October 6th 2014 | Posted in Reviews | 13 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 | 8 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 | 27 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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August 23rd 2014 | Posted in Big Muff Reviews | 24 Comments
My first Big Muff was a bubble font green Sovtek. I still got it and nothing beats that larger than life, thunderous tone. Still, I’ve always preferred the ram’s head. There’s something about that tone. I recently came across the 73 Ram’s Head from Vick Audio and been eager to check it out. Here’s my review.
I’ve lost count over how many Big Muff clones I’ve tested and played over the years. It seems that everyone making pedals are offering one. No wonder really, given the fact that it’s one of the most popular fuzz pedals. Still, I would imagine that the more Muff clones there are out there the harder it gets to be noticed. Unless you got something really special to offer.
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July 23rd 2014 | Posted in Feature Guides | 33 Comments
What is a sweepspot? The term is often used by musicians and engineers but what does it really mean? Is it just a hype? In this feature we’ll examine the myth and look at different ways to locate and achieve the sweetspot in different situations and environments.
The sweetspot is very real. However, it’s not something physical and concrete that resides within your rig. Simply put, the sweetspot is achieved when you think your guitar, pedals and amp, either alone or combined, sound their best. It’s subjective and it means different things to different musicians. Ultimately, only your ears can be the judge.
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I can give you a valuable tip on how to get the most out of your tube amp or any other piece of your rig. To make the tubes sing a bit more and to really get that fat attack that will define your tone. It’s the fine nuances when you tweak the amp. However, plug your guitar into the amp with a faulty cable and old rusty strings and the tip you got won’t make much of a difference. The sweetspot can be isolated to “should the treble be set to 5 or 4.7?” but for that tiny little tweak to have any impact at all, you need to consider each part of your rig.
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July 8th 2014 | Posted in News | 32 Comments
Pink Floyd has surprised us all and announced a brand new album for release October 2014! The album, titled The Endless River, is said to feature material dating back to the 1993/94 Division Bell sessions featuring David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Richard Wright. Few details have been revealed but it seems like we’re in for a treat!
A confusing tweet from David’s wife, Polly, caused a lot of stir in social media last saturday. The tweet said “Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called “The Endless River”. Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swan song and very beautiful.” Whether or not this was a mistake against the will of the record company or a deliberate first step in what I’m sure is a massive marketing campaign is hard to tell (I’m pretty sure it’s the latter) but it didn’t take many hours before the news were all over the net.
Former Pink Floyd backing singer Durga McBroom tweeted shortly after confirming Polly’s news and even commented on a picture released earlier this year, which everyone thought was from David Gilmour’s forthcoming solo album. It seems that The Endless River will not only be a remix of the old sessions, which are said to be mostly ambient instrumental music, but it will also feature newly recorded music.
Continue reading “New Pink Floyd album announced!”