Submitted by Dinosaur David B on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:20
Great luthier interview here from Tony Conley's Rock Guitar Daily site.
Submitted by Dinosaur David B on Fri, 09/06/2013 - 10:33
Good video (almost an hour) covering a lot of the tonal basics.
Submitted by gunner4life on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 15:10
Features the ProCo Rat, Ibanez TS-9 and 808 Tube Screamers, MXR Distortion, EHx Big Muff Pi, Digitech Death Metal, and a few other distortion/overdrive pedals, the Boss CE-2 chorus, MXR Flanger, Digitech Whammy, Real McCoy and Crybaby wahs, Yaya Box, a pretty convincing Acoustic Simulator, and more.
The unit has some pretty decent amp and cabinet models as well. Marshall Plexi, JCM 800 and 900, Mesa Mark 2 and Dual Rec, Soldano SLO, various Fender and Vox amps, a Matchless HC30, Hiwatt Custom 100, etc., in addition to a dozen or so cabinet designs and speakers.
Other features include a 20 second looper, and tuner.
Operation on the unit is pretty basic and simple, 2 foot switch operation, up and down, to scroll the presets, press both together to access the tuner, press and hold the up switch for the looper. Small up and down button to scroll through the effects, amps, cabs, etc., and 4 knobs to control the selections and EQ's.
There are more presets on their site that can be added.
Ease of Use:
LOTS of useable effects and presets, the distortion selections are pretty close to the real deals.
Editing is a breeze, especially if you connect the unit to your computer, and use the computer interface which uses a series of roll down windows. And just about everything on the pedal can be edited and combined. Every effect, distortion, and amp can be edited, from the EQ of the Marshall JTM to sweep of the Crybaby Wah, it's all tweakable, in addition these various pedal simulations feature pretty much every control the real pedals have, I saw this especially when using the computer interface, where viewable knobs would change based on the pedal being tweaked, instead of it being the same controls for all.
The score I gave is relative, it's not gonna replace a pro quality pedal board for gigging, or even rehearsal, but there are more than enough usable effects to make you not miss that pedal board if it's put away and you just wanna toy around at home for fun. So sound quality is about 50/50 in that respect, some great, some terrible. The great sounding stuff on the pedal make its $150 price tag a steal.
There are more presets on their site that can be added.
Not practical for stage use, can't switch effects on and off, it's all presets, many of the effects are good enough for a gig but you'd be better off with something like the RP1000.
The expression pedal is a bit of a pain in the ass, for example if you're using the wah you have to be careful about pushing the pedal down too far, it engages just with a tap, it also disengages with a tap, so it's easy to inadvertently turn the wah off.
The unit comes with a CD... This CD is for installing the mixing program, NOT the user interface for editing the presets. They don't mention anywhere that it's not the editing interface! The preset editing interface is downloaded from the Digitech website.
Sound quality... Some of the effects sound great, like the Rat and Boss Chorus, others, like the Digitech Death Metal are noisy and the noise gate when used makes the effect have this staticy sound when you slide your fingers on the strings as it quiets the guitar, it's really annoying, and wasn't something that the MXR Fullbore Metal did when the noise gate was engaged.
Out of the box, most of the presets sound terrible, way too much treble, and the time effects seem to all be set high on everything, so getting started takes some time to dial the effects in.
Haven't had it for more than 2 months, but I'd assume the same reliability as the other RP models, so it should be solid.
Haven't dealt with Digitech.
Submitted by gunner4life on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 14:09
Country of origin:
Mahogany body with quilted maple top
Number of frets:
The SZ520 is a fairly lightweight guitar, considering that it's not chambered and about as thick as a Les Paul.
Has one of the most comfortable set neck heels I've played, the joint is as smooth a contoured as most neck thru guitars. The neck contour itself is beefy, and pretty wide, not quite rounded like a 50's neck.
Body, neck, and headstock binding.
2 volume 1 tone, with a 3 way pickup selector.
The Gibralter 3 bridge is seriously comfy to rest on.
Stays in tune relatively well, and the fretwork is solid.
The finish is good, much better than what Ibanez has been known for.
They are pretty cheap on the used market, new they sold for only about $500.
Discontinued, Ibanez really dropped the ball discontinuing this Korean line, I think they are every bit as good as the top PRS, LTD, and Schecter's that have come from Korea, and much better than the Indonesian guitars Ibanez was making then too. Pickups. I had a natural oil finished SZ320 that I bought in 2004, which had the DiMarzio designed IBZ pickups, I'm a Seymour Duncan guy, but the DiMarzio designed pickups, I'm not sure what they were modeled on, were MUCH better sounding than the Duncan IBZ pickups, which are the HB versions of the Distortion bridge and 59 neck, I replaced them with a real 59 and a Custom and the guitar rocks. This guitar came out a little back when the Korean guitars were just starting to be well made, unfortunately they were still not being made with premium parts, like Grover tuners and U.S. made Duncan, DiMarzio, or EMG pickups, so along with bad pickups you won't find Grover locking tuners like on most fixed bridge Korean imports, but as I said the ones they come with work. The single flame inlay is both cool and lame at the same time, cool when I saw it first 9 years ago, lame now... I'd prefer no inlays.
This is my second SZ model, sold the SZ320, regretted it for a few years, when the chance and need for guitar of this type came up, I got the SZ520 instead. This is no $3000 PRS, hell, it's not even my $1300 Carvin CT4, but it's definitely a gig worthy guitar and cheap enough to justify purchasing just to noodle at home with, and is a nice throwback to the thicker necked fixed bridge guitars Ibanez was making before going crazy with cheap finished paint stirrer neck super strats. I highly recommend one of the SZ models to anyone considering something like a PRS Se.
Submitted by Dinosaur David B on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 09:04
Custom Ear Plugs
$85 per plug ($170)
Being in a loud band can obviously be tough on your ears and your hearing. No one wants tinitis.
In the old days, I had a set of Sonic IIs and I almost never used them because I wasn't happy with what they did, and what I was hearing. I had tried foam plugs, but even after adjusting them, I couldn't hear what I was playing with enough detail (pitch on bends and vibratos) to function.
My drummer showed me a pair of custom ear plugs made by an audiologist, custom molded to the ear canal, with interchangeable filters that you can pop on and off to change how many dbs are rolled off. For example, there is a 10 db filter, a 15 db filter.
Most importantly, unlike foam ear plugs and most others, these filters roll off the volume with a flat frequency curve. That is, they don't take all your highs or all your lows, they supposedly leave the frequency ratio the same as it is in the room, and just cut volume like a volume knob.
So here's how you get some. You Google Audiologists in your local area. Places that make and sell hearing aids. Here is a national chain in the US that I used:
Call a location near you and ask them if they do custom ear plugs for musicians. Most do. Make an appointment. I went in. Discuss what you want. They use a syringe to shoot this foam gel into your ears. It is not unpleasant or sticky at all. The stuff dries hard in like 3 or 4 minutes. They pull them out, and ship them off to a lab to make them with whatever filter you want. Mine were made by Westone, but there are lots of companies making similar plugs. I got the one's that roll off 10db. They told me they'd be ready in a week or so, and they were.
First of all, because they are custom made for your ears, they fit properly and are very comfortable.
More importantly, in a loud, band rehearsal environment -- small room with reflections coming off the walls, I could hear everything perfectly, but just 10b quieter. All the highs, all my bends and vibratos, everything I need to hear was there. No sharp pain from nearby drum cymbals or certain freqencies coming off the head-high PA sticks. Best of all, at the end of the evening -- no ringing ears!
The only thing I noticed was that if your songs demand dymanic volume changes -- going from quiet to full volume (with a volume knob or volume pedal), it may take some time getting used to how quiet is quiet with the ear plugs in.
THESE EAR PLUGS ARE A BIG WIN! You really DO get what you pay for. If you need ear protection, I highly recommend you take 10 minutes to get fitted for something like these.
They are not cheap, but weighed against damaging your hearing, it's kind of a no-brainer. They are certainly cheaper than a lifetime of hearing aids and batteries if you destroy your ears.
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