Chris Uggen's Blog: analog reverie

Monday, December 26, 2005

analog reverie

sister kathy and j.d. from nyc are famous for cool and thoughtful gifts. this christmas, they sent me analog man's guide to vintage effects: the ultimate analog stompbox reference book. it brought back warm fuzztones for this guitar geek, with color pictures of the beautiful boxes, interviews with their brilliant knob-twisting creators, and helpful advice on keeping them humming.

today's digital modeling amps squeeze myriad sounds out of any guitar, but early stompboxes were a revelation to me. i liked to play "clean," but i loved to dirty up the sound with preamps, phase shifters, wah pedals, and the like. of course, purists derided such gizmos, but that never bothered me and jimi.

kathy and j.d. might have gotten a hint while staying in my den over thanksgiving, where i'd left the non-working bad stone unit above. i don't play well enough to have a distinctive "sound," but i employ this yellow box to make a recognizable skronk both fat and smooth. i just run a '70s iceman through the '70s DOD overdrive preamp and a '70s alamo tube amp just like the one below. [hey, it was the 70s, okay?]

my favorite gifts often seem to inspire such reverie and i'll read and re-read the book for years. my tastes are pretty unusual (that is, "deviant") but you might know someone who'd be similarly inspired by this sort of gift. i doubt you could find intact versions of the alamo or the iceman anymore, but a reissue of the DOD 250 can be had on amazon for $39.95. through magic or coincidence, amazon sells the inspiring analog man guide to vintage effects for exactly the same low price. spooky, huh?


At 9:06 PM, Blogger Tom Volscho said...

I used to have a CD of Quiet Riot when Randy Rhodes played with them before he joined Ozzy. Rhandy Rhodes was a huge user of DOD-sounding pedals with all kinds of phasers, flangers, delays, pitch-shifters. I guess my generation was lucky, we had Boss Metal Edge pedals, delay pedals. I did at one point assemble a "rack" system with a pre-amp and a Marshall cabinet, but I could never get it to sound just right and it didn't sound right loud.

These days I plug my Ibanez in through headphones using a Zoom 505 pedal circa mid to late 1990s.

I recently had the pleasure of playing through a true Marshall half-stack recently. If I ever become a decently paid sociologist I will try and purchase one someday. My goal is to also get a black Les Paul with three gold humbuckers and white inlays. For now, I dream.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous chris said...

hey tom, your dream rig sounds a little like neal young's old black, a '53 lester with a firebird pickup. is that beautiful, or what? he runs it through a '59 fender deluxe tweed. marshalls are a little too sharp for me now that i play a strat most of the time (though well-matched to the iceman). for now, i'd love to get a vintage twin reverb unit just to fool around with some surf stuff.

given your posts, i think you'd smile as much as i did reading the effects book. also, check out the wah wah footwear fashion show. i'll definitely have to submit a photo stomping my DOD with my "emergency yellow" kenneth cole boots...

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Tom Volscho said...

It is very close. I wonder how well it stays in tune with that tremolo system. Last night I stopped at a used guitar store and picked up a $150 Epiphone Les Paul Special II (black) because my Ibanez has lost its value to me. I always wanted a Fender Princeton Chorus, simple lower-mid sized combo had a great reverb.

I figured it out finally. I sound really good on the Epiphone LP S II b/c the frets are slightly smaller than most guitars and I have short stubby fingers. On the Epiphone I can play like the wind, but I slow down and get sloppy with my Ibanez RG series.

The twin reverb idea sounds good--I have a Dick Dale cassette somewhere with pure surf guitar circa 60s and 70s. I learned the Hawaii 5-0 theme a while ago, which is the extent of my knowledge of surf guitar.

That would be a great photo, put the Kenneth Coles to a DOD!


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