Introducing the Secret Room

top secret kity

UPDATE: Wow! I’m overwhelmed by the initial response. Hundreds of cool tips! Please bear with me as I process them and send out the access info. I could automate the process, but I want this to be more than just a bunch of random posts, and I want to weed out the silly stuff. […]

The Bass That Shouldn’t Be

WTF?

Don’t you love when someone revisits a weird idea from the past — and makes it even weirder?

I got a new bass last week, right before I left for the NAMM show. I finally had a chance to try it out yesterday. I think I’m in love. View the incriminating evidence in this […]

NAMM-O-Rama!

Amazing things you see at NAMM, #1,287: The right hand of Bootsy Collins.

Amazing things at NAMM, #1,287: Bootsy Collins's right hand.

Just got back from a couple of days at the 2012 NAMM convention in Anaheim. And I’m glad to be writing about it rather than talking about it, because I have no voice left from screaming over several days of unbelievably loud ambient noise. How […]

Oh — There’s Another NAMM Show?

namm

It has been brought to my attention that there is, in fact, another event this weekend called a NAMM show. I’ll be there Friday and Saturday with Seymour Duncan. If you’re at the show, please stop by. And tomorrow — Thursday — I’m playing a show at Taix in LA’s cool Echo Park neighborhood […]

The Nam Show

Vietnamese Guitar

This is not a Swedish guitar. (Photo by Candace Burnham.)

Everyone’s talking about the upcoming Nam show, so I figured I should post something relevant. I’ve never been to Southeast Asia, though everyone I know who has loves the place. And I’ve been floored by the beauty and originality of those Vietnamese electric guitarists who […]

A New Look at an Old Wiring Scheme
(and another cheap guitar makeover!)

Much like an iPhone photo app makes this new Squier Tele look old, Duncan's Vintage Broadcaster set makes it SOUND old.

An iPhone photo app makes this new Squier Tele look old. Duncan's Vintage Broadcaster Set makes it SOUND old.

Sometimes an antiquated idea can acquire new relevance.

Example: The ancient Fender Broadcaster wiring scheme, in which the guitar has no tone control per se, but the second knob acts as a pickup-blend control. I […]

Build the World’s Wickedest Overdrive
(for less than $30)

"Who are you callin' ugly?"

"Who are you callin' ugly?"

UPDATE: My thanks to reader William Badjek, who found in error on page 31 of the v01 project file, which would have prevented the tone control from working properly. (The schematics, however, were correct in v01.) If you’ve encountered that issue, please revisit that page of the v02 project […]

ReAmps: Cooler and CHEAPER Than Ever!

Teisco amp not included. Pity.

The latest version of the ReAmp, the Radial PRO RMP Studio Re-Amper, lists for a recession-friendly US$115, which means you can probably snag one for under a C-note.

Teisco amp not included. Pity.

The device, created by engineer John Cuniberti (best known as Joe Satriani’s studio wiz), is a recording direct box in reverse: […]

Meet the Fiendmaster!
(A new Tonefiend DIY Club project)

Technically speaking, the originals didn't have angel wings, though they should have. Dig the musically illiterate treble clef!

Technically speaking, original Dallas Rangemasters didn't have angel wings, though they probably should have. However, the musically illiterate treble staff IS historically accurate.

The next Tonefiend DIY Club project is a cool update of the Dallas Rangemaster treble booster — for my money, the wickedest overdrive ever. I’ll post all the project files within […]

The Germanium Mystique

Some of the classic pedals that relied on germanium transistors.

Germanium is actually a boring, silvery-gray color. Aren't you glad I added cheesy digital effects?

“Germanium” is a magical word among guitar gearheads, right up there with “pre-CBS,” “true bypass,” “matched tubes,” “point-to-point wiring,” and “scatter-wound.” And like those other phrases, it owes its cachet to a mix of fact and fancy.

Germanium was […]