December 21st 2014 | Posted in Reviews | 0 Comments
Overdrive has always been the staple of the guitar sound. Whether you pin a hole in your speaker, crank the tubes or use pedals, overdrive makes your guitar come alive and make it the expressive instrument it is. The large orange coloured pedal was one of the first to hit the market over forty years ago and it’s heard on countless classic albums. I recently got my hands on the Overdriver from Vick Audio. Here’s my review.
When I first started to explore David Gilmour’s tones I knew there was something missing. I had pretty much everything nailed but there was one tone that I could quite get right. I spent years figuring out what this pedal was and after much research the secret was finally revealed. Then, in early 2005 I visited Macari’s in London and saw that orange pedal lying behind the counter. I bought it (it cost £85… imagine that!) and I’ve been in love ever since. I’m of course talking about the Colorsound Powerbooster.
The Powerboost was introduced in 1968 but when the American’s first saw it in the early 70s they apparently didn’t care much for the colour. The pedal was rehoused and called Overdriver. Same pedal. Same tone. The Overdriver from Vick Audio is based on the same classic design.
The Overdriver feature controls for bass, treble, gain and a much handy master, which allows you to crank it without blowing any windows. It’s got a bright led, true bypass switching and it runs on 9V battery or adapter.
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December 11th 2014 | Posted in David's Gear Feature Guides | 21 Comments
Although The Endless River is an unusual album in the Floyd catalog it sure is filled with many beautiful moments and great guitar playing. It’s an interesting peak into the recording of an album and we also get to hear how David’s experimenting with his tones and trying out new gear. In this feature we’ll analyse his setup and I’ll also try to share some tips on how you can achieve the same tones.
The majority of The Endless River was recorded in 1993. Mainly at Olympia Studios and Astoria in London. Pink Floyd had started writing for a new album but more important, the sessions started out with the band trying to find its form and like in the old days they would spend days just jamming. This is what we hear on Endless River. The material dates from these early sessions where no songs had taken any form or structure. At least not in the sense of how we know them from Division Bell.
A return to stompboxes
David is experimenting with his tones but as we can hear on the album he’s really focusing more on the playing and trying to come up with interesting bits and pieces rather than cranking out heavy Muff tones. These came later, when the songs started to form into songs and guitar solos were ready to be recorded.
Continue reading “Setting up your Endless River guitar tones”
November 17th 2014 | Posted in David's Gear | Comments Closed
Here it is! The guide to all of the guitars, amps and effects employed by David Gilmour on Pink Floyd’s new album The Endless River. Stretching all the way back to early 1993 the guide covers all sessions from Britannia Row, Astoria and Olympic Studio up to the recent work laid down in David’s new Medina studio.
Footage from the 1993 sessions reveals an elaborate setup consisting of a stereo amp rig and a large pedal collection, including the reuse of several old Pete Cornish boards. The sessions marks a clear return to classic tones from the WYWH-Wall era in particular. The Endless River mainly consist of material recorded early in the process of writing what later ended up as Division Bell. David’s tones are mostly on the milder side and often experimental. Far from the whole rig is featured on the album but it gives a unique peak into what went on in the studio.
Recent footage also shows much of David’s new recording studio Medina, located in Hove, UK. The studio is packed with gear and most of it pretty unusual for David. Although a substantial part of the guitars heard on Endless River were recorded here in 2013 and early 2014 it is not documented what gear he employed on those sessions. I have therefore left out much of the gear and focused on what we with certainty can confirm.
The guide is open for comments so please direct your questions there.
THE ENDLESS RIVER GEAR GUIDE >>
October 6th 2014 | Posted in Reviews | 22 Comments
Fuzz pedals comes in all shapes and sizes these days and while some offer a take on one of the original late 60s circuits, others delivers something different and new. The Millie Fuzz from 6 Degrees FX is just that. Here’s my review.
It’s only recently, during the last few years, that I’ve really come to appreciate the fuzz pedal. I’m not talking about distortion nor Big Muffs, but the old classic fuzz. Whether it’s germanium or silicon based, those old circuits produce a timeless tone and once you really get to know them you realise how versatile they really are.
Fuzz pedals are as fashionable as ever. Especially with the explosion of boutique builders and clone makers. What’s interesting these days though is that many go beyond the classic circuit and modifies it into something completely different. The Millie Fuzz is based on a Fuzz Face but sort of blended with a Big Muff, which gives it a completely unique character and tone.
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September 23rd 2014 | Posted in Airbag My Gear News | Comments Closed
As I’m sure most of you are aware by now, I’m releasing my debut solo album, Lullabies in a Car Crash, on November 3rd. It’s now possible to pre-order the album over at my personal web site bjornriis.com. All pre-orders will be signed so hurry up!
The album will be available as a CD presented in digisleeve/vinyl replica and a luxurious double 180g vinyl.
The album feature songs that I’ve written over the past 12 months. It’s not a huge departure from the Airbag sound but rather a chance for me to explore different musical directions and perhaps do things that wouldn’t have fitted into the Airbag format. It’s a very personal album for me, on many levels. The lyrics deals with loss, alienation and fear of abandonment and the music is very a tribute to many of my influences, including Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Black Sabbath, film music and ambient.
I’m very proud of how it all turned out and I think it will be something for the guitar nerd to appreciate as well! I’ve done lots of cool things that I’ll cover in later features but it’s really been a great experience both writing and recording guitars for this album. There’s stuff on that goes right back to my early days of learning Sabbath riff in my bedroom to more intricate experimenting with different effects and techniques.
September 12th 2014 | Posted in Reviews | 13 Comments
Muffs and fuzz are cool but sometimes you just want to plug into a pedal that deliver classic tube amp like distortion no matter what. I’ve always been a huge fan of the timeless tones based on the LM308 chip. Arc Effects recently released the Soothsayer – their take on the old classic. Naturally, I had to check it out. Here’s my review.
The classic distortion we’re talking about is of course the RAT. The pedal first appeared in the late 70s and together with the Tube Screamer, they marked a new era for distortions and overdrives. These pedals were designed to emulate the tone of a cranked tube amp and gave the guitarist an opportunity to get these tones on smaller amps and without the hassle of moody and sometimes unreliable tubes.
The Arc Effects Soothsayer is housed in a TRex-sized casing, with controls for tone (clockwise), volume and gain, true bypass switching and a bright stage ready led. The pedal also feature a 3-way toggle switch for different clipping stages: led, open and boutique. An internal trim pot also allows you to switch between high or low gain mode. Kind of like alternating between a Tube Screamer and RAT.
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August 31st 2014 | Posted in Feature Guides | 35 Comments
Most of us spend a great deal of time playing guitar in either a bedroom or a small home recording studio. Limited space, grumpy neighbours and a patient family makes it hard to really crank that amp. Still, we all want a big and fat tone that has all the qualities of playing on a loud stack. In this feature I’ll share some of my tricks for getting great tones at bedroom levels.
My home recording studio is a typically bedroom-sized room equipped with a few low wattage amps. I have a couple of smaller tube amps that serve the purpose of both practice and recording (although most of my live guitars are recorded in our rehearsal studio). I’ve experimented a lot over the years and found ways to achieve a big tone on low wattage and volume.
So what is a big tone? What do we want to achieve on a smaller amp? Well, personally I want the same full bodied character I get when I drive my Reeves Custom 50w really hard (see a detailed run-down of my rigs here). I want the sound of glowing hot tubes on the very edge of breakup and speakers pushing air. This makes my guitars and pedals sound fatter, warmer and more compressed but it also makes my ears adjust, trying to even out those transients and focusing on to the mids. This can’t be achieved on low volume alone so we need to compensate and simulate it.
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