Mojohand Fx Superlative Demo Video

gear demo, tone recipes

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you (not literally) the Mojohand FX Superlative. It’s meant to give you the sound, feel and response of the old Supro amps from days past. These little amps were small, lightweight, and often housed in cheap chipboard combo cabs but they sounded surprisingly cool. Tons of mojo for not a ton of cash.

If you want that sound, the Superlative is the best version out there, hands down.

Signal chain: Fender Custom Shop ’62 Relic, TC Electronic Shaker Mini (not on all the time), Mojohand FX Magistrate (not on all the time), Superlative, Strymon El Capistan, Analog Outfitters “The Road” amplifier.

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Two-Rock Sensor 35, “Fingerprints”

gear demo
feelsLikeMusic

Here’s the third of 3 video love letters I’ve made for the Two-Rock Sensor 35 head and 1×12 cabinet.

The guitar here is a Fender Custom Shop Heavy Relic ’62 strat. It’s going straight into the front of the Sensor and I have a Strymon El Capistan in the loop for some light delay and reverb.

More information on Two Rock’s site.

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Two-Rock Sensor, “Your Style, Amplified”

gear demo
feelsLikeMusic

Here’s the second of 3 video love letters I’ve made for the Two-Rock Sensor 35 head and 1×12 cabinet. This one is just meant to show some of the various styles one could use the Sensor for.

The guitars here are a Les Paul Standard, a Fender Richie Kotzen telecaster, a Fender American Special telecaster and a Tom Anderson Raven with silent P90 (PQ) pickups. All guitars are going straight into the front of the Sensor and I have a Strymon El Capistan in the loop for some light delay and reverb.

More information on Two Rock’s site.

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Two Rock Sensor 35 video “It Feels Like Music”

gear demo
feelsLikeMusic

I have played a ton of gear over the years, some notable and some forgettable. Every now and then, a piece of gear comes into the fold that is a game-changer. The first time I demoed the Two Rock Sensor 35, it shook me up. I loved how sweetly transparent it is and the word that kept coming to mind is “musical.” It’s such a musical amp that it feels like a living, breathing, resonant instrument unto itself.

Many thanks to some of my local musician friends: Chad Reisser, Jordan and Danny Santamarina, Kenny Echizen, Mike Lee, Zack Mathers and Thomas Drayton.

The signal chain is an American Standard strat with Seymour Duncan YJM Fury pickups into the Two Rock Sensor 35 and there is a Strymon El Capistan in the FX loop for some reverb and delay.

More information on Two Rock’s site.

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New Videos! (FINALLY)

gear demo
cinema

Hello, tone tasters. I have been around the nation 10 times and am just settling down for a little break from the road. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been crazy busy!

Here are a handful of videos that I’ve either thrown together or been hired to work on. Enjoy! And don’t mind the occasional blue note- that’s part of my sound. ha!

I’m eternally grateful to Brad at MojoHand FX and the gang at Premiere Builders Guild, especially Two-Rock and Tone King amplifiers.

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Reader Questions: The U2 Sound

technical
U2
U2

Photo: GQ Magazine

Hi there. This is full of very useful information and you sound very knowledgeable. I have quite specific aims in that I am in a U2 tribute. I am rebuilding my rig as I think I had my delays in the wrong place. In any case I’m not happy with them and they are crucial to the U2 sound. I am trying to decide what to put into the send-return loop of my AC30 and where to put the delays. A number of U2 songs require two delays and I think the Edge runs two different delays to two amps (excuse my ignorance, is this what ‘in parallel’ means?). I do have facility to do this with a Fender Tweed second amp.

To come to the point, most of what I have read here and elsewhere suggests that I should not put my delays before the overdrive pedals as this will drain the tone. However, I appear to be dealing with an exceptional case here as another site said : “The Edge from U2 has been running delay pedals into the front of a Vox AC30 amp for much of his career with great results.” So I’m very confused. Any idea what should be in the loop and what into the main AC30/Fender inputs? And, crucially, where is best for the delays? I have the following:
Distortions – OD2, Big Muff, Ibanez tubescreamer
Digitech Whammy
Tremolo
Verbzilla (for shimmer)
Compression – CS3
Rack Delays – 2 x Korg SDD2000; Korg A3
Pedal delay – Memory Man

Many thanks indeed if you can clear the fog.
Matthew

Hi Matthew! For starters, thank you for the kind words. While I may sound knowledgeable today, there was a time when I was learning these things just like yourself. I’m thankful that I had my own version of The Tone Chef to go get answers.

You are correct, the creative use of delays is the signature of The Edge and the U2 sound. Whether or not they go in the loop is the big question, though. It is correct that most of the time, delays should go AFTER overdrive or distortion because they sound splatty in front of them. The AC30 has the ability to get pretty aggressive when you turn it all the way up, but within the U2 context, they’re mostly run at what people call “edge of breakup”, which means that if you ease up on the picking hand or roll the volume knob on the guitar back a bit, they clean up. The opposite is also true; when you dig in and pick more aggressively, they break up and drive more.

Because the amps are set at a cleanish setting, delays into the front end are going to sound fine. When songs call for heavier distortion or fuzz, those effects are in line before the delays.

And, yes, you are correct that The Edge has used the SDD3000 straight into the amp, and the unit itself has a boost that allows him to hit the front of the amp even harder and drive it more.

In your effects collection above, I’d suggest running them exactly like you have them listed, except I’d move the compressor between the Whammy and tremelo. That way it still functions as a solo boost without affecting the natural decay of the shimmer verb trail. Any of those delays work well at the end of your chain, and it certainly creates a more spacious stereo field if you run two amps at once, especially if they are set to different delay times (like one amp with a quarter note delay and the other with the famous dotted eighth).

Also, to address your question about what “parallel” means, normally when people refer to something being parallel in an audio signal, it means to go through two separate audio paths at the same time, but then to come back together. For instance, you could run an A/B/Y box at the front of your signal chain and have the A output go to a compressor, a chorus, and a reverb and then into the left input of a delay pedal with stereo inputs and outputs. Then you could have the B output go through an overdrive pedal and a noise suppressor pedal and then into the Right input of the delay pedal with stereo ins and outs. From that A/B/Y box, you could select, path A (which is a LA-style studio clean sound) or path B (which is an overdrive sound). If you selected the Y (or both), it would run through both audio paths and then join again in the delay pedal. Technically, some delay pedals keep true stereo paths from input to output, so if you then went out of the mono output of the delay, it would sum the stereo inputs to a single, mono output and then your board would offer a true parallel path if you used the Y or both option on the A/B/Y box.

It’s probably more than you’d want to know, but I found a very cool page that approaches The Edge’s guitar sounds like a science project. It might help you out. http://www.amnesta.net/edge_delay/

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The Startup Musician Podcast

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startupMusicianheader

startupMusicianheader
The Startup Musician started doing a series of podcasts and I’m excited to share that I was the first one. If you’ve ever wondered what I sound like, well, here’s your chance. I use lots of air quotes while talking, so… there’s that.

Anyway, the link to the podcast is here, and while you’re over at The Startup Musician, browse around a bit. It’s a cool site with some great information.

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MojoHand FX Speakeasy Boost

gear demo
speakeasy

I think I have finally discovered my 3-pedal Desert Island Signal Chain, and all are MojoHandFx stuff. The Bluebonnet OD is a simple and dark OD, the Crosstown Fuzz is Brad’s modified Fuzz Face circuit, and for a solo boost/sweetener, it’s the Speakeasy. I prefer it with the tone and gain maxed out for extra bite and clarity and the toggle in the down position for the most fullness. But I’ve got a half dozen boost pedals on my pedal shelf and none of them give me the giggles like this one does.

I’ve said this before, but MojoHand is one of the only companies whose pedals I will pay full price for and would do so without hearing them first. Brad’s stuff is top of the heap.

Here’s the Speakeasy with those other two pedals I mentioned.

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How to Choose the Right Guitar Pick

technical
Picture of a V-Pick Medium Lite

As tone aficionados, we try to make sure that we have the right guitars, amps and stompboxes. But we often overlook some of the less sexy ingredients in the signal chain that can make just as much of an improvement as the right guitar.

It’s all in the Pick
The first order of business is to pay attention to what kind of pick you’re using. I have been the player who collects picks right and left, and just wants to have to the ones with the cool pictures on them and I have been the player who can ONLY use his ONE tried and true “lucky” pick. These days, I find myself in the middle of those two. I have found a company that makes a pick that I love, and I make sure that I keep extras with me everywhere I play.

A few years ago, I assumed that the secret to Eric Johnson’s playing was his Dunlop Jazz III picks, and so I swore off every pick in my collection in favor of those little red magic guitar picks. picture of a dunlop jazz III pick

Then I was on Long Island in NY for a gig and I discovered these great picks made by Cool Picks with a kind of grip tape on them so that they wouldn’t slip out of my hand. Those were roughly the same shape as the Jazz III, but they were slightly larger and felt more sturdy. picture of a Cool Pick

After that, my friend, Bryan Kehoe from Dunlop sent me a grip load of these pointy little wonders called the Ultex Sharp. Those were awesome, and made me feel like I was Lincoln Brewster (who surprisingly uses a thinner guitar pick). picture of a Dunlop Ultex Sharp pick

Finally, I’ve landed on a pick that really feels and sounds great, thanks to my friend, Kenny, who uses the same ones. If you haven’t ever tried one, you owe it to yourself to contact V-Picks in Nashville and order a sample pack. These are made of rigid plastic that looks like plexiglass and they come in a TON of different shapes and sizes. Picture of a V-Pick Medium Lite

Keep in mind, what works for one person may not work for another. I’d encourage you to look for your own favorite kinds of picks.

How to Find YOUR Pick
For starters, I always drop the guitar picks on the glass counter of the music store when I’m looking at new ones. These days, picks come in so many different materials, and each one contributes its own personality as it strikes the guitar string. You can get a hint at how it sounds when it strikes the string by how it sounds when it lands on the music store counter. For instance, I’ve found some carbon fiber picks and when you drop those on the counter, they sound like little pieces of glass. Because of that, they chirp a little when they meet the string while you’re playing. By contrast, there are also picks made of nylon and when I drop those on the counter, they make almost no sound at all. Because of that lack of “chirp”, they meet the string with more of a “foop” or a “thud” sound.

It seems like we are splitting hairs here, but if you’re playing a strat through a Fender blackface-voiced amp, a pick that adds “chirp” to the string attach can add too much strident top end. But if you are playing a Les Paul through a Marshall, adding a little bit of chirp on the attack can bring out some of the articulation and clarity of your single note lines.

If you’re serious about sounding better, every link in the chain matters. But don’t forget to have fun with this part of the tone quest. Finding the right pick can unlock new techniques and playing styles in your playing.

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Eventide H9 “Dark Matter” video

gear demo, philosophy of tone, technical, tone recipes

For my birthday last month, my wife surprised me with the Eventide H9, and I could not be happier. This particular patch is Factory Preset #33, “Dark Matter”.

Enjoy!

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