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?