Benn Jordan doesn’t actually tell you everything you need to know about MIDI guitar, though he gives you a fair introduction. But he pulls no punches in his review of the Boss SY-1000. His dismay at the presets is more understandable when, later in the review, you get to hear his own presets, which, unlike he Boss ones, sound more like something you might have heard in the last 20 years, and harness the emotive potential of synthesis in a way that the Boss presets fail to do.
I have been using ZT amps for well over a decade. When I was living in Manhattan, their Lunchbox was a godsend, allowing me to take the subway to gigs, avoiding traffic and parking issues. Now in Nashville, I still use the Lunchbox for living room rehearsals with a country band (Including drums). I have also done a couple of house concerts using two Lunchbox amps as a stereo PA for my “guitar-through-laptop-ambient-excursions.” So, I was excited to try out the new Lee Ranaldo Club.
Sometimes it takes great modern players to demonstrate new ways in which the electric guitar can be used to creatively enhance the song form: Belew/Fripp in King Crimson, David Torn with David Bowie, Stian Westerhus with his band Pale Horses, and now Markus Schneider on his new record Widerspruch, where he intones evocative vocals over glitchy guitar. This Viennese guitarist contacted me and I checked out some live videos, where his cool Hofner immediately caught my eye. I decided an interview was in order.
I am aware that “ultimate” is like “unique.” Something either is or it isn’t in both cases, making “third ultimate” ridiculous. I just like having fun with the click bait concept. Also apologies to the manufacturers of the pedals for taking so long—life intervenes.
This roundup leans heavily on classic, less extreme fuzz, though with three octave fuzz boxes in the mix there are plenty of strange sounds available. This time we tackle two multi-sound EarthQuaker units, two Electro-Harmonix pedals, and one each from Crazy Tube Circuits, Keeley, Joe Gore, JHS, MXR, and Fender.
When I first got my Squier J. Mascis Jazzmaster, I was enamored with the power and midrange of its P-90 sounding pickups. They were warm, fat and drove amps and pedals beautifully. The bloom went off the rose, however, after one gig where I was unable to get the kind of clean country twang I sought, and another where the noisiness of these high-powered single-coils became problematic. Investigating the noiseless options I came across a Brett Kingman video where he demoed some Kinman pickups. I thought I would give them a go.