As promised last month, a few more goodies for the guitarist plus more info about the ultimate drummer... I didn't realise Jane Fonda played drums...
Guitarists first. MXR have an Effects Loop Selector made from die-cast aluminium which allows the guitarist to choose between two effects systems while running into a single amplifier. The unit requires no separate power unit and a circuit is included to minimise 'pop'. It can also be used to choose between speaker or amp arrangements and retails at $25.
A similar unit is available from Roger Eddy at $24.95. You pays your money...
The Think Tank has been working overtime at Whirlwind Music and come up with the 'ultimate' guitar lead. Called the Constrictor — known in the trade as the 'augmented cord' — it consists of 20 inches of coiled lead attached to 10 feet of straight lead. The 20 inches extends up to 10 feet, too, giving a total lead 20 feet long which should not get snarled around your feet. Made from cured neoprene cable by Belden, the Constrictor is designed to pass signals with the minimum of cable noise.
New from Stars Guitars is their Star Grinder which is a distortion unit designed for retrofit in electric guitars. A pot allows a mix between straight and distorted guitar and an optional bypass switch is available. A single 9-voit battery is required and the unit should fit most control cavities.
The HF-4 Hot Foot Active Gain Pedal from Polyfusion runs from a 9-volt battery which is activated by plugging in a cord. The volume output level is adjustable from unity (input and output signal) to 12dB (four times original power). It has a high impedance input and low impedance output. The tension on the pedal's movement is adjustable. The HF-4 sells for $99.95 from BKL.
Fast-Fret from Kenyon is an applicator stick designed to clean and lubricate guitar strings. It is applied by rubbing the applicator along the strings. Excess can be wiped off with the cloth supplied; the solution does not harm guitar finishes and it is non-toxic.
There are literally dozens of 'small' amps on the market designed either for use in small rooms or as practice amps. Most of them will give good quality output at low levels. The latter are much more common and the Zeus model 8401 (has everyone got a computer working on new product names?) is one of many worth considering. It provides 1 watt of clean power and 2.5 watts of overdriven signal from its internal speaker. Tone and volume controls are included and the preamp can add up to 21dB of boost to the guitar's signal. The entire unit is only 7½ x 3" x 1¾", is housed in an aluminium case and is powered by 8 small batteries (an AC adapter can be used). It costs $64.95.
For those who think nostalgia ain't what it used to be, Echoplex have reintroduced their tape echo with tubes. Their EP-6T uses the same basic circuitry as the original EP-2 but has a PCB. After many years of solid-state construction the new unit is deemed to fulfil a long-felt demand. It is available to special order (6-8 weeks) from Market Electronics.
The Peavey EQ-27 has, would you believe, 27 frequency bands each spanning ¼ octave. All 27 slide controls have centre dents and provide for +15dB boost and cut. All inputs and outputs have transient, overvoltage, and short-circuit protection. The voltage regulator protects against power variations. The unit has a bypass switch and is rack-mountable.
...Talking about drummers...
The PAiA Programmable Drum Set now has improved memory circuitry which allows the 'save' mode to hold rhythm patterns for over a year while battery life for normal operation has been extended to several hundred hours.
Right! This is it! Introducing the LM-1 from Linn Electronics. This sophisticated, yet easy to operate machine, contains actual drum sounds recorded digitally in its computer memory. It holds up to 100 drumbeats and these are programmable in real time. Drums include snare, bass, hi-hat, cabasa, tambourine, two congas, two tom-toms, cowbell, clave and hand claps. Programming features include automatic error correction, programmable dynamics, flams, rolls, build-ups, open and closed hi-hat, etc. Special timing circuitry is included to give a 'human' feel to the drumming and all time signatures are possible (including the one our drummer plays after a bottle of rye and a Pepsi). The LM-1 has versatile editing facilities and rhythm patterns can be linked together into complete song formats. All programmed parts can be retained in the memory when power is switched off and programmed data can be stored on cassette. Other features include a 13 output stereo mixer with volume, pan and separate outputs for each drum. The pitch of each drum can be individually adjusted and the unit can be used to overdub on tape and sync to almost anything. The bad news is the price — $5,500. Not too expensive, really, when you consider the flexibility of the unit but possibly other manufacturers will see a market here and introduce their own models. It doesn't look quite as pretty as Jane Fonda but then if looks were important our drummer would be peeling potatoes. This is certainly a unit to look at, especially for electronic music composers and enthusiasts. Warren Cann of Ultravox is reviewing this for us.
Next month we'll give guitarists' pockets a rest and see what else is going on in America.
Companies and manufacturers mentioned:
MXR Innovations, (Contact Details), also Atlantex Music Ltd, (Contact Details);
Roger Eddy, (Contact Details);
Whirlwind Music Inc., (Contact Details);
Stars Guitars, (Contact Details);
BKL International Distributing, (Contact Details);
Kenyon International, (Contact Details);
Zeus Audio, (Contact Details);
Market Electronics, (Contact Details);
Peavey Electronics, (Contact Details);
PAiA Electronics, (Contact Details);
Linn Electronics Inc., (Contact Details).