Somehow managing to seamlessly bridge the gaps between blues, soul, funk, pop and country while still always sounding distinctly Mayer, John Mayer has a lot of tools in his toolbox to present a varied yet coherent signature sound. Continue reading
Raised in the industrial city of Akron, Ohio, Auerbach grew up listening to his uncles play bluegrass music and his dad’s old blues records. He flunked out of college because he was busy practicing guitar and, by his own admission, listening to way too much Junior Kimbrough. Continue reading
Clad in a stylish, tattooed case, the Tone Tattoo from Electro-Harmonix is something of a Frankenstein multi-effects pedal. It’s a cut-and-pasted amalgamation of three of their best-selling pedals, the Metal Muff distortion, Neo Clone chorus and Memory Toy delay units. It’s all analogue, so you’re getting the real things and not some digital reproduction. The only danger with this formula is that you might only get a lacklustre, stripped-down version of three existing pedals set into one easy-to-sell package.
The POD HD500 is Line 6’s new favorite toy. The unit packs in all of the features from the HD300 and HD400 models, as well as boosting the storage space and the potential for hands-free control. It increases the number of simultaneous effects you’re permitted to include, and removes the irritating limitations that prevented you from mixing effects however you like on the 300 and 400. Likewise, the looper capacity is doubled, and you can also split your signal into parallel paths to have two tones coming from different amps, if you so desired.
The Zoom G5 builds on the success of its predecessor, the G3, to offer an unparalleled array of effects, amp models and cool additional features like a built-in looper. It’s also fairly cheap, so it’s an endearing prospect for those new to the world of multi-effects and people looking to upgrade their old units. In essence, it provides 297 different pedalboards in one solid unit – enough for a different effects setup for every single song in your setlist with hundreds of slots to spare.
If Goldilocks were to choose a Line 6 POD HD series pedal, she would undoubtedly moan about the abundance of pedal switches and the sheer mass of the 500 and whine about the relative daintiness of the 300. The 400 falls right in the middle, the Goldilocks-zone for multi-effects pedals. In terms of price, size and functionality, it aims to strike a balance to suit players who play live, but don’t have the bankroll to splurge on the HD500. Getting this right could make the HD400 the most popular pedal in the series, even if it will always ultimately have to defer to the functional might of the deluxe model.
The marketing for Line 6’s POD HD300 is nothing short of excessive. They claim that the new models are ten times more accurate than their original POD amp modeling, stuffed with “10 times as much amplifier DNA.” If the term “amplifier DNA” didn’t raise an eyebrow itself, the idea that the precision of the modeling has increased ten-fold is a somewhat dubious one that will leave most guitar effect aficionados stroking their chins in disbelief. The marketing hot air shouldn’t sway you, but that doesn’t mean Line 6 hasn’t continued on in their tradition of exceptional multi-effects units.
Line 6 spoils us a little with their M-series multi-effects pedals. We expect basically everything, and the M13 is the epitome of this approach. You can combine any four of 109 effects, and you have 15 footswitches to play with. The M9 is smaller, boasting seven foot-switches and the same number of effects. The M5, the baby of the family, is the size of a fat stompbox (similar to a Big Muff) and still packs in the same catalogue of effects. However, you have just two pedals to use and can only apply one effect at a time.