Mutant Beauty Pageant:
Choose the “Winner!”

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

At the moment, I’m particularly thankful that, despite being a jaded old musician, I can still encounter instruments that, um, take my breath away. And if you can view all the Mutant Beauty Pageant contestants without spewing your beverage all over your computer, you’re made of stern stuff indeed.


Mutant Beauty Pageant Update!

The end is nigh! But maybe not as nigh as originally planned…

Thanksgiving Day (that’s Nov. 24th to you non-U.S. residents) was the original deadline, but I’m going to extend it through the holiday weekend, till midnight, PST, on the 27th) for one simple reason: We want to HEAR some of these mutants!

C’mon — […]

Stompbox Decoration for the Impatient

Who has time, for, like, REAL decoration?

Helpless with paint, brushes, spray cans, decals and varnish? Take the lazy way out and use stickers. My favorites: the mouth, nose, and eye images in in World Wide Fred’s Inanimate pack.

Sure, the images will rub off eventually, but that’s the glory of stickers! Just use […]

That Classic Electric 12-String Sound
(and How to Avoid It)

Digitally enhanced versions of the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin footage prove that Bigfoot used flatwounds.

Want to get a great ’60s-style Beatles/Byrds electric 12-string sound? Use flatwound strings. It’s almost guaranteed to up your jangle quotient.

This advice is admittedly counter-intuitive—why should relatively dull-sounding flatwounds improve a guitar’s treble response? My best explanation is that when […]

Mutant Beauty Pageant: The Photo Gallery

Well, um, the entires in our Mutant Beauty Contest are certainly . . . something. Click the MORE button to open the slideshow. New beauties added daily!

Post your images to comments via a photo-sharing site, or email them to me. I’ll add each new mutant to the slideshow so the entire Internet can laugh […]

DIY Club Project #3: Booster + Buffer

Here’s a demo for our third DIY project: a combination clean boost and buffer.

The project files are here. For other tips, tricks, and resources, as well as all the info on our first two projects, visit the Tonefiend DIY Club page.

This is a super-useful guitar tool. You’ll learn about how to add […]

Mutant Beauty Pageant: Enter and “Win!”

It’s time for another contest!

I hereby announce the first Tonefiend Mutant Beauty Pageant.

I know many deadbeats with too much time on their hands musicians, and most of them have a thing for weird gear. I’m talking real freak-show stuff, the items that make anyone who walks into your music room shriek, “What the […]

It is WRONG to Love Cheap Little Solid-State Amps?

Good, cheap tone doesn't grow on…oh, never mind.

We all love tube amps. Yayy, tubes. Some of us love amp models. Yayy, models. And how about those cheap little solid-state amps?


Oh, come on! Am I really the only person who digs the barking attack and corrosive crunch of the subcompact tubeless combo? […]

Bulk Fuzz DIY Project Files

As promised, here are the project files for DIY Club Project #2: the bitchin’ Bulk Fuzz.

This nasty little fuzz bomb is fun to build and fun to play. Audition it here.

The project uses the same techniques introduced in Project #1, so if you survived that one, this should be smooth sailing. It’s also […]

Simple But Deadly Fuzz
(Tonefiend DIY Club Project #2)

I swear, it’s practically worth learning DIY electronics just to build this one insanely simple, insanely great fuzz circuit. What I’m going to call the Bulk Fuzz is a variant on a popular DIY project known as the Bazz Fuss. A really smart guy from Finland named Christian H. figured out how to generate the […]