in other words in tune, helps the instrument sound more musical. Then again I could say that about other tuners. Although the accuracy is indeed superior, it is inaudible to my ears if compared to the competing tuners. The big plus on the sound here, however, and in my opinion the coolest feature here is its true bypass. There is nothing worst than a pedal eating your tone when it’s off, which makes true bypass godsend, as it will keep your tone heaven just how it should be.

Reliability

Physically this tuner is built like a tank. It’s definitely constructed to last. Furthermore, it is a very reliable tuner. When the strings are shown to be almost in tune, other tuners will show the strings as being in tune. It can get your instrument really in tune, which is really good, especially for techs and luthiers who need such precision for intonating and such. Overall, very reliable.

Customer Support

Have not dealt with their customer support so far.

Show us your guitar pedals, or your whole pedalboard

March 22nd, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Post an image or comment of you pedals or your entire pedal board.

The rules are simple. Show off you gear, and leave a comment if you’d like. As you leave comments let me know which pedalboards, or FX posted you guys like best. Once there are many pictures, I will move the images of the effects/pedalboards you guys like best into the main section of the article. After all, people like me love to see what pedals are out there, and what others are using for their sound. Me and some of my friends are always hungry for new sounds and pedals, and I am sure I will see some new pedals here.

Instructions.

At the bottom of this article’s page, is the textbox for comments. Right under it, is a button to upload images. Click on the “add image to comment button,” write the URL/link of the image in the pop up, and press “ok”. Submit the comment and the image should be uploaded.
Just in case, you can upload the image to the website http://imageshack.us/ and there you can copy and past the direct link which is what you will put in the comment.

Show us your sound.

New sonic bliss: Paulina Logan

March 21st, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Paulina Logan

Photo by Lori Laube

With influences like Jewel, and Norah Jones; Paulina Logan, a new California based artist, writes and performs music that packs lots of emotion. When I say a lot of emotion, I mean, I got goosebumps upon first hearing her voice on the track “lovely.” Complemented with some beautiful guitar harmonies, the lyrics are deep, and her voice perfectly expresses the emotion of her songs to the point where they can almost be felt. The lyrical message, and it’s music as a whole, supports the same message, creating a story, or a sort of sonic map. Other great examples of this, are the songs “Write you a song,” which creates and expresses a melancholic atmosphere, “Road Trip,” with its story like shifting ranges in tone, or “Sorry,” with it’s more uplifting tonality. Overall, a great aspect that creates a great deal of expression.
Another aspect I found intriguing upon listening to many of her tracks, is the sonic immersion the listeners will experience listening to the instrumental arrangements. Listening to the track “Disturbing behavior,” of her Wallflower album, I felt an euphoric feel of immersion into those great sounds; perhaps due the openness of the sounds. This is further helped with the quality of production, where all the little details show up clearly, decorating the sound for a very pleasant listening experience. Although different from pink floyd, and such, it reminds me of that feeling I get listening to their music. There are many small details, that help create some sort of sonic atmosphere.
Also worth noting, Paulina Logan’s albums show great variety in her songs, displaying great songwriting across various aspects of the genre. As previously mentioned, the songs range from slow and soothing, to pure rockin’. “Shut the door,” one of her more “overdriven” tracks, has a very punchy rocking sound, which many will probably associate with the 80s. It includes some really catchy galloping riffery, once again led by her smooth, unique voice. Paulina Logan is definitely one of the most intriguing songwriters I have heard as of late.
Be sure to check her out at www.myspace.com/paulinalogan
or at http://www.paulinalogan.com/

Review:Electro Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress

March 13th, 2009 by Andres Gallo

Stereo Electric Mistress
$120

Design

Like the other Electro Harmonix effects, the Stereo Electric Mistress gives musicians a huge range of gorgeous tones, in an insanely simple and intuitive package. With that said, I think the design is great. With only three knobs, many different sorts of tones can be found, and more impressively is that the quality of the tones is very warm, and far from digital.
Most of you already know that this “flanger pedal”, also includes a chorus effect. The great thing about the implementation of these, is that here both effects run in parallel. This is something that is not possible using a separate pedal for the chorus, and one for the flanger. Having the effects run in parallel means that they are both blended together creating a much warmer, yet more defined mix. Instead of having the flanger run into the chorus or vice-versa, the effects are blended together. I also believe it is the only retail pedal in the market that has this feature.
My favorite feature and the last thing I discovered about the Stereo Electric Mistress is the filter matrix knob. While knob is literally the RATE knob, it’s function changes to a filter when its position is anywhere from all the way counter clockwise to a 10 O-clock position. This filter is awesome. It will freeze the sweep of the flange in a fixed position, so you don’t get that ever changing sweep that makes a flanger a flanger. Beyond 10-Oclock, on the other hand, the knob will control the rate of the sweep. Interestingly enough, the LED will change colors in accordance to the sweep. I know my tone is about right if the LED is yellow while on filter matrix mode.
The other two knobs, as obviously labeled, serve to control the depth of the flange and chorus effects. All in all, the Stereo Electric Mistress is very simple to use, without lacking in tones. Using it in stereo especially, it sounds completely amazing. The stereo is beautiful and gives the sound lots of body as the sweep pans between the two channels.
It isn’t a perfect pedal however. I mentioned I love the stereo outputs, but it lacks a second input for stereo. This means there is no way send another pedal’s stereo signal to it.

Sound

The Electric Mistress is known for being one of the musical flangers, where most sound overwhelmingly alien-like. With lots of transparency and tonal options it is definitely a must have modulation effect. The flanger itself is that famous Mistress tone, that shimmers, and yet unlike other flangers leave your tone thick and lush. Most flangers I have tried sound very, very different, and perhaps overly metallic. The chorus effect, is very good, and lush. The sweep which can be frozen has a huge range, and its beautiful when it creates those sweet flanger shimmering harmonics. The real beauty, however, comes in when both chorus and flanger are blended together. The sound achieved this way is very unique. The sound is very liquidy, but highly defined. It nails those classic tones from David Gilmour, and The Police, which are after all know for their use of the Electric Mistress.

Reliability

Construction is top notch. I don’t see this pedal breaking any time soon.

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.

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