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NATIVE INSTRUMENTS

Big Bang Amplifier

BIG BANG AMPLIFIER

Despite its tiny size, the recently released Markbass Big Bang Amplifier provides a rich and explosive sound that will surprise musicians. The brilliantly compact piece of equipment is packed with extra features that customers have been asking for: aux in, headphone output with level control, plus mute and VLE and VPF filters with footswitch control. Other features, already appreciated by Little Mark users, include a simple and effective four-band EQ, effects loop, and level control and pre/post EQ switch for the XLR DI output. The Big Bang Amplifier is stocked locally through CMC Music. Click on over to cmcmusic. com.au for prices.

SONIC CLAMP AXE-S

The Sonic Clamp AXE-S is a mountable musician’s clamp which allows musicians to utilise the tuning and recording features of their iPhones during performances. With just the click of a button musicians can clamp the device to the upper bout of their instrument, allowing for multi-surface display without damage to the guitar or bass. For full specs and prices hit up sonicclamp.com.

Once upon a time, not so long ago in the near distant past there were DJs who used black discs of music proportionately larger in size to digital music used today. Unfortunately for DJs today finding big black discs with your favourite tunes can be hard to come by and quite expensive. Luckily with the powers of digital music technology this medium can be used and with Native Instruments latest Traktor Scratch A10 and A6 systems, with the help of your trusty computer and of course a set of wheels of steel you can get yourself looking old school in the mix like back in the day (the real“the day”). And for anyone post vinyl era you can also use these systems with CDJs. Native Instruments have also recently included in all their DJ systems and DJ hardware, the latest and greatest DJ software Traktor Pro 2.5 with four deck mixing capability, 30+ pro effects, remix decks, instant looping/cueing features and all the bells and whistles of the previous versions. The newest feature is the Remix Decks allowing the user to trigger samples and loops to run in sync with running track decks holding up to 64 samples. They are completely independent with their own tempo, transport controls, sync and loop controls so it behaves just like a regular track deck would, consequently they can even be scratched using time code vinyl/ CD or jog wheels. Traktor Pro 2.5’s latest remix decks team

perfectly with the Traktor Kontrol F1. This is the latest hardware controller to come from zee crazy German team at Native Instruments, and it is a good one. Step into the realm of live performance and extend your DJ skills and sound with a little looping, sampling and remixing of your favourite beat, a cappella or choose from the 1.4 GB of free samples from N.I. (available when you purchase or upgrade to Traktor 2.5). Then grab your Traktor Kontrol F1 and perform your remixing live with some super skilled button pushing, knob twiddling and fader blends. Using colour coded pads the F1 allows customised trigger and playback behaviour for each of the 64 samples in your remix set. You can have your samples pre made, filed into sets or cut up new samples of the fly. You can also drag and drop your own produced beats from Native Instruments music production sampler Maschine or Maschine Mikro. This is the future of digital DJing, readily accessible and can be in your hands, button pushing with your very own magical music making fingertips, for a very reasonable amount of cash money! For July and August only, The DJ Factory in James Street, Northbridge will have a few sneaky special prices to get you all enticed. You can get the Traktor Control S4 for $899, the Maschine for just $499 and the Maschine Mikro $299. The Traktor Control F1 retails for $280, the Tracktor Scratch A10 is $590 and the traktor Scratch A6

Traktor Kontrol F1 is $375. There is also a free Tracktor Pro 2.5 upgrade for owners of the Traktor 2 or any other Traktor hardware. For full specs and details drop them a line at info@thedjfactory.com.au or call (08) 9228 1911. For videos and tutorials on all Native Instruments gear click on over to native-instruments.com.

MARKBASS TTE 800

Randy Jackson’s signature Markbass TTE 500 has been given a high-powered follow up. The new TTE 800 combines vintage tones with stadiumrocking power. Like its predecessor, the TTE 500 vintage sound was carefully created with classicstyle tube pre-amp, a tube compressor and threeband EQ section. However this new product is amplified by an 800W power amp that features Markbass’s innovative Tube Technology Emulator. For more information on this new product hit up markbass.it. The Markbass TTE 800 is stocked locally through CMC Music. Click on over to cmcmusic.com.au for prices.

MUSIC MAN S.U.B. SERIES

A new line of Music Man designed guitars and basses are now available in Australian music stores. Based on classic and respected Music Man designs including the Silhouette, Axis, Stingray and Stingray 5, and featuring solid tone woods, road tested electronics and eye catching finishes, the S.U.B. series of guitars and basses introduces Music Man’s renowned tone and playability to a new generation of musicians. Click on over to cmcmusic.com.au for more information.

Markdrum YES

MARKDRUM YES

Italy manufacturer Markdrum has announced its first electronic drum kit, the Markdrum YES. This five-piece kit (consisting of one snare drum, one kick and three rack toms) uses Markdrum’s patented “Smart Pad” and “Hot Spot Removal” technology in order to achieve a balance of sound between the toms and snare. The YES kit sound module has 10,000 definition drum sounds and DSP effects. The drum pads respond with up to 512 levels of sensitivity, using up to 16 alternate samples available per hit. The drum kit also contains a number of other features designed to enhance its performance and recording capabilities, including eight standard inputs (plus four additional), Midi In/Out, USB, aux and headphone connections, onboard metronome, tempo tap and a 4GB SD card. Mark Drum’s Australian distributor CMC Music has begun shipping the Italian manufacturer’s new YES electronic drum kit, which they say features amazingly real sounds backed up with serious sound generation and playability. Click on over to cmcmusic.com.au for full specs and prices. 38

X-Press – First on the street, Wednesdays


I’ve been playing over 150 shows and making an album a year for the last 16 years, and there’s only so many pitches in the arm.

JOE BONAMASSA On The Road

Joe Bonamassa, one of the hardest-working and most prolific musicians on the planet, has just released Driving Towards The Daylight, his 10th studio album in as many years and is currently preparing for an Australian tour in support of the album. CHRIS GIBBS spoke to the iconic guitar hero ahead of his show at the Perth Concert Hall on Monday, October 1. There are few professions in which getting older is regarded as a positive benefit. But being a bluesman is one of them, and since Joe Bonamassa was touted as “the future of the blues” at the age of 12, the New Yorker has consolidated a reputation as the finest blues-rock guitarist of his generation. The highly respected musician, who juggles a burgeoning solo career with lead guitar duties in the supergroup Black Country Communion as well as regular collaborations with Beth Hart (amongst several other projects) is often no sooner out of the studio than straight into touring mode, only to return immediately to studio work to facilitate his incredible output of work over the last decade. Speaking from his home in Los Angeles on a rare break, the cheerfully outspoken guitarist was quick to refute the notion (apparently suggested recently by a music journalist) that writing just four of the 11 songs on the album is ‘lazy’.“It’s not about who writes it, you know? It doesn’t matter. If he were to call Led Zeppelin’s version of Whole Lotta Love lazy then I’ll take that! We’re blues, this is the genre in which we live. I don’t have an ego about who writes it, I just want a good song. I’m a firm believer that when people listen to a record, they don’t look at the fine print next to the song titles. They may get curious, but ultimately they may just like the version of that song, as far as who wrote it, they couldn’t care less. So that’s how we came up with this record: the best song wins.” Of the four songs Bonamassa penned for the album, Heavenly Soul is a standout, with its hypnotic lead and backing vocals snaking in and out of each other in the hook. When asked how ideas of

that nature come about in his work, the guitarist/ vocalist is refreshingly humble. “You can thank the producer Kevin Shirley for that bit of creativity, that’s his department. A lot of it is knee-jerk reactions to other stuff going on. We always go by the seat of our pants, and if we feel it, then great, if not, then great too.” Driving Towards Daylight features several guest guitarists (including Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford) in addition to Joe’s adept fretwork, and his attitude towards the process from a guitarist world renowned for his ability reveals his desire to be the best he can be and to always strive for excellence. “Having another guitar player is more challenging for me. I gotta keep up, you know? Being the only guy in the room sometimes gets a little bit… stale. Who there to challenge me… me? That’s not very exciting. Then you’re looking at Brad Whiford, and you’re thinking ‘Geez, look at these cats, I’d better get my act together or I’m going to be grossly inept here…’ It becomes a challenge, I have to be on my toes, I have to lead, [because] it’s my record. I can’t get complacent or lazy because someone’s there to outplay me in a second. I think having that kind of push-pull is a real asset.” Bonamassa possesses a very distinct and individual playing style which is instantly recognisable. Swaggering rhythms, howling bends that always seem to reach endless heights and in particular his rapid-fire descending pentatonic licks define him as a consummate exponent of the electric guitar. However his response to his individuality, particularly regarding his aforementioned approach with pentatonics, is surprising. “A lot of it came from a guy called Eric Johnson. The cascading pentatonic stuff, there’s a French-Moroccan player named Ray

POONS HEAD STUDIOS

Q&A

Joe Bonamassa Gomez, he has a lot of that in him, the way he puts pentatonics together. You know, Steve Morse… that’s a pretty heavy fingerprint. Then the blues influence kind of mixes in, indelibly it sounds like me, but I know where the bodies are buried! I know where I got it all from.” Although steeped in the blues, Joe’s style – and tastes – lends themselves to much broader projects. Aside from the classic rock sounds of Black Country Communion, the guitarist has worked with hard rock stalwart Joe Lynn Turner and has been known to add sections of songs by prog-rockers Yes to his live shows. This begs the question as to whether Bonamassa’s core fan base is willing to follow him throughout all of his musical journeys, or whether there are limitations. “People see me as very much a blues guy, but at the end of the day… I’m not a blues guy. I am and I’m not. I definitely work the fringes of it all. Of the three things I’m currently involved in, the solo project being the main thing; I

MIDAS TOUCH STUDIOS

Q&A

Engineer Experience: Multi WAMi winning engineer/ producer with 27 years experience.

Engineer Experience: Eight years experience, mentored by Perth’s top producers and engineers.

Artist Credits: Tame Impala, The Floors, Pond, Jeff Martin, Lenny Kravitz, Death Cab For Cutie, Mick Harvey, The Kill Devil Hills, The Panics, Kim Salmon, Jebediah, Jon English, Matt Taylor, Eskimo Joe, Knife Party.

Artist Credits: Michael Swann, Sidewalk Diamonds, The Red Paintings, Heart’s Moustache, Screaming Life, Smash, James Teague. Specialising In: Production, recording and mixing – high energy performances, from vintage to modern sounds.

Specialising In: recording, mastering, producing.

Gear/Software: Pro Tools, Cubase, UAD-2, Waves, PSP, plus loads of synths/softsynths, hardware compressors, and mics.

Gear / Software: Very serious collection of some of the finest recording equipment ever made. Studer 2 , Ampex ATR ½ , Pro Tools 9, Sequoia 11, Lavry Gold, DAD, Apogee, Neve, Focusrite, Telefunken, Pultec, Fairchild, Teletronix, Urei, Manley, Gates, Tubetech, EMT, RCA, EMI, AMS, CBS, AWA, Retro, Quad Eight, Lexicon, Eventide, Pass Labs. Also with the digital “plug ins” of most of these units.

Favourite Album and Why: Karnivool – Sound Awake; just because it takes so much guts to venture so far from the band’s sound on their debut album, to something much more raw, and still manage to turn it into a cohesive, powerful production that works perfectly to convey the imagery and narrative the music needed.

Favourite Album and Why: The Beatles - White Album - Side 3

CONTACT

would say the majority of my fans enjoy Beth Hart more than Black Country Communion. A certain group of my fans will come along to Black Country Communion but it’s a little bit heavy for them, but the Beth Hart thing is right up their alley, it’s warm and soulful, more of an extension of my ‘day job’ but I’m just playing guitar.” Musically active now for over two-thirds of his 35 years, the energetic musician nevertheless muses on the future and his ability to maintain the cracking pace he has set for himself for most of his career. “Truth be told, I’ve been playing over 150 shows and making an album a year for the last 16 years, and there’s only so many pitches in the arm. There has to be a point when you shut down,” he concludes. “I’m 35 now and I honestly feel it more now than I ever have. It’s time to not only stop burning the candle at both ends, but to stop throwing it into kerosene and setting it all on fire.”

East Fremantle | (08) 9339 4791 | rob@poonshead.com poonshead.com | facebook.com/poonsheadstudios

CONTACT

Osborne Park and Subiaco Anthony@MidasTouchStudios.com.au | 0435 113 654

RHYTHMSONG MUSIC RETREAT

AMPERSONIC MUSIC

AUG 23 - 26

About the Event: A residential and fully catered music retreat with a friendly group of people of all ages. It’s a fabulous opportunity to become immersed in an atmosphere of music and learning for four days with outstanding tutors and guest artists. Gyan has been co-ordinating RhythmSong since 2000.

Cathie Travers

Ampersonic Music is a boutique recording studio and publishing company situated in the heart of Leederville’s cafe strip that combines the best of vintage analogue gear with the latest digital technology. The studio has a track record of Triple J success and recent clients include Ruby Boots, The Novocaines, The Love Junkies, Sonsilo Circus, Stereo Flower and Further Earth. Ampersonic Music is APRA registered and has placed songs by WA writers on major US and Australian TV shows including 90210, Revenge, Ghost Whisperer, Gossip Girl, Samantha Who, CSI, plus major movies including Scream 4 and Corman’s World.

CONTACT www.xpressmag.com.au

13 Bold Court Leederville | Ph Rosco Stewart 0400 282 001 www.ampersonic.com

Activities: It includes group singing, song-writing, performance and vocal skills, guitar, percussion, piano accordion, taketina influenced rhythm workshops, concerts, yoga and more. Who for: From musicians to music lovers. Outstanding facilitators: Diana Clark (voice/singing), Eva Popov (songwriting), Steve Richter (percussion), Marie O’Dw yer (guitar), Bec Bradley (rhythmic exploration/yoga) and exciting guest artist Cathie Travers (accordion). Special discount if you are 21 or younger. More info at gyangodfrey.com.

Eva Popov

CONTACT

Grass Roots Holiday Haven. 79 Hughes Rd, Jarrahdale. Gyan Godfrey – 0415 995 121 | (08) 9335 7054 | gya42@yahoo.com 37


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X-Press – First on the street, Wednesdays


Classifieds and Music Services Hotline: 9213 2888 Display ads: musicservices@xpressmag.com.au Deadline: 4pm Monday Credit cards welcome

MUSICIANS AVAILABLE D R U M M E R AVA I L A B L E 4 5 , v e r y experienced, pro gear, own P.A, can travel. Ph: 0412 231 126. MUSOS WANTED BASS PLAYER WANTED To join in electric Bluesband. Needs to be reliable, love the Blues/Rock and have fun. Ring Wes 0405 455 133. GUITARIST/ BACK UP VOCALIST WANTED For Alt Rock band Hostile Little Face. Currently gigging. Must have own gear, love the tunes, live experience preferred. Dedicated applicants only. Mitch 0439 679 947. M AT U R E P I A N I S T / K E Y B O A R D I S T WANTED To Join Female Vocalist/ Songwriter in a long term Trad Jazz to Funk + Trip Hop Project. Vocals an advantage/ Live experience essential. PH or TXT 0451 117 461 for more info. METAL BAND SEEKS NEW BASSIST Influences include Sepultura, Slayer, Fear Factory, Chimaira, Machine Head, Hatebreed & more. Send tx to 0422 442 368. Must be dedicated. OPEN MIC NIGHT every Thursday night at Indi Bar. Just call Tash on 0458 095 364. OPEN MIC NIGHT Every Tuesday night at the Craigie Tavern 8-11pm. Call Corey for bookings 0431 448 235 SINGER WANTED For new Perth based stoner Rock/Metal band. Influences BLS, Machine Head, Down. Link www.myspace. com/project61XX19. Ph 0412 417 301. SINGER WANTED Male or Female for working band. All pro players. Ph: 0432 213 282. VOCALIST/RHYTHM GUITARIST WANTED For Alt Rock covers band. Playing AIC, STP, PJ, QOTSA, Sound Garden & more with a

view to gigging. Interested parties please call Jarrod on 0424 448 289 for auditions. WANTED BASS PLAYER & GUITARIST For Rod Stuart tribute show by internationally acclaimed Rod tribute John Crane. Gigs awaiting. Professionals need only apply. Contact Luee on 0404 230 270. PHOTOGRAPHY P R O J E C T P H OTO G R A P H Y P r o m o photography, studio, live, location. M i k e W y l i e 0 4 1 7 9 7 5 9 6 4 w w w. projectphotography.com When its time to ice the cake... PRODUCTION SERVICES * LIGHTING * AUDIO* STAGING * www. nightstarlightingaudio.com.au www. nightstarlightingaudio.com.au www. instandt.com.au www.instandt.com.au 9381 2363/ 9444 6651 CD & DVD MANUFACTURE Check out our latest CD & DVD specials online at www. procopy.com.au 9375 3902 MATRIX PRODUCTIONS AUSTRALIA Lighting, staging, sound systems, smoke machines, night club FX, intelligent lighting, strobes & mirror balls, crowd barriers, video projectors. 9371 1551 PA HIRE Vox P.A’s and Funktion-One concert systems. Beat any quote. 9307 8594/ mob 0404 410 020. perthconcertsound.com.au. PA HIRE, PRO SYSTEM, FULL FOLD BACK Experienced operator. Optional light show. Fidelity sound on 0404 331 320. RECORDING STUDIOS ALAN DAWSON’s WITZEND RECORDING STUDIO Prof quality albums or demos, large live room, experienced engineer, analog to digital transfers, mastering..Alan 0407 989 128 or Jeremy 0430638178 www. witzendstudios.com

ANDY’S STUDIO International multi award winning songwriter / producer. No band required. Broadcast quality. A songwriter’s paradise. Ph 9364 3178 AVALON STUDIOS BIBRA LAKE One of Perths best equipped studio. Record to analog tape or digital, Avalon pre amps, Neumann mics, the latest and best universal audio, plug in’s for digital recordings. All styles of music, $55 per hour call Tony 0411 118304 email avalonstudios@bigpond.com G O L D D U S TCO N S T R U C T I O N . CO M Produc tion, mixing, recording and composition for your music. Unique award winning skills to take songs from ideas to finished mixes or to fulfill the potential in existing ones. Located in Subiaco. $60 p/h. Andrew 0408 097 407 POONS HEAD MASTERING Analog mastering at its best. Clients include Mink Mussel Creek, Jeff Martin, The Panics, Pond + The Floors. World class facility. World class results. www.poonshead. com 9339 47 91 R E CO R D I N G M I X I N G M A S T E R I N G PRODUCING Fremantle location. Call Pete Kitchen Cooked Records. Ph 0407 363 764 / 9336 3764 REVOLVER SOUND STUDIO Ph 9272 7505. www.revolverstudio.com.au S O N G W R I T E R S ! - U N LO C K YO U R S O N G S’ P OT E N T I A L + F R E E B A N D APPRAISALS. UK Producer, 40,000+ hours studio experience. 20 yrs in London with bands and songwriters. Kicking arrangements, great studio and the ability to really listen will give your material the edge you need. Call Jerry on 0405 653 338 or visit www.jerichomusic. com.au

ON THE GEAR

Having switched wholesalers in Australia a few times in recent years, Schecter Guitars have found a new home with Intermusic Distribution. One of the newer models available is the Hellraiser. The first thing noticed when inspecting this guitar is the gorgeous finish.The model reviewed (the C-1 Floyd Rose Hellraiser) is white with abalone bindings and black hardware, looking every inch the professional instrument. Physically, the guitar is well-balanced and sits comfortably against the body. It’s certainly an inviting instrument to play; a guitar that entices the player to keep exploring the fretboard and revel in the ensuing tones. The fretboard, featuring 24 jumbo frets, is easy to navigate and the neck is of a perfect size to execute intricate melodic passages and extended chord shapes. A three-piece mahogany neck flows seamlessly into the body of the guitar, combining with a very comfortable cutaway to allow the utmost accessibility to the higher frets. Schecter C-1 Floyd The EMG active pickup Rose Hellraiser configuration (comprised of an 81 and electric guitar an 89 EMG series) ensures an abundance Fender 60th Anniversary Telecaster of gain, yet surprisingly many subdued tones Electric Guitar can also be coaxed from this instrument. Each humbucker pickup can be coil-tapped back to a TH single soil pickup using the push/pull function on the corresponding volume pot, and similarly to a Les Paul each pickup features an individual tone pot. A three-way toggle switch allows the standard configuration changes one would expect from this If our laws weren’t so arcane, and you could legally pickup configuration. marry a guitar, an original Fender Telecaster would Grover Rotomatic tuners and a Floyd Rose be walking down the aisle with me tomorrow. 1000 series tremolo system provide finer accuracy But society frowns on that, and original and greater stability in the tuning and intonation guitars from that era are rare and shockingly department, and while double-stop bends are (and expensive. To commemorate the 60th anniversary have always been) a bit of a challenge on floating of the first successful solid body electric guitar, tremelo systems, the pay-off of such smooth, Fender have dolled up its landmark axe with the sensitive vibrato when using the bar more than limited edition 60th Anniversary Telecaster. compensates. The Telecasters influence can not be This guitar is obviously aimed at the hard overstated, and while RIckenbacker had been rock and metal market, however the overall feel, doing solid bodies for years, the timeless shape and attack and look would also be suited to fusion and layout of the Telecaster has been a blueprint for commercial rock musicians. The Schecter Hellraiser guitars ever since. A great buy for any Tele lover, and retails for $1699. Mention this review at Mega Music an easy choice made for any guitar lover looking to Wangara to receive the special price of $1389. get their first Telecaster.

FENDER 60 ANNIVERSARY TELECASTER ELECTRIC GUITAR

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Many thanks to Mega Music Wangara, Sound Centre and Rock Inn for letting us review their products.

ERNIE BALL SLINKY COBALT ELECTRIC GUITAR STRINGS

SCHECTER HELLRAISER ELECTRIC GUITAR

_CHRIS GIBBS

REHEARSAL STUDIOS AAA VHS REHEARSAL ROOMS Great facilities, great vibe & great price!!! Unit 5 /16 Peel Road, O’Connor. Phone 9418 5815 or 0413 732 885 BIGBEAT SOUND STUDIO Clean rooms, all new PA systems, air-con and good parking . Willetton Ph: 0425 698 117. PLATINUM SOUND ROOMS Professional rehearsal rooms, airconditioned, quality PAs mob 0418 944 722 TUITION AAA CLEAVER ACADEMY OF VOICE Voice training for singers that really works. All techniques including speech level. Phone 9272 4497 mb 0417 928 998. ***GUITAR LESSONS*** The Guitar Specialist. Beg-adv, all styles and levels including bass. Cliff Lynton Guitar Institute. Mt Lawley 9342 3484 / www.clifflynton.com BASS LESSONS Rock, funk & jazz. Tony Gibbs 9470 6131 DRUM LESSONS All styles, WAAPA prep. Modern techniques, rudiments, soloing, favourite songs. Beg-Adv. Ph: Pascal 0413 172 817. Available 7 days & all holidays. GUITAR LESSONS For beginner students. Learn how to start from the beginning, play your favourite songs, chords, solos and more. 6 years teaching experience. Guitars and Amps available for hire. Lessons in Duncraig, call Luke on 0400021560. GUITARIST/VOCALIST SINCE 1980 Beginners-Intermediate. Results fast.Visiting all suburbs. $40p/h. kinetikindred.com Ph: 0431 074 047. SINGING LESSONS Learn a technique that actually works! The method used by over 120 Grammy award winners. Certified Speech Level singing instructor. Call Simon 0431335495.

_TOM VARIAN

In the never-ending quest for tone, guitarists will often stick religiously to a brand and gauge of string once the right ‘fit’ is found for individual style and approach. Personally I have been an Ernie Ball Slinky devotee for over a decade now, so it is not often that I will step out of that comfort zone for fear of compromising quality and tonality. Nevertheless, when the opportunity arose to try Ernie Ball’s new Cobalt Slinky range, the new strings seemed worthy of a few strums to test the sonic waters. The Cobalt Slinky range has been developed by Ernie Ball to maximise output and clarity. This is achieved by utilising cobalt to create a stronger magnetic relationship between the pickups and strings on a guitar. This magnetic relationship utilising cobalt is stronger than any other string alloy currently or previously available to guitarists. The question is whether guitarists will take to the new feel of the Cobalt Slinkys. Tested on a Fender Telecaster, my initial impression was that the wound strings (E, A and D) felt just a little grainier than regular Slinky strings, but not unpleasant to the touch. This initial physical difference was quickly overlooked when the ears kicked in. There is a definite increase in clarity, tuning reliability and overall balance at work in the Cobalt Slinky series, and the different feel of the low strings was all but forgiven within a few bars. Obviously an increase in quality goes hand in hand with an increase in price; there are some insane guitar string ‘price wars’ in progress at several retail stores at the moment making many popular

Ernie Ball Cobalt Slinky electric guitar strings brands very affordable and some players may baulk at the $22 to $95 price tag for electric strings. At the end of the day though, how much is great tone worth? Mega Music are retailing the new Ernie Ball Cobalt Strings for just $13 to $50 as part of the store’s ‘cheaper than online’ string promotion. The new string series is available in each of the standard Slinky gauges. _CHRIS GIBBS

MAXON OD808 OVERDRIVE PEDAL

Say you have the guitar and amp, but just want a more classic rock distortion? Well luckily you don’t have to cut your speaker up with a razor, as Dave Davies did for You Really Got Me, or puncture your speaker cone with a pencil like Link Wray’s distortion pioneering, because the options for distortion effects pedals are near limitless. You may have heard of the Ibanez Tube Screamer distortion pedal, an iconic pedal from the ‘70s, and still available today. But the maker of the Tube Screamer, for Ibanez, was Japanese manufacturer Maxon. The TS9 (or TS-808) board it uses has been copied and cloned countless times since, probably the most copied effects board ever. The more adventurous can order a TS-808 or TS9 clone board online and build their very own pedal, or just go out and buy a Maxon OD808, a pedal that has been Maxon OD808 hand-wired the same way for decades. Overdrive Pedal _TOM VARIAN 35


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X-Press – First on the street, Wednesdays


X-Press Volume Special #24