Last Tuesday night I had the pleasure of seeing and meeting a guitar giant. When I say giant I mean that figuratively as well. I am talking about none other than Zakk Wylde guitarist from the band Black Label Society. Zakk got his fame when he was 19 years old pumping gas in his town, Ozzy Osbourne was looking for a guitarist and Zakk tried out and got the gig. That gig changed his life and the lives of many young and aspiring musicians.
My good friend Garren Dakessian, an amazingly talented guitar builder and owner of Loucin Guitars in Oakville Canada got in touch with Zakk about building a custom hand made guitar for him, and before you knew it was commissioned to build “The Fiddle of Doom”. Garren and Zakk quickly became close friends via Twitter, email and mostly text messages on a daily basis. Zakk, being a huge Sienfeld fan would quote episode lines with Garren back and forth. Garren told me that this went on throughout the entire year long process with daily texts of Sienfeld snippits and guitar related ideas and specs. The whole process took roughly a year to complete the LD-ZW.
Garren had asked me if I would like to come out to the show with him last Tuesday where he was going to present the guitar to Zakk. I am an avid amateur photographer so I jumped at the chance to shoot the presentation. When I got there Garren had asked Zakk if I could get a photo pass and shoot the show. Zakk said “Absolutely!!!” and asked his personal body guard Phil to make sure I was looked after. So not only did I get to hang out with Zakk and the band before the show, I also got to shoot the show from pit row. AWEEEESOOOOME!!!!!!
Zakk in person is LARGER than life both in stature and energy. He is truly a gentleman and you get the sense he is at all times, grateful for where he has gotten in life musically speaking. He made you feel totally at home and is very down to earth. Zakk is such an inspiration to guitar players and now that I have met him he makes you realize how special a person he is.
Thank you Garren for the opportunity and special thanks to Zakk and Phil for making this an experience I will love and remember for the rest of my life. Special thanks to Phil and Mark and the BLS Crew for being such amazing people.
As far as overdrive pedals go, probably my most favourite and most used overdrive pedal would have to be the Ibanez Tube screamer. This pedal was introduced in the late ‘70s. Yes that pedal design has been around for a long time and got real famous when guitar players from the ‘80s used the pedal to “boost” their Marshall JMP and JCM800 heads to get that classic Rock ‘80s tone.
I recently came across a new pedal that is tonally based on the Tube screamer. I’m talking about the Way Huge Green Rhino Overdrive. The great thing about this pedal is that it captures the essence of the TS but adds some really great upgrades.
There are 2 extra knobs on the pedal which are 100Hz (-12dB- +12dB adds or reduces bass) and Curve (this shifts where the mids sit )
These 2 knobs add so much EQ ranges to the pedal so that if you wanted a classic Midrange bump tone you could get that with the Curve knob.
I love to dial back the curve slightly to retain a more neutral or flat midrange, that way you get to hear more of the Amp tone.
I just did a quick “Tone Tip” Video on this pedal on how to use it as a boost with a tube amp. Click here to watch it.
Live for tone .. Lou Roppoli
I remember during the late 80's early 90's people were getting rid of there Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitars and trading them in for the popular Floyd Rose type guitars. Yes, I admit although I never did get rid of my Les Paul I did purchase a Floyd Rose tremolo system and got it installed on my Fender Strat.
I remember working at a music store called Musicplex at the time and saw many Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitars getting routed out to accompany the larger double coil pickups that offered a higher output which was the flavour at that time. Nowadays its all about lower output pickups and magnets that players seek. Funny how things change to how they were in the past.
Just a few weeks ago we got a brand new Gibson Les Paul Deluxe gold top with classic mini humbuckers. I saw the tag on the outside of the box and my heart started to palpitate in anticipation. I couldn’t wait to crack open the box and take her for a spin. I was not disappointed and fell in love right away.
The new Deluxe was lighter than I remember which is a good thing. These new guitars have the classic ringing resonance and sustain transmitted to the amp with optimum depth and clarity by a pair of Gibson's legendary mini-humbucking pickups. The Les Paul Deluxe mini-humbuckers are made much like full-sized PAF-style humbuckers with genuine Alnico II magnets but with narrower coils and slightly fewer turns of wire for a sharper, more focused sound. They are perfect for cutting through a heavy band mix, while also going confidently into twangy and jangly genres that Les Pauls aren’t usually thought to excel at, without sacrificing any of the depth and muscle that makes a great Les Paul what it is. Routed through the traditional complement of two independent volume controls and two independent tone controls and three-way toggle switch—and a great locking Neutrick® output jack for total plugged-in security—these pickups provide stunning tonal versatility. Put it all together—along with the gold Speed Knobs, "Deluxe" engraved truss-rod cover and LP Deluxe pickguard—all marks of the breed—and you've got an evocative recreation of a model that helped make today’s rock what it is. Each Les Paul Deluxe from Gibson USA comes with a plush-lined hardshell case, owner's manual, warranty and adjustment literature, and is covered by Gibson's Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 Customer Service.
Come in the store and fall in Love..
Kaos Music Centre is proud to announce that we are now an official Apogee dealer.
Apogee Electronics Corporation is a leading manufacturer of digital audio hardware systems and related accessories for audio professionals and musicians around the world.
Apogee was founded in 1985 and initially made its name designing filters that solved many of the early problems associated with digital audio. Later, Apogee’s complete conversion systems pushed the envelope of digital audio quality and established Apogee as a key innovator in the field of professional digital audio.
Today, Apogee converters and audio interfaces are regarded as the reference standard in the audio industry. Products such as Symphony I/O, Big Ben, Ensemble and Duet all have set the benchmark by which digital audio recording hardware is judged. Now with its latest products JAM and MiC, designed especially for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and GarageBand software, Apogee continues to be at the forefront of recording technology. Apogee’s mission is to build products that offer ultimate sound quality, innovative design and unparalleled value to all music creators from the aspiring artist to the discerning audio professional.
Keep an eye out as we start to get these awesome products in the store.
Over the past few years there has been a huge influx of smaller and lower wattage amps onto the market. This trend has been getting more widespread amongst amp manufactures. At first, these kinds of amps were only available from the boutique hand-built amp makers, then as they gained popularity and quickly spread to the mainstream manufactures like Marshall, Vox, Line 6 and Peavey to name a few.
This trend was becoming very fashionable and people loved the fact that these amps could be played at bedroom volumes and were tube. Dads loved these amps as they were able to play tube amps and turn them up to get that cranked-amp tone without killing the ears of their families. I called them ‘Family Approved’ amps.
The one complaint that was constant as I was playing these amps was “They don’t sound like a cranked half stack,” and never will, nor will they feel this way. I love nothing more than playing through a 412 cabinet with a 50w or 100w head on top. The way the air moves is just magical and the tone is just incredible.
On a recent trip to LA, I visited a store in North Hollywood called “Tone Merchants.” The one thing that was pretty refreshing was a dedicated sound-treated room with nothing but 412 and 212 cab’s and various heads, mainly from boutique manufactures. I was able to check out amps loud and proud. It was so awesome. Granted this store mainly catered to top session players in the LA area, but it made me realize that the big amps are still highly sought-after for the session recording players as well as the big name live musicians.
It really brought me back to my youth and re-instilled that Rock n Roll was not dead but on the contrary very much alive and well. Long live the big amps from yesteryear - may they continue to rock out loud and proud.