If you’ve paid attention to the burgeoning guitar effects pedal modification market over the past few years, you know that Boss modded pedals are some of the most common pedal modifications around. The reason for that is simple. Even without modifications, most Boss effects pedals sound pretty good in their stock form. So, a modded pedal is more likely to accentuate the excellence of a Boss pedal. Common pedals for modification purposes are the BD-2 Blues Driver and the DS-1 Distortion. For all the rage about true bypass, Boss pedals sound great with their included buffer system. Our personal favorites included the Keeley-modded Blues Driver and the DS-1 Distortion.
Any guitarist or bassists knows that playing in tune is a crucial part of sounding professional. It’s easy to stay in tune in a studio environment because you can take the time to make sure your instrument is perfectly in tune and intonated as well. However, in a live environment, you can’t exactly stop the show to get in tune. That’s why pedal tuners have become so popular. But which one is the best tuner pedal for the money?
Personally, I think the Boss TU-3 is the finest guitar tuner pedal available today. The Boss TU tuner pedals have been on some of the best players’ pedalboards for a number of years, and while there are pedals now that have a lot more bells and whistles, the Boss TU-3 is a proven workhorse of guitar pedal tuners. The casing is durable, roadworthy, and stands the test of time. The LED lights are incredibly easy to see on a dark stage, and the footprint is very small, making it easy to fit in with the rest of your pedalboard. The TU-3 is also incredibly quiet and has the same quality Boss pedal buffering system that is available on all of their pedals.
Bass guitar strap locks are a necessity if you want to protect your investment in a quality bass guitar. If you’re a bass player, you know how heavy electric bass guitars can be, especially if you’re playing a 5-string bass or 6-string bass. Guitars are already prone to falling off their straps, but bass guitars are even worse due to their weight.
So, you’re probably wondering, then, what are the best strap locks for bass guitar? There are two main choices available.
(1) Dunlop – Dunlop strap locks are a very popular choice, and are made by a company with a reputation for excellence, Jim Dunlop. Dunlop strap locks use a push-pull pin-based system. Dunlop claims that the locks are rated at 800-lbs of pull, so chances are, you won’t have any problems with them.
The downside to the Dunlop strap locks is that, if the pin does fail, there’s no secondary system in place. The guitar will fall and fall hard. However, it’s also worth noting that the strap pin itself is designed to be used with just a regular guitar strap if need be (the so-called Dual Design system). All in all, the Dunlop system is a fine choice.
Either system can be effective, and there are bass players and guitar players who swear by either one. I personally prefer the Schallers for two reasons. (1) The U-shaped cradle provides an excellent backup should the system fail (which none of mine ever have. (2) In my personal opinion, the Schallers just flat out look more hip than the Dunlops, but that’s just my view.
Blues guitar tabs can be a godsend if you’re a beginner or even experienced blues guitar player who’s trying to learn some new licks, chords, scales, or entire songs. One of the great things about the power of the Internet is that it’s easier than ever to find guitar tabs in a variety of styles. However, not all tabs are created equal. Here are just a few reminders about how to choose tabs properly.
- If possible, choose a tab with standard notation included. Even if you’re not a brilliant sight reader at present, it’s always good to have the full notation, since it’s more accurate than tab in several ways.
- Not all tabs are created equally. Avoid books or charts that look like they were created in a twenty year old copy of Microsoft Paint. Sibelius and Finale are the standard.
- Test a sample for accuracy, if possible. Just because someone creates a tab doesn’t mean it’s accurate. If you can, get a small sample so you can test if for yourself. If someone is willing to offer a free sample, chances are they’re willing to stand behind their product.
- A good blues guitar tab will contain parts that translate the many nuances of the guitar accurately. You want to make sure that all bends, slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and other guitar-centric techniques are all notated precisely.
- Avoid tabs that are made using ASCII text. Sure, once upon a time this was the easiest way to share tabs online, but these days, it just looks lazy and cheap.
- Finally, make sure the tab includes rhythm parts, not just lead lines and licks. Otherwise, you’ll be missing a crucial part of the tune, its very foundation.
If you’re a guitar player who’s interested in mastering blues lead guitar, then you’ve simply got to add a wide variety of blues licks to your repertoire. All the best guitar players have long improved their soloing abilities by copying and memorizing licks from other guitar players. From Stevie Ray Vaughan to Eric Clapton, all guitar players have borrowed licks from guitarists and other instrumentalists.
Traditionally, guitar players learn licks by copying and transcribing solos and lead lines. Transcribing blues solos can take a lot of time, but it’s a great way to really dissect another guitar player’s style. Once you’ve transcribed a solo or even individual licks, they tend to stay in your repertoire a while. Transcribing licks and solos is also great ear training.
One of the best books I’ve seen a while for helping people learn and memorize quality licks is “100 Killer Licks & Chops for Blues Guitar.” The licks are identified with a certain player, and there are licks from a wide variety of blues genres (e.g. Delta Blues, Blues Rock, etc).