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21, August 18, ly Ju , 23 ne Ju , 19 ay M , 21 tles internationally February 17, March 17, April ti t rs fi e th of e on be l il LA in January and w in M M A N at l report in February. ia be ec so sp al a l h il it w ow Muso w sh e released at the trad to cover the latest gear




ell the Mayans got it wrong ... either that or our interpretation of their calendar predicting the end of the world on December 7 was incorrect. Anyway, we’re all free to live another day, another gig, another lug in and out, another set of strings, another look at that pedal or guitar you’ve had your eyes on. May as well go for it now; after all you thought you wouldn’t be around. You’ve got a new lease of life make it a musical one. Tame Impala have been making the most of their musical life, traveling the globe appearing on television shows in the UK and America and playing to adoring crowds. They even won respected UK magazine NME’s annual poll for world’s best album. Now they return to Australia to play to home crowds who haven’t seen them in headline mode for a couple of years. What a way to end the year! Muso caught up with Tama Impala main man Kevin Parker to chat about the band’s whirlwind journey. Then there’s our interview with alt thinker and guitar virtuoso Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Le Butcherettes singer Teri Gender Bender about their new band Bosnian Rainbows. Very much like Prince in the way he churns out creative material, Omar places greater importance in the creative process than the end result. In fact, as he discusses in our interview at the band’s Melbourne sound check, a lot of the time he will just shelve finished projects, placing no pressure on himself to ever release them. If you download the iPad version of Muso, which you will find inside one of the SPA title apps, you can view footage of the interview and Corner gig. Speaking of thoughts, Warner Music came up with a great one when they decided to release a local version of Lenny Kaye’s (rock scribe and Patti Smith guitarist) Nuggets album. Nuggets is a compilation of obscure psychedelic, garage rock tracks from the ‘60s. Warner has not only just released a compilation of Australian psy-garage tracks from the ‘60s but also put together a companion piece on which current Australian rock bands do covers of songs which appeared on Kaye’s original Nuggets album. As we love to do at Muso, we catch up with not one but two bands in the studio. Muso witnesses Something With Numbers and Melbourne Ska Orchestra as they complete songs, mould material and get it down on tape. Also in this issue, we introduce a DJ section. Those much maligned DJs are creative types too! We introduce you to two new artists, Nigel Wearne and Joel Havea, and of course we bring you a truckload of new gear to investigate. It’s all inside this issue of Muso ... digest it now, but leave room for your Christmas pudding!


CREDITS MUSO. ISSUE 4 - DECEMBER 2012 PH: 03 9421 4499 FAX: 03 9421 1011 ADDRESS: 584 Nicholson St Nth Fitzroy 3068 WEBSITE: EDITOR: Greg Phillips DISTRIBUTION ENQUIRIES: LAYOUT & DESIGN: Matt Davis IPAD EDITION: Dave Harvey CONTRIBUTORS: Reza Nasseri, Nyssa Bradsworth, Shannon Bourne, Baz Bardoe, Sean Pollard, Michael Smith, Chris Wilson, Barry Gilmour, Paul Dengate, Scott Cherry. PHOTOGRAPHER: Elaine Reyes (cover pic) PRINTED BY: Rural Press Published by Street Press Australia PTY LTD

The new single, She’s My Baby, from Melbourne four-piece Kingswood, was recorded at Woodstock Studios in east St Kilda by inhouse (and the band’s live) engineer Cam Trewin and mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, The Sheepdogs) at Magic Garden Mastering in Columbus, Ohio. American singersongwriter Willy Mason recorded his third album, Carry On, in a small South London studio with its owner, producer Dan Carey (Bats For Lashes, Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand). Former American Music Club mainman Mark Eitzel recorded his seventh solo album, Don’t Be A Stranger, with coproducer Sheldon Gomberg at The Carriage House in Los Angeles. The new album, The Other Side, from regular Canadian visitor Tim Chaisson, was recorded at The Woodshed Studio in Toronto, which is owned and operated by renowned Canadian band Blue Rodeo, under the guidance of producer Colin Linden (Bruce Cockburn, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Lucinda Williams). Former Jam/Stiff Little Fingers bass player Bruce Foxton has finally got around to cutting his second album, Back In The Room, nearly 30 years after his first, recording it at his old offsider Paul Weller’s Black Barn Studios, Weller playing on three tracks. Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen coproduced his latest album, Sunken Condos, with Michael Leonhart, recording at Candyland, Hirsch Studios, Sear Sound, Avatar, Audio Paint, Stratosphere and Pat Dillett’s studio. Fade, the new album from Yo La Tengo, was recorded with John McEntire (Bright Eyes, Stereolab, Teenage Fanclub ) at Soma Studios in Chicago.

Ellaways Music will be setting a new trend this year by having their January sale pre-Christmas. Their ‘Pre-Christmas Mega Sale’ will run for 12 days, from 13th until 24th December at their Kedron and Underwood stores. The sale will be on new and pre-loved guitars, brass, woodwind, amps, PA equipment, drums and various other instruments. When asked specifically why the January sale would be advanced, Kedron Store Manager, Anthony Beveridge, said “At Ellaways Music we’ve always tried to remain as relevant as possible to our customers. Next year we will have been in business for fifty years, and as retailers seen some ups and downs. This year, given many are doing it tough, with increased costs, we thought it made sense to bring the January sale forward to Christmas and give our customers a treat.” Musicians can expect to see a great selection of products from Ibanez, Fender, Gibson, Takamine, Maton, Roland, Lag, Gretsch, Drum Craft, Yamaha and many more at heavily reduced prices. “There is over $1 million worth of stock to clear and there will be unprecedented discounts,” said Anthony. “Across some lines we have seventy per cent off the recommended retail price.”

GALLIN BUYS ALLANS + BILLY HYDES The fall of Allans + Billy Hydes sent the music gear industry into a spin this year, but it seems it’s all falling into place again with most of the former AMG wholesale brands finding a new home and now Con Gallin acquiring the Billy Hydes name… and hopefully securing work for many of those whose future seemed uncertain leading up to Christmas. It was announced on November 28th that Mr. Gallin had negotiated with the receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, for the purchase of the bulk of the Allans Music and Billy Hyde assets, including the trading names Allans Music and Billy Hyde, Allans Billy Hyde, Australian Music Group, Musiclink and Intermusic, together with their associated domain names and websites. Mr. Gallin also confirmed that the flagship stores at Southport (Qld), Sydney, Alexandria, Parramatta (all NSW), Adelaide (SA) and Blackburn and Bourke Street, Melbourne (Vic) will continue to trade. Mr. Gallin also confirmed that the majority of the staff currently working in these stores will remain. The current liquidation sale taking place in the Allans Billy Hyde stores will continue with AMI/Gallin’s adding additional stock from their warehouse and suppliers to give consumers additional discounted items right in time for Christmas.


A SET OF AUDIO TECHNICA HEADPHONES The folks at Audio Technica had named this year The Year of the Headphone and to celebrate released a swag of quality phones for all occasions. Muso has two pair on offer; a set of Premium Open Back ADX700s (RRP $295) for professional use and the more fashion orientated WS77 on-ear phones (RRP $99.95).

AT PREMIUM OPEN BACK AD SERIES Usually in the studio closed-back headphones are used for monitoring purposes. However OPEN-Back headphones are also great for bands and DJs when mixing too.


These on-ear headphones feature interchangeable coloured discs, flat cables and wind-up mechanism.


For your chance to win a set of phones, a T-shirt and stickers, simply email Muso at: greg@ and leave your details.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds recorded their new album, Push the Sky Away, to be released in February, at La Fabrique, a studio based in a 19th Century mansion in the South of France, with producer Nick Launay (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, Grinderman, The Living End). Bernard Fanning is currently in Los Angeles finally recording his second album, the followup to his incredibly successful debut, Tea & Sympathy, which he promises will be nothing like that album, with producer Joe Chiccarelli. Biffy Clyro release their new album, Opposites, recorded in LA with producer GGGarth Richardson (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine), February 1. Gold Fields began recording their debut album, Black Sun, summer of 2011, decamping to LA to spend six weeks working with producer Mickey Petralia (Ladytron, Peaches). On returning home, the five-piece retreated to a remote manor farm and continued writing more songs, which they subsequently recorded with Scott Horscroft (The Presets, Silverchair) as co-producer/ engineer. Recording and editing of the new and sixth album, Bomb The World (With Kindness), from Sydney three-piece Finn, which includes guest contributions from, among others, former Status Quo bass player Alan Lancaster, was done at bandleader and producer Jim Finn’s 24-track digital home studio Front Room Productions, and mastered by John Bee (Hoodoo Gurus, The Church, Icehouse).


ARIA, the Japanese guitar company (not the Australian Record Industry Association) has been in operation since 1953, but in 2012 are as techo-savvy as any of the major instrument manufacturers. They’re currently promoting their YouTube channel, ARIA Guitars World, which features demos and performances of musicians using ARIA product. ARIA released some great product this year including models in their PE Series, which was first introduced in the ‘70s. The PE range has become a classic of the ARIA range and the PE-1500 RI is a reissue of the very first PE model ever made. The latest model in the PE Series is the ARIA Pro II PE-DC. The top is made from carved solid maple, the back solid African mahogany, ebony neck and mahogany and maple neck. Pickups are two gold-covered humbuckers. Controls include volume, tone and three-position switch. It includes Gotoh machine heads. ARIA also make a quality range of acoustics including the AD-18 (pictured), which features spruce top, mahogany neck, back and sides and rosewood fingerboard.

KLOTZ SIGNATURE SERIES JOE BONAMASSA CABLE RANGE Australian music gear distributor CMC Music is pleased to announce that they are now the Australian distributor for KLOTZ AIS range of MI cables. KLOTZ a.i.s. signature cables are named after top artists on the international concert and recording scene, including Scorpions guitarist Matthias Jabs and iconic bassist TM Stevens, and designed in partnership with them. “KLOTZ cables have long been my cables of choice because of their outstanding quality and fantastic sound,” says Joe Bonamassa. “As the logical next step, KLOTZ and I got together at a concert in Munich last year to discuss a partnership – and this cable is the first result. The KLOTZ a.i.s. Joe Bonamassa signature cable offers uncompromising quality and is ideal for studio work, but rugged enough to cope with the life of a touring musician.” The new Joe Bonamassa Signature Cable by KLOTZ a.i.s. is available from music retailers worldwide, as an instrument cable and a patch cable, with straight or angled connectors. The new Signature Cable features the high-quality Golden Tip jack made in Germany by KLOTZ Cables.

MUSE BASSIST CHRIS WOLSTENHOLME AND MARKBASS The people at MarkBass are thrilled that Chris Wolstenholme, bassist for Muse, used MarkBass gear on the recording of the band’s latest album, The 2nd Law, and has been using a Markbass rig on tour. In the studio, he used a MoMark SD800 into a Standard 104HF cabinet and an SD1200 into a Classic 152 cab. On the road he’s being amplified through two SD1200 heads and four Standard 151HR cabinets. Check out the album and the live show to hear Chris’ massive bass tone! For more Muse information and their tour schedule, visit MarkBass is distributed in Australian by CMC Music.


Muso’s Greg Phillips finds a precious 20-minute hole in Kevin Parker’s busy schedule to chat about life as an international act and the current Tame Impala Australian tour.


eleased in October this year, Tame Impala’s critically acclaimed second album Lonerism swirls, meanders, shimmers, sways and radiates joy. It takes you back and it takes you away and now it even contains hits, international hits. The unsmistakable loping bassline of the single Elephant emanating from a Beatles-style Hofner bass was recently viewed by millions of people when the band performed on UK TV’s Later… With Jools Holland. On the other side of the Atlantic, they had already played popular American TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. The killer punch however was winning NME’s respected album of the year poll a couple of weeks ago, ahead of artists such as Grimes, Alt-J, Jack White, Beach House and Cat Power. Interestingly, Pond, which features Tame Impala’s Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson, came in at number ten, and the album by French artist Melody’s Echo Chamber, which Tame’s mainman Kevin Parker produced, was also highly placed at number 16. For Tame Impala, this is their moment… the moment most bands dream of. Tame Impala’s overseas sojourn had created the perfect storm. The music media created the buzz and the band backed it up with amazing performances on TV and on stage. The Boston gig was a stand out for Parker. “They were all memorable in some way but I think Boston, which is kind of a university city, was pretty crazy,” he explains. “For some reason heaps of people got up on stage and started causing trouble. There was heaps of crowd surfing going on. Our guys had to try to keep it all in order without ruining the party.” The television performances were new territory for the guys too. “Jools Holland was only our second ever TV performance,” said Kevin. “It was crazy for us working on this extremely tight schedule. There are things happening every two seconds and people waving their arms around and holding signs. We were in this room with like seven other bands all set up at the same time.” With so many great artists appearing on the show including Sinead O’Connor, the Impala members kept to themselves, choosing not to socialise, apart from Parker who was obligated to have his photo taken shaking hands with the host. Merely two days after arriving back in the country, from “Paris, I guess”, a jet-lagged Parker tells me through a stifled yawn, he’s at

an airport again. This time he’s leaving his hometown of Perth to embark on their first headlining Australian tour for two years. Playing to international audiences and playing bigger shows in general, you’d assume that the band’s gear would need a re-think. As Parker tells though, they have never stopped in their quest to find new and interesting music gear. “We are always on the hunt for cool and new things. Not that we necessarily have the money but we buy things and then work it out later,” he says. “We buy new gear all of the time. We are always looking for new ways to change the sound, screw with the sound.” At this point in the interview, Parker’s voice trails off as he recognises an old school friend at the airport. A short chat ensues between them before a very tired Parker realises what he was doing a couple of minutes prior and rejoins our conversation. I reminded him we were discussing gear and he informs me of his favourite new stage toy. “A thing called an Empress Compressor,” he says. “It changes the level of the sound when you plug in other instruments. I plug the keyboard into this thing and hook that up to the guitar and then the keyboard changes the volume of the guitar. The instruments are interacting with each other, which is kind of a new thing. We never used to be able to do that in a live

environment but we can do it these days.” As Tame Impala’s international notoriety is a very recent phenomenon, nothing has really changed in a financial sense, not yet anyway. They still only tour with the guitars that they each own, plus one spare. “We just take three,” confirms Parker. “We have two guitarists and we have a spare guitar just in case something catastrophic happens but we actually use that at the end of the set. There is a part where we have three guitars going. We generally travel pretty light, we don’t like to take more than we need to... more stuff to carry.” Parker’s guitar is a Rickenbacker he bought in Japan about three years ago but he didn’t start using

just using a Space Echo now. I was thinking about getting a Chorus or something but at the moment, just the Space Echo. It has a pretty nice sounding delay and has reverb as well.” The public first got a glimpse of Lonerism in October, but for the band it’s been a while since completion and on the road, the songs are beginning to take on a new life. “The way we recorded them is so different to the way we play them live,” says Parker. “In the studio it is just me doing all of the stuff then we play them live and there’s a bunch of us and its a different environment altogether. Some of them are longer or shorter. We take the essence of the song and try to interpret it live.” Initially Parker thought that these songs had so much production in them that they would never be able to be reproduced live on stage. “I was thinking that there was absolutely no way we were going to be able to do it,” he exclaims. “At the time, when I was recording, I was kind of resigned to the idea that we wouldn’t be touring it. I got tired of it anyway, because touring has that effect on you… you get sick of it. I was keen for it just to be a recording project and not tour it. There are so many layers on the songs... I didn’t even think it was possible. I wasn’t really looking outside the square at that time.” Another consideration for a band whose star is on the rise, is keeping audiences worldwide interested in what they are doing up on stage. An internationally touring band has to put on a show. Parker, however, has always thought about how the

WE BUY NEW GEAR ALL OF THE TIME. WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO CHANGE THE SOUND, SCREW WITH THE SOUND.” it immediately after purchase. “I didn’t know how to control it,” he says. “There was too much feedback and crazy stuff going on. I didn’t have the nerve to use it until recently.” Kevin plugs his black and white Ricky into two amplifiers, a keyboard amp he uses to get a di sound and a Vox AC30. For vocal effects, Parker has changed up from the Roland VE20 he had been using. “I’m actually

band are perceived live. It’s a thought which is never too far from his mind. “We have always tried to do things in the set which is not strictly about the songs. It just makes it more interesting and less like we are just playing song after song. It is more of a journey.” One of visual tricks Tame Impala use on stage is an Oscilloscope, which is “like a laser beam which draws the visual representation of the music the band is playing,” explains Parker. “It’s pretty fun and I am getting better at using it as well.” While Tama Impala is Parker’s main project, he keeps his fingers in many musical pies to avoid boredom. One of the 2012 side projects he was involved in was producing the Melody’s Echo Chamber album, a disc which has his fingerprints all over it. “I just got to be the hands of the album, basically,” he says. “I have never had that opportunity to be a producer. I had to think strictly artistically.

TC Electronic PolyTune Boss TU-3 Tuner Pedal Boss AB-2 2-Way Selector Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb Pedal Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Pedal Boss BD-2 Blues driver Dunlop DVP1 Volume Pedal or Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Boss VE-20 Vocal Performer Boss FV-50L Volume Pedal Boss FS-5U Footswitch Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Pedal Dunlop MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal Dunlop MXR Dyna Comp Compression Pedal Boss BD-2 Blues driver DOD FX25 Envelope Filter Pedal (or possibly an FX60 Stereo Chorus Pedal) or ZVex Seek Trem and Empress ParaEq Electro Harmonix Small Stone Phaser Pedal Dunlop Fuzz Face Fuzz Pedal Diamond Vibrato Pedal Moog Mooger Fooger MF 105 MuRF or Boss RE-20 Space Echo Delay Pedal Roland Space Echo

The music was really cool. It was great to be able to realise someone else’s ideas.” Parker is currently honing his studio skills further while helping his bandmates mix the next Pond album. Any talk of Tame Impala album number three is premature. “I only really have a few ideas,” he says. “I don’t really have a defined idea but we’ll see. We have a whole lot of touring to do. When we get back I will have a good idea of what we want to do. All of the ideas I have at this stage don’t even point to an album. I can’t even imagine an album at this point, which is weird. I am usually excited to get onto the next one. I just have too many ideas that aren’t album related. They are more… I don’t know… something else, which I can’t really explain. Somewhere between a recording and a performance. I don’t know!” Art, I suggest? “Yeah maybe! It just might be art.” Parker is keen to to find some time to rest. “I don’t think we have done a headline Australian tour since 2010. It’s just going to be good to play Australia again. I feel like we have almost bypassed the Australian people for a while.” As for rest? “Yeah I guess it will happen at some stage… if I am lucky enough!” Tame Impala play the Pyramid Rock festival on Phillip Island from Saturday 29 December to Tuesday 1 January. www.tameimpala



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Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets compilation of ‘60s era psychedelia and garagestyle rock now has two local companion albums. Greg Phillips speaks to Mick Hamilton from ‘60s Australian band The Moods about the albums, the era and that sound.

Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era: 1965-1968


he Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era: 1965-1968 compilation, put together by Patti Smith guitarist and some-time rock scribe Lenny Kaye in conjunction with Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman in 1972, is a collection of garage-rock obscurities from the ‘60s. Truth be known, the term garage-rock wasn’t coined until well after these long lost treasures had been released. Forty years on, the set has been re-released. To celebrate, Warner Music has also put out a couple of companion albums. One is

Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-67

Plastic Gold

Antipodean Interpolations Of The First Psychedelic Era

an Australian version of Lenny Kaye’s original concept featuring obscure Australian psychedelic rock tunes from the same era by bands such as The Elois, The Five and The Throb, alongside more recognisable acts The Easybeats and The Masters Apprentices. The other is a recreation of Kaye’s Nuggets record with the tracks rerecorded by a bunch of current Australian acts including Velociraptor, Davey Lane, Eagle & The Worm, Pond and many others. Mick Hamilton’s old band The Moods are included on the Australian originals compilation with a track titled Rum Drunk, one of only two singles the band ever released in the early ‘60s. Hamilton is as surprised as anyone to be speaking with the media about songs he recorded more than 40 years ago. “It’s nice to be remembered and that people think you are relevant in some sort of way,” he says of the belated interest. “We only really released two singles. We did some other recordings but none of them ever saw the light of day. It was fairly common in those days. A lot of people recorded and disappeared without trace or the record companies decided it wasn’t worth putting them out. We all had dreams of being the next Beatles or Rolling Stones. It took about five minutes for it to become apparent that wasn’t going to happen. Once we got past those dreams of glory, I guess we just wanted a hit record and to have a good time.” More than anything, what the Nuggets original compilations have in common is a sound and pioneering spirit. It’s a sound which many bands today such as Tame Impala attempt to capture. Back in the day, the gear was basic and it was very much a case of experimentation when it came to recording. “I was using a Fender Strat and a Goldentone 40watt amp,” recalls Hamiltion of his gear. “The lead guitarist was using a semi-acoustic Burns guitar through a 50-watt Vox. None of us have any of that stuff anymore,” he laments. “On the B-side of the


really was a piece of speaker mounted on a carton, corrugated cardboard.”

track that is on the Nuggets album, I used tremolo on my amp to give a distinctive sound and I used my fingers instead of a pick in a quasi-flamenco style just to give it a different sound. Our other guitarist, John, had a treble boost. It wasn’t even a pedal, it was a little box and he used that to overdrive the sound and make it distorted before there were even fuzz boxes. What we knew about recording in those days you could put on the back of a pin. We didn’t have much to do with it. We’d just come in with the songs and perform them. We didn’t have any say about what went on in the control booth.

It was probably twotrack, I can’t remember. I don’t think four-track came in until a couple of years later. What you hear was pretty much what was performed. There was very little messing around, a bit of echo maybe and that was it. We didn’t know what we were doing. It was rudimentary and learning as we go. The bands, the press, everyone was learning on the spot. If I recorded that stuff today, I couldn’t get that sound, wouldn’t know how!” A big part of the Nuggets ‘sound’ was its lack of focus on the bass

– it was very treble-based. The main reason for this was that they didn’t have the speaker technology to reproduce low bass frequencies. “It was almost a concentrated effort on the part of the engineer not to get any bass on the record,” says Hamilton. “When I worked with Festival Records in Sydney, which was more corporate, they really went out of their way to

Lenny Kaye is as surprised as anyone at the adulation he receives for his part in bringing these Nuggets to the fore. “I’m still getting free beers out of it!,” he told me in 2008. “The great thing about Nuggets is that it was a moment in time that was as inspirational as any time in rock’n’roll. To

THE GREAT THING ABOUT NUGGETS IS THAT IT WAS A MOMENT IN TIME THAT WAS AS INSPIRATIONAL AS ANYTIME IN ROCK AND ROLL.” pull the bass right out. They claimed it would distort on people’s radios. At the time we did Rum Drunk, which is on Nuggets, at Armstrong Studios, they used to have a three- or four-inch speaker mounted on a piece of cardboard and they would play the mix through that to see what it sounded like – the reason being that it was the kind of quality people would be listening to. It

be honest, I hardly ever go uptown to New York to see the big international bands. I still like to go into the rock clubs to see who is doing what, to be

at the grass roots of what’s happening. It was a great moment in time. I mean, it was all over the place. Garage rock now is a very specific style and while there were many different components to it back then, what I really liked about it was that first thought, that first idea, that’s what made it great.” At 65 years old, Hamilton continues to play regularly today, backing artists such as Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde, and he still records occasionally. Last year he recorded an album with friend Keith Glass in which they attempted capture that Nuggetsera sound. “We attempted a bit of a throwback to the ‘60s and ‘70s garage sound, almost psychedelic. We had a great time doing it and it sounds pretty good but it doesn’t sound authentic. We tried, we really did! We had guys from that time and instruments from the era, we tried everything we could but it just sounds too slick. It’s almost like you learn too much in the interim. There’s a rudimentary roughness that you only get because you can’t do it any better. If you try to play down to something and you are a better musician than you are trying to be, it is not going to work. In the old days we were stretching the limits to be the best we could possibly be, which wasn’t very good and consequently made it sound great.” WarnerMusicAU

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Omar Rodriguez Lopez was back in Australia with a brand new band called Bosnian Rainbows. Greg Phillips spoke to Omar and lead singer Teri Gender Bender about the new project at their Melbourne soundcheck.


year is a long time in music, especially if you are Omar Rodriguez Lopez. Since I last spoke to Omar, almost a year ago to the day, he has reformed and toured with At The Drive-In, released a new Mars Volta album, toured with that band, finished and premiered another movie Los

Chidos, and was back in Australia with a completely new group called Bosnian Rainbows. Then there are the others projects he has also completed which have just been shelved, such as the film documentation of last year’s ORL band Australian tour. “We are doing things all of the time, for the sake of doing them,” explained Omar. “The Australian film is a great example. We made the film. It was a great thing. We showed it to our friends. We cut it together, we all love it and then I put it in the closet with three or four other films. For someone who is very result orientated, if they don’t see it come out or see it in a store, it’s like it didn’t happen. As a creative person going through the process, it is quite the opposite. It’s like, ‘We did it! It was amazing! Now what can we do?’” So much happens in Omar’s creative life that he just loses track of things. Another 2012 project he mentioned simply because I reminded him, was an album he recorded with the grandfather of exo-politics, Jordan Maxwell, a guy who bills himself as a lecturer in the fields of ‘secret societies, occult philosophies and UFO-ology.’ “It has all sorts of interesting information on how the world works and how the American

Rainbow Connection

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legal system works,” said Omar of the recording. “That was really cool. I hope to put that out one day when I have the time.” The musical project which Omar and Teri are now focusing on, however, is Bosnian Rainbows. The band also features Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and keyboard player Nicci Kasper, who plays with Parks in Dark Angels. The music, unlike anything else Omar has been involved in, is a real collaborative process encouraged by the need to shed his former dictatorial ways. “It is a result of my life choices and a new way of living,” said Omar. “This is a new group which is completely a collaborative effort in every sense of the word. It is impossible to even pinpoint a process with this group because literally, everybody does everything. That was the thing when we started this group; everybody had to be a composer, everybody had to be a band leader in their own right. Everybody had to be a producer and engineer and know how to record themselves.” For Teri Gender Bender, being out front of Bosnian Rainbows is also a liberating experience. “It is physically amazing because I use my body as an instrument,” she said. “I am moving everything and letting my body feel the music. With Le Butcherettes, I’d always be focusing on the guitar or not messing up the songs. Here, it is just… free.” Like Omar, Teri has also been in collaboration mode and recently recorded a couple of tracks with Latino superstar Carla Morrison. “We had met before in Mexico. Everyone knows each other there. She’s a songwriter, I am a songwriter, so being able to record her song with her was very natural because of the friendship.” The dilemma of being involved in so many contrasting musical projects is that it would be difficult to continually find a new sound, as opposed to just playing a variation on a sonic theme. It’s suggested to Omar that using different gear, such as a newly purchased guitar, would go some of the way to altering his sound. Of course Omar sees it differently. “ It is more of a thing of getting excited because it is a new project,” he said. “The excitement of when you are entering a new era of your life. Teri had certain things that she didn’t want to do in this group that she did do in Le Butcherettes. I had certain things that I didn’t want to do in this group that I did in my old group, so that is also a defining factor. “The quickest way to define it is knowing what you don’t want to do. For example, I didn’t want cymbals or hi-hats. There’s no bass guitar. Deantoni said he didn’t want certain things and same with Nicki, so you throw it all out and you start the fun part of it.” “Yes it (the new guitar) is wonderful and a good example because that happened quite by chance. We were in Chicago flying out to Europe to start a tour. I happened to go with a friend to a guitar store. Guitar stores never have anything left handed. Here was this 1967 left handed Supro miniature guitar and I knew from the moment I grabbed it that it is all I want to play from now on, and the same with flat wound strings. I knew it was the guitar for this group. It is a shorter scale so the higher part of the guitar is missing so all the really annoying notes are gone.”


“For me it was rekindling this love affair with these guys that I grew up with, righting some wrongs and getting to now each other and the different families after ten years of not speaking to each other. I spent eleven years saying I would never play with them again and then I played with them. I know now not to say never. Cedric has a wonderful record coming out that he is focussing on. It is a really exciting time for all of us because we are all doing something different.”

The Mars Volta?

“Put that to rest for now but who knows what will happen in the future, but it is a whole new era for everybody.”

Le Butcherettes?

“We’ll hopefully put the Le Butcherettes record out at the end of this year so next year we can be focussed on Bosnian Rainbows.”

Bosnian Rainbows album? “Early next year as well.”


The best advise you can give a musician...

Nigel Wearne recently released a great folk album titled Black Crow, featuring a warmth and genuineness which will seduce anyone with a real musical heart. Wearne is also an accomplished luthier and chats to Muso about all the aspects of his craft.

Making Plans What materials do you generally use for your guitars and from where do you source your timber?

I use a mixture of traditional timbers and whatever I can get my hands on. My latest guitar (a 000-12 Martin copy) has a Sitka Spruce soundboard and Ebony fretboard which are both traditional timbers. The sides and back are Blackwood, which is now a contemporary and common option for instruments, due to its fantastic and unique tone. The timber I used for my latest guitar was grown in the Otways and sourced through a good friend of mine who is a luthier. The bracing is Oregon sourced from some old bed rails I found in my dad’s shed. In the past I’ve used Blackwood and Western Red Cedar sourced from Mitre 10.

How many instruments have you produced?

I’ve built a Martin-style dreadnought, a disastrous 12-string, four lapsteels, a Weissenborn slide guitar, a square-neck dobro, a backpacking travel guitar and a 1920s-style 000-12 Martin copy. It’s taken me anywhere from 20 hours to 200 hours to build a guitar depending on how involved it is.

Are you building an instrument at the moment? At the moment I’m pretty busy with releasing my new album Black Crow, so unfortunately I don’t really have much time at the moment to be building guitars. I’m hoping to start building my next guitar over summer, a Martin-style 0-12 next. It’s basically a smaller version of a 000.

Over what period of time was the album recorded and how long were sessions?

Black Crow was recorded over three days. The sessions were about six to eight hours per day but with some breaks throughout the day. I spent time in the night recording the quieter songs that didn’t require full instrumentation.

How did you mic the acoustic instruments and what kind of mics did you use? I left the mic selection to Mick Wordley. The vocal was a beautiful 1946 chrome-top Neumann U-47 – an original, so it was a real

treat. I’ve used that mic with Mick before and it really suits my voice. My guitar had stereomatched Shoeps pencil mics, Dan’s mandolin had a Neumann KM84, Kat’s fiddle and viola had a Royer 141 ribbon. Andy’s bass had a AEA ribbon mic and we had a couple of Neumann room mics. With the back-up vocals, we had a couple of Sennheisser dynamic mics. It was recorded dry to Pro Tools and then mixed in Adelaide at Mixmasters. Mick ran it through all his analogue gear to give it that ‘tapey’ retro sound.


-* -

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It took a four-year stint away from his hometown for Joel Havea to deliver his debut album. Greg Phillips speaks to him prior to his homecoming shows.

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n any Australian city, on any night of the week, you’ll find a band or singer-songwriter baring their soul on a stage in a venue of some description. Spare a thought also for those Australian artists who left our shores to seek fame,

Havea Good Time fortune or just a gig somewhere other than in their own backyard. Joel Havea had been enjoying an ever-increasing fanbase with his band The Havea Brothers in Melbourne before deciding to backpack Europe with nothing much more than his guitar slung across his shoulder. “I was backpacking with my guitar and had been on the road for about ten months,” explains Havea. “I had no return ticket back to Australia and went to Berlin on a whim, then fell in love with the place and stayed for five months. After that I moved to Hamburg and it’s now been four years and counting. I guess I’m the sort of guy who just goes with the flow and when you remain open for change and new experiences, it’s funny where the road can take you.” Havea has been building a new audience in Hamburg playing regular solo gigs on the famous ‘sinful mile’, also known as the Reeperbahn. “There is an awesome music scene here,” says Havea of his current home. “The city has a great tradition of music from The Beatles all the way to German hip hop, which has its roots in Hamburg.” It’s been a long time coming, but Havea has just released his debut album, You Make Me Believe. The most difficult part of completing the album was culling down a life’s worth of songs into a single record. “It was hard to leave certain songs off the final cut,” says Havea. “It was a matter of finding the right balance of songs for the album as a whole, and also trusting

my producer’s [Achille Fonkam] advice.” Havea’s music has much in common with fellow troubadours such as Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. He is thrilled to be finally coming home to Australia to play the new album tracks to audiences in Melbourne and Sydney over summer. He’ll be bringing his trusted Maton EM325 acoustic with him, which he sees more as a companion than a tool of his trade, as well as a more recently acquired Martin D35, which he recorded most of the album’s guitar parts on. “It has an amazing full,

rich and warm tone and as soon as I first strummed it I knew I had to buy it,” he says of the Martin. “I play with my guitar tuned down to D-standard and use a thicker string gauge. My guitar style is quite rhythmic and groove-based and I find the looseness of the strings helps to add an extra percussive element.” Joel Havea plays the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on Wednesday 19 December, Baha Tacos in Rye on Saturday 22, and the Backroom in Sydney on Thursday 27.

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Adam Ward knows clubs and club sound. Ward speaks to Muso about both.

For someone used to the magnitude of the Euro dance festivals and the elaborate clubs there and in America, Adam is disappointed that Australian club owners haven’t approached their venues with the same adventurous spirit as their overseas counterparts. “Sound systems are such an auditory and visceral experience. It really needs to be where you spend a lot of your money, most of them here don’t realise that,� said Adam.


Full Throttle is the Australian distributor of Funktion One sound systems, which Ward believes are currently the best in the world. “There are a lot of clubs in Ibiza using Funktion One which is the club Mecca. There area lot of clubs in Vegas, New York, and Miami that are sporting Funktion One. They are the epitome night club system. Funktion One really owns the electronic music market. They just did a

Funktioning Sound vote of the ten best night clubs in America and I think six out of the ten have Funktion One systems.�


“You’ll get a client come to you and they will have an idea,� explained Ward. “Are they doing rock bands or DJs? We specialise in hi-end DJs like Tiesto and Armand Van Helden people like that. We specialise in clubs that they would play in. With some of the clubs, money is no option, they’ll say we don’t care what it costs just build it. Once you get the design brief, you sit down and look at the space, work with the architects and come up with what is best suited to the space.�

ull Throttle Entertainment Director Adam Ward has toured with legends such as Tony Bennett and Frankie Valli and experienced everything in the sound game from production management to tour management to front of house engineering and PA design. He worked in America for 14 years in both LA and Vegas. He knows PA and has seen the DJ market grow extensively worldwide. Ward specialises in the design of sound systems for venues, but how does one design a PA system?

Ward has seen a lot in the club world. One of his most memorable experiences was working a club in Vegas when Prince called up and decided he’d like to play a weekend of intimate shows. The venue was also booked for Tiesto, who at the time was the biggest DJ in the world. prince was contracted to finish at a certain time to allow for PA swap over for Tiesto. prince decided on his second night to play two hour over time, leaving a 3,00o strong Tiesto crowd seething outside. “they were seething and ready to burst out of their skin. This wave of energy came over the venue as these kids rolled in. The DJ dropped the needle onto the first vinyl and the place went instantly into mayhem. It didn’t finish until about 11 o’clock the next day.� With his company and the Funktion One brand, Adam Ward is on a mission. “I believe in sound. It is a passion for me not just a job. What I want to do with Sydney and Australia is introduce people to that really high end audio that I experienced overseas and show people what you can do with sound.�

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hile the DJ market and dance parties in general get bigger, the gear used to entertain the masses gets smaller and easier to use. Andre Cato has been in the DJ business for longer than he cares to remember and can attest to the giant leaps and bounds DJ products have taken since he began. Cato now works as a marketing consultant for Australia’s biggest DJ product retailer Store DJ.

The DJ market in Australia is expanding and as Andre Cato explains, so is Store DJ.

Store DJ Mega Store With stores already in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the company is now expanding with the opening of their biggest store yet in Cannington, Perth. “Store DJ sells between 70 and 80 per cent of all DJ equipment in Australia,� says Andre. “The Perth store is twice the size of any of our other stores. The new lighting system they have in Perth is quite amazing. All of the staff have iPads. They can flip through all of the different pictures of the lights on the iPad, touch any one of them and that light will turn on in the store. It’s a really interactive way of demonstrating the range of lighting effects they

have to show off the toys.� Store DJ has chosen its staff wisely and now has an expert team knowledgeable with all the latest DJ products, a necessity considering the ever-changing DJ landscape. “Digital,� says Andre in explanation of the direction the DJ market is heading. “Everything is moving towards iOS. These musical DJs can walk into a club with everything synced and quantised on their computer. DJs are now playing 40-50 tracks an hour. They will play a loop from one song, a bass line from another, a drum beat will come from somewhere else, and suddenly they have their own twist and flavour without having seven decks to perform that. It is very much moving into the mobile world. You can see that very clearly with what Pioneer are doing, who have started to incorporate wi-fi into their gear.� Store DJ stock all of the significant DJ brands and are thrilled to be the first official retail outlet for the Funktion One PA brand. Store DJ Cannington opens Wedensday 12 December.

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Something With Numbers

It’ll be five years since they released their last album when NSW Central Coast-based five-piece Something With Numbers land their fourth LP next year, but as frontman Jake Grigg explains to Michael Smith, they’re doing things a little differently anyway.


rom the street, you wouldn’t know there’s a high-tech recording facility tucked away in a sleepy corner of inner-western Sydney’s Annandale, but that’s just what you have in Jungle Studios. It’s a relatively new recording facility boasting an SSL 4056 EG with Total Recall Automation, imported from one of New York City’s biggest studios. NSW Central Coastbased five-piece Something With Numbers have been ensconced in the studio working on their fourth album with the studio’s co-owner, producer Lachlan Mitchell, who produced their first album, 2004’s Etiquette, and was nominated for an ARIA this year for his work on The Jezabels’ Prisoner album (he also runs Attic Studios in Glebe). “I guess I just wanted to work with him again,” said the band’s singer, songwriter and, though he admits his limitations, now proudly third guitarist, Jake Grigg explained the decision to rekindle the working relationship with Mitchell. “We already had a relationship with him so half of the point of when you start a record with a producer is that initial period of trying to get to know the person. We already knew Lachlan, so we didn’t have to go through all that red tape – we just got straight into it.” Something With Numbers recorded their last album, Engineering The Soul, back in 2008 with American producer Tim O’Heir (Dinosaur Jr., The All-American Rejects) in Mission Sound Studios in New York. The band has gone through a few changes in the interim, guitarist Lachlan Scott opting out to start a family and work as a substitute teacher at a selective catholic high school on the Central Coast, replaced by Trent Crawford, and similarly drummer Dave McBeath has moved on and been replaced by Lachlan West, who also plays in The Vines. The other founding guitarist, Tim Crocker, is still very much part of the firm. That’s perhaps prompted Grigg to approach the recording process a little differently. “In the past, we have always rehearsed a million times, got all our parts down to the point where we could play them blindfolded. For this particular recording with Lachlan, I wrote all the songs at home in my bedroom, brought them

into the band, we rehearsed them maybe four times – no one even really knew the songs as we came into the studio.” With this album, the band has been using the studio itself as a creative tool. For Grigg, the perfect example of this open and creative approach to recording is the evolution of a song called Runaway. “We had this song called Fuck Winter, and we brought it in and it’s this real sort of boppy, upbeat number and a tinge of country but also it was a heavy rock song. It was really good, real summery and we were jamming it out and I think accidentally

played the chord and it sounded cool and then Scott [Chapman – bass] played the wrong chord. Then we’re all playing the wrong thing until all of a sudden, we were playing this, dark heroin-dredgy thick piece of music, and we’re all just sitting on the A Minor chord looking at each other thinking, ‘This is fuckin’ bullshit!’ right? So I’m like, ‘Stop, stop, stop – lunchtime’. So everyone went to lunch and I sat in there and wrote a whole brand new song from that one little chord we were jamming on.” Of course, it’s far easier and cheaper to do that sort of thing these days because you can record straight to ProTools, as Something With Numbers have, straight into the digital realm. Another reason for dropping the whole heavy pre-production approach for this album has been simply to try something different, but for Grigg, it’s also been about Mitchell giving him the confidence to do just that. “He made me realise that you don’t have to be ridiculous on the guitar to be able to play. I didn’t start playing guitar until a lot later than most people. I was always a singer and I picked it up because I wanted to write songs and stuff, but I played a lot on this record and that makes me feel proud. “On this record, we’ve really experimented a lot with different pedals and different effects on

the guitars. There are a couple of songs where we specifically tried to make the guitars sound like they weren’t guitars, so you really couldn’t tell what the instrument is, whether it was a keyboard, guitar or bass – so we tried to make a universal sound. “In the past, all we’ve done is plug it into ‘the Marshall stack and have a whack’, you know? This time we wanted to make more of a musical piece than just a bunch of songs. We’ve still been going through pedals into amps, though sometimes we’ll DI the guitar part and then reamp it later, things

like that. I’ve just been using an Orange [amp], ‘cause I’m just addicted to reverb, so I always put that reverb all the way up. But there’s like a whole bunch of other boxes that make music in there. “One of the main pedals we’ve been using is the Pog. It’s one of those toys that you plug into and you’re supposed to be recording and then you find yourself halfway across the universe in your mind, and you’re playing something exotic and you realise everyone’s waiting for you to record your take! It’s really fun. “It’s on, I think, three track so far,” added guitarist Trent Crawford. “I’ve been playing an original ‘60s Gretsch Country Gentleman – I borrowed it from a friend so I’ve had to give it back – but besides that the Bill Nash Telecaster has been getting a lot of play, and the Bill Nash Stratocaster as well. The Les Paul is getting a run – there are probably five, six different guitars that have been getting used – the SG’s been sounding really good, the mandolin’s been getting a run – we’re goin’ for it. We’ve even plugged the acoustic guitar into the electric amp and been getting’ some stupid noises.” Due for release early next year, the as yet untitled album will be mixed by Tim Carr at Studios 301 Sydney.




Melbourne Ska Orchestra

Muso finds the Melbourne Ska Orchestra kneep deep in recording their debut album, due out in March 2013. Sean Pollard dug Nicky Bomba out of the trenches for a chat.


alking down Johnston Street in Fitzroy, there’s a street sign just opposite a row of bizarre furniture shops (one presumptuously decked out for Christmas trading in early November) that reads ‘Juddy Roller’. A footy fanatic might mistake it for a tribute to Carlton’s chicken wing-loving captain, but most know it as the totem for a top notch Chapel Street cafe housing work by up and coming and established artists. On this particular sunny Thursday afternoon, Juddy Roller is also playing host to a gaggle of horn players, most decked out in black and white checkered shirts and hats. The reason? Nicky Bomba’s ska-based behemoth, the 30-piece Melbourne Ska Orchestra, have settled in just three doors down in Adelphia Studios to record their latest collection of love letters to the genre. With a tracking rate of roughly seven songs a day, they’ll be needing some caffeine. The studio is a hive of activity as we wander in through its tiny and unassuming facade. Bomba himself is in the live room going over takes with vocalist Pat Powell, trying to nail down a ska-based tribute to The Espy’s Gershwin Room. The two engage in a lighthearted back and forth while trying to get the phrasing perfect and the mood is suitably relaxed. Several other members of the band are in the kitchen and living area trying on a plethora of new duds delivered to them by a ska-loving clothing line from the UK. Melbourne Ska Orchestra as a whole are also preparing for a signing party to celebrate their recent deal with Four/Four music, a subsidiary of the ABC, which will be releasing the album they’re currently tracking. The deal itself has allowed Bomba and longtime producer Robin Mai to set up camp in Adelphia for the foreseeable future, a unique opportunity to utilise a room that normally acts predominantly as a rehearsal space for the likes of Gotye and Kylie Minogue.

“Adelphia has been in the family for many years, ten or fifteen years,” Bomba explains, perched on a piano stool surrounded by mics. “The Greek brothers (Ange, Phill and Kev Andrianakis) run it. A lot of big bands rehearsed here, like Kylie and also David Hirchfelder did the soundtrack to Shine here. The first time I saw the studio it reminded me of Studio 1 in Jamaica - it’s just got that sound. We’d record something and say to ourselves ‘that’s got a distinctive sound’ and would usually figure out that it was in the way that we’d set it up and the makeup of it. I’d always said to the brothers that I’d love to make a studio like this place one day. When the opportunity turned up and when we signed with the ABC – instead of going into a studio, hiring it and losing the vibe that we’d built up here, we said ‘why don’t we pool our resources?’ So

the brothers put in their time, we pooled our microphones, Robin’s gear, my gear and everything and created our own studio right here.” Bomba himself is a man who thrives on big ideas like this. With a CV reading like a who’s who and what’s what of Australian music over the last decade, he is arguably best known for his work as John Butler’s drummer, as well as his prolific solo career and work as an in-demand session player. As we find him right now, he is busy working on a new record with Butler, touring his Caribbeaninspired Bustamento and, of course, tracking with the Ska Orchestra. There is barely a dull moment in his day as he runs around the studio chatting to various visitors and showing off his brand new, ska-styled Vespa. It would seem that the only thing that phases Nicky Bomba these days is the task of trying to relocate 30 ska-loving musos to the same room at the same time. “The hardest thing really has been the scheduling,” he agrees. “Other than that it’s been surprisingly smooth. We’ve been having clean days, starting about 11 o’clock and finishing about eight with time for lunch and dinner. We haven’t whipped ourselves into a frenzy or anything. We find that keeps our heads in the right place. We tracked bass, drums, guitar, organ, piano, horns and percussion all at once. The only reason we wouldn’t have tracked organ or piano is because the guys weren’t here. In the end, we’ve allowed ten days but after the fifth day we’d already tracked nineteen songs, so we ended up just taking the day off. We’ll track all day tomorrow and then Sunday will just be party day.” The secret weapon behind this superhuman rate of work is undoubtably producer Mai, the ARIAnominated workaholic behind records by Nick Cave, Beasts of Bourbon, Daddy Cool, Augie March and far too many more to list. Mai’s experience and deft

touch has allowed the Orchestra to track as fast as they can in a live environment, netting the laidback vibe required. When recording a live band, everything has to be perfect. Mic placement and the types of mics themselves need to be sympathetic to the situation at hand. Ska music is famously heavy on the horns, and Mai’s experience allowed him to make the right choices. “The horn microphones were all Neumann’s – two 87’s, an 89, a 67 and a TLM. The trumpet gets the smoothest top end mic, which is the 89, and the other saxes have a very similar setup, except it’s the TLM, which is a little bit lighter. They’re great mics for the job. They can be distant and still get a really nice top end.” As far as outboard gear goes, Mai and Bomba are running a relatively simple setup. Again comprised of pooled equipment, Mai is utilising the latest

version of Pro-Tools through an iMac. Perched next to the studio’s huge in-house mixing console is an API-6B lunchbox with a JLM HPM500 mixer, four JLM TG500 mic preamps and two JLM PEQ500 EQs. This sits atop a collection of Golden Age Pre-73s. Also in play is a Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (belonging to Nicki) that features two compressors and a selection of three classic console output transformers. “When we record we’ll bring in stuff like the Shadow Hills, JLMs, bits and pieces and our engineer (Robin) and they’ll stay here,” Nicky details, although Mai is obviously free to come and go as he pleases. “When we’re not here though, there’s still the converters, all the amps, the lines in and everything. It’s all eighty per cent there and if you want to bring in the extras - which we did - you can.” All of these compressors and pre amps are working to serve the sound fed in by Bomba and Mai’s collection of microphones. Bomba is obviously a man passionate about his mics and spends some time detailing every setup and individual piece he’s using. “We had the Shure SM57 on the snare as that’s a bit of a classic sound, then we put in a bass drum mic and a Royer ribbon mic behind the kick as well to get that nice rumble that you need in ska music. All of the guitars were individually mic’d up with a Bayer 69, which is a really versatile mic, and the Hammond has the PZMs already in there so they’re part of the studio now. We just used them.” Of course, no live recording would be complete without some killer room mics. This is a fact that Bomba and Mai knew well when they went into the recording process, grabbing an OPR (Open Plan Recording) Pill mic in conjunction with two Golden Age Project R1 Active mics. “Spill is a natural part of the sound. We embrace it and work with that. So in the end, the room mics were an integral part of the whole process. Fifty per cent of it. With all our recordings, we don’t want it to sound slick and polished and pristine. The music that we love and that we’re drawing from has got that warmth. It’s not about having full range frequencies, it’s about having character and a bit of ambience.” Next, the inevitable mixing process. A tough thing to master at the best of times but with a project this laidback, it’s not surprising to hear the duo will be heading to Bomba’s property in Mt Hotham to do it. “We’ve got most of the vibe down already,” Mai explains. “So it’s really just going to be a case of consolidating that and cleaning it up a little bit.”





n full flight, nobody goes near him. Any blues or soul singer, he can match,” said blues singer Kerri Simpson in the last issue of Muso about our guest reviewer Chris Wilson, who has been an essential part of the Australian blues and rock scene for over two decades. Whether fronting Harum Scarum, Crown of Thorns or belting out his own songs or classic soul and blues tunes, Wilson is an out and out Australian music legend and one of the finest blues harp players goin’ around. He has just released a new album called Flying Fish and can be seen gigging regularly around the country. Muso is thrilled to have Chris onboard this issue as a guest reviewer. Visit www. to learn more about him. Lee Oskar came to prominence in the mid-’70s as the harmonica player in the legendary funk/r&b band War. You may recall them as the band behind Eric Burdon’s hit, Spill The Wine, or alternatively their own classic Low Rider. Oskar’s style was atypical of the harp styles of the day. He preferred a clean harmonica sound, which contrasted with the heavily distorted Chicago blues sound that many harp players went for. This allowed him to play clean lines with the reed player in the band or allowed him to double keyboard or guitar parts without cluttering the lean tight sound of his band. His style was innovative. He employed multiple tunings, often changing harps within the one song. Around the early ‘80s Oskar began work with Tombo Harmonicas to produce a line of harmonicas that reflected his playing philosophy. The timing of this product’s release was all important. Until this time Hohner harmonicas had held a virtually unassailable position as the premier harmonica of choice among players. Now they had a serious rival. Oskar’s approach was simple yet radical. He produced harmonicas in every key, including major and minor variations - any scale that was playable on a ten-hole diatonic harmonica was manufactured.


Any scale that could be played on the more cumbersome chromatic harp was also made. Which brings us to the product at hand. One of the first things you notice about Lee Oskar Harps is that the actual holes are larger than those of a Hohner harmonica. Whether the player prefers this is an individual matter; my guess is that this is to aid accuracy when playing. They are generally airtight, giving ease of playing, and this harp is no exception. The reeds are relatively light, giving a bright tone that cuts through a band’s sound with ease. This harmonica was obviously designed by a player for players. Every aspect is designed to give the user the most creative freedom. Traditionally harmonica players play in different modes to deal with major and minor scales in songs. These are called positions. Each of these positions has its own musical twists and turns

requiring various playing techniques. Each position has its own flavor. With harmonicas like the natural minor harmonica, Lee Oskar gives the player another option when approaching a piece of music. It is built so that the player can employ


all the skills of bending notes and tonal colourings that a player learns, whilst having the true notes of a natural minor scale available. It takes a little practice to master this harmonica but the rewards are fantastic. It brings a unique colour to a tune and I highly recommend you give it a shot. www.chriswilson.

Timberidge Guitars - TRC-4F Dreadnought Cutaway


On first look in the case, I certainly found this dreadnoughtshaped guitar to be visually pleasing. Solid Cedar top, with clean, smooth lines and a big body. This lovely lady comes with optional adhesive scratch plates in clear, black and tortoiseshell, but not having one definitely gives the body more room to breathe. The matte finish brings out the natural grains and tones of the Bubinga back and sides. Out of the case, it’s asking to be played! The Mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard is smooth and has great action, making fingerpicking a breeze, and makes for smoother transitions and less fret noise. Cross-



aving never heard of Timberidge Guitars before, and knowing they were Australian designed but assembled in China, I honestly didn’t know what to expect... but was pleasantly surprised.

The B-Band A3T piezo pickup, with pre-amp, has line level and mic level outputs. The onboard controls are sensitive and precise, featuring low, mids, highs and presence controls, as well as an onboard tuner for extra convenience. Plugged in, this baby packs a punch, but you do have to experiment with the settings quite a bit to find your own sweet spot. Once you find it, this guitar could rival any Maton or Cole Clark, giving clear and brilliant tones and a full bottom end. Normally, smaller bodied guitars like Martins and Mini Matons, are more ‘ergonomic’ for the female performer, but this is one of the more comfortable Dreadnoughts to play, sitting and standing, and allows for smaller hands to get around the fretboard comfortably. The free (that’s right!) paisley case is light-weight and quite pretty for the gals, (indie for the boys!), and that new guitar smell is always a winner for me! Comparable to the Maton EM320 Dreadnaught, the Timberidge 4 Series is bright, punchy and for under $700, a great first gigging guitar, or second guitar for that louder, rockin’ gig. Nyssa Bradsworth is a Melbourne-based singer-songwriter. Check out her Facebook page.



bracing in the body makes this a super-solid guitar, allowing for very little movement over time, but it’s very light-weight and easy on the shoulders. The black Grover tuners are comfortable and easy to tune initially, but I found that they did slip a little. Acoustically, the Timberidge 4 series Dreadnought is quite bright and clear with a very even sound from the bass through to high tones. I found the D’Addario EXP Long Life strings a tad bright for my liking; however other players may enjoy that tonal range. Unplugged, it has a very mid-heavy sound that would cut through any loud pub, but again, a bit more bottom end would please this Soul/Blues/Folk performer.




ounded in 1969, the Allen & Heath company is based in Cornwall, England. A&H made a name for themselves initially by building a custom quadraphonic mixing console for Pink Floyd; the unit can be seen in the famous Floyd film, Live At Pompeii. These days, they’re known for producing high quality sound systems and a wide range of mixers. Pitched as the perfect mixer for smaller bands, the Allen & Heath Zed6014FX is a versatile unit with a huge number of features. As the 60th addition to the UK-based audio engineers’ wellrespected ZED series, the 14FX has been touted as a companion piece to the recently released 10FX mixer. Immediately, it’s clear that a lot of love goes into Allen and Heath’s Cornwall-built machines, as the unit comes in an eye-catching dark green with nice maroon side plates. All faders and pots are organised and everything is in it’s right place, although drummers everywhere will probably throw their hands in the air in frustration when they realise that Allen and Heath had guitarists in mind when they were putting this particular mixer together. Two of the eight mono channels provided have highimpedance jack inputs that can take a normal level from a standard pickup – the idea being that the guitar can be plugged straight into the mixer without the addition of a DI box. The desk also comes with an AmpliTube 3 free software package for guitar processing, which includes 50 ‘gear credits’ to add to the small but quality range of stomp-boxes, amps, cabinets, microphones and rack effects already featured here.

experience with mixers of this size and price. We did some pretty lo-fi recording with the unit and were extremely happy with the Ambient (echo) setting – especially on the lead vocals. The effects centre itself is easily located and not intrusive to the overall aesthetic on display. It even has a USB input, although many have complained that Allen and Heath have left out a matching cable for some reason. No matter – everyone seems to have spare USB cable lying around these days. It was slightly disappointing, however, that we were only dealing with USB 1.1 and not 2.0 - maybe an idea for the next model. In summary, this would be a great addition or jumping off point for anyone in need of a smallish mixer for live or recording needs.

As far as inputs go, we’re looking at eight balanced XLR, two instrument and six line inputs. Basically, if you’re a guitar band looking at buying your own mixer for practise or recording – you’re in luck here. Another feature of the 14FX is the classy range of onboard effects. The delays and reverbs all sound great and none of them have that strange glassy quality you can sometimes

The focus on guitar and addition of the AmpliTube software is a nice touch and, with clean and easy levels on all inputs, the 14FX is a package that’s hard to fault.



Pork Pie Big Boy Bicycle Drum Throne


Resplendent in wavy purple fabric, the stool was designed by Pork Pie founder Bill Detamore, an eccentric drum engineer who has customised kits for the likes of Guns n’ Roses, Blink 182 and The Ramones. Detamore has been quoted as saying that his imagination is key to his success, and there are no exceptions here. The stool (or ‘throne’) comes packing a large and comfortable bicycle-style base that is more than equipped to handle the most ample of drummer derrières. You really do feel like you’re sitting on a cloud and no amount of exertion can ruffle the Pork Pie’s rock solid base. The piece doesn’t feature the pivoting action of other throne’s such as the Roc-n-Soc Nitro throne, and is instead built as a solid single unit. In this lies the throne’s only real problem – it seems to be tailored specifically for larger drummers. The height adjustment, although quick and easy to manoeuvre, didn’t quite go low enough for a smaller-framed drummer. Similarly, for your Meg Whites of the world, the seat might be a bit too large and uncomfortable. Aesthetically, the aforementioned purple fabric is offset by a wavy pattern and sparkling plastic covering around the outside of the base. The raised bicycle-style centre section allows the drummer’s legs to lock right into place, avoiding the slipping and sliding associated with heavy kick drum or hi-hat work. There is a real handmade vibe at work here, which sits pleasingly at odds with its glamorous facade. Proudly stating Betamore’s assertion that the throne was ‘made by an American’ on the rear, you can’t escape the feeling that a lot of time and care went into the construction of the Big Boy. When stacked up against your average drum stool, well... nothing compares to it.


The EQ section, or ‘Tone Contouring’, Bass, Middle and Treble controls, are not your standard bass amp EQ. Normal


tone controls usually boost or cut the same frequency. The BH250 controls multiple frequencies for cut and boost. TC Electronic TonePrint allows you to load signature bass effects into your amp in seconds: Chorus, Flanger, Vibrato, Octaver, Compression or Bass Drive.

BH250 can be hooked up to any cabinet, or combination of cabinets (minimum 4 ohm load). The BH250 can also be run as a Direct Input, so if you need to or just want to travel light you can rock up to a gig with your bass and amp in your gig bag. So how does it sound? It takes no time at all to dial in a great full tone. The input gain accommodated the output of both active or passive basses quite well. For a small amp it kicks out an impressive amount of volume, easily enough for most gigs. And if the venue calls for more, ‘d-i’ it. I loved that I could pack up after rehearsals, put the BH250 in the front pocket of my Mono gig bag, sling it over my shoulder, grab the speaker cab and head to the car. And at $499, it’s more than just a back-up; it’s easily a #1 rig.



Having overcome the early teething troubles, Behringer products on the whole behave very reliably these days. In addition, the recent purchases of Turbosound, Klark-Technik and Midas have made Behringer’s R&D as good or better than anyone’s. And so we come to Behringer’s new range of 12” powered boxes, the B112D and B112 MP3. Both models feature Class-D amps (that means it has a “digital” amp and is therefore light to carry at 12.3kg) and two-channel mixer; plug in two mics or a mic and a line, do a bit of rudimentary tweaking with the two-band mixer (bass and treble) and away you go.



The MP3 designation lets you know that the box has a built-in USB 3 MP3 player complete with small backlit screen. You can plug a flash drive straight in and hey presto! instant rehearsal or instant backing track depending on your situation. You can even set it to repeat a track for rehearsing, straight off the flash drive - a neat idea. There’s a line level “mix out” so you can pipe the signal from the MPS and 2-mic mixer to the other box. If you’re going to get a pair the logical choice is to buy one with the MP3 player (RRP $459) and one without (the B112D RRP $399). Most importantly though; how do they sound? They’re rated at 1000 watts - this is the latest marketing ploy that all manufacturers are currently employing. We see high wattage specs but no


You can also choose and load from an impressive list of signature Artist TonePrints, created by bass masters like Nathan East, Charles Cave, Michael Shuman, Gail Ann Dorsey, Mark King and Roscoe Beck. So how can these signature bass effects actually be loaded? There are two ways. First… Beaming! Anyone who owns an iOS or Android device can simply download the free TonePrint App and place the speaker of the device over the magnetic pickup of their bass. Now TonePrint/s of your choice can be beamed through the pickups and cable directly into BH250, which will adapt to become whatever the TonePrint you selected. Alternatively, the amp can be hooked up to a PC or Mac for loading the TonePrints via USB. Once you’ve uploaded your TonePrint you can dial in the required amount.

Behringer B112MP3 & B112D Powered Speakers

ehringer have been with us now for around 20 years. In that time they’ve thrilled and chilled us. They rewrote the book on pricing, making a host of products available at retail prices other companies could only dream of... though sometimes the prices were a hallmark of unreliability and trouble. This is what happens to most pioneers and it was Uli Behringer who pioneered the move to Chinese manufacture many years before others would do so.

TC Electronic BH250 Bass Head

n the right corner, weighing in at just 2kg, is the Swiss Army Knife of the amp world, the TC Electronic BH250 bass head. As far as modern bass amps go, the BH250 is simple and intuitive to use. The front panel has from left to right a single input, an active/passive gain control switch, threeband Tone Contour, the TonePrint control (more on that later), a built-in tuner and mute switch, and the master volume; no room to spare and more features than it seems. The rear panel sports the power switch, mains in, foot switch, USB connection, speaker out, aux in, headphone out and balanced XLR out. So plug in and select the appropriate input gain setting (active or passive)




arlier in the year, this reviewer had the pleasure of heading to the Rod Laver Arena to witness one of the strangest, funkiest, most mind-blowingly talented human beings ever born perform for two and a half hours. Of course, we’re talking about Prince. His Royal Badness himself led a gun band through a set of hits that simply can’t be paralleled in modern music, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with their top notch instrumentalism and practised showmanship. The whole show was, as every good live show is, anchored together by their skins-man, John Blackwell – a tour de force behind the kit. What does this all have to do with a drum stool you ask? Well, one look at the Pork Pie Big Boy Bicycle Drum Throne and you’ll agree, if Prince’s drummer doesn’t already use this stool, he damn well should!





mention of whether that is peak power, average power or Steve Power (producer joke!!). So really all you can do is to use your ears and judge for yourself. At these prices, you may not have high expectations for a powered speaker but these boxes are actually pretty decent. They’re competitive volume-wise with more expensive speakers i.e loud and reasonably clean. The actual quality is quite punchy for a lightweight plastic box with a top end horn that does a good job without too much sizzle. I was pleasantly surprised overall. I tried them as a vocal PA, played some Led Zeppelin through them and stuck on some “house”. So, good job, Uli. This box is good value for money and will find a nice niche where young bands will get a good starter system for not much cash. Just remember, kids, they don’t cost $1200 each so use wisely!



he first thing you notice upon picking up the Recording King RD-327 acoustic guitar is just how shiny the damn thing is. From blinding gold-plated opengeared Butterbean tuning keys that surround a cascading flowery pattern on the headstock, down the mahogany neck and ebony fretboard adorned by diamond and snowflake-shaped fret inlays, all the way to the impressive body comprised of Adirondack Sprucewood with Rosewood sides, it certainly is a sight to behold. As an American company primarily dealing with acoustics and banjos, Recording King made a name for themselves selling exclusively through the Montgomery Ward department store (famously known as the company that invented Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer) during the Great Depression – a reputation that has been maintained by the company through the years and ultimately accounts for the old school vibe of the instrument. These days, the parts for the RD-327 (and indeed all Recording King guitars) are made over in China before being shipped back to the U.S for set up and assembly. This particular model lands here in Australia with a price tag of around $1,100, so essentially what we’re looking at here is a relatively inexpensive interpretation of a pre-war dreadnought guitar. Straight out of the box, the RD327 is a great guitar to play. The wide nut lends itself to a multitude of playing styles so whether it’s a gentle flat pick, an energetic strum or an acoustic finger-pick, it always sounds great. A pleasing natural reverb and even better sustain were also present when we really started getting stuck in, although the bass response was a little bit lacking at times. Another slight problem is in the projection of the guitar, as it had nowhere near the booming qualities of something like a Martin D1 - a guitar

with which Recording King models are often compared. This was generally not a problem when tracking though as we used the guitar through a few different mics and found the recorded sound produced to be extremely versatile and strong. Even through a basic Shure SM-57, the RD327 carried a big, distinctive sound and sat really well within a slightly rowdier track. With no pick-up on the body, recording versatility really does need to be this instrument’s bread and butter, and the RD-327 did not disappoint. It’s a fancy guitar, no doubt, and the amount of lacquer on the body gives off a slightly cheesy vibe to this reviewers eyes, but if you’re looking for a dreadnought that won’t break the bank, sounds great and aligns itself with that golden age of American guitar playing, the Recording King RD327 is a great buy.

Hi Watt T40 combo



t’s a Thursday afternoon and I look out of my office window here at Sound on Stage (www. and what do I see? A brown cardboard box! Hmm. The distinctive HIWATT logo gives it away. This’ll be the T40 combo then! I lean down to brace myself to carry it into the office and it’s not too bad! Probably about the same weight as a high-gain head. So into the office it comes and in plugs the Strat. This classic British amp company has been around for a few years now, with everyone from Noel Gallagher, The Killers, U2 and even Take That … ahem yup that’s right, Take That, becoming synonymous with the brand. It’s a pretty sturdy little number, more of your Russian farmer girl, short and wide, built for ploughing the fields, rather than the Sports Illustrated model, but definitely with the curves in the right places. It’s built well, with a definite classic vintage feel.




So how does it sound? Well, if you want a Jazz Chorus, buy a Jazz Chorus; this is a little rougher round the edges but still clear as a bell, and the dirty side is tight and rich and with very little preamp distortion, the grunt really coming from those tubes. Channel one really will give you that gorgeous blues tone and switching to two with the button on the front or the separate footswitch (sold separately) will have you crunching away for hours with glee. It’s a definite contender for the regular player who actually has a gig most nights of the week but no roadies to lug gear around; not too big and won’t tax the back too much.

As far as physical appearance goes, the D-0R3 would certainly not jump out at you sitting on the racks at your local guitar dealer. It features a simple yet subtle Canadian sitka spruce sound board and bracing that sit well with the Canadian maple body-binding and rosewood back and sides. Oh Canada, eh? These beautifully put together parts lead up to a single-piece mahogany neck with an African ebony fretboard and bridge, which allows your fingers to literally glide across it, such is its ease of use and feel. This is where the D-03R really comes into its own. It may not be amazing to look at, but man is it amazing to play. Straight out of the box the action is perfection and the complexity of sound on display after just a couple of strums is stunning. The first thing this reviewer noticed was the bass response running through the maple wood body, a balance that resonated so well I had to check my surroundings to make sure I wasn’t in a cathedral (or, more realistically, a bathroom). This is tempered by a clear, crisp treble that really picks up the detail in any

You can dial in a tone pretty quickly and I really like having separate gain controls for both channels, although EQ is shared for both. The fact you can switch between 40 and 20 watts is a bonus for those who need to practice at home while mother is still watching Housewives Of Beverly Hills, or the girlfriend is one step away from making sure you wear odd socks to work, but at the same time this little bad boy will keep up with the rest of your gang when you’re out there at Rooty Hill RSL delving into your vast repertoire of AC/DC numbers. All in all, it’s a pretty versatile amp. If you’re using foot switches or a pedal board you’ll get what you need from this without too much messing around. It’s not a true high-gain amp by today’s standards but it’s good. I can’t say I’ve used HIWATT before but by all accounts it still captures a little of the classic HIWATT sound.

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Tokai’s “Les Paul” style instruments have been catching my eye for a while with just their sheer quality. You’d be kind of hard-pressed to know really. So, this month I have one of Tokai’s latest “vintage” style instruments, and it is something right up my alley… JAZZMASTER! This instrument has that classic off-set body shape that hangs so nicely. It’s finished in a very ‘60s-looking Lake Placid Blue and features a rosewood fingerboard, solid alder body, sturdy Gotoh hardware, two PAF-style humbuckers, one volume and one tone, a threeway toggle and a REAL Bigsby B5

s a Canadian-based manufacturer, Larrivee have a pretty stirling reputation for producing top notch acoustic guitars. They say everything is a little bit sweeter in Canada, and these hand-crafted, all solid wood instruments are no exception. In fact, Larrivee as a company were given the unique honour of producing the first guitar to be sent into space. Their Parlor model guitar accompanied Col. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to man the International Space Station, on his many orbits around the earth. It’s slightly ironic then that, as we look at the Larrivee D-0R3 acoustic electric, it would be hard to imagine a more down to earth guitar.


Tokai Vintage Series AJG-88

he Tokai Company has long been known for their high quality builds and collectability for some of the older models (SRV played an early Tokai Strat Style guitar and indeed was an endorsee).

Overall this is a versatile instrument that you should be able to manipulate to get whatever sound you’ll be wanting and at priced at $1799 with a tweed case, I’d say it’s a winner!

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kind of playing. Whether you’re really letting fly or just laying back and strumming a few chords, every tone produced was top notch. This model also arrives complete with custom Larrivee pickups which, when plugged into a fairly standard home PA, sounded even and smooth. Even when pushed to breaking point, there were no problems with feedback or perceived need for a buster, which makes the D-03R a viable option as a stage guitar as well as a studio instrument. Seriously, the more you play this guitar, the more impressive it becomes. Its classic Canadian woods and handmade feel allows it to produce, sonically, something of the subtlety its exterior would never imply. It’s easy to play, amazing to hear and hey, if it’s sturdy enough to be played in orbit where angels fear to tread, it surely is ready for anything.


s plane flights become cheaper so does the amount of baggage we can take. I have always felt that musicians were unfairly treated in this way and I would rather get on a plane and arrive well rested as opposed to crawling up the highway in the middle of the night and feeling shit for the gig. Call me a wuss but hey… whatever.

The number of tones this instrument can produce almost makes it a “one-stop shop” for choices. You can get killer surf tones, lots of “shoegazer”-approved ambient stuff, throaty rock’n’roll tones a la Neil Young, some fairly good country twang and smoky jazz tones. All you really have to do is work the guitar a bit. I’ll admit that I’m a fan of the Bigsby unit but… they really need to be set up right and worked in to get them smooth enough.

Next thing I tried was a fuzz pedal. The tone was thick and stinky… but I was still able to clean it up with the use of the volume control.



Vibrato Unit. It brings the entire twang, chime and rock solid tone you’d expect from a custom instrument but without the hefty price tag.

For testing this guitar I first ran it clean into my old Gretsch amp (Supro) 2x12 combo and the sound was very solid except for the fact that I think it needs heavier strings. The pickups pump out just enough juice to put the amp into the crunch zone whilst retaining string-to-string definition. The neck is a matt finish, which makes it super fast. The frets really need to be dressed better with some of them just being slightly too sharp for comfort. I also think the finish is just a little too thick… but I’m only picking.



The Fane speakers that come as standard have also been around for a good 50 years or so and were the first ever speaker to be rated for 100 watts, keeping up with demands of the manufacturers in the ‘60s.

When it comes to the crunch, this amp has some breeding and it’s from a respectable pedigree. The price is spot on and for what you get, I’d be hard pressed to fault it. It’s a quality amp, with threetone EQ, push-pull mid frequency control and great construction. The only thing missing is a footswitch!

Larrivee D-0R3

Being rather sceptical about the whole “tiny traveller” guitar world I was quite surprised at how much fun and how much I actually liked the tone of this thing! First off it doesn’t look like a cricket bat and it features a very nice “vintage gold” finish. You can plug headphones into it or run it into a set of little speakers, and it also has an INSANE drive unit built in and the whole thing in about the size of a violin when in its case (overhead luggage). The only way I can describe the “headless” design of this guitar is that they cut the headstock off and placed it in the back of the guitar, thus placing the guitar tuners either side of the strings! This design doesn’t make for quick tuning but it does make for a smaller design. The neck feels quite nice and features an ebonised rosewood fingerboard with 21 frets. The single humbucker pickup in this guitar sounds magnificent! It has a clean and articulate tone that is well balanced. It isn’t a ridiculous high output thing so you can get a lot more from it by running overdrives and such but I feel that the tone control could be voiced better to allow more tonal variation. I actually first tested this guitar with my headphones and was surprised (and deafened) by the built-in distortion! Make sure the guitar is turned all the way down before plugging

in. The resulting tone was nothing short of incredible! It was like having instant “Billy Gibbons” tone right there inside the guitar! Amazing! The sounds were just so thick and makes for a powerful touring asset. You could arrive off your plane flight and hire an amp with reverb and tremolo and pretty much plug straight in and cut the whole gig. Plugged into a real amp, the tone of this distortion comes out even more. I found it easy to get notes to feedback and backing down the volume doesn’t actually take the drive level down - it only affects the volume of the guitar. Big thumbs up to Haworth Guitars for making available this aesthetically pleasing and toneful traveller guitar that doesn’t hurt your pride… $729 is money better spent on this than having to pay ridiculous excess baggage fees.



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