I've been noticing clear signs of me turning into an “old fart” over the last few years. It’s only a few short months before I will turn 50, and it seems ever harder beam myself back into my 30-year old “hippy” state of mind. Am I – is Custom Boards – still a relevant player in the eyes of the new wave?
In Finland in the 1980s Sielun Veljet was a genuine cult band, so their 2011 comeback was a unique chance to experience the band’s energy firsthand. I was told that a huge part of the equipment on tour would be old, some even vintage gear. I should be prepared for lots of breakdowns and troubleshooting. I could hardly wait…
Wah-wahs, auto-wahs and filters are more popular than ever before. All of these effects are in regular use in many different musical genres. Vox’ “gentleman’s sound” and the aggressive tones of Dunlop wahs both have their place in the modern musician’s tool kit.
The phaser was born trying to combine a vibrato and a flanger. The vibe was trying to emulate the sound of a Leslie cabinet. Leo Fender thought that tremolo was vibrato and the other way around. Does this seem confusing? Check out these 50 facts regarding modulation effects.
He turns a knob labeled “Overdrive”, something I was just starting to develop a lifelong love affair with. That’s what you wanted – overdrive, and lots of it! And once you’ve got your taste of it, you’re bound to come back for more.
Many guitarists strive to emulate David Gilmour’s unbelievingly beautiful playing style. In terms of ethereal beauty he is in a league of his own, even though many have tried – and still are trying – to follow in his footsteps.
German engineer Burkhard Lehle unveiled his plans for the Lehle Components a few years ago at 2014’s NAMM Show. He would release his own line of audio components, which will include brand-new designs alongside his older inventions.
Amorphis’ manager, Jouni Markkanen told me to be extremely careful, and made me clear that I had to have the gig fee in my hands, in cash, before allowing the band to leave their hotel for the venue.
Learning to play songs on guitar that you’ve known for a years can be a very rewarding. One of the most enjoyable parts of my journey into the depths of Black Sabbath’s riffs, was to notice all the little surprises in Iommi’s phrasing. This is even more underlined, if you’ve been listening to Black Sabbath for ages, and you can hum their riffs by heart.
We've been entertaining ourselves with the thought of starting a Custom Racks service for some time. Inner need of getting a chance to build a large effects rack has lived in our minds for a while, and in the end we got lucky.
The thought of having absolute pitch seemed very intriguing. I already had a history of trying, and succeeding in naming pitches. Some intervals also always seemed more friendly to my ear than others. The most annoying interval of them all, which had bugged me for quite some time, was the major third.
I was lucky enough to work on the same festival stage as Them Crooked Vultures in 2010 and in 2013 with QOTSA. This gave me a chance to find out the details of Josh Homme’s stage setup straight from his tech. As a result you can read this summary of his guitar gear dutring these two tours.
The album is one of the best-selling and most-legendary records of all time, and many guitarists think that David Gilmour must have used tons of different effects to produce his sounds, but in reality he played his guitar relatively sparingly and used surprisingly few effects.
After seeing the newspaper article from Andy McCoy, where his pedalboard whole looked a real mess, I reacted instinctively: I took a quick snap of Andy’s pedalboard right off the paper and put it on Instagram. My message read that if anybody out there knew how to get hold of Andy, could they please tell him that I’d be more than willing to help him sort his board out.
Jaco was a true super star in his time. His playing had a profound influence on virtually every bass player that has come after him. Tragically, Jaco’s life also had a merciless side to it. There’s a very few artists in popular culture, who rose to fame as meteorically and shone as brightly, only to face such a brutally tragic fate.
After a long and stressful wait the next batch of amplifiers arrived in the USA, and Joel Wheeler went ballistic. The new amps were completely different to what had been agreed. Further investigation made it obvious that the factory had used a hodgepodge of parts from a number of suppliers.
Who was the man behind all this? Who had the cheek to demand complete secrecy, an advance of 10,000 Finnish Markkas, and who would still expect his clients to wait patiently for up to five years?
When I heard the news that I might get to service a couple of the late Albert Järvinen's amplifiers, I was so excited I almost fainted. Did these amps sound special? Has the late guitar legend left some of his special mojo in these combos? I was about to find out.
"Showtime! A Day in the Life of a Guitar Tech" is a series of articles that serve as a useful guide for every musician and technician who is planning to go on a tour. You can read about the everyday life of a touring band, experience behind the scenes action through the eyes of a guitar tech and get insight for the events of a show day from dawn ’til dusk.
Are you wondering how to leave a lasting impression of yourself at a venue? Well, I'll tell you. Get comfortable and come with me to an unforgettable tour opening gig at the Tavastia venue of Helsinki.
For a guitar technician, a festival is probably the most demanding place to work, ever. In mainland Europe typical changeover times at festivals are typically only 15 minutes. This means you have a quarter of an hour to perform all the tasks you’d spend many hours doing at a club gig.
For decades the equipment of the most-influential guitarist of all time has been something of a Holy Grail. What did Jimi Hendrix use to achieve his legendary sounds? Speculation and myths abound, which is why I took the bull by the horns to lay this all to rest.
On a foggy April morning in 1982 a phone rang in Ireland. The caller was Jet Records' boss David Arden, and his case was very important. He was on the lookout for somebody to replace guitarist Randy Rhoads, who had died only a week before.
I really do admire Mikko’s attitude. His idea was to tape Dogma-style videos of every available Keeley effect, so that he would play each effect for the first time with the camera rolling.