Playing my Epiphone ES-339 Pro at Zoigl Brewery in Bryan, Texas, September 2019.

Links and Other Information

The following is a collection of links I find useful and/or fun.

Coastal Engineering

Hurricane Information

Computer Resources

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff

Guitar Equipment Past and Present (long screed included!)

Despite having played guitar since 1972, I have not owned a lot of equipment. Here are a few things I remember off the top of my head - at least the ones with brand names evident somewhere on the item:

The pedalboard as it is right now. The Electro-Harmonix East River Drive is a great TS-808 style overdrive, and the ProCo Rat is a pretty wild distortion (if I can only get it to stick to the pedalboard...). The Vox Flat 4 is set for an almost-transparent boost but with some gain for additional dirt (it also requires 600 mA so has to have its own power supply via a One Spot). The Rusty Fuzz goes from distorted and slightly crunch at low gain to splattery at high gain (think Neil Young's Live Rust tone). The Boss CS-3 is typically set for light compression to even out pick-and-fingers playing. The Echobrain is an analog, bucket-brigade delay that goes to high reverb territory pretty quickly (and can do all the spaceship imitations typical of delay pedals). The Boss TR-2 is a venerable (and very flexible) tremolo unit, letting you even shape the waveform so that you can go from light shimmer to helicopter-type sounds. It might be a stretch to call the Moen a clone of the Univibe, but it has the same photocell-type mechanism, though with LEDs rather than bulbs. It sounds really good at low rate and medium depth. Next up might be some flavor of Bluesbreakers-type overdrive (if I could only find a way to justify the cost of a JHS Morning Glory or a Wampler Pantheon...).

When I was a kid with a dollar to replace a high E string, having four overdrives seemed impossible. But things have changed a lot since I started getting into electric guitar in the 1970's. Back then, iconic pedals like the Arbiter Fuzz Face, the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and the Vox Tonebender ruled the day, and there were very few companies cloning these pedal circuits. Often as not, guitarists were just turning their amps up until they got the sound they like (which, as a teenager with a Montgomery Ward guitar and a 5 watt solid state Harmony amp, just baffled me). Before long, though, op-amp type distortion pedals entered the scene, and new types of distortion sounds were everywhere on the radio, greatly expanding the sonic possibilities (as well as the reproducibility of distortion sounds). Pedals such as the ProCo Rat, the DOD 250, the Ibanez Tube Screamer, and the Boss DS-1 became available, and generally at prices which made them more accessible. (I highly recommend this video on the history of distortion from the JHS YouTube Channel if you are interested in a more thorough history).

As pedals became more versatile, certain tones more iconic, and the need for having a wide range of tones available more acute (think of being in a cover band and having to cover everything from Led Zeppelin to Nirvana with a single amplifier), more clones of famous iconic pedals started springing up. You can see this in the pedalboard I have. The East River Drive is a Tube Screamer TS808 clone; it cost a third of the Ibanez reissue and maybe a tenth the cost of the original. The Rusty Fuzz is a Fuzz Face clone for less than half the cost of the Dunlop reissue and about one-fiftieth the cost of the Dallas Arbiter original. Between obtaining really good clones and perusing the used market, it's possible to get really good tone without spending a ton of money. The setup I have now is well south of $500 (including the pedalboard), and it sounds amazing. If you are just getting into pedals, there is no need to spend a ton to get something workable, and mass manufacturers like Boss, DOD/Digitech and even Behringer are putting out really good sounding stuff. (True, Behringer houses their pedals in plastic, but the circuits are good enough that you can either rehouse them yourself in metal enclosures, or look for the subset of TC Electronic pedals that does this while incorporating higher quality parts). Finally, don't worry about sunk cost - if you don't get into it very much, you can always sell them on Reverb, and if you do you will probably spend a lot of money chasing your tone anyway, so you may as well get started. (And you might set a world record!) Enjoy!