The Uglyface: World’s Nastiest Stompbox?

Makes you sound pretty as a picture!

When it comes to seriously messed-up guitar effects, few can rival the Uglyface. And, as they say on infomercials, “It’s not available in any stores!” In fact, as of this writing, the only way to unleash this particular brand of brutality is to build the box for […]

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Guy Before…


UPDATE, 11.19.11: Dutch reader Rob sent my an obit announcing that Tielman died on Nov. 10 at age 75.

For the last year or so, this video has been ricocheting back and forth among my guitarist friends. It’s a 1960 clip of the Tielman Brothers, featuring guitarist Andy Tielman, an early rock-and-roller […]

Black and Brown and Trem All Over

Magical modulation: The brownface Tremolux

You see a lot of chatter online about the differences between the tremolo circuit Fender used in its early-’60s “brownface” amps and the trem circuit that replaced it in the mid-decade “blackface” models. (Just Google “brownface blackface tremolo” to see what I mean.) The prevailing sentiment seems to be […]

Can You Love a Guitar You Hate? [Part 1]

Some guitars are hard to love . . .

Did you ever come across one of those magical guitars? The kind that just seems to cast everything you play in the best possible light? A guitar you never want to stop playing because it sounds so darn good?

Well, this story isn’t about […]

Cool Guitar Tool

Long bonsai tweezers for all those hard-to-reach places.

I found it in my local Goth gardening emporium, tucked between the carnivorous plants and taxidermy mice: a long pair of tweezers with a spatula on one end, designed for manicuring bonsai plants. Voilá—the perfect tool for fiddling around inside a hollowbody guitar. You can use […]

Cruel Finger Exercises [Part 1]

Here’s a deceptively simple finger exercise that can serve as a basic warm-up, an overall strength-builder, and, if you take it far enough, the cruelest torture regimen this side of 16th-ventury Spain a great way to expand both your technique and your melodic imagination.

The basic idea is simple, something appropriate for a very first […]

Change Your Caps, Change the World!
(or at least your tone pot response)

The capacitor value matters. But for guitar tone controls, the type of capacitor does not.

Many players know you can change the voicing of your tone pot by substituting capacitors of different values. I’ve seen many explanations online, though I’ve never come across side-by-side audio comparisons. This post is designed to fill the gap.


Strap Lock: Free with Beer!

Your guitar won't fall down. You might.

A lot of you know this trick already, but it bears repeating:

The rubber caps on Grolsch and some other Euro craft beers are the perfect size for strap locks.

Don’t get me wrong—proper strap locks are great, but the beer-bottle variety are actually quite reliable, and […]

Think You Can Tell Amps from Models?

UPDATE, Friday Sept. 23: The contest is now closed! Read the results here. But although the prizes have been claimed, but you can still challenge you ear for fun here!

Listen and win — if you dare!

Ready for some fun, kids? [Evil clown laugh.]

Join the Amps vs. Models Contest! The winner gets […]