Alice in Chains and Simplicity

I saw Alice in Chains live for the first time when they came to St. Paul on July 9.  From this middle-aged man, those slightly older middle-aged men on stage seemed to be aging rather gracefully.  I don’t have their latest yet but I understand that it’s filled with mostly mid-tempo material.  In concert, they…

4 Roles Guitars Play in a Band Context

I didn’t mean to turn this blog into just a bunch of pedal reviews, though that’s most of what I’ve been doing lately.  So here’s a thought piece from a songwriting/arranging point of view — 4 roles guitars play in a band context.  The 4 roles are: Rhythmic Melodic Harmonic Textural/Timbre Rhythmic Assuming the guitar…

Boss CS-3 Compressor Monte Allums Opto Mod Review

Being a single-coil player, I always find it more comfortable to have at least slight compression on when I perform in public.  Otherwise my picking technique’s flaws show up — and more importantly, I’d be self-conscious of my picking and will be timid in my playing. Buying an affordable Boss pedal and modding it seemed…

VHT V-Drive Review

$100 doesn’t get you far in boutique guitar pedals usually.  So when I first learned about VHT V-Drive, I was intrigued — here’s a smaller, more “boutique” brand with an overdrive pedal in $100 range.  I realize that VHT isn’t quite a household name in pedals, and in fact, I was under the impression that…

3 Ways to Spice Up Your Power Chords

Power chords are the foundation of rock guitar.  But — after serving well for millions (I imagine) of songs, I can’t help but feel like “been there, done that.”  There is nothing wrong with it, but as a guitar-based songwriter I am always looking for fresher sounds — and these 3 simple variations help me…

Pro Analog Dual Drive Review

I must confess, the collector in me is attracted to the buzz of rarity.  ProAnalog Dual Drive has always been one of those mystic devices in my mind, since there are people on The Gear Page who seem to claim that there are unduplicatable qualities to these hand-made pedals.  So when I saw one for…