Erik Gyepes, the founder of instrumentio.com, contacted me about writing a piece for my blog as a guest author. We emailed a few times about what type of content he would like to write, and I agreed that this information would be useful to our readers. Erik’s first piece with us will be about street musicians traveling on public transportation. You can learn more about Erik here.
Author: Kris Youngsteadt
Alcohol Ink Colored Guitar Picks
My wife has been into paper quilling (info on quilling can be found here) lately and I have been helping her make backgrounds for her to quill over. Her quilling Instagram page is here.
We decided to try using alcohol ink to make these backgrounds. While we were learning how to manipulate the ink I thought back to the carbonate guitar picks I made a while ago and thought that alcohol ink may be a cool way to color homemade guitar picks. In my opinion, this worked out quite well!
This was done by applying the alcohol ink to one side of clear carbonate sheeting. When the ink has dried. Then you cut out the pick shape you prefer or use a pick punch (I trace the pick shape on the side that doesn’t have any ink on it and cut it out with scissors). The picks in the picture were created with .80 mm thick clear carbonate sheeting sandwiched together with super glue. The alcohol ink coloring is encapsulated inside the pick so the coloring will not wear off or get on your hands.
More information on how I make these picks can be found in an older post I wrote here.
I varied the process a bit in this case since I applied the coloring/artwork before I cut out the pick shape from the carbonate sheeting. I also finished these two picks entirely by hand using varying sandpaper grits from 120, 220, 600, 1500, 2000, 2500 to shape and polish the picks.
The pictured picks are about 1.6 mm thick, are very stiff, and allow you to play as fast as you can go.
The 10 best distortion pedals 2020: top drive pedals and effects for guitarists
VST Plugins for Guitar
Check out this article from Beginner Guitar HQ about VST plugins for guitar.
Zoom G5n Modeler
If you are looking for guitar effects and amp modeling that doesn’t break the bank and sounds good doing it. The Zoom G5n may just be what you are looking for. There are plenty of reviews out there to get the low-down, plus this is a mature device that’s been around a while with a good amount of features, which qualifies this device for some serious consideration.
The G5n is easy to program and use. I erased all of the factory patches since none of them were what I was looking for and wanted to start from square one. Are factory patches ever all that great? I bought a few sets of custom patches from Choptones to get started with patches that sound really good and made it easier to build new patches for the music I play.
The Zoom G5n can be had on the used market in the $200 – $225 range. Brand new it goes for $329.99, which is still a bargain for what you get.
More information on the G5n can be found here.
Zoom MS-70CDR: Why I Love It So Much!
Originally I was going to do a full review of this pedal, but there are so many good reviews online I don’t see any point in creating another one. What I am going to do is talk about how I use the pedal and what I think about the Zoom MS-70CDR now that I have been using the pedal in my live rig for quite a while.
At this point I own three Zoom MS-70CDR multi-effects pedals. Two reside on my main pedalboard (#1), and one resides on my backup (#2) pedalboard. Both of these pedalboards are used regularly at this point. My main pedalboard was in use so much that I thought I better build a backup board if my main pedalboard ever goes on the fritz.
Since pedalboard (#2) is smaller it has been getting plenty of use with my church gig. On this board the MS-70CDR is used mostly for light Reverb. Also for set tempo rhythmic delay, as a tuner, and specialty one-off types of sounds that you would not expect to get from a guitar. A single loop true bypass switcher is used to quickly bring this effect in and out of the pedal chain.
On my main pedalboard I have two MS-70CDR pedals. One sits before my volume pedal connected to a true bypass switcher, which allows me to easily kick the pedal in and out of the pedal chain. This pedal typically handles chorus, flanger, tremolo, pitch shift, octaver, chromatic tuner and specialty sounds like organ or synth type tones. The second MS-70CDR sits after my volume pedal and handles Reverb, delay, and anything that may require tap tempo. This configuration of pedals allows for a very powerful and flexible one two punch when playing live or in the studio. The amount of sonic territory you can cover is mind boggling. Limited only by your imagination. I’ve been able to conjure pretty much any type of time based effect sound I have had the need to create from this effect pedal and then some. Considering how inexpensive these pedals are everyone should own at least one of these “Swiss Army” knives of guitar and bass effects. The sound quality is quite good especially in a band situation.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available in the pedal (all of my Zoom MS-70CDR pedals have the upgraded 2.0 firmware, which gives you even more effects).
- 86 guitar and bass effects, including modulation, equalization, delay, and reverb (Firmware Version 2.0 offers 51 all-new effects, in addition to the 86 effects the MS-70CDR already includes. Classic effects like Tremolo, Slicer, Octaver, Pitch Shifter, Slow Attack, Noise Gate, Exciter, and Envelope Filter. There’s also a studio quality compressor and some advanced effects such as Lo-Fi, Synthesizer and Organ simulation.)
- Up to 6 effects can be used simultaneously, in any order
- 50 memory locations for the storage of user-created patches
- 40 preset patches, which can be overwritten.
- Patch cycling
- Onboard chromatic tuner supports all standard guitar and bass tunings, including open and drop tunings
- Tap Tempo for synchronization of delay times or modulation rates
- Auto Save function for automatic saving of all patch parameters
- Mono and stereo operation
- Dual ¼” input jacks (both active and passive instruments supported)
- Dual ¼” output jacks
- Backlit LCD with contrast control for easy viewing in low-light environments
- USB port for power and firmware updates
- Lightweight and small enough to fit in your gig bag
- Easily integrated into any existing pedalboard
- Runs on 2 AA batteries, with alkaline battery life of up to 7 hours (use of AC power in a pedalboard situation is recommended).
- Optional AC adapter
Street price for this pedal is around $100 – $120. In my opinion the Zoom MS-70CDR is worth its weight in gold…
Choosing a New Guitar from a Scientific Viewpoint
Rob Beck from Beginner Guitar HQ contacted me about his article “How To Choose the Best Guitar, 15 Factors to Consider According to Science”. I read the article over and decided I would add it here for my readers who are looking for a new axe. There are some good points of view to consider when trying out and purchasing a new guitar from a scientific point of view. Especially if you are new to playing guitar. Experienced players usually know what they like and are looking for in a new addition to their arsenal, but even they may learn something new from this information. The article is definitely worth checking out. You can read all about it here.
Elixir Optiweb Guitar Strings Review
I purchased a set of Elixir Optiweb 10 – 46 gauge electric guitar strings at the purchase price of $12.99 per set. My Godin LG Signature was the test instrument, which you can read about here. I decided to play this string set until one or more of the strings failed in some way (I wanted to see how long the strings would last before they became unplayable as a full set). About one month and a half into using the strings regularly for my various practice and playing engagements the “D” string failed.
My first impression of the Optiweb strings was that the plain strings sounded quite nice and were fairly easy to bend. The wound strings had a nice sound, but were not quite as bright sounding as the strings I used before. The Optiweb strings worked great in a band situation. I used the strings for rhythm and lead guitar playing plus some slide guitar work.
I was a string tester for Elixir in the past and I must say a couple of the sets they sent me were absolutely stellar guitar strings. I was a little bit disappointed that the Optiwebs did not live up to my memory of some of the Elixir test strings I had tested, but without a side-by-side comparison this observation is totally subjective. The string tension across the set was well balanced and comfortable to play.
Elixir Optiweb electric guitar strings are high quality coated guitar strings with good tone. The coating gives you extra life in the wound strings by resisting dirt and grime. I must say these strings sounded good up until the day the “D” string gave up the ghost in the heat of battle. If you are looking for strings that are stable, which you won’t have to change every couple of weeks these may be for you. At $12.99 per set they are a little on the high side for me regarding price to performance. The only way to know if they will be your new favorite is to try them.
Popular Guitar Pedals for Under $50
This was posted on Reverb.com by Dan Orkin on June 20th. Great information I just had to share.
The Most Popular Pedals You Can Buy for Under $50 : https://reverb.com/news/the-most-popular-pedals-you-can-buy-for-under-50-dollars